Looking Back- The Design Business in 2023

It's the time of year when we review where we've been and where we going in our businesses. And this year I think it's a good idea to take a look at the big picture as we think about what we want to set for our own personal and company goals. This week, I'm going to talk about how things went in the interior design business as a whole in 2023. And next week, I'll pull out the crystal ball and see if we can make some predictions on where our industry is headed for 2024! So let's review the challenges and bright spots we had this year...


Procurement. The supply chain issues that started during the pandemic have eased, but there were still plenty of challenges in 2023. It's like procurement has become a full-time job, and not a FUN one! Stock seems to drop without much notice and the quality control issues have really become a problem for many companies. Having to re-order doesn't exactly help when you've waited forever for furniture to arrive in the first place! This year it was more critical than ever to have vendors you trust - and reps that will work with you. 

Hiring. Raise your hand if you tried to find help this year. ACK. I saw hundreds and hundreds of "we're hiring" posts on social and on Business of Home. It has been really hard to find help, and that isn't going to ease in 2024. It's a good time to think about what you can outsource to virtual assistants or contractors! 


Social Media. What the heck is going on with algorithms?!? NO ONE knows. Just when we thought we had it all worked out, engagem ent dropped, followers don't see your posts, and it's like you started all over again. And again. And again. This year just proved the point that you can't rely on just ONE way of marketing your business. And that's only going to continue. The social media platforms "own" your followers - you don't. So think about that for 2024!

Slowdown. At the very end of this year, many designers have seen a sharp slowdown. That's mostly due to the housing market and those very high interest rates. People are worried about the economy, even with good jobs numbers coming in. And inflation is still eating into budgets. Remember that if you've had a decrease in business, NOW is the time to market your services!

Bright Spots

Busy, Busy. Whew, we were BUSY! Most designers have had crazy schedules and lots of work since the pandemic. Now we all know that can't last forever - everything is cyclical. But hopefully you made hay while the sun was shining, as the old saying goes! And banking that cash flow for a rainy day is ALWAYS a good idea!

Changing Views. One thing that has happened this year is that people are definitely more in tune with what interior design is all about. And no the HGTV version, either! Part of that has been the fact that so many people have wanted to make their homes into welcoming sanctuaries, so it's helped to have our profession seen as a PROFESSION! Of course not everyone gets it, but I think things are definitely turning around on why it's important to hire a designer.

Investment Opportunities. And SO many more people see the importance of investing in home improvements and upgrades! Whether it's making their home into a forever home, or if they want to see a good ROI when they sell, MANY more consumers get that investing in their properties is KEY.

Use this knowledge to start thinking about 2024! And be sure to join me here next week as we get out our crystal ball for what the new year might bring. While we're talking about these challenges and opportunities, be sure to download my Guide to Handling the Highs and Lows of the Design Business!

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