Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Decorating

Take a look at what our members sent us.

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS

"Making the Most of your Good Taste SM"

Wendy Pecikonis
Put in Place
Redesign, Ltd.

We want to hear from you. If you have some great decorating photos send them to us.

Do you have a good decorating tip? Send it to us.

Let's see what you can do.

Let your passion go and decorate!

Help You Decorating Business Grow By Volunteering

Volunteers help at local Cre-Act

POCATELLO — Two local small-business owners and a local goldsmith devoted part of their
weekends this summer to sprucing up the grounds of the Franciscan Cre-Act School.
Daphne Eline of Invisible Fence of Southeast Idaho and
and Myers-Anderson Architects and Amanda Penvidic, goldsmith for Jensen Jewelers, have
voluntarily spent a part of each weekend for the last couple of months working to spruce up the
grounds and promote the elementary school at 526 S. Grant Ave.

The three volunteers have been weeding, sweeping and pruning the grounds of the school.
“Someone came up to us at a booth and said how horrible the school looked,” says Eline,
parent of a child at the school. “We saw the school needed our help, so we stepped up to the

The volunteers have worked on several projects throughout the summer, whether they were
gardening and weeding or working with children at community events making paper plate

Principal Sister Janice Otis complimented the volunteers on their work.
The Franciscan Cre-Act Elementary School places a strong emphasis on the visual and
performing arts, providing creativity-conducive education and training to students from
preschool through fifth grades.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Decorating Business: Webinars - Newsletters and Blogs

Morning Coffee Break

Jump Start 2009

4 Part Webinar Series

Marketing Your Decorating Business: THE BASICS

This is a four part webinar series presented by The SDP for its Members as well as available to nonmembers. Learn the latest trends with newsletters, blogs, and how to be recognized online with or without a website to market your business for today’s consumers. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice or a pro with online marketing, you will to take away knowledge that you can use immediately. Each class will build on itself to the final class of putting it all together.

Plus there are additional bonuses not mentioned.

“What are the requirements to take a webinar?”
Your time, a computer, a headset (is handy so you can take notes and drink coffee).

Part 1:
– There are so many marketing communication vehicles available to us as small business owners, but none more important than the NEWSLETTER. Every small business should have one. Whether it is used to stay in contact and top-of-mind with current clients, or to build credibility, the newsletter is your most powerful marketing tool. Yet, some of us still haven’t tried a newsletter or kept up with their newsletter, or don’t realize they are not getting it.

: coffee, computer, headset to plug into your computer so your hands can be free, Constant Contact account (if you are not familiar with CC I recommend you spen
d some time on the site, set up and account, and if you need help you can email me -

Morning Coffee November 6th
, 12 pm EDT
(Encore) November 6th
, 8 pm EDT

Part 2: Blogs
– Anyone involved in small business marketi
ng has heard of a blog and an RSS feed as their popularity grows. Both can help you bring traffic to your website, which will help you make money. So, do you know how an RSS blog can help you get that traffic? This is very important to know, especially if you have a tight budget for marketing. It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

: Coffee, part 1 –Newsletters, headset, blog account (I prefer )

Morning Coffee November
13th, 12 pm EDT
(Encore) November 13
th, 8 pm EDT

Part 3: Newsletters and Blogs together
– how to make them work for your business using both together, and how to link to each other.
Link building is one of the biggest SEO tasks. It can often be confusing and difficult to come up with ideas of how to get started. We will break this down into small easy to handle bite size pieces.

: Part 1 and Part 2 because without these it will make no sense.

Morning Coffee November 20
th, 12 pm EDT
November 20th, 8 pm EDT

Part 4: Hello World!
– How can anyone find me? - I don’t have a website can I still have an online presence? I have a website and still no-one can find me. What is SEO, what keywords should I be using,

Part 1, 2, and 3

Morning Coffee December 4th
12 pm EDT
December 4th, 8 pm EDT

With today’s high tech knowledge, it’s imperative to make an online presence,
and simply just
having a website is not enough.

Home Accents Today along with HGTV has recently conducted a survey of “where do
consumers go to look for decorating information?” The results show consumers getting information
through TV programs ranking the highest, Magazines second, and the internet third at 60%.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Real Estate Staging A Vacant Property - Inexpensive Way to Make A TV

by jeff rice

I recently staged an awkwardly laid out vacant and it was obvious that I needed a prop to help answer the inevitable question... Where do I put the TV? Since I didn't have time to order a Box Prop, necessity became the mother of my invention.

So here's my quick and relatively inexpensive way to make a flat screen TV:
I started with a 24x36 horizontal poster of a beach scene (any photo free of captions or other wording would work). Then I framed it with a simple flat black poster frame without any edge detail. Now for a little light carpentry. Believe me, if I can do it, you can too!!! I used a jigsaw to cut an oval out of 1/2 - 3/4" plywood to serve as the base for my "flat screen" TV. I cut the base about 12" long and 8-10" wide. (A rectangle would work in a pinch). Next, I lightly sanded the edges of the base and sprayed with black paint (match finish to that on the frame). Let dry. Now I attached the frame to the base with small "L" brackets that were large enough for support but small enough to use
without screwing through the front of the frame or base. (I spray painted the brackets black to have them disappear once installed (see photo)). Voila... I had a TV prop.
For an added touch of free advertising, I stenciled part of my company name on the base of the frame to mimic a brand name (see photo). I suppose you could add other embellishments such as faux LEDs or buttons as you see fit. Finally, I added some felt pads on the bottom to protect my furniture. My seller was tickled with my solution and impressed with my creativity. Now we don't have to worry about buyers asking where to put the TV. I was able to buy all the supplies for this setup for less than $40 and I can reuse the frame later if needed.

Jeff Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Decorating Business Learns To Network With Contractors

“I had to learn to stick my neck out. I don’t consider myself to be good at sales, but decided I had to stop worrying about embarrassing myself.”

Sandy Knutson-Grebner of Look Again Interior Redesigns in Aurora, IL recently shared with us that 2008 has been her most successful year ever.

We asked Sandy what she attributed this year’s success to and she replied that she finally came to terms with the fact that even though she didn’t consider sales her strength, she has learned to overcome that fear and has adopted a “you have to ask for it to get it” strategy.

“I realized that the way I had been doing business wasn’t working – I placed ads and waited for clients to call me. My business wasn’t growing the way I wanted it to. In February, I came to terms with the fact that I had to do something different. I made the decision to be proactive about making connections. I called Realtors and asked them to lunch. I watched for signs on vehicles in parking lots and introduced myself to painters and other contractors. I figured if they rejected me, I wouldn’t see them again anyway… but I had to learn to stick my neck out.”

Sandy’s networking paid off -- several painting contractors routinely recommend her for color consultations and she’s built relationships that are consistently resulting in referrals and new clients. She is booking consultations and redesigns, despite the weakened economy!

And, just last week, one painting company asked her if she “would mind” working for 3 to 4 hours Saturday at their booth at the local home expo – because they wanted to advertise that “their color consultant” would be on-site! It was a win-win opportunity – the painting company paid for the booth and offered Sandy’s expertise as a value-added way to set themselves apart from other painters, while Sandy had an opportunity to build brand awareness for her services and leave with a handful of good leads for future business. Kindred spirit marketing at its best!

Look Again Interior Redesigns is almost to the 4 year mark – that point in the life of a company that Mary Carol Garrity, renowned retailer, author and 2008 SDP Conference keynote speaker, mentioned as being the “golden” time where business owners usually see their hard work pay off and profits grow. We congratulate Sandy on her success and hope that her story motivates you to “stick your neck out”.

Sandy Knutson-Grebner is an SDP Charter Certified Member with certifications in Redesign and Staging.

To contact Sandy:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Clever Decorating With Recycled Items

Although I tell everyone that I have a love of simple, modern styles of decorating, I must confess a tendency to be attracted to anything that glitters.

I loved the silver trays and platters that we styled with at

the SDP Conference and when Mary Carol Garrity from told us that her "foot soldiers of decorating" were silver trays I instantly understood. Recently, when strolling the local art fair, these glittery gems certainly caught my eye. What a great way to recycle old trays and mirrors.

The artist was a lovely lady called Diane who's company is

Also, at the same fair, Lori Rosenberger from recyled everyday items into beautiful pieces of jewelery. She finds cracked and chipped china and reshapes it into bracelets, necklaces and other items.

Look out for clever decorating ideas using recycled items and please let me know where to find them. Happy hunting....Annie

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Marketing Your Decorating Business In A Gloomy Economy

by jeff rice

If you aren't utterly depressed, just turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper and indulge your senses in the abundance of negativity that is vomited daily by the world's media. Oh...they drizzle in a measure of "feel good" from time to time; just enough to keep you dangling on the edge of slitting your wrists. But the glass is more often half empty than half full.
Seems like all we're hearing is the gloom and doom stories coming from ever tighter credit markets, banking blunders and government indecisiveness. We watch as huge companies falter and wonder what on earth we, as small business men/women, can possibly do to save our own necks.
So here's my four-step plan to weather this downturn and keep my sanity.
The first thing I'm trying to do is turn off the news (and put down the paper). Enough negativity already!
Next, I remind myself that one of the beauties of being a small business is that I can adapt more quickly to changing business conditions. Size DOES matter and BIGGER isn't always better.
Then it's market, market, market! Studies have shown companies that weather economic downturns are those that continue their existing level of or even increase advertising. Now more than ever, people are looking for products and services perceived as bargains or that help save money. Just because the economy is in the "crapper" doesn't stop people from wanting things. If I'm not advertising, prospective clients don't know I'm here and how I can help! Now's the time to put my skills as a "Guerilla Marketer" to work! (In case you've never heard that term, read the book Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson.)
Lastly, I truly believe in The Secret, The Power of Positive Thinking, Who Moved My Cheese, or whatever literary label you want to put on it. Positive attitudes affect positive outcomes. If I believe everything I read or hear that may or may not negatively impact my business, I might as well shut the doors now. Not that I have to completely ignore the bad news. But, I have a I react to the news.
So, let's believe in ourselves and our businesses. We are poised to take advantage of a slower economy. SDP lets us network with others in the industry for support. We're all in this together. This too shall pass!


Jeff Rice
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Sunday, October 5, 2008

5 Success Tips For Your Decorating Business

I have had one of the most relaxing weekends in years. I went on a date with my husband, tried out a great recipe from The SDP cookbook we received at conference, and worked on my book. Now that we have the added expertise of Denise Montgomery and Marleen Prater, to handle the day to day operations of The SDP, the original four SDP Board Members, have something we haven’t had in a long time…free time. This new found time allows us the opportunity to brainstorm on new ideas for The SDP and also to pursue some of the things we put on hold 3 years ago when we launched the organization. It also has given me time to take a hard look at my own business and life. The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is juggling all the details of both the professional and personal parts of your life. And I don’t know about you, but it seems the professional often beat out the personal in an attempt to benefit the people who rely on me. I realized that I have been doing exactly what I tell my students not to do, I have been letting my business run me…not me running my business. So from one entrepreneur to another, let me share some success tips for your business and your life.

  1. This is a JOB! This is not your life and don’t let it become your life. Look at your business with clear eyes and determine what needs to change so you receive a regular paycheck. Yes, I said a regular paycheck, pay you and then pay your business. This might mean you can’t run that ad or update your business cards, but pay yourself something.

  1. This is a JOB! This isn’t a typo, this is a job and you need to treat it like one. Begin with determining your schedule. You may plan on working part time or full time…determine what the hours actually are. Pretend you have to punch a time clock and even if you don’t have client appointments scheduled, then devote that pre-scheduled time to work on other elements of your business.

  1. Re-evaluate your pricing. Don’t set your prices only by looking at what your competitors charge; determine what your overhead and profits need to be. Take into account all of your cost of doing business and then add to that, your profit margin.

  1. You don’t have to do it all yourself! Most of you started your business because you love what you do, but then probably discovered there are so areas that you don’t feel comfortable with or simply despise doing. Determine what you can make the most money doing…and do it. Farm out some of your other responsibilities, such as a bookkeeping business to make sure your taxes are filed on time and your books are completely up to date. It is worth every penny as it allows you more time to focus on building your business.

  1. Remember this is Fun! Don’t lose the joy in what you do. How blessed you are to have this natural talent and ability to create beauty. After 30+ years in this business, I still get giddy when I apply some creativity to a room and create that element of surprise or “I never would have thought of that!” But find the joy all around you. On Friday, I was out in the woods with 4 of my grandchildren going on an adventure. We were in our “Gator” a vehicle geared to driving off road. Well, we got stuck and in the process of trying to get out, we got very muddy. But the five of us laughed hard about how we looked and ended up calling “Papa” (my husband) to come and rescue us. We took a bad situation and found the joy, and the kids will be talking about it for a long time. My first instinct that day was I should be working, but I would have missed out on a great day of joy! Don’t sacrifice time with friends and family, they are what matters, not the business. Work hard when you need to and play hard when you can!

Have a great week! Joyfully, JoAnne