This past Sunday a few colleagues and I found ourselves “twinning,” if you will, in the Boston Store. Maybe it’s our New England location but the nautical stripes just felt appropriate. Or perhaps it was because the whole week felt like we were sailors at sea dealing with grey skies, humidity and annoyingly inconsistent cold rain. Regardless of the reasons, Emily, Sarah, Joanne and I showed up to work in coordinating attire for the Sunday/Mother’s Day clientele. Crushed it. Due to the success of the unplanned themed event, I am going to suggest “Seventies Saturdays” for next week. I am thinking our team would look awesome in tie-dye one-piece bellbottoms. The look would really resonate with our customers and certainly make us more approachable. But for now, on Sundays We Wear Stripes. #MeanGirls #SheDoesntEvenGoHere
Today, I met a man who was raised in Ireland and received his degree in architecture there, but has recently moved here to D.C. to get married. He’s in his late 50’s and has decided to start his own furniture company by utilizing skills he developed at University in fine woodworking and cabinet making.
Today, I talked with a woman who works around the corner. She’s the Development Manager for a local non-profit that helps certify teachers wanting to work in Washington D.C.’s school district. She invited me to their open house tomorrow.
Today, I met a woman who has a house in Palm Springs and wrote a book about her house and the architect that built it. At 91, he had a lot of input in the book.
Today, I worked with a man who is getting married to his partner in May. It’s a country wedding and he’s thinking of getting fake unicorn horns to strap to the horses in the field next to where the ceremony is being held – just to add a little more magic and whimsy to the occasion.
And all of this happened while working on the 4th floor of the showroom. You never know what a day at Room & Board will bring you . . . or what the next day holds.
Each day we begin our day with a morning meeting. Every day is a different topic which can range anywhere from new product launches to changes in SAP. Since many of our team members have secondary roles, we also have education days based on our specialty.
Our Wellness team consists of a group of Design Associates who are responsible for not only creating a healthy work environment, but also for introducing us to new ideas and foods that contribute to our well being. This past week, our Wellness team had a guest speaker who introduced us to Kombucha!
Kombucha is a fermented tea-based beverage which dates back to ancient times. Logan was gracious enough to bring his secrets and enlighten us on all the wonderful properties of Kombucha. Our demonstration began with showing our team the Scoby, or the culture that is the essence of how Kombucha is brewed. It’s a bacteria culture base which reacts with sugar when mixed with black tea and fruit, and which usually takes about three days. The result is a fermented, fizzy, tart but slightly sweet beverage that has amazing health benefits. The best part is, you can brew this powerhouse health drink at home.
Logan brought in samples of his home grown batch for us to sample. We tasted blueberry, pineapple, strawberry, ginger and orange. Everyone was pleasantly surprised at how delicious and refreshing it was and we loved it! We loved it more when he described the benefits such as probiotics for digestion, detoxification for the liver, energy, and antioxidants for our immunity to fight off illness. Its benefits also go beyond physical, but also aids our mental and psychological health by improving our ability to focus and is a mood enhancer.
Logan, using his creative abilities, has even designed his own label and given his brew a name. We all enjoyed being enlightened by this positive new wellness drink. Now if only we can get Logan to brew a few gallons a week for our entire team. That’s something that the Wellness team will have to work on!
Following my colleague Dana’s post, I think I may have a work life balance issue. An intervention is probably necessary. Perhaps in the style of one of my fave shows, “How I met Your Mother.” I wouldn’t mind if Marshal, Ted, Lily and Barney showed up with a banner to sit me down and discuss the extreme matter at hand. Not Robin though, she stinks.:)
This week my colleagues pointed out that I match the furniture. And by “match,” I mean perfectly coordinate clothing-wise. Yes, I love this place so much so I chose to dress like it. Some owners match their pets, some parents match their kids, and since I have neither, I chose to match the furniture. In all seriousness readers, this was not purposeful. Maybe it’s just the brand ambassador in me. #Brandisfun Maybe it’s that I so desperately want a French bulldog (if I live in the city) and a Bernese mountain dog (if I live in the burbs), and three kids (two boys and one girl: Nathan, Lucas and Luciana, if you are wondering). #OneTreeHill Or maybe it’s that I live and breathe Room & Board so much that I subconsciously selected my color block navy and white sweater and my bright orange pants to coordinate with our outdoor vignette. Let’s just say the white Palm sofa and navy Isles accent chairs and orange and white color block Mast pillows are on fleek, on point, lit, not basic and certainly trending.
After much persuasion, my colleagues forced me to pose for a pic for Room & Board’s “Outfit to Room Comparison” social media content. Let’s hope my début blows up Insta, the only book: Facebook, Twitter, the works. And let’s definitely hope I get to meet Marshal (Jason Segal) as a result.
Every year we collaborate with the Minneapolis College of Art and design to offer a scholarship to one of their students. This year we are looking for an original lighting design that we could potentially produce and sell at Room and Board. The winner would receive a $3000.00 scholarship prize!
The criteria would be that it must be manufactured domestically, must be environmentally friendly, functional, fit Room & Board’s aesthetic and include dimensions, assembly, materials and pertinent manufacturing instructions. Full scale models are required and our store will exhibit the top five student designs. During the exhibition, our customers can vote on their favorite model.
It’s always fun for us to interact with the students and customers as they look at the entries and vote on their favorite design. Then, on April 20th we will host an awards event in the store with snacks and beverages for the students and their families. Our panel of judges will make their selection and present the award. I know we all really enjoy this event and get pretty excited about knowing that we are helping to encourage students with their creativity and entrepreneurial instincts.
Who are Design Associates? What did they do prior to starting a career with Room & Board? Since there are three-, four- and five-day Design Associate positions, some of us engage with customers only on a part-time basis and depending on our role, the Room & Board philosophy of a work/life balance can have different meanings. For full-time DAs, it’s important to balance off-day down time with work life and since we work as a team, any Design Associate can help a customer who needs assistance on a day off, thereby allowing an off-day to be just that . . . an off-day.
For DAs with four- and five-day roles, the meaning of work/life balance often means balancing days at R&B with perhaps another job. I’m a four-day DA and balance my days here with running my own web-based business where I create archival books of children’s artwork. Being a job that entails production rather than a lot of customer interaction, I’m happy to have the opportunity to engage with customers when I’m at Room & Board.
Logan, also a four-day associate, is active in creating logos and illustrations when he’s not charming customers with his Kiwi accent and Alex, not only balances his full time architect student studies with his role as Design Associate, but also takes on extra responsibilities such as being the Boston Facilities Manager and serving on the Wellness and Brand teams. It’s not always easy to balance two jobs and still have time for fun but for me, coming into Boston and to Room & Board is a day where I can let go of all my responsibilities at my business and enjoy engaging with customers, creating beautiful spaces, and simply having fun being in the city. For me, that is the perfect work/life balance.
Spring may have officially sprung, but here in the Atlanta showroom, staffers are still reveling in the excitement of one of winter’s most time-honored and glamorous traditions – awards season! With a steadily increasing number of productions shot and filmed in Atlanta, the city is quickly becoming one of the country’s foremost entertainment hubs. Celebrity sightings at the showroom are not unusual and several weeks ago we received notice of disruption to traffic surrounding the showroom due to a film shoot which was taking place right outside our front door! In the spirit of Atlanta’s growing industry, as well as our own fascination with movies and pop culture, we hosted a special design challenge.
The Oscars Design Challenge began with a ceremonious, blind drawing of a 2016 Oscar-nominated film.
We then used all of the available resources at the showroom to design a room inspired by our selected film and incorporating pieces from the 2016 Room & Board New Product launch. What resulted was not only a fun and unique way to express our creativity, but a collaborative and engaging way to educate ourselves and each other on aspects of our offerings which could be applied to new customer interactions.
With a number of period pieces up for Hollywood’s most prestigious honor, our Design Associates used Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn to set the backdrop for a discussion on the history of modern design and its influence on such standout newcomers as the Ira Chair and the Oliver Sofa. The extreme climates and rustic natural environments featured in films like The Revenant, The Hateful Eight and Mad Max encouraged an in-depth conversation around the gorgeous leather incarnation of the Macalester and the new Ash and Bark wood stains.
Mad Max-Inspired Collage
I remember when I first began working at Room & Board a little over a year ago. Having absolutely no experience in interior design (unless decorating my own apartment counts as experience), I watched my colleagues present their 2015 Oscar Design Challenges. I was blown away by the inspired concepts, bold mixing of colors and patterns and intricate floor plans and wondered if I’d ever be capable enough to stand in their place and do the same. What working on the Oscar Design Challenge has reinforced for me is just how much I’ve learned over the past year and all at the hands of my team members. They’ve continually exemplified one of Room & Board’s guiding principles, to foster an environment of support, collaboration and respect. Being able to take the knowledge they’ve imparted, apply it to my own design and share it in such an open, comfortable space was an award in and of itself and a worthy celebration of my first year as a Design Associate.