You are now at the point where you can begin to apply for industry discounts. You will also be eligible to attend trade shows, and trade discount programs come in many forms, from branded stores to multi-line showrooms. Some companies are open only to the trade, while others offer retail options and welcome the public. These establishments may have virtual marketplaces, brick-and-mortar, or both, and they all serve a purpose in the industry.
Most companies streamline the process of applying for their professional programs for those with the proper credentials. Most will have a link to their trade portal at the bottom of their website menu that walks you through the process. Acceptance is sometimes instant, but in other instances, it requires a review process that might take up to a week or necessitate a quick phone call from a representative.
Opening these accounts might seem premature or slightly intimidating if you don’t yet have clients. Avoid that mindset. Instead, consider this process the next step of your new life as a designer. Even if you’re currently only utilizing these trade programs to begin to assemble your sample library or source materials for your school projects, you are building relationships with vendors.
These connections will last your entire career. In addition, you are strengthening your communication skills as a working professional. These exercises are invaluable! When you get those first paid projects, you’ll be ready for success with a whole arsenal of resources to draw from.