How to commission a design

A commissioned piece of furniture can be a great solution if you have unique requirements, want something special or you haven’t found that piece you’re looking for.

In 2024 we have scheduled time for six commissions for private clients. We limit this as our focus is on fulfilling orders from our existing product line.

We have no hard limit for trade clients but our capacity depends on existing orders — both commissions and fulfilling orders from our product line.

Below is a guide to make the process and simple and straightforward as possible.

The commission process

How it begins

The process begins with your needs. To start the process we request a brief email outlining what you’d like, size, materials, style, budget and timeline. An email like this is enough to get the process started:

Hi,

I’d like to request a commission if you have availability. I am after a dining table large enough to seat eight people. I am undecided on timber but would prefer something dark like Walnut. I’d be happy with something like the Mikal Dining Table. I’m looking at something around $15,000 ideally in about three months.

Cheers,

Your name

Add your own flavour but an email like that is all we need to get started.

Our response

If it looks like the request is a good fit we’ll organise a phone call to talk through the details. This is usually about 15-30 minutes. If we both want to go ahead then you’’ll receive a short questionnaire which will from the basis of the design brief. If we still want to go ahead then we move into the design phase.

We might not think it’s a good fit based on: what you’re after, the style, budget or timeline.

Examples:

  • if you want a table with a steel base we can’t manufacture that as we’re not set up to do metalwork
  • if you want something ornate or in a style that isn’t a good fit for us
  • the budget is too low
  • the timeframe is too soon (or too far away).

It’s best if we state this up front so you can make a decision about whether you think we’ll be a good fit or not.

Design

The design phase depends on the requirements of a project. Typically we’ll present three ideas that meet the brief. Digital and/or physical models may be necessary if there are still questions to be resolved. When a design is settled on the remainder of the project is specified including budget and timelines.

If the design process doesn’t result in an agreed design the commission can be terminated by either party.

There is a fee for the design fee which is agreed up front and is payable before work begins.

Manufacture

Once the design, specifications, budget and timeline is agreed on the manufacture is scheduled to meet the agreed delivery date.

Questions about commissions

Can you make an existing design?

No. We only make our own designs. Designing the piece is critical to make sure the piece  will last and meets the requirements of our lifetime guarantee.

Who owns the design?

All designs remain the intellectual property of the designer. This includes all designs presented in the design phase regardless of whether they are made or not.

Will other people be able request the same piece?

Some commissions will become part of our product line. In many cases commissions will be featured in print, social media and on our website which may lead to requests for them to be made. We may decide to produce more. If you’d prefer an exclusive piece this can be accommodated for an agreed fee.

When do I make payment?

The design fee is required to commence the design phase. If we agree to proceed to manufacture we will send an invoice for 50% of this phase. A progress payment of 25% is required at the halfway point and the final 25% on completion and before shipment.

Get in touch

If that sounds good and you’d like to take the first step, the best thing to do is send a quick email like the one above. We’ll be back in touch within a few days.

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