Thursday, October 4, 2012

“Fulfilling My Soul Purpose”

an interview with Kay Frandsen - Minneapolis Entrepreneur &  Owner of the Wabi Sabi Shop.

The Women's Excelerator recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kay Frandsen from the Wabi Sabi Shop. The Wabi Sabi Shop is a Plymouth, Minnesota consignment shop offering high quality, gently used and reasonably priced home furnishings, artwork and accessories. Kay offers a unique environment to shop in and you are sure to enjoy the experience at her shop.  Kay has been a avid supporter of The Women’s Excelerator program, and in fact has helped us facilitate our Writing Your Business Plan workshop (next scheduled for October 17th).  We asked Kay to share with our audience a few words about what prompted her to start a business and to also offer any suggestions she might have for women who are considering starting their own business.

What motivated you to start your own business?
I was working as an interior designer for a large corporation when I was suddenly and without explanation laid off. It wasn’t the first time I’d received a “pink slip” but I vowed this was going to be the last time! I would no longer allow others to decide when I was or wasn’t going to work. I had just turned 50. For the next several months I was hurt, confused, depressed and angry. The heated indignation that smoldered inside during this time slowly turned into a controlled fire – a fire that motivated me to take control of my own destiny. I was determined to find the path that would fulfill me and carry me through the rest of my working career.

How did you finally decide what you wanted to do?
I’ve always believed we each have our own purpose to fulfill. Everyone’s purpose is different. Sometimes it’s a practical need or desire and at times is more of a dream or lifelong goal. In truth, it’s a combination of both. Think of the Yin/Yang symbol –  - the two sides make a complete and whole circle, but within either side, there’s always a bit of the opposite. In other words, it’s not purely one thing or the other. I had several months to think about myself and my future (thanks to the bizarrely generous severance package I was given.) I thought a lot about what I enjoy doing, what my strengths are, the skill sets I’ve developed over a lifetime. I reckoned my personality had its positive and negative aspects, but decided I wanted to create the environment where both aspects could play to their strengths. (Even our darker sides can be useful if they’re positioned appropriately for the environment.)

Did your business turnout to be your lifelong dream?
I honestly never dreamed of owning a furniture consignment shop. But by owning and running my business, the Wabi Sabi Shop, I am fulfilling my soul purpose. I am calling the shots. I am calling on every skill, talent and ability I’ve been given. I am in a creative atmosphere, meeting and talking with interesting people every day. I am contributing to my little world and receiving so much appreciation in return that I wake up smiling every morning. I know I am going to be doing something fun, new different, challenging and worthwhile. And I get to bring my dog with me to work every day, too!

What advice would you give others who want to start their own business?
The one thing you need to have to start your own business is a burning desire to transform your ideas into reality. Determination is the key along with Focus, Tenacity, Intuition and Discernment. These are critical capacities you’ll need to employ. So ask yourself (not your friends and family) whether starting a small business is right for you. You know better than anyone else, where your mind set truly is. If you want this more than anything else, you can do it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Noble Antimacassar

I’m sure that most of you know what an antimacassar looks like, but never knew the name of it. Few people know what they are called or what they are for. To start off, this is an example of an antimacassar:

That’s right. That doily sitting on top of your grandma’s wingback chair is an antimacassar. The original antimacassar would have been of stiff, tightly woven crochet-work that was mass-produced and easily washable.  This is because it was used to protect the upholstery behind one’s head from the oil that was used in almost every man’s hair from the early 19th to early 20th century, called macassar oil.  It was made primarily of coconut or palm oil, mixed with ylang-ylang oil for fragrance.  It made the hair look very greasy, but that was the fashion.  

Incidentally, that piece of cloth on the back of a sailor’s uniform is also called an antimacassar or jumper flap, and its function was also to keep the oil off of the uniform.  This was especially helpful when the sailor would wear his hair in a short, oiled-down pony tail and not be able to wash for weeks at a time.

Even though macassar oil is no longer de rigueur, antimacassars can still be seen on the backs of airplane and train seats in a more simple style. 

There you have it – the noble antimacassar.  Personally, I hope that the greasy goo never comes into fashion again, but you never know…

Antimacassars: don't let Pauly D of Jersey Shore sit in your chairs without one.

[Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4]

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pattern and Texture

Sometimes we find ourselves in a creative rut with our home design. It can be difficult to make visible changes without spending a ton of money, but using various patterns and textures is a great way to express creativity and bring excitement into your home, and it is one of the easiest ways to create points of interest and define your personal style. You can introduce as much or as little as you like! Try searching out patterns and textures that are new to you. Introduce yourself to the softness of mohair or the vintage vibe of chenille. It can also be fun to play with historic textiles such as toile de Jouy, matelassé, damask, or chintz.

Mixing toile de jouy and animal prints
Be sure to repeat patterns and texture to bring depth and movement to a room. Ideally these elements should come after you’ve chosen the main color scheme, but if you already own something with an interesting pattern or texture, you may want to use that piece as a building block for your room design. Soft furnishings such as throw pillows, drapery, upholstery, and rugs are an easy place to introduce patterns. Remember that there’s no need to coordinate everything in sight, but it’s a good idea to have some kind of a game plan.

Anything tactile is a good alternative to pattern, and if you can mix different textures together for a luxurious layered look, so much the better. Cross the fluffiness of sheepskin with the warmth of knits, and the soft sheen of velvet with embroidery. A fur throw is a great addition to any room. If you don’t want to go for real fur, there is a range of fake varieties available that creates a similarly glamorous look.

Beautiful textures on soft furnishings
Kate Walsh's bedroom

If you aren’t confident in using many different textures and patterns together, start small! Restrict their use to small-scale items such as cushions, stools, and throws that can be moved around till they find their right place. Don’t be afraid! Mixing texture and pattern is much of what makes those rooms on the pages of magazines jump out at you and what makes them look professionally designed.  

Bold pattern mixing!

Now we want to hear from you. Let us know if you have any interesting mixtures of patterns or textures in your home. Or maybe you’re a self-admitted pattern-phobe! Either way, we’d love to see your pictures and hear about your adventures in pattern and texture!

[Image sources: 12, 34]