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Beyond just being me, I am a wife, mother and entrepreneur constantly on the hunt for new ideas on how to live my best life. Visit me at www.clementsinteriors.com.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The customer is always right." 
I can't remember the last time I heard this phrase used with any sort of weight behind it.  In this day of globalization, multinationals and the Occupy Movement, I think it's difficult to say that we actually even believe the statement anymore.

Being an entrepreneur who must be constantly in touch with my customers, I would suggest that from a small business person's perspective, the customer may not always be right, but they should always feel as though they're right and at least should be satisfied.  A tall order, indeed.

Common knowledge tells us that with the quick dispersement of information across the internet, on Twitter or Facebook pages, it is increasingly difficult for anyone providing a service to control the perceptions of their abilities and quality.  In a few keystrokes, a company's name, reputation and cumulative years of experience can be quickly, unilaterally and annonomously sullied.  Is the concept of fairness, once a belief secured with a handshake, now a long-lost business principle of a bygone era?

This blog:  http://custservicestories.blogspot.com/  has started me thinking.  Some great insights into the importance of understanding the customer service experience.  I'm going to have to ponder this matter for a while.  Even if you're not in customer service, we're all service providers to someone, our shareholders, our bosses, our families.  Certainly we are all customers to some degree.  The question for me is, are we losing hold of the concept of 'do unto others?' 


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Yumma.  As you can tell, I am no vegetarian!  Check this out.
Steak with Mushroom Sauce

4 (about 4 ounces each) well-trimmed beef tenderloin steaks (filet mignon), 3/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
1 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1 (1/4 cup) large shallot, minced
1 package(s) (10 ounces) sliced white mushrooms
1 package(s) (4 ounces) assorted sliced wild mushrooms
1/4 cup(s) port wine

1.Sprinkle steaks on both sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add steaks and cook 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare or until desired doneness, turning steaks over once. Transfer steaks to platter; keep warm.

2.To drippings in skillet, add oil and shallot, and cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add mushrooms and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cook until liquid evaporates and mushroom mixture is golden, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add port and 1/4 cup water; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Spoon mushroom sauce over steaks.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Decorator’s Nightmare.

It’s a Saturday morning ritual in our home to pour over the newspaper flyers that land on our doorstep.  Somehow each time I think I will miraculously find that one great home d├ęcor deal which will make the weekend tradition worthwhile, or at least worth the messy black smudges on my fingertips. 

For me, browsing the flyer pages gets the home improvement juices flowing.  The notion that absolutely everything that is ‘wrong’ in our house must be fixed immediately or better yet yesterday, is overwhelming.

I’m certain my husband spends many Saturday afternoons avoiding direct eye contact with me as I purposefully roam from room to room surveying the state of affairs that is our home.  Suddenly the draperies in the dining room look tired, the kitchen could use repainting, and if we’re going to repaint, what about replacing some furniture?

The thought process I go through amazes me still today.  Having been an Interior Decorator for some 16 years now, I still catch myself falling back into pre-decorator thinking.  The notion that “I’ll buy something inexpensive to fix the problem for now” still lingers even though I know better.  Perhaps we can blame television shows (on which I am guilty of appearing) and shelter magazines which make it look easy, attainable and instantaneous, with images of all the beautiful things in other people’s homes.  If only the looks were only cheaper… okay, free.  Free would be good.    

I whip myself into a home-decorating frenzy that is only placated on Monday morning when I’m thrust into the world to take on the renovating challenges in my client’s homes.  Truthfully, I’m not trying to keep up with the Joneses.  I’m just trying to keep up with me!

So, what’s a person to do with too many home renovation ‘wants’ and not the budget with which to tackle it all?   

Many homeowners struggle with the concept of “having it all, NOW.”  Not biting off more than we can chew seems to be lost on today’s consumer (I’m guilty as charged).  To conquer this, I approach my work - and encourage my clients to follow my lead - with a plan first and completing the room as a secondary priority.  Too often people try to spread their budgets (large or small) over as much space as they think possible.  With a finite number of dollars to spend, they try to redecorate the entire house. 

I am an ardent proponent of tailoring your timelines to meet your budget requirements.  When planning how to spend your decorating dollars, you must ask yourself, “Does my budget realistically allow me to purchase all the items for my home at once?”  A browse around a quality furniture store will quickly give you the answer.

My motto is “Do it once and do it right.”  I regularly suggest that clients take money allocated to designing two rooms and consider spending it only on one.  This will allow you to purchase the best quality items that you can afford while beginning to make long term investments for your home.  This approach coupled with purchasing classic styles will ensure that your money is not wasted on items which need to be disposed of five years down the road because they are already in poor condition…with a home that’s finished for now… not finished for years to come.

Moreover, consumers are probably just as concerned as I am about unwittingly adding to the problem of our community landfills.  Until relatively recently, little consideration has been given to the disposability of modern consumer goods.  When I think about the number of mere cell phones I have thrown out over the years, I shudder to think about how the waste management problem is compounded by the frequent disposal of much larger furniture items bought because people wanted ‘the-look-for-less’.

Purchasing quality Canadian goods and home furnishings is not a thing of the past.  Doing so will help boost our economy while improving the condition of the world we’re leaving our children.  Your home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make.  Shouldn’t the things you fill it with reflect its value?

Janice xo