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Inspiration, Small Business

Blogger House Party

January 31, 2008

Now this is a pretty office! Ez was out there reading decor8 yesterday and after seeing my yellow living room/reading nook, she decided to create an office in our virtual house. Any other bloggers want to get involved and create a kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, guest bedroom, or an entryway off of the same theme – yellow and pretty pastels? Here’s the house we’re building so far. :)

Blogger House Party Office by Ez of Creature Comforts.

Blogger House Party Pretty little living room by me. :)

Anyone want to try a room? Maybe we can pull together an entire house like this, one blogger at a time. I’ve been looking for some creative online exercises to do lately with my fellow bloggers and this would be a fun project to collaborate on. Perhaps I should just nominate others or else some may feel to shy to get involved? Okay then, I challenge Joy to pull together the bedroom, Irene — a kid’s room, Susan — the kitchen, and Victoria to design a bathroom complete with a vintage clawfoot tub. Can Danielle pull together a guest bedroom? And I’d like to see Nicole put together a fancy patio space. Wouldn’t this be a fun project to do once a month in blogland? Hmmm….

[update: I just emailed my blogger friends so let’s see if they have the time to do this. For fun, I sent them a little bio about our virtual client. Home owner: Young single mother (cookbook author) with a son living in a 18th century Georgian townhouse in Savannah Georgia approx. 2000 sq ft., 2 floors, 3 bedrooms (one is an office), and a large patio off of the kitchen. She loves to entertain, enjoys pastels and Swedish decor, decorating on somewhat of a budget but she can splurge on one expensive item per room. Loves pattern and feminine touches but can’t deal with too much clutter.]

(images from ez and holly)

Arts + Crafts, Small Business

Indie Fixx {new + improved!}

January 25, 2008

Jen Wallace over at the very sweet online shop Indie Fixx just announced her newly redesigned site. Yay! Indie Fixx specializes in handmade items including prints, tea towels, gifts… All by some of Jen’s favorite artists. She has a great collection of cuteness over there, you should check it out. And by supporting Indie Fixx, you’re supporting Jen and all of her friends to be able to continue doing what they love as independent business ladies. Far more rewarding than filling your cart at some big box store, right?

Indie Fixx {new + improved!}
Thanks Jen for the tip, your site looks fantastic!

(image from indie fixx)

Small Business

Shop Talk: The National Stationery Show

January 9, 2008

Karen at Hammocks & High Tea and Anna of Sub-Studio are looking to share space at the National Stationery Show with other stationery designers. If you are interested in learning more, please contact them directly. I thought I’d post this since some may be looking for an opportunity to team up with others for the show as it provides a more affordable alternative to leasing a space on your own.

Shop Talk: The National Stationery Show
If anyone is interested, please email Karen: info{at} Serious inquiries only since they’d like to have everyone on deck by the end of the month.

Anyone else showing at the National Stationery Show this year? What have your past experiences been? I’ve not attended but may cruise the grounds this year because I’d love to check it out. Booths and booths filled with gorgeous stationery? I mean, what’s not to love!

(images from sub studio and hammocks & high tea)

Inspiration, Small Business

Boston Globe: Update

January 8, 2008

Would you like to know about my shopping trip with the Boston Globe on Saturday? Since some of you have asked, I’ll give you the scoop. A Globe correspondent and her photographer met up with me in the South End and since the article will focus on decor8 and shopping, my mission was to take them to a few of my favorite home stores. Shopping? Did someone say shopping? Sign me up!

Boston Globe: UpdateFresh blooms today from my friend Tammy.

I arrived 20 minutes early (you never want to be late for an interview) and spent that time talking to the shop owner and cruising the store to familiarize myself with all the products since a lot had changed since I was there a few weeks ago. I thought that by the time everyone arrived I’d be a freaking out nervous wreck but just the opposite — I felt so excited and ready to get started when the writer and photographer arrived. I was told to walk the store and talk about products, how to use them in in the home, and answer general questions while the photographer trailed us shooting the whole time. I’m not sure what kicked in, but it was the easiest most natural thing in the world for me to do, and so much fun. Like I had prepared my whole life for that moment. But I hadn’t, it was my first time ever doing something like this so even I was surprised by how second nature it was. All I could imagine was hosting a show taking the audience shopping with me around the world to all my favorite independent stores. Kind of like decor8 only on cable. Hey, a girl can dream. But that vision was one I had as I shopped and it was extremely exciting to play pretend for the day.

Boston Globe: Update Boston Globe photographer

We visited about 5 stores and at each stop when they introduced me, the stores already knew who I was and starting talking about decor8, my trip to Germany, and other things they read here that they’ve enjoyed. It was so nice to learn that local shop owners enjoy reading this blog and use it as a resource to find new talent. Each store we visited welcomed us with open arms. Later in the day, I learned that even the Globe correspondent is a loyal decor8 reader for 1.5 years now. I guess even I sometimes forget the reach of blogs!

At the final store, we spent about 30 minutes on posed shots. Holly on the chair, Holly looking out of the window, Holly standing before the dining table, Holly perched on the end of the bed. It was fun working with a pro directing each pose, especially amidst a busy retail environment. I wasn’t scared at all, just the opposite. I kept thinking about those who read the article and how they’ll be introduced to blogging and will eventually meet not just those I write about, but all the great blogs that I read and support too. I’m sure the photos that run in the paper will reflect the happiness I felt because it was one of those days that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I can’t believe that the girl that who worked a desk job dreaming of how I’d be out on my own doing what I love someday was experiencing this – you know? For me, it was huge.

After the shopping trip it was interview time. The photographer went his way, so we grabbed a table at a local restaurant and then a recording device appeared on the table and it was time to get down to business. I felt totally at ease. The conversation was centered mainly around decor8, blogging, and the community that exists online, along with those that have encouraged and supported decor8, what matters to me and why I do it. Other topics including my background and family life were also discussed, etc. I really appreciated her enthusiasm and energy, it was refreshing and I look forward to reading the article when it runs at the end of the month.

So for those who have emailed and asked me, that was my day. :) I will be taking some time off this afternoon to work on a project, but I’ll be blogging later tonight so I’ll see you soon.

(photos from holly becker for decor8)

Small Business

Real Simple: Shopkeeper

January 3, 2008

I was really inspired by the January issue of Real Simple magazine because I thought their shopkeeper profiles in Meet the shopkeepers: Five women who are following their dreams ? and selling great stuff along the way was just great. Did you catch that yet?

Real Simple: Shopkeeper Lovely ladies: top left clockwise – Kim, Shannon, Amy, Nancy, and Diane.

For int’l readers and others interested, I’ll recap. They featured Nancy Laboz of Parcel, Sage owner Shannon Kitchens, Diane Campbell of The Candy Store in San Francisco (I first read about her via Daily Candy, how fitting), Amy McCawley from The Livable Home, and finally the lady behind Outdoor Divas — Kim Walker.

What encouraged me about each of these spirited ladies is that they’ve each built a successful business primarily around negative emotions they were feeling – frustration due to a need that wasn’t being filled in their local community. Of course, other reasons cited had to do with a desire to follow a childhood passion or the urge to share something they’re into with others, but again – it was all about filling a need.

Nancy wanted to do something with all the collections that she and her husband had since both love to scour flea markets and found that they ultimately needed to do something with all the great things that resulted from their hunts.

Kim was tired of shopping several stores in Vail, all with inexperienced staff, to find sporting gear so she created a customer service driven store carrying woman-specific gear.

Shannon was fed up with only finding trendy clothes in boutiques that also flaunted hefty price tags. Her goal was to open an affordable boutique and Sage in Atlanta was born, now with two locations.

Diane has loved candy since she was a child, selling it out of her locker at school, so her business was born out of a love of candy and a desire to share the sweetness on San Francisco’s Russian Hill where she wanted to live her dream and again, fill a void.

Amy is an Interior Designer who was sick of being covered in dog hair from her 3 fur kids. When clients wanted to see her home, she felt embarrassed by the overwhelming “fur factor” and would cringe at the thought of having them over. This resulted in forming The Livable Home, a business focused solely on furniture with fabrics that are guaranteed to stand up to the demands of owning pets and having young children.

Again, see a pattern here? These ladies turned a negative situation into a positive one — filling a gap. If you don’t have access to a particular product you love, well complaining won’t change that. View a void as a call to action – if you see something is missing, step up and change it, right? Being innovative isn’t about copying the idea of someone else and then just rolling it out with your name on it, it’s about finding a need, filling a void, and actively seeking to fill that need through your business. That’s how decor8 came about. And if you own a business, you may think of your roots and see the same beginnings – you built your product based on what you weren’t seeing – but desired to see.

Whether that’s a storefront, a website, a blog, Etsy, DaWanda, Ebay, Trunkt, etc. there’s really no excuse to not listen to your voice nowadays with so many platforms that exist where you can get started. If you’re frustrated by lack, rise to the challenge and turn that lack (negative) into a business (positive).

No summer indie market in your city like Renegade or Felt Club, well look into starting your own. Can’t find a blog that targets your passion (floral design, gocco printing, etc.), then do some research and start your own. Freak at the thought of attending yet another craft fair only to see mostly booths packed with jewelry and handbag designers when you want to find some good vintage stuff? Talk to the market owner about renting a space and sell vintage finds yourself.

What frustrates you? Can you do something about it? Find a need, fill the gap. It’s really that simple.

(image taken by holly becker for decor8)

Inspiration, Small Business

2008, Bring it!

January 2, 2008

Something amazing happened to me between December 31st and today and it’s directly related to the 190+ comments left here listing your ’08 goals. I plan to read through them again tonight, one by one, because I want to see if there are any that I can help you with on decor8 this year. That’s my New Year’s goal, one of the first on my list anyway.

2008, Bring it!
Your responses touched me, your resolve to reach your goals may be important to you, but they’re also to me because I want all of us to be a successful bunch. I want decor8 to motivate and impact your life in a positive way. Your happiness matters to me. I love blogging daily, if I didn’t care about you and all those whom I feature, I wouldn’t be here. I’ll never get rich blogging and I’m fine with that because success isn’t about money to me, in this lifetime I’m shooting for spreading joy and making a difference, which includes being a good wife and friend to others, my online friends included. That means you.

Through decor8, I will continue to show you that one person (me) can make a difference and impact others in a positive way. Not that decor8 will bring world peace (ha!), but a blogger can make an impact, positive or negative, and I’m pushing towards positive again for ’08. The power of blogging, the strength of our community, the value in having work reviewed and posted here from my heart means something to the business owner, to me, and to all of you. Blogging is huge and making a noticeable difference for us all. People are looking to blogs more and more for products and advice, but I’m finding that friendship and partnering up is another rapidly growing need in the blog community. Sure, we love beautiful things, but we want to make connections and take some of these into the real world. We go to our favorite blogs to become motivated, to learn, and to reach out.

I read many blogs each week just like you do, and they’ve all impacted me. Some I’ve had to stop reading because they weren’t making me a better person, I don’t need to elaborate on this point, I’m sure you’ve run into this yourself. I’ll just tactfully say that I could tell by my behavior after reading them that they drained me or gave me this “I Suck” feeling, like I wasn’t good enough, or that I wasn’t nearly as talented. I wouldn’t associate with these people in real life so why was I reading their blogs? I really thought about this question and cut my blog reading by about 10 blogs per week. But those I do read each week make a difference. They inspire me and help me to keep my personal goals in view. They motivate me to action. I’m more creative than I ever thought possible, I see things differently when I travel or just take a walk in the orchards behind my house. I see positive results in my personal life due to the association I’m having with others online through these blogs and I’m happier because of it. You must relate.

With all that being said, my goals for the new year include most of the basics, to love more, eat less, read more, sew more, we always want more, don’t we?! But mostly I want to connect with you and help you to embrace your unique beauty, your value in this world, to help you push through fears, to push ahead, and to realize the impact that just one person can make – only that person is YOU and what YOU can do to make a difference. I will continue to write here on decor8 and you can extract what you need and leave the rest for others. I’ll work on giving more tips and reminders, and I plan to spend more time working on special posts that will discuss topics I’m pretty keen on, like small business, setting up shop, attracting customers, blogging, saying goodbye to fear, making your home more about “you” and less about “everyone else”, and moving forward with your goals, decorating and otherwise. I’ve had a lot of experience in these areas and I’m always working on ways to become more productive and to live a more creative life, so I think sharing these things with you from time to time may be just what you need to hear.

With that, next week will begin the 3rd year for decor8, two amazing years are behind me now, over 3,800 posts completed, and I can only promise you that many more will follow — I can’t wait to get started. So for today, I’m going for coffee with my girlfriend, who just relocated from NYC to here in Hollis, New Hampshire (yeah, culture shock), but I will resume posting tomorrow, so see you then!

Oh and that “amazing thing” that happened to me today, well it’s more like a feeling I had as I read through your comments. It hit me how many of us are striving to reach the same goals and how I can encourage and help through decor8. I realized that together we’re going to kick our fears in the butt and make this a year to remember. I know we can accomplish many great things standing together. All I have to say to 2008 is this: Bring it!

(image by holly becker for decor8)

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