Kitchen Design Blogging and Brand Relationships

Kitchen Design Blogging and The Brands I write about is the purpose of my post today. Why?
Because last night I attended the NY Cottages and Gardens First Annual Interior Design Awards Show, an addition to their popular CT C& G Annual  Design Awards for CT. It was a picture perfect beautiful night, although I’ve always thought that the fall in NYC  is magical and the nights breathtaking.So heres the scoopee (my favorite @tkpleslie, aka a Leslie Carothers word) regarding my writing, the brands and what the relationships are all about.

Harvard Club, NYC _ Beautiful room, Beautiful Ceiling.

Harvard Club, NYC _ Beautiful room, Beautiful Ceiling.


Holly Hunt- NY C&G IDAS 2013 Recipient for outstanding design and contribution to the design industry

Holly Hunt– NY C&G IDAS 2013 Recipient for outstanding design and contribution to the design industry

I attended this dinner as an invited guest of White Good, a well-respected PR/Marketing firm that represents Thos.Moser as well as several luxury kitchen and bath brands, all of which I’ve used for years in many projects. Over the past year I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many from their firm at a variety of events. They’re incredibly supportive and involved with my professional industry, the NKBA and the  Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, not to mention, they’re just fun to be with. Ummm , yes this is work but we are allowed to have fun.

Tamara Matthews Stephensen of NestNestNest, Rebecca Reynolds and Marissa Hann of White Good

Tamara Matthews Stephensen of NestNestNest, Rebecca Reynolds and Marissa Hann of White Good

This business is all about creating relationships, whether it’s between myself and a client, a manufacturer or someone you hire to help you with social media. I was clueless about social media until a year ago, almost to the date, when I hired Leslie Carothers, a designer in her first life and currently a talented and well-respected Social Media expert and someone I now call “friend”. Leslie helped me learn the SM ropes.I still have a long way to go. Last fall I was invited to BRIZO Fashion Week in NYC along with 18 other designers from around the country, now my Blogger19 girlfriends. These relationships are the single best thing that’s come out of this entire year. This past year I also joined Tobi Fairley’s Design Mastermind group. A group of woman who meet 3 -4 times a year in Little Rock, AK at Tobi’s studio to learn from her design and business background and it’s a safe forum where we all share invaluable design and business knowledge with one another. Again, the woman I’ve met here have been exceptional and multi talented and many I see quite often at various events.Every aspect of our personal and professional life is about creating and maintaining great relationships. What starts out as an online connection often becomes solidified when we meet at various events. This is also true with vendors we work with. I can talk to someone in a company whose been incredibly helpful to me for years and then you meet them at a trade show and they feel like an old friend. This past April I was asked to be a part of  Veronika Miller’s Modenus BlogTourNOLA, (they’re currently in London on another incredible design trip) Sharing New Orleans, a city I love with a group of design bloggers for a week was a fantastic experience, some I knew and others new relationships have formed.

As a working designer in an ever-changing industry, being involved in industry events, learning about what’s new and being knowledgable about product is essential to staying relevant and valuable to our clients. In the past couple years I’ve spent more time attending design related events, some on my own and many as an invited guest. What does that mean? It mean’s that I’m invited as a paid guest of a brand/s, whether it be a dinner, a seminar or a design trip. Essentially these brands are paying a group of working designers/bloggers to become more familiar and knowledgable to be able to speak and write intelligently about them. This is no different from any other type of marketing, it’s simply targeted to a select group of professionals that they feel are positioned in our industry to convey a positive message about their products to consumers. It’s that simple.
Today social media is THEE single major influencer for brands. It informs how and where  millions of consumers now get their information.
Smart, innovative and creative brands are recognizing that the old models of advertising aren’t as powerful. They understand the relevance of real working designers to specify and promote their products.
My reason for explaining all this is this. A year ago I made a commitment to myself as a new design blogger to only accept offers from brands that I’m already familiar with, have specified for projects in the past or for products that I truly want or need to learn more about to broaden my resources and my knowledge for my clients.This is the only way I can be sincere in what I write and the opinions I offer.
They’re mine, they’re original and it will remain that way for better pr worse. I can only speak for myself, but I personally know many reputable design bloggers who are also “working designers” and they approach their blogs with the same intention and integrity as I do. That’s it in a nutshell. So if I write about it paid or unpaid it’s my sincere , researched and informed opinion.

I decided to share this with you now because last night as everyone was getting seated at our table, I had a brief discussion with Martha Nishida, showroom manager for Thos.Moser’s NY Showroom. She was so gracious to compliment the post I wrote yesterday about Thos.Moser’s gorgeous hand crafted furniture. Martha commented that through my words she sensed my sincerity that I really loved their brand. It’s exactly the feeling I want my readers to feel. First, let me say that I honestly don’t know that anyone even reads my blog. I do it to so that I can become a better writer, a skill I was never particularly good at as a student, to inspire ordinary people like me about kitchen and bath design & planning, to educate consumers looking for valuable advice from “in the trenches” designers and to hone my writing skills hopefully for a book (an idea 10 years in the making) that I hope to begin working on soon. Researched writing is hard work, it’s an art, a practiced skill and takes alot of time, if done well.
I was very appreciative that she shared her impression of the post with me because it’s exactly why I do it, so Martha, thank you for reading!

As I was being jerked back and forth on the wobbly, late night train ride back to CT.

Tired feet from NYC

Tired feet from NYC

with aching feet, it got me thinking alot about my instinctive response to Martha.
Before I really kick this blog into first gear with more consistent writing, I wanted  to clarify why I’m writing this blog, the relationships between myself, my company , brands and how I approach it all.
The point ? To be sincere about what I write and to have others enjoy it or benefit from it in some way.

I apologize for the lengthiness of this but I hope it will shed a clear light on my future design journal and adventures.





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