Archive for February, 2012

Guess What We’re “Growing” this Spring?

Today is a big day at Green Couch as we celebrate the announcement of our first baby! That’s right… all this talk and dreaming of our little farm family is finally coming true and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s been one crazy ride after another since we literally found out the day we we’re leaving to go to KS for Christmas! It was a total surprise and although we we’re thinking we would start this summer it’s taken sometime to wrap our brains around “having” a baby when we thought we would be “starting”. I guess that is what we get for trying to “plan” this whole thing out! Lets just say the “plan” has been thrown out the window! ;)

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Creatives Near You: Allison [Barta Bailey Retail Consulting]

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For the last few years we’ve crossed paths with Allison Bailey as we’ve dropped off product at Shop Good and other places around OKC. As a retail consultant we’ve seen first hand some of the projects and shops she’s been involved with and we can honestly say that she’s been an intricate part in planning some of the biggest community centered events for the local districts around town. If Allison is not the brains behind the operation and organizing the entire event, you’ll also find her volunteering her time when it’s something she truly believes in.

What I love about Allison’s perspective is that she’s not just a girl who likes to “shop” (don’t let those blonde curly cues fool you) but everything she does is smart and strategic. Her passion is to truly support local retail shops by helping them establish a shop philosophy that they can continue to grow from and create a shopping community like culture that customers want to be a part of again and again. What originally started as a love for supporting local retail in the form of the blog Shopcrawlr has now become Allison Barta Bailey a full fledged retail consultant business for independent shops and districts.

Q1) How does one become a retail consultant?

A1) Honestly, I’ve only met one other retail consultant that works with independent retailers. We both took different routes to our careers. She started as a shop owner. Although I did work retail, I started from a completely different angle. I began recruiting shops to my start-up website, Shopcrawlr.com and gradually transitioned into managing marketing efforts, events and promotions for some of the shops that I became familiar with.

After consulting on weekends and evenings while I worked a corporate job, I had a revelation and decided to quit my full time job and jump into consulting for small shops full time. That was over two years ago and I still get excited thinking about that moment.

Q2) When a potential customer walks into a store what are the three key elements that can make or break their purchase?

  1. Environment: Does a customer feel welcome in the shop space? Is a shop owner friendly without acting like a salesperson? Candles, music, wall color, walkway space… all add to the initial perception. For example, Black Optical (in the image featured above) pays close attention to detail and makes it easy for a customer to feel comfortable trying on dozens of pairs of glasses.
  2. Product Rhythm: Product arrangement, how do the products’ prices and purposes translate to a customer’s path through the shop? How is the shop philosophy shared?
  3. Although this actually occurs before they enter the shop… Availability: Is your shop open when customers want to shop? If you aren’t open, does your window indicate the next time that you will be open?

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Beauty in Chaos

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Since I’ve gotten back from ALT Summit I’ve had a hard time re-gaining my focus. We’ve had several life changes and new developments in our business that have been difficult to transition into. I’m having a hard time taking all these pieces and things we want to do and the things we should be doing and knowing where to even start? To be honest it’s made me desire house chores over Green Couch Design! Which to me is a HUGE sign that I’m totally avoiding the process and proves just how annoyed I am with “not knowing” exactly what to do.

It’s in this time I find myself relating to a style of imagery where all the “pieces” are still there but organized neatly. I find the white space around each item to be a breath of fresh air and hope in this time of chaos and confusion.

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Celebrating 90 Years of Living

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There are not many things that live to be 90 years old. I’ve heard of cities celebrating 90 years, or award ceremonies, but rarely do you get to know someone personally that is 90 years old. I’m blessed to say that I’ve had my Grandma Mac around for 90 years (and my other Grandma for 80!). The older I get the more I realize what a special and rare occasion it is to have had so much of your life spent with Grandmas/Grandparents. There are a lot people that have never known the safety of a Grandparents hug, the warmth of their laughter, or the taste of their cooking. :) It’s moments like these that hold some of my fondest childhood memories.

Last Sunday my mom, my Grandma B (my mom’s mom), and I took off on a road trip to KC to celebrate my Grandma Mac’s 90th Birthday. It was truly a momentous occasion with handmade brunch (my favorite!) and family that I have not seen since I was a kid. It was one of those afternoons where time stood still and it felt refreshing to stop the busyness of the hour and celebrate the gift of 90 years.

My mom wrote the following speech about my Grandma Mac and I thought she did terrific job describing all the in and outs of this wonderful lady and sharing a few new things that I didn’t even know!

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People that Inspire Us: Susan with Freshly Picked

Freshly Picked from Team Thirteen on Vimeo.

“What you need to do is get clear about the life that you want. Then you need to re-focus your priorities until you can see that life and then you just run like hell at it! You just go for it!”- Susan Petersen with Freshly Picked

We couldn’t agree more!

From the Farm

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GCD: Selling a Lifestyle or a Product?

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We are excited to announce that we are officially working on a Look Book featuring our Green Couch Design Kitchen Line and Concrete Jewelry! The conceptual process is just getting started but we are already asking ourselves tons of questions as we figure out what are the key messages that we want to say about our products, our brand as a “lifestyle”, and/or both? If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then we had better make sure we have a clear vision about who we are and the type of visual messages we are sending our customers.

As we’ve been researching ideas for our Look Book we’ve noticed two different approaches toward selling a product:

1: Lifestyle Based Marketing: Imagery that forces customers to desire a product because of the way they feel when they are wearing that object or have that product a part of their life. When you aim your marketing toward a lifestyle approach you want potential customers to first fall in love with who you are and as a result purchase your products. With this type of imagery you are not just selling a piece of jewelry, you are selling a feeling based on the type of lifestyle your customers long to have.

Example: In this commercial you see the target audience is young adults and young families that are adventurous and want to “go” and “do”. They are not ok with sitting by and letting life pass by, instead they want to live life to the fullest. Ford focused it’s marketing efforts on the “feeling” their target market wants to have towards life (the problem) and how the Ford Explorer can help their customers accomplish that (the solution).

2: Product Based Marketing: Imagery that sells you a product by focusing on it’s features and services. Typically, this is for a product that is very specialized and more focused on the individual. Marketing efforts are narrowed into making one type of product and making it better than anyone else in your market. Customers purchase this type of product because it’s the best in the industry and it offers them something that your competition does not.

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The “BIG” Picture

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For those of you who don’t know after much debate we decided to send Cale back into the work force. There have been a couple of reasons for this but mainly a great opportunity came up for him to work at an architecture firm that he really wanted to work with and thus giving him the opportunity to complete his architectural license.

We are still adjusting to this “new” lifestyle of 9-5 with evenings spent working together on Green Couch Design along with weekends. More than ever it’s been really hard to separate work and life and it’s really tested our commitment to Green Couch Design. I’m not gonna lie there are days where it feels like the easiest thing to do would be to throw in the towel and both work a 9-5. The idea of “free-time” sounds SOOO good right now but it’s in these moments that we are reminded of the process. We are reminded of the”what” that made us start down this path of self-employment in the first place. As magical and as freeing as it appears (and can be) where the rubber meets the road is messy (Have you seen my office lately? That is why!), confusing (At times) and a lot work! Everyday you have to face your own insecurities and inadequacies and meet them head on! You have to look fear in the face and say; “I don’t care what you think!” You have to remember and then remind yourself again of The “BIG” Picture!

For us The “BIG” Picture is raising our kids together. It’s a dream where both of us work at home with the kids playing under our feet. It’s one where we don’t have to choose success over family. And for now it’s a process of constantly learning and tweaking all aspects of our business and who we are as individuals. There are days where it’s exhausting but we have to remember The “BIG” Picture and enjoy the hell out of the process!

Is anyone else in this place of transition? Are you constantly reminding yourself of The “BIG” Picture? What helps you stay committed and focused to your long-term dreams?

From the Farm


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STUFF: Married for 50 Years: Love Ever After Photography Project

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This year for Valentines Day we decided instead of talking about ourselves we would share some love advice from the real “experts”. We’ve been following Lauren Fleishman’s Kickstarter Project called Love Ever After and we are completely smitten! Sharing stories of couples who have been married for 50+ years Lauren is capturing these couples through photographs and collecting fun quotes about how they met and their “secret” to finding and maintaining love.

Get ready to fall in love with some really adorable old people…

“Sometimes we think we love when we don’t love. A lot of people say they are in love but really we were young and we really didn’t know what love was all about. But afterward we found out what love was! Love is sharing with one another. Don’t care what you have you share what you have. And be willing to give. Another thing I tell people now is that you have to be able to bend a little bit. Yes, love is a powerful thing. If you know what it means.”Theauther and Annie Love

“We’ve been married for 66 years. We met in high school when I was 16 years old and my wife was 15 years old. And we’ve gone through life together. The love we feel now is a different type of love. It is a mature love. In the beginning, of course, there was a sexual attraction but right now sex has very little to do with it.”- Moe and Tessie Rubenstein

“What is the secret to love? A secret is a secret and I don’t reveal my secrets!” - Ykov Shapirshteyn and Mariya Gostsinnaya

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DIY: “I Love You Because…” Flip Book

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Sometimes in your marriage you have to think back and remember what it was like when you we’re dating. What were the things that you just did to say “I love you” and how can you apply those things to your relationship now? They may not come as natural as they once did but after a little soul searching you’ll remember the simple things you once did to make that special someone feel all warm and gooey inside.

I remember a time when I was really good at at this. I would send Cale cards and make cute “I love you” books. Yes, I know… cheesy but hey it’s what I loved to do! In my opinion there is nothing better than a handmade Valentine’s Day gift. I think it has something to do with my childhood memories of cutting hearts out of construction paper, decorating an old shoe box with glitter, and adding as much red, white, and pink as possible! Handmade gifts, although simple, take time and thought and that fellas can go a lot farther than a box of chocolates!

This year let that special someone know all the weird, cute and funny things you love about them by making a handmade gift.

To help you get you started think of the things about that person that made you fall in love with them… and then onto the weird, quirky and even serious things that you cherish about them today.

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STUFF: YEAH!rentals Stop Motion Promo Video

YEAH!rentals from Son of Shark Pig on Vimeo.

This video makes us happy and although it’s very simple we’re pretty sure it took a lot more work than it shows! Today, push that idea… FURTHER! :)

From the Farm

video from Son of Shark Pig for YEAH!rentals

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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