|Posted by [email protected] on February 12, 2015 at 1:05 PM||comments (63)|
Psychology absolutely fascinates me! The human brain is an amazingly created organ and although everyone believes they have a certain mindset, the way we think and feel can be influenced by many outside forces, like colour. I was driving in my car yesterday with a friend and we came across this lime green house... yup you heard correct... the entire exterior of the house was lime green. My friend threw a tidbit of information my way “did you know that if you want to slowly go insane, paint your entire house green?”. We laughed at this however, I thought that it would be a good time to delve into this more fully and see exactly the power that colours can exude over us. This was not an easy task!
The first amazing fact that I came across is that contrary to what I had previously thought, there has not been as much research done on colour psychology as you would think. Companies have tried however, colours are perceived in different ways by different individuals which makes it very difficult to narrow down the effects. This makes sense to me: if there was one “secret sauce” then marketing a product would not be a crap shoot; advertisers would know exactly what colours to use to appeal to their target audience. But it takes time, energy, money to find out what works for you, your industry and your brand. That being said there are a few findings that have been discovered, take them with a pinch of salt:
Green is a calming colour. Everyone has heard of the “green room” which is used to help people relax. People who want to be perceived as being eco-friendly will use green in their decor. It can also be a negative colour as it is the colour that describes jealousy.
Blue conjures up feelings of calmness, serenity, peace, tranquility. It can also create feelings of sadness (he had the blues). Research has shown that people who work in blue rooms are more productive (I wish my kids were more productive when it comes to cleaning up their blue room!).
Orange is an energetic colour and is also the first colour that catches the eye. It also calls to mind feelings of excitement, enthusiasm and warmth. I recall a glossy magazine ad with nothing but a white room and two orange candles – very eyecatching.
Yellow is a cheerful colour (what is more cheerful that a bunch of sunflowers displayed in your home?) however is fatiguing to the eye. It is a good colour to use when immediate attention is required, such as at a traffic light. People tend to lose their tempers more in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more. Hmmm, not a good colour choice for a nursery?
Black is a very sophisticated and dignified colour. It is also intimidating, radiates authority but creates fear in the process. Business people who wear a lot of black tend to get results, but don’t make a lot of friends in the process.
White is a clean, pure and refreshing colour. A good base to use in design however, additional colours need to be added otherwise it will come across as clinical and cold.
Interestingly, there appears to be no psycho analysis performed on Pantones Colour of the year - masala. So ehm, I am going to put on my own “psychology cap” and take a shot at it!
Masala – masala is a combination of a few different tones. The first that come to mind are red and orange which are colours that make us think of passion, action, and are very attention seeking. The addition of the colour brown tends to tone down the powerful emotion of the previously mentioned colours and gives it an earthy, organic feel. I would describe masala in a nutshell as Muted Passion. It also makes me very hungry as I love east Indian food!
Oh by the way, you may be wondering whether or not my friends comment about a green house driving you insane is true or false. I can’t find any evidence. My house is greenish (teal to be precise), perhaps she was trying to tell me something?
My clients had this sofa in their basement. When their very easygoing daughter moved back home to help out, she needed it gone immediately and relaced with something more subdued. They opted for a neutral fabric in a brown tone. Now everyone is happy!
|Posted by [email protected] on February 6, 2015 at 12:15 AM||comments (4)|
“Mommy can I have a dog?” Every parent is confronted with this question at some point in time, I got hit with it about 3 months ago. “No” was my stern reply (parenting tip 101: you have to be stern with your kid, if they sniff out any sign of weakness, they will break you!). “Why not?” my son, Everett retorted... “Because, because, they are gross little animals that do gross things” (I’ll spare you the details). Needless to say I am not much of a dog person. Ok, Beagles are cute and if I had one I would name him Gizmo however we are NOT getting a dog.
That being said they do serve a valuable purpose in my life..... I would say approximately 80% of my customers are dog and/or cat owners and the reason they choose to purchase slipcovers from me is to save their furniture from the wretched little beasts... ummm I mean the adorable little fur balls. So yes, deep, deep, very deep in my heart, there is a place for animals. So on that note (now that I have offended every animal lover who reads my blog) I have composed a list of fabrics that I recommend would work for those who have pets:
Faux Suede (microfiber) – when you think of faux suede you are probably thinking of something quite exotic, however, faux suede is nothing more than 100% polyester. It looks luxurious like the real thing however is more user-friendly. An added bonus is that if you have a faux suede slipcover, you can put it in the washing machine hundreds of times and it will never shrink. Be aware though that faux suede comes in different grades. When you go to a furniture store you will notice that a lot of the cheaper furniture is made with faux suede; it would be better to go with a higher quality option.
Painter’s Drop Cloth – although it is not everyone’s cup of tea, I personally am in love with painter’s drop cloth. You are getting a natural fiber because it is 100% cotton however, it is as tough as nails so will not tear easily. The one thing to remember if using for a slipcover is to pre-shrink the fabric. When you wash it, it may continue to shrink slightly so use caution and make sure not to put it in the dryer. The only drawback is that it only comes in lighter shades however, it it is a rustic fabric so will hide a multitude of sins.
Denim – denim in a dark colour can look very sophisticated, especially when teamed with rich throw cushions. It is also extremely durable and very cost effective. Denim also comes in different grades so be sure to go for a thicker denim. If you are able to purchase your denim with a small amount of spandex all the better! The spandex will allow it to drape around your furniture better.
And the Rolls-Royce of animal friendly fabrics is:
Nanotex – actually Nanotex isn’t actually a fabric but rather a finish. Many people are familiar with fabric protectors such as Scotchgard. Did you know that when something is spilled on your Scotchgard(ed) sofa and wiped off, the Scotchgard needs to be reapplied? Nanotex is actually woven into the fabric so stays there forever. The advertising angle that the company uses is that you can spill spaghetti bolognaise on the fabric and it will easily wipe off. I also tried this with red wine... it worked wonderfully!
Bottom line is when it comes to fabric, you really do get what you pay for. I’m a firm believer that the initial expense will pay off in the long run. Custom slipcovers are made to last at least as long as new furniture so make sure whatever fabric you choose, that is practical enough to withstand pets, children, spouses, spaghetti sauce, red wine or any other chaotic situation that may occur in your home.
Pets + Fabric doesn't always have to = disaster
|Posted by [email protected] on January 29, 2015 at 1:15 PM||comments (1)|
As a certain clothing line attempts to recruit fans to their Facebook page, I read with interest the comments below each of their postings: “how could anyone support such a company”, “aren’t you the guys that allowed all those workers to die in Bangladesh”, “you support slave labor working conditions, would never buy your products” etc.. etc.. etc.. The truth is yes, the working conditions aren’t great but really, should they be targeted as the “Joe bad guy” over every other corporate retail company?
Years ago, I worked at a place called the Office of the Employee Ombudsman. One of the industrial consultants had the assignment of organizing a candlelight vigil in support of outworkers who’s working conditions were below standard. Now you are probably thinking that I am referring to a third world country... Think again... yup, this happened in lil ole Adelaide, South Australia. As the western world is accepting more and more immigrants, it would not surprise me if many of these immigrants aren’t working under the table in close to slavery conditions in our own backyards.
My slipcovers can be a hard-sell. Whether or not people view my product as being cost-effective or not is relative. People either get it or they don’t; for those that know a little about sewing and the effort that goes into custom work, they feel that my prices are very reasonable, for a quality product. For those who compare my product to something that they could buy in a furniture store for a fraction of the price, well these people have a different opinion. Its funny how we all complain about the lack of quality today however, I truly believe that you still can find quality, it is in handmade, custom lines. It does cost extra, but when the product lasts four times as long as something you would buy in a big box store, then isn’t it worth the extra initial expense?
Doing what I do and knowing what I know, I have a hard time accepting the fact that you can buy a sofa “made in Canada” for $400. It takes a carpenter to do the initial framing, foam is expensive, plus the cost of fabric, labour involved in the upholstery work and fabricating the cushions – how can companies account for all those costs, sell the item for $400 and still make a profit? To compare, it takes approximately 20 hours to make a custom slipcover from start to finish. I just don't get the $400 price point! Perhaps the entire sofa is made overseas and the label is made in Canada? This is a well hidden secret so if anyone has any insight, would love to hear from you.
The truth is, we all like that steal of a deal. I try my hardest to support local businesses and buy quality products, but if I happen to see a cute sweater on the racks for $12 do you think I am going to buy it? You betcha! So what is the answer? I don’t know. Everyone has a certain amount of money to spend on a weekly basis and they want that money to go as far as possible. As long as cheap imports are available, we are going to buy them. So to a certain degree, while we are all disgusted by what happened in Bangladesh and elsewhere, we are all a little hypocritical. That is society – suck it up! Going forward, I will try a little harder to support local businesses, hoping that the favour will be returned.
"I don't really want to start working again. Most people here feel the same way. We're afraid. I just heard about another factory where there are cracks in the walls" - Mushamat Sokina Begum
|Posted by [email protected] on January 15, 2015 at 11:35 AM||comments (6)|
Right now I know you are humming away to the 90’s song – great isn’t it? However, we all have our own “Wind of Change” every so often; mine came Monday morning of last week. Let me backtrack a little...
Given the deep freeze that we are currently experiencing, last summer's vacation seems like such a long time ago! However it was a very significant vacation from a personal and business perspective. As my business has been growing, I have been forced to reevaluate things as far as being more focused on building a brand. Up until now, it has not been too much of a money-making venture as a hobby but I really do have a niche product and people really are paying attention to my work. Also when I first drafted my business plan, it was evident that the majority of my sales came from those who were sentimental about their furniture and could not bear to part with it. This still is the case to a certain degree but now I see another demographic sneaking in from the sidelines; those who care about sustainability.
Sustainability = the new buzz word! Its great in theory however, as Kevin O’Leary so aptly put it “they don’t care about the environment unless it will save them money”. Sorry, Mr. Wonderful but you are wrong. Sustainability may cost more initially but in the long run, being environmentally conscious is the best plan of action.
Soooooo, last Monday I quit the office job (aka “the security net”. Now my workday revolves around building my business – my passion. I now have more time on my hands to be taking it all a lot more seriously. My goal for 2015 is to land that big corporate contract. As a whole, the city of Saskatoon is still coming to terms with the whole “green movement” however, businesses are very much wanting to give the perception that they are environmentally responsible; I believe this is going to work in my favour. Stay tuned!
|Posted by [email protected] on February 22, 2014 at 5:45 PM||comments (4)|
There are certain rules when it comes to decorating... “the rules are that there aint no rules” (excuse the self-indulgent quote from Grease). Currently, the rule is no matchy matchy. In other words, find pieces that you love, pieces that really mean something to you and make them work. This one I kind of agree with. I think the difference between a house and home is the the personality that is added, based on life experience, mementoes, travel souvenirs, children’s artwork etc. Each room should be functional of course, but more importantly, should mean something to the family living there. This is a hard act for me to follow as I am very much a match-match symmetry freak (a slight case of undiagnosed OCD perhaps?) but I have experimented with different designs in different rooms and yes, adding an interesting focal point is a great thing.
The other “rule” is one that I assume was invented by real estate agents who claim that the average person sells their home every 5 years. That is, to keep the wall colours neutral. Why? As any home stager will tell you, the best way to sell your home is to make it look as impersonal as possible – hence, why go to the expense of painting walls according to your taste if you will be soon be moving. Disagree! Even if you do live in a house for 5 years, it should be 5 years of living amongst colours that you enjoy. After all, colours are powerful and can effect your mood in both positive and negative ways. My home is very colourful: the main living areas are three different shades of teal, the boys bedroom is blue, main bedroom is a Mexican yellow and my workroom is salmon pink. There was a small part of me that said “enough already with the crazy colour pallet” however, why the heck not? We live in a climate where it is –20 for 8 months of the year (slight exaggeration... but we are nearing the end of winter and it feels as though it has lasted forever). We spend a lot time inside and it is easy to get cabin fever/stir crazy but then we look at our walls and figure – wow! We are living in a circus! And that my friends, when you have two children cooped up in a house all winter, can’t be a bad thing!
In conclusion, for those of you that like neutrals, good for you! For those of you that like matchy matchy – good for you! Whatever your taste in decorating, your home will be your little oasis if you stay true to your own style – whatever form it may take!
Picture: My living room was lacking personality. This London phonebooth/cd holder from Jysk (approx. $30) was the quirky touch that it so desperately needed. I had lived in London for 2 years and my father's side of the family is English so the UK has special meaning to me.
|Posted by [email protected] on January 1, 2014 at 10:35 PM||comments (5)|
I am left-handed... that means that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the creative aspectof my job. The analytical side of it, i.e. social networking, bookkeeping, marketing, blogging - esentially everything that turns my creativity into a business I totally hate! Actually my mother has always said "dont' use the word hate; "dislike" is a better word to use", therefore I take back the word "hate" and will insert "dislike". Since a new year is supposed to be a time for reinventing oneself, I have decided to embrace technology! Over the next few moths I plan to turn the word "dislike" into tolerate... like... enjoy... ummm errr, maybe even love... Blogging that is.... Why? Because my industry is one I truly do believe in and want to be the next Eco Warrior (sounds cool eh?) and convince the world of the benefits of not being a throw away society.... holding onto things not just because of monetary value, workmanship and sentimetality but because of what it will do for our environment. Its an old cliche "they don't make them like they used to" but as I open my 2-year-old pantry that was made from cheap materials and is falling apart already, I realize how true those words are. I hope you enjoy my blog. I promise I will make it interesting and hope to inspire some and help a few to see things from a different perspective. And I PROMISE to NEVER post another selfie again (is it technically a selfie if your kid is also in the pic?). Afterall it is 2014 and selfies are out out out!
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