KBB - December 2011 - (Page 59)
Having It Your Way
Four industry pros discuss careers of their own design
It used to be that our careers were singular in focus. However, career diversity appears to be the norm in today’s marketplace. While related to the economy, diversity is far more about adapting to change. Our world is changing at a rapid pace, and innovators who are able to adapt are succeeding—regardless of the economic climate. The following is a look at the careers of four kitchen designers/bloggers with the hope that we can learn from their experiences to nd our own road less traveled. These expert adapters (also members of the Blanco Design Council) have leveraged new tools, such as social media, to elevate their careers, but on their own terms. For this article, they’ve been identi ed as: The Entrepreneur, The Communicator and The Explorer and The Showroom-Focused.
Paul Anater evolved his career from ad agency work to kitchen design, attracted by the blend of analytical skill and creative imagination. Sensing that tough times were on their way, he branched out into social media in
2007 to help boost his design brand. An innovator with Google SketchUp and blogging, his social media career began to take off just as the housing market in Florida—where Anater is based—crashed. He sees his new career path as a bridge between manufacturers and designers. “I nd it really exciting to make up the path as I go,” Anater said. “I love
not knowing. I would advise anyone to get involved in social media for business. As far as striking out and doing it full-time—it’s not for the faint of heart.” Anater advises designers to “take a step back. Assess your skills. What are you good at? What are you interested in? The older I get, the less willing I am to compromise my core being for a career.”
Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS
Goldberg began her career in communications and then executed a planned shift to the design world. Her natural writing, speaking and marketing skills have helped fuel her second career. In addition to her weekly blog, she writes a column for The San Diego Union-Tribune, gives seminars and is writing her rst kitchen design book, to be published in late 2012 by Taunton Press. “I do suggest diversifying, even for our industry stars,” Goldberg said. “I think it keeps you fresh. One of my credos is ‘improvise in your own style.’ To me, that means branching out in ways that make sense for you.” Goldberg also advises that designers recharge and spend time away from business—give a polite “no” to projects that don’t advance goals and to stay true to yourself.
Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS
As one industry editor put it, “Susan Serra is a dynamo!” An independent kitchen designer, Serra also has a heavily traf cked blog and contributes to blogs for name brands such as Sears and Williams Sonoma. For her, social media has “helped me get the word out about my newest business endeavors.” In 2011, Serra partnered with her daughter Kelly to found two new businesses: Bornholm Kitchen (custom kitchens and baths) and Scandinavian Made (a web shop for unique Nordic crafts, vintage rugs). She believes in having multiple revenue streams and a project management system to track the myriad of details. According to Serra, “Loving the work is a faster track to success.” Passion, a head for business and a fearless pursuit of her goals keep Serra inventing and moving forward.
The Showroom-Focused Design Company:
Grace and Ken Kelly, CKD, CBD, CR
For the Kellys, social media was not a second career, but “a way to provide a service for our clients, market the company, and engage people.” While diverse in their showroom practice, which includes baths, libraries, wine cellars, home theaters and outdoor kitchens, they “have always believed strongly in growth through focus, regardless of the economic climate.” While many showrooms are struggling, Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly is opening a second showroom on Long Island, NY. According to Grace Kelly, their 30-year referral base, design expertise and service have contributed to this success. Ken feels independent designers are currently undervalued by clients who do not want to pay for their services. Aligning with a showroom may help them offer value to their clients by reducing design fees and making margin on cabinetry. (Ken added, “We are hiring and are looking for top designers if we can pass that word along.”) Finally,“Always be learning, be positive and be authentic,” said Kelly. “Love what you do and the rest falls into place.”
—Lori Dolnick is a VP at Frank Advertising and has more than 27 years of experience in building brands. She writes for several design blogs and is an active expert in social media, traditional marketing and public relations. To learn more about the designers or the Blanco Design Council, visit www.blancobydesign.com.
www.kbbonline.com / December 2011
+ K BB
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - December 2011
KBB - December 2011
Show Director’s Note
Road to KBIS
2011 K+BB Product Innovator Awards
Breathing Room: A Kitchen Moves Past “Green 1.0”
KBB - December 2011