COM. Customer’s Own Material. At the best-made upholstery end, it’s commonplace to put a preferred fabric onto a selected sofa frame – even if it means the fabric comes from a different manufacturer altogether. Customer’s Own Material is the ultimate flexibility in the custom world. The world where you can have whatever you want. COM is a time saver, ending the futile search for the right fabric from a manufacturer’s too limited fabric selection wall. Sometimes the best that wall yields is a “not quite right” option. COM ends that. It’s your BFF.
Except for the cost.
COM always comes at a premium cost because it’s the far bigger pain in the neck at the logistical end. After all, if you are a sofa manufacturer, you already have your own line of selected fabrics, approved and known by your entire fabrication team. Your team has production in that in-house fabric down to a silky smooth science.
Enter the COM fabric. Extra steps abound. Somebody – like your designer – has to purchase the fabric on your behalf and get it cut, wrapped and shipped to the upholstery manufacturer, resulting in an additional paper trail of P/O’s and acknowledgements. The upholstery manufacturer has to issue paperwork acknowledging receipt, then has to roll out the fabric, check it for imperfections and for proper yardage against the specific sofa patterns (dress patterns for dresses, upholstery patterns for upholstery). When there’s a problem – and yes, it happens, the two manufacturers start talking about whose fault it is. Then somebody has to agree to take responsibility for the problem, somebody has to take a fabric back, somebody has to pay for the return shipping and somebody has to have a replacement fabric sent.
This is all time and cost, and in the manufacturing world, more time and more cost equals more cost to you, the consumer.
Many upholstery lines price out a COM jobs at a “mid grade fabric price” PLUS the cost of your COM yardage, plus the cost of shipping your fabric. If a designer is involved, she may be charging you for her time spent managing this circus.
I have a client who fell in love with 2 Kravet sofas in a Kravet fabric, but hated the cost. We went elsewhere and found frames she liked just about as much. The alternative sofas were of a slightly lower quality and priced out at about half of the Kravet sofas, but my client disliked the available fabrics, so she asked about COM’ing the preferred fabric. But, by the time she purchased 40+ yards of the $100/yard Kravet fabric, paid for the shipping to transport 70 lbs of fabric to the sofa manufacturer and paid the COM upcharge from the sofa manufacturer….you guessed it. The costs crept up to and beyond the original Kravet sofa cost.
COM is a double edged sword. You know all those photos you’re loving on HOUZZ or your favorite design magazines and blogs? Lots of COM’ing happening in those hills. Just be advised: You can have whatever you want in design. But it’ll cost you.
Have you ever had a COM experience and if so – how was it?
Next week: Finding an Organized Interior Designer…
About Donna Hoffman, The Interior Design Advocate™
Donna is a former top QVC Show Host and now one of the country’s foremost consumer advocates in interior design in addition to being an award winning designer herself. “I help people avoid wasting big dollars and unnecessary frustration when furnishing and decorating their home by offering clear strategies for finding the right products, professionals, contractors and services.” The results are that people get what they want, spend smart, eliminate the stress and get that beautiful home of their dreams. Known as The Interior Design Advocate™, Donna is here as your advocate, making sure you get wise in design so you can get what you want.