Friday, October 16, 2015

Business Babe: Mix & Match Design Company

Meet Chaney the designer behind the e-design services of Mix and Match Design Company. She's making the design process approachable and the it affordable to live in a well designed casa.

When and why did you decide to create your business? What was the light bulb moment?

I decided to create Mix & Match Design Company in the spring of 2015 after having spent the past several years writing a design/DIY blog (May Richer Fuller Be) and helping friends and family with design in their homes. I've always had a passion for helping people make their homes into places they love and wanted to be able to offer that as a service to a broader audience. The lightbulb moment came when I realized there are a whole bunch of folks out there who would never think or want to hire a traditional interior designer, but still want help choosing pieces and designing spaces in their homes in an affordable, approachable way that fits their schedules and budgets. E-design is a perfect fit for those needs and thus, Mix & Match was born!

What is your background and how did this help prepare you in regards to your business?

Oddly enough, my schooling and professional background are in something completely unrelated to design - medicine and healthcare. I've been pursuing creative endeavors on the side for a long time though, starting way back in high school when I started a ribbon belt business! I've spent the last several years honing my design skills primarily through writing my blog and designing spaces in both my own home and others'. Those experiences have had the biggest impact on preparing me to launch my business. 

What do you believe sets your business apart from others and competitors?

E-design is a nascent industry, so our primary focus is helping customers who wouldn't hire a traditional interior designer realize that affordable services are available through e-design. It's not all or nothing anymore! There are several e-design companies out there offering various services. Mix & Match Design Company differentiates itself by offering a more approachable set of services, which range from full custom room design to "finishing touches." For example, I've helped customers with everything from simply picking out a couple of rugs all the way up to planning a full master bedroom design in a new construction home. We also offer consultations by the hour and pre-designed "in-stock" design boards. 

What do you consider your greatest success?

My greatest success is taking a chance to start my own business. I never thought I would consider myself to be an entrepreneur, but I'm embracing that title now! To me, being successful is about taking a risk and following your passions, not necessarily making millions of dollars (although that would be nice, right?).

What is your favorite form of marketing and why?

Word-of-mouth recommendations. There's nothing better than a happy customer spreading the word to friends and family and giving them a personal recommendation to check out Mix & Match Design Company!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Listen Up: Podcast Picks

Here's the thing about me, I'm either all in or completely uninterested and can't be bothered. For example, when I decide to start a series I must watch it from the first episode I can't just pop in and I will watch it all the way through even if I find it boring or stupid. I tend to binge watch too, watching season after season all at once.

If I start a book, I will finish it. Usually within a few days at that. Well recently my obsession has carried over into the Podcast world. I just can't stop listening to them, soaking in all the knowledge I can as I hear other's share their stories, inspiration, struggles and triumphs or just learning simply how things work.

I thought today I'd share what I've been listening to in the background as I type press releases, schedule social media posts and go through my emails. Sorry to disappoint, cult series Serial does not my Podcast favorites list.

The Lively Show- I've been familiar with Jess' blog for quite some time but recently discovered her Podcasts. I love her interviews with other entrepreneurs and there's something so soothing and encouraging about her voice. My favorite to date? Lara Casey of Southern Weddings!

Oh Boy- This is the newest Podcast I've discovered as part of The Man Repeller blog. There's only a handful of episodes so it's easy to get caught up. These interviews sound more like a casual chat between friends which makes me feel like I'm right there during the interview having coffee with Jay Buim and guest. I loved learning more about LOLA which I recently discovered at the Wharton Women in Business Conference.

Better Worldians Radio- This Piqued PR client had to make the list! On days when you hate the world and or just are lacking inspiration Mary Sue, Ray and Greg come to the rescue. Their show interviews guest who are making a difference in the world in unique ways. I came across One Hope Wine through them and boy am I glad I did. Sparkly (literally their bottles have sparkles on them) wine that gives back, yes please!

Influential Gal- Simply put, Q&As with some fabulous lady entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs I've connected with in the past have been featured and even when you think you know someone, you can always learn more that's why I love these features.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Do It Like A Publicist: Maid of Honor

Confession: I have never been to a wedding. Well, that’s a lie. I was a flower girl when I was five and a junior bridesmaid when I was like 10. However, in my adult life I’ve never attended a wedding. Of course the first wedding I got to attend at the ripe of 25 also required me to be MOH. No pressure or anything!

Being the OCD, type A freak that I am, once asked to be my cousin April’s MOH I dove in with a plan.

  • Pre Party- bachelorette party get together- since I didn’t know the entire bachelorette party and didn’t want my first impression to be wearing themed tattoos and cowgirl boots over drinks, I decided to invite the other ‘maids over for dinner, movies and some girl talk. We painted our nails, browsed through wedding magazines and really got to know one another so we all felt like old friends when the actual wedding festivities began.
  • Create a wedding hashtag- that is… if your bride hasn’t already done so but to anyone in the PR business this is an obvi. A hashtag is not just a fun way to brand a wedding but also always pictures to easily be found and shared. We used the hashtag not just for the actual wedding but for dress shopping, the bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner.
  • Make it cute- as if you wouldn’t?! Since you’re in charge of your friend’s last fun night as a single lady make it one she’ll remember! What better way then accessorizing the affair? And I don’t mean with straws shaped like male private parts. Etsy and Swoozies were great for appropriate fun finds. I picked up mini emergency hangover survival totes, sashes, temporary tats, tiaras and even donut rings from Bracket. Seriously, look them up.
  • Schedule, people- Now for the day of? I can’t take credit for this honestly as April was on her A++++ game and typed us all an itinerary of the day’s events including wake up time, hair and makeup, photos… even a reminder to eat in all the chaos. Now it makes sense that we’re related.

So if it’s your besties from three, your sorority sister or actual family member, do it like a publicist when it comes to a wedding, ladies!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All About That App

Every one is always curious why such a small girl has such a large cellphone. I’m 5”1’ and use an iPhone 6+. My little fingers barely wrap around it but I swear by it as I spend 50% off my time out of the actual Piqued PR office in meetings, at events or on location at a client’s and am working from my iPhone.

With all this 1 on 1 time with my beloved iPhone I’ve complied quite the dependency on my apps. My favorites you ask? (work with me and just pretend you asked).

  • DocuSign- Let’s be honest, when are you actually at your computer and by a scanner/printer when you have to sign something? Like NEVER. This app lets you sign and send documents right from your phone.
  • Insyder- This app kind of found me. It’s more of a business app working the back-end of a business though. I highly recommend it if you’re managing a lot of people, running a rep program or trying to engage socially.
  • MyFitnessPal- By no means am I fitness guru or the most healthy eater but when I want to watch what I eat and tone up this is my bff. Input your height, weight, etc. and this app tells you how many calories you should consumer in a day. Scan barcards or enter your food manually you can also enter your exercising while it automatically tracks your steps.
  • PhotoWonder- This may be the cheesiest photo-editing app to date. I’m not kidding when I say it looks like it was designed for a 7 year old. However, it’s super easy to use and offers, filters, touch ups and so much more because Snapseed isn’t as user friendly. IMO.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Do it Like a Publicist: Yard Sale

A garage sale or yard sale, whatever you want to call it, essentially is the oldest way to get rid of all the crap you no longer use or want. That cheap Target fiberboard bookshelf you bought in college, that Juicy Couture terry cloth tote (remember when they were the coolest?) or that vase your ex-boyfriend gave you flowers in. Regardless, did you ever think you could put public relations practices to use and in return make some extra cash?

Well you can and that's exactly what I did! Here's how:

1- Create attractive marketing materials- everyone knows a sleek logo with the right colors, fonts and imagery goes a long way and pulls in your attention. Apply this to your sale. Instead of buying those pre-made red and white yard sale signs from the dollar store or pulling out a Sharpie and writing on printer paper, create your yard sale signs on the computer. Essentially brand your sale!

I got clever with this and called my garage sale, "Gems from 3 Gens" as my grandmother, mom and I all were all selling goods. It was quirky but caught people's attention!

2- Think like a consumer- where are places everyday people frequent in your area? Where are the locals hanging? This is where you want to put up your signs (as long as it's allowed). I placed my signs around town in local coffee shops, gas stations, marketplaces, even the post office. Places where people have to go and go regularly at that.

3- Get social- in today's world even your great aunt Susan is on social media, so make sure you use it! Post on your personal pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) about your yard sale and encourage friends to share your post. There are even Facebook yard sale groups for towns all over the country. Post your sale a few days before with the time and location. Then the day of your sale post on these groups pictures of items for sale. Be sure to include lucrative goods like furniture, kids stuff and electronics.

I had people visiting from almost an hour away just because they say something they liked in a picture I posted on one of these sites. Days later I still have inquiries about what is still left.

Moral of the story... do it like a publicist!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Want It, Need It

Where have I been? Oh where to start... being a maid of honor, taking on the town of Malvern with Malvern Stroll and King Street, moving my grandparents down south, planning events for Her Main Line and enjoying summer's mini adventures. Oh my! 

Please be patient though as I'll be trying to post most regularly again. Perhaps weekly to start? You know I'm a creature of habit (and lists and a good planner). Anyways, here's what I'm wanting and needing. What's been on your shopping list? 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Business Babe: Laura Drayton Creative

It's time to create and celebrate with Laura Drayton! Literally, such a perfect Business Babe feature because she is involved with everything! From designing to baking Laura Drayton makes everything cute and perfect. We love her story and simply could not wait to share!

Tell us more about yourself and your business?

My name is Laura Drayton, and I am the owner of Laura Drayton Creative, LLC.  I have quite a few occupations: designer, baker, blogger, traveler, and I manage a small online boutique of fun party supplies and office accessories (, but my background actually doesn't have much to do with any of this!  I'm currently a full-time grad student at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, pursuing a Masters in Public Health.  As a way to fulfill my creative passions while in school, I started a small Etsy shop that sold organizational printables and designed stationery on the side. Eventually, I got to a point where I had way too many ideas and too little time. Finally, at the beginning of 2014, I sat down and decided to finally merge all of my creative passions into one place, and the Laura Drayton Creative brand was born. I had no idea that my little shop would soon grow into my own brand, but I am beyond thrilled that it has turned into a job that inspires and excites me.

What is your day to day like? 

Day to day, I really have to admit that I don't have a set schedule.  With such a long list of occupations, I am packing and shipping orders one day, and composing a blog post the next.  Almost every day, I fill in some time with design work and creating something fun (like cupcakes or a project).  I find inspiration from my daily life, but my favorite place to draw inspiration is from my travels.  I love bringing home new ideas (and recipes) from all of the countries I've been able to visit.

What is next on your agenda?

Looking forward, my main priority is focus.  My creative mind often runs wild, and I find myself with too many ideas and too little time (which is where the long list of occupations come in).  I struggle with what to give up in order to put more time into pursuing the things that are most important.  One of the most important things I want to focus on in helping others, which is why I launched my Love in Motion project.  If I can do what I love while helping others, I'm happy (and so extremely lucky!)