First day in the Real WorldPosted: February 25, 2014
Wow, what a day!
I am shattered, being on your feet all day is so tiring!!
Chameleon Interiors was set up by a lady called Yvonne Jones, with many years experience in the industry she set up her own company and has another designer, Andrew working along side her. They have a lovely little shop in Pontcanna in Cardiff which has a show room, design studio and offices so everything is available in one space. Yvonne and Andrew have been working together for over 20 years and between them seem to have done everything. I feel I will gain so much information from my time here and am excited to see what I will be doing over the next 2 weeks.
I started my real world experience by visiting a clients home, located in the outskirts of cardiff. I was taken by one of the designers at Chameleon Interiors called Andrew. He explained to me that the company had been doing work for this client for many years.
I was able to gain a better understanding on how to communicate with clients by observing Andrew. He kept things very professional while at the same time showing an interest in the their personal life. For example, asking how the family members are?
Before today I thought that this would be unprofessional to do, however I now see it as a necessity to gain a good relationship with a client and to understand their needs. Because before designing someones home you need to know who is going to be living there, husband and wife? Are any pets or young children? What is the clients job?… A question which doesn’t seem to be important but knowing if they sleep at day for night shifts will require black out blinds or curtains.
As we went around the clients home I was mentally making a note of the vocabulary Andrew would using and the way he would combine his own professional opinion with the clients personal taste. He would always have a positive attitude towards what the client has already done to their home and their ideas to what they want done. He would then suggest ways on improving what has already been done but it is important to always be positive, even if it isn’t to your taste.
Andrew felt comfortable enough with this particular client to be able to rearrange parts of the furniture as he walked around. However he did advise me that he doesn’t do this with every client, just the ones he has a close relationship with. So it is really important to make the effort to get to know your clients.
As Andrew was giving his suggestions he was also giving a good explanation to why it would work better. Relating it to colour, texture, the lighting, whatever the reason it all made good sense. I realise now how this is important because it help to explain what you are trying to achieve. It also shows that it is not just a personal preference of the designers.
I came away with a far better understanding of how to present myself when meeting a client for the first time and how to communicate in a professional way with them. I also learnt how to combine the opinion of two people, one being a profession and one being personal. And also when it is important to push your professional opinion forward and when to value the clients.
I really valued the experience as it is something that I am hoping to do as a career in the future. It was my first time in a situation like this and I gained so much information from doing so. I look forward to seeing what the next step is regarding the client we saw today.
Hopefully as the next two weeks go on and I visit more clients homes I will gain the confidence to give my personal opinion, as long as it is wanted.