Friday, January 7, 2011

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes.  A cliche' I just can't avoid as I think about today's blog post.

First, a heartfelt thank you to all of you reading this blog.

You have been our support group, our cheerleaders, our fans, our customers, our consignors and our friends from the beginning of this journey.  We could not have survived year one without you.  Those words sound flat even as I type them and hear them in my head and I realize you could not know how much your belief and interest in what we're doing means to us.  Each comment, each email, each visit to the store is an emotional paycheck that feeds our spirit.  Thank you.

What a difference a year makes. . .

LHO Design and Consign is born with the signing of our lease agreement at 2100 Irving Blvd.  A warehouse showroom at the corner of Manufacturing and Irving Blvd on the northern rim of the Dallas Design District.  The ink had barely dried when Jodi and I went to work covering the window with consignment posters and hiring Manny to paint!  (We immediately contributed to the local economy by creating Paintbrush Ready Jobs.  Manny has since painted for several businesses in the area including our neighbors, shown below)

Once inside, we did what every self respecting female entrepreneurs would do.  We recruited our husbands to start building our wall to showcase our line of personalized vintage signs.  Thanks to Ray and Matt for donating an entire Saturday to lifting and securing heavy pallets onto the mason block wall now in the center of the showroom.

Once secured, Jodi grabbed her tool apron and power tools to start building her display

More Manny magic on the sign wall!

Not to be left behind, I was assigned to "adding softness" to our space with a roller brush and can of Vintage Charm paint!

We were so excited, the store was beginning for fill up with consignments

Next on the agenda:  Produce promotional materials.  We tried the DIY photo shoot....with Jodi directing and behind the camera. It was fun, but at the end of the day we called upon our friends for their professional assistance.

This time, with our friends from Haute Facade making us look pretty and Dori Boone-Constantino replacing Jodi behind the camera, we were successful in creating materials we could be proud of.

The poster actually fell off the window onto Dori's head while she was shooting, we decided it was a "sign" and now use this shot for our postcards to promote consignments.

The gold chairs in the top photo were quickly added to the "most wanted" list after we received a very nice gift from The Dallas Morning News.  The article below ran in the Guide section on Saturday, February 6th, 2010.  We found out about it as Jodi's phone started to ring very early Saturday morning; customers asking if we still had the Louisiana sign in the picture in the newspaper!  She immediately ran to the nearest 7-11 to find out what everyone was talking about.  That day we were slammed with customers!  What a wonderful surprise.  Thank you Brittany Edwards for sharing the news about LHO with the residents of North Texas.  This level of exposure is advertising you simply cannot buy - and even if you could, we could never have afforded it.  

Still today, we have visitors come into the store because of this article!

We started networking with our neighbors - targeting the residents of the new residential apartments in the design district.  Brainstorming on a meaningful way to reach people who are moving into the neighborhood.  It all came down to this:  What's the one thing everyone always needs when moving? 

Welcome to the Neighborhood!  Cases of toilet tissue wrapped with a special offer were delivered to The Alexan, 1900 Lofts, Trinity Lofts, Design District Lofts and Post Uptown Properties!'s not that sexy but it is meaningful!

In June, our friend Kate offered to work Sundays allowing us to be open six days a week.  She's been a great addition to the LHO Family.  

In July, we set up at the Dallas Boat Show at Dallas Market Hall, continuing our mission of growing the Lakehouse Outfitters fan base.

                                                          Jodi loves her aprons for set up

We also expanded our real estate in Canton, moving to a larger retail space on Row 46. 

                                                 A stay at home mommy needs a day out every now and then
                                               (which is great for us).  Heather has been on our Canton
                                                 Crew for most of the year.  It's perfect for her and really
                                                   helps us on those busy Canton weekends.

Marketing and the brainstorming of marketing ideas seemed to consume us this summer, we were constantly thinking of ways to reach new customers.  Hence... the experiment with online video.  Jodi posted a store Video Tour (which I just watched with amazement on how different our inventory is) and we also tried our hand at a video version of What's New Wednesday  The outtake is good for a laugh if nothing else!  Take Two:  the full length version where we all heard Jodi talking about converting a traditional chest into a baby changing table.  She continues to deny that "at that time" she was with child; a statement she can no longer make with a straight face!

Jodi and Matt Christmas Eve

                                                     Super excited grandma to be and Jodi

Yes, Jodi has been noticeably absent from the LHO day to day since late summer, with good reason.  Baby M is due the end of January; but just like her mother she's ahead of schedule!  We plan on meeting our grand daughter the 18th or 19th of this month .  We are filled with excitement anticipating the birth of this baby but before that happens I have to tell Jodi how proud I am of her and thank her for the substantial contributions she has made to our business.  

Jodi was instrumental in the creation of the Lakehouse Outfitters concept (over 3 years ago) as well as the development of LHO Design and Consign.  Her influence, ideas, work ethic, tactical ability, focus and  innate computer/software talents insured we build a strong business foundation and kept us on track in the early months.   I have to believe it is a unique situation when a parent has the opportunity, the privilege really, to work alongside their child.  Yes, it creates a interesting workplace dynamic and sure there were challenges and days we each had to bite our tongues or walk away - no different than any work relationship, except the emotional thermostats might get a tad warmer (or colder).  

The real difference in this type of work relationship is when your partner blows you away by her capabilities and performance you also swell with parental pride.
That's my daughter, how cool is that!  

Also, awesome for me is my husband Ray.  As Jodi has stepped away from the day to day,  Ray has stepped in and gone from hanging pallets to learning how to work the cash register and run credit card transactions!  He even ran Canton solo on the day of Jodi's baby shower.

He's excited about becoming a GP and has already started to talk about how much money a grandchild is going to cost us!  We need to generate some "spoiling" money!   

THE SALE at the store starts this Saturday.  Name your price was such a success last fall we have brought it back.  Consignments 120 days or older are all included in the sale.  

See a sticker 
Make an offer  
No reasonable offers refused
We need some spoiling money. 

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