Now that Room & Board SoHo has closed its doors for renovations, the whole New York City team has been reunited to work at the Chelsea location, and how wonderful it is!
Though it has only been little more than a month since the two teams separated, having all of my co-workers together again really helps to make our new Chelsea location feel as homey as SoHo once did. It has been so great showing the SoHo team around the Chelsea store and introducing them to the new 2015 collection pieces and our fancy Complete Your Home section.
Since SoHo will be a beautiful, expanded version of Complete Your Home, SoHo Design Associates have been working to familiarize themselves with all things accessories related. Whether it is sheepskin pillows and throws, decorative pillows and sheets, area rugs or our Little Shirley vases, they will be ready to go!
Although I will be sad when the doors of the SoHo store re-open on February 7th, having the team together again makes me realize how connected we are and will continue to be. It is truly awesome how Room & Board encourages and allows for, not only respectful and supportive working relationships, but the development of great friendships, as well.
On December 13th, 2014, the doors of our Chelsea flagship store opened in Manhattan. Since then, thousands have stopped in to enjoy its 48,000 square feet of beautifulness! But what is greater than seeing the faces of customers old and new is having the opportunity to meet the Design Associates from other markets who have travelled here to help us greet those customers.
With every new store opening comes the opportunity to travel to new locales and help greet customers for the weekend. So far, Design Associates from our stores in South Coast Plaza, Culver City, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, and Edina have come to New York City to lend us a hand. It is so wonderful to interact with these folks and not only share our excitement with them, but our customers’ excitement, as well. The thrill of it all has me anticipating the opening of the next Room & Board. Where and when it’ll be, nobody can say, but I know one thing: I’ll be throwing my name in the hat to travel there and share in the greetings.
In twelve days, Room & Board will have a new flagship store in Chelsea, New York. Though the excitement at Room & Board SoHo is mounting, it is bittersweet, as those of us who are moving to the new location cleanout our SoHo lockers and begin to say our goodbyes. Today, two of our Leadership Associates will work their last day in the SoHo store; this past weekend, I worked my last Sunday shift here without even realizing! And before we all know it, Room & Board New York will exist as two store locations, instead of one.
What has been truly amazing to witness as we make this transition into two separate stores, is the obvious impact working at Room & Board has had on the lives and relationships of its employees. From Design and Leadership Associates, to Visuals and Merchants, and everyone in between, friendships have been built on teamwork, so much so that we’ve become an odd family of sorts, and it’s difficult to imagine that changing in any way. But change it must, and all for the better: The new Chelsea location is breathtaking! And as its doors open on December 13th, we will all be proud.
It is now officially fall: children have returned to school, football season has kicked off, and a crisper, cooler air has begun to creep in. For many people, watching the autumnal leaves change is what fall is all about; for me, fall is all about watching the Room & Board furniture collection change for the upcoming year, and, what a change it’s going to be this year: new sofas, new fabrics, new chairs, tables, rugs, pillows and so much more! It’s so exciting! What is even better about this year’s collection change is I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the team which introduces the new pieces to the rest of the Design Associates. It has been such a blast to be a part of all the “oooohs” and “aaaahs” as I shuffle through each PowerPoint slide, showing the team all of the new products to come. Now if I can only contain myself a few more months until the new products actually begin to arrive in the showroom!
In many ways, being a Room & Board Design Associate is being an educator. Of course we are here to show our newest team members the lay of the Room & Board land: That’s a given. But each of us also has the daily task and responsibility to engage in educating ourselves so we can, in turn, relay the most recent product information to our customers. The more we know about each collection at hand, the better we can educate our customers on what to expect from a particular piece of furniture once they get it into their home, and how best to care for it over time.
I like to tell my customers that caring for furniture is a lot like caring for a car: Without gas and regular oil changes, a car won’t run, and it certainly won’t withstand the wear and tear of daily use. Furniture operates in very much the same way: sofa cushions need to be flipped, fluffed, and vacuumed; the oil and wax finishes on certain case goods need to be replenished with satin wax when dry or else the wood will crack; marble is porous, and coasters are required; micro-suede is great for kids and pets, but watch out for oil based stains! So, I guess, in actuality, being a Room & Board Design Associate is a lot like being a car salesman!
In a few short months, the New York market will no longer be one singular brick and mortar storefront, but will, in fact, split into two Room & Board locations: Room & Board Chelsea, our new flagship store; and Room & Board Gallery, a new kind of hybrid retail/gallery space, which will showcase Room & Board’s American-made craftsmanship.
As we prepare for this transition, we are manning up, quite literally. In June, we welcomed three new Design Associates into the fold, and this week, six more began their training with us. Having been a part of the interviewing team, it is not only rewarding to see these new Design Associates take up their new roles, but it is also inspiring, and very refreshing, to be a part of their enthusiasm as we delve into our company’s Guiding Principles together. For me it ensures that, even as we grow and expand as a company, the core values from which we sprang will always keep us connected.
One unique perk of being a Room & Board Design Associate is the investment the company makes in the individual development and education of each and every one of its employees. Three times a year, employees in every role gather with their Leadership Associates to create and focus on their yearly personal goals and growth in a procedure known as Priorities and Measures. This year, one of my Priorities and Measures goals was to travel to our Central Offices in Minneapolis to visit with and learn about the various teams who make Room & Board the company it is from the inside out. This past week, I was able to fulfill that goal!
Though the weather in Minneapolis was incrementally rainy and generally overcast, the two awesome days I spent at the Central Office were anything but. From the moment I entered the building, I was swept up in a whirlwind of introductions and education. I met the folks who man (and woman) the Shop From Home phones, the Web Team, Business Interiors, and Human Resources. Heck, I even got to meet the founder and CEO of the company: John Gabbert! The whole experience allowed me to have a fully formed understanding of the company for which I work, and the company that works for me. Now onto the next goal!