Tuesday evening, August 16, 2011, 200 Lexington Avenue, 10th floor, New York Design Center and 1stdibs.com hosted the HOME BY DESIGN Event produced by Fashion Group International, NY.

Featuring Moderator:  Barbara Friedmann, Publisher, Elle Decor

Elle Decor

When Elle Decor first launched it was to be a book on “Fashion for the Home” which featured top models holding products or being placed into interior design environments. It was too forced and an overkill for the concept. Since then Elle Decor has soared and was recently put on the 2011 Hot List, ELLE DECOR, the preeminent brand in the shelter category and the only title in the category to be acknowledged, ranked #3 out of 10. The prestigious honor caps a number of milestones achieved by ELLE DECOR over the past 12 months. One of Friedmann’s favorite columns which has evolved over time is the “Trend Alert” it is the most celebrated column they do to date, juxtaposing runway trends with home products. So not only can you wear the look but now you can “live the look”.

Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren launched their home lines around the same time that Elle Decor launched – creating a real trend of American Designers entering the interior design market, which has continued today. Fast forward to 2011 and designers have transposed from fashion to home back to fashion and beyond. There are no longer any boundaries in the world of design. Look at Anthropology which sells both fashion to wear and fashion for the home. We are seeing more and more designers crossing the lines. Leopard prints may be A-Line skirt or jumpsuits on the runway and in the home it will translate into rugs, bedding and upholstery.

The featured panelists for the evening included:

Jonathan Adler, Iconic Potter, Designer, Author & TV Personality: Currently he has 14 brick and mortar stores and is getting ready to launch a 15th in London, has written numerous books and is currently the lead judge on the TV Reality Show Top Design. His favorite motto is “If your heirs won’t fight over it, we won’t design it”. Jonathon has also partnered up with Lacoste and is getting ready to launch a line in 2011. He loves the word YES!


Stephen Cardino, VP, Home Fashion Director, Macy’s. Stephen started out with a career path in Law, he took a summer job at Macy’s, back when there were only 13 stores and has never looked back. Stephen feels “Fashion has much to teach Interior Design”.

Clodagh, Furniture & Interior Designer, CEO of Clodagh Design International. Clodagh started designing when she was just 17 years of age. Her philosophy is to “Cleanse, Clarify, Contemplate and Create“. She is a leader in the industry in sustainable and green design, for both fashion and in the home.

BF: How did you get your start in the business?

JA: I started out as a potter. I had worked at various jobs but had been inappropriate in one aspect or another and was always being let go. I got into such a depression, but still had my passion to be a potter. One day my therapist said Jonathon, you have to do something, so I did. I got a studio and a wheel and created my own pottery studio. But I was not doing anything with them. SO my therapist nudged me again and said “Jonathon, you must break this rut and make something of yourself.” So I called Barney’s up one day and made an appointment for them to come over to my 5th Floor apartment and look at the pottery I had made. They liked it and placed an order. About three months passed and I had yet to see a check for payment of the goods. My father asked me about this since I was pretty much broke – and I told him “Pop, I do not want to bother them, they are busy.” My father’s response was to call them immediately it had been three months. So I did. I got on the phone and asked them about payment. Barney’s was like” OHHHHHHH, you’re the artist who never sent the invoice for payment. We dd not know how to contact you or where to send a check.” At this time – I was so naive – I did not even know what an invoice was.

I believe in constant change and constant growth – to look at fashion as a model and to say “Yes” to everything – this is how I came to Lacoste – by saying yes.

SC: I originally started out with a career path in Law, taking  a summer job at Macy’s, back when there were only 13 stores. I have never looked back. One month into the job I was asked to travel to India to purchase dresses. How could I say no. Comparing retail outlets to what they were 30 years ago, I swear what keeps me young, hip and “in the know” are other young people. The constant evolution and change keeps me engaged.


C: When I was 17, I fell off a horse and broke my back. I was laid up for quite a long time and was supposed to be getting ready to go off and start my life. My parents were bugging me about what I would do and I was looking at a magazine and saw an ad to become a Fashion Designer. So I told them that is what I would do. Just like that while I was lying on my back recovering. When I was up and about, I left my house because I was a total renegade, who had never been trained and I went out into the world and did my own thing. I went to the bank to get a loan and the Bank Manager asked to see my books. I thought to myself, ” Now, why would the bank want to see which books I was reading?” At the time I was so green. I too, always say “Yes”, much to the dismay of my studio. I find it hard to say no.

BF: What has Fashion taught you that applies to Interior Design?

SC: We need to pick up the pace. Interior Design needs to create a newness. Our typical customer will go the RTW section of the store and shop. She will see the new merchandise every 6 weeks.  When “she” (I call her “she” because that is what “she” is) When she comes to the Home department she sees the same merchandise for a full year unless we are lucky enough to have a good seller which will fly off the shelves in 18 months. I believe in the 80/20 rule. How do you create 20% new to rotate into the 80% staying power on the floor?

BF: Do apparel and home appeal to the same consumer?

C: Well I do not design for anyone in mind. If you like the context and the joy it brings you then you are my client. I am designing a home for a 77 YO who just lost everything to fire. Then I also have teens who wear my clothes. It is a point of view. I design for everyone 0-100.

BF: How do you see yourself expanding into fashion?


JA: I do what feels right. I have been a Lacoste fan since I was 13, I even wore one to my bar mitzvah. So designing handbags for Lacoste feels right to me, it is an extension of my design abilities. I do not ever see myself as a full-fledged Fashion Designer, as I have a lot to learn. But a fashion designer is not only about the esthetic but also the hype behind the designer. With home there is less hype behind the designer as it is all about what is being designed for the home and the final product.

BF: What kind of impact to see with online shopping as Amazon and Apple have just been announced as the top 25 sellers online. Amazon has 46% growth and Apple 32% growth with online sales? How does this impact the business  – what works with Bricks and Mortars versus .com’s?

SC: .com is the fastest growing division currently in Macy’s. Most .com customers have never been into an actual store. It is a totally different demographic – much younger. Bricks & Mortar allow you the customer to see an in-store presentation. .com  becomes about the item. How it is photographed. It is a completely different mindset.

Has anyone ever heard of overstock.com? I discovered this site this past weekend and realized, there was no reason to ever leave my home again. I spent over 3 hours on overstock.com. I did not buy anything. I understand the ease now and the breadth of the customer. It is a good teaching tool – there is much to learn about the “closeout” and the $$$ game. Online there is no emotional connection with an item. It comes down to price and where can you get it for the best price.

C: Sitting in space – that optimizes online shopping. Authentic branding is the key and it has never been more important. People will buy it if they have touched or worn or know the brand. They have an emotional connection. To those over 35 – knowing the brand matters to those under 35 – they do not care to know the brand so much.

JA: I feel lucky to be working with materials that cannot be replaced virtually. You cannot live in a virtual house with virtual stuff. It is impossible. You need the real Mccoy. Even with us opening up our 5th store in London, our website is our #1 store with sales up 90% this year. This is evidence that you need to focus on the brand. The Brick and Mortars are just big ads for the web. We live in a very cluttered world and you have to try to hit people on the head every way you can. you must have everything, Brick and Mortars, Web, TV, radio, print, and all the social networking – it is exhausting.

C: I am a digital immigrant. How can you sit on a virtual chair? You have to go out and actually sit on it.

BF: With so many brands, how do you create a constant image or message?

SC: Crate & Barrel created one singular view. I used to go there and look at them and think Macy’s should do the same. But looking back that would have been a mistake.

Customers shop different – they all have different esthetics and tastes. One might prefer Martha Stewart while another person may prefer Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein. When the economy is tough it is important to put money into what is really selling – that allows us to be more fluid.

We recently created a program called “My Macy’s“. This is where the regional stores and employees guide the buy. We are able to get localization, since these people are in the store and know their customer.

BF: Working at a shelter magazine and being in a “bad economy” I believe people are going to “nest” more. They are not going away, but staying home and remodeling their homes to fit their lifestyles. In terms of your businesses, have you seen this “nesting” pan out?

C:Pubs and restaurants are full. But I believe people are doing more home cooking, and purchasing great cookware, bedding and other necessities. But they are not buying the stuff they cannot use. People have gotten away from the trivial and purchase what is needed.

JA: I personally think the recession has been a horrible time for this country. But my business is up – the recession has forced me to be a better designer. Not being able to coast  as a designer, for the past few years has been the best thing for me. I am more focused – even though it is sad for the world, it has made me work harder and better.

SC: We have seen a real fallout in the last five years with retailers and vendors. Those still standing are obviously the strongest. The business is evolving and we are creating closer relationships with our vendors. Part of that is viewing the products in earlier stages. If I go to a show and have not seen what is being launched prior to the show – I am not doing my job. It is better to see the product prior to launch to ensure it will be a success and be placed properly with in the store.

BF: What inspires you now?

C: A big question to answer…Nomadic Life. I love to travel everywhere with my camera and take pictures to remind me of where I have been and what I have seen. Recently I was in Korea – where is was once a concrete gray. Today is is green . Green, green, green. From the concrete garden to the green garden. It is inspiring to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out – to integrate our living.

JA: I have no particular answer. It is just my eyes and mind. I keep them open at all times. The challenge is editing all the ideas and being able to channel those ideas into coherent messages.

SC: Educating and the schooling of a culture. There is a total cultural shift and change – it is about the “casualization” of lifestyles – open floor plans – colors do not have to be homogenous to a particular room – there is room for more and to mix and match. Our country as a whole has been mixed culturally. We see this abroad as well  – where energy and ideas have shifted.

C: My favorite thing to do when I travel is to go directly to the markets. To see the people, the stalls, the merchandise, to observe what is happening, to get into the belly of the country.

QA: How do you recommend we strive for constant newness with design to create heirlooms?

Peacock Lolli pop holder

A sleek homage to the Jonathon Adler peacock lollipop holder $98.00 The most exotic and flamboyant bird of all. A perfect desk accessory or fab in the kitchen!

JA: I’ll take this one! It is a constant challenge. We as people are constantly buying clothing and stuff and then shoving it into a closet. Wardrobes change. Homes. Do not change. They become either a fab or not so fab time capsule. Ever notice you walk into someones home and it never changes in 20 -30 years. My goal is to always create heirlooms. I want people to fight over everything we make. It needs to be irresistible. “Did not know I needed this – BUT I NEED IT!” kind of moment. For instance our peacock lollypop holders or our brass hippos.

C: I strive for simplicity and authenticity – I try to boil it all down to a balsamic reduction and go from there. For instance the T-shirt design furniture. To gave something a non-design or silent design. It is about getting back to the basics and how I can make it, simplify it, make it better to touch, feel, use, move…jut to make it better.

SC: I just want to get the register to ring.

QA: How do you reconcile the 20% newness with the 80% staying power of the collection?

SC: You get the core working for you and the 20% becomes the crowd mark down. You create excitement on the floor, not only with the visual team and the sales personal but with the consumer too. If you do not continue with great design products within the 20%, the stopping and starting of that excitement becomes problematic and it destroys the margins. For instance an Ed Hardy shirt can cost $135. and sell out like hot cakes in one department and in the same store  in the Home division we can have an eleven piece bed-in-a-bag set for the same price of $135 – and it is not moving. I am thinking…all that yardage…

QA: How does art inspire the look in art, fashion and design does the line become blurred?

Jonathon Adler Brass Hippo $495.00

JA: We live in a time of incredible dialog and a constant dialog almost – a true no holds barred “town square”. People just spit out what ever they have to say. The runway used to filter into the street now the street filters onto the runway and in to the home. I used to throw Chanel teapots.

C: Yes, look at how art such as graffiti is being used in fashion and in decor. People are painting on fabrics and clothing. It is part of the art movement. People are walking billboards. It is perfectly acceptable to have a Rothko, Basquiat and Graffiti art hanging in the same room. There is room for all. How do you marry? They are all authentic!

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From the Front of the House to the Back of the Bus

Monday – July 18th

Driving down Beverly Boulevard – one of the last things you would expect to see was a mini castle. But there it stands. Built in 1928 by a Los Angeles based Architect, once surrounded by orange groves. I like to think of it as the “The House that Lloyd Klein – Rebuilt”.

Out front is a mini “moat” filled with cute little turtles and koi. A wooden bridge connects the sidewalk to the door. The doors open up to a beautiful salon with gilded chairs, high wooden painted ceilings and a gorgeous arched gilded doorway.

Lloyd Klein Showroom - note the gilded arched doorway featuring inlaid hand painted panels as well as the detailed ceiling above.

John Arguelles, the President of Lloyd Klein arrives to great me, he is calm and cool as a cucumber. I have never seen John sweat. He proceeds to take me on a tour of the front of the house. Highlighting the fashions, but also pointing out all the gorgeous detail in the architecture of the building itself.

We walk through a long curtained hallway – where I peep in between and can see racks of clothes – through some offices we go, then into the back of the house, where all the action is taking place.

John quickly introduces me to employees along the way who are busy at their designated tasks. There is a definite energy in the air. And it is positive energy.

As John is showing me the back room with all the collections Lloyd has designed since 1997 – now and then – Lloyd would yell out “Did you book the models?” “What about the photographer?” “Hair and Makeup???” John would always smoothly reply, “Relax – it is all under control…I will follow-up after lunch. ” You could sense Lloyd was a little nervous for the last-minute runway show they were putting on the next evening. John then whispered to me they had a fairly large group of middle eastern men including a prince coming in the next evening who were interested in buying – he would see if I could attend – but it would be primarily business men from the Middle East – enough said – I understood the possibilities of attending the next evening were slim.

John and I left for a nice lunch – had great chatter and walked back to the showroom, hugged and parted ways. I knew he had a busy day ahead of him – and did not want to bog him down any further. So off I went trying to conjure some sort of story line that was not too ho-hum based on our brief visit.

The next morning I logged onto FB to check in and saw John’s status update: “Need two smart bright interns to assist as dressers tomorrow (Tues July 19th) at Lloyd Klein for a small private in-house fashion show….message me directly please”

PERFECT – I am aching to work (even for free) and the chance to come and dress the models for the show would be an adventure, fun and great story line. I immediately called John – luckily they still needed some help. I was in… (woot woot) What better way to see the show if you cannot be in the front of the house?

Tuesday – July 19

I arrive at 4:30PM to start helping prepare for the show. Peering through the open door with a screen door separating me – I could see the hustle and bustle of the preparations beginning. One of the two designers, spotted me and quickly came over to let me in. I asked what can I do to help and Lloyd replies with his heavy French accent – “Just take a seat for now”, so I do and observe the preparations. Empty champagne glasses sit on a tray in front of me and the sewing machine, where the seamstress had been working just the day before. Jewelry was laid out in trays on the pattern/cutting table and the designers desks had been cleaned and transformed into a hair and make up studio. Three artists worked on the models – 5 in all. The tall and lanky gazelles sat tweeting, chatting and sharing stories and exercise tips while getting ready to be transformed for the show.

The racks are tagged with the models names

Meanwhile Lloyd was running back and forth pulling clothing while his two designers followed him around taking orders for the upcoming event. Young designers in training, I thought as I watched them – some day they will have their own showroom and will have been lucky enough to have been trained by a master within the design community. I wondered if they knew how fortunate they really were? Within minutes they had pulled 20 looks together for the show. 5 rolling racks in total lined the back closet – the outfits were divided up with 3-4 looks per model. One of the designers went around and added name tags to the end of each rack coinciding to the series of looks – based on the previous days fittings.

In walks (what I am sure is a socialite) dawned in killer orange and fusia suede peep toe pumps (which she swears are comfy and bought them in another color combo – I wanna high-five her, but I barely know her) and of course she is wearing a yellow and orange Lloyd Klein dress. She is in the door and kiss kisses everyone then disappears into the other rooms. Now and then she reappears for champagne refills and frolicking.

Designer’s space transformed into hair and makeup studio

Once the looks are pulled together – Lloyd scurries off to check on hair and makeup – making sure the stylists were following his direction. Dark eyes and lips on a transparent skin.

John walks into the room and sees me and of course says hello and asks me what I am doing – so I tell him I was told to wait – he turns to Lloyd and says, “She is here to help – come and help these girls.”…so off my rear and into gear I go.

We are told to review the looks and make sure we understand the mechanics of each piece – how it goes on and how to wear it properly – as well as how it is zipped, clasped or buttoned – so we do not get hung up on it during the show. One particular blouse was somewhat confusing, an arm hole on one side but not on the other – so I have the designer put it on. Her arm goes through the one sleeve – then what… there is no other sleeve – just a wrap and long ties. John quickly comes over and shows us in 3 seconds (or so) how the piece works and he is off to another task. No sweat…

After reviewing the clothing – we are asked to write down the numbered looks and code with the pieces within each look (ie: J for Jacket P for pant, etc. ) once again – when the show is in progress – this will make it so much easier.

Jewelry Selection

We finish this task fairly quickly. In the meantime I am wondering what jewelry to put with which outfit. So with one of the designers, the seamstress and the two other dressers we are onto the next task, figuring which jewelery should go with which looks on our proposed racks – once again trying to make it easier for when the actual show is in progress.

In the meantime the kitchen is a buzz – the help is polishing more glasses, washing fruit, making sure the refrigerator is stocked and the champagne is iced and ready to be popped when the guests start to arrive. (The models need champagne ASAP – we are told no champagne – models and guests only. Makes sense to me – who wants a dresser sprawled out on the floor in the middle of a show. Models need it to take of the edge of parading down the runway in front of strangers, it can be quite a daunting walk – at times I am sure.)

In come the two hired butlers for the evening, both very handsome young men. One of them needs a quick steam, presto and it is done.

More appetizers arrive.

We have to fit the models for shoes – and apparently one of the models has yet to arrive. So there are really 6 models in all. We are assigned racks – I have Elle and Angel. I grab the shoes, introduce myself and get them both fitted. (The shoes killed us)

The new valet has appeared but he is wearing only a white T-shirt (literally an undershirt), the office manager is a bit tweaked, she tells John and he quickly grabs a white shirt off the rack – it fits, problem settled, no sweat.

Lloyd making last minute adjustments

Lloyd reappears and wants to go over the looks again for a quick model fitting of the pants – so one by one the girls come in and try on their selection of pants only for last-minute alterations. Three have to be changed in all. One hem lowered – three inches and two waists need to be taken in. The seamstress is off and quickly ripping out the hem of the first pair of pants. I offer to help her and start on the other leg. She sews and I rip.

As quick as a whistle she is on the machine fixing the two waistlines. Before you know the pants are altered, steamed and back on the racks. I am impressed. A recent graduate and seamstress – she has been doing this for thirty years! Hats off…

6:30PM The show is to start at 7:30. Lloyd reappears once again, asking for the photographers phone number. “Where is she?”, he exclaims. He calls the photographer, rattles off in French, disappears, then his office manager reappears, asks the designer for the number. The designer tells her Lloyd was just on the phone with the photographer. The office manager huffs and rolls her eyes and into the office she goes again… ahh the mechanics of puling off the show. Apparently this is how the photographer “rolls”.

John comes fluttering through and swears that is it! He is sweating now.

Lloyd quickly reviews the clothes again and notices we have placed the jewelry with the looks. He questions the decision saying it should be a last-minute thing. But then he lightens up and scans what we have left, insisting we use the shoulder cuff provided. It is quickly changed out onto one of the evening dresses.

Somewhere between 6:30Pm and 7:30Pm everything sped up. What was an hour seemed as only minutes. Before I knew it Lloyd was clapping his hands and telling everyone, “First Look, places everyone places, First Look…”

In come the models we dress them. Adding the silver strappy sandals last. Low and behold flying through the door appears the photographer. Ready to shoot.

Angel receiving last minute touch ups before walking out to runway

The first three are off. Last minute hair and makeup – then the next one and the next. In come the first three models – clothes fly, zippers are stuck and those damn shoes will not fit through the pant leg, so they must come off. In comes the next round of models. Changes are made – Lloyd is screaming “The runway is empty…I need a girl quick…Walk slower. Walk slower.” More clothes are flying around, models legs are in the air trying to get their shoes re-clasped while someone else is zipping her up the back and jewelry is being yanked on and off her ears and around the neck. No wonder they make so much money. We are only on look two.

Out they go and back in for the next round – thank goodness we only had three looks a piece. I mean this like an editorial shoot on crack…seriously…crazy fast. I am thinking – thank goodness we preselected the jewelry because the last thing I would want to be dong is picking out the jewelry on top of all this.)

Last minute primping before walking out on runway.

In come my two girls for their final show of evening gowns. Angel strips down to the bare naked bone…”Oops, she claims she did not think to wear underwear today,” No worries I will pretend I am at Gunnison Beach. Change, jewels, re-strap shoes and they are out! Breathe…the show is over.

We are all looking at each other – smiling and on such a rush. So happy that it went off with minor hitches. Lloyd and John, of course come back and thank us all and are so happy their team pulled through the show! Now off to the final sales.

We clean up as the models change back into their everyday wear, get their slips signed and are off. Hair and makeup is packed. In come John and Lloyd again offering champagne for all to celebrate the success of the show. We finish putting away the shoes, hanging the clothes, removing the numbers and reorganizing the looks to go back into the huge fashion closet. (a true treasure trove). The clothes are put away for the next day – where they would be once again re-pulled and presented to yet another client or potential buyer.

Lloyd Klein with models

I was on such a natural high from participating in the production and enjoyed the ride in the back of the house just as much as the front!


Lloyd Klein was born in Canada in 1967 of French parents. His father was vice-President of an International airline. During his childhood Lloyd lived in 6 countries, primarily France and as a result speaks 5 languages fluently. His college years were spent as a serious student of architecture, with studies in Europe and an internship in the United States. He recognized that fashion was the field he wanted, after attending his first Paris fashion show (of Hubert de Givenchy) when he was 19. This made a deep impression on him.

He has not had any formal fashion school training, but developed a keen interest in the work of Yves St. Laurent, Jacques Fath, Givenchy and American classic Halston. In 1986 he staged his first show in Paris in a hotel ballroom. It was successful enough for him to be encouraged to continue on the fashion path. He could see that his ideas for sophisticated simplicity, fondness for glamour, original thought and dedication to new ideas were the way to go.

In Spring/Summer 1994, Klein presented a collection on the elegant stage of the Opera Comique in Paris. The following season, he stunned the French fashion community by accepting the appointment as head designer for the house of Madame Gres.

He remained there for 5 seasons, but simultaneously continued his own identity as a designer, creating separate seasonal collections which have been shown in London, Milan, as well as Russian and Asian cities.

In 1998, Klein set up his new company headquarters in the United States and in September 1999 presented his Spring/Summer 2000 collection at Bryant Park in New York.

His Fall 2001 collection was inspired by the Marlon Brando movie “Last Tango in Paris”. One of the garments was an asymmetrical black leather dress. Actress Maria Schneider, who starred in the film, wore his clothes at the show. Practically everything that Lloyd Klein sent down the catwalk was black.

Klein’s Spring 2002 collection was shown in Los Angeles. It was comprised of all white, simple yet sexy silhouettes.

Lloyd came back to New York to present his Spring/Summer 2003 collection. He chose as venue, the famous Studio 54 nightclub from the 70′s. Using a tailoring technique he calls “coupe franc” (raw cut) he made dark gray jackets bursting with shocking pink frayed edges and navy blue separates marked by blood orange accents to give a bleeding effect.

He attributes this inspiration to the raw, frayed and bloody times of September 11th 2001 terrorist attack.

His ateliers are in Paris, his business headquarters in Los Angeles, USA, and his press and sales showrooms are in New York and Beverley Hills.

The media are dubbing Lloyd “the New Klein in Town” after the retirement of Calvin Klein. This is not really fair as he is hardly new. We have been seeing his exquisite clothes for a decade or more. His 2004 collection was inspired by strong and confident elegant women of the 1930′s. He used masculine fabrics and turned them into feminine couture. Liquid satins, powdered crepes, crisp cottons, lush organza, bouncy tulle, irridescent silks and chiffons became garments that emphasized relaxed luxury. It was a very beautiful show and it seems that Lloyd is really the only “Klein in Town”.

Everything was all set to show the Fall collection during New York Fashion Week in February 2004. However on the way to the airport in Paris, Lloyd Klein and his staff had a serious car accident, which forced the cancellation of the New York show. Lloyd’s mother and his staff were relatively slightly injured, but Lloyd himself was in a coma for several days. He came round and has now recovered completely.

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Making Scents Out of Music

Kicking off the FGI Regional Directors conference in May, was an amazing cocktail reception and presentation at IFF (International Flavors & Fragrance).

Walking to the building on west 57th street,  taking the elevator up to the fragrance floor, the doors opened to a modest lobby  through another set of double doors, we entered to a beautiful expansive lobby. The reception desk was turned into a bar area offering wines and margarita’s (for Cinco de mayo) and snacks (Later I learned these were all products of IFF).

Beyond that were 2 isles of tall grass separated by white marble walkways, with the light of dusk filtering in from the ceiling above. So with margarita in hand, I start to mingle, meeting people from all over the country and great places throughout the world.

As I am mingling I notice a bottle of fragrance in the middle of each patch of grass. It was beautiful display of product.

After a quick welcome and history from the CEO of IFF we are escorted into a presentation room where Perfumer, Pascal Gaurin, demonstrated how creating music is no different from creating perfume.

“If you don’t know the blues, there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock ‘n’ roll or any other form of popular music.”  – Keith Richards

IFF Lobby with perfumes displayed in the middle of each patch of the tall grass.

Pascel begins his presentation with this quote to demonstrate the parallel of making an unforgettable perfume to that of a song or tune which cannot escape from our mind.

After  a brief introduction of the company and explanation of the juxtaposition of music versus scents, our Perfumer, Pascal Gaurin choose three people from the audience and handed them a card. As he held up an Orange Triangle and asks the cardholders to describe the object in two words…everyone in the audience blurts out the answer. This is not a subjective answer – but fact.

He then samples of scents to the same three cardholders and asks them to describe. After their descriptions, the samples are passed out to all. One is a very strong fragrant Citrus with a simple chemical breakdown and the other is a Lavender with a very complex chemical breakdown. Pascal then goes on to tell us there are 1500 different extracts or “scents” to choose from when mixing for a distinct smell. It is not for the un-experienced to mix – but a person must watch, learn and live within the perfume environment for at least 10 years to even be considered for a Perfumer position.Having a background education in Biology or Chemistry helps a great deal. Because it is important to know how different elements react when mixed together to create a pleasing sense to the nose, as well as, make proper use of the expensive ingredients.

We are then handed out three more strips. We are asked to one identify the smell then two rate it from inexpensive (ipad) to expensive (BMW).

Perfumer, Pascal Gaurin

They ranked as follows our (ipad) Rose Water runs $9,000 per kilo; Iris Root – $15,ooo per kilo and our (BMW) Gardenia $25,000 per kilo.

IFF Perfume Dolce & Gabanna

Creating a distinct smell , just like a hit single, is not easy. You have a matter of seconds to capture the attention of shopper passing by with your signature scent amongst the other squirting bottles and samplers. They either love it or they don’t. And mega hits for clients such as Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Estee Lauder take years to develop. Such a the scent “Beautiful” which is there best-selling scent of all time.

Remember the game show, “Name That Tune“? Pascal plays us 15 – 20 songs using only the first 5 or so notes to identify. As he plays hit after hit – everyone shouts out the name one after another. This is the same as making a “hit scent” once you smell it – you will never forget.

Remember the after bath splash Jean Nate. Jean Nate is a brand name for a line of scents and other beauty products that came onto the U.S. market in 1935. Charles of the Ritz, at the time an established name in the cosmetics and toiletries world, created and introduced Jean Nate products. Charles of the Ritz is no longer in existence.

The “Charles” in Charles of the Ritz was Charles Jundt. He was a hairdresser, and his rise to fame and fortune began when he took over the reins of the beauty salon in the Ritz Hotel in New York City in 1916. The history of Jean Nate is necessarily intertwined with the history of Charles of the Ritz, whose own label of products came on the market around the mid-1920s. In 1964, Charles of the Ritz and Lanvin combined to become Lanvin-Charles of the Ritz. Yves Saint Laurent bought the company in 1986, and sold it to Revlon in 1987. Jean Nate became a Revlon brand. Revlon dissolved Charles of the Ritz in 2002, but retained the Jean Nate brand. As part of Revlon, Jean Nate products are still sold online and in stores. Jean Nate products include cologne spray, body lotion, body wash and body powder.

Another product with a long-standing history – Youth Dew was a turning point for Estée Lauder, her family and her family owned company. For more than ten years, Estée had struggled to sell her cosmetic creams. She was succeeding slowly, opening new accounts across America, getting her creams into the better department stores, becoming known in a small way. Then along came Youth Dew.

Youth Dew was, for Estée Lauder, what La Rose Jacqueminot was for François Coty — the product that opened the door to a whole new universe. Suddenly the money was coming in like never before and, at last, Estée Lauder and her family were on their way to becoming wealthy.

Youth Dew was created as a bath oil which could be used as a perfume. While many dismissed it as ordinary, many more flocked to buy it. It was the right scent at the right time at the right price. In fact, for women, Youth Dew represented an opportunity to buy a perfume at the price of a bath oil.

The Youth Dew story is told by Lee Israel in her book, Estée Lauder: Beyond The Magic. Ten years before the birth of Youth Dew, Estée had formed a friendship with Arnold Lewis van Ameringen, whose collection of companies would, in 1958, be consolidated as International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) and would soon become the world’s largest flavors and fragrance house.

Israel suggests that Youth Dew, created by IFF perfumers, was Van’s gift to Estée. Along with the gift came financial support in the form of an extension of credit that would not otherwise have been available to her.

Backed by Estée Lauder’s personal sales skills, Youth Dew took off like a rocked.

Over the years, Youth Dew has found many incarnations. A collector could put together a small museum of Youth Dew packages in their various forms: the sprays, the solids, the eau d’ this and that. All in all, a huge success that Estée played for all it was worth — and it was worth a lot!

While there has been speculation on exactly which perfumer at IFF created Youth Dew, given the relationship between Estée and Van Ameringen, it is likely that whatever perfumers worked on the project, they worked under close scrutiny. Ernest Shiftan was senior perfumer at Ameringen-Haebler, Inc. at the time but Youth Dew has also been associated by some with Ameringen-Haebler, Inc. (and later IFF) perfumer Josephine Catapano. Of course the truth is a corporate secret for both IFF and Estée Lauder.

Youth-Dew by Estée Lauder is an Oriental Spicy fragrance for women. The nose behind this fragrance is Josephine Catapano. Top notes are aldehydes, orange, spices, peach and bergamot; middle notes are cinnamon, cassia, orchid, jasmine, cloves, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are tolu balsam, peru balsam, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, oak moss, vetiver and incense.

IFF doesn’t just make perfume to wear either, they make the scents for Glades Candles, Skittles Candies, Downy Dryer sheets, Axe deodorant and many more household products that you probably use everyday. So next time you light a candle or do  load of wash or even spritz on your favorite scent – know someone has spent years upon years of training to catch your sense of smells attention within three seconds and if you enjoy…your hooked.

Resources: Jean Nate History | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5008757_jean-nate-history.html#ixzz1MXMoHDcJ

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History Soiree

Janice Martin Couture, Ardmore, PA

On the evening of June 7th, FGI members flocked into the quaint boutique owned by the talented designer and FGI member Janice Martin. Janice Martin Couture hosted the member only event at her salon in Ardmore, PA. The History of FGI Philadelphia was the theme. Champagne, wine and light drinks were served along with skewered vegetables, an assortment of cheeses and dips. After a 1/2 hour or so of socializing, order came upon us and the histry of FGI Philadelphia was shared among both the old and the new.

But before starting the history of FGI Philadelphia  – we should trace back to the original roots of the organization.

It all began in 1928 when 17 women, gathered by Edna Woolman Chase, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, met for lunch in a modest midtown New York restaurant.  They had three things in common: Each held a job of consequence in the business of fashion, each held all the others in high regard and together they held a belief that fashion needed a forum, a stage, or a force to express and enhance a widening awareness of the American fashion business and of women’s roles in that business.

The Fashion Group®, conceived at an informal luncheon in 1928 became an organization in 1930, with a place, a purpose, by-laws, officers and women eager to be members.

First Luncheon

Some of those Founding and Charter members were:  Elizabeth Arden, Margaret Case, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helena Rubinstein, Julia Coburn, Lilly Dache, Jessica Daves, Nan Duskin, Edith Head, Eleanor LeMaire, Claire McCardell, Clare Potter, Virginia Pope, Dorothy Shaver, Adele Simpson, Carmel Snow, Miss Tobé

Their first office space was donated by Louis Fairchild in his Women’s Wear Daily building on East 12th Street. The second office space was at 572 Madison Avenue, donated by Harper’s Bazaar. Then in 1934, from the minutes of the Board meeting of October 18: Discussion as to how to meet the rent of the contemplated space in 30 Rockefeller Center included a Fashion Group party using talent within the membership lampooning fashion, to be known as The Fashion Follies™.

Today, The Fashion Group International offers membership to both men and women.

The History FGI Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Group founded in 1947, with same mission as NY FGI Headquarters to network with business women professionals in the fashion and design industry. With originally 60 members at start, Nan Duskin Lincoln was the FGI Philadelphia founder and sat on the Board of Directors as a permanent advisor for many years.

FGI Philadelphia had its first partnership with the local Philadelphia Art Museum (of all FGI Regions). FGI Philadelphia funded the “Fashion Wing” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The fashion wing at the museum grew over the years, with the collection amassing hundreds of gowns dating back to 15th century. The collection also included costumes, textiles, laces, jewels, accessories from around the world. FGI added gifts from designers and the collection kept growing which became helpful to students, designers, artists, and those in the design industry. 906 costumes, appurtenances and textiles were donated to Fashion Wing in 1968 alone. Also study rooms and the collection of costumes from bygone eras were added to the permanent galleries for 18/19/20th century. Elsie McGarvey was the knowledgeable curator and Ester Cole Richardson, a past FGI Philadelphia Regional Director also sat on Museum Board and was a Permanent Chair of the Fashion Wing. FGI Philadelphia built the galleries, library, provided a curator and enlarged the scope and activity of Fashion Wing.

The fashion wing was funded by FGI Philadelphia’s Crystal Ball, in addition to other private and corporate donations. The Crystal Ball was held every other year by the entire membership who were absorbed in producing the event. It became a widely socially & professional recognized event internationally, “a true labor of love”. Some of the  honorees included Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford, Patricia Nixon, Brooke Shields and more.

The Crystal Balls, held every two years  were mostly held at the Philadelphia Art Museum. The actual event consisted of: Viewing the Fashion Wing, Fashion Show on the Great Staircase; Awards; Dinner & Dancing.  The event ran into late evening with supper being served at midnight;. Princess Grace is rumored to have stayed until 1:30am the year she was honored.  Big bands, the media, and the city were all involved in the event.

Some past highlights include:

Oct 25, 1957 – 1st Crystal Ball – Marlene Dietrich (wore slender, fitted dress of white & gold brocade, made especially for her by Jean Louis); received first Crystal Tribute “for fashion innovation with taste distinction” from her old friend, columnist Art Buchwald, assisted by FG regional director Gertrude Mayers.  Dancing to Meyer Davis Music.

October 23, 1959 – Greer Garson accepted Crystal Tribute “for femininity, grace and fashion sense.” Her strapless bouffant gown of black net w/twinkling star-shaped sequins was a Normal Norell creation purchased especially for the occasion because “I had to have the most romantic dress I could find.” Unforgettable, her diamond necklace w/a great yellow diamond pendant, an International Diamond Award winner.  Presentation by Leo Lerman, assisted by regional director Lesley Pearson.  Lester Lanin’s dance beat.

October 20, 1961 – Lady Bird Johnson is First Lady of Philadelphia as she arrives to receive our Crystal Tribute “for her example to women in public life…”  She’s radiant in the strapless brocade ball gown she wore for the Inaugural festivities the past January, she charms us all with her warmth and her interest in our museum.  Presentation by Mayor Richardson Dilworth for FG regional director Beatrice Wittels.  Entrusting her Crystal Tribute to his care as she descends the Grand Staircase on his arm, then whirls into the first dance with him to the music of Meyer Davis.

April 23, 1963 – Pomp and circumstance prevailing when Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III of Monaco come to accept our award to this distinguished daughter of Philadelphia “for her continuing influence on the world of fashion…her poised and quiet elegance…the gracious American image she projects.” Governor William Worthington Scranton making the presentation for FG regional director Rubye Graham.  Her Serene Highness serenely elegant in a blue chiffon Balenciaga gown with diamond and ruby clips in her high-piled hairdo and on one shoulder of her dress.  The Meyer Davis music failing to lure the royal couple to the dance, but approval of our party proved by their staying until 1:30am.

Fri, Oct 1, 1965 – Reception 9 O’clock; Great Hall of Museum; Admission by Ticket Only; Please Use West Entrance; Crystal Ball honoring Joan Crawford “not only for the example of gracious femininity and beauty she has set the world, but for her integrity, her courage, her spontaneous wit and infectious charm.  We add another dimension of admiration for her achievements in bringing a woman’s sensitive thinking into the world of business.  Few women in the world enjoy as much adulation; she is a star in the truest sense of the word…lovely, warm…a woman who has always walked in beauty and who has the good taste never to shatter an illusion.  Our Crystal Ball Swan, a sparking symbol of grace, we feel is also a unique symbol for the magnitude of the star…and the person.”

 (1965 CB Program – Back Cover Ad) WCAU-TV 10 (CBS, I’m assuming) takes pride in announcing that portions of tonight’s Crystal Ball will be seen in color on Ten Around Town with Nancy Beebe and Bill Hart, Weekdays, 1pm 

 Oct 28, 1967  – 6th CB – held at the Philadelphia Civic Center – honored notable ladies and gentlemen whose devotion to fashion has led to world renown; whose exquisite taste and individuality have been rewarded with election to the International Best Dressed list and the Fashion Hall of Fame.

Brooke Shields 1978 FGI Philadelphia Crystal Ball Honoree

 1971 – 8th CB at Memorial Hall (vestige of the nation’s centennial (1876) which changed the pattern of life in Philadelphia, and perhaps America, one hundred and five years ago), honoring Patricia Ryan Nixon. The Crystal Ball Pageant of Fashion: Adolfo, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass, Donald Brooks, Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, Jon Haggins, Halston, Victor Joris, Betsey Johnson, Kasper, Ralph Lauren, Leo Narducci, Norman Norell, Dominic Rompollo, Ferdinando Sarmi, George Stavropoulos, Gustave Tassell, Chester Weinberg;

November 2, 1973 – 9th Crystal Ball – Crystal Tribute to (actress) Merle Oberon, celebrating FG 25th Anniversary

Fire at The Bellvue/FGI Phila Career Day  (The story made The Inquirer when it happened) Career Day in 1980’s scheduled to be held at the Bellvue Hotel in Philadelphia.  There was FIRE there. the building was evacuated at 8pm evening prior to Career Day.  (This was before cell phones.  Meaning, FGI organizers had no way to get in touch w/speakers, schools, etc.)  A gentleman (or two) overheard/befriended Lynn Howley (and another event co-chair).  They arranged for Career Day to be held at the Union League!  This is ironic because: FGI was a group that only allowed women…The Union League only allowed men!  Plus, what venue could accommodate 500+ students, speakers, etc. only such short notice?! Early the next morning, the buses began arriving w/the students and career day went off successfully.  (as told by Lynn Howley)

Partnership between FGI Philadelphia & Foundation for Breast & Prostate Health (formerly BHI, Breast Health Institute) The organization (FBPS) is now in it’s 17th year of “Shirt off Your Back” Fundraiser to support research for Breast & Prostate Cancer.  In it’s inception, FGI Philadelphia was a MAJOR supporter of this event (FGI might have produced the whole event; not sure exactly).  Dennise Askins (previously on FGI Phila board; now w/FBPS) credited FGI Philadelphia as helping to fund major, international cancer research.  (as told by Dennise Askins)

Celebrating our Future…

FGI Cookie Favor from History Soiree

With assistance/finances of Asher Hyman (Libby Haines Hyman’s son), FGI Philadelphia was able to give three endowments in January 2011 of $25K each to: Moore, Drexel & Philadelphia University  The Endowments are The Fashion Group International/Libby Haines Hyman Endowments.  Libby was a fashion publicist and highly involved w/FGI Philadelphia.  She left money to the group to manage with the intent FGI would give to schools.

FGI Philadelphia is hosting the 4th “annual” Red Carpet Design & Scholarship Awards – April 19, 2012; this event will involve 6 area design schools with a red carpet design competition, scholarship awards and more.

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Phillip Bloch Comes to Philadelphia

May 5, 2011 FGI Philadelphia held its bi-annual Fashion Trends presentation focusing on the Spring/Summer 2011 Trends.

This year we had a special appearance from PHILLIP BLOCH, Celebrity Stylist/Author; KATIE ERMILIO, Designer/President, Katie Ermilio and PAMELA PTAK, Designer/President, Pamela Ptak  and Moderator:  ELIZABETH WELLINGTON, Fashion Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Widely considered to be Hollywood’s premier fashion stylist, Phillip Bloch has arguably become one of the world’s most well-known fashion figures, playing the role of style ambassador at Fashion Weeks in the US and across the globe. The list goes on – even the late Michael Jackson is in the line up. Phillip has also become an accomplished writer and currently not only working like a dog on all his other fabulous projects but is promoting his newest book: The Shopping Diet: Stop me before I shop again!” When the clothing budget is tight, when you have to squeeze every dollar and stretch it further, it’s time to go on The Shopping Diet. But don’t worry! This diet won’t deprive you of having a fashionable and up-to-date wardrobe—in fact, you will find exciting ways to look fantastic, make more of the clothes and accessories you already have, and come out ahead with the one thing that’s always in style: more money in your wallet! Whether you’re an impulse shopper, whether you shop out of boredom or other emotions, or if “the tough go shopping” has always been

The Shopping Diet by Phillip Bloch

your motto, you may feel that you simply have to shop—that there are never enough clothes, or the right clothes, to make you feel complete, confident, and in control. But in tough economic times, there is a better way—a whole new lifestyle of evaluating your true wardrobe needs, making smart choices, and changing your spending habits from the inside out. The results? More time (no more Saturdays spent wandering the mall aimlessly), more space (your closet makeover will turn that priceless piece of real estate into your favorite go-to boutique!), and more cash (or, if you prefer, less credit card debt). Now that’s being in control! Premiere celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch’s unique and thought-provoking approach to looking great for less gives you fascinating insights and practical solutions to the very real problem of overspending that affects millions of people.

After the trend presentation and review the topic quickly turned to the recent royal wedding. Attendees also had the opportunity to purchase and get sign copies of his book. http://www.amazon.com

Phillip Bloch with FGI Member Megan Eberhardt-Dyer

FGI Philadelphia would like to thank PHILLIP BLOCH, Celebrity Stylist/Author; KATIE ERMILIO, Designer/President, Katie Ermilio and
PAMELA PTAK, Designer/President, Pamela Ptak
  and Moderator: ELIZABETH WELLINGTON, Fashion Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer for their participation on the great business panel discussion. It was a tremendous event for FGI Philadelphia.

To read more on this accomplished man please check out his website at: http://www.phillipbloch.com/bio.php

Phillip Bloch autographs book for Monica Brown of Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Dead Brand Walking

Zing Your Brand & Company, CEO Creative Brand Analyst, Mary van de Wiel recently spoke at the FGI Regional Director’s Conference on the topic of “Dead Brand Walking”

“What’s that special spark that attracts business like crazy? OK. Here’s a clue. If the pulse of your brand is showing vital signs, creative juices are pumping. If not, we’ve got a Dead Brand Walking on our hands.”

– Meet Mary van de Wiel (aka Van)

Mary van de Weil, CEO, Creative Brand Analyst, Zing Your Brand & Company

Maybe it is time to check the pulse of your brand. Is it pumping and thriving? A brand is a living vibrant organism. It should be strong with a vital pulse , have an attitude, tone and energy.

It’s Neuroscience – Who is your consumer? The brain, and we are not rational thinking humans – but emotional.  In today’s faced paced media and advertising world, consumers are looking to take away not just a service or product but an emotional connection.  A connection they can relate to as a human being with a pulse.

OK. What’s a brand?

A remarkable brand is what sets you and your business apart. It makes a promise; and you deliver on that promise. It is never just a logo, name, word or tag line. Your brand has a real and distinct personality, attitude, character, behavior, value system, code of ethics –the lot. It reflects who you are (CEO/Brand Guardian), what you believe in, what you offer and why you do what you do and of course, why that’s so important to people and the planet.

It also happens to be the way companies distinguish their products or services from the rest of the pack. Remember, we’re living in a highly overcrowded and competitive marketplace. Successful brands show up and stand out in the biggest, boldest and most provocative way. They’re fearless, and do whatever it takes.

(Q: How big and bold does your brand appear on the competitive landscape?)

 What is this about putting on the ‘Brand Guardian’ hat?

Imagine you’re the captain of a ship. You’re the one who has to hold on the wheel and steer into a safe port, right? Well, guess what the Brand Guardian has to do for the brand? The Brand Guardian is 100% responsible for everything that’s going on. You’re it. No way you can pass the buck here.

You’re the Master of your Business. You’re steering (and overseeing) everything from graphics (online and offline), the way you answer your phone, the uniforms your staff wear, the environment in which you work, the way you greet your clients, the way you talk, pour the coffee, (yes, even choosing sugar cubes, or not), the lot. See why your role as Brand Guardian is so powerful, influential and vital?

As the Brand Guardian, you get to make a stand in your business. You get to find, choose and articulate a distinctive and real voice for your brand so your message gets heard out there. That’s called brand communication. Important stuff if you want to land a spot on the new brand landscape for the 21C.

PS People can always hear when you’re not being real. Make sure your brand voice is passionate and speaks from the heart. Got that?

So why is my brand’s behavior so important today?

Because your clients out there are paying a lot of attention. They’re watching what you’re doing, what your competitors are doing, how you’re all expressing yourselves in your business, and what kind of innovative business thinking is top of mind, particularly in this lousy economy. That’s the reality, and it’s how your clients are making careful decisions about how they want to work, and particularly, with whom.

So if your brand behaves or misbehaves, it’s going be noticed and more importantly, it’s going to impact your business (for better or worse). So pay close attention to what your brand is doing at all times. Be clear about what your brand is communicating to your market, make sure it’s serving your best interests – and not shooting you in the foot.

Be mindful and set the boundaries for good brand behavior. It’s going to pay off.
Trust me

What do you do as a Master Brand Provocateur?

Here’s one scenario. Let’s assume you want to grow your biz which is already a rewarding and successful one. You are already well on your way but suddenly, you wake up one day and realize you’ve never paid much attention to your brand.

You’ve biz savvy and so that means you know (intellectually) that your brand is your major asset. It’s the basic building block in your business. And the stronger the brand, the faster your biz will grow. (That’s a fact.)

So what does Mary do – as Interpreter of Clues? She helps you grow your biz by creating a more powerful and emotional brand. Mary helps you tap into who you are, what you stand for, what’s holding you back, what you’re really doing in your business and what kind of communication message you want to get out to the people in your target market. Simple, right?

Mary diagnoses your branding and marketing communication, make sure it’s consistent and congruent with what makes you unique. The key here is to interpreting your energy and passion and translating it into a powerful and bold brand message. It’s one of the best ways to attract more like-minded clients, get known as an expert, get high visibility, make a difference in the world and have a lot of fun along the way.  What could be better than that?

Why do I keep hearing that the way of doing biz today is changing?

We’re living in a critical time of transition. There is, for sure, a new way of doing business and it demands a different mindset, curiosity, clarity, willingness and – yes, the desire to represent yourself and your business in a totally bolder and more provocative way.

The best place to start is by taking a closer look at your brand: Make sure it reflects everything about who you are and what you offer and then, create a powerful and unique message that is going to communicate clearly to your target market.

Remember, this is a totally over-crowded, over-saturated marketplace, and the game rules are changing on a daily basis. If you’re not creating and building a powerful and provocative brand that stands out – and demands attention – you’re not going to be visible. It’s that simple. Brand building is, without doubt, the basic foundation for all marketing efforts.

Tell me more about this ZING thing?!

It’s playing smart in business. It’s another way of looking and thinking about your brand and understanding that in order to move forward and step into your future – and your business success – you’re going to have to look through a different kind of 21C lens when it comes to marketing your business.

Through our Brand Intelligence Methodology™, their focus is on spotting the hidden brand clues that are holding you back (Brand Audit), examining your core essence and energy (business DNA), extracting and revitalizing your unique business story (Brand Story) and then, in order to create a more provocative business presence that is going to attract more visibility and clients, we revitalize your brand image and identity, and help you create your very own WOW Factor signature and road map for your business success.

P.S. All you need is to have the willingness, curiosity and desire to think differently about your business.

Tell us a little about this ZING Factor you always talk about?

Everyone has their very own unique and innate signature ZING factor, whether they know it or not. Some people work out how to express their ZING factor beautifully in their business – they know how to express their brilliance, they live out loud and achieve astounding success. On the other hand, there are others who find it more problematic to access that part of themselves or, when they get the chance, they’re so terrified that they scuttle back to a place that is familiar, safe, bland and comfortable.

Ugh. Nothing worse than a bland brand.

Accessing your irresistible signature ZING Factor is an important step in creating a powerful brand. It’s about tapping into the core essence of who you are and then incorporating that into the core essence of your business. It’s brave, exhilarating stuff and exciting, for sure!

Van in her Branding Workshop

Every quarter, Zing Your Brand offers a one-day, 8 hour, intense Brand Lab session in a ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ environment in the company’s branding & design loft in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY. (Two blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge.) Only 12 lucky people get a seat at The NY Brand Lab table.

Some of the topics for the day include:
9 Step-by-Step Secrets to Building a Brand: (Or, How to Avoid Falling into the Trap of Dead Brand Walking); How to rethink your brand so you matter to your audience; How to Define and Articulate what makes Your Brand Unique, Irresistible and Indispensible?…and more. It is well worth the investment of time and money – especially in this age of digital and media overload. The next available workshop is July 15, 2011.

Not only does Mary offer workshops, but she also does consulting, speaking engagements, events, radio and more. Contact her today for your free 15 minute consultation and get your brands blood pumping again!


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Interior Design: Digital Impact

Two weekends ago, I attended the Regional Directors Conference hosted by Fashion Group International in NYC. This years theme was
“Innovation + Entrepreneurship”.

One of the speakers from an amazing lineup was Interior Designer, Shawn Henderson. Shawn is a handsome, well spoken veteran in the business.

Shawn Henderson Interior Designs

Shawn remembers the days of weeks long shopping trip s through the streets of NY and Paris looking for that one particular piece. Not knowing if you were ever going to find it. Thus making a job last longer than needed. In today’s digital society, Shawn can do a whole house of 23 rooms  in 4 months. Yes –  in four months. Top to bottom. He will find you that exact piece you may be looking for or need to fit he room. How does he and his design team pull it off? Thanks to the internet and some savvy web sites, Shawn and his team can find what they need in a matter of hours sometimes minutes. Pinpointing who they need to reach out too.

Shawn shared with us some of his favorite sites for not only researching and finding the right pieces for each project, but also for design inspiration.

http://www.1stdibs.com/  is a great resource for art, antiques, furniture, lighting and more. The content is updated weekly. Maybe you need a pair of Early Pierre Paulin Little Tulip Chairs or an armchair from the 1930′s. With its refined search engine and specifics, you’ll most likely find it on 1stdibs.com and even possibly at a reduced price.

http://www.gilt.com is doing home decor. Here you’ll see design tips, great sales and inspiration.

A wonderful blog that his team enjoys and finds inspiration from is The Haystack Needle is a daily lifestyle blog devoted to finding that unexpected wow for your home, that perfect gift, that special something that makes a party or just makes you swoon. It’s a forum for Brooklyn-based home writer Jen Jafarzadeh. Maybe it is hermione the rhino found on http://www.etsy.com/ or a blog on a re-upholstered chair bought off of craigslist.org that his team finds and builds ideas and environments that keeps bring them clients.  http://www.thehaystackneedleonline.com/

Shawn Henderson Interior Designs

https://www.onekingslane.com offers free memberships and the weekend tag sales where you can pick up great pieces on a dime practically.

Offering Home Design, Technology, Green, children and Cooking, http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ , saving the world one room at a time (and also one of our faves) is another great inspirational blog. For example did you know you can touch up scuff marks on wood with a walnut? These and other great tips, tricks and design ideas can be found on http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/.

http://design-milk.com/is also another site which is best for it’s updated to the minute designs. What is hot and new? Design Milk is an online magazine dedicated to modern design run by Jaime Derringer. Their goal is to bring you what’s fresh and new in art, architecture, interior design, furniture and decor, fashion, and technology.

Design Milk has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Time Out New York, The San Francisco Chronicle, is one of the Google Engineers’ Staff Picks and a Twitter influencer in Art and Design. They  are also read by many entertainers, hundreds of retailers, magazine editors, and HGTV hosts and designers.

Design Milk is not a retail shop, nor do they sell anything from this website. They try to direct you to a website with every post, so that you can inquire directly. All of their funding comes from supportive advertisers, giveaway sponsors, and affiliate links used in posts. If you are interested in supporting their site, please click here.

Read more at Design Milk: http://design-milk.com/about/#ixzz1MA6dDFeR

Shawn Henderson:
Accolades: House & Garden Top 50 Tastemakers; House Beautiful 25 Young Designers,
Gotham magazine Գ Top 100 Designers
2009 Rising Stars of Interior Design by the International Furnishing and Design Association (IFDA);
Fashion Group International (FGI) nominee, Rising Star of Interior Design, 2009.
Internet Style Expert:  As a Design Director, spokesperson and blogger for eBay’s Home & Garden category,
Shawn identified emerging trends and explained how to mine the popular website as a design resource.
In the Public Գ Eye:  Shawn has appeared on the Today show, ABC, A&E and on TV

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