Posts by Kathy Belcher (page 3)
Really, I work with all the folks who support our customers
every day, fulfilling our promise of a hand crafted customer service
experience, whether they are in retail stores, in our call center, or
supporting our trade customers. I’m also
hot on the trail of potential new retail store locations for Rejuvenation,
getting the opportunity to bring more customers to our brand.
I’ve always worked in retail store operations and
management, for companies big and small, but Rejuvenation is a unique
experience for me. Its about products that matter and that are enduring and
endearing, to help make the home environment even more special. We attract employees that feel the same;
they’re here for all the right reasons and they really care about what the
customer experiences in our stores, or on the phone, or on a job site. That means that I get to be surrounded by
great people, in a great environment, talking to folks about our great
products, and helping them make their homes their own. I think I am pretty fortunate. And, while we are not a new company or brand
by any stretch of the imagination, we are still new to so many people – it is
great to be on the front line of telling them about our terrific brand.
I can teach you why we do what we do in terms of a store
experience at Rejuvenation, and maybe answer some questions you may have along
the way as we open stores in new cities across the U.S.
2 truths and one lie – let’s see… I’ve visited all 50 states,
I have 3 pug/terrier mix dogs that I dote upon, and I grew up on a farm and
raised polled Hereford steers for 4-H.
My Personal Connection with Helms Bakery
There are so many weird and wonderful coincidences in the world; I finally just stopped counting them. A recent one for me is my personal connection to Helms Bakery, the soon-to-be new home for Rejuvenation in LA. My grandpa, Edward Ulbrand, was a Helms Bakery driver back in the 1950s. His regular customers were on a route through the streets of Artesia, California, but people could also flag him down and buy right off the truck. It was a smaller version of the bigger bakery truck, with drawers filled with different kinds of cookies, cakes, and pies. I understand the chocolate chip cookies were quite popular. He drove to LA/Culver City in the mornings, picked up the orders for the day, and off he went on his route. He retired at age 50, went on to own a flower shop in Laguna Beach, and proceeded to spend his days after that at the racetrack, betting on the ponies. He even owned a racehorse for a few years, although not the kind that won big races, which is I am guessing is why we had no inheritance from this grandpa!
My Grandpa and his Bread Truck
I am really lucky to live in Portland, Oregon. More specifically in Northeast Portland, home to a rich history of turn of the century homes. NE Portland was one of those first “streetcar suburbs” of Portland back in the 1900’s, and so many of my friend’s parents grew up in these neighborhoods. A little historic background: Portland’s population and wealth exploded in the years immediately after the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1905, and the style-conscious citizens turned to local architects to bring “modern” ideas to life in the new streetcar neighborhoods sprawling out from downtown. 94% of our neighborhood buildings were constructed between 1894 and 1948. We’re also recognized for our eclectic mix of architectural styles, examples of the work of many of Portland’s best architects and builders, and its late 19th century building covenants. Few city neighborhoods in the West have the variety and quality of early 20th Century residential architecture to equal Portland’s historic Irvington Neighborhood: Arts & Crafts, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Prairie Style, Bungalow.
Many of the homes are celebrating their 100th birthdays – in Portland as in many other communities it’s common now to have “100 year old birthday parties” for your home. I’ve still got a few years to go for mine – it was built in 1927, but I am already planning for it. In my neighborhood, we’ve got a lot of things going for us – huge walk-ability scores, (with a score of 78, Irvington is the #14 most walk-able neighborhood in Portland) more bike traffic than cars it seems, and an abundance of period authentic homes from that era, many which used Rejuvenation fixtures.
Walking every day through my neighbors underscores 1. How amazingly folks have made their home their own and 2. How many more things I could be doing with mine! If you are like me, you like to get out at dusk when the porch lights have been turned on, and there’s just a bit of an opportunity for peeping into dining rooms, living rooms and kitchens along the way (hey, the curtains are wide open; I am not that kind of peeper!)
Here are some of my favorite examples, from last year’s Irvington Home Tour: irvingtonhometour.com
NE 15th and Thompson
2205 NE 16th
this home actually belongs to a good friend of Rejuvenation's!
welcome to Rejuvenation LA!
We know how you all love to personalize your homes; we have the same opportunity to add a little Rejuvenation flavor in Los Angeles for our new store opening this fall.
Here in retail, we’re busy at work on that new store in the Helms Bakery District. Our landlord has started construction on our behalf, and we’re coming right along behind that work with our own construction plans. Our goal, of course, is to Make This Home Our Own, with all that makes Rejuvenation so special and unique. You know, a fresh take on classic timeless design, while honoring the historic nature of the Helms building.
I don’t want to spoil the surprises for our grand opening in LA, but surely a sneak peek is in order. Here’s how the floor plan is shaping up:
here's an entry view - Rejuvenation LA!
As you enter the store, you look down the left at our mecca of period basics lighting – those hard-working, beautiful lights that not only are our best sellers, but represent a wide range of styles and sizes to fit so many homes.
Along those lines, we are really excited about our opportunity to show off our beautiful, hand painted shades in an amazing way. More later on a future blog about the shade wall – it is truly an eye-popping marvel, but here’s a little preview of the execution:
our shade workshop!
Here’s a little preview of how our fixtures and floor-plans are coming together. This is a view of the back cash wrap area looking to the front of the store. The store will have 3 separate entry doors, each offering a unique experience to the shoppers, and to take advantage of some natural flow within the Helms Bakery District project. While there is very little that is specifically “retail fixtures” in our space the parts that are were inspired by the past, are meant to be used, and then reused again in the future if needed. The lumber and materials used are sustainable.
We’re uber excited about our new floor. We’ll just have it as a highlight in one very key section of the floor, but it is bound to turn heads and make an impact. (Careful though – we don’t want you to hurt yourself admiring our floor. Look up – there’s a lot to love in our lighting grids too.) It’s from a nearly 50-year old-Oregon company, here in the Portland area, using salvaged, sustainable Douglas fir end-on-end planks. (www.oregonlumber.com)
We’ve got some clever ideas in the works to best show off our awesome lighting and get all the parts and pieces to work together with the building itself. I promise it will be unique but so right for Rejuvenation.
Now, I can’t wait to flip this over to the “Open” side!
And finally a little peek at the demolition: Can someone please clean this mess up, stat?
Every season, the Official Deciders of Color (aka Pantone) put a huge amount of effort into determining what the color of the year will be – much like the Academy Awards of Color if you will. This year’s 2011 Oscar Winner: (the envelope please …Honeysuckle!
And Honeysuckle makes its acceptance speech and thanks all the little colors that helped make it what it is today: “Honeysuckle emboldened us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.” And Honeysuckle goes on to say: “Honeysuckle derived its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.” (It’s always important to thank your mother when accepting an award!)
What does that mean for Rejuvenation and our color choices for our store design? Well, it is very safe to say Honeysuckle will not be on our short list of our in-store design package!
- We avoid trendy, but don’t mind being on trend.
- We preserve what we value from the past, but we don’t want to be typecast in any one era.
- We want to be color neutral, but not boring or staid.
- We’re sophisticated, but inspiring with surprising pops of bold color
- We want our beautiful products to shine through (pun, intended).
- After all, we’re all about classic, American heritage
It’s a very tall order!
So, here’s what we’re working with, and why, for a few of our in-store collections. Let me know what you think!
Art Deco: Color was influenced by many different factors, including the movement of cultural ideas. Until the start of Art Deco, creams and beiges were common, but now more vibrant colors became fashionable. Orange and acid yellow appeared on the scene, as did purple, green and lavender. Metallic finishes and reflective surfaces emphasized these colors.
For us, that meant hush and poolside blue:
Victorian: The Victorians liked to impress, and status was important to them. So their houses reflected this, and so did the ways they decorated the interiors. Decorating Victorian style means using color. There are a number of reasons why the Victorians used color as much as they did:
- Increasing trade produced wealth, and more people were able to afford to decorate their homes to a higher standard.
- Advances in chemistry and industrial processes resulted in paint becoming widely available and at affordable prices.
The Victorians used colors which were deep and rich, but were also warm. The colors were muted and restful, but not boring or dull as is often thought. Deep reds and dark greens were among their favorites. The more definite colors were reserved for rooms where the family would spend time.
Our take: Gentleman’s Grey, which really looks like a deep navy.
We are on our way!
As previously noted, Rejuvenation is pleased to announce we are opening our 3rd store this fall in LA, at Helm’s Bakery District. The district sits right on the border between Los Angeles and Culver City, but our store will have an LA address. We are a little giddy to be opening in LA.
The Helms Bakery District has a rich and vibrant history in the LA market. You can read more about it here at www.helmsbakerydistrict.com.
Just to show how so many things in life come full circle: when I mentioned to my Mom where we were opening in LA and started to tell her the story of Helm’s Bakery, she quickly stopped me and said “Kathy, you know your grandfather was a driver for Helm’s Bakery back in the 50’s.” So, there is my personal connection back to the site!
Not Kathy's real Grandpa, but you get the idea.
We should also give props to Culver City, home of Sony Pictures and Culver Studios (of “Gone with the Wind” production fame, below) and now home of Rejuvenation store #3. But unlike the movies, where things can get a tad phony, Rejuvenation is very much the real deal! We’ve got this love affair going on with history, architecture and bringing back the best lighting and house parts ever made.
Culver Studios, Yesterday
Culver Studios, Today
But in general the process for site selection is a combination of a lot of talented people, a bunch of facts and figures, and a mix of art and science. We try to put ourselves in your shoes, and ask:
- Where do you, our customer, live?
- What’s your housing stock like? (Because even though we work great in brand new construction, age matters!)
- Where do you shop for cool things for your home?
- Where can you get a coffee around here? (We are from Portland) and a bite to eat while you’re at it. (We consider ourselves foodies too.)
- Can you find a parking place? And are there good options for alternative transportation for you and our new employees? (And that’s part of who we are as you probably already know)
- Is the building cool? Does it have a history and a story? (Because history matters too. We believe in preserving what we value from the past, and we know you do too.)
- Is there enough space to show off our brand, and stand out a bit from the rest?
- What’s the landlord like? (We care about who we do business with.)
- All of this matters, because we plan to be here for a long time!
Below are a few pictures of our new space (pre-Rejuvenation) and by the way, this will be the first and last time you’ll see these store windows blocked by banner signage and sale signs. The next time you see it, expect beautiful glowing lights and shades, period authentic, inspiring lighting designed to make your home your own.