“Patience is a virtue” is being taken to a whole new level in our lives at this time as we pivot toward the next phase of the global pandemic. Readers of this blog know that I am a proponent of SLOW as a hallmark of quality and beauty and soulfulness. Especially when we are talking about high-quality, handmade, consciously, and thoughtfully sourced materials. And you might guess, as an interior designer, in my industry, I already navigate through the tricky territory of educating clients to calibrate their expectations.
These days, because of the pandemic and its consequences, there is a new normal: Even slower delivery times.
Shelter in place over this past year has created an increased demand for home services, especially interior design. And this awareness of the importance of home is not likely to leave us. Many people are not going back to work in person, even after restrictions lift. We like our homes, we like being at home, and now we want to love them, beautify them. We nourish ourselves by beautifying our spaces.
What has happened globally, is that the supply chain has slowed. This affects the availability and cost of raw materials as well as finished products. Even when materials are locally sourced, the international market has an impact on supply. Labor has been affected also as businesses shuttered their doors, workers fell ill or lost family members. The human family is having this experience of loss and we are seeing how we are all interconnected, even with somebody on the other side of the world, their loss impacts us locally.
With all of the interruptions, delays, and increases in demand in my industry we are seeing items that used to have an 8-10 week lead time is now 20 weeks; 16-week lead times now are going to 24 weeks.
A design project that was supposed to be completed by the end of May, for example, is now slated for July. For me, who already practices underpromising and overdelivering, to have my clients experience this upset has been painful. My only option is to be brave, straightforward, and honest. I am finding my clients are appreciative of this and are understanding overall of the situation.
Also, fortunately, our vendors are getting creative, seeking solutions, and offering alternatives, such as quick-ship items from past-stock inventory, for example. We are all in this together.
This new normal is a reset for everyone, a resetting of our expectations, that we are all going through. We are recalibrating after so many years of being given to instantaneously, being promised we could have all this beauty at the click of a button. In this time, my favorite word has become: Pivot! The challenges we are experiencing have made us more resilient as humans.
As a designer, it is my job to help my clients through the process, to create beauty, and to manage the project, the budget, and the expectations. It is not all bad news! Sometimes I get to deliver the good news, about a solution we’ve discovered, or something coming in on time. And the over-arching good news is that we’ve reset ourselves to be more patient and resilient, as people, and as a community.
This moment in our culture is an opportunity to practice gratitude. To acknowledge that we who get to order new, high-quality, handmade furniture, and who get to hire a designer to help make our homes beautiful, are lucky.
And when we beautify our spaces, when we nourish ourselves with beauty and quality, we feel filled up, safe, and content, we are empowered to give our gifts, be the good people we are, and contribute to those around us.
We are all prone to feeling beleaguered by delays, slowness, the things we cannot control. I am feeling it too. I am excited to move on to a fresh, new chapter. I love momentum. I love to start a project, get it done, and move on!
But, here we all are, practicing our Buddha natures. Engaging with patience, acceptance, and gratitude. If items do come in on time we all celebrate together! If they don’t, that’s all part of the new normal.
One takeaway: Hire a designer you love, because they are going to be in your life for a good long while!
When the workers are gone and you are showering in your brand new shower for the first time, and sleeping in your new primary bedroom, you will know, it will all have been worth it. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as lovely if you hadn’t hired quality professionals to help; and that all good things are truly worth the wait.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Piedmont Post
All photos by Sen Creative