Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Watch out for Bears: The Zoo's Live Bear Cam is Back

The Woodland Park Zoo's "Bear Cam" is back online after being downed in winter storms. It's sponsored by Brown Bear Carwash. Visit it online and watch the big boys delight in the fresh scents of elk dung, or even catch a trout.

The 12-year old 800+ pound grizzly brothers are, according to the Zoo, "'scatter fed' produce and favorite food items throughout the exhibit each morning and again later in the day; providing new stumps, logs, props and other natural items in the exhibit also introduces new sights and smells to stimulate the bears’ senses. Keepers place browse (branches and leaves) in the exhibit and grasses for the bears to consume. They will also lace the exhibit with novel scents such as elk dung and spices to stimulate their olfactory sense. During the warmer times of the year, the bears are provided overnight access to their exhibit, providing them full use of all available areas to better accommodate any need they have to move about their environment. Exhibit featuresVarious artificial elements including rockwork, a stream and deep pool that maintains 20-30 live trout, many that have lived in the pool for several years. The bears actively “fish” for the trout, occasionally teaming up to corral and capture the trout."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dress Shop Owner and Mom Has a Terrific System in Place

At Work at Home: Housing choices allow Eastside professionals to live more efficiently
-by Suzanne Monson, Contributing Writer, the Seattle Times

In Sunday's Eastside Living section article about home offices, writer Monson interviewed our client Su Choi of Voletta Couture. www.volettacouture.com Monson wrote, “With an eye on efficiency, the environment and the clock, working from home isn’t just smart business. It’s smart living.” Saving time on commuting was one advantage discussed. “That was the driving force for Su Choi, owner of downtown Bellevue’s Voletta Couture and mother of three children—all under the age of 7. Choi designed an at-home office into her new Clyde Hill home so she could balance her client’s needs with those of her family.

'I couldn’t run a business if I didn’t have an office at home,' says Choi, whose chic boutique offers cocktail, evening and bridal dresses by the world’s top designers, straight from high-fashion runways.

'I work from home four to five hours a day instead of driving back and forth between home and the stores,' says Choi. 'As soon as my kids get home, I can’t really go back to work, so after we clean up from dinner, read with them and make sure they do their homework, I can finish up my own work once they’re asleep.'”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Darjeeling on Our Minds

No, I haven't seen the movie yet: http://www.thedarjeelinglimited.co.uk/
And yes, I adore Rosanna's Darjeeling line- we have one of the dramatic, jewel-toned hurricanes gracing our mantel right now: http://www.rosannainc.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=rosanna&Category_Code=112
But this post is about our friend Kathy Schultz who writes for magazines and http://www.nwsource.com/ and is taking a group of gals to India for an incredible shopping tour. When we saw the itinerary we immediately wanted to sign-up, but it conflicts with Margo’s art show opening www.margospellman.com in New York— phooey!

But if you are free in early October, here’s the scoop. Kathy and her fab biz-partner Anita have space for three more clients on this intimate, exclusive tour of an exotic land rich in culture, color, gems, jewelry, and shopping! This jewelry and shopping tour to India is from September 29-October 15, 2008. They will focus on New Delhi and Jaipur, with a special shopping/sightseeing trip to Pushkar, and a village visit to see textile designers, and of course a visit to the Taj Mahal. Jaipur has the distinction of being the gemstone-cutting center of the world. More than 90% of the world's colored stones are cut there.

This tour is designed for a select group of individuals who are interested in:

Sourcing and buying gemstones, having their own jewelry designs produced, buying wholesale priced jewelry in small and large quantities, buying gold jewelry at phenomenal prices, and
Private shopping events at wholesale and famous retail shops.

While jewelry is the main focus of the trip they are also offering:

Shopping at fashion forward boutiques featuring Indian Designers, shopping for textiles, village visits and sightseeing.

Cost of the trip is $5,600 which includes airfare, hotel, ground transportation, two meals a day, entrance fees to sightseeing, guide and driver. A deposit of $500 is due June 15 with the remaining fees due July 1, 2008.
Visit the website to learn more: http://www.indiatraveltreasures.com/
And if you'd like a glimpse of some of the gems and jewelry that awaits you (the photo above is one sneak peek), take a look at Kathy's article in Virtuoso magazine: http://www.kathy-schultz.com/pdf/India.pdf

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

STARBUCKS SMOOTHIES: Modo Exec Comments on Smoothie Market

Read today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer to see our client, George Murphy's take on the latest spot to get smoothies:

Smoothie market is heating up
Emerald City awaits competition
Last updated May 12, 2008 9:59 p.m. PT
Emerald City Smoothie has said that it wants to be the Starbucks of smoothies. But now, Starbucks says it wants to be the Starbucks of smoothies.
What does a business development executive say when his chain of 61 franchises is now competing with more than 11,000?
"I think it's great, I really do," said John Trautman, vice president of business development. "It's just exciting. They're a giant. It's a compliment."
In April, Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. said that it hopes to expand its customer base by serving blended fruit and protein beverages, energy drinks and healthy foods. (It's rolling out the energy drinks Tuesday.)
Mercer Island-based Emerald City Smoothie said last week that it is not swayed from its aggressive growth plan, hoping to serve meals of blended fruit and vitamins in more than 1,000 locations by 2017. If anything, competing with Starbucks is good news, Trautman said.
"There's lots of room for smoothies out there. With Starbucks doing it, it just further validates what we've been doing for years," said Trautman, who also owns three franchise stores.
An outside consultant agrees with him. The same way that Starbucks created a market for the small coffee shop, it could generate more buzz for smoothies, said George Murphy, managing partner of Modo Group, a Seattle-based marketing and brand consultancy.
"There's plenty of room in the marketplace for a small competitor. Starbucks has proven that in the coffee category," Murphy said. "They raise awareness for the category so all consumers understand what's out there -- that creates opportunity for other small companies to fill niche elements on the side of the category leader."
The biggest challenge will be competing with Starbucks for real estate, he said.
Emerald City already faces smoothie competition from market leader Jamba Inc. The Emeryville, Calif.-based company has more than 700 Jamba Juice stores.
As business fate would have it, Jamba Juice got its start with the help of Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz, who was an original investor and had served as board member of the company, according to a February 1997 article in The New York Times. In June 1998, Forbes magazine reported that a venture capital group that included Schultz bankrolled Jamba with $47 million in venture funding.
Other smoothie competitors include Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Maui Wowi Inc., Covington, La.-based Smoothie King Franchises Inc. and Atlanta-based Planet Smoothie Franchises LLC.
Emerald City has recently launched a marketing campaign, which includes commercials and Internet advertisements. The commercial now airing shows people drinking smoothies and working out -- a flash of jumping rope, pumping biceps, mountain biking, playing basketball and golfing.
"We'll serve more than 2 million smoothies this year," Trautman said to show the popularity of the drinks. "We'll use over 1 million-and-a-half pounds of strawberries."
The company is also going to start promoting a reusable cup in the next month. (It currently serves up smoothies in foam cups.)
While rising gas and food prices have caused Starbucks' profit to decline, Trautman said that consumers have not flocked away from Emerald City. A smoothie isn't an "extra," he explained as a possible reason, but an investment in one's health.
"We haven't seen an impact; if anything, we're seeing a bigger growth," he said. "People are looking inward. We're seeing gyms pop up everywhere. People want to take care of themselves and do something good for themselves."
Trautman said that Emerald City would not start selling coffee any time soon -- the company wants to preserve the smoothie smell in stores. That said, he was careful not to criticize his new hometown competitor: "We haven't started selling coffee -- not that coffee's a bad thing, we all like a cup of coffee now and then."
P-I researcher Marsha Milroy and P-I reporter Daniel Lathrop contributed to this report. P-I reporter Andrea James can be reached at 206-448-8124 or andreajames@seattlepi.com.
© 1998-2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Friday, May 9, 2008

an effusive patient

We were tickled when Patti Payne of the Puget Sound Business Journal reported on our client Dr. Richard Baxter's work with patient James Raisbeck. What a hoot!

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - by Patti Payne Contributing Writer

Face-lift is no secret for James Raisbeck

A growing number of men are getting plastic surgery, and telling all. Like Seattle businessman and philanthropist James Raisbeck, 71. "I just got a neck lift and eyelids done by Seattle area Dr. Richard Baxter. http://www.baxterplasticsurgery.com/ It was so easy," Raisbeck says, confiding that a total of "six square inches of skin were removed from both areas." Raisbeck's brother, Cliff, 80, had the same procedures two years ago. "I didn't even know I needed my eyes done," says James, just back from Paris with wife Sherry.

Thank you Patti!

Friday, May 2, 2008
No letup for Rosanna Bowles' home-decor company

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - by Patti Payne Contributing Writer
W hat do the May editions of Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle and the upcoming summer issue of O at Home have in common? They all feature lifestyle designer Rosanna Bowles, whose Seattle-based business, Rosanna Inc., is internationally hot.

Starting in 1982 in her Montlake home with a $15,000 loan from the former Seafirst Bank, Bowles has grown her business to a successful eight-figure private company, with worldwide distributors and a warehouse in Sodo filled with her tabletop designs. People magazine plans to feature many of her designs in a special gift section. And she will sell several of her collections on TV's Home Shopping Network on June 12. She is employing 25 artisans in Guanajuato, Mexico, who are recycling Coke bottles into artistic glassware, sandblasted with intricate European designs.

Bowles designs everything for tabletops, from flatware to glassware to dishes, serving pieces, vases and more. She sells wholesale to retailers across the world, including some private label retailers such as Nordstrom.

Expect her to expand into Rosanna furniture and Rosanna textiles, and she is in talks with a publisher about a lifestyles book.

The economy is not slowing her. "We're medium price point home wear," she says. "People are nesting more and making their own environment more beautiful."