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Trade Day: What is it & Why is it important?  

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a team to create an interior design project. I use the “raising a family” analogy often in my blogs (see February & March 2023 if you haven’t read them already), but it’s a visual that resonates with my clients. 

Interior Designers require a combination of creative and technical expertise (not to mention a dose of psychology and counselling skills). Our job is a complex dance that requires seamless collaboration between our clients, our internal team, our suppliers, our trades, and various other creative & technical professionals. We don’t make the magic happen on our own, but it’s often our job to choreograph the show. In our office we do this by following a step-by-step process as we move from the concept of a project to the implementation.   

One integral part of S3’s step-by-step process that is not typical in the design industry is Trade Day. Let me tell you all about it… 

What is Trade Day?

Trade Day is a designated day (or portion of a day) during the concept phase of our design process when we schedule an on-site visit with our trades, suppliers, and consultants to discuss the various aspects of a project. Members of our team lead each expert through their part of the project with the goal of gaining their insights on the project before we take the design too far down the path. This collaboration fosters problem solving and open communication, allowing different experts to contribute their insights and knowledge to the project. 

Why is it important?

  • Seamless Coordination: Trade Day enables all involved parties to synchronize their efforts, ensuring everyone is on the same page. By discussing the project collectively, our designers can incorporate the specific requirements of each trade, leading to a more cohesive and integrated design. 
  • Material Selection: In the design industry, materials play a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetic and functional aspects of a space. On Trade Day, designers can interact with suppliers and installers to explore a wide array of materials, finishes, and textiles, helping us make informed decisions based on quality, sustainability, and budget considerations. 
  • Problem-Solving: Design projects are bound to encounter challenges and unexpected obstacles. Trade Day serves as an opportunity to identify potential issues early on and brainstorm solutions collectively. This proactive approach reduces the probability of costly delays during construction and ensures a smoother execution of the project. 
  • Innovation & Creativity: Trade Day is an environment where expert minds come together. It encourages innovative ideas to flourish as our designers and trade professionals share their unique perspectives, inspiring fresh approaches to design challenges. 
  • Budget Management: Trade Day allows our team to obtain more accurate quotes from suppliers and contractors. Since the trade or supplier has seen the site conditions, the amount of “guess work” involved is significantly reduced when quoting the job. 
  • Client Awareness & Comfort: If the client is onsite during Trade Day, they can witness the complexity of even the smallest job and gain a better understanding of what it takes for a design project to be implemented. This can bring awareness to why things cost what they cost.  A client’s presence on Trade Day also allows our team to ask clarifying questions that the trades people might bring up. Finally, the client gets to meet the team that will “invade” their space when the implementation phase occurs. Familiarity with our trade partners eases our client’s minds during the stress of renovations. 
  • Building strong relationships: Trade Day provides the perfect platform for our team to connect with trades and suppliers, fostering a network of reliable and trusted partners for the project at hand and potential future projects. 
  • Efficient Time Management: By having all trade professionals present on Trade Day, we can save time that would otherwise be spent coordinating individual meetings. This streamlined approach increases efficiency and allows more time for the actual creative process. 

In the “dance” of design, Trade Day serves as an important cornerstone that supports our creative, technical, and project management process. We have learned many times, that skipping trade day, for any reason, creates issues as we move from design to implementation. In order to conduct a successful Trade Day, we need to know who the trades will be from the beginning of the project. That is why we prefer the Design-Build process (refer to our February 2023 blog if you’d like a refresh on Design Build).  Starting a project with a strong team creates a collaboration that, we feel, is critical to success! 

So, the next time you step into a beautifully designed space, remember that it’s not just the work of the creative design minds but a culmination of the expertise and dedication of an entire team.   

If you’d like to learn more about working with our team, we’d love to connect with you.

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