DSA Newsletter - Fall 2013

Game Changer: "Responsive Design"

Notes from Natasha

Your website can keep you relevant in today's market or leave you out of the results altogether. Responsive web design is the way websites will be built for the decade to come. They are built to "respond" to the ever changing canvas of mobile phones and tablets. The web has evolved past the desktop with the sale of mobile devices at 1 billion and is expected to double by 2015. That's a market not to be ignored.

Within the next 3 weeks, all members will have a responsive website within the DSA site. So, if your current website fails to give a classy performance on the array of phones and tablets, as well as the ones still to come, we encourage you to upload your portfolio and keep it current. In addition, we have incorporated social media function into the new Member Sites. Oh, by the way... this is free with your membership at DSA.
Why is Responsive Web Design so important?

- In the US, 91% of people are within reach of a mobile device 24/7.

- It provides an "app-like" experience on tablets and smartphones.

- It's one website that works on all devices.

- It is flexible and responds to the exact size of the screen displaying it.

- Latest projections suggest that more web surfers will access the internet using mobile devices than with PCs.

All the best!

Natasha Lima Younts DSA

Designer Society of America

Revit, Auto Cad for Designers

Maintaining a leading edge during tough economic times is a challenge faced when keeping business ahead of the competition. It is known that training is critical to honing skills and increasing productivity, yet during tough times people often do not attend professionally led training due to the high cost of travel and time away from being productive in the office. To address this hurdle, CAD Training Online has brought instructor led classroom training right to the desktop.

"Fortunes are NOT made in the boom times...
That is merely the collection period. "
George Wood Bacon

Only live instructor-led training allows for 100% teacher/student interaction. CAD Training Online classes typically have a student to teacher ratio of only 4 to 1, ensuring the attention and hand holding that is expected from a professionally conducted instructor led class.
I personally guarantee that this will be one of the best investments you can make regarding your professional training. - Rick Feineis

Rick can be contacted by phone at (866) 933-7049 ext. 705 or on LinkedIn at

It's 11 O'Clock!

Do you know where your clients are tonight?

In case you don't know this already, your clients are on Pinterest, Houzz and yes, even Linked In... oftentimes till the wee hours of the morning. They are also hooked on blogs that talk about decorating and how to style your home. If you don't have a profile on each of these three social media giants, you need to do it right now. They will all drive traffic to your website... big time.

Right now, I am participating in several Linked In group discussions. These are staging and redesign groups, for the most part. About 10% of my monthly traffic comes from those groups. I always get lots of clicks from Houzz and Pinterest. It is free traffic people!!

Take some time and establish yourself as a professional in the staging and redesign world by putting your profile, including your best pictures, on these popular social media sites.

I'm sure you are already on Facebook, right?

Also, you need a blog where you can post ongoing updates and info about you and your business. Frequently add tips and tricks about staging or redesign and people will enjoy hearing from you. Your competitors are doing this. It's easy and It's FREE.

It's called TOMA... Top of Mind Awareness. When your name is consistently in front of your existing clients and future clients, they will call you when the need for your services arises.

Ask for an e-mail address on your comment postcard that you leave with the homeowner after you finish a job. Be sure to place a stamp on it. Stay in touch with your clients!!! It's 5 X more expensive to acquire a new client vs. keeping an existing client. Nurture those relationships.  http://www.pinterest.com/beckyharmon2/boards/

Becky Harmon

Staging School
becky@beckyharmon.com  e-mail
www.stagehappy.com  website

Curb Appeal

I always enjoy styling and staging houses in our beautiful neighborhood of Queens Harbour. One of the problems I run into frequently is overgrown shrubs and outdated plant selections. Newer varieties perform better and don't take over the visual space that we call Curb Appeal.

When these homes were planned many years ago, a certain budget was required by POA for landscaping. The builder had to supply an abundant selection of prime plant material. Now, twenty-something years later, those plants have taken over the lawn.

One of my neighbors who could not sell her house called and asked my opinion. The interior of the home was absolutely gorgeous. That was not the problem. I asked her to walk outside and look at the house from across the street.

"Now describe what do you see?" I asked as she turned around. "I see what you mean. The curb appeal and front of the house doesn't begin to tell the story of the beautiful space beyond the front door. In fact, there were times people made an appointment and didn't get out of the car."

The old overgrown azaleas and junipers dominated most of the front yard and covered the quaint front porch. I recommended that she pull them out completely and plant low-growing hawthorn plants next to the foundation. Then sod the space where the large plants had been. This added some extra real estate. After the changes were made, the home sold overnight.

Curb Appeal isn't just an after thought. It's the pretty face that gets the date to the prom! Who cares that you spent a fortune for the dress and shoes.

Since 90% of homebuyers look online before deciding which homes to tour, the first picture, the front of the house, may be the most important one.

I bumped into one of my Queens Harbour staging clients awhile back and she said the house had not sold after a long time on the market. I was shocked since our average DOM - Days on the Market - is about 2 to 3 weeks.

She remarked that the online stats revealed that 1500 people were looking at the first picture, the front of the house, but only 500 opted to look inside. The interior was beautiful and updated.

After reviewing the online link, I realized what caused the problem. The hedge around the house had obscured the photographer's view so he walked up the driveway to get the whole house into the picture.

It appeared like the property was tiny when in fact, it was huge. An aerial photo fixed the problem and the house sold right away.

Happy Fall, Becky Harmon  http://www.transform-us.com/

DeCocco Drapes

We always loved working together on design projects--Anne as the designer and Gail as the workroom (window treatment specialist).  We enjoyed the process, made a good team and left a trail of beautiful windows and happy clients along the way.

Anne was looking for an alternative drapery resource for those projects that couldn't commit to full blown custom work (they can be very pricey).  One day a light bulb went off.  Why not create an ecommerce site, offering superb drapery options at affordable pricing (because the design work is already done).

That would be IMPOSSIBLE to do alone, so she got Gail on the phone.  Gail is always ready for a new adventure!  Neither of us realized how steep the learning curve of online marketing and selling is, but we persevered and this collection and website is the result.

The reaction has been amazing.  It turns out that customers have been dying for this option.  Hands down, the most common response that we hear when anyone sees or touches our panels is "Oh these ARE nice!"  That's because the fabric is of apparent quality, superior craftsmanship is evident and the styling is FABULOUS. http://www.decoccodrapes.com/


Have you been thinking about increasing your credentials as a residential interior designer? Or maybe you have an amazing assistant who you would like to position with more credentials?

The Residential Interior Designer Exam (R.I.D.E.) is available to individuals and interior designers looking to advance their education, career and professional status in the interior design industry. If you are driven to succeed and dedicated to your profession, successful completion of the R.I.D.E. will train new designers and increase the credentials for designers currently practicing. The RIDE course will enhance your status when meeting new potential clients and increase your credentials among residential interior design peers who have also reached this higher level of certification achievement. The R.I.D.E. program is recognized as an industry standard for excellence and certification can be the professional boost you need to grow your business and your reputation.

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About the exam.