Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dan Heims Heads to Kentucky…Will You Be There As Well?

Co-owner of Terra Nova Nurseries and horticulturalist known ‘round the world, Dan Heims will be speaking in two different Kentucky cities this week. A renowned speaker, author and authority on horticulture for 34 years, Heims has traveled extensively seeking new plant varieties and developing new forms of plant breeding, resulting in national and international awards for more than 30 Terra Nova Nurseries plant introductions, with total introductions exceeding 600 new plants. If you will be in Kentucky in the coming days or have interest in interviewing Dan for articles or on air, the following offers his speaking schedule:

"Garden Gems"
Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m.
The Arboretum - 500 Alumni Drive Lexington, KY 40503
A fun compilation of some of the newest, most exciting perennials, tropicals and woodies seen today from Dan’s lifelong adventures in gardens, shows and trips all around the world. Kentucky Landscape Architect Board will award one hour of continuing education credit for the lecture. Tickets: $12 for general public, $10 for Master Gardeners / Arboretum Friends, $5 for students (with valid student ID). For more information visit The Arboretum’s website or call 859-257-6955.

"Right Plant – Right Place: Plant Solutions for Problem Areas" Sunday, October 31 at 3:00 p.m.
Crescent Hill Woman’s Club - 2641 Grinstead Drive Louisville, KY 40206

Individual gardens involve a variety of environments from deserts to swamps to shady refuges. Come hear Dan’s engaging and informative presentation which will enlighten attendees on how to make good plant choices for problem spaces. Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for students (with valid student ID), free admission for Botanica Members. Proceeds will benefit the Louisville Botanical Garden and Conservatory. For more information visit www.botanicakentucky.org or reach out by email, president@botanicakentucky.org.

Media members, contact us anytime you’d like to plan interviews with Dan.

~ Sarah Kate

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happenings at High Point

As many of our blog followers know, the High Point Market Authority is hosting the popular fall 2010 furniture market this week. With 188 buildings and 12 million Square Feet of exhibit and showroom space, the 85,000 attendees are certainly feasting their eyes on the top furniture introductions and emerging trends for 2011. Based upon the helpful resources provided by the Authority and with some of our own clients’ input in mind, we wanted to point out a few ways for designers and retail buyers to create successful market experiences for their companies.

If you haven’t yet studied the Fall 2010 Planning Guide, it offers information about the local High Point area. The market’s website points out information to find thousands of new introduction pieces at market during the week; calendar insights regarding planned expert seminars; listings of some of the must-attend social gatherings / networking; and comprehensive information about making your way to as many inspiring showrooms and exhibits as possible.

Also, tap into the Authority’s Exhibitor Media Kit, which is a great way to synchronize your marketing efforts with theirs; engage your sales force about some of the changes at the market; connect with media members; develop relationships with buyers, drive traffic, and more. Then, too, take time to read the 2010 High Point Market Authority’s Business Outlook. Valuable interviews and research were conducted to uncover data surrounding personal consumption expenditures, furniture retail sales, employment rates, and consumer expectations indexing.

All in all, we agree with the findings, in that, economic growth of the months ahead is still somewhat uncertain; however, the tides are turning with the last several months showcasing slow but steady recovery. With that said, we believe 2011 business success for many of us in the industry may very well mean changing the ways in which we think about business and marketing. By evolving with today’s more modern marketing communications and social media strategies, we stand the chance to yield new growth. As tough as it may seem at times, change is a good thing. We encourage our readers to embrace innovative approaches to business management and brand marketing as we enter a positive new selling season. Keep tuning in to our blog and Facebook Fanpage for upcoming articles and posts about executing new marketing for a new era as well as case-studies regarding how some industry companies are doing just that.

For our media contacts, email or call us with your needs for furniture product photos and trends information as you plan your post-market coverage.

~ Don

Friday, October 15, 2010

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

As most of you readers out there might know, our firm is located in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta is commonly known for its traditional Southern roots, but when it comes to interior design, many Atlantans opt for personal style and tastes, ranging from traditional to retro glam and all the way to sleek and modern. Luckily, our city is packed with a similar range of retailers, design centers and interior designers all well-versed in said different styles. And, a magazine we hold in high regard for exploring beautiful homes is Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. Flip through the magazine’s pages and you’ll see a mix of luxurious, drool-worthy designs - like a cozy Grant Park bungalow, a Colonial home in Buckhead, a chic Midtown high-rise loft, or a slew of second homes scattered across the Southeast at lakes, mountains and beaches alike. Stemming from the second half of its title, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles also covers the finest food, wine, art and shopping that Atlanta has to offer. That is where one of our clients, Englishman’s Fine Furnishings, comes in. In a special section of AH&L’s October issue, the magazine’s staff rounded up a selection of local arts, antiques shops and reproduction sources. The photos below included the cover and the page featuring Englishman’s.

We were especially thrilled to see the coincidental relation between the cover words “bespoke pieces tailored to perfection” and our client, Englishman’s. Following in the great tradition of England’s legendary cabinet-makers such as Chippendale and Hepplewhite, Englishman’s uses only the very best artisan craftsmanship. No two pieces of furniture are created exactly the same in that Englishman’s hand-crafted reproductions model European antiques from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Pieces in their furniture collection can also be customized per specific designer needs and homeowner preferences.

You can also read about Englishman’s on AH&L’s website here. Thanks, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles! We’re looking forward to the next issue already!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Land Planning and Living Soils

Landscape and Irrigation magazine is dedicated to shedding light on notable industry professionals, projects, products, innovations, and industry news. The magazine does a highly credible job of reaching and informing landscape design, construction and maintenance professionals as well as those who work in the fields of turf, irrigation and water management. What we like about Landscape and Irrigation: it truly aims to enhance the industry thanks to one of the top editors in the business. So, having worked with the editor to facilitate an educational article with the expertise of our client, Jeff Speck, vice president of sales & marketing for Big River Industries, we wanted to share the Q&A-style information. In short, for the September issue, Landscape and Irrigation turned to Speck for advice on stormwater run-off issues and different land planning and water management options. Since many of our fans are industry professionals and related media members, we thought you may enjoy reading the article.

The Q&A article examines the real problems that stormwater and run-off can cause to landscaped areas and, in turn, the environment. It also focuses on the benefits of creating efficient, engineered soils to manage these water challenges and how to do so.

One challenge Speck addresses is low-impact development- controlling stormwater run-off with as little burden to the development’s original environment. One example of a project that faced this challenge was Big River Industries’ work with Ecos Environmental Designs and ERTH Products on the surrounding landscape of a new building development on Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus.

It’s all about a healthy soil profile, according to Speck. The article looks at what percentage of soil should be water, air and solid particles. If soil is not properly balanced, it can cause poor water drainage and poor nutrient reception. Big River Industries – and its partner businesses like those already mentioned as well as Garick Corporation – produce products like FiltRocks and HydRocks (or other products using Big River’s expanded lightweight clay aggregate. This, combined with conceptive design / build or engineering methods, help not only control stormwater run-off, but also further ecological vegetation systems.

To read the full article online, you can find it on Landscape and Irrigation’s website or in the September digital magazine. Scans of the hardcopy magazine are seen above. By clicking through these images, you can read the Q&A here, too. Thanks to John, editor at L&I magazine, for your help and time, and to Jeff for your expertise.

~ ECPR Team

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Social Media Lesson from Kim Kardashian and How It Translates to Those in the Home, Garden or Design Industries…

I must admit that it was my inner reality TV addict that tempted me to check out a tweet from this morning promoting a Kim Kardashian case study based off of her tweets and Twitter profile. But, after reading the article, I do think the author makes an interesting point about the quantity of Twitter followers compared to the quality of Twitter followers that an individual has. The article, which can be read at length here: http://mashable.com/2010/10/01/twitter-kim-kardashian/, examines the relationship between Kim Kardashian and her loyal tweeps by how many hits her official website receives via her Twitter account. According to Mashable.com, her site is ranked 54th out of all websites that are clicked from Twitter users, and that takes into account sites like TwitPic, Flickr, and dozens of sports and news sites. And, while Kardashian is a popular celeb on Twitter with just under 5 million followers, she’s still not as favored as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, or even Justin Beiber. She just knows how to tweet a fine balance between her thoughts and comments and her business ventures to keep her followers interested.

The article provoked me to think about how truly loyal Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Flickr contacts, YouTube friends etc. can be. Leaders of online communities can become quite influential by paying attention to their sources and connections – whether they are customers of a local garden center or green industry professionals or adoring celebrity fans. Then, use that knowledge to supply followers with what they want and need and it seems (in Kardashian’s case) that that they will become even more loyal. A great small business example of this scenario that is more geared towards our work / industries is Sickles Market, an independent garden center retailer. I’ve never seen a Facebook page buzzing as much as theirs does- every post has multiple comments, every photo or video is liked and shared. It’s amazing the steady, cult-like mass of fans they have, which is more than 2,000 in the town of Little Silvers, NJ where there are only about 6,000 residents. Here’s their page: http://www.facebook.com/SicklesMarket for more inspiration on quality vs. quantity of social media followers.

In our realm of all things related to home, garden, and design products and people, social media is an important means for companies and brands to interact with customers, the media and other important groups. It provides an opportunity to participate in online communities and conversations in ways not otherwise possible. The lessons learned from celebs, such as Kim Kardashian, are certainly notable as they were the ones who fanned the social networking flame to make it what it has become today. And, leaders in our industry, like Sickles Market or even the bigger names of Kathy Ireland, Paula Deen, or Donald Trump, who know how to network themselves in ways to create devoted followers of their home furnishing lines or other design-based products for homeowners, are clearly setting examples for all of us who want to better our social sites.

Let us know what you think about this issue by leaving a comment below.

~ Sarah Kate