A Special Event Celebrating How Salesforce Helps Us Help Our Customer

One of the tenets at the heart of Room & Board’s Guiding Principles, and one which impacts the job of each Design Associate on a daily basis, is the commitment to recognizing the unique experiences, perspectives and talents of our team members. For some, this translates into additional responsibilities as a Business Interiors Liaison, Design Center Liaison, Marketing and Branding Liaison or liaison to virtually any aspect of the business which serves to enhance our work environment, showroom presentation or customer experience. For me personally, I’ve helped to bridge the initial gap between my prior experience in event planning and my role as a Design Associate by assisting in the execution of in-store events.

Events at Room & Board result from cross-branding opportunities and while always fun and exciting, in the midst of celebrating book publishings, trends in menswear for the fall season and local restaurateurs, it’s rare that Room & Board has the opportunity to bask in its fair share of the spotlight. Several weeks ago however, I was lucky enough to be present for just that sort of occasion.

This past May, the Atlanta market hosted a reception for customers of the Salesforce Corporation. Salesforce, in their own words, is the “innovative company behind one of the world’s leading CRM platforms and as it turns out, Room & Board is one of their best customers! As such, our own Kimberly Ruthenbeck, Director of Web Experience was invited to speak at the reception to an audience of over 75 about the success we’ve experienced working with Salesforce over the past seven or so years.

It wasn’t until I caught sight of a small AV team erecting an 80’’ monitor in our showroom that I became fully aware of how important the presentation would be to the reception program. We’re talking headlining attraction and at that point; my anticipation for the event was significantly heightened. Shortly after beginning to welcome the attendees to our showroom, I heard introductions being made over a microphone and as quickly as I could (which was not quickly at all) I made my way through the crowd towards where the presentation had begun to take place. Long story short – I missed it! Well, most of it anyways! Between pausing to speak with guests, weaving my way around other guests rendered statue-like by their attentiveness and periodically darting about the showroom to pick up and dispose of precariously placed pates and sweating cocktail glasses, I could barely make out more than four or five consecutively strewn sentences.

Luckily for me, I was able to view an exceptionally well-produced video which highlights exactly what it was that had so thoroughly captured everyone’s attention that night. My teammates and I found this video to be truly inspiring and believe that it perfectly communicates Room & Board’s philosophy on customer service which is of course, what Room & Board is all about. Hopefully this video inspires you as well!

http://www.salesforce.com/customers/stories/room-and-board.jsp

Job Longevity, does it still exist?

In most work environments, employees come and go. In today’s job marketplace, staying with a company for a year or two has become commonplace versus 30 years ago when workers stayed with their company for decades. The many recessions that the U.S. has experienced over the past three decades, starting with the Gulf War in the early 90s, the Dot Com bust, Sept. 11th, and the Great Recession have created a corporate culture of not wanting long term employees. Employee loyalty has been eroded in part by the transition of defined pension benefits to Cash Balance and 401K plans. While employees no longer plan to stay with a company long term due to pension considerations, this has also increased flexibility for employees’ career mobility.

Room & Board, having always marched to the beat of a different drum, has altered that now common career plan of staying a couple of years and moving on. For the most part, Room & Board staff members are in it for the long term. While our pension 401K plans are inviting, with a generous match that enhances staff members’ retirement funds, the allure to stay is in the culture and respectful work environment that are highly valued and increasingly rare in corporate America.

Our flexible work schedules, holiday pay, and generous vacation time are only small enticements to make Room & Board a great place to work. For Design Associates, our passion for design, meeting new people every day and making meaningful connections and creating amazing spaces for customers is what keeps us happy where we are. The benefits package is just cream on the top.

Equality for All

“At Room & Board we believe in equality for all.” This was the leading sentence of a recent company announcement regarding our disappointment of the passage of HB2 in the North Carolina General Assembly. The HB2 law sets a statewide definition of classes of people who are protected against discrimination and it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. We shared our public statement on the issue with the Governor of North Carolina, the members of the General Assembly as well as our North Carolina upholstery partners, mill partners and others with which we do business. Our hope is that they formulate their own statement to support the repeal of HB2. Our company does that.

At the store level, we’ve also recently changed the designation of our 4th floor bathrooms so that both are gender neutral. Our customers deserve that.

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A few weekends ago, we celebrated Pride here in D.C. The annual Saturday Pride parade ends just two blocks from our store and we traditionally set up big tubs of bottled water on the front sidewalk to pass out cold water to passersby. You can’t imagine the goodwill created by giving a free bottle of cold water to someone on a usually hot and humid day. The sign on the table states: “Room & Board Shares Your PRIDE.” We want to be part of that.

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That same weekend, we also heard the news of the terrible shooting in Orlando. This senseless act deeply affected our staff for many days and continues to sit with us. As with other retailers on our street, we have kept the Pride flag in our window in memory of those killed and in solidarity with our local LGBTQ community. We want to do that.

I don’t think that all retailers would take these actions, but Room & Board does. And we do it proactively because we believe in “equality for all”. It’s not a marketing plan or a PR opportunity. It’s something that we believe in from our corporate office to our store locations and I’m very proud of that.

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Why Watering the Plants is An Important Job at Room and Board

I have recently begun supporting the Visual Associate at our store. One of the ways I do this is by making sure the plants on our patios stay watered. I take pride in the plants and the beauty of the patios. At Room and Board, we care about the details. In fact, we like to obsess about them.

There is a theory presented in the book Broken Windows, Broken Business by Michael Levine that if broken windows in a building go unfixed, the other ones will soon break — and the neighborhood will deteriorate. He asserts that in order to succeed, businesses must monitor the tiny details or risk failure. He believes that customers can get a strong indication about how a company does business and how it will attend to big concerns by how it attends to the little ones.

The little things matter to us at Room and Board. We pay attention to the little things because we want to show our customers that every aspect of their experience with us is important. Great customer experiences are the sum of a thousand details.  his is why watering the plants is an important job.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make the big things happen.”   – John Wooden

Herb Planter

 

Evolution of Complete-Your-Home

One of the joys of working at Room & Board for over eight years is to be witness to the changes and evolution of certain areas of our business. When I first started in our San Francisco location we curated our accessories in a separate area and called it ‘Global.’ I think it was one of my favorite spots in the store. Everything from cowhide, sheepskin, ceramics, and African wedding baskets to antique oars in stands were represented. 

By the time I helped open the Culver City showroom in L.A., we were just showcasing the accessories throughout the showroom in the room settings on tabletops and in bookcases. It looked beautiful in our assortment but in our large showrooms they somehow got a little “lost”. 

A couple of years ago we introduced the gallery collection. It was a museum concept with maple cubes and shelves floating to showcase the lamps, ceramics, vases, bedding and throw pillows. Absolutely stunning! 

And yet . . . Maybe it looked a little too precious and untouchable? 

Now I am in the Seattle Showroom. I love what is happening. We are using our own products (dining and accent tables and freestanding shelves and cabinets) to display our accessories by color and lifestyle stories. This is my favorite yet. The accessories look approachable and are easy to keep refreshed and looking great at all times by being flexible to change. It will be interesting to see how this area of our business will continue to evolve. 

 

Cause to Celebrate in D.C.

One can never say Room & Board doesn’t like to party . . . a couple weekends ago, we celebrated our location’s sixth anniversary and Washington D.C. Pride weekend (the parade route ended just two blocks from our store, so lots of waters were handed out). 

Now with the dust (and confetti) settling after the celebration, I am overcome with pride, joy, happiness and sheer delight that I can experience this every day in which I interact with a customer, my colleagues and the neighborhood. In April, I celebrated my fourth work anniversary.  I can’t believe how the days, weeks, months, and floor-changes have flown by.  Things are not stagnant here and I know that is a large part of why I thrive in this work environment that embraces and fosters innovation, compassion, and enthusiasm.

 Well Room & Board, here is to another four years ++++++

 

Room & Board on the Big Screen

As Room & Board staff members, we get excited when seeing our product outside of the showroom. It’s almost as exciting as seeing J Biebs barefoot cruising around the Boston Common and then having him make a public announcement that he’s not a zoo animal. Well, almost . . . We do not always know where our product is going, even when it’s headed for the big screen. Meaning, the designer for the set or network will place the order and we just get to play I Spy later. Recently, we have spotted our product in a few fun new settings.

  • ABC’s Nashville (RIP)
  • Captain America: Civil War– Love me some Chris Evans.
  • Wendy’s Commercial- Luckily Dakota is a durable fabric… #Folex
  • NBC’s The Undateable Show– Andre FTW
  • Talking Dead – After Show to the Walking Dead. Andre never looked so good.
  • Real Housewives of New York – Bethenny’s therapy session
  • Netflix’s Frankie and Grace – Those Kori bins though.

The most popular pop culture pick seems to be the Callan chair. Duh. And the Andre sofa and collection chair. The tight back design feature will hold its shape and the clean intriguing lines are great at every angle. I have yet to see our product featured in my favorite franchise, The Bachelor, but I have high hopes. #TGIM I am sure Chad would appreciate using our Madison end table as a dumbbell when getting swoll in the Bachelor mansion. Maybe I’ll reach out to Chris.😉