Planning and Showroom Pictures!

The last two months of work have been some of the most creative months yet. I kicked off September by traveling to Minneapolis, MN for a week to attend Assortment Meetings. This is a once-a-year gathering of all the Visuals, Merchants and Retail Market Managers. This trio of people are the main decision-makers of the showroom. We work very closely together to analyze business, dream of beautiful rooms and strive to combine the two in a way that grows the business while continually inspiring our customers. There's a lot of push-pull that happens between the three of us and I am so grateful to have really great working relationships with these two coworkers.

The week at Central (headquarters) is such a creative time for us Visuals to work with each other in a way we don't get to the rest of the year. We brainstorm and create new combinations, fresh looks and 'wow rooms'.

This all happens in a place called The Lab. Everything we carry is either in the Lab or on neatly organized shelves just outside. You can grab anything and bring it in, play with it, combine it with other things just to try something new, etc. It's brilliant! Really it's just a giant corner of a warehouse that has wall dividers and a concrete floor BUT that is the beauty of design...it's something you get to create, from the ground up.

This amazing, collaborative week is also very overwhelming! I've been with Room and Board almost a year; while I feel fairly well versed with our current assortment, learning all the 'new' condensed into a few days combined with the fact that I am not quite sure how this planning process works, left me feeling a little overwhelmed at the task ahead of me. 18,000 sq ft of showroom was just sitting there, waiting for me to make it beautiful-YIKES!

So the last two months, I've been locked away in our big conference room creating, wrestling through placements and balancing the aesthetic of our brand with the necessary influence of the numbers. Numbers don't lie but you can't fill a showroom with multiple presentations of the 'bread and butter' collections. It would be incredibly boring and one-toned in style.

My job, as the Visual, is to make our showroom sing. To create a journey for the customer through the spectrum of our aesthetic: classic, mid-century, core, and pure modern. To create an experience that leaves them wondering what's around the corner in the next room, positioning and combining things in a way that is attainable and inspiring.

From day one, my whole management team has said that the Visual's job is the hardest in the showroom. I think I'm starting to understand why. My success is measured by the condition of the showroom at any given time, the success/growth of our business, and the subjective taste of my visual boss and the higher ups. That is the hardest thing...ever. It is impossible to please everyone's aesthetic. Impossible, even within the guidelines they set up for us. My boss has one vision, I have another, our Director of Stores has her own-all of it falls within the given parameters but sometimes none of them are the same. Not to mention the 20 employees who need to stay inspired daily in order to try to sell it to the thousands of customers who walk through the space each week.

Its kind of big when you step back to look at it. I know it's the same for all of us when we look at our jobs this way...the sphere of influence is massive. This has been a good reminder in the midst of planning. A motivation to come out strong and put my best foot forward for my first floorchange! I cannot wait to see how it all turns out and I still have at least a month more of planning to do...hopefully my creative juices don't run out!

Here's a peek at what my planning room has looked like:

i can't even tell you how many erasers and sticky notes i've gone through!

Here's some photos of our showroom right now:

we just brought in these limited edition Roberta Allen prints!

another limited set of Lotta Jansdotter prints...so playful and fun!
some John Robshaw prints.

this is the very front of the store!

colorful kids dept!


Apartment Update!

Well, it has been embarrassingly long since I've posted anything and I have a lot up my sleeve! This fall has been full of travel for work and personal reasons that took me from Seattle to Minnesota to upstate NY! I have lots of pictures and stories to share. :)

First, I thought I would post a few pictures of my apartment. I haven't really posted any since the "empty" move-in pictures and while I still have a lot to decorate, I thought a few update pictures would be fun!

This is my darling little dining room! I bought my table off Craigslist from a really nice Christian girl and I think it's just the right size for the space.  :) The artwork on the back wall was a purchase from our art collection at Room & Board. It is actually a tool that was used to create prints in the silkscreen printing process. They have taken these, painted them (leaving some negative space) and re-purposed them as art pieces of their own! If you get up close there is a very fine silk screen that is stretched inside that frame. I loved the modern/industrial look of it mixed with the retro diner sign as the subject. :)

This my kitchen. It is just the right size for one person and the prints on the wall are Norman Rockwell. My maternal grandparents were big fans of Rockwell and I've grown up with a fond appreciation of his art. I am pleased to also be hiding a hideous looking breaker box behind the larger print-ha. The first month I was living here, I blew a fuse with my hairdryer and it took me 20 minutes to find that breaker box. I couldn't remember that I had hidden it; I suppose that was the point, huh?!

Here's my living room! I am missing quite a few items (i.e. coffee table, more lighting, several pillows, a chair, etc...) but its getting there. I am planning to paint a few of the frames in the collage, so that it feels a little more eclectic. The artwork is a piece I got at World Market years ago in Seattle. I love how many colors are in it!! The palette is broad enough to accommodate a lot of changes as my taste shifts. :) The drapes were an apartment-warming gift from my sweet sister and I couldn't be more thrilled with the ombre effect on these linen panels. The side table and tv console I picked up at Crate and Barrel's floor sample sale for a steal this summer; I still have some work to do on organizing all the movies on the floor. Perhaps a trip to my former employer, Pottery Barn, for a basket?! Still working on that one...ha. The rug is a Brazilian Brindle. LOVE the coloring!

It always takes time to get everything settled and I'm ok with that. I wasn't at first, but I started taking a money class 6 weeks ago and one of the things that Dave Ramsey says is that when you get out on your own, you immediately try to achieve the standard of living it took your parents 30 years to get to. So true! So I'm learning to be content, save my pennies and wait patiently.

More to come as I add items to my living room and bedroom. :)