What drove you to get into the design trade?
I had a business degree from UGA and then began a MFA program at GSU in Interior Design.
I was always interested in art and design, but I felt that I needed a practical business background in finance, accounting and computers first. After completing two years of coursework in design, I realized that I was ready to get out and apply some of that knowledge. I then worked with a large architectural firm, which specialized in contract design. There, I met a few vendors’ reps and it all fell into place, knowing that I wanted to get into the business of design.
You managed the business from 1991-1999 before purchasing it in 1999. What led to this decision, and how have things changed since?
While managing the business, the former owner mentored me and allowed me to take on more responsibilities that are usually associated with a proprietor rather than a manager. I learned about the cash flow, tax planning, purchasing, etc. This is where my business degree really came into play. When the owner was ready to take a very early retirement, I was able to jump in full force.
As far as changes, I would say that the designers and their clients are now more aware of products thanks to the wide variety of design magazines, TV shows and the Internet. They have more of an appreciation for outdoor spaces, and are excited to be involved in the planning process.
What is your consulting process like when working with a designer?
My first question to the designer is “What is the client’s lead time.” Once this is established, we can work together in selecting items that will be available in that client’s time frame.
I will then work with the designer to educate him/her as to the different types of materials available (teak, wicker, metals, painted woods, or synthetic wicker). I also like to let them know the properties of these materials, and inform them of the long-term care involved – so they can in turn educate the client.
I will then check to see what styles the designer has in mind, and suggest several alternatives at different pricing points. An important step is to show the designer the value of a piece relating to the price. No one wants to make a purchase based solely on price, if the quality is not there. We will also look at finishes, and then the real fun starts with the fabric. There are so many choices now in outdoor fabrics. Colors, textures, patterns – there is something for everyone!
What makes you better than the competition?
I feel that what we do at Logan Gardens is in partnership with the designer. We are their source for products as well as information for all things relating to the outdoor room. Due to our individual time in the design industry, as well as our own personal passions, we can work with the designer at achieving the best outcome for their client’s projects. We are also here to support the sale during the production, shipping, and long after the installation of the project. We are here for the long term, passionate about what we do, and the people we work with. It’s all about continued relationships.
What are some tips for designers when making outdoor furniture and accessory selections?
Consider how the space will be used, and by whom. For instance, is the space to be primarily used for dining or lounging? Will the space be used by adults, teens or young children? Also, it is very important to consider scale, style and the color of the interior space from which the outdoor area is viewed. The outdoor room should be an extension of the interior, to create a seamless flow between inside and out.
What is your favorite “home makeover” show? Why?
I would have to say without hesitation, “Flipping Out” on Bravo. Who doesn’t like a little drama mixed in with design? Keeps you on your toes.