Thursday, February 26, 2015

Did you guys see my post about my personal new years resolutions for 2015?

Last year I also posted about my new years resolutions for my business.  I figured I'd revisit these and set some goals for this year as well. There were some overarching resolutions like delegate, get organized and focus. I think in general I've done a good job on these things. Having someone here helping me has helped immensely. I've been able to focus on building my business while letting her deal with the day to day shipping, invoice making and admin.  And she's also really helped out on getting things organized in our back-of-house, putting systems in place for inventory management and client communication.  In turn I've been able to work on sourcing, creating new designs and doing a few projects.  From a focus standpoint, I turned down some design work and really thought hard about the projects I did accept. And because I like my clients now,I've been really enjoying the design work that I am doing.  Admittedly, some of my more specific goals regarding the hardware line didn't pan out and have been pushed to this year, but in general 2014 was a good one.  Now that the having of babies is behind me, I think I'll have more time in 2015 to really work on my goals. Here they are:

- Double our 2014 sales figures. This was a goal I had last year as well and I came really darn close.  Now that we've honed in more on pricing and margins, I think this is doable, especially because of my second goal below.

- Focus on marketing.  This year we are really focusing on our marketing efforts. After a fairly long hiatus we are putting new energy back into email campaigns. Don't worry, we don't plan to spam you every day but the idea is to create focused emails maybe monthly so we stay on designers' radars.  We already sent one email out about our Before and After promo and we got a huge uptick in site visits (granted, in the design world, that doesn't translate to immediate sales but hopefully it does down the line).  We are also working on our press collateral so that we can introduce the classic series and any new products to some key magazine editors out there and get featured in some higher profile publications like Elle Decor or House Beautiful.  We have some fun logo boxes in the making, are planning some new photography and are updating our press kits.  We also plan to scope out some trade shows and think about partnering with some other vendors on a booth in the future.  All very exciting and fun.

- Introduce two new lines.  This was a goal last year but sadly it fell by the wayside as I grappled with putting out fires with our production facilities. Now that those are out of the way, I'm really excited to show you some new product.  Remember the stepped series from my instagram? Well that should be out this year and be on the lookout for some other more abstract and mixed material introductions.

 - Partner with a large retailer to develop a line of licensed hardware. Yes, this was a goal for last year. I figure I'll keep it as a new years resolution every year until it actually happens.  Perhaps this year West Elm will pay me some attention. Of course actually approaching them is probably the best way to make this happen. Any tips on how to do so and who to contact?

That's about it.  Not too complicated (therefore more attainable).

Do you have any specific goals for your business and career in 2015?

Graphic by Cori Magee

CURATED NEST: Put a bird on it

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So did you guys watch the Oscars? In honor of the well-deserved Birdman win for best movie, here's some ideas on how to put a bird on it....
1. Chandelier via Dot & Bo
2. Gold Bird Accent via CB2
3. Bird Tray via Fine Little Day
4. Bird Feeder via Dot & Bo
5. Mug Set via ModCloth
6. Temporary Tattoo via Tattly
7. Accent Pillow via Urban Loft
8. Jumpsuit via Urban Outfitters

Stylin' Mamma: Swing State

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

California, I love you, but you're giving me whiplash.  Last week it was 75 degrees and we were at the beach in cutoffs, but today it's in the low 50s and I'm shivering in my flimsy blouse.  How's a Stylin' Mamma to clothe herself under these conditions?  Make up your meteorological mind!

I know, I know.  I can't complain.  The rest of the country is literally buried in snow and here I am getting all flustered about one gray day.  And yet.  There is the question of getting dressed in the morning, completely unsure whether you'll be sweating it out by noon or chattering in your non-weatherstripped office.  

Yesterday, caught unawares by chilly temps, I found myself wandering through my local Zara and finding a crazy-town sale in progress.  It is common knowledge that Zara makes the best coats, and I bolted for the jumble of season's end outerwear on markdown.  

This time of year calls for an arsenal of layers, ranging from a cozy wool topper to this season's lightweight long vest.  I'm taking advantage of the retailer's premature need to shed winter layers and stocking up now for the roller coaster ahead.  Happy shopping!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes, simple is better. Especially when the minimal amount of furniture and lighting are all really great pieces, like in this home!

 This modern dining room not only features great furniture and lighting, but also does a beautiful job mixing materials. The wood, concrete and marble combine perfectly to create a serene kitchen and dining space.

Get this look (I threw in a pinch of color)....
Chandelier via Zinc Door
Wall Task Light via Lamps Plus
Dining Chair via Dot & Bo
Dining Table via Bonanza
Mint Pitcher via H&M Home
Cutting Board via Crate & Barrel
Wood Bowl via H&M Home

Inspiration image via Domaine Home

2014 Press

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2014 was a great press year for Nest Studio. Aside from having our house shot for the Apartment Therapy Book and having my client's work featured on several blogs, our hardware was showcased in a bunch of places as well.  From Architectural Digest Online to Domaine Home and AT: Maxwell's Daily Find, we received a good amount of screen time in 2014.  We hope to launch a bigger press effort this year (especially in light of introducing new products) and be on the lookout for more posts about our business goals in 2015.  In the meantime here are some excerpts from where we were featured.

And a list of some of the places our hardware and projects showed up this past year.
Have you seen our hardware anywhere that we haven't noticed? Please let us know - we love shout outs!

CURATED NEST: All Things Pink

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

If you watched the Grammys last night, then you saw this pink number on Rihanna... Sort of made me want to find all the pink things.

1. Task Lamp via PB Teen
2. iPhone case via Poketo
3. Bowl via Bloomingdale's
4. Pillow via CB2
5. Accent Chair via Dot & Bo
6. Planter via Dot & Bo
7. Pouf via Bloomingdale's
8. Area Rug via AllModern
9. Sofa via AllModern
Inspiration image via Refinery29

- Cori

The Basement Stairs: Runner Installed

Monday, February 9, 2015

Remember back in September when I installed some shelves and made our basement stairs into a more useable storage space?  Well, it's useful for sure but it's never been aesthetically pleasing..... that and the fact that the stairs in our house seem to invite people to fall, slip and slide down them. It seemed time to do something about the slippery treads. Here is what the stair looked like after the storage install but before doing anything about the stairs:

I remembered Jenny's stair runner install from Little Green Notebook and a similar DIY on Young House Love.  I had been searching for runners but our stairs are narrow and a lot of them were 30-36" wide.  I needed a 24" wide runner in order to make this work. And I wanted to do it on the cheap.  I had been perusing Urban Outfitters and came across a bunch of runners on sale.  After thinking through my options I opted for this one which was darker in color and had a smaller pattern (given the size of the stair treads and the wear). I got myself two at $44 a pop - great deal! I also got myself two runner length carpet pads from Targetwhich I cut to fit each tread and also purchased the handy Stanley electric brad gun recommended by Young House Love (so much cheaper than the other more industrial strength staple guns out there - and no air compressor necessary).  I can't believe I survive so many upholstery projects without this staple gun. What was I thinking?  Anyways - now I know.  The project was really a breeze. I finished it in probably a hour total (with a break in the middle). I think the only issue is that the runners were a tad short so the bottom stair isn't totally covered but it actually doesn't look that odd.  Here we are mid install.

And the final product.

The pad is really key - it makes it so that the runner doesn't slip and it really makes the steps so much more cushy.  I think it dresses up the stair area nicely although I still sort of wish I could make the storage look a little more pleasing.

Stay tuned for more attic play room updates in the coming days!

New Year Resolutions 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Last year I posted my new years resolutions in March.  It was a little late but I'd been thinking about them for a while. This year I'm trying to tackle them a little earlier.  Let's take a step back and see how I did in getting to my goals, most of which stemmed around work life balance.

Goal Number 1: Separate home and work time.  I think I've done a pretty good job of this. First and foremost in making this happen was hiring an employee. Having less work on my plate changed my work / home scenario tremendously.  In general I try to step away from my work emails at the end of the day and we have two set days a week now where Scott catches an earlier train to have more family time.  The scenario has worked out well, and creating and actual plan that we could schedule into the calendar was the key here.  I could probably continue to work on this but so far so good

Goal Number 2: Spend more time with my husband.  We've managed to accomplish this with date nights here and there.  As I predicted, somehow date nights have become more frequent now that I'm not pregnant anymore.  Especially now that Lucy isn't such a teeny infant and she is weaned, going out together should become easier and easier.  We are still working on creating more regular date night plans, but again, so far so good. 

Goal Number 3: Take more "me" time.  So I'm not sure how good I am at this.  I can say that I now have a group of moms I go out with on a monthly basis and I consider that "me" time to recharge and be around women I like and admire.  As far as taking relaxing baths, enjoying yoga and the like, I can't say I've made that much headway but I feel like my to-do list is no longer running my life, so that's good.

Goal Number 4: Be Less Jealous. This has somehow happened even though I was not consciously trying to be less jealous. Perhaps its because things have fallen into place in other parts of my life that I feel happier and less need to compare myself against others.

So there you have it for 2014.  It was a good year - we welcomed a new member into our family and made a lot of headway on those resolutions.

On to 2015.

This year I think I have a few less goals. Perhaps that makes them more attainable? Or perhaps it just means I'm finding it hard to think of things - because my life is so perfect as it is- ha! This year's goals are a tad more "me" oriented and perhaps even a little superficial.  But you have to have something to reach for right?

Goal Number One: Exercise more regularly.  I have been coasting along for some time now on my genes. I didn't really gain much weight with the second pregnancy and I've lost most of it, but I'm not where I'd like to be.  And let's just say things have shifted around a bit (I'm sure all you mammas out there know what I'm talking about - especially after Baby #2).  Back in LA Scott and I ran a couple of marathons.  I loved training for marathons and having a concrete goal to work toward. It was fun to run as a couple and I love the changing scenery that running affords (and the fact that you can just start off from home).  I'm not much of a gym person given that you have to drive or walk to the gym in the first place.  But now that we live in a climate that is frigid for at least a quarter of the year, running is much less appealing.  I honestly don't have time to train and put in the mileage for a marathon.  So I need to figure out what my regimen is and whether I'm willing to suck it up and pay for a gym... and do some regular exercise that doesn't involve some sort of end game like a race.  Perhaps yoga is the solution - but finding classes that fit my schedule is another issue.  So I'm trying to figure all of that out and hopefully it doesn't take me so long to figure out that the same goal ends up on the list for 2016 ;)  Any constructive suggestions are more than welcome in the exercise arena.

Goal Number Two: Be more stylish. I know - this goal sounds more like an excuse to go shopping.  BUT, since I work in a style-based industry it's pretty crucial to dress the part or at least put out the image that you want people to see.  And let's face it, I do like clothes and fashion.  That said,  I tend to dress casually since I work from home and am constantly corralling a toddler and crawling baby. So that's not going to change.  I like casual, but I like casual but stylish - think J Crew or Madewell.  My goal this year is to take a hard look at my closet and edit things out that are too trendy or not on-look for what I'm going for and add in hard working, high quality staples that I can mix and match. I've been trying to do this for a while now already, especially in the shoe, jeans and bag departments, but I need to be a little more focused in my efforts.  Certainly a less cramped closet with some light would help.  And a stylist who could come in and help me rethink clothes pairings and give me suggestions on items to purge and add in would also help.  But since that may not happen any time soon I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and do this myself.  Perhaps this goal leads to a whole series of blog posts on what I'm wearing (although I hate posting photographs of myself).

So those are my 2015 resolutions. They all sort of stem around trying to spend a little more time on myself.  Oh and there's another teeny resolution that I can't share with you all until it happens, so cross your fingers that it does and I'll share it then :) And stay tuned for a business resolution post which should be much more chalk full of less self-centered and more serious-sounding goals.

Illustration by Cori Magee


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

While it's one of the more popular design styles, mid century modern never tires me. However, no no matter what the design style is, if you use too many pieces the room can get boring, but not in this case...

This space, from Smitten Studio, features some of the most iconic mid century modern pieces and seamlessly blends them together without being too thematic.

Additionally, those clean white walls and dark wood floors maintain a simple canvas, which allow the iconic pieces to stand out.

Chandelier via Shop Maddie G
Hanging Rattan Chair via Serena & Lily
Console Table via CB2
Geometric Cube via West Elm
Vase via CB2
Candleholder via Crate & Barrel
Area Rug via Urban Outfitters
Sofa via YLiving
Bench/Coffee Table via InMod
Butterfly Chair via Houzz 

PostMod: Your Closet as a Showcase

Monday, February 2, 2015

Last week I was over at Postmodyrn talking about how to revamp your closet for the new year.  I'm definitely in wardrobe revitalization mode right now and I wish I had a bigger closet that I could really sink my teeth into organizationally - I feel like mine is so hopeless. That said, I have all kinds of ideas on how to revamp your closet.  Here is my post from last week:

Well here we are a month into the new year. Now that we've put away the holiday decorations and re-upped our gym memberships, most of us are finally getting our butts in gear to clean out those closets.  Last week, Jill gave us some great tips on how to declutter and rethink our wardrobes for 2015, and what better way to celebrate a newly clean closet than to make it into a space that truly showcases your clothes and accessories -- and has a sense of style all its own?  Even if you don't have a walk-in closet, a corner dressing area, IKEA wardrobe or commandeered attic space can be turned into a fun dressing area and storage space with just a few tricks of the trade.  Here are my favorites:

Add some punch with wallpaper.  Whether it's an actual dressing room or just the back of some shoe shelves, wallpaper gives a space drama and a dose of fun.  Nowadays there are tons of fun contact papers and wallpaper tiles you can use if you live in a rental. The closet to the left is small but it really has personality.  I love the Hygge & West wallpaper tile: easy to install and really packs a punch.

Warm up your floor.  Every closet, dressing area, or bedroom needs a rug.  When you're trying on clothes or getting dressed you want something soft underfoot to keep those tootsies warm.  Your closet is a perfect place for a little shag (unlike your entryway, your closet tends to be more free of dust and dirt). And why not opt for something with a little color and pattern? This one from Urban Outfitters doesn't break the bank (since it's better to splurge on other areas of the home) but has a great look and feel.

Maximize your wall and door space with hooks.  Hooks on walls where you don't have a closet rod, or on the backs and fronts of closet doors, are a great way to maximize storage.  They work so well for scarves and hats, or for outfits you might be setting out for the next day (if only I planned my wardrobe choices that far ahead). And smaller hooks are great for necklaces and belts.  Don't stop at the hardware store for this one: there are so many fun options out there. These leather covered ones from Anthropologie are a favorite, but check out House of Antique Hardware and West Elm for more great options.

Consider jewelry storage. Jewelry doesn't always have to be stored away in a box.  It's so pretty; why not use it as a decor item and keep it out in the open? I love this jewelry hanger DIY for an empty wall or above a dresser. Put some pretty bowls on a tabletop to good use holding rings and earrings.  And I love the idea of using branches as a way to display hanging jewelry as well.

Give your hangers a dose of fun.  I love this DIY of wrapped hangers.  It's easy, inexpensive and functional. It not only breathes new life into those wire hangers from the dry cleaner but it also makes them slip-proof. 

Step it up with a storage ladder.  Ladders are such versatile decor pieces - they are a little secret that us designers have in our back pockets.  This one has great dipped legs and a simple silhouette.  Ladders are great for hanging towels and scarves and even in a bedroom for items like jeans that might warrant a second wear before they hit the hamper.  And speaking of hampers...

Up your game with a stylish hamper. Get rid of that old nylon college laundry bag or the ugly plastic laundry basket.  If you keep your hamper out in the open or even if you don't, there is no reason not to select something that is both stylish and hardworking.  I love this foldable hamper from West elm: the lines are clean and the awning stripe really pops.

Add some seating.  It's always nice to have a little stool in a corner of a bedroom or closet. Let's admit it, stools provide a great place to throw a sweater when you can't quite be bothered to put it away (better than your bed or, egads!, the floor). And they are a great place to sit and put on your shoes.  And if you really need extra storage, a storage ottoman is a nice way to bring that in as well.  (Don't do a pouf though. Poufs tend to be too low and loungy for closet and dressing room spaces.)

Check yourself out in the mirror. Every closet needs a nice mirror. A door mirror works great, of course, but if you have space for a wall or leaning floor mirror, even better. Invest in a full-length mirror so you can really asses your outfit and footwear choices.  Choose one with a decorative frame that works with your decor.

Well ladies, now that your closet is made over, what else do you have planned for 2015?

Image Credits (product links in article): // Hygge & West // Anthropologie // Urban Outfitters //  West Elm // Serena and Lily // Craft River // A Beautiful Mess // Makezine // Buzzfeed