Sunday, March 9, 2008

Shop til you drop

That’s exactly what we did yesterday at our Shop with Focus event at C.S. Wo! By 9:00 most everyone was there having pastries and coffee and dropping their entry cards for the $5000 shopping spree into our basket. Most people had uploaded enough photos or posted enough comments on this website to earn two or three entries.

Everybody wore a nametag, which was great because I was able to put faces to names. Everybody’s been making comments and posting photos and saying things in our surveys, so it was so nice to get to know them! Hearing their enthusiasm and their stories about what they learned at the workshop and how much they enjoyed it and started putting lessons into practice also really inspired me.

Unlike last month’s big workshop where there were 350 people and it was just a very crazy day with so much going on, so much I had to think about and prepare for, and plus I was sick, this session was much more intimate and relaxed. This was a much smaller group, only 50 people. I had the opportunity to personally meet most all of our participants and shake people’s hands and give them a hug and spend some quality one-on-one time, and that’s what I loved more than anything.

One participant told me that her fiancé could not believe she had to go to a seminar to learn how to shop! He said are you crazy? Why are women going to a seminar to learn how to shop? Isn’t that a natural instinct for women? She responded, no! I went to this workshop and learned a little, and now I want to learn some more!

I truly believe that with some simple tips and techniques, the outcome of a shopping experience can be completely different. I remember when I used to shop with frustration instead of focus.

We started out in the conference room, where I expanded on lessons from the workshop. I gave pointers on what to keep in mind and tips on how to prepare—how to really use your Style Kit workbook and organizer, make sure you have your inspiration pictures in place, fill out your worksheets and have your Style Sticky notes and everything ready to go.

Then it was time to move on to the hands-on lessons. We went down to the second floor and it was so cool—it was the March of the Style Kits! I felt like a bizarre Pied Piper! I yelled, come on everybody, let’s go shopping! Then I started down the stairs, I turned back and saw this sea of people carrying their Style Kits and I said you all look so fabulous! It was a very exciting moment for all of us at RSVPstyle to see our baby that we’ve been working on for so long finally in people’s hands and on their shoulders.

I used our first furniture grouping, a Contemporary Island setting with lots of textures, to talk about tone-on-tone elements and how and why things work and how to add to them. I was thrilled to see people nodding and learning—even Bub Wo, the president of C.S. Wo, who I spied at the back of the group, following along. Was I surprised!

In a more Island setting I gave tips for making decisions on dining and accent chairs. We wrapped up in the Ralph Lauren section, which I love. It’s classic, timeless, fresh, always exciting. I explained why it works and how people can integrate it into their own style.

It was time for our big $5000 drawing for a shopping spree! I introduced Bub Wo, who welcomed our group, and then I grabbed our basket. Bub and I stuck our hands in there and mixed and mixed the entries. I did not want to be the one to call the winning name. As I looked out upon everyone’s faces I saw a lot of people clasping their hands and closing their eyes as if saying a little prayer, so I knew it really meant a lot.

Bub announced Marion Heath. To my left I heard a scream and an Oh my goodness, it can’t be! Marian was so thrilled that her jaw literally dropped and I don’t think her mouth closed for five minutes. The look on her face was absolutely priceless. She was so prepared, she had her Style Kit on her shoulder and a camera on her neck and a backpack—she was raring to go.

She and her husband are building a home and she had come to our workshop and just loved it. I talked to her earlier in the day and she told me time and again how much she’s enjoying this process. She told me that for her to walk away as the big winner was the icing on the cake, because she had gotten so much out of the workshop. Her first thought was to call her husband and tell him the great news, but she decided to break the news in person because he would need to sit down. Lissa and I were so happy for her!

Afterward a small group followed Marion and me as I helped her shop. Everybody had their workbooks with their inspiration pictures, before-pictures and Style Stickies—it made it so much easier to guide them. That’s really what our Style Kit is all about—it’s a tool to help people focus and communicate with professionals they need to work with. Boy, did it work like a charm. RSVPstyle staff and C.S. Wo staff helped guide other participants, and the C.S. Wo people told me over and over how much of a benefit it was for them to have our people come in so prepared. Bub Wo thanked me and said how much he enjoyed the day, and he even said he learned a lot! That was a real compliment, coming from him!

People were all around shopping with their $100 C.S. Wo discount certificates and having a great time. It was a huge thrill for RSVPstyle as a company to see this turnout and make friends with everybody. It was great meeting people, making a connection, hearing people express appreciation and say they can’t wait for the next event.

Really the highlight of my day was meeting everybody. And Lissa and I talked at the end of the day about what a big success it was and how we’re both looking forward to our next event for RSVPstyle members!


I looked forward to Saturday with great anticipation of what I would learn with Cathy at our side leading the way through our shopping with purpose. I prepared by putting together everything I had learned from the seminar and what was detailed in our Style Kit. My expectations of that experience was met and then some. And that was before hearing my name called for the prize of $5,000worth of C.S. Wo furniture. My husband, Art was stunned when I told him later that evening.
The space I wanted to create for Saturday's experience of shopping was our Study. I had done my homework so when Cathy directed me to the Tommy Bahama desk/chair I was delighted realizing this could be a perfect fit. I brought Art to C.S. Wo on Monday for him to see more than the photos I took and to sit at the desk. He too was delighted.
We are going to start the process of building our new home and will be visiting the Costa Mesa store in May to make our final furniture choices. I will be posting the updates of the progress of the building of our home and the before & after of each space. Watch for "Home in the Ozarks" on the RSVP Style website. Though I will be thousands of miles away I know I will be connected to you, the community of Style Members. Your comments will be so appreciated.
Thank you Cathy and Lissa for your vision, guidance and support. You are have no idea how much you are helping me make a long time dream come true.