DBRx Launches New Workshop Track at Vision11

The small-group, consultative approach of the Design Business Rx sessions run by Deb and Susan at the Vision shows have proven to be both extremely popular and incredibly fulfilling for the participants. So, in the spirit of DBRx, there is now an entire track of small-group workshops, focused on key topics past attendees have requested. Presented by acknowledged industry experts, the DBRx workshops provide an opportunity for you to receive specific advice and information based on your interest and needs. These business-changing strategy sessions are intense, detailed and focused on YOU, allowing you to leave Vegas with pragmatic action plans that will grow your business. 

Deb and Susan along with industry experts Melissa Galt, Vita Vygovska and Vickie Ayres will be presenting the following workshops:

  • How to Ignite Demand in YOUR Client Base
  • Fame 101
  • 5 Marketing Mindsets to Make YOUR Design Business Profitable
  • She Told Two Friends: Developing a Powerful Client Referral Systems
  • QuickBooks Deep Dive
  • Love Your Business Twice as Much—And Get More Done in Half the Time!
  • From a Whisper to a Shout: Social Marketing Secrets for Designers
  • The Power of Packaging: Bundle your Services & Build Sales

DBRX@Vision11 is a series of educational workshops that will run as an adjunct to the Vision 11 seminar program in Las Vegas. Unlike the general seminars, these will be highly focused, more advanced sessions, where a small group of attendees will walk out the door with something—a marketing plan, a press kit, a new target market,  improved customer service techniques, etc. etc.

You’ll be working in sessions with 10 people, at the most, in order to give you  the time and expertise necessary. This will most likely require pre-show and post-show homework on your part.  Each workshop notes any additional preparation, exceptions or materials.


7 February 2011 at 2:37 pm 2 comments

La Belle Juliette – a conversation with Anne Gelbard

La Belle Juliette – a conversation with Anne Gelbard.

28 October 2010 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

L’Epicerie de Bruno

Post Via Vingt Paris

Walking past the trendy boutiques of Rue Tiquetonne, you’re likely to see some storefronts that will grab your attention: Freakish mannequins dressed up in cleverly arranged runway hand-me-downs, hipster vintage wear that walks the fine line between “ironic cool” and “grandma,” or perhaps a water scene of octopi floating up in plastic bubbles. The latter, however, is not the window of a fashion boutique. It’s a spice shop called l‘Épicerie de Bruno.

“Muriel used to work in fashion. She’s very creative with the window displays,” says Bruno Jarry of his collaborator as he surveys his small kingdom of over 150 spices and other accoutrements for the gourmet. “And I was working in banking, which also has nothing to do with this.”

So how did a banker wind up as one of the top purveyors of herbs and spices and exotic foodstuffs in Paris? “I’d always been traveling and I love food. I was interested in all kinds of cooking, all over the world. And I found there was no place in Paris where you can find all the ingredients, the spices,” he recalls. “So whenever I traveled, I always brought back some spices as a souvenir.

“And my parents were chemists,” he continues. “Old fashioned pharmacists who made their own medicines for customers, and there were spices and herbs in what they made. And my grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents were grocers in Brittany. So, logically, I decided to get into the business.”

L’Épicerie de Bruno’s appeal comes not only from a strong lineage of épicerie, but a thorough understanding of origin and what it means to how things taste.

Peppers “Take pepper, for example,” he says, pointing out a wall with a variety of peppercorns most people likely don’t know exist. “Most people don’t know how it’s grown, yet – as with wine – the soil and climate are important. Nowadays, when people buy beef or vegetables, they want to know where it comes from. Spices, I think, are one of the only food products where people don’t know or don’t care, and the origin isn’t indicated on the package.” On the other hand, Bruno does know, he does care, and he’s happy to dispense his vast knowledge to those who seek it.

Working directly with small or family-owned producers, Bruno gets to know how they work, and he collaborates with them to bring good, 100% natural products to market. “I work with hundreds of farmers in Kerala, India, for example, and encourage them to grow and sell us excellent products, and pay them a very good price, so they’re not simply growing and selling in volume to big wholesalers. Even French ingredients, like the Piment d’Espelette [a mild chili from the Pyrénées-Atlantique region], we source directly from a small, family-owned producer. Same for Fleur de Sel: We know the individuals harvesting the salt.”

These principles are balanced with pragmatism. When you start to think of the origin of spices and seasonings, it seems counter-intuitive to the current trend to buy locally. “If you want to eat things that are harvested or grown within 50km of Paris, it’s going to be very difficult. There are a lot of things you simply won’t eat: Fish, dairy, most fruits… But I support this, especially when it comes to seasonal vegetables. It’s a good initiative. However, in France, we can’t cultivate pepper, for example. There are many spices we can’t grow here. So I support the concept – for products that are possible to acquire in France.

“What’s interesting is that this is very much an urban phenomenon: Paris, London, etc. But I was born in Brittany, where it’s not new – we only ever ate fishes that were caught locally, or we’d buy butter from a local farm. So when you can, try!”


Trying is the essence of Bruno’s. There’s so much to try, that one could come back seemingly every day and not exhaust the palette of flavors on hand. Various spices, dried herbs, leaves, and flowers line the walls. There are 25-30 different kinds of peppers on display at any given time. Black Penja pepper from Cameroon, white Kampot from Cambodia… Over 20 kinds of chillies, running from 0-10 on the Scoville scale, 0 being no heat at all, and 10 being the maximum, like habaneros and some Indian chillies… Vanilla beans of all kinds in small test tubes… There are specific spice blends, some made on premises and some by Bruno’s growers themselves: Blends for European cooking, Arabic & Iranian cooking, South & Central American cooking, and all of the Southeast Asian and Indian/Sri Lankan/Pakistani cuisines. “We even have some blends that some of the Indian shops don’t carry because they’re not popular enough to sell!”

One should not, however, mistake L’épicerie de Bruno for a specifically ethnic shop. It’s for everyone.

“The idea isn’t just for people to come here because they want to make Indian or Iranian dishes, per se, but to take these spices and apply them to things like barbecue, to go outside the traditional uses of ethnic herbs and spices. People often ask questions like, ‘I want to cook duck, but differently – what would go with duck?’ and we’ll advise them.” 

It’s also a source for transplants to get a taste of home. “We get many people who’ve moved to Paris from other countries. Americans, for example, are accustomed to hotter foods and come in seeking hot sauces.” (Bruno himself likes spicy foods, but not past 9/10 on the scale.)

The shop is also a good resource for those who aren’t allowed salt or sugar. “Each spice has its own character and subtleties,” Bruno explains. “These characteristics are particularly good for people on restricted diets. For instance, if you can’t have sugar, you might use some cinnamon to remind your palate of sweet foods. Or if you can’t have salt, a little bit of something spicy can recall salted foods.”

Also available are a variety of rices (the shop was originally going to be called “Epices et Riz” – say it out loud) of numerous origins, accessories (“The tortilla press is always out of stock!” Bruno says, pleasantly surprised) and “kits” or pre-assembled spices to make quick work of meals.

“When I was working in finance I had long work days and I’d still want to cook a good dish quickly. So we have kits for making various rice dishes easily. And we’ve created kits for Mexican cooking. And various curry pastes. All with 100% natural ingredients. So in 20 minutes you can make a Thai green curry by yourself, which will likely be better than what you can get in most Thai restaurants here. Most people don’t have time to cook except on weekends, and they want to make quick things, but good things. And this way, it’s less expensive than going out or buying frozen meals.”

With so many choices, a visit to the shop can be daunting. Luckily, Bruno can (with a little prompting) narrow down his favorites: “Madgascar white pepper for every day. White pepper from Cambodia for fishes, it has a bit of a pineapple note! Arabic blends. Curry à l’ancienne (a more coarsely ground curry powder). Basic spices like cumin and cloves that are rich in essential oils.”

Muriel recommends Ras el Hanout (a Moroccan blend), Mélange du Trappeur (a savory/sweet Canadian blend used for grilling, which she likes on pineapple), green cardamom, and cinnamon. 

For those visiting Paris temporarily, a spice fix is still available via Bruno’s online store long after the holiday is over, and for those who want a more lasting souvenir, his book Épices (in collaboration with photographer Thomas Dhellemmes) may be of interest. The book features 50 different spices (no herbs, no flowers, just spices!) and a number of accompanying recipes. It’s available at the shop, but widely distributed elsewhere. In fact, a Michelin-starred New York chef saw the book at the nearby culinary bookstore Librairie Gourmande and came right over to pick up some of Bruno’s goods for himself.

In a nutshell: Bruno offers you ethically grown and procured spices, rices, kits and accessories, with the expertise of someone with generations in the business and the knowledge to write a book on the subject, all at the quality demanded by famous chefs.

L’Épicerie de Bruno

30 rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris

01 53 40 87 33

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 

10:30am-2:30pm and 3:30pm-7:30pm

A themed apéro is held each month with an invited speaker/presenter to talk about their product(s).

10 August 2010 at 8:54 am Leave a comment

Paris Decor Tour

A sneak peek at some of  our favorite spots in Paris we’ll be visiting.

Design Destinations

Creation Baumann


Creation Metaphores

Anne Gelbard Couture Home

Viaduc des Arts


Much more to come including restaurants, galleries, shops and the show!

 Did we whet your appetite? Join us . Click HERE for more info.


13 July 2010 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

Five Secrets to Personal Branding

Personal branding is a new hot concept, which can be both good news and bad. With everyone trying to make a name for themselves, it’s harder and harder to be heard through all the noise.  Sound familiar- What designer doesn’t want to be the next best celebrity designer in a sea of designers?  That’s why a personal brand is crucial in 2010; to do it right means expert help, and for that there are few better qualified to help than entrepreneur and uber-blogger Guy Kawasaki. I recently came across the five secrets of personal branding success via Jessica Stillman on BNet Insight via Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog. The secrets come from Pete Kistler who dug into Kawasaki’s book Art of the Start.

 These 5 points are valid when it comes to trying to create your personal brand- something that designers seem to struggle with. In our DBRx consults, we find that design pros have self esteem issues and find it difficult at best to present themselves in a compelling way. So take a look at Kistler’s  5 branding points.

  • Make Meaning, Not Money. If you’re into personal branding with the goal of making money, stop now. You will attract the wrong kind of people into your life. Instead, start with the goal of making meaning. What better way to align all your actions with your long-term goals. What kind of meaning will you make? Kawasaki suggests two ideas for inspiration: 1) right a wrong, or 2) prevent the end of something good. What will you do to make the world a better place?
  • Make a Mantra. In three words or less, what are you all about? Kawasaki believes that mission statements are useless. He says, make a mantra instead. FedEx stands for “peace of mind.” What do you stand for, in the simplest terms?
  • Polarize People. Personal branding pundits often advise against being a “jack of all trades,” or a generalist that isn’t very good at something specific. What does Guy believe? He suggests being great for some people rather than trying to please everyone. Do not be afraid to make people react strongly for or against you. Someone once said, you’re not doing something right unless you’re pissing someone off. That doesn’t mean be a jerk. That means just don’t try to appeal to all people, or you’ll end up a mile wide and an inch deep, mediocre to everyone.
  • Find a Few Soul Mates. We’re all on this journey together. It’s silly to think we are alone in our careers or in our life. Find people who balance you. Then make time for them. If you’re busy, make plans in advance so you have to schedule around them. You’re only one person, so surround yourself with people whose skills round you off.
  • Don’t Let the Bozos Grind You Down. Not everyone is going to like you. Not everyone will always agree with you. That’s a fact of life. So don’t let criticism or doubters bring you down. As you live out your mantra, it’s your responsibility to be strong in the face of “no,” and “you can’t do that.” Guy says, ignore people who say you won’t succeed. Use negative words as motivation. Prove people wrong.

 Jumpstart your personal brand with these mantras posted on Guy Kawasaki’s Blog:  

“Connect People to their Purpose.” That includes connecting them with each other and with resources that grow and strengthen them.

“Dance Your Life. Find Your Gift.”

“Making Work Meaningful” – we’ve been saying this internally for the past 18months and now it’s reasonating through our organisation – very powerful concept.

“Pay it Forward.” It keeps me grounded and focused on others. And, I’m connecting with others more than ever — in a sincere and caring way.

4 July 2010 at 5:12 pm Leave a comment

NeoCon 2010

Susan is making her annual visit to Chicago for NeoCon this month. We’ll be able to check out a new restaurant or 2; cover the show, visit the  Guerilla NeoCon Truck Show; plus do a seminar. Loads of things will be happening during at NeoCon- from the Vitra Display, Furniture Revolution Gallery to the Materials Pavilion. For fashion / interior fans – the FASHIONNEXT  design competition is wedding themed this year. Established fashion designers will be doing apparel from Brentano fabrics. Click HERE .

We are excited to be doing a new CEU seminar- High Impact Materials for High Income Projects on Monday June 14, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. on room 1520. With the design industry more competitive than ever, with better educated and more discerning clients and with potential clients shopping the same sources as you are it’s time to wow them with innovative and unique materials. Click HERE.  If you are in Chicago, join us!

2 June 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

September in Paris + Maison et Objet=Priceless

Join an exclusive group of design aficionados in Paris August 31- September 8, 2010 for Maison et Objet.  The group to 12 PEOPLE ONLY, to keep the low-key, non-tour approach. Take advantage of a few extra days in Paris to get the most out of the shows as well as have enough time to really enjoy Paris. ! It’s a once in a lifetime chance to attend the ultimate design show!

Here’s What out January Group had to say about the Experience:

Susan and you have opened a window to the industry that I have only been peeking through. So Thanks again. Sue Sifakis

 It was a fantastic trip to Paris. The Hotel D’ Aubusson was beautiful.It was perfect to see Paris with other designers and such a nice group. The show was tremendous and a bit overwhelming. I came on this trip to find a new vision for my business and learned so much more.   Karyn Caldwell

I am still dreaming about it. It was the greatest…Thank you!     Octive Healey

This is very much a self guided tour. We’ll get you where you want to go; walk the aisles with you and share experiences over cocktails each night, but you make the decision when and where and what you want to do. No cattle calls on buses, mandatory dinners, just a fabulous time with a group of women that share the same passion- design. Hope you’ll join me. If you are interested, please download and fill out reg form and send back to us with your deposit asap. Seats fill on a first come; first serve basis.

Note: September Edition of Maison et Objet  has a furniture and outdoor living focus.

See what Maison et Objet is all about!

Tour highlights:

7 days/7 nights in Paris, August 31- September 8, 2010 includes:

*Airfare to/from JFK  Overnight flight arriving in Paris Wednesday, September1, 2010.

*Hotel d’ Aubusson, Four-star, double-occupancy in the heart of St. Germain (Super-convenient location and we’ve stayed in this hotel and love it!) Five minute walk to the subway, direct line to the show. Walking distance of the Louvre, Orsay, Notre Dame, Sorbonne; surrounded by art galleries, restaurants and shops.

*Daily Breakfast at the hotel.

*Airport transfers

*5 day all zone metro pass

*Admission to Maison&Objet and Le Club.

*Welcome reception at M&O from show management

*Exclusive M&O trend presentation with Q&A opportunity

*As-you-wish meet-ups for cocktails or dinner to review the day, compare notes, share stories, etc.

*Pre-travel web session(s) with Deb and Susan to preview locations, M&O planning, travel details, our Paris faves and more

*Cruise on the river Seine.

*Free entrance to the Louvre or Orsay.

 *Design destinations and insider access to showrooms and ateliers across Paris. Viaduc des Arts, Anne Gelbard Atelier to name a few.

 GO HERE for more details.    


Tour does NOT include:

*Any meals except breakfast at the hotel as noted

*Any admissions or fees except for the M&O show and museums as noted

*Any additional transportation fees outside of those listed above (i.e., we’re not bussing you to/from the shows at a specific time, you get there when you want and leave when you want, courtesy of those all-zone transit passes)

*Optional activities, entries & transportation is on you.

*Travel and cancellation insurance

*Personal expenses

*Tips for guides, hotel staff, taxis, etc.

8 April 2010 at 11:35 am 1 comment

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