Blissliving Home Creator & CEO shares her story about building her Chesapeake Bay Candle brand on ABC’s TBD morning show.
We’re thrilled to have recently won Best New Product in the Dining Category by Home Textiles Market Week! We received our award during our showing at New York’s International Gift Fair (NYIGF) earlier this week! Most exciting is that the winning product was actually our premier collection of Table Linens by Blissliving Home. We were so excited with how this first-go at linens came out and we’re in the midst of expanding our table linen offerings for seasons to come. Here are some notes from the NYIGF Press Release:
August 17th, 2010: Five companies participating in Home Textiles Market Week® in New York were presented with Best New Product Awards today. All of the winners and finalists are exhibitors in At Home featuring Home Textiles, which runs through Thursday, August 19, at the New York International Gift Fair. Awards were presented in four product-specific categories (Bed, Bath, Dining and Home Accessories) to winners and finalists selected by a panel of trade and consumer editors. Criteria included innovation in design, creative use of materials/construction and new fiber, material or technology.
DINING CATEGORY Winner: Blissliving Home (Rockville, MD) for its Samsara Table Linens, designed by Mei Xu and Amber Kleiner. The Samsara Table Linens include a runner, square placemat and matching dyed linen napkins, and is available in two colorways. The linens traditional embroidery is borrowed from their Samsara decorative pillow.
We’re big fans of Nesting Newbies, and we’re excited to be gracing the cover of this quarter’s digital issue! Nesting Newbies Magazine aims to inspire readers, making them feel comfortable about home-keeping their way. The overall message is that cooking, entertaining, and stylish decorating can be easy, fun, and affordable. Check out our Anis Duvet Set on the front and back covers and a Q & A with our Creator and CEO, Mei Xu on pages 150-156. Nesting Newbies has also posted a behind the scenes of making the Nesting Newbies cover story. It’s fun. Don’t miss it! And take note that each issue is loaded with delicious original recipes from Nesting Newbies’ Creator Chef Lea.
As I have shared in previous posts, as the PR & Marketing Manager for Blissliving Home, one of the perks of my job is to accompany Mei Xu, the Creator & CEO of the company, to a broad range of exciting events and social engagements. Most recently Mei and I visited Philadelphia as Mei was invited to join the Entrepreneurship Panel at the Inaugural Wharton Retail Conference. (It was my first time in Philly but I am already planning another trip – just for fun).
The conference was organized by MBA candidates Michelle Taite, Laura De Sole and Lindsey Rhoads under the leadership of four Conference Directors. We were truly intrigued by the key note speakers and panelists that had been enlisted for this conference. Tommy Hilfiger, one of the keynote speakers, offered an intimate insight into the story and strategy of his global enterprise. Allen Questrom, the other keynote speaker, is known in the world of retail as a “turn-around person”. Mr. Questrom shared his views on strategy and effective leadership based on his experiences at retail giants such as JC Penney’s, Neiman Marcus, and Barneys New York (“to be an effective leader, you have to first and foremost able to create a strong team and to bring everyone on board regarding strategy”). He also encouraged attending students to find jobs that inspire them.
The conference concluded with the Entrepreneurship Panel hosted by Professor David Bell. Panelists included Mei Xu, Max Brenner of Max Brenner – Chocolate by the Bald Man; Jay McCarroll, Designer and Winner of Project Runway; Nicole Basabe, founder of Tribal Societe; and Mary Norton, founder of Mary Norton, Inc. As Mei and I had learnt at dinner the night before, almost eighty percent of Wharton MBA students hope to launch their own business one day. It came as no surprise, then, to see the students captivated by Mei’s and her fellow panelists’ stories. Truth be told, we almost missed our train as Mei answered everyone’s questions after the panel ended. All in all, participating in the Wharton Retail Conference was a very inspiring and invigorating experience – and I certainly hope we will be invited to come back for future events. Oh, and one of the most critical take-aways from the conference – next time the Blissliving Home team visits New York City we should certainly plan a dinner at the Max Brenner restaurant at Union Square.
“Ooooooh, Jane, look at THIS! It’s gorgeous!”
It was day two at the New York International Gift Fair and by then I was accustomed to the excitement. “Hi ladies, I see you’re loving our Chang Mai bed,” I said with a smile. The Blissliving Home booth was on an end cap in the Home section and our Chang Mai bed, nicknamed “The Show Stopper” by my colleague Diane and I, was drawing in quite the crowd. But what people didn’t know at first glance is that our Chang Mai bed is more than just a pretty face. Designed by then 11-year-old Aria Curameng for our national Bliss Kids Arts Festival (a kids-only art competition), the duvet not only looks smashing in bright red, blue and yellow pointillism, but 10 percent of our sales proceeds from Aria’s masterpiece will go to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC.
We, of course, entered our beauty into the Best New Product awards at the show. As the judges filtered through and listened to our story behind the Chang Mai bedding set, I saw the look of awe on their faces. Good looks AND a heart? What a bed! The Chang Mai bed lived up to it’s nickname and took first place for Best New Product in the Bedding Category. Diane and I placed the gleaming award on the headboard above the bed, like a sash on a beauty queen. Congrats to Aria!
January 16, 2010 was a big day for Blissliving Home. As the Assistant Manager for PR & Marketing, I was fortunate to join Mei Xu, Creator & CEO of Blissliving Home, to the 21st ARTS Awards Ceremony at the Dallas Market Center where our brand was recognized with the ARTS Award in the Home Textiles Category. The ARTS Award program, held every year during the Dallas January Super Market Week, is the only international program recognizing excellence in retailing, manufacturing, product design and sales representation of decorative home accessories. Through this program, retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives are recognized by their peers for excellence in the development of product, retail merchandising and sales representation of decorative home accessories. Needless to say, it was a magnificent honor for Blissliving Home!
The ARTS award process takes almost a whole year. First, a panel of judges is selected in February. A call for nominations is issued in April running through June. Finalists are notified in August. Truth be told, this is when and how I first learned about the ARTS Award. After speaking to our Business Manager, a few friends in the media (such as the lovely Pam Graves from Home Fashion magazine and conducting a little bit of research, I quickly understood what an extraordinary recognition this nomination was. All nominees have to prepare a complex presentation showcasing their company history and philosophy, company differentiation, promotion and advertising initiatives, and of course product strategy. As with most projects, creating our presentation binder was a true team effort for the Blissliving Home team. A special thank you must go to Amber Kleiner, our Design Manager, for developing the overall concept and to Stephanie Tait, our PR & Marketing Assistant, for working closely with Amber to execute the design. The team did not spare any efforts to create our award winning presentation!
The ARTS Awards process ends with an announcement of the winners at a dazzling gala at the Dallas Market Center in January. As mentioned above, Mei and I made the trip to Texas. Seeing Mei accept the award was truly a special moment for me – after all, I have been with Blissliving Home from day one, and have witnessed our “baby” grow every day of every year. A Thank you goes out to all our customers and those who follow us, our business partners and vendors who have helped us grow over the past three years – we could not have done it without you! And a special note to the Accessories Resource Team – we plan to be back in January 2011!
Well ladies, it’s official. We’ve had Chris O’Donnell in our bed (on prime time, that is). CBS’s hit show NCIS: Los Angeles shows Special Agent G. Callen, played by O’Donnell, sitting on our Ashley Citron Duvet Set. The bed on the set of the popular crime show was styled with our Alex Euro Shams and our Gemini Citron and Rocco Silver decorative pillows. The ensemble was complimented with a tufted headboard and minimalist decor. We were SO excited to see our products live on prime time television – especially with such a cutie sitting on it! Now that we’ve checked Chris off our list…we’re going to check and see what movies Brad Pitt is filming this year.
For me, traveling to New York and attending the show is always a personal highlight – many of the editors, bloggers, reporters and writers I work with via email and phone all year long stop by our booth to say hello and check out our new designs. It’s so fun to catch up with everyone in person!
I usually also schedule a few visits with magazines and editors at their offices or for drinks or dinner – it is always a lot of fun and great to see people’s faces when they open our new catalog. Some of them may have already received it in the mail and may have flagged their favorite pages (you know who you are and just so you know – you couldn’t make us happier).
My last trip was particularly exciting. Las Vegas World Market Center (another show that Blissliving Home participates in) was hosting an exclusive fall preview event in conjunction with the New York Gift Fair. The event took place at the stunning Museum of Art and Design. Las Vegas World Market Center selected eighteen brands to represent the more than fifteen hundred companies exhibiting at the market – and Blissliving Home was one of them! What an incredible honor for Blissliving Home! The purpose of the event was to create buzz for the Las Vegas market, and to make an important “industry announcement” – as it turned out Las Vegas World Market Center is launching an unprecedented $20 million dollar marketing campaign called “Is it Home yet?”
Walking into the museum and seeing our new Modern Tree House collection on display, surrounded by exquisite pieces of Klaus Moje glass paintings was an unforgettable experience that I wished the entire Blissliving Home team could have shared. But I was truly touched – and I could see in the eyes of Blissliving Home Creator and CEO, Mei Xu, that she shared my sentiment when she saw our products on display. In this wonderful venue our Amelie Green duvet set and matching pillows were truly elevated into pieces of art.
To perfect the evening we were introduced to design icon Vincente Wolf. Sharing Vincente’s passion for travel and global inspirations, we have followed his work for years and we were thrilled to finally meet him in person. Thank you, Las Vegas World Market, for inviting us to participate in this very special event – we cannot wait until the next time!
Assistant Manager PR & Marketing
Nearly one hundred budding artists from all corners of the country participated in the Bliss Kids Arts Festival, and we could not have been more delighted and proud of the stunning designs that kept on coming in throughout the months of April and May.
After a week of careful review and long deliberation, we are thrilled to announce the names of two finalists: Aria Curameng, age 11, from Fort Washington, MD and Darwin Lau, age 8, from Virginia Beach, VA. Both Aria and Darwin have been notified of their current status and are awaiting the winner announcement – which is expected for the week of June 15. You can view their submissions above and below this post. Share your comments for our talented young designers!
ps. we (digitally) framed Aria and Darwin’s artwork in My Brother’s Frame, available in our Home Accessories II category.
On March 31, 2998 Blissliving Home was featured on NBC’s News 4 Today. Erin Hartigan, Daily Candy’s Washington, D.C. editor, presented our Give & Receive Shopping Event benefiting Food for Others, one of the largest food banks in Northern Virginia. Here’s the clip. Check it out and enjoy!
You can still Give & Receive with Blissliving Home through the end of 2009! Food banks around the US are experiencing major shortages and we’re excited to offer this special deal to help. Just enter the code FOOD4OTHERS when making your purchase and you’ll receive both Free Shipping and the satisfaction you just helped contribute 10% of your purchase to Food for Others to help feed hungry families. Consider this… buy a duvet and help feed a family.