Me, with Bill and John from BJ’s www.bjshomeaccents.com ( I am the New York brand ambassador)
Bill Fortson, John Clements, Richard Hoying and Brad Clifford
Just returned from a wonderful project and opportunity with a fantastic group of people in the Home Accessories business at the A.R.T. Accessories Resource Team conference. From the minute I arrived at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, it was continual motion!
The theme of the conference was: “Living, Learning, Laughing and Lasting”— and guess what— this group totally walks the talk! I was so impressed with everyone that I met and with a group of about 100 people and being together for four days, I truly had the chance to really connect and get to know so many of them.
This opportunity came from my wonderful family friend, Trudy Mitchell who is really my God mother—(Trudy was my mother’s best friend and she has known me my whole life)-We continue a wonderful friendship through visits, email and calls and she introduced me to her very dear friends, Bill Fortson and John Clements, owners of my favorite store in the world—BJ’s Home Accents. www.bjshomeaccents.com
I was invited to be one of the speakers and opened the program talking about Relationship Marketing—and as I soon learned—this group already does this with an A+. Since I was there for the whole meeting, I saw in action how everyone—came to this conference to truly learn, laugh, live and they will ALL last! Usually I am in and out at meetings and don’t have the chance to really experience the true essence and activities involved.
In my wrap up on Sunday morning, I gave a brief synopsis on what I had observed in the four days—
We all learned non stop—from the wonderful speakers they had talking about The New Millennial and How to Connect, How to be in the Hospitality business and taking Social media to the next level and incorporating them into their business. I was tweeting all week and several of my tweets have already been retweeted and I have more followers to Twitter, Facebook and Linked In and I am learning a ton about this wonderful industry and business in general.
I had a lot of favorite activities, however two that stand out were: “What Can You Learn From the Other Guy”—which were terrific roundtables with each peer group—‘retailers, wholesalers and reps’ all sharing their strategies and opportunities with each other. I walked away with pages of notes and each was a gem that everyone shared and wanted to see their colleagues and competitors succeed—and indeed everyone will.
My other favorite activity was our Field trip and Creative Team workshop—in this afternoon exercise, we broke up into teams and traveled to stores in the La Jolla area and the merchants recreated several rooms and the marketers came back with a marketing and action plan. We then had presentations of all the teams and the store owners actually came to see what was produced—it was better then The Apprentice—Donald Trump—move over!!
Another part of the theme was laughing and this is something that the ART team certainly does well. Finding the fun and humor in everything as we enjoyed each other. If you have ever seen- “Minute to Win It’—it can’t compare to the activities that we engaged in on Friday night and the laughter that it generated.
This is a group that truly lives their business and their life. Everyone who was there is busy with their work—they are the stars in the Home decorating business—yet they took the time to come to San Diego to learn, laugh, share and enjoy each other.
I was so amazed by all of the talent at this conference and of course, I came away wanting to totally redo my apartment again and also find a new home to have this team come in and create my palace! I started visiting some of the websites of my new friends and was totally in awe of their creations.
Some of my favorite quotes came from new friends like Mary Frye of HFIA who said: “Business comes where it is invited and stays where it is appreciated” and also from Beau Stinnett of Danninc.com who said: “School is always in session”.
I could go on and on about this amazing conference and the terrific people I met, once again—truly a group that was present-engaged and lived their theme of ‘learning, laughing, living and lasting’.
I ended my presentation with a great quote I had read the week before and thought it fit perfectly:
“Continue to Learn, Appreciate Your Friends, Do what you Love, and Live as if this is all there is”
I am so grateful to my friends, Bill and John for inviting me and to my dear Trudy for making all of this happen.
Lucky for me—I learned,laughed and lived so much this week!!