Skip to content

Farewell Blueprint {your thoughts?}

Confession: I’m addicted to Creature Comforts, I don’t know, it’s like all of a sudden I’m hooked and can’t stop looking at this gorgeous blog. And though I heard the news of Blueprint folding several days ago over on Apartment Therapy NY, I didn’t think to bring it up here on decor8 until I noticed Creature Comforts posted her thoughts on the topic. And after a few readers wrote to me asking me to blog about this, I figured why not. Wanna dish?


Although I’m sad to see Blueprint fold, I’m happy Amy Butler’s home was recently featured, and I loved all the other homes they gave us a chance to peek into – each felt loved and lived in, and a bit crafty (minus the skulls and rhinestones), and I really liked that because this is a void that other glossies just don’t fill. Most cater to less of a DIY (do it yourself) crowd and more of a BIY (buy it yourself) crowd. Blueprint featured homes of those that run their own business, make lots of the things in their spaces, and they were real everyday people that just so happened to have a huge chunk of creative spirit and know-how.

We really need Blueprint and I’m sad to see them go. They should bring back MS Kids and merge it with Blueprint – in other words, take the “best of” from both magazines, dump the shoes and raincoats and makeup, keep the amazing typefaces, and offer this shiny new car to the new-nesters they want to target. The DINKS and the couples with young children. That would be ideal and I would support it for sure.

And let Sarah Humphreys take the lead because she is talented and down-to-earth, and I like that. How many editors-in-chief do you know would allow you to tour their tiny 1-bedroom NYC apartment decorated solely by their staff? That’s humility, that’s real, and I I liked her since the get-go based on her apt tour alone. She felt approachable, like if I met her at a party I wouldn’t get butterflies – I’d walk right over to her and have a human-to-human conversation. Sarah doesn’t strike me as some media celebrity. She feels real in her editor’s letters and though some of her staff come across a bit snobby, I’m thinking that if I worked at a company like MSLO, I may feel a little full of myself after awhile too. It’s a whole different world inside those offices vs. out here in the real world. They have test kitchens and craft labs and companies sending them cool stuff all day long, access to things you and I will never see or know about. It’s like the freaking Pentagon – only instead of being the headquarters of the American Dept of Defense, it’s more like the American craft headquarters or something. It’s too cool in there for me, I know that much.

I have to let you in on a little secret though… Their last issue is due out soon, it’s for Jan/Feb and I’m in it. Well, not my picture or anything, just some blurbs about my opinions on displaying photography in the home. Look for that, along with a little decor8 mention, in their final issue.

So, what are your thoughts on Blueprint folding?

Psst: Still looking for an ’08 calendar? If you love that gorgeous Blueprint font, here is a free little download.

(image from the wonderful creature comforts)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration, small business on December 14, 2007

Cupcake {Berlin}

How sweet it is! I have to introduce you to Cupcake in Berlin, I hope that if you’re ever there you’ll seek it out and support this small business because though it may have nothing to do with shopping for interior products, cupcakes are quite delicious to eat and this shop makes a great resting place while you’re out and about. Plus Cupcake is darling inside and no one likes breaking in well designed places more than me. Okay, you too. :)


And Berlin isn’t America – a cupcake is a hard little delight to find in northern Germany, you just can’t find them dotted around there as you can here. They aren’t in bakeries, or grocery stores, and they don’t have dedicated little cupcake shops all over as some American cities do – until now. That’s what makes this shop in Berlin so very sweet – they’re truly unique as they are Berlin’s first! I asked the owners, American Dawn Nelson and her boyfriend Daniel Baderif (who runs his record label out of the office in the shop) if they could send over some photos for your enjoyment, so here’s a peek into a very tasty place. Cupcake is located in the heart of Friedrichshain, a short stroll away from the last remaining section of the Berlin Wall.


In regards to the design of the shop, Dawn said that they started out with “All these ideas for the decor. first it was vintage 50’s funiture, then streamlined 70’s, and then finally this is what we came up with”. They wanted something minimal, clean and fresh with the focus on the cupcakes, so this is the result. I think it reminds me of a cupcake shop Audrey Hepburn would have rested her tired feet after a day of shopping at Tiffany’s. If Tiffany’s were in Stockholm. It really reminds me of a Swedish bakery for some reason with a touch of classic Hollywood. And the light fixtures are 2 Die 4, aren’t they?

Cupcake, Krossener Str. 12, Friedrichshain, Berlin

If you’d like to know more about Dawn and her background, click here to read a great interview that I Heart Berlin had with her – it’s in English – and there’s a video as well. It was there that I learned Katie Holmes frequented Cupcake while she was with Tom Cruise in Berlin filming. Too cute.

(images from cupcake)

Posted in Shop Tours, shopping, small business, travel on December 13, 2007

Boston Small Business Meet Up: Design Salon {12.11.07}

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve replied to over the past few years asking me if I know of any small business meet ups in Boston for women. I’ve heard of a few initiatives, but nothing has made much progress because either group leaders kept canceling, or the attendees weren’t getting much out of the meet ups and decided to drop out. I mean, it’s nice to connect, but what good does this do long term if people don’t have something more regular to look forward to keep them fueled and on track? And topics. It’s not enough to show up and exchange business cards. You need a topic so real voices can rise up and be heard, advice can be thrown around the table, and ideas can churn.

Boston Design Salon was founded by Boston cermacist, Jill Rosenwald.

Many have asked me to start a group either in New Hampshire or Boston, but with my schedule, I can’t do it on a regular basis. And I’ve always felt bad about this. But it seems now I don’t have to worry because business ladies now have a home – a flock – and it’s called the Boston Design Salon.

History: A while ago a group of lady designers in Boston started meeting together once a month to share business stories, tips, network and drink wine. Calling themselves the Boston Design Salon, the group was formed by local ceramist Jill Rosenwald. Their goal for 2008 is to continue meeting monthly, grow out the group, and have a topic or guest speaker/s for each meeting.

The next Design Salon meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11th @ 7:00 pm and the guest speaker will be Jill Shah of SoLUXE who will cover Network Marketing. The event will be hosted by Kelly Smith Harris of Etcetera Media at The Pink Comma Gallery. The location is 81B Wareham Street and it’s on the block between Harrison and Albany in the South End. Please call 617.833.0330 if you need directions.

Details: 12/11 Agenda: Network Marketing. Network Marketing is a sales model that has been around the block, but is seeing new life as modern day shoppers seek to find shopping venues (and products) outside of traditional retailers and etc. Jill Shah will facilitate a discussion on her latest business venture, SoLUXE, which is a network marketing retailer that sells personalized and custom paper and home goods through a national network of independent sales consultants. Topics include: What is Network Marketing?, The Business Model, Product Fit, Recruiting and maintaining a sales force, Creating Momentum, and Building a Network Marketing Business: Financing, Marketing, Growth. And cookies. Did I mention cookies?

In addition and in the spirit of the holidays, they’ll also have THE FIRST ANNUAL DESIGN SALON COOKIE EXCHANGE! Instructions for the exchange: Bring 1-3 dozen of your favorite holiday treats. We’ll set them all out, eat them and then go home with 1-2 dozen.

There’s no fee to attend, and I know for a fact that these ladies would welcome newbies with open arms because they asked me to spread the word on decor8 if it’s something I’d support – and I do – so I’m spreading the love. Just bring your business card and some cookies. That sounds easy enough, right?

Ladies can RSVP to Jill Rosenweld: mcrae2 AT aol DOT com.

(images

Posted in reader discounts, shopping, small business, travel on December 06, 2007

Shop Talk: Seek and Conquer!

I’m annoyed. Shopping in boutique stores is no longer as exciting as it once was for me. Maybe it’s because I know most of the products I see (sorry if that sounds snotty but c’mon, look at what I do all day). I’ve noticed now more than ever that little stores are almost as boring as large department stores and mall stores because they’re quickly becoming a cut and paste copy of all the other little boutique gift shops in town. The same candles, the same wrapping paper, the same trinkets, same, same, same! Ugh. There’s a heaping load of wonderful finds online to discover, there’s no need for small stores to all carry what the next guy has. What is happening small business owners? Some of you are losing the magic that makes shop ownership so, well, magical in the first place.

Retro Etc, a Stockholm shop that I visited with Danielle and Emma.
The owner mixes old with new for a fresh medley that is anything but carbon copy.
Great example of a how to run a small business.

Oh I know what may be weighing you down. Gift shows. While they provide a great means to find talent and view products up close and personal, try not to become completely hooked on shows for sourcing new products – branch out – there’s a lot to be found on the web and thousands of talented artists are waiting for their lines to be picked up by shop owners like you. I know many who ditched the last gift fair and scoured the web or even indie craft fairs like Renegade and Felt Club to find new and exciting things for their stores. That’s more like it. This is where blogs and online sites like Trunkt, and Etsy come in super handy. They’re completely free to browse, accessible 24/7, and your store won’t look like every other one on the block – yours will stand out.

Remember, some of these talents cannot be found at a gift show because they either do not have the means to create 10,000 pillows if approached, do not desire to go big time (and that is perfectly okay), or they cannot afford the thousands of dollars one needs to invest in a booth, booth help, and travel. It doesn’t mean they won’t be there someday, I think many artists aspire to showing at a gift fair at some point, but for now you may need to find them at sources online.

Sorry if I’m going off on this subject a little. Background: I remember my struggle. I was helping a friend with the launch of her handbag collection back in ’05 and nearly every single shop owner I spoke to said, “Does she show in the gift fair down in NY?” and the moment I told them she didn’t, they lost interest instantly. It was like I told them she spit on the fabrics she used to sew the bags (ala Who Spit On My Polymorphic Cape?). In their eyes, a gift show appearance is the golden ticket to entering the world of retail – or that it somehow says you’ve hit the big time, you are driven, you are professional, and you’re now entitled to play with the cool kids. I love me a good gift fair, but there are other ways to find talent, keep your store unique, and maintain your vision (shouldn’t your shop showcase your finds and favorite things?) without sole reliance on trade shows. Plus, some indie artists are mothers and fathers and have day jobs, they are plenty talented and professional, but they will never be interested in showing at gift fairs. This doesn’t mean you still cannot write to them if you find that their craft fits your store. Am I right?

If you own a store (online or brick n mortar), how do you find your collections? How do you keep your store from becoming a copy of all the others, selling the same merchandise? I think lots of us are curious to see what the modern store owners are doing to score their finds. Anyone care to talk shop?

To read additional posts on the topic of store ownership, click the words shop girl below.

For an example of a smart shop owner, read about my friend Enna.

{I’m not knocking gift fairs, I see their place, attend them, and even write about them for publications from time to time. However I know some very creative store owners that are building entire shops using only finds they’ve come across online or through word of mouth, and as a result their business is thriving. Gift fairs are great, but is there more? That’s the topic I’d like to explore.}

Posted in small business on November 27, 2007

Books:

Some of my books

Co-editions are also available in many languages, learn more

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way
e-courses, 2015
Visit our e-course website to learn more about our inspirational e-courses by bloggers, for bloggers.