LDF 2013 Lecture Series – Working effectively with Ultra High Net Income Clients


This is the second instalment of my London Design Festival lecture series. Today I wanted to share the notes from a talk that I attended at Decorex by Sara Cosgrove. Sara heads the Interior Design department (called The Studio) at the world renowned department store Harrods. The talk focused on how to work effectively with ultra high income clients.

Being a novice and aspiring Interior Designer, I am interested in how to work effectively with any client (and can only hope that one day I’ll work with a client with a big budget) however I found the talk extremely interesting and a lot of the points made could be adapted to anyone in any industry. Here are some notes…


  • An ultra high net income is defined as £60 or $100 million in net assets
  • London properties have the 3rd highest cost per square foot in the world averaging £3,500
  • London is experiencing a spending spree where foreign investors from Russia, China, Emirates & India are buying prime real estate


  • Are extremely well educated, and not just academically. They travel constantly and are exposed to great design through the hotels they stay in, the restaurants they eat in and the places they visit.
  • They have design at their fingertips. Information is easily accessible via google and the internet, and visual inspiration is readily available through sites like Pinterest.


  • You are the expert in your area and need to ensure that your clients are confident of your design and technical ability. Sell yourself through examples of previous work and provide ideas during the initial meeting.
  • The client is king so always try to accommodate when you can. When you have to say no, always provide an alternate solution to the problem.
  • Make the client feel special with the small details. For example, when a client visits the office all their needs are accommodated for ie some clients prefer water at room temperature rather than cold, so both are provided. When they leave a meeting, they always have a package of materials and information to take with them.
  • Understand any cultural nuances, it doesn’t take any extra effort to know that you use both hands to accept a business card from Japanese clients.
  • Be service driven, push yourself to be there with the client for the entire journey. People remember great experiences.


The rest of the talk then focused on branding as an Interior Designer. I was particularly intrigued with the importance of social media and how sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and blogs where becoming the norm for ways that Interior Designers are establishing a presence on the internet.

Regardless of whether your clients are high income earners or not, Sara makes a good point about the effect the internet has had to the industry. Where it used to take months, sometimes years for an interior to be publicised and seen by the public, it is now common for details of a project to be available before it’s finished. It’s normal for images of furniture planned for a scheme to be up on instagram while still in the shop. This change in pace has significantly impacted the industry and the way designers work today.

What are you thoughts? Do you agree that the design industry has changed significantly? How has it affected you? Have a lovely day and I’ll be back later in the week. xD

Image Source:  thestudioatharrods.com


6 responses to “LDF 2013 Lecture Series – Working effectively with Ultra High Net Income Clients

  • nylonliving

    Wow! That was really interesting Doris! I never really knew what constituted ultra high net worth versus the merely rich.

  • Lauren Kellim

    Great article! It is interesting how social media has changed the dynamics of the design world. I will never forget something that Holly Becker said in one of her courses… “If you don’t have a web presence, you don’t exist.” Wow, has this really become reality! Social media is a necessary evil. 🙂 See you sunday!

  • tina @ colourliving

    Well, I’m a Home Finder amongst other things and well aware of the foreign investment in the London property market.

    Personally, I don’t strive to cater for this market as it holds no interest for me. The demands are very high and you’re mostly treated like a supplier or even servant. Happy for other people to service this lot.

    Glad you enjoyed the talk and got something out of it xx

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