Friday, January 29, 2010

Love is in the Air, and Maybe on the Wall

February harkens thoughts of romance, roses, and chocolate. The romance should last throughout the year, but the roses and chocolate are short lived (unless you count those calories, and then it may be more permanent). For years we’ve done the Valentine’s dinner at a nice restaurant, but this year the sentiment is to cut back a bit. It can be fun to prepare a favorite meal at home together—especially if it’s a recipe that you’ve never tried before. If cooking is not your thing, then get a nice takeout meal break out the china—go for the candlelight and some soft music and you’ll have a dinner to remember. To make that dinner even more special, dress up your dining room wall with a few romantic words or a great quote. You may want to save the wildly romantic phrases for the bedroom, however.

Valentine wall quotes and phrases are creative and unexpected, are personal and classy, and are a great way to get your message across. Our favorite idea is to ‘write’ out a marriage proposal, but the possibilities are endless. Designs range from subtle to strong, from simple to sophisticated. Whatever design you choose, it will last longer than those roses and the box of chocolate—especially if it is good chocolate!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Sign of the Times?

A recent article from US News about “17 Ways Consumers Are Changing” got a discussion started among the staff about current spending habits. What we all agreed on is that we’re a bit more frugal, are less willing to impulse buy, and are focusing on spending money on things that make us happy well beyond the fleeting “shopping fix” feeling.

The trend has been emerging over the past few years. ETSY and DIY sites have grown exponentially, and that growth stems from the notion that shoppers want something special, something personal. You don’t get comments about a sweater from Target, but you do for a sweater from Anthropologie or a unique ‘find’ from ETSY. Of course your purchasing power is 3:1 for Target sweaters, but the Anthro sweater will be a closet staple long after the Target sweater has been forgotten.

Today’s consumers still want to shop (or at least the ones I’ve talked to), they just want to make sure that the purchase means more than it did a few years ago. They want to pay with cash/debit rather than credit. This may be part of why wall decals are really taking off as an alternative to standard artwork. Words, quotes, and phrases tend to move people. They reinforce a message; make people think, smile, or both. They reinforce what you want to be or want to do, and are a personal affirmation to yourself and to your family. They are affordable, removable, and are easy to install. They are a perfect compliment to how we’re beginning to live today as we shed excess clutter along with economy that is also doing a little housecleaning. Wall decals convey a more long term connection than any mass produced print found in a store, and that longer term commitment is what consumers seem to be looking for today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Idea File: Updating Mirrored Closet Doors

Mirrored closets were all the rage circa 1982. Mirrored doors can definitely serve a purpose by bouncing precious light around, let you check your look before heading out the door, and of course hiding a multitude of shopping sins within the closet. If you're facing a mirrored closet and wondering how to update it, vinyl is the perfect answer. New installations have updated the look a bit with frameless options, but a mirror is still a mirror, and it is the perfect medium for a bit of closet creativity.

We've all seen some basic block shape updates that provide a contemporary, clean look. Other options are to include a favorite quote or series of quotes that inspire you. Consider a satin gold, copper, or silver to compliment the shimmery mirror effect. The words help break up the mirror visually, while still letting the mirror serve it's purpose overall.

Add some fun graphic designs to add a touch of whimsy to your space, or add a monogram for a more classic traditional look. Frosted vinyl is the perfect medium to add a design without it overpowering the mirror. The effect is instant and absolutely removable, which is perfect for rentals or converting spaces as your needs change. Whatever your style, vinyl is an affordable solution to your mirrored door problems.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Early January Planning

It is mid January and we’re pondering what we can do to keep the momentum going this year. We have several irons in the fire including redesigning the website, using more technology to help streamline customer interactions, and of course more fun and exciting designs. We’re planning some fun new nursery and wedding designs and of course working with customers to design more fun custom creations. For those of you who have purchased designs, send us some pics that we can share on our website and we’ll send you a discount code to use or to share for future purchases.

Look for us on Twitter and on Facebook as we try to keep up with the latest happenings in the social media world—and keep those great comments coming—we LOVE to hear from you! Our favorite feedback from December is from Karyl W in Champaign, IL who writes: “I used to think that great customer service was a thing of the past...until I worked with Samantha and Trading Phrases. Congratulations on a great product and customer service that is second to none!” Wow, thanks Karyl!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Downsizing Decor -- Keep It Personal

I recently read about a decorating strategy from Sunset magazine. It talked about keeping décor minimal and choosing pieces that have meaning. I remember doing that back when we moved into our first apartment. It is good to know that we were actually strategizing about not filling our space with random tzchotkes—not that we could actually afford anything. I agree with the idea of making sure that you surround yourself with things that mean something to you. I think it’s easy to take it one further and add a personal and meaningful touch to a blank wall using vinyl wall decals. We have several artistic graphics that have random elements that can fill an entire wall, but we have even more quotes and sayings that make your walls say more than a piece of mass produced art ever will. Add a bit of humor, choose colors that match or elevate your décor, or have one of our designers create a personalized statement that reminds you of someone, someplace, or something that has meaning. Decorating is all about making you feel good in your own space, and wall graphics are the perfect touch.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

The holiday decorations are finally coming down, and the house is feeling a bit bare. While I love the holidays and the glitter and greenery, it’s always feels like we have more space when the decorations are finally put away. I’m taking the opportunity to remove a lot of test designs from the walls and get back to a blank slate. We continually test files and take photos of them for the website so our walls are a bit eclectic, to say the least. So here’s to a fresh start for twenty-ten, and here’s to a new round of fresh fun designs to take the humble wall from bland to grand.
Happy New Year!