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.
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!
I claim to be a global citizen with modern taste, yet my home is filled with contemporary art laced with antique furniture from France to China. So when a 90 year old house came on the market in the leafy suburb of Washington DC’s Bethesda neighborhood, it took me and my family two years to make our offer.
It’s an English Manor house, with an amazing backyard. But the wood beams, smallish bathrooms and dainty wallpaper are really keeping me up at night: “Does this mean I am getting old? Is it a sign that my taste has shifted to traditional?” After we finally closed on the house, it took us one day to move into our “new” old home. Miraculously, all of our furniture fit into the new space as if they belonged… and most stunning of all, with our modern art pieces and a mix-match of East meets West furniture, the space was transformed into an open, updated home that transcends styles and traditions.
But I wasn’t quite satisfied… Our living room, with a baby grand at one corner, period French brocade sofa and chairs in front of the fire place, and a Sam Francis painting on the wall, still felt it was too “Park Avenue”. So I flipped through our Fall catalog and was intrigued by the bold and romantic Casablanca pillow. With its velvet texture, gold, white and purple motif—maybe it could give me the shot of color I needed in our new Living Room? I brought one back from the office, also took the Safi Plum and Morrocco Passport pillows to complete the color story. My boys were taking a piano lesson so I tiptoed with pillows under both arms into the living room. As soon as I put the Casablanca down on the sofa, it felt as if I just put the most flattering dress on a beautiful model. The geometry of the motif and the colors caught my eye and gave the sofa a beautiful presence. Along with it, the shapes of our furniture were more defined and the room took on a refreshing dimension and exotic mystery. The Moroccan vibe, from the Passport pillow and the exotic colors, turned the vases and other decorative pieces of the room into a collection of found objects and together, the Living Room stepped out of its Park Avenue look and immediately was transformed into a space that celebrates ethnic chic in an elegant way.
Pleased with this sudden shot of energy in the Living Room, I didn’t waste a minute to order one more Casablanca to place it in the middle of a sitting bench we have at the top of our staircase. Once again, it added to the already grand space, bold color and a global twist. With the first floor now entering the 21st century, are the wallpapered bedrooms and smallish bathrooms on the second and third floors far from a transformation? And the cost, just under 200 dollars! Now, I don’t wake up in the night worrying. I am in my element, pillows and all.
“Follow your passion and the money will follow,” Mei Xu, creator and CEO of Blissliving Home, advised career-minded women last October. Mei was selected to join a discussion panel for PINK magazine’s conference, “America’s Most Influential Women in Business”.
A monthly publication, PINK magazine targets women professionals and organizes an annual conference series aiming to deliver advice and strategies for greater professional and personal success to conference attendees.
PINK’s conference series is a forum where influential and successful businesswomen meet to “share tools, tactics and strategies.” The panel shared the secrets of their success with an audience of approximately 500 women professionals. As a special treat, Blissliving Home contributed exclusive shopping invitations to the conference attendee gift bags!