Loll is one of our American vendors out of Duluth, Minnesota. Their product is unique because of its construction. Made from 100% recycled high-density plastic, you can leave these babies outdoors all year long. In fact, my team can vouch for this statement after seeing Loll’s Emmet Collection hold up during our March and April training period at our Edina, MN location.
Naturally, when the Emmet Lounge chair and matching sofa went on floor sample sale, I called up my mother, Mamma B. I knew these items needed to stay in the family. “I love Loll and I love the Emmet” was the gist of our conversation. If I had any sort of outdoor deck, patio or lawn, I would have bought the set myself. Unfortunately, I don’t even have a stoop in my current living situation in Boston, thank you South End, so I contacted the ‘rents in Colorado where outdoor space is not an issue. #ballerado
The timeless Adirondack design, low maintenance and quality of materials were selling points for sure, along with the fact that my dad’s birthday was around the corner. Mamma B. agreed to the purchase, and we scheduled the Emmets for delivery. My father had nothing but good things to say in regard to the Emmets. He reports he enjoys his daily espresso and paper in the Emmets every morning. My fur baby, yes, famous Leonardo featured in Room & Board Pets Facebook post, enjoys them as well, and the hidden bottle opener feature just puts the frosting on the cake. #cleareyesfullhearts
Forgive me, for this is a little bit late, but it needs to be said: September 26th is a very important day! Of all 365 days in the year, this is one of the big ones because so many momentous events have occurred on this special day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the five most important thing ever to have happened on the 26th day of the ninth month of the year:
- On this day in 1904, Earl Gray was named British governor-general of Canada. I know not what that means, but I do know that he has a very famous tea named after him and for that, we should all celebrate this day.
- On this day in 1962, the third best television show of all time made its debut on CBS. That show was called “The Beverly Hillbillies” and it was, and still is, a cultural masterpiece that brought possum stew and cement ponds to the forefront of society. Coincidentally, it is also Donna “Ellie Mae Clampett” Douglass’ birthday which makes this day even more special.
- Two years later, in 1964, the second most important television show ever made its debut on September 26th also on CBS. (CBS basically rules.) The show was “Gilligan’s Island.” Need I say more? No, I didn’t think so.
- Five years after that, the premier TV show of all time arrived to change the face of television forever. CBS lost its mojo and bowed down to ABC when it debuted “The Brady Bunch.” It’s hard to believe that so many wonderful shows all made their presence known on the same day, but it’s true. “The Brady Bunch” has yet to be topped and I severely doubt that anything will ever surpass the wonderfulness of it. Honestly, the show is that good. No TV show can top “The Brady Bunch” ever. (Well, maybe “Magnum P.I.”)
- What is the number one thing that happened on this day? What could possibly be more exciting than three amazing TV shows and Earl Grey tea? One thing and one thing only: on this day in 2011 is when I had my first day of employment at Room & Board. September 26th will always be a special day for me, partly because it was when my career at Room & Board began, but mostly because it’s the day “The Brady Bunch” began.
I promised I would share more about my visit to our Central offices recently. One of the areas I find the most fascinating is the Photo Lab. The work they do here really has so much influence on how our brand comes across to our customers, and to us as Design Associates. Our website is such an important tool for us to find product information, and much of that information is about what an item looks like.
So here’s a shot looking down one of the aisles of shelves that have products stored for use in the Photo Lab. It was interesting to see all the different table bases in every size and finish on the right hand side and then all sorts of different table tops in various materials and sizes on the left hand side.
Almost every single specific product is photographed by itself for our website and/or catalog. I’m so familiar with seeing images of our product on the website against a white background, but here is a peek into what exists beyond that white background in the photographs!
Another view of a different stage setup. So much hard work and planning go into building a room setting and layering in accessories in our store. I can only imagine how much more happens with building out the walls and flooring ahead of time too, and then also potentially the post-production work on the images to get them ready for publication.
A peek behind a wall! The images of furnished room settings in the catalogs provide a lot of inspiration for our customers. I also love to reference these types of images on our website when working with customers to see what collections are paired together–they always help give me more ideas. It is amazing to think that the room settings beings photographed are right here in the Photo Lab at Central. All the work that these teams do pays off, because they really feel like they are photographs of rooms in an actual home.
As a Design Associate in a showroom, we’re here on the front lines, working directly with customers to create beautiful spaces in their homes. This was a great reminder for me of all the folks who are busy making sure that everything runs smoothly and that we have the necessary tools to accomplish our daily tasks. As more of our customers are also shopping from our website, the work done here in the Photo Lab has an even bigger impact on our business, especially for someone who may never even come into a showroom or speak with a Design Associate. And I know that I sure reference our website for information every single day. Thank you to all of our many behind the scenes teams!
I had hoped to write a post last week while I was at Central (our headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn.), but there was so much to do! In any case, here you can see a moment where our Retail Market Manager, myself and our Visual Associate had found an open table to spend some time with our showroom map and do some planning.
There is so much I could say about my visit. I feel really lucky to have been able to do my initial training at the Edina, Minn. Showroom and have been able to see our Central offices previously. Being able to come back almost three years later in this role was wonderful, and also reminded me of some of the goals I had set for myself when I was new to Room & Board. One of them was to be part of the team participating in New Assortment meetings–and I got to achieve that! Also, one of the folks I had trained with who was going to be working in the Edina Showroom had recently joined the Upholstery Team as a Product Associate, so it was fun to reconnect with her and reflect on how our professional journeys had brought us to our current roles.
Seeing the new introductions for our 2016 collection and hearing the stories from our Vendor Management teams about how products were developed was amazing. There is nothing like being able to connect with the people who are making this happen. Additionally, the Central Campus is really beautiful and everyone is so nice! My hope is that I can bring some tiny percentage of the magic from this visit back to my team here at home. It really helped to fill me up with energy and reminded me why I’m so happy to be a part of Room & Board.
I’ll probably try to write another post about my experiences at Central soon. There is just too much for one post! But for the moment, we’re back in our store in Seattle and you can see our Visual Associate is busy collecting her inspiration on the wall with the maps, and then starting to lay out pairings on the floor of rugs and material finishes. Lots of work to do still and we’re excited to dig in and get things accomplished.
When seeking employment with a company many often wonder “what kind of people will they hire?” “Will I fit in?” It’s often that very fear that prevents folks from applying to jobs that they think would be amazing or to companies for which they really would like to work. So what stops them from moving forward with the application process?
Room & Board has an atmosphere of complete inclusion. They accept you for who and what you are. In turn, Room & Board expects team members to embrace their Guiding Principle of respect. So anyone can be kooky, out of the ordinary, unusual or not “mainstream” and still will have a feeling they “belong.” With so many different personalities and backgrounds, everyone has a uniqueness that others eventually find is the very essence of what makes us who we are. Imagine if we were all the same? How boring.
Here in Boston, we have a motley crew. Each has their own story and although we’re different from one another, we have learned to accept and embrace these precise differences. Take the issue of tattoos. Some companies wouldn’t hire personnel with tattoos or if they do, the tattoos cannot be visible while working. Not here. If a tattoo is how one wants to define oneself, that is okay with us. A few of our Design Associates have them and while I personally don’t, I can appreciate the story they tell and what it means to that person. Michelle has many stories about her life expressed through her tattoos and Brittany recently decided to submit to the ink as well. It’s a love story of sorts, about her first Room & Board purchase. I got a good laugh when I first saw it. Her tattoo is a replica of the Eames rocker that she so dearly loves.
Now that is a conversation piece and it makes Brittany and Michelle…..well, unique! And we love them for it!
Photo Credit to BCL.
I am continually astounded as to how we as employees are treated at Room & Board. In most jobs you are lucky if you are recognized for anything positive, but boy do you know if you have done something that wasn’t ok.
One of our Guiding Principles at Room & Board is “Respect and Relationships.” “Respect is foundational to our work environment. Everyone is expected to build relationships based upon mutual respect and collaboration: with one another as peers, as well as with our customers and vendor partners.”
2015 has been a stellar sales year for our store in part because we have a team of Design Associates that work together to make sure every customer is greeted and followed up with while they are in the store. We communicate often during the day with “There is a couple in the back, have you spoken to them?” or “I am working with that gentleman and now he wants to browse.” etc. This means that we are servicing our customers for the “10 Customer Experience” expected at Room & Board.
The other day our manager emailed us to ask what our favorite “Little Shirley” color was and we wondered what that was about. Come to find out he is giving each of us a gift of a “Little Shirley” in appreciation of our great year!
This is in addition to him consistently letting each of us know how much he appreciates “this or that” that we do. Thank you Steven!
Socialites insisted that to be appropriately attired, one did not wear white after Labor Day. It’s a tradition in these parts. The holiday suggested that the day ushered in the cool breezes and foliage of the New England Autumn season. Pay no attention that Labor Day does not actually coincide with the lunar phases that determine seasons, nor does it mean that cool weather has arrived but what it does do, is give every New Englander a painful reminder that Winter is just around the corner. And that it’s time to get back to work and school.
At Room & Board, Labor Day is a holiday, one that is joined by several others and offered to us as part of our benefit package. Some holidays mean we either are paid double time if you work on the actual holiday, or you are scheduled a paid extra day off if you don’t work that day. If you’re a 4-, or 5-day-a-week Design Associate, Room & Board offers employees six paid holidays and luckily, Labor Day is one of them! Even our 3-day Design Associates enjoy three paid holidays a year.
Along with Room & Board’s philosophy of offering a workplace that is friendly, positive, trusting, non-competitive and respectful, a work – life balance is encouraged. Time off and schedule flexibility is a part of that philosophy and a valuable benefit offered. Working a rigid schedule with little or no time to rest, travel or spend quality time with family and friends lends to a state of mind that is not conducive to a happy existence, therefore, Room & Board encourages employees to use time off to regroup, re-energize and revitalize so that they may return to greet our customers with a genuine smile and aura of positive energy.