I want you to know how much I respect and appreciate your work. Your window designs are magnificent, so unusual and creative. They challenge my creative ability and keep me constantly stimulated. Your jobs are the reason I enjoy what I do so much.
It is a great compliment to me that you trust me with your work. Not only is your fabric very expensive, which sometimes frightens me as I cut into it, but some of your ideas are extremely unique requiring much experience and thought to execute. This says to me that you recognize that I have special abilities and skills many others do not have.
Many times you will bring a design to me before presenting it to your customer not only to get an estimate, but to determine the feasibility of creating the treatment. You trust not only my fabrication ability, but my knowledge of what can and cannot be done with specific fabrics. Thank you for showing me this respect.
Offering you the most professional custom fabrications to present to your clients is my most important job as a fabricator. I take my work seriously. That is why I invest in the latest equipment and tools available. That is why I keep myself educated by subscribing to trade magazines and attending shows. Finding the time and the money to keep up with all this is quite a challenge, but your appreciation and my knowledge that your customer will be more than satisfied is worth it. And, by the way, thanks for taking the time to call me after installations to tell me how beautiful the treatments were or how much the customer loved them. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
You also are very understanding and accepting of my Terms and Conditions for running my business. A part of those terms is charges I place on my time to offer certain services. You respect that and recognize that my time is valuable and that I must charge for it. Other things, such as using my work order forms, will only make my business that much more efficient and enable me to produce your jobs faster with minimal mistakes and you appreciate that.
What really thrills me is when your work is in a decorator show house or is published in national magazines, and you go through the extra effort to ensure my company is mentioned as the workroom. That really makes me feel special because I know magazines are notorious for leaving out and not recognizing the workroom that worked so hard to create the beautiful treatments. Often, magazines don't realize the treatments couldn't be done without the fabricator. It feels so good to be able to see my name in a national magazine -- and looks good in my portfolio, too.
You don't resent the extra business this type of notoriety might generate for me, because you understand I am a legitimate professional business and need customers to survive. If I don't have enough designers to sew for, I can't stay in business. You also understand the fact that I must raise my prices on a regular basis to keep up with the cost of living and to ensure I make an acceptable profit. You realize that while you have fabric, rods, my labor and many things to sell to create your income, I have only my labor. You also realize that the amount of work I can produce is limited. You show your respect for me by wanting me to be successful.
You let me know in many ways that you know your designs could not happen without my fabrication abilities and knowledge. It is very obvious that you consider us a team of which I am very proud to be a member.
Thank you for your business. Thank you for your understanding, respect and appreciation. Thank you for being you.
Note to Workrooms
Do you have clients like this? Or maybe, partly like this? Have you thanked them recently? On the other hand, maybe you would like them to be more like this. You know the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Being kind and respectful and appreciative of others may not make them the perfect person you want, but it will help.
Too often we get so caught up in the stresses and crises of daily living that we forget to show appreciation. We and our clients are guilty of this. If you take time to spread a little sunshine, it is human nature to reflect it back. Then we all would feel better about ourselves and each other.
P.S. To all my former clients whom I didn't thank often enough at the time, a very big heartfelt thank you!
Kitty Stein is a 20-year veteran of the drapery workroom field, having owned and operated her own business for 16 years and having taught classes on window treatment construction. Until 1990, Stein and a partner owned a workroom with nine employees. She since has opened her own smaller workroom, Workroom Concepts, that has just one employee. She also does workroom consulting, seminar speaking and is the author of Order in the Workroom available through Draperies & Window Coverings.