Sunday, January 23, 2011

The gang’s all here and we’re so excited, we’re off to Vegas for the Winter Furniture Market at World Market Center! This is the biggest crew ever going from our companies. Kara’s joining me again, and this time so is Caty, our creative director, and Chelsey, our showroom manager. Lissa and Mari are holding down the fort back home, and I know they’ll be waiting for their lucky chocolate coins!

As you know, Las Vegas Market is an enormous showcase of hot new trends in interior design, furniture and accessories. For me this is the most exciting market ever, because we’re going with two purposes: first, to find the latest, greatest, hottest home accessories for our Cathy’s Marketplace showroom, and second, to find items for our Cathy’s Marketplace concept house.

What’s this about a concept house? Generally we don’t take on private projects, but some friends needed help outfitting their home, and with our showroom opening soon, we decided why not design a concept house and outfit it with items from as well as things we’ll also be selling in our new showroom?

Boy, do we have a huge task ahead of us. And we’re getting the keys to our showroom next week, so we have to make it a whirlwind trip. We’re flying out on tonight’s red-eye on Hawaiian Airlines, arriving at Las Vegas at 6:30 in the morning, dropping our luggage off and going straight to the market to work the show.

We’ll be scouting and shopping all day Monday and Tuesday and coming home on Wednesday. I think Kara, Caty, Chelsey are in for a great bonding experience—especially since we’re cramming into one hotel room. Hey, the budget’s going toward the new showroom. A company’s gotta do what a company’s gotta do!

Wish us luck, and we’ll keep you posted from Las Vegas. And now we’re off. Yeah baby, Vegas, here we come!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The cutest young retailers

Thankfully, the rain gods were smiling down upon us yesterday for the Sony Open, and no one was more pleased than my daughter Nicki. You see, one of the benefits of living on Waialae Golf Course is she’s able to have some fun and make some money selling drinks and treats from our back yard.

Bright and early Sunday morning, she was joined by cousin Megan and her friend Emma. They sold coffee, iced tea and iced bottled water and gave away free donut holes to anyone who bought a beverage for $1.50. Later the girls slashed the price to $1 to drive up sales.

They did all of this with a smile, and just as Mama taught, said “Thank you for doing business with me!”

One tip I did have to give them as throngs of golfers were walking by, which is also an important tip for retailing, is to catch the attention of your audience or clientele. So I told Nicki to create a little visual display, which she did by setting up a little table and chairs so her stuffed animals could have a tea party.

Sure enough, this cute display caught the attention of passersby, which allowed them to see the beverages for sale.

The girls tied in their visual display, their marketing prowess and of course a cute smile and a bright “Good morning!”

Good going, girls!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A chance encounter and a real-life tip

Recently I was at PHF looking at commercial carpeting for our new showroom, and I ran into Dennis and Florence Long, a really nice couple who were there to shop for some upholstery fabric. It turned out Florence had attended one of our workshops!

Florence told me how much she learned and was inspired. She showed me how they came prepared with photos of their space to help in their selection, just as I had taught. In looking at her photos and the direction they were going in, of course I couldn’t help but add my two cents! :)

Here’s a tip I want to share with all of you. The situation that we have here is the Longs are reupholstering their beautiful but slightly weathered sofa. They know they want to tie in the new fabric with the area rug beneath the sofa, which is two shades of blue. The fabric they were looking at was another blue that would tie in nicely with the area rug.

This is something I see all the time: My suggestion to the Longs was to remember our 60-30-10 rule. They were tying in with the dominant color in their space: blue area rug, blue accents in art throughout the room. If blue is already the dominant color, I told the Longs, a very large furniture piece like the sofa should tie in to a secondary color.

I noticed a subtle gold line running through the area rug and suggested that instead of a blue sofa on the blue area rug, which would have made the middle of the living room look like a giant swimming pool, why not instead pick up on the gold and make that the secondary color, and accent with some blue and brown pillows?

Here’s the fabric I recommended. It’s a color they won’t get bored with over time, it’s neutral, and it won’t leave visitors to the Longs’ house thinking, wow, they really do love blue.

I also recommended that they reupholster the side barrel chairs in a coordinating fabric that has some gold but also blues and browns in it, and they can also use the same fabric as accent pillows on the sofa.

This coordinating fabric has a subtle abstract feeling. You can almost see light waves, which will tie in with the eclectic island style the Longs want to go in.

They were thrilled to death and I was thrilled to help them. Design dilemma solved, and I’m off again to get back to sorting out the design dilemmas of our showroom!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We're opening a showroom!

Are you ready for the news we've been dying to tell you? It's official: We are opening a Cathy's Marketplace showroom, and the countdown has begun!

Our target opening date is the end of February. The space is the circular, glass-fronted first floor of the landmark Varsity Building on University Avenue. We'll have 4,000 square feet to showcase luxury home items consigned to as well as hot, new and unique finds for your home that I think you'll love.

So I gathered together some experts and subcontractors whose help I'm going to need to transform this outdated space that once housed a bank into our showroom. We just had a walk-through on Thursday and boy, do we have design challenges ahead of us!

We'll be figuring out beautiful ways to showcase many of the beautiful items you see for sale at, and we'll also have a Style Center where you can get inspired and learn. And believe it or not, there's already a stage in the middle of the showroom that will come in very handy, because we'll be videotaping our Shop with Focus segments there along with lots of other clips to teach, inspire and entertain you.

Stay tuned to this blog and to for more details. Plus I'll be sharing with you our design challenges and how we overcome them. Wish us luck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year, everyone!

What better way to start a new year and a new decade than with a once-in-a-lifetime date like 1/1/11? Talk about new beginnings!

I've just come home from a New Year's visit with my mother-in-law, followed by a movie with Nicki and Darrell. We're still recovering from the party we threw last night with my family and a few friends from Canada. It was a small but fun-filled evening ... the grown-ups with our champagne and our kids with their chilled apple cider in champagne flutes!

Now, reflecting at home in the quiet of New Year's Day and reflecting on the past year, I've made my New Year's resolution: I'm going to do a much better job of blogging! I promise!

I know I've been remiss, and as usual it's because things are going a mile a minute with RSVPstyle, and a new venture I'll tell you about very shortly.

In the meantime, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support in 2010 and to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, successful 2011. May we all have a truly wonderful year!