I know, it sounds impossible.
Before you think I am crazy, just make me clarify a thing!
It was not an international crisis, but a problem related to the fact that a Minister of a Government of a country I work in, chose a very bad supplier. (Unfortunately, due to privacy reasons, I cannot tell you what country is about).
Apart from that, the story I am going to tell you is totally true (and provable).
A trusty architect, who I am going to name Abdul, contacted me to ask me about some offers related to one of the high-range Italian furniture brands that I represent.
His client, who I am going to name Fakhir, is a very influential person: he is a Minister of the Government of his country.
Minister Fakhir hired Abdul for furnishing one of his villas.
After some months of work, we came to a final product list.
However, to my great amazement, Minister Fakhir required that the goods were purchased and managed by another person in Italy.
Some days later, an Italian travel agency (!) called and asked me to send them the goods of the supplier that I represent as they were commissioned to ship and install the goods.
I was totally appalled and I told them that the client matters, and I asked them if they had a rough idea of how they would have managed the international shipment and the installation of Minister Fakhir’s luxury goods.
The answer of the travel agency was scornful: “mind your business, we know how to work”.
Some months later, I got a phone call.
It was Abdul who was very worried and explained me that the project was about to fall through because the travel agency did something wrong in the installation and that there were some faulty fabrics and broken parts.
Moreover, the worst thing is that the agency did not want to take any responsibility.
Who would have thought it!
Soon after that, I got a phone call from the agency that accused me of having sent them the faulty goods.
Obviously, I did not: as always, I had taken some pictures of the goods before and during the packaging and also during the loading. The products left in a perfect condition.
Therefore, I explained them that as they were responsible of the shipment issue and as they rejected to be helped, I was not able (and I did not want) to help them.
The agency disappeared and I did not hear anything more from them.
I met Abdul some months later. He was visibly worried and he told me that there was not any step forward and that he had no idea of how fixing the problem: I offered to give a hand.
The day after Minister Fakhir gave me a call personally and asked me to fix the problem. Then he invited me to his house for checking the situation.
The situation there was a real disaster: I found that the parts had been damaged because of an unskilled installation.
Moreover, I realized that the fabrics that should be faulty, actually, they were not: on the contrary, they were decorated with very particular and precious details that gave (intentionally) an irregular frame to the fabrics.
So, Minister Fakhir asked me if I could fix the problem, as he did not want to have anything to do with the agency.
Once I was back in Italy, I had to deal with an annoying situation:
- The contact person of the supply company did not want to shoulder all the problems that he did not cause.
- The agency that had messed up the shipment and the installation turned a deaf ear.
So, I decided to take the lead on this issue and to go and talk directly with the owner of the supply company to explain the situation.
After a long negotiation, the supply company accepted to send new fabrics and the spare parts to Minister Fakhir, who had only to bear the cost of shipping of the new goods and the cost of the return of the faulty ones.
However, the installation issue remains: sending a team of experts from Italy would have increased the expenses of a project that already had many parts to replace.
So, I contacted some friends of mine who could manage the installation for free for the Minister who was grateful to me and who promised to help me in the future.
One year later, I am carrying out one of the biggest interior-design project I have ever done: the client contacted me because Minister Fakhir recommended me, as he promised.
What did I learn from this story? Two things:
- Never underestimate arrogant and incompetent “improvised” people who work in the field of the Italian luxury interiors.
- Among respectable people, a promise is a debt.
If you are experiencing a difficult situation related to a high-range project of interior design, please tell me about that by replying to this email: if there is a solution, we will find that for sure.
Talk to you soon!