Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Have you missed me?

I know I've been MIA from my blog lately, but it's not because I haven't been working. In fact, Lissa, Kara, Melissa and I have been working waaay too much! All that hard work paid off this past Saturday at our Invitation to Design workshop at the Dole Cannery Ballrooms. I am sooo tired and so glad it's over. It could not have gone any better!

To my amazement, there were 75 people standing in line before the doors opened at 8:15. We set up for 320 attendees, and we even had to bring in another table. In today’s economy, we were thrilled that so many people decided to spend most of their Saturday and their hard-earned money to attend.

I always start my workshops by sharing a little about my background. For the first time, I shared a few photos from my childhood in Pearl City. I wanted everyone to see the not-so-stylish home that I grew up in. From the boar head hanging in the living room to the Korean lacquer furniture to the water buffalo carving from the Philippines, yes, it was a very eclectic home...but not in a good way. (Sorry Mom and Dad!)

The energy from the audience was amazing—everyone really seemed focused and ready to learn. Early on I talked about putting textures and patterns together, then gave people a chance to work with their tables to try their hand at it. It was great to see how excited and involved everyone was. But that involvement is always heightened when there’s a prize on the line.

I am a total believer in games. I think that learning should always be fun, and adults love to play too! They key is to create a game that can be a fun learning experience. The first table to successfully put together their dream space with the materials at their fingertips—color fan decks, books of fabrics, samples of granite, carpet and wood flooring—plus complete a mock ‘mortgage application’ would win. The winning table was loaded with guys from American Carpet One! Each received a $100 gift certificate from Honolulu Lights.

Just before lunch, I introduced our presenting sponsors, Amy Kunz from The Honolulu Advertiser and Nelson Oyadomari from Primary Residential Mortgage. They were both so great to work with. Not to mention, they are both a lot of fun! Amy left her husband home to babysit so she could come with her mom. Nelson, who is such a clown, came up on stage dressed all in black except for a red napkin hanging out of his pocket—he said it was his pop of accent color!

The final part of the day was a segment on staging a home. We had a lot of Realtors and their clients there. As I was asking the audience questions, most everyone was responding...and with the right answers. I always love this part. I call it the part when the light bulb goes off—it's the moment when people realize that they are learning, and it does make sense, and they are really getting it, and maybe they can learn to decorate after all!

When the workshop was over, there was a line of people waiting to talk with me and give me a hug. That was when I really felt that all the hard work was worth it. Everyone was so sweet and their thanks so sincere. I was really touched. It made me feel special. It almost made me want to do another workshop...NOT!

Next: Moments that will make you say ‘Awww…’: the human side of the day.