Are You a Gucci or a Macy’s?

A designer recently asked me if driving a Toyota Camry was hurting her ability to sell high end jobs and preventing her from moving her business up into more high end clients. Should she splurge and buy a BMW?

In some communities and some client markets it is necessary to look that good. More importantly, if you feel awkward or embarrassed about the car that you drive, then it is likely you appear to your client to be less than confident. Lack of confidence will cause you to be unsuccessful when presenting high end concepts and products. Buying an expensive car will make you look good but will not solve your confidence problem.

The trick is, to fully adapt and believe in “the Mindset of a Million Dollar Designer” so that you act daily with the confidence and make decisions in the way that a designer that has “arrived” would do. In that case then you do not need a BMW (but you certainly could afford it).

Unfortunately most designers don’t “get it” that easily, it takes a bit more work. Most of us have family money histories that were not filled with luxury cars, expensive furniture and European vacations. This can make it hard to grasp the concept, hold on to the idea and feel of a Million Dollar Mindset. Sometimes stepping “big” into something that you have never done or experienced before, like buying a luxury car, committing to a mentoring program or developing your branding and marketing will propel you into the business mindset that you are looking for.

But you don’t have to start there… You can begin to master your “inner money gremlins,” with these three tips:

Tip #1 - Begin here, consider that your BRAND is reflected in the way that you present yourself to your potential client. They may or may not take notice of your car, it is outside. A big first statement that you clearly make about your design aesthetic is with your handbag. You walk into the clients house, you introduce yourself and set your bag down on the table or counter. This handbag makes your first very definite and very bold statement about your personal design aesthetic and style. Think about this; make sure that this bag says exactly what your personal “brand” is about. Are you a Gucci or are you a Macy?

Tip #2 - Experience what luxury feels like in your own life. This weekend make a date with yourself to put some luxury next to your skin and find out how good it really feels. Go for a test drive in a new high end car and feel the leather of the seats, experience the precision feel of the engineering, experience the luxury of quiet. Next visit a high end clothing store and try on a couple of very expensive, fabulous outfits. Feel the quality of the fabric, look at the exquisite detail of the construction and see the difference quality tailoring makes. I want you to understand on a personal level, the pleasure that your client receives when they sit in that gorgeous, beautiful and expensive furniture that was so carefully placed in their home. You can give your clients this pleasure.

Tip #3 - Get in touch with your own personal family money history stories. Very often the money values we were taught as children (however loving and well intentioned) are in direct conflict with our ability to present and sell those high end concepts and products so dear to our chosen profession. You need to get in touch with these childhood messages to see if they make sense in your design business world today. These internal messages can be reset and restated so that they support your personal desire to move into a more upscale market, this eliminating the self sabotaging behaviors and freeing your path to success.

Terri Taylor, IDS Professional, ASID, IIDA, IFDA, is President and Creative Director of Taylor Design Group and Design Biz Blueprint. She is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer at design conferences and interior design colleges throughout the country. She speaks on a number of topics related to the business of interior design, including: business practices, sales, marketing, motivation, leadership, success and personal growth.

Ms. Taylor is nationally known as an interior design business expert and coach who teaches and mentors interior designers to help them create successful design businesses.



  1. I could once identify with the designer considering buying the BMW to improve her image. I lacked confidence in my ability to work with other designers when I first started out- I just didn't think I had anything to bring to the table (pun intended). We were working on an event space and I wound up being the one to make a great find with these wonderful bentwood chairs that the client absolutely loved. A new BMW is expensive, but nothing costs you more than a lack of confidence!


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