Creating the Customer Experience…
Customer experience and brand reputation are more important than ever before.
Customer experience and brand reputation are more important than ever before. The present environment creates more available options for consumers, so what you as a business offer needs to be valuable and relatable. In industries like retail, restaurants, and real estate you need to be present both in person as well as online when it comes to experiences. Each has its own set of standards on what consumers want and now expect.
These are a few things to consider, especially in today’s pandemic market. Think like a consumer, how does this establishment or brand make you “feel”? Do you trust the business? Does it have your safety and well-being in mind? It starts at the core of your business beliefs; you need to build a human aspect to your brand that is both internal for employees and external for consumers. For example, Danny Meyer the restauranteur and founder of Shake Shack is not just ‘selling food’, he is selling comradery, community and creating a memory that is supported by the best quality food and service. When you think of your travel’s what typically comes to mind is a fond “memory”, like the little Café in Paris or the Lobster Roll on a picnic table in Maine. A positive experience of a brand, in a place or space, tends to stay in one’s memory more.
In retail, typically the brands that focus on creating excellent customer experiences tend to be more successful and build a loyal following. In the past, Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus, Mitchell’s of Westport achieved this as they were nimble, flexible, and listened to what customers wanted and expected. This helped the companies adapt to the consistently changing market. At this moment, health and safety are top priorities. If you have recently been to a Trader Joe’s, from the start they took their employees well-being as a first priority along with that of their consumers. Those who opened with curbside pick-up or expanded their e-commerce, both thought of the health first then access second. Zappos is known for its service and that’s because they trust and value their employees and empower them to handle customer service situations.
Building an emotional connection with clients is key to gaining loyalty. Whether that is having a background story people can relate to, supporting local communities and social changes, or in-person connections through employees. Online shopping and food services are more popular, but it is harder to make a personal connection, so you need to make the digital experience easy, aesthetically pleasing, and worth it. Use digital social tools such as Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook in a positive way, so you can build a following. Show you are available and accessible
Know your customer. Listen to them. Proceed with a purpose.
Limited brainstorming and creative strategy sessions available.
To learn more, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com or (203) 966 8203
Sometimes it takes exploring to find inspiration and motivation. We asked a few of our friends around the world and across the interior design and communications industries to share what inspires them.
Follow along on our youtube channel…
To learn more, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com or (203) 966 8203
Crafting new products, ideas, strategies, and businesses are positive outcomes of the pandemic.
Personally, I am lucky that ideas come naturally. In our office, it’s an idea a day…
If producing ideas is not a strength, then figure out how you can start to think more creatively. It is 50% intuition and the rest training. Right now, most of us will be looking at our businesses through a new lens. It is time to reprogram your mind to see new ways to operate and communicate.
I try to use all of my senses to clear the clutter. Here are a few ways that I try to stay inspired:
- Now more than ever I do walk talks (safety in mind) with industry colleagues or other professionals. Not only do new ideas get generated, but you get a new point of view and a fresh perspective
- Create flow by viewing new things, for example, take a virtual museum tour, watch a movie, or check out new travel destinations (this one also brings hope). Then see how it makes you feel. Take the positive and think about why it makes you feel that way.
- Open your ears and listen. Whether it is music, books, or podcasts, the sense of listening helps provide an escape from visual stimulation that can be too distracting for some. Podcasts are a great source of learning from others’ experiences.
- I was recently listening to the Jo Malone NPR podcast segment How I Built This by Guy Raz. She and her husband had no budget for PR before they opened in Bergdorf Goodman, so to make their brand known they walked around NY city for a month with empty shopping bags to build buzz. Free association, got me thinking…
- Try boosting morale and positive thinking by doing something that excites you, something you really like.
Through channeling and creating new ideas, we found one we thought was the right fit for us. We’re starting a video series ID Inspires. Check it out and make sure to comment on our Instagram.
Limited brainstorming and creative strategy sessions available.
To learn more, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com or (203) 966 8203
Home is Where the Heart is…
There are Opportunities for Growth…
Over the last few months of being at home, we’ve learned a lot, so now let’s see how we can adapt to find new opportunities and silver linings.
Home is where the heart is. How we live and work in that space will shift and the design might include health, safety, and well-being components. Here are a few things to consider:
People are starting to reimagine how they will use their home and even where home should be. Guiding factors are more and more people will be able to work from home, whole families utilizing confined spaces, shifts from living in condensed cities back to the burbs. New realities will leave the home market with vast opportunities as these homeowners start to renovate and relocate. Be prepared.
Every room in a home will be rethought to provide flexibility and multi-functionality. Architects are already receiving requests for new kinds of spaces like aging parents’ suites as a result of the nursing home epidemic. And pool houses are being converted into year-round guest and quarantine spaces.
Designers will be transforming extra rooms like guest and grownup kids’ rooms into home offices or function as both. Exercise and workout spaces will be designed for homes like home gyms, yoga spaces, spas, and pools. Most importantly, mudrooms will be more of a necessity as they become decontamination rooms for groceries, packages, and clothing.
For homeowners, designers, and architects, this is the time to be creative. Probe clients. Can they redesign existing space or is expansion necessary? This will depend if you are in a home vs an apartment. Most will need multipurpose rooms, for an apartment, this will need more innovation in small space designs like adding pocket or swing doors, so rooms can be closed off. For houses, open kitchen might not be optimal for multifunctional use. Also, storage will be key for people as stocking up on provisions is now something new…freezers and additional pantries are being requested.
When it comes to materials think cleanliness is godliness. Still think about eco-friendly options but make sure they can be wiped and disinfected. Just a reminder, copper is anti-bacterial. We see a trend toward wipeable, washable surfaces including walls, lampshades, textiles (Crypton/Perennials) will be preferred. A new twist on the ’70s…tiled walls, leather couches, not sure that laminates will make a comeback, but we need to be transparent in how we can live in a healthy product home for us and our loved ones.
Homes need to be healthy, functional and calming to be where your heart is. Be ready for the new wave of homes.
Looking for Ideas to grow your business we’re happy to consult. Give us a ring.
Think of us as your outside eyes and ears.
For more information, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com or (203) 966 8203
Pivot by Definition is to make a change in Position, Policy or Strategy
This subject has been on my mind for a while now. When I started to write this post, I had no idea that most business owners would be forced to pivot in order to stay in business, not just grow which was the original premise.
Pivoting is a way to diversify and gain market shares without completely revamping your business. It is also a great way to test new ideas in a safe environment. Now with the downtime and the necessity to survive, it’s your time to be creative.
- Business is flat or stagnant and not growing at the pace that you would like
- You’ve been working in a direction or concept that doesn’t feel right
- Your industry is changing
Opening a store in a mall when malls are dying, and consumers rely on e-commerce and the ease of delivery. Amazon is the obvious pivotor and disruptor. They started out as an online retailer and now they have everything from physical retail spaces to health care to entertainment platforms.
How to Pivot?
- Focus on what problem you are trying to solve for your customers.
If you are in a product classification, it can be a new iteration of what you are offering.
An example is how Apple consistently produces new editions of the Mac, Macbooks, iPhones along with releasing new technology that includes updates to make them function easier for consumers day to day activities.
For a service business, look at how people are interacting and their habits whilst at home. Find a way to make their lives easier or more entertaining.
If you are an artist, consider different ways to expand or spread your art.
Think about creating a product line, small items like coloring books, notebooks and mugs or on a larger scale textiles and wallpaper. Check out Lori Weitzner and Heidi Holzer as they are two good examples.
- Consider a Spinoff
Look at a new target audience for marketing your services.
Interior Designers can focus on a particular segment of their business opportunities, such as making art advising or property management a turnkey program for clients.
Review your offerings
Stacey Bewkes founded Quintessence Blog in 2010 and then started doing a series of At Home videos that reside on Youtube and now she and her partner having written books.
PR/Marketing firms can look at using their expertise in one area and sell it to another industry.
You may be in lifestyle and corp company can use your expertise, mailing lists, connections, etc. You can also have an ancillary services like social media, media buying, etc.
Your store is closed temporarily, consider virtual shopping tours or offering new services remotely. Curbside pick-ups or local delivery.
Eleish Van Breems Home is enhancing their digital presence i.e. e-commerce channels and shopping virtually. They are also providing entertainment through their channels with videos of their travels, artisans creating the products they sell, the history of the products and maintaining the products. The next phase is hosting virtual events.
Review your mission statement and your value proposition
- Are you missing something? Can you offer other services to clients or help them to things easier, cheaper, faster?
- Take Baby Steps
- Make changes piece by piece. See what feels right. Test ideas. Get feedback. Tweak them. Then roll out.
- Focus on your key features.
- Less is more. Weed out things that aren’t working.
- Evaluate your pricing model.
- Can you offer a higher level of service to set you apart from the competition?
- To get traction and new customers perhaps having a subscription model which creates recurring revenue.
Look at Harry’s razors. This is a product you need on an ongoing basis and you don’t want to ever run out. Peet’s Coffee another good example.
- Search out emerging customer needs. What are the pain points? Fear. Large Spaces.
- Home is safe and people will continue to spend more time there for foreseeable future.
- So, what can you offer to comfort them? Creating experiences that make them trust you.
Pivoting is like pressing RESTART.
Let us know how we can help you. We are offering 30-minute consultations as well as blocks of hours.
Think of us as your outside eyes and ears.
For more information, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com.
Seeds of Change…
It’s time to be planting new ideas for the future…
The inspiration behind this post was from a dear friend and colleague, Ellen Carey who started her business 25 years ago and aptly named it Seed, Inc. Her focus is on feeding and nurturing a design talent into a business that can then grow and blossom.
This is the moment we need to be doing the same for our own businesses, seeing them through a new lens and being open to make changes. Being an entrepreneur during the 1987 stock market crash, the AIDs epidemic, 9/11 and the 2008 financial breakdown, I have had to reflect, adapt and pivot in order to move my businesses forward. Here are a few things, that I’ve learned that can help you navigate the New Norm:
But first, remember that we as entrepreneurs by definition are risk takers. At some point, most likely alone, you started a business. You are self-reliant by the nature of having your own business. This is a scary time to be sure, yet so was starting a business.
- Disruption is part of our world and new norm. This means you need to be flexible and adaptable.
- Quarantine causes you to isolate. Home is where it all begins. And for most, you are working from home which gives you extra time since you no longer have the daily commute. Use this time to:
- Recall your difficult times in past. What lesson did you learn? Skills? Opportunities? How can you adapt these to your current situation?
- Stay Connected. Each day reach out to 5 – 10 people. Listen and learn.
- Keep routine your as much as possible
- Create a morning check in list
- Even research new platforms or digital nuances that could help you expand
- Look at all the communities you have. For example, I have a PR Owners Group, the Women President’s Organization, Design Industry Groups, Clients, Media Partners, Friends, Family.
- See how you can interact and expand your reach. Explore ways to collaborate or event create an expert roundtable for more ideas or even to support those newcomers to the industry.
- Be Creative and test new ideas. This is a good time to talk about ideas you had on back burner.
- Explore things you are passionate about.
- Do you like to entertain, so perhaps doing short video with a few tips? If you like gardening maybe work with a local beekeeper and create your own brand of honey. This can help the environment, your health and can used as client gifts as well.
- Think Locally. To support the new reality, some of us are going to have to reinvent how and where we live. Focus first on opportunities for local and regional markets.
- For the foreseeable future, many local businesses and services cannot provide services that keep them going and even their adjustments most likely are not enough to keep them afloat.
- Think about how you can help them now or plan for down the road.
- Finally, don’t forget gratitude. Show your clients you are grateful and are capable.
- Send a care package or go the extra mile to create a coloring book that can be sent to client’s w/pencils, etc.
Let us know how we can help you. We are offering 30 minute consultations as well as blocks of hours.
Think of us as your outside eyes and ears.
For more information, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com.
Communication is More Important than Ever
Here are a few tips and takeaways from Images & Details, Inc to help you stay on course today and in the future.
Communication is key to keeping your business alive, surviving and even thriving.
It is more important than ever to stay in communication and support each other the best we can under these circumstances. If you haven’t already, make sure to touch base with your clients, vendors and industry colleagues to see how they are doing both personally and professionally.
This is the time to go through your contacts and reconnect with past clients, associates, friends. Use this down time to network. Call, text, email, DM.
This can be a time of opportunity. If you don’t have a plan now, it is the time to create one. Look forward to 3 and 6 months from now but keep in mind lockdown could continue for a month if not more. Determine who your current client is, who could be a potential client, and any new services that you can provide.
Take this time to explore new avenues and platforms to keep your message out there. Boost your digital platforms or learn ways to move your brand to a digital format.
For all, make sure your website, social media and any profiles online are up to date. Post frequently on your social media along with enhancing your engagement and interactions with fellow professionals and consumers. Announce on all media platforms any alternative methods you are planning on using for your business or services you would now like to provide. Make sure your websites are e-commerce friendly and have google analytics to be able to record how people are finding you.
Emailing is an easy and cost effective way to get your message out there. Your subject line is key to getting noticed. Make sure to create a timeline on content, short messages are easier than essays. Make sure to add a subscribe button and start building a contact list as email marketing is a direct way to target people interested in your business.
Since everyone will be focusing on remote technology, look into digital advertising. Google advertising and social media advertising are user friendly and can be done on smaller budgets. It can also be targeted locally. Test the water and see what the analytics tell you, you can easily stop or even expand depending on results. Local media are also emphasizing digital opportunities, so reach out and see what they have to offer.
For local retailers, think outside the box. The goal is to promote product sales, think of how you can let people view products or store. Try video chats, like IGTV, Zoom, Youtube, Facetime, for personal virtual shopping. Or take a 360 video of your store that is on your website so people can see your inventory. Make sure delivery or curbside pickup is accessible for those who want to make sure they are social distancing.
Please reach out to us with any questions, thoughts, ideas. Let us know how we can be of help. Remember this is a MARATHON not a SPRINT.
Keep safety in mind for both your customers and you employees.
For more information, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com.
Knowing your Target Audience
Your brand is your reputation, so make it a good one!
One of the most important factors of owning a business is knowing how to attract supportive and loyal customers. To enable this, you will first want to determine what type of audience you want to attract. These are the people you believe want or are in need of the service or product you are selling. Who are these people identifying with the product you are selling? You will need to ask yourself basic questions to get clarity such as, Where do they live? How can you reach them? are they a business themselves or a consumer? What field are they in? What is their budget?And so on….
Second, you will need to do some research to determine and define what your brand is and what makes it unique. Then create a strong brand identity getting your business to stand out and speak to your audience(s) in particular and among the other businesses in your field. It will need to be one that they understand and can easily relate to. Have your message be specific and catered to the detailed behavior and lifestyle of your customers. Whether it matters if they are local or not for example.These are the people who will seek you out in the sea of others by your image, so you’ll need to tailor your message to meet their exact needs. Ask yourself questions like, Why your product? Why should people come to you over all the others? What can you offer that the others cannot?You want your message to be clean, clear and concise.
Finally, set a goal of creating a unique and lasting image in the marketplace. Assess the places you need to be to build your audience. In order to do this well, it is vital to invest in strong marketing strategies and campaigns in order to reach these consumers and generate awareness about your business. How can they find you? How can you be sure you won’t be overlooked and lost in the sea of other strong brands in your field?
Brand building can happen through:
- User experience (i.e. your website)
- SEO & Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising (PPC)
Connecticut based, Eleish van Breems Home have spent years examining their target audience and knows exactly who they are and how to reach them. They spend a great deal of time learning who their clients are, what their brand is and has to offer that others cannot and they have created a unique and lasting image in the marketplace. When the two owners first started out they were able to reach their local audience and with further research they have since expanded to online in order to reach the same demographics that are outside their home base. They have broadened their store front to other locations in order to reach their target audience in other geographic locations. During this growth they have also expanded their audience to include designers, broader age range and income levels. Meanwhile, on the other spectrum, a Connecticut Design Center did the same research. For them, selling to The Trade only they know their target customers are local Designers, but also the clientele of their designer clients. Based on watching the demands in their market place they have identified which lines to carry – both new and seasonal. Furthermore, they know exactly how to best market themselves to reach their clients. Both are thriving businesses that are growing!
Is your brand reaching its potential?
Contact Beth Dempsey
You Are Your Best Advocate
Speaking Engagements as a Tool for Success
To put it simply: You are your best advocate. Of course, to build your brand you not only need volume in the voices backing you, but how do you draw in those supporters? To draw in support, one must utilize and enhance existing relationships to grow and build new opportunities. Participating in speaking engagements allows you to advocate for yourself along with fellow industry leaders, partners and media.
Whether you sit on a panel with other industry influencers or give a talk on your own, the insight and knowledge you share is greatly valued. The positives of sitting on a panel is that you are able to make connections with your peers, can compare and contrast points of view, and are promoted through their channels. On your own you can share intimate details on your business, your process and even the ups and downs that have led to your success which bonds you with others who are in a similar situation or let potential clients feel less intimidated to work with you. These types of events give you name recognition, credibility and promote you as a leader or expert in your field. It is also the perfect moment for media to learn more about upcoming names and build story ideas off of the unique details you might bring to the discussion.
As a company, we have been participating in speaking engagements on branding, marketing and PR. We recommend these experiences to clients who feel comfortable speaking, as it brings a face for people to connect with and remember. For example, we set up Atlanta based client Tish Mills- Kirk to participate in a panel discussion locally at Atlanta ADAC Market, this gave her the opportunity to build her relationship with vendors Style Library and Grizzel & Mann, meet and talk with an editor from AD Pro, along with explore the topic with fellow designers Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill of Mitchell-Hill and Tim Green of Tim Green Designs. We also set Tish up to style a tablescape vignette in the Alden Parkes showroom with Replacements at High Point Market and were able to reach out to Style Library to help support her design through the rapport she received through the previous talk. She also engaged an audience in the space by participating on a panel with fellow designers Denise McGaha and Joni Vanderslice on unconventional ways to grow your business.
The more that you are out in the public eye the more opportunities become available for you and your business. Team up with brands targeting the same audience to make an imapact and gain eachothers existing followers. If you are a store or showroom make your space available for events and put together a few speaking experiences, this is trending as the best way to build engagement and feedback from the audience you are targeting. Don’t be afriad to add personality and a face to your business!
For more infrmation or help with an event, contact Beth@imagesanddetails.com.
How To Navigate The Ever-Changing Landscape Of Media
It’s time to create a new road map.
Over the last several years, media has taken a downward spiral, especially in the home and interiors sector. From the toppling of the mighty in 2018 of Hearst Tower — House Beautiful, ELLE Decor and Veranda, to last Friday’s news of Traditional Home downsizing and bringing 5 Publications under one editor, it’s a totally new landscape.
Last month, I moderated the “Changing Landscape of Media” panel at the Luxury Home Design Summit at the Chatham Bars Inn hosted by New England Home Magazine. It was a dynamic three days of incredibly compelling speakers and discussions. I would highly recommend attending next year’s event.
The big takeaway is: in reality, there are more opportunities today to be able to generate exposure for you and your company than ever before. The challenge is to determine who to approach and how to get them to notice you.
A few tips:
Content is key
Craft a compelling story
Know your audience
One to one conversations
Stacy Kunstel a long time stylist and media maven shared some thoughts of media from the old guard (print) to the new media and what’s on the horizon. Overall, there are many more opportunities to get exposure for your company, especially in nontraditional ways. The downside is how to decipher and determine what is correct for you and your brand. Here are a few of her thoughts on what design related companies might want to explore now: self publish, YouTube, Zillow, podcasts, designer in resident features, non-design media covering design.
Digital director Keith Pollock of AD shared insights into their power in the marketplace. They recently have grown to 4 million Instagram followers. In April, they launched a pro membership service for designers similar to Business of Home but with much more capabilities and customization. It provides opportunities to get published, sourcing assistance and train reporting. Tip from Pollock: pitch via email, be brief but give noteworthy details.
Adam Japko of Esteem Media discussed the new landscape and creating custom contact through native advertising. This feels and looks visually like natural content. There is a 61% growth in this category since 2016. One of the interesting tidbits is if you hear something, a few days later you typically only recall 10%, whereas if you see an image there is 65% recall. It is a visual world today. They are projecting dollars spent on influencer marketing to be $5 to $10 billion by 2020.
Tip: When working with influencers, brands need to “let go of control” this allows content to “be authentic”.
As a creative brand strategist, our recommendation is always to have a great story to tell and to spend the time to know who your target audience is. It is the method of delivery that is really different today. If you want to learn more give us a call.
Images and Details
The Power of Video in Brand Marketing
This year a digital layer has been added to the essential marketing tools needed to promote your business. Video is a versatile way to successfully interact with your target audience, pique their curiosity and visually tell your story.
Guess what! Yes, there are millions of other businesses offering the same thing that you are. Make your business stand out by providing unique messages and methods of distribution that will grasp potential customer’s attention.
As publications are amping up their digital platforms they are starting to utilize video more and more. Business of Home who describes themselves as,“the daily media of record for the home industry, and the voice of authority for interior design professionals”, has now shifted more of their stories to videos. They have an array of content available to their audience including; special events, designer profiles and collection launches. House Beautiful, the 100-year interior design publication, has added a video element to their website and has also created a YouTube channel that now has over 6 million views. On this platform audiences get an insider guide to new retail shops as well as designers projects.
The way advertising has been constructed in the past has completely been transformed today. With the help of digital platforms, viewers no longer see advertisements and promotions as just that, however they see it as infotainment. High Point Market Authority capitalizes on this opportunity by promoting their trade markets on YouTube through a series called, “The Faces of High Point.” These videos give their audience a peek into the attendee’s experiences while simultaneously promoting the event. With the help of this series, which includes our client Wakefield, this channel has received over 550,000 views, a win-win for brand awareness.
Blogs like, Quintessence, founded by Stacey Bewkes roughly seven years ago, have also gained heavy traction by incorporating video into the mix. With the help of her co- creator, Susanna Salk, their popular YouTube series called, “At Home With”, provides exclusive insider access to top designers and tastemakers at home around the world. As of April, 2019, they have generated over 6 million views as well as over 30,000 subscribers to their channel. These big numbers have created sponsorship opportunities for Salk and Bewkes.
Sharing information digitally is a tool that is more cost effective than prints, therefore should not be overlooked. The success these blogs and businesses have seen, proves that it is vital to have a digital platform and begin utilizing the tools that will help you reach a new audience that has never seen you before.
How to get your platform started:
- Define your audience.
- Keep your video cohesive with any other marketing campaigns you have done in the past.
- Brainstorm a strong story that will keep the customer intrigued.
- Attach an emotional aspect to the message that the viewer can connect with.
- Implement the call to action. Be sure to provide the viewer with the point that you are trying to get across.
If you are interested in growing your business, please reach out to us at (203) 966-8203
Collaboration can be such an effective tool for small businesses to build their brand, particularly in today’s competitive marketplace.
To take your business to the next level consider these 4 tips as a foundation in your brand strategy.
First, it is necessary to find brands that are complementary and have the same values as your own business. Then you want to leverage that synergy between the two which can increase your audience reach.
Most recently, Images and Details did just that with the 4th edition of our pop- up, Ancien et Moderne in Paris. We brought together heritage brands in the luxury home sector such as Savoir beds, Rinck, and Maison Leleu utilizing a theme of “Ode to the Orient Express” to create synergy and tell a story. Savoir beds partnered with Voutsa fabrics to create bed toppers. Rinck collaborated with Fromental wallcoverings and Hector Finch Lighting to create a boiserie wall that replicated a train car on the Orient Express. The result: one of the most talked about collaborative projects during Maison Objet and Deco Off! Design inspiration and storytelling at its best!
Second, utilize each others’ social media networks, such as Instagram and LinkedIn, to share your stories and double your engagement and exposure. Check out Savoir bed’s, Rinck’s, and Voutsa’s Instagram feeds. Third, you want to share assets such as photography, marketing materials, and events. Maison Leleu and Rinck are both heritage brands with strong French ties and rich stories to tell. To expand their network and spread their brand story, they co-hosted a cocktail party inviting key clients, media and the French Interior Design Society. Savoir Bed and Lasvit collaborated on an event with Luxe Magazine. Voutsa partnered with NYDC to invite their clients and press to see the space and meet the participants. Each spread the word in a more cost-effective manner. Invitations, e-blasts, and photography were co-oped and shared by the various participants. The market and PR teams worked together to attract the different media – French, American and British which was much more effective and efficient. This increases your chance of exposure exponentially and on an international level. Each brand has to remember to be responsive and leverage that exposure to help grow their respective brand.
And finally, if you can get your product on a new sales platform it can be a great way to increase sales distribution through larger luxury retail channels. Voutsa Textiles worked with Savoir beds and created a custom topper that is now being featured in Savoir showrooms. This became a win-win for both brands.
Creative Ways to Build Community
Right here in our backyard, is the idyllic town of Greenwich, Connecticut that is so rich with extraordinary design and home stores, restaurants and luxury retailers, flocked with some of the finest decorators and charming locals and yet somehow nothing had been done to celebrate this!
Thanks to Beth Dempsey, our President and Founder of Images & Details, Inc. “There is always strength in numbers.” says Beth. Something must be done to bring us all together and celebrate the passion that everyone has to offer one another. “The number of design related businesses has grown exponentially, so the idea of forming a group makes good business sense for all involved. The design industry is an inclusive one and they realize that a success for one is success for all.” Many exhilarating months later we transformed this missed opportunity into a dazzling event and our Greenwich Design Districts’ October 2017 Taste and Tour event took form.
Fourteen different shops participated and attracted more than 300 participants throughout the evening. There were book signings, special art events, new product launches, celebrity designer appearances and many more activities within each shop. These relationships ignited conversations that helped create collaborations between designers and consumers.
Not surprised by the results but nonetheless overjoyed, we added another Greenwich Design District (GDD) event to the June calendar, a “Day of Design”. The objective of this event was to highlight the Interior Design community. We wanted the participants to be able to learn, shop and engage with their peers like they did in the Fall. We created a charming hand-drawn map by B. Russell Melzer of Greenwich by B. Russell Melzer to guide people around the design district.
Here the design professionals, influencers, editors and consumers gathered to experience the latest trends in design. The energy that day was vibrant and enriching! Day of Design featured more than 15 talks, lectures, book signings, conversations, meet-and-greets in members’ shops and showrooms. We arranged for attendees to meet some of the design industry’s best editors of the time such as Sophie Donelson, Editor-in-chief of House Beautiful long with Traditional Home’s Style Editor Tori Mellott and Serendipity’s Home Editor, Stephanie Horton. There was a Color Analysis demonstration as well as the opportunity to get behind the scenes to look at some of the coolest lights. Many learned about licensing and the business of design and how One King’s Lane founder designed a collection for the Shade Store. Some attended a stimulating talk on discovering how antiques are being featured in some of the most contemporary spaces.
It was imperative to us to have the event run as smoothly as possible for everyone yet also have the viewers get the most out of it and have FUN. Other than the ads, newsletters, e-blasts, PR out-reach and social media posts, we also created the GDD website (www.greenwichdesigndistrict.com). At the time of the event, the website had already been viewed by more than 600 people. This had provided accessible event information at the fingertips of the participants. Afterward, in the Blog section of the GDD website, different participants and speakers have tips posted on their different fields. It is important to us to have viewers always thinking about the event this way so it can grow for years to come.
We have now just completed our Second Annual Taste and Tour event: “Setting the Scene for Fall”.
On October 17, thirteen different shops participated in the evening! Their doors were opened inviting participants to discover the latest trends in interior design and entertaining. Attendees were encouraged to meet design influencers, view new exhibits, get a book signed, learn about the importance of good lighting, savor local food and cider, admire special designed windows, enjoy music and many more activities within each shop while enjoying their tour of the Greenwich Design District. The more shops each guest visited, the higher chance they had in winning a raffle prize. This was such a great way to see what was new all in one evening!
A Dream Client
Downtowns have always been an integral part of the community. With such a fast-paced society and a technologically driven culture taking over, it is more important than ever that we support our downtown retail shopping scenes.
Retailers who can capture their target audience and provide them with properly merchandise products and services are still thriving today. One example is Kirby and Company, founded by Elaine McCleary in downtown Darien, Connecticut. Not only is she a brilliant merchant, she knows how to market the store appropriately for her target audience. After working in the local retail environment of Juliska, McCleary identified the need for gifts and accessories and capitalized on it with her first retail shop, Kirby and Company, established in 2014. Targeting people who love color, family, happiness, and friends. After spending time getting to know her customers and utilizing the analytics of digital marketing, Elaine noticed a void in the marketplace for young women from ages 8 – 26, going from backpacks to first apartments. A place for girls and young women to buy affordable gifts and décor for themselves and friends along with a space that was speaking to them and not down to them. With the success of Kirby and Company, Elaine had the push and the perfect solution to open a second store called Kirby Girl. In marketing terms, she definitely provides the customer with a unique value proposition and offers just the “right” product and the “right” price in the most appealing way. She makes her clients “feel good” about what they are purchasing.
From our perspective, as the PR and Marketing firm, Kirby and Company along with Kirby Girl are a dream client. They came prepared with the right marketing tools including a message, audience, graphic materials, keywords and more; giving us the opportunity to communicate a well-prepared message to the media. For their recent launch of Kirby Girl, they created vibrant yellow and white striped wall for selfies, a logo and tagline with a story, hashtags, and fabulous photography. With all of the right ingredients, we were armed with the right ammunition for a successful press launch. We created a day for press to preview the space prior to opening including influencers, bloggers, journalists and stylist who were like kids in a candy store (literally with Kirby Kandy!). Investing in great photography is “key”. Case in point, photographer, Julia Dags captured the joy and color of the store. Elaine’s memories of her grandfather’s saying inspired the “Stay on the Sunny Side of the Street”, this saying reinforces her brand and her mission to empower her target audience- young woman or the young at heart. She successfully captured not only the media’s attention but also the hearts of the community. Local stories have started to be published, check them out in Serendipity July/Aug 2018, Lemon Stripes, Prettypinktulips, Darien News, Neirad, New Canaan & Darien Moms.
Kirby Girl is on the road to a sunny future. Cannot wait to see what’s in store this Fall.
Creative Brand Launches
Create brand appeal that speaks to the audience you are targeting. Produce quality tools and materials that proudly represent the company and your agency.
In preparation for a launch, whether it is a product, company or community, research and planning are key to a successful outcome. Understand the perception consumers, designers and media have of the brand and learn who you are targeting. Then tie that research into the overall goals and objectives of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Most recently PETER FASANO launched a new textile and wallpaper collection and the objective was to introduce it to trade (designers) and media outlets catering to the interior design industry. The overall brand image and verbiage should flow across all tools and materials for any launch. Every aspect of the packaging needs to be thought out and unified in order to be able to have the most impact. For PETER FASANO it was thinking about tangible tools that will represent the quality of the brand and display the new collection.
As Summer was approaching, we focused on what was an appropriate Summer item people will be able to utilize but also has the ability to be customized. A tote bag and water bottle came to mind as items we thought would resonate and allow us to display the patterns and prints in a unique way. This was a creative way for the designers and editors to keep thinking about the collection all Summer long. The tools have garnered positive feedback, editorial request and created social media buzz. Marketing materials like these continue to allow the brand to be involved in conversations in the marketplace.
Tips for A Successful Event
Shari Lebowitz of Bespoke Designs has created a unique paper business in the heart of downtown Westport.
She nicknames herself “the paperpreneur.” With today’s Internet and technology driven society the lost art of handwritten notes and appropriate etiquette could be easily on the demise. To bring awareness to Lebowitz’s craft, Images and Details recommended hosting an informative Q and A with luxury design blogger Stacey Bewkes of Quintessence and Heather Wise Alexander of Bell’Invito invitations.
We envisioned a discussion on the new internet-driven event planning—which we deemed, “netiquette.” We wanted to give listeners a chance to understand the importance of traditional handcrafted paper goods that proves to be elegant and personal in a world where online work can seem so distant and impersonal.
“In this digital age, there is nothing as warm and personal as a handwritten note on an exquisite piece of brightly colored, beautifully textured stationery,” says Lebowitz. “It takes an ordinary gesture and makes it a celebratory one. How wonderful it is to reach into your mailbox to find that gorgeous handwritten envelope.”
It was just the right recipe for success. The audience was comprised of, wedding and event planners, caterers, florists, hoteliers, and media. The result: new clients, engaged audience, and media coverage in both print media and online.
Bookish About Design
A well-strategized event can absolutely help a business grow and attract new Target audiences.
Take Putnam and Mason, for example—a fairly new interior design shop in Greenwich Connecticut. They were looking to raise their profile and reach both designers and luxury good consumers. Images and Details recommended a book signing with author Miguel Flores-Vianna for his new book The Haute Bohemians.
While planning an event, timing is a fundamental element that can often determine the success or failure of the event. In this instance, the thought was to highlight that The Haute Bohemians was one of the top 10 books for the holidays and was featured on the New York Times bestseller list. This enabled us to attract media attention in advance and get both pre-stories and blog features. As a result of a well-timed event more than 70 books were sold, the venue was filled to the brim with guests and a fun time was had by all to boot.
Next in our book series was The Authentics by Dara Caponigro. Caponigro is currently the creative director of F. Schumacher & Co. and was formerly the editor-in-chief at Veranda. Additionally, she was the founding editor of Domino where she also served as the style director. Caponigro’s illustrious resume allowed us to utilize her large network to our advantage for this book signing event as well.
Seasonal Events, Pop Ups and Soirées
It seems as though today more companies and brands want experiences that allow them to connect with their customers and build brands in an intimate more meaningful way.
In January, we had our second rendition of Ancien et Moderne during Deco Off in Paris. This year’s theme celebrated 70’s bohemian chic glam. Brands like Fromental and Justin Van Breda were able to push the boundaries creatively in their product designs enabling us to come up with a concept that was not only visually stimulating, but that really brought the customization capabilities of both brands to the forefront.
Sculptor, Philippe Berry, collaborated with renown designers, Timothy Corrigan, Alex Papachristidis, Frank de Biasi, and Bambi Sloan to create one of a kind bronze mirrors. Bronze sculpture was brilliantly colored in two pieces by Monaco artist Carol Bruton. Designer Michelle Nussbaumer brought her sumptuous new fabrics, exotic jewelry and home accessories, while La Tuile la Loup set the perfect table with made-to-order ceramic dinnerware, and tabletop by French artisans. The Rug Company laid the ground work with two knotted silk rugs and Fabian Barbera’s newest candles provided the perfect scent for cold wintry Paris. All these custom pieces came together perfectly to create a space everyone couldn’t stop talking about.
In Spring, Putnam & Mason, a new retail concept in Greenwich, came to light when interior designer Robert Passal and accessories designer Kim Alessi put their heads together to form a collaborative design atelier. They created a layered space filled with contemporary products and classical antiques paired with design services in a multifunctional showroom and workspace for both consumers and trade.
The design atelier is a one stop shop for consumers and trade, handling every facet of building and designing a home. Local vendors including Robert Passal Interior Design, KLASP Home, Wheelock Kitchens, Phoenix Audio Video, Eastridge Construction, and Gro Pro will use the space as if it is their own showroom, giving clients the opportunity to see their work in action. For designers, a unique aspect of the new concept at Putnam & Mason is the kitchen, called “The Sample Bar”. Although it will still function as a beverage station for clients to get coffee, water, and wine the main reason for the kitchen is as a workspace for designers to layout their projects. The island and cabinetry will be filled with various samples of fabric, wallpaper, paint, and more.
For Putnam & Mason our goal was to announce the opening of the design atelier and educate consumers and trade of the unique services it will provide. When you add in the mix of artist Hunt Slonem and New England Home magazine as a partner, you get a win-win and the right upscale target audience to attend the opening.
KLAFFS was looking to have a Bath Expo and celebrate their vendors in their retail showroom. An evening with a CEU course, a trend talk with Editor in Chief DJ Carey of Cottages and Gardens and more than 300 attendees. Our main focus was to be the liaison between KLAFFS and CTC&G. Our second job was to help urge attendees to not only attend the event but to meet all the vendors and gain word of mouth advertising. We had a little fun with the social media hashtag and passport event using the phrase, #KLAFFSBubbleBash. It definitely made a big splash and plans are in the works for the next expo.
In continuing our efforts to create a unique set of programs for Wakefield Design Center we started a Business of Design Series with Athome magazine. Our first seminar was a dynamic and informative panel discussion on Licensing led by Kate Verner. Finishing with a discussion between expert in licensing Kate Verner, licensee Linherr Hollingsworth and creative/editorial director of Athome magazine Amy Vischio.
One event after another tis the Fall season. Building relationships with designers is an integral part of Images & Details business. Many of our events entail introducing a brand to the interior design community or informing designers about programs that support their work in the local area and boy did we do that!
Our luxury British mattress company Vispring was looking to expand their brand ambassador program. We wanted to create a WOW factor that will keep existing and future brand ambassadors excited to use and recommend the Vispring beds. At this year’s Fall High Point Market we invited eight interior designers throughout the country to create custom designer dog’s beds. The wonderful designers that participated were Michelle Nussbaumer, Cloth & Kind, Lisa Mende, Mitchell Hill, Jonathan Savage, Sam Allen, Mally Skok, and Andrea Schumacher. The elaborate beds, think pagodas, Lucite frames and pedestal designs, the Vispring showroom came to life!
These types of events are created to introduce and educate the designers to the brand, materials and the bespoke quality of the mattresses. This year Vispring went one step further by flying an expert side-stitcher from their factory in England to have everyone experience first-hand what goes into making a Vispring mattress. We hoped this will create brand ambassadors as well as generate buzz, attract media and additional designers, and dealers to the Vispring showroom to highlight not only the work of the designers but the latest products Vispring has to offer. It was a success!
We returned to Connecticut with a line-up of events and this time our focus was on the local CT design community. Our client Wakefield Design Center had a successful turnout to their semi-annual To The Trade Only Day. The event’s dynamic programming continually attracts new designers to the showroom, this time doubling to more than 85 attendees. This November’s star studded roster of speaker started off with design icon Vicente Wolf sharing his philosophy on how classical elements –earth, wind, air and fire– form the base of any unforgettable design featured in his latest book The Four Elements of Design. Top furnishing brand, Vanguard, introduced us to the talented designer Barry Goralnick who opened our eyes to the way cultural trends inspire and impact the way we design and innovate new products. We switched it up a bit this year and ended with an exciting panel discussion moderated by author and designer Carl J Dellatore featuring panelists Laura Bohn, Glenn Gissler, Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller. They discussed design legend Mario Buatta’s thoughts on color inspiration and color interiors in the 21st century, an excerpt from Dellatore’s new book Interior Design Master Class.
By offering top caliber programming that is both informative and entertaining, more designer are joining us at Wakefield Design Center events which has increased foot traffic through the showroom. This has lead more designer to realize that Wakefield Design Center is a great resource for not only product and furnishing but holds expert information that will help one grow their business.
This is an event we love to be a part of– each year learning new ways to enhance the designers experience and grow the amount of attendees. It is also a way to connect the global interior design community with that of the ever growing Connecticut design Community. We wouldn’t be able to achieved the success we have had without the support of New England Home Magazine, the Wakefield Team, and all the amazing presenters that have given their time to come and talk to our community. Thank you again!
Designers, Dogs and Showhouses
The Dogs Days of Summer seem a long way off here in the Northeast.
But unlike here it seems already sultry in the South at the Southern Style Now Festival in down in New Orleans. Our own Dana Grunow is there soaking up the sun while being a PR Powerhouse and Speaker. She got to spend the evening with our southern gentleman, designer Jonathan Savage, who is the Showhouse master this Spring. First Atlanta at the South Eastern Showhouse then his Alma Mater the O’More Showhouse. And now the Southern Style Now Showhouse accompanied by the talented Tori Mellott of Traditional Home. For designers, Showhouse’s are still an essential way to show their work, style, creativity and usually for a good cause to boot.
And in our own backyard there is the inimitable Kips Bay which is a MUST SEE this year.
Now back to the dogs…
Here are a few of our favorite client pics with their pooches. And yes, they really do help drive those Instagram Likes.
Carey Karlan and Buckly
Jonathan Savage and Artie
George, Tony and Ginger
Ancien et Moderne
Every once in a while you take a risk, and the results are better than you could have imagined. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and facing your fears is scary, but I recently did it, and learned a few lessons in the process. Several years ago I went to Paris for Maison Objet and Deco Off, the world-renown interiors shows, and I felt that something was missing. Showroom after showroom displayed beautiful fabric, wallpaper, or furniture, but as a whole, it had become just another large trade show.
So for this year, I had an idea. My concept was to create a pop-up that would bring together companies and brands that use old world techniques or hand craftsmanship to create beautiful products for today’s marketplace. And we did it. For one week in January during Deco Off, we were able to combine the right elements with perfect execution to create our salon, Ancien et Moderne. Everyone – from participants to editors, from designers to retailers to customers – felt that they were part of something special. Not just a retail space, Ancien et Moderne was a salon, reminiscent of the Paris of Gertrude Stein.
After establishing a figurative vision, I gathered a group of like-minded women to help develop a literal one, beginning with the color palette. Fromental, known for their exquisite hand-done wallpaper, recolored their Barber pattern exclusively for us. Pierre Frey, one of France’s premier textile families, provided the beautiful rug, which helped ground the space. Martina Mondadori, the brilliant editor and visionary behind Cabana magazine, contributed one-of-a-kind products showcasing her philosophy and a new way to do business. Carolina Irving and Penny Morrison, whose fabrics and textiles are known within the design world, presented fabrics and furnishings that created a true salon feel. Hope Swales, the art dealer representative of sculptor Philippe Berry, launched his first furniture collection of consoles and coffee tables in Pairs, which became the backdrop for a dynamic grouping of plates by decapouge artist Jill Barnes-Dacey. Just like those plates, each element was strong enough to stand on its own, but together they provided a venue that was worth of the exciting events hosted there.
Alexandre de Vogüé, co-author of A Day at the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, kicked off proceedings with a book signing and a talk on being a fifth-generation resident of the lovely estate, as well as managing it with his two brothers. We were thrilled to host The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines, and RubyLUX’s Cathy Whitlock for a talk on “Living with Antiques in Modern Times,” moderated by Jake Baer from Newel Antiques, as well as a decoupage workshop with Barnes-Dacey. Finally, we wrapped up with a talk “Celebrating the Strength of the South in the World of Design” with Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Ralls. It truly was the place to be in Paris.
Now the task for every participant in our salon is to take the success of Ancien et Moderne and develop it into new relationships and business success. For us at Images & Details, the challenge is to create something just as noteworthy, yet unique, for next salon. Stay tuned!
MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT
A big part of the public relations life is event organization – from planning to attending, from prepping our clients to coordinating décor and catering, Images & Details loves and excels at making sure everything is perfect. We’ve been busy this season at a number of events that gave us the opportunity to showcase our expertise to the design world.
At High Point Market, our client Vispring hosted “Bedtime Stories,” a brunch event at which we challenged five of our favorite design teams to create bedside table vignettes that illustrated a beloved book. We knew we were in for an exciting time when Robin Baron called and asked, “Could we do Fifty Shades of Grey?” Robin and her team delivered with a fabulous monochromatic color scheme compete with blood red flowers and a smattering of scattered lingerie. Robert Leleux and Shaun Smith recreated “The Ugly Duckling,” complete with two life-sized faux swans, and Anne Rue evoked all the emotions with her incredible recreation of the timeless “Goodnight Moon.” Our own Jonathan Savage took the challenge to a darker place, reinterpreting “The Nightmare Before Christmas” using black and white and a skull motif, while Rivers Spencer chose the Princess and the Pea, which is really rather apt for a Vispring-hosted party, given their mattress-making craft!
Each vignette dazzled and excited us, but as with every party, it was the guests who provided the essential element to make the event fun and successful. Thank you to everyone who attended and made it such a lovely morning!
High Point Market complete, we returned to Connecticut for our client Wakefield Design Center’s twice-yearly To the Trade Day. We’ve had some outstanding guests in the past … but we have to say this line-up left even us a little star-struck. Starting off, Eddie Ross, who has just launched his new book Modern Mix to wonderful response, shared his tips and tricks for sourcing chic and accessible finds that reflect your own personality in your home. Long-time Images & Details friend Julia Buckingham then introduced us to her philosophy of Modernique, a way of life influenced by her own personal journey. Next, the inimitable Robert Couturier participated in a Q&A with New England Home editor-in-chief Kyle Hoepner, discussing the art of designing exquisite paradises for the cultural and intellectual elite. Finally, the lovely and engaging Thom Filicia had a tete-a-tete with Michael Devine, premiering new furniture and artwork from the Thom Filicia Home Collection.
We love helping host the To the Trade Day; while the reach of the interiors community is global, this event allows us to bring the very best of the world of design right here to Connecticut. Again, thank you to our participants and to those who attended.
We at Images & Details wish for you a happy holiday season with many happy and successful events, and look forward to seeing you in 2016!
We’re also so pleased to now be working with the lovely Renae Cohen, of Westchester-based Renae Cohen Interiors. Renae’s mantra is one of “functional design” – a native of the Midwest, Renae insists that her projects be as user-friendly for her clients as they are beautiful. Renae’s elegant, sophisticated aesthetic (she has a background in antiques) will be on view at the 2015 Rooms with a View in Southport, the venerated showcase for interiors talent started by Albert Hadley and currently curated by Thom Filicia.
AND … (we told you it was busy around here!), Images & Details will work with Barclay Butera at High Point Market on the launch of Landon, his new Eastern Accents collection. Together, we will be hosting an exclusive preview down at High Point, followed by a signing of Barclay’s new book. Fresh and on-trend, we think Landon will be popping up everywhere this fall.
More locally, we’ve really enjoyed working with our clients George Snead at Wakefield Design Center and Carey Karlan of Last Detail on the Showhouse on the Green in Fairfield. The result of the efforts of 20 top interior designers and decorative artists, the Showhouse is open for 5 weeks from September 19 through October 25, and Connecticut Cottages and Gardens is media sponsor.
Out of Office
Images and Details is all about experiences. Most recently, we had a glorious road trip to visit Peter Fasano‘s studio in Great Barrington, MA where we got to see where the magic happens. On this picture perfect summer day, Tori Mellott of Traditional Home was joined by designers Lynn Morgan and Regan Hayes along with our PR gal pal Cristina Juarez.
Peter’s newest passion is antique wooden blocks. We saw how a single image was transformed into an overall pattern. It was a whirl wind of learning — from how screens are made, to watching colors being calculated, to seeing fabric being printed and dried.
Paint cans galore labeled with the Who’s Who of the design world were stacked in a row.
After the tour we went for a lovely al frescoe lunch at Elizabeth and Peter’s home. Farm to table simplicity at its best. Yummy salads, fresh baked breads and delish local desserts. On our return we stopped at a few antique shops and ran into our fellow travelers. A great way to be inspired.
We New Englanders deserve our lovely, breezy summers – they’re our gift for enduring the cold months. At Images & Details we think that you can’t celebrate the season enough. To that end, our “Commander-in-Chief” Beth Dempsey hosted a soirée at her home during the last weekend in June, and guests congregated on the veranda, with yummy appetizers, frozen lime cocktails and plenty of rosé wine. We asked some party-goers for their thoughts on summer: tips, favorites & inspirations. Here’s what they said:
Carolyn Sollis Favorite Summer Vacation Spot: Fenwick CT, where the CT River meets Long Island Sound – I have spent summers there my entire life. Signature Summer Dish: Blueberry Kir Sauce Great Beach Read: This summer I plan to read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
Stacey Bewkes Favorite Summer Vacation Spot: No surprise there – Nantucket! Signature Summer Dish: We eat very simply in the summer – whatever is fresh and hopefully local. So while on Nantucket that means grilled, just-caught swordfish, steamed local lobster, fresh Nantucket corn and lots of easy green salads in my big seasoned wooden bowl. Great Beach Read: I am currently reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things which was recommended by Susanna Salk and Laura Slatkin (the cover inspired her new NEST fragrance, Verde. Favorite Summer Cocktail: Like everyone else, I am drinking a lot of rosé this summer (I just did a post about good rosés!)
KC Williams Favorite Summer Vacation Spot: Little Compton, RI (where else?) Great Beach Read: Leaving Before the Rains Come, by Alexandra Fuller. I’ve read all of her previous books about her childhood growing up in Zimbabwe, and they portray a life that’s quite foreign to our world. Favorite Summer Cocktail: I have many but I especially like Dark & Stormy’s.
Melissa Feldman Favorite Summer Vacation Spot: Sailing around the Turkish Mediterranean was the best vacation I’ve ever had! Great Beach Read: I love, love, love Jonathan Franzen, so I’m waiting his next novel, Purity, to come out later this summer. Also The Last Love Song a new biography on writer Joan Didion. Favorite Summer Cocktail: Naturally a negroni, but only made with dry vermouth.
Carey Karlan Favorite Summer Vacation Spot: I’m happy to stay-cation right here in Darien in the summer! You could travel a long way and not find a more beautiful spot than the terrace overlooking the sound at the beach club at twilight. Spending unhurried time with friends and family in that familiar and beautiful spot is my bliss for summer. Favorite Summer Meal: I love to set up a fancy picnic complete with flowers, cold salmon with tasty salads and a fresh peach cobbler! Favorite Summer Cocktail: A nice bottle of Sancerre.