BUSINESS OF SUCCESS

BUSINESS OF SUCCESS

Doing what you love is easy, growing a business is difficult.  But if you want to be in business for many years, then you need to pay as much attention to business and marketing as the part you love.  Here are my 3 tips to take your business from zero to hero in no time.

  1. Treat your business like a job.  Most of you will begin working from home. This can be fabulous in many ways but it is also easy to be distracted. Set up your schedule, find a dedicated place in your home for an office space, (size doesn’t matter) and don’t get distracted by the laundry or other things that call your name. In the beginning, you will invest a great deal of “non-billable” hours as you work on your website, business plan, resource, and vendor list.
  2. Be realistic about profits.  Most businesses will take 12-18 months before you really start making money. Don’t get discouraged and give up.  You need to build credibility and create a demand.  This is going to be hard work but look at me…40+ years later and I am still in business.  Decorating, color, and staging are services you can offer for many years.
  3. Create a Marketing Plan and work it- I hope you realize how lucky you are to have all these great marketing opportunities at your fingertips…for free. I have spent hundreds of thousands over the years on advertising and you don’t have to do that.  Create a marketing plan that is comprehensive and easy to work.  A mix of online presence combined with FaceTime (i don’t mean Facebook’s version) to meet potential clients and help them get to know who you are and why they can’t live without you. If you need help creating a Kick Butt Marketing Plan, we can do that for you.

5 COLOR QUICK TIPS

5 COLOR QUICK TIPS

Five Color Tricks Everyone Should Know

By JoAnne Lenart-Weary-Color Expert

Color is the building block of any beautiful room and can make or break a space. The furniture can be fabulous, but if it is in a color story you don’t like, it will never make you happy.  The architecture may be amazing but painted in a color that makes you cringe…oh vey!

For over 40 years ago, I have had the pleasure of helping people create beautiful homes for selling and dwelling. At the beginning, my color expertise was based on my own “good eye for color” and let’s be honest…my personal preferences. I soon understood I needed to create color harmonies that touched my client, visually and emotionally. It wasn’t about me…not in the least.  So here are ten of my color tricks I have used all these years that have helped me delight my clients.

  1. What is your favorite Color?  The question you should never ask…because it doesn’t clarify a thing.  When I say red, you may visualize a rich warm red, a cool vibrant red or a neutralized red.   Perhaps green is your buzz color, is it an earthy green, a blue-green or a yellow-green?  Define and clarify to find your jumping off color point in a room.
  2. Establish the Ratio- Multiple rooms could have the same color story but feel completely different, because of the way the color was proportioned in the space. We all have heard the 60-30-10 guideline. This simple use of 3 colors works time and time again, as it is easy on the eye.  If your jumping off point is red, will it be the dominant, secondary or accent color?  By simply changing the proportion of the color, you can completely change the overall feel of the room, visually and emotionally.
  3. Marry the Colors-Whatever your color story, something needs to make the color story make sense. That may be a rug, piece of art, textiles or furniture. By marrying the colors, the color story seems purposeful and intended. Look at these décor elements from Wayfair to see how they could help establish a color palette.
  4. Use Value like Mother Nature-Color has 3 elements, Hue, (the color family) Saturation, (the intensity) and Value. (the light or dark aspect of a color) When you look at a strip of colors in a paint store, they are typically lighter colors at the top of a strip leading to darker versions of the same color in the same strip. If you look outside, (unless covered by snow) Mother Nature used the deeper or darker values at ground level, leading up to light values in the sky. The transition from ground to sky, is interspersed with dark and mid-values in tree branches and flora colors.  Use the same concept in your space, by keeping darker values low, such as floor colors, furniture, etc. But create balance with dark touches, such as darker frames, art or cabinetry.
  5. Do the Unexpected-We have all heard it before, small room, you must paint it light. Or a dark room must be painted in light colors.  Whoa, hold on there, do whatever you darn well please.  My kitchen is small and one small window that faces north…it is always dark. But I painted my cabinets black and opted to go for contrast, as I needed to turn on the lights whether my kitchen cabinets were white or black.  I use the classic combination of black and white with buffalo check wallpaper and black cabinets. The unexpected resulted in a much more interesting space.

     

    There is so much more I would love to share but I hope these five points will help you approach color selection with more confidence.  If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at joanne@thejlwcompany.com.

WEBINAR-BECOME A DECORATOR

WEBINAR-BECOME A DECORATOR

Do you love creating beautiful spaces?  Do you walk into a friend’s house and instantly want to rearrange?  Do friends and family always call on you for some decorating help?  Then let’s talk about how to turn your talent and love for decorating into a business. 

Join JoAnne Lenart-Weary for this informative webinar, February 7, 2019, at 7pm ET. It will explore how the decorating world is on fire, and new decolebrities are being discovered everyday.  Let the next one be you. 

Register Now

BUSINESS QUICK TIPS

BUSINESS QUICK TIPS

Doing what you love is easy, growing a business is difficult.  But if you want to be in business for many years, then you need to pay as much attention to business and marketing as the part you love.  Here are my 3 tips to take your business from zero to hero in no time.

  1. Treat your business like a job.  Most of you will begin working from home. This can be fabulous in many ways but it is also easy to be distracted. Set up your schedule, find a dedicated place in your home for an office space, (size doesn’t matter) and don’t get distracted by the laundry or other things that call your name. At the beginning, you will invest a great deal of “non-billable” hours as you work on your website, business plan, resource, and vendor list.
  2. Be realistic about profits.  Most businesses will take 12-18 months before you really start making money. Don’t get discouraged and give up.  You need to build credibility and create a demand.  This is going to be hard work but look at me…40+ years later and I am still in business.  Decorating, color, and staging are services you can offer for many years.
  3. Create a Marketing Plan and work it- I hope you realize how lucky you are to have all these great marketing opportunities at your fingertips…for free. I have spent hundreds of thousands over the years on advertising and you don’t have to do that.  Create a marketing plan that is comprehensive and easy to work.  A mix of online presence combined with Face Time (i don’t mean Facebook’s version) to meet potential clients and help them get to know who you are and why they can’t live without you. If you need help creating a Kick Butt Marketing Plan, we can do that for you.

BOOKCASE STYLING-PART 1

BOOKCASE STYLING-PART 1

I think our strength at How to Decorate and Stage brings to the table, is our ability to create easy to follow systems. For example, when I began teaching Interior Redesign 20 years ago, I spent a year analyzing spaces until I saw patterns emerge that resulted in a perfect room every time. Now let me show you our great Bookshelf Styling System-easy as V, X, Z.

1. First of all, determine the purpose of the shelves. Do they serve as a home library to showcase purely books, or is it a decorative and functional space composed of books and decorative elements. For our purpose, let’s talk about the latter. To start the process, just like redesigning a room, empty the shelves to work with a clean canvas. As you do so, sort so all the books are together, photos together, accessories together, etc.

2. Easy as A-B-C…well actually V-X-Z. Determine your anchor piece or pieces by placing largest items first. Create a V, X, or Z, either upright or inverted, with your anchor pieces and build from there. Your core anchor piece should be placed in the power zone area at about 54” from floor to center. The eye will be drawn here first.

Adjust shelf heights so you create an interesting composition. Create further interest by wallpapering or painting the back of your bookcase.  If you are unsure of something that permanent, cut foam core boards to size, then wrap or paint,  and pop in to create an interesting background. Make the foam core multi-purpose by making each side a different color or fabric to change with the seasons.

 

Watch for Part 2 for more ideas and insight.

 

GETTING STARTED WITH STAGING

GETTING STARTED WITH STAGING

Home Staging was once reserved for the luxury or high-end home…but those days are gone.  Today’s buyer expects to see a house looking and smelling its best.  Real estate magnate and Shark Tank favorite, Barbara Corcoran, says it best. I teach all around the country and everywhere I see the demand for staging on the rise.  If you are considering starting your own business or adding staging to your list of services, it is a great way to go.

My top 3 tips for starting a staging business are:

  1.  Realtors are not your only market.  Face it, they hear from people like you all the time.  All you need are a few active agents to jump start your business and then also work the FSBO market. For Sale by Owner (FSBO)  is a large market of people trying to maximize their profits by avoiding agent fees…but they desperately need the advice of someone like you.
  2. Position yourself as an Expert. Offer free presentations either in conjunction with a local agent or geared to the DIY FSBO market. Building credibility through presentations, social media and blogging can help potential clients believe in your value.
  3. Staging is not a one size fits all package.  Each price range and location will have different expectations. Spend time exploring comps so you know how high or low the bar should go based on location, price point and target market.

 

3 POINTS TO PERFECT COLOR

3 POINTS TO PERFECT COLOR

Color is fabulous…and terrifying! It is the foundation of every great space and also, the easiest place to make mistakes. Whether you are selecting a color for a client or your own home, you need to establish the parameters. Here is our quick 3 point approach to color selection.
1. Understand the job description of the color.
Are you trying to make the room look larger, smaller, cozy or sophisticated?  Do you want the colors to advance or recede? Are you selling or staying in the house…you need to establish the color’s job before you can create the perfect palette. Your color choices will change contingent on its purpose.

2. Know where you or your client prefers their color.
Do they like to be surrounded by it or prefer pops of color?  Do they prefer contrast or blending?  Do they like it in the Function, Power or Skyline Zone? Color is like hot fudge sauce on a sundae…do you want a lot or a little?

3. Establish Saturation not Hue Preference.
Hue doesn’t matter, it is the version of a hue your client prefers that will help you move forward.  In other words, to say blue is my favorite color creates confusion.  But if your client says I love a grayed, soft blue, it will help you better visualize the blue she prefers and the other colors you can mix and match.  That is why we created the Confident Color Profile test to help you in 3 minutes understand your client’s color preference.

Want to know More?  Then take one of our amazing color classes or webinars.

Certified Confident Color System (live or online)
This powerful class is an in-depth look at the color selection process.  From the initial color consultation to identifying undertones, understanding color’s impact and turning it into a lucrative business or service, this class has it covered.  Taught in a 2 day live or 4 week online version, this class is a don’t miss. Learn more.

TOP 3 SUCCESS TIPS FOR DECORATORS

TOP 3 SUCCESS TIPS FOR DECORATORS

Creating beautiful rooms is an art and a science.  If you are decorating your own room, you can be overwhelmed with the possibilities.  If you are decorating for a client, it is easy to get so involved with the aesthetics that you forget to address the function needed.  Let’s begin with my Top 3 tips.

  1.  Know the client.  If you are a professional, then the client isn’t you and don’t get caught up in thinking your style is the be all to end all.  Take the time to get to know your client’s needs, wants and wishes.  I developed the Confident Consultation for exactly that reason to know how to gather information.
  2. Don’t be a cookie-cutter Decorator.  Have you been in business for a while?  Do you take the time to review your after photos?  Do you have a Tell?  A tell is that little thing unique to you that you bring to the table.  A Tell has lost many a poker player money. A tell will be the thing that tells the world you did the job. Your tell could be ship lap or painted ceilings…anything you repeat often enough it loses its special quality.
  3. Stay ahead of the trends. Don’t deliver the trend du jour…be better than that.  Read industry magazines, attend To the Trade only markets, and subscribe to shelter magazines and catalogs that may not appeal to your own style. Get creative in the way you blend existing elements with new decor, fabrics, and color.

Ready to learn more…check out our Classes and Webinars.

DODIE’S PIEROGI

DODIE’S PIEROGI

Sometimes you just have to eat comfort food. In my world, comfort means my Eastern European DNA  demands Pierogi.  At our house, almost every celebration means Pierogi on the table. No, not those fake Mrs. T things, but the real handmade, roll them out, boil until they float to the top, fry them in butter…Pierogi. If you always wanted to make them…it is not difficult. Who is Dodie? That’s the personal me…the family nickname.  If someone calls me Dodie, they are either related or have known me since we were children.

So here is the recipe for “Dodie’s” Pierogi. Plan on a fair amount of time, particularly if you are new at this.  It is even better with a friend or two, as an assembly line makes it go faster. The Process is Roll, Fill, Seal, Boil, Fry, Eat. 

Filling
5 lbs of potatoes
1-2 containers of cottage cheese
1 stick butter
Salt and Pepper
Boil Potatoes, add a bit of chicken bullion to water for more flavor.  Once cooked, mash with butter, salt and pepper, then add 1-2 containers of cottage cheese.  Parsley is also a great addition.

Note: There are a variety of options for fillings…just Google for options.  Our family loves potato and cheese!

Dough
8 cups of flour
6 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
1-2 cups water

Process:

Cut eggs into flour and salt with a knife. Add water until all ingredients stick together.  Knead on floured surface until firm.  Add more flour if too sticky.  Cover dough with bowl and let rest 10-20 minutes. Then roll into about 4″ circles.  Fill with potato filling, fold in half, then seal with a fork. Drop into boiling water, (add bullion to water for flavor if you like) until they float to the top for a minute or so.  Drain on kitchen towel.  Melt butter in frying pan, saute onions and brown pierogi.  You will have enough filling left to add a dollop to the plate if you like more filling.  Many like sour cream on the side as well.  Enjoy!

P.S. Please don’t ruin them by deep frying.  On another note, some like to eat the boiled ones without frying.  Eat after boiling and then pour melted butter over them. Pan fried is still my favorite.

 

LAST THURSDAY DIY SERIES…yes, it’s free

LAST THURSDAY DIY SERIES…yes, it’s free

Join JoAnne Lenart-Weary and guests online the Last Thursday of each month for fun and informative webinars geared to the beginning and DIY decorator.  Each month we will focus on a different facet of the decorating process.  From getting started to holiday decorating, join us for this fun and FREE event.  Register now.

TOPICS:

  • Discover your Decorating DNA
  • Seasonal Decorating Ideas on a Budget
  • Measurements you should Know
  • Colors and Trends

Register once and get a reminder each month.

START UP TIPS FOR NEW DECORATORS AND STAGERS

START UP TIPS FOR NEW DECORATORS AND STAGERS

The field of interior decorating and its various niches, such as Home Staging and Color Consultations, are in hot demand.  HGTV, DIY, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and more have created an unprecedented interest in the art and science of decorating. As you watch today’s “Deco-lebrities” transform a room in an hour, it seems fun and exciting and can send a confusing message.  For any of you in the business, you know this is hard work…but so gratifying. It takes more than talent to grow a clientele and a successful business. Enjoy our tips that will help you go from aspiring to established.

1. Start building content on social media and a blog.
Even if you are still in the simply curious stages, start building online credibility with content.  When you are ready to launch your business, you will have pre-established your connection to the industy.  Credibility is important so your future clients feel like they can trust your abilities.

2. Find your trades people.
You will need access to multiple contractors, electricians, painters, and more.  Start building that list now by asking friends and family who they would suggest. Talk to your local building supplies store and ask them for references. Also, take the time to build relationships with them. I can’t tell you how many jobs I have scored over the years, that were referred by my painter or electrician.

3. Find Vendors.
When you begin, you may focus on retail shopping for your client. But as your business grows, you will want to acquire to the trade only and wholesale vendors. This will allow you to make more money and also provide your clients with unique resources. Subscribe to industry magazines like Furniture Today and Home Accents Today. If you have the opportunity attend a Trade Show like AmericasMart in Atlanta or Las Vegas Market.

4. Get Organized.
Face it…if you are a creative, there is a good chance that you are not very organized.  It is the nature of the beast. In the early years, I cheated myself out of money by losing receipts, not having an ordering and tracking system, and losing samples.  In today’s digital world, it is somewhat easier but there will still be a paper trail and samples that will need to be tracked.  Create a separate office area that doesn’t have to double as the dining room table, if possible.  Have places to store samples and use vinyl see through pouches to keep paint, fabric, and flooring samples for each client.  I actually placed them in a 3-ring binder alphabetically by client. 

 5. Remember, this is your business…but you work for them. 
Your job is to create beautiful rooms and if that was all…it would be so easy.  But you have to deal with people and that can be a challenge. You will have to adapt your conversation and presentation style to fit the client. Remember the old adage, God gave you 2 ears and 1 month, so listen twice as much as you talk. Often times our creative brains get in the way and the wheels start spinning.  In the process, we forget about that communication and connection with the client.  Really hear what they say and create a room that delights them…this isn’t about you. 

6.  Don’t be afraid to fire a client. 
Watch for red flags that could signal a tough client. Don’t let the seduction of being paid for a job get in the way of your peace of mind.