Why You Should Want to Have Dinner with Your Clients- and Other Lessons I’ve Learned as a Designer / Architectural Digest March 2018

Fisher Weisman’s Jeffry Weisman shares the wisdom he’s learned.

This is part of AD PRO’s Designer Takeover, where working designers are contributing stories to the site. Here, Fisher Weisman’s Jeffry Weisman recalls the most important lessons he’s learned on his path to becoming a successful designer.

When I was 16, my best girlfriend and I went to her house one evening where we found her mother, a decorator, sitting in her living room. She asked me to please get a chair out of her car and bring it in the house. As I reentered, she said, “I love the way you carry that chair. Do you want a job?” The next thing I knew I was going with her to client meetings, showrooms, and job sites. And I was in love. Though I’ve loved design ever since, there have been many important (and sometimes difficult) lessons along the way. Here, the most important ones.

  1. Don’t present any options you don’t want the client to choose. That seems obvious, but when I was young, I thought having things to talk them out of would make steering them to my preferred options easier. But it doesn’t.
  2. Be fully prepared. The client wants your expertise and wants to be guided to an amazing solution. Any uncertainty on your part creates doubt on the part of your client, and that can sabotage a project. Know what you’re talking about, know what you want the client to do, and proceed bravely—that way, you are always operating from a place of confidence.
  3. If you make a mistake, own it immediately. Never hedge.
  4. On the other hand, if it’s not your fault, don’t take the blame!
  5. Only work with clients you’d like to have to your house for dinner. If you can’t be cozy on that level, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting through the years of designing a house for them.

Text by Jeffry Weisman   /   Photography Courtesy of Fisher Weisman

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