Should a REALTOR® Understand Flooring Basics?

Flooring is expensive, and if it has to be replaced who can your customer go to? If they ask you what do, what will you tell them? How will you know the latest products and what’s the best for your potential buyer’s situation? Knowing more about flooring can be the difference between making and losing a sale. Would it help your client by sharing your flooring knowledge? The realtors that attended our last flooring training said they were sure it would!

Greater Capital Association of Realtors is excited to offer a 2nd Flooring Certification course on November 7 and 8, at the Hyatt Place in Malta, New York.  Exit 12 off the Adirondack Northway. Lisbeth Calandrino, Industry Flooring Expert, from Fabulous Floors Magazine will be our featured speaker.  Our last class had rave reviews; we ran out of seating and had to turn people away. Don’t let this happen to you!

 This day and an half course is sponsored exclusively by Mohawk Industries, Inc.  Richard Owen, Sr. Director or Market Development and Training, Residential Flooring at Mohawk Industries will be joining the class as a guest speaker. Mohawk is the world’s largest flooring company, delivering style and performance for residential and commercial spaces around the globe.

“As your customers’ needs have changed, so has Mohawk, offering the finest in on trend and fashionable collections of flooring products to meet all the demands of today’s home buyers. From luxuriously soft carpeting to the best in wood visuals across all hard surface collection, you can truly FLOOR THE IMAGINATION with Mohawk!” – Richard Owen


INVITE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND BUILDERS! Do you want a client to attend, what about one of your customer builders, architect or interior designer?  Non-members are welcomed at all GCAR classes and this useful and interesting flooring course will benefit you and your connections.

Today’s home buyer expects more, and that includes their expectations of their REALTOR®.  You don’t want to lose a sale because they thought the flooring was a problem and you didn’t know what to do! Learn about the latest styles, color trends, which products are the best for your customers.  You will find this exciting and a major tool for your realtor kit.

Listen to what REALTORS® said in the April course:

  • “Who knew there was so much to learn about flooring?! It was great information and Lisbeth was a dynamic instructor!” – Tracey LaFleur, Howard Hanna
  • “Liz is an encyclopedia of information, I recommend this course to any REALTOR looking to enhance their knowledge or flooring materials, it’s a fun and worthwhile class!” –Susan Sommers, Better Homes & Garden Tech Valley
  • “The information presented has changed my views on many types of flooring and the knowledge will allow me to better serve my clients.” –David Fyfe, Bird Realty
  • “Lisbeth has an engaging personality and a wealth of knowledge related to flooring. Her course, Fabulous Floors Certified, was valuable and informative professionally and personally!” – Melanie Jakway, CM Fox Real Estate
  • Fabulous Floors was a great course~ I will be able to make better decision on choosing floor coverings for my rehab projects!” – Lorraine Gage, United Business Services

Register now at  $75 for members, $100 for non-members. Benefits to attending the course:

  • Receive 9 CE credits for the course
  • Receive an extra 7 hours of CE with a requirements course day that covers: Fair Housing, Ethics and 1 hour of Agency that expires at the end of 2020
  • Be listed in the International Magazine: Fabulous Floors with your contact information to reach new clients
  • Submit your REALTOR® stories to Fabulous Floors Magazine and have your own byline
  • Discounts on products from local Retailers

Register early so you don’t get left out. We have moved from GCAR offices because of limited seating—after 38 we had to turn people away. Again our seating is limited to the first 60! Register now by clicking here.

STAY AFTER CLASS FOR FUN AND NETWORKING! Join us after class, November 7th for a meet and greet with local flooring retailers, consumers and builders.

For more information on the class, call Lisbeth Calandrino @518-495-5380, or write,



Look for Fabulous Floors Magazine a Dwell on Design, 2017!

For the first time, Fabulous Floors Magazine will be exhibited at Dwell on Design. The show, curated in partnership with the editors of Dwell magazine, returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center June 23-25, 2017. The show is open to consumers and the trades.

“Dwell on Design 2017 features exhibits for modern interiors, classes for design professionals, and seminars for design-seeking consumers, says Margo Locust, Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine.  Since our magazine is  dedicated to both consumers and design professionals, this is a perfect place for us to be. Our information gives consumers information they need to make educated purchasing decisions appropriate to their lifestyles.”

The publication provides information on color and design trends, fashion tips, and the latest and greatest in:

  • Carpet
  • Area rugs
  • Tile
  • Hardwood
  • Laminate
  • Resilient
  • Flooring accessories
  • Luxury vinyl tile and planks
  • Waterproof flooring
  • “Green” and eco-friendly flooring
  • Under-layments and installation
  • Alternative soft/hard surfaces


Dwell on Design, Los Angeles Convention Center June 23-25, 2017, features exhibits for modern interiors and exteriors, continuing education classes for design as well as classes for consumers. With three full days of dynamic exhibitions, unparalleled learning opportunities, cutting-edge technologies, 30 onstage programs, over 60 speakers, and 2,000+ innovative modern furnishings and products, Dwell on Design keeps design dialogue moving forward. Attendee registration for the convention can be made at

The Dwell on Design educational programs, onstage and in the classrooms overlooking the show floor, provide CEU credits and will be hosted by AIA, ASID, IIDA, AWA+D, NKBA, APLD, USGBC, and other industry partners.

 “The topic of ‘aging in place’ has been very hot in the flooring industry, says Lisbeth Calandrino, Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine. According to NAHB, 75% of builders report an increase in inquiries about aging in place and the market to be a 20-25 billion dollar business. Technology is providing many solutions for this issue. I’m glad to see that Dwell on Design is offering a seminar on the topic called, “Innovations-In-Aging in Place.” To sign up:

For more about the show, flip through Dwell on Design digital event magazine to discover some of the brands exhibiting at the show. #DODLA17 Digital Event Magazine.

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of Fabulous Floors Magazine.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine and has been a speaker and trainer in the flooring industry for over twenty years. She writes a column for Floor Covering News, The LizBiz Strategies. For more information on Lisbeth, visit her web site,

9 Ways to Grow Your Interior Design Business Using Social Media Marketing

Social media matters more than ever.

Social media matters more than ever.

So exactly what is social media marketing and why must designers quickly adopt a strategy?

Social media marketing is all about connecting with people on a human basis through conversations and shared interests. Its focus is primarily on the consumer and sharing information that will help them grow. Humans like to engage with others, share their interests and events that are going on in their lives.

An informed customer is a better customer, although I often hear, “What do I do? The customer knows too much, and the information is wrong?”

The new sales climate brings a customer who has many ways to get information. They can go to Facebook, Pinterest or Houzz to name a couple to get ideas. They are watching television shows that teach them how to do most everything. If you’re not on any of these sites, you are likely to lose your edge. Adding your information to these sites builds what we call social currency.

The term social currency was coined by Vivaldi Partners in 2010. According to their definition, social currency is the degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others. In this case, you are the brand. In order to gain social currency you must post on various sites. We’re talking about sharing yourself and encouraging your consumers to evaluate and add to your posts.

As humans, we like to engage with others who share our interests, even when we haven’t yet met. If you’re putting yourself as the expert, you will have to develop content so people can comment and share what you’re written. Now you are building social currency.

  1. People buy your talent and your expertise. How will they know who you are unless you can share what you do? If people aren’t talking about you, you don’t exist. Produce a White Paper on “How to Hire an Interior Designer or “Why Hiring a Designer will save you Money.” Talk about your awards and professional affiliations.
  2. Buy a good camera to take photos of your jobs. Take many photos of the same room so you can determine which ones are the best. Also make sure you have a good head shot of yourself. As the associate publisher for Fabulous Floors Magazine, I’m always looking for great room shots but often come up empty handed. I hear about great jobs, but the photos are missing. If you’re taking photos, don’t forget to do a little ‘staging.’ This is another way to sell the customer more products and also help them dream
  3. LinkedIn is another good place to blog and join interior design groups. Engaging with other designers can give you lots of information about consumers. What are your peers doing, are they using social media and what is working for them. Participate in discussions and share what you’re doing. You’re likely to find new ways to market yourself and your product as well as a customer or two. You can also blog on LinkedIn.
  4. Make sure your online reputation is solid. Notice what people are saying about it; if it’s not all good, find a way to fix it. Get as many positive comments you can.
  5. Spend time creating your own fan club. Past clients who love you can spread the word across the Internet for you, but you must ask them to do it. 90% of your business is through referrals so why not have your delighted customers talked about you?
  6. If you’re doing a design for a show or model home, make sure your name, phone and website are visible to all. You can give a gift for anyone who contacts you.
  7. Produce a webinar on color, style or design tips. This could be free to past and present customers or charge a nominal fee to “not yet customers.” I’m not a fan of charging, there are too many places to get this information for free. You can host an online color clinic or how to design on a budget on five easy steps.
  8. Hold a design event in your studio. Partner up with a vendor, possibly a restaurant or florist or anyone with an email data base so you can increase your email reach.
  9. Keep at it and continue to engage your customers. Be consistent with your postings and give it time. It will pay off.

More tips from High Dollar Designer, Thanks to PinkCloud for the image.


Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine as well as Director of Social Media. She is a regular speaker at flooring and design conferences as well as interior design events. She can be reached at

The New World of Interior Design

An,Julin_PhotoI love meeting young people; they always have a fresh perspective.

A couple of years ago I was speaking at Jack Laurie Floors and an interior design student, Julin An won an hour consultation with me. We talked about networking, spoke on the phone and I lost track of her.

Two weeks ago Julin reached out to me on Facebook and we discussed where she was in her life. Excitedly Julin told me she recently received her B.S. in Interior  Design from Purdue University, Indianapolis. My best to Julin with her new career.

Julin is a warm, talented and funny young woman—her photo says it all. I’d say she’s also a good networker!

I asked Julin if she would answer a few questions about the nature of design in 2012.

Julin, what is being taught in design school?

As far as design goes, we are taught an array of design principles and values that cover history of art to modern construction and everything in between!

We’re taught how to hand draw while learning composition, perspective and proportion; how to create, read and understand different kinds of construction documents.

One of the most valuable training we get in design school is learning how to work in groups because it relates to real-life practice.  Social skills in a group setting are very important.

Of course, time management is what keeps it all together!

What are the latest software programs? I know 20/20 used to be the staple program and is still used by many firms.

The latest design software programs are Revit, Google Sketch Up, Rhino, 3DSMax (and more). These programs give us the skills to keep us competitive.

Is ‘Green’ really important?

It is extremely important to our environment in the sense that it helps reduce, reuse and recycle materials for another purpose as well as saving energy and costs.

Recycling is such a great preservative to our land and air.  Many people don’t see the importance of recycling and could not care less, but I think people would reconsider once they’ve visited over populated cities and see the accumulated waste and polluted air.

Were there any surprises in design school?

I didn’t know the scope to which “green” design was being applied.  When you hear “green” you generally think of “recycling.”  However, what I have learned through my studies and work experiences is the extent companies go through to be more reasonable in their production and sales.

Manufacturing plants are cutting down their process lines and are creating waste management in the attempt for zero landfills; light bulbs (technically known as luminaries) have had a major transformation in their features and are ultimately becoming cost effective in energy consumption.

These fixtures have time and light sensors to save energy costs; hazardous chemicals are eliminated from products and are replaced for more natural ingredients.

It’s quite impressive how “green” is applied.

How has design changed over the past 10 years?

Jobs are lagging, and companies are downsizing more people are becoming entrepreneurs.

We are using clever sustainable products within the interior, exterior and architectural design as well as the construction processes.

Design objectives have shifted gears from creating privacy to creating open spaces because our society requires collaboration and has altered into a multitasking generation. We are designing for early empty nesters, generation X, Y & Z; and utilizing natural daylight as much as possible.

What about the use of technology and communication?

Technology is playing a huge role.  With all the video conferencing and cyber work, we have to be keen on the newest technology trends to keep our designs up to par, so they cater to the latest technology operations.

What suggestions would you give someone hiring a designer?

As a new designer, I would like to know what companies are looking for. As a recent grad I want to prove that I have the skills to become a great designer. Everyone talks about experience, but it’s hard to have experience until you get your first real job.

I think a neat way of hiring could be to host an “interview mixer” and invite several applicants to partake in the event.  This allows companies to block out a time for interviews, and it also allows more applicants a chance to sell themselves as a designer.

 What suggestions would you give someone contemplating the design field?

This field truly requires passion, drive and a tough mentality.  It’s easy for people to get discouraged in this field, and you really need to have tough skin to survive the constructive criticism. It’s the critique that helps us learn, grow and improve!

I think that some people still think of our field as a glamorized decorating gig. It is extremely demanding with complex tasks and enormous responsibilities.

As an interior designer, you really have to be well-rounded, individual and capable of utilizing both your left and right brain.

I don’t think any of us knew what we were getting ourselves into until we experienced our first all-night design project.

Designers are faced with a lot of challenges which require good social skills and communication skills.

It is an exciting field; every day and every job is different. That’s what makes this such a great profession.

Lisbeth Calandrino is associate publisher and director of social media for Fabulous Floors Magazine. She can be reached at



JRI thought it would be interesting to step out of the floor covering industry and talk with someone from a ‘sister industry’ such as textiles.

I reached out to designer Joe Ruggiero President and CEO of Joseph Ruggiero & Associates, Inc. Joseph Ruggiero  & Associates is a multi-media home design and television production company based in Los Angeles. It is dedicated to designing and manufacturing furniture and fabrics that are “kid friendly” and to make every room a room “for living.”

Ruggiero develops programs for television that are educational and inspirational for anyone interested in the “Best of Design.”

In addition to his Sunbrella fabric’s collection, Ruggiero also designs upholstery for Miles Talbott, casual furniture for Terra, wood furniture for Gat Creek (American made with wood from sustainable forests), decorative trims for Phoenix and bedding and drapery for CasaFiora.

Joe, how did you get into this business, what’s your background?
I started in the television business and wanted to go into design, but being a first generation Italian male; my father did not want me to enter the design field. The right opportunity came along when I was hired Ethan Allen. I started in marketing and moved to the creative director.

I moved on to Martex where I had the opportunity to work with two of the best: Hubert de Givenchy and Perry Ellis and marketed their collections. I eventually moved on to Home Magazine as Editor-in-Chief of Home Magazine and after five, years started my own design business.

In 1994, a producer friend and I pitched HGTV with a series that I hosted for the next 14 years.  I launched my furniture collections in April of 2000.

What trends influence your business?
I look at all visual entertainment (movies, opera, and theatre) and what is happening on the runways of Paris, New York, London and Milan for color and pattern trends. My travels throughout the world  have given me exposure to some of the greatest houses and designers in the world. I constantly refer to those experiences.

How do you decide what will work for your customers?
I travel to at least 36 cities a year to present my collections to retailers, customers, designers and the public at large. This is a way to get feedback and reactions and see what is happening in the market place. Fashion designer Bill Blass once advised me, “you need to meet and ask questions of the people who are buying and selling your products; this is how you build your successes.”

What’s changed in your business over the past five years?
The way we do business is different.  I see the internet becoming very important; as well as the social networks to promote products. I also see the small boutique stores able to service those customers who need help. I see male and female making the design decisions, and I see children involved in the process. It is very exciting, but it is certainly and industry in change.

What’s the most exciting aspect of your business?
I love developing new products and themes. Every six months I welcome the development process and love working with the “young geniuses” who run and market my licensed manufacturing companies. I am very lucky to have these extremely talented professionals to work with in my business.

I also love selling my products.
Each one is my baby, whether it is a fabric, piece of upholstery, a wood piece or a decorative throw. It is so personal often feel as if I’ve birthed these products and want to be sure they have the proper homes.

What inspires your designs?
Every product I design has a family in mind. My products are both pet and family friendly. I’m also a firm believe that every room should be a living room. What good is a room if it can’t be enjoyed? Gone are the days of the 50s when furniture was covered with plastic and rarely used. Everyone, including our pets should be able to enjoy our homes.

What would you consider the five best tips to our readers on delivering customer service?
1. Listen carefully to your customers, what they want and don’t like. As in any business, the key is the customer and what they want. We must always remember that without a customer, there is no business.

2. Most important, a company needs the best manufacturers and suppliers who can deliver the finest products at the optimal price. You have to understand your market and find the partners to help you grow.

3. I pride myself in selecting the right manufacturers because, in reality, they deliver the customer service. My name is on the product, but the manufacturers must make the customers who buy my products happy. If they don’t treat the customers’ right, no one will want my products.

It’s a synergy that must take place between the three of us. Each of us has our place but in the end, we’re all servicing the same customer.

4. To have a successful business you must be involved 24/7. If you’re an entrepreneur, you understand that you eat, sleep and wake to your business.

5. You must have a passion for your business. I love what I do and am able to work from home. This inspires me to stay committed.

If you want to know more about Joe Ruggiero, you can connect @

Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher and Director of Social Media for Fabulous Floors Magazine. Through social media and traditional marketing, Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal customers. She can be reached at