Everyone is writing about setting goals, following your goals and getting it done. Okay, Nike said it right; I guess everyone uses the quote "Just do it." I don’t mean to be a smart mouth about it but it sure gets tiring, I think you would agree, to see people posting the same goals: lose weight, stop smoking and be a better person. I just read that saving money has replaced “a better person” which has been on top of the list.
A few months ago I was fortunate enough to be the speaker at an event at Madison Area Technical College for the Interior Design program. I was invited by Maria Kovach, ASID Student Board Fundraising Director. I know you don’t know Maria and I never knew her until I met her at a training event at Drexel Interiors. Maria was interesting and interested in her work and we connected right away. But as life goes, I don’t think we ever spoke again until she asked me if I might speak at an event she was spearheading in the design program. As a board member she was asked to supply ideas for speakers for her next event. She said I came to mind and that’s how it happened. Maria also belongs to BNI, the international networking group.
I bring this up because Maria is a student and a very sharp one who will make a great interior designer as well as business person. She has the networking skills down pat. After several conversations we decided on some vendors and supporters for the event. Maria was able to get Coyle Carpet One (through my friend Paul Domani) to underwrite the event. Represented at the event were Crossville Tile, Natural Cork, and Wear Dated (through C.B. Whittemore who writes Flooring the Consumer Blog). What was a bit disheartening was what we had to do to get sponsors from the Floorcovering industry! Don’t you think this is where they would want to be?
The event hosted about 50 local ASID interior designers as well as students from the college. I was also impressed by Erich Gaul, ASID Student Board President–a well-dressed design kind of guy who discussed what he was looking for in an internship.
Of course the faculty and staff are actively involved in these events — Lisa Nienhaus and Jessica Mahne, both Interior Design Instructors and ASID Student Chapter Advisors and Tiffany Esser, lead Interior Design Instructor. Getting these events takes a lot of time; but it seems like everyone had fun, stayed after to laugh and review the night’s happenings. Lots of great food elegantly dished up and everyone welcoming their guests.
So what are you doing to network your flooring…retailer, distributor or manufacturer? I hear all the time how we can’t get ASID or designers to come to our events—how many of you have gone to a design college and networked with the design class?
How about a design intern? I spoke with Eric about obtaining an internship and he said he was interested in a placement that would give him an opportunity to express his design skills as well as learn about business. Why couldn’t it be your establishment; you just design the internship with the student?
How about hosting an event or being part of an event for a design class? Don’t make this a one-time event; continue your associations. When the new designers get into the field, hopefully you will be their store of choice.
Maybe you will run into another Maria? Maria is organizing her Chair-ity Event. Another very clever idea. We’ll get her to give us an update.
Put this first on your “do more business” resolution!
Happy New Year!