Thursday, August 16, 2007


Argh! I'm tired, but here goes!

Day three started out with the four of us dragging our tails behind us. We had collectively walked about four million square feet of merchandise, and with each booth we passed there was always someone clamoring for our attention.

We learned to avoid making eye contact--not to be rude, but so we could get through the entire building before the market ends. Sometimes I felt like we were in the Casbah (transliterated here to mean "market").

"Hi, how are you today" asked an eager Vendor.

I smiled politely, conscious not to make eye contact, "Fine, and you?", I answered.

"Having a good show?" He asked.

I simply smiled again, and kept on walking. I still can't figure out what they mean by asking, "Having a good show?"

I mean, I'm not the one having the show, they are. They are the ones making the show, don't they know if the show is good or not? I must be getting weary, because it sounds like Mean Guy is in the building.

Sometimes after we finished writing an order with a Vendor or had simply made an inquiry, they would say, "Have a good show".

"Have a good show?" How in the heck do I have a good show?"

Okay, let's move on, we have to be nice and talk about the "Christmas buy".

Ho Ho Ho...

It seems strange to be in the city, in the dog days of August, and be purchasing Christmas ornaments and holiday gifting.

I've had Thanksgiving here several times with my family, and the sounds and smells that are in the air; the visuals that are all about and holiday is in full swing. There is the ubiquitous line of tourist and locals alike, pushing forward in the stanchioned lanes in front of the store windows at Sak's 5th Avenue, all trying to get a glimpse of their annual and fantastical Christmas windows.

Stores are full of Christmas decorations, pre-wrapped gift ideas, the music wafting through the building out onto the streets, the chestnuts roasting on an open fire (actually roasting on a butane gas burner inside a wheeled cart on the corner of every block), and people in wonderful coats, hats and scarf's. It's magical to be in New York City at that time of year, and to think that what we're doing here in NYC is the kind of prep work it takes gives me a new appreciation for the Retailers of our country.

It's 100 degrees (farenheit) and muggy, people are wearing the very least (and somehow remaining legal). What has always looked so magical has somehow now been compromised in my mind by my new found knowledge of what it takes, and the mechanics, to create Christmas as we know it.

Our first appointment this day was with our California Sales Representative, Sally, one of the hardest working gals in her business. We started at the 7 West Design Building on the lower west side of Manhattan (hence my comment about the bad part of town). In our effort to separate ourselves from the competition, the four of us consulted together in order to create our vision for the Cabana Home Christmas Holiday color story for 2007.

Today we have a special guest here to share that holiday vision with you today is Leisa Snyder of the Cabana Home Mill Valley store:

Design Guy: Good morning Leisa! Welcome to the beautiful and legendary Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (a legacy left to the Hilton Family by the late Conrad Hilton, unlike that being created by his great grand daughter _ _ _ _ _.)

Leisa: Well good morning to you Design Guy! Its wonderful to be here with you in NYC.

Design Guy: Leisa, please share with our friends and customers our story (she looked at me puzzled).

Design Guy: Not that story silly, the Christmas color story.

Leisa: Of...uh...of course...uh, Design Guy. As many of you know, our unique perspective on the Christmas Season has become quite the tradition at Cabana Home. Noir Noel, as it has become known, is a combination of romantic and soft, a sophisticated honed-black, always juxtaposed with a forward color palette. This year our interpretation of a the holiday color is a green story.

Design Guy: Green, share with our readers what green it is that you're referring to.

Leisa: I was about to, but you fuc...

Leisa's Mean Girl was just about to emerge but she quickly stopped herself, and in a breath, lovely Leisa was composed and moved on.

Leisa: Oh Design Guy, I would love to share our perspective of the new green. First of all, its about tonality on one side of the equation, and texture on the other. That relationship between the two marries well with the Cabana Home concept about lifestyles of indoors and out. Freshness and the vitality in the greens we saw at this fall show, of course green reminds us of the holidays, of hearth and home. But when married with the sophistication of black, it becomes a combination that most of us wouldn't have thought of as pleasing, or as a holiday palette.

Design Guy: Well put, Leisa.

Leisa smiles, knowingly.

Leisa: We feel special being in that environment any time of year, but it is particularly special this time of year as we want to be embellish, to cherish oneself and others...

Design Guy cuts her off.

Design Guy: I see the perspective, and appreciate the description, but do tell what the colors look like.

She bristles, then a cool comes over her face. Mean Girl was about to jump into the fray, when Nice Leisa reinforced her presence.

Leisa: The palette is in hues of winter green's, from mossy to a silvery fern green with a warm pewter undertone. The colors will juxtaposed not only with a sophisticated black, but with the colors themselves through textures of velvet, satin and metallic finishes.

Design Guy: That's hot...Thank you for joining me this morning (in my suite overlooking the delivery entrance to the Waldorf Astoria).

I know our customers and fans will really enjoy your perspective on the upcoming Christmas Season at Cabana Home stores.

Leisa: My pleasure Design Guy, anytime.

You now have the inside scoop on this years Christmas Season. You'll see the colors of the season manifested at Cabana Home in velvet and double faced satin ribbons, table ware, Christmas Tree ornaments, in gifting, and in the gift wrapping. And remember, the Christmas Holidays always begin the day after Thanksgiving at Cabana Home, and not a moment before.


As we exited the 7 West Design Building, we were approached by a casually dressed fellow, with clean shaven head, who announced that the 7 West building was offering free Pedi-Cab service to the Javitz Convention Center.
We were at once suspect, and hesitated to even acknowledge the guy. After quickly looking around I spotted at least two other pedi's, and saw that they had signs ,

"Complements of 7 West" taped to the side of their egg-shaped cabs.

"Great" I said, and I hopped in. Caroline was a little hesitant, but I motioned for Michael and Leisa to grab the other pedi-cab. Caroline hopped in beside me and off we went for what seemed like a new and unique experience in New York City. And, an experience it was.

These photos were taken before we pulled in front of NYC Transit Bus and into the bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Our pedi-peddler immediately pulled into the already present traffic jamb, and then to the front of the line of cars, trucks and buses. He then shared with us that the pedi-cabs were at war with the Taxi drivers. Now, having experienced outraged taxi drivers in Manhattan, his words were not particularly soothing.

Next, we pulled directly in front of a bus, with at least three inches to spare. If the bus driver had tried to see us, it would have been impossible, and I don't think the bus driver was trying to see us. When the traffic light changed, our pedi-cycler took off, going probably less than 1/5 of a mile per hour. The bus took off at a speed of at least five miles per hour. Our driver quickly gave way and jumped behind a semi parked car; the bus speed passed us, layering our skin and clothing in a fine mist of diesel fumes.

You know, I never realized how dang tall those buses really are! Michael and Leisa looked on in horror, even photographing us along the way. We too photographed them, do we look frightened? No because we took these pictures before we pulled into the traffic.

All in all, it took us about twenty minutes, and nearly cost us our life, when we could have possibly been safer in a New York taxi. Man...oh man!

WHAT'S NEW AT LAURA LEE (the lighting designer not the country singer)

We've always like the metal finishes at lighting designer Laura Lee's showroom. Hers are the most authentic looking "rusticated" finishes. She has a good eye for design and her lamp shades are the most unique in the market place. The lamps, chandeliers and sconces are the most expensive wrought iron in the market place, but I think they're worth it. New this year (actually I'm not sure when she introduced these styles since she apparently does not have Sales Reps--or at least not one that calls on our store) is a ceiling mounted fixture, which is a category in the lighting-world market place that is devoid of new and fresh styles. Pictured here is an Italian blown glass fixture with wrought iron frame--great looking, eh?

Also, the chandelier pictured at left, is a nice, clean take on wrought iron chandeliers, which tend to be mostly over done with curly ques, applied "leaves" and other things, and a dingle-berry or two.

This fixture is clean and the shades give it a sophisticated air which I think is could be equally at home in a Tuscan Villa or in an upper east side pied a terre.

The Ceiling Mount Fixture and Chandelier are available by special order from Cabana Home-Mill Valley and Cabana Home-Santa Barbara, allow 4 weeks for delivery.

A large selection of Laura Lee Chandeliers, Sconces, Table and Floor Lamps are available in stock at Cabana Home-Santa Barbara.


Granted, topping yesterdays worst of show would be a miracle, as almost everything we passed today paled by comparison. However, by days end there was one item that stuck out in our minds. A Warholian Louis IV fauteuil chair. Fauteuil? What the he...

Okay, a little explanation before we go on with the "worst of"...

Fauteuil, French, is an arm chair (I know that this is a side chair, but if it were an arm chair...) that has open arms. Think of a typical dining arm chair.

As opposed to an closed-arm, arm chair, which in France is called a Bergere chair (see chair to the left of the Marilyn Chair). The sides of the chair, underneath the arm, are closed, or upholstered.

Okay, more than you wanted to know? Store it. You never know when your going to have to pull that little tid-bit of info out in front of your Client, or a snippy Showroom Representative.

Warhol Foundation run amuck? I think Andy would roll over in his Gucci's if he could see his iconic and much loved Marilyn image, reproduced with such ugly taste and execution. Uuuoo...Mean Guy! It's not exactly either of our idea of sitting on Marilyn.

I didn't ask, but I truly hope that this chair was not licensed by the Warhol Foundation, who have not been known of late to be discriminating when granting licenses to grantees.


Tomorrow we blow this pop-stand and move on to the legendary D & D Building on the Upper East Side. This is where the most fabuous Vendors seem to be located. We have some incredible appointments sceduled, so I'll see you tomorrow.

Good Night Moon.

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