When I show up at a client’s home or office, I usually make a point of showing them the vehicle that I arrived in. I drive what I call my “Mobile Design Center.” It is a 14 foot box truck that carries all of the samples that I might need for the job at hand. It is completely shelved and stocked with fabrics, window covering samples, bedding lines, drapery hardware and other various interior design product samples. I have never counted, but I would guess that I carry something like 10,000 different fabrics with me at all times. As far as window coverings, I carry full lines of many different manufacturers like Hunter Douglas, Graber, Levolor, B & W, Century Blinds and many more.
It is funny how things change over time in a small business. When I first started, I worked out of a Subaru wagon. That did just fine for the few things that I carried. Then I moved on to a cargo minivan, which was much more convenient for the growing samples that I was carrying. Because of the length of product I was installing, sometimes as long as fourteen feet or more, I decided to get a longer van, and moved up to a full-sized cargo van. I liked it! I kept that one, called “Big Bertha” because she was an old gray battle axe with a smoking problem, for a year or so. Later, I got a much newer model because I knew that the full-sized option was working for me.
Eventually, like with a growing family, my product lines, especially the fabrics, were growing exponentially. I therefore started to explore the option of getting one of those big box trucks that you may have used to move at some time in your life. What a great boon that was to my ease of doing business. I bought a used diesel box-truck, and ran that for a couple of years, until I determined that I needed more power, and less hassle with diesel fuel. I bought a new gas powered box-truck, and that is what I serve my clients’ needs out of currently. It’s size allow me to serve clients from not just Reno, Sparks and Lake Tahoe but also the eastern Sierras of California to Gardnerville, and even east to Fernley and Fallon and everywhere in between.
The most common comments I hear from my clients when they see my truck are: “Wow, you are serious about this, aren’t you?” “That thing is a driving billboard!” “I guess I see why you don’t bring in any product until you talk to us first.” (Because I have too much stuff in there to bring in everything.) “What kind of gas mileage do you get?” (Answer, 10 mpg) and “Nice truck.”
I personally feel that the only way to serve my clients needs at Kempler Design is by using a “Mobile Design Center.” I just thought that you might enjoy hearing the story of the evolution mine. Stay tuned in the near future for a video tour of the Command Center itself. By the way, if you ever get to this part of the blog, I would love help in picking a nickname for the truck. If you pick a name that I use, I will provide you with a very nice gift in thanks and appreciation.