Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daly's SeaFin Rocks - again!

I just Googled Daly's SeaFin and found a neat little chat about SeaFin on the Continuous Wave website, a site for avid boat owners.

The concerns: Can you use SeaFin on brightwork in high sun areas like Florida (answer: yes) - and tips for application.


How in the World?

I just got news from Michelle at Colori-Chicago that they are expecting 175 people to the Colori Me Red party on Thursday. How will everyone all fit????

Should be a blast.

New Blog

Christian and I are trying our hands at sharing a blog. We hope you'll visit it every now and then!

Do I Feel Corrected?

Okay - Just yesterday I was complaining about the orange-based red clothing options for women. Or lack of options, as the case may be.

Last night, I was watching a recap if the SAG Awards on E! (see how deep my life is?), and many of the red gowns were in that same red!

So, should I feel corrected? Am I that out of touch?

Actually, I love the earthy oranges, the flame colors, salmons and other orange textiles. It's just that damn tomato-red for women that I don't like. So there!

By the way, I LOVED Cate Blanchett's golden gown and gold-trimmed shoes. TASTY!

Remember the 80's and early 90's colors? Peacock Blue, Fuscia Pink, Drop Dead Red - basically any color that was bright and loud. I remember silk was a big trend with huge shoulder pads and peplum skirts.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Personalized Service

Yesterday I ventured out into territory unknown - I went to Bellevue Square with the explicit intent of spending money on clothes.

More importantly, I had a girlfriend with me for the event (it IS an event when the last time I was in that mall was literally years ago!).

What was interesting about this was the variety of encounters we had with sales staff.

We popped into a boutique that neither of us had visited before... not bad stuff (pricey), okay service, but no barn-burner. Then off to buy a piece of chocolate for fortification (I prefer dark chocolate caramels, by the way).

We had better acquisition luck at Ann Taylor Loft. Attention from the saleswoman was again, fine, but no ace-in-the-hole. Actually, the best service we got was at Nordstrom Cafe.

Even though we ordered at the counter and sat ourselves down, the busboys and waiter-types were courteous and inquired about our needs. Got a chocolate with a copy of our receipt at the end... nice touch! They were just plain nice without being annoyingly "nice". We actually talked about it, it was that noticeable.

Had GREAT experience at the Bare Escentuals cosmetic store. Very helpful staff, NO PRESSURE. Interestingly, my girlfriend needed to sign up for a makeup consultation (we were in the impulse mood, you understand), so we had to come back at a scheduled time. But it was handled in such a way that we didn't feel inconvenienced. I think it's all about approach. It didn't hinge on snob appeal. That's the key. Nordstrom cafe had same quality.

Off to Macy's for the final leg of the mall crawl. Anonymous city! We were wandering around for quite some time and not once did anyone inquire if we needed help (I needed something red for the Red Party at Colori-Chicago on Thursday). Gick.

Speaking of RED - what is it with all this ugly tomatoy-red fabric out there? Women prefer blue-based reds and I was surprised there wasn't more out there. Especially since Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Oh, and don't get me started on all the synthetic fibers. What is this, the 70's all over again???

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Colori Me Red!

Check out this great shot of my friend Michelle. She is the proprietress of Colori Chicago, a C2 only paint store in Chicago.

Next week she's hosting a Colori Me Red party (Yay! I'm going to be there, too!)

Even the Chicago Apartment Therapy blog gave her a shout-out today.

Should be quite a party...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Interesting Trend

I spoke with a woman in Florida who is interested in opening a retail faux finish and paint store. What I find interesting about this is that she has never worked behind the paint counter before. Her background is in specialty faux finishes, and she wants to have a retail presence in her growing market.

This is not the first time I have talked with women who want to see things done differently, or come from outside the industry.

Just look at Colori Paint in Chicago. It's styled more like a boutique than a paint store.

I am going to Michelle's store next week in Chicago - she is having a party to celebrate the color RED. How cool is that? My friends at Winslow Paint are another example (my apologies to Ken!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Catching Up

I've been playing catch-up with everything on my desk. My piles are a now a little more organized, so I feel less scattered.

I was reading one of my trade magazines (called Paint and Decorating Retailer - did you even think we'd have our own mag? Actually, there's also The Paint Dealer. Pretty damn exciting!)
and the focus of the issue this month is on faux painting trends.

Ack. I am sooooooo sick of faux. Blech.

I take that back. I do like decorative painting, murals and such - when appropriate. But all-over glazing is over! There was a counterpoint article from the wallcovering corner - and I do agree that wallpaper is seeing a comeback. This I am happy about.

However, the argument they used FOR wallpaper over faux was lame. I don't think it has to be an either/or proposition. Room for both texture and design on the walls.

I love some of the modern trends in wallcoverings. Funny, what goes around comes around. When I started selling wallpaper, brown was still very strong in the early 80's color palette. Here we are again - our front windows are all about browns.

Of course, mylars and the wet-look papers are gone for the most part. Good thing. And the country movement is b-l-a-n-d. Big trend with oversized graphic patterns in trendy colors. Mid-20/30 yr olds have definitely rediscovered pattern.

The modern look is less about trends from nature and more about graphic and iconic elements. It'll be interesting to see how well it ages. Although, I will say, one of my favorite design books is called The House Book, by Terence Conran - and it's all about the modern 70's!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I love our Readers

A couple of weeks ago, Christian and I published a Favorites survey. People have been filling out the newspaper form and mailing them in! Also, they can go online and fill it out - it's very interesting to see what people are thinking. You can really tell what neighborhood they come from simply by looking at the favorite stores they list.

Radio fav's range from NPR to oldies. Cleaning products go from vinegar to homemade with essential oils (I'm always so impressed with people who can take the time to craft things like that!) to high-end products like Calderra. We've had more than one shout-out for Dove as favorite soap! I think a standout answer is to the category of Housecleaner: "You never indulge this info!"

I'm not sure how we'll publish the answers, it should be interesting!

Wacky Weather

I am so discombobulated from all the snow days, I thought it was the 11th and not the 17th! Where did all the days go? I mean, I was truly shocked it was the 17th today!

January is a slow time of year in the paint store world, but it's my busy time. It's the only time I can get our store and department managers together for planning the upcoming season plus there is a lot of work going on for C2 Paint. Oh, and that darn school auction is happening in 2 months! While that seems far away, it's actually screaming upon our heels.

Christian and I are strategizing ideas for taking our Design Files concept to a new level. We have over 75 columns in the can, but what should we do in addition to our newspaper gig? How can we best leverage our experience and make this thing even we have together even more fun?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow Day in Seattle

Yes, it snowed again last night.

For the majority of the country, if it snows, it snows - and it's just business as usual. Here in Seattle, everything gets mucked up. We probably have less than an inch of snow, but the schools were canceled today.

The main concern is the safety of the students who are being bussed. Perhaps there are parts of the city that were hit harder - in any case, it's not the snow itself that causes the trouble, it's the slick of ice the develops when the sun sets and the temperature drops.

So, I am being "Mom" today. It's fun! We just got back from the neighbors who fed us hot chocolate and cookies. What's to complain about? Life is good.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Cranky Columnist

Okay, really. I mean, really.

Christian and I had a column run on Saturday, and it invited people to fill out a form (online or snail mail) identifying their favorite things. For example:
Favorite Stores

Favorite Vendors
... and so forth

Personal Encounters
... you get the picture

It's been fun to read the responses from readers. They actually take the time to create lists of fav's - HOWEVER - there is a business that has been stuffing the ballot box, and it's getting very annoying! There are multiple emails listing this business, and it's rather obvious; I mean, "hello!" do they think we we would be too stupid to not notice?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Evolution, Not Revolution

I am in-between conference calls at the moment.

Today, the C2 Marketing Team (myself, Harry and Jeff) are doing final interviews with a number of different firms. Conference call city! I dug out the old set of headphones, so my ear wouldn't hurt!

It's interesting... there are many directions we could take the brand, and all have their place. Nothing like the nightmare (or night-Meara) of a few years ago. Our challenge is to determine the best direction going forward for the next 3 years. It's exciting, but we don't want to be swayed by the excitement, we want to make the right choice for the long-haul.

More later, I gotta grab a cup of tea and call in to my next conference.....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Brand Identity

I'm reading an interesting article about brand identity and the adventure/risk of rebranding in Inc. magazine.

It's very relevant to what I am working on right now with both the Daly's Wood Finishes labels and C2 Paint. I have only read part of the article, I can't wait to finish it and see if there is anything I can learn from Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce company's experience...

If anything, our adventures with redesign are exciting, nerve-wracking, and can leave one a bit tired and jaded. Why jaded? There is the snake-oil aspect of branding that one needs to be cautious of buying into. Most important to me is trying to communicate a genuineness behind the gloss.