Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Fan Deck for $165?

I just read a press release/article in the paper this morning about Pantone entering into the retail paint market.

They are producing a paint line with Fine Paints of Europe. The fan deck alone sells for $165. Wow. Makes the $30 C2 Paint deck a bargain!

Are the colors samples made from real paint, like C2's? Hmmm...

Friday, September 29, 2006

One More Thing...

Okay, it's after 11 and I need to get to bed - but - if you are in the market for a career change, we have openings at both stores!

There is a direct correlation between how well the economy is doing and how short our staffing levels are. The better things are the more difficult it is to find staff!

From talking with some of my East Coast friends, things are a bit soft over there. But here in Seattle, it's still popping. We are coming off one of our best seasons on record - and we did it with too few people. As a business owner, one is always interested in keeping costs down (really I do enjoy a profit!), but when we are missing 2 bodies in each store, it gets stressful for everyone.

So, I invite you to send your resume in! It's actually a very interesting environment, always dealing with different situations and coming up with unique solutions. It's messy. You can be creative. It's retail with and edge.

True Confessions

Is it okay to dislike a paint system that tries really hard and touts itself as being full of beautiful colors? Maybe "disliking completely" is a bit strong, but a lot about this color system really bugs me - like the colors. It's not a brand I carry in my store, but customers have certainly asked for it.

The colors are all dull! They are not as sophisticated as they are talked up to be. It looks as if too much black is used to tone down the colors - and while this makes for a subtle-hued palette, it ends up looking a bit dead on the wall.

I admire the marketing, though! This brand has certainly hit upon some hot buttons in consumers minds, but again, the colors don't hit the mark enough. Listen to me, Miss Picky-Picky-Picky.

In my travels, I have had to do more re-dos from this palette than any other. Makes me sad because I think the right concept is there, just not the right colorants (maybe that's why the colors are a bit too heavy looking).

It's an odd experience to be called in for a re-do. Color tastes and trends change over time, so it makes sense to re-visit a color scheme after a number of years (I have redone my old work for clients who are ready for a change), yet redoing a fresh scheme feels a bit like cheating on your boyfriend. This town is small enough to know the designer who's work your are erasing.

Makes me wonder how many of my schemes have been redone!

Rearranging Furniture

I spent the day at home yesterday with my ill 9-year old. I tend to I look at these days as unplanned opportunities to get things done around the house that I never seem to get around to otherwise. Typical stuff like sorting piles of outdated magazines and junk mail, really washing the hardwood floors (not just a quickie Swiffer treatment), and cleaning out closets.

Of course, it never works out that way.

Instead I played with my new MP3 player (Wow, it IS really cool!) and watched a movie with my son. I did get the floors swept, and then the living furniture started calling out to me. It's been over 3 years since we rearranged things - that's like 15 Designer Years - plus when you rearrange, you can avoid all those other pressing tasks like cleaning!

Now if I could just settle on a wall color...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Attention to Details

I was waiting for my lunch date today, when I noticed a fellow sweeping up small leaves and petals that had fallen from the flower baskets that adorn almost every lamppost at the University Village (an outdoor shopping center).

As a shopper, I might not consciously notice that the ground has leaves... But I am always struck by my overall impression of the place. It's this attention to details that makes it special. Attention carried out to the smallest leaf that may fall to the ground.

I think the same analogy can be applied to design. Good design can be imitated or copied, but unless the details are tended to, it won't stand up against the real thing. You may not know all the reasons WHY it's good, but you can recognize it when its missing.

This is not to say that good design needs to be expensive. It does not. It's just all in the details.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chatting with the Girls

I just came back from an interesting lunch with two women who have decided that they both had something unique to share. So they started their own radio show focusing on the things they'd like to learn about.

It's called Chat with Women, it's on KKNW 1150am. They now broadcast 3 mornings a week. Wow. How cool is that? You can even listen to them off their website, so now you can "pop" in for a chat anytime.

Connecting with them reminds me that I still feel like I have a lot to say and maybe it's time to get back to finding a radio home (or TV!). I know Christian and I can do more with our combined talents. Yup.

Both Pam and Rochelle have business backgrounds, and I think these skills will come in to play and they grow and expand their show. They have the passion and the drive to make something of this! Keep your eyes on them!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Elmer Fudd

Okay. Go to Google homepage. At the side of the Google search bar, click on "Preferences". Once there, scroll up one spot from "English" as the language preference, and click on "Elmer Fudd". Click "Save".

Did you do it? (Go ahead, do it now!)

Isn't that hilarious? Who knew?

I've snuck around to a few computers here at work, and changed their language preference... I wonder how long it will take people to notice???

Evolution of a Concept

Christian and I mock-arranged our table this morning. It's been a good challenge to try and create a tablescape from thrift stores - adds an interesting twist to the mix.

While officially titled "Goodwill Hunting", we are now subtitling it "Camelot for Not-a-Lot". Our wedding brunch theme is now specifically for Jackie O. And John Kennedy. We are placing vintage wedding pictures of them at each place setting. Looks neat.

Pearls dripping from champagne glasses. Doves on the centerpiece. The more embellishment, the better! More is more in this case.

The centerpiece was the real challenge. Once we amassed our silver treasures, we realized we didn't have a strong enough focal point. We tried Christian's dressmaker's torso - adding a tux jacket and wedding accessories. Ended up looking like a Ralph Lauren store display.

Knowing we needed height, we next tried a cage-like basket that is a familiar sight in paint stores. It's a jumble basket, and usually holds things like sponges or cheapie roller covers. We inverted it, and it looked a bit like a very tall bird cage. Nope. Decided the association of CAGE and MARRIAGE didn't create a positive image.

Finally, we took our tasty silver martini pitcher, filled it with sand and stuck a bunch of curly branches in it. While we won't win the prize for most innovative, it looks waaaaay better. I'm going to spray them with sparkly iridescent paint (remember, more is more!), and we're going to have the doves perched on the branches with beribboned wedding rings hanging like ornaments.

This has been a fun project. It will be interesting to tally up all our receipts to see what we really spent... My guess is that we are under $300, including the objects we bought but DIDN'T use.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Goodwill Hunting

Christian is the only person I know who can shop ANYWHERE with style - even Goodwill.

We are participating in a fundraiser for Overlake Hospital where we are designing a table for 8. We decided that all our supplies needed to come from thrift stores... We wanted to see what we could find to design a high-end looking table.

Find we did. Look at that cart FILLED with silverplate things. We found tablecloths, silver, dishes, glassware, and decor items galore...

We are getting together on Thursday morning to pull the whole tablescheme together. Our Theme is "Wedding Brunch" - thus the silver. I call it instant family history, and all for under $200 bucks.

Business Ethics


I just learned about a business that is run by this woman whose former business took Daly's for $5,000. It was for a marketing opportunity at a trade show that didn't pan out, because the trade show was cancelled. But not our checks!

Her company cashed the checks and never returned the money to Daly's. They never gave the funds to the cancelled show, they just kept the cash. And we even paid early... grr...

That kind of unethical behavior just burns me. We even agreed to a pay-back plan, etc. Nada. Her husband PROMISED he'd pay us back. Riiiiight.

The argument can be made that $5,000 is just not enough money to get in a knot over, but the fact is that we aren't the only ones who have gotten burned. What about those folks who find that $5,000 is VERY important to their livelihood? It's not a one-time instance, it's a pattern. They owed my friend over $10,000. That's an attention-getting number.

So... now she has a retail/decorating store? Of course it's all the way across the country, but hey, I've never let little details like THAT get in my way before! Maybe it's worth a plane ticket to go pay her a little visit... What have I got to lose?

Friday, September 01, 2006


I received TWO compliments from Vic Babel in one conversation! This is an event of note... even he felt weird about it.

Check out his business, Babels Paint & Decorating.