Looking for New Customers? How About the Remodeling Show & Deck Expo?


I had a therapist friend whose favorite expression was “You can’t get chocolate milk in a turnip field!” It may sound silly but if you’re looking for something specific, you had better know where to find it! Looking for new business should be on the top of everyone’s list, but I know who has any extra time? Like you, I’m ‘time starved’ but this year I’ve been re- introduced to our partners in the building and remodeling industry. This is an industry that directly connects to the flooring business. For many of you, it’s your bread and butter business.

I recently spoke at the Leading Suppliers Conference in Portland, OR. The LSC was established by the National Association of Home Business in 1964. The council is a multifaceted supplier resource for the building industry that represents the business the business interests of its members through advocacy, education and networking. I realized how important this connection was when I realized how many of their members were from the flooring industry! This is what I call an ‘eyes wide open’ connection. Isn’t the building industry directly related to our business?

Seriously looking for new business?  How about ‘partnering up’ with some of your customers? Who is in a position to help you get more business and how can you help them? Are you overlooking potential customers who are also satisfying your customers?

Those of you, who’ve known me over the years and read my column, know my passion is   helping you become more successful. We all need to expand our horizons and explore new opportunities. With that in mind, consider this my personal invitation to the Remodeling show and Deck Expo, https://www.remodelingdeck.com/en/home.html on October 9-11, 2018 at the Baltimore Conference Center, Baltimore, MD.  The show is brought to you by Informa Exhibitions; the same people who bring you the International Surface’s event, TISE. If you’ve attended, TISE, you know Informa Exhibitions knows how to put on a great show.

The Remodeling Show co-located with DeckExpo brings together residential remodeling and building professionals from all over the country to experience the hottest products, learn the newest building techniques, and build their professional reach through fun networking events. The in-depth education program includes hands-on training and business education through live building clinics, on-floor demonstrations, and conference sessions with industry experts.”

You can tweet about the latest building trends, meet new experts and do some Liveblogging or live streaming with Facebook Live. (If you’re not sure how to do these, give me a call.) This is a tremendous way to connect with your existing social customers and post fresh content to your web site. Click on the link and check out the network events and on-the-floor exhibitions.

The strong economy and increased demand because of 2017’s natural disasters led Metrostudy, a sister company to REMODELING, to boost its 2018 prediction from the 4.7% rise in activity it forecasted three months ago. Metrostudy now predicts there will be 12.57 million projects launched in 2018 that are worth at least $1,000. That’s up from 11.96 million last year.”

Of course, there will be plenty of flooring manufacturers as well as architects and designers; you’ll feel at home!

These are your customers. What could be more enlightening than a new place with fresh scenery to get your creative juice going? Think of how excited your customers will be when they see you’re networking with their builders and understanding the trends in ‘their ‘worlds.

Of course I want you to join me at my seminars, TU10 – Being a Woman in a Man’s World – Women in Construction Workshop and TU19 – The Coaching Edge: Building a Successful Team. Please recheck the times and schedule for my workshops.

You’ve undoubtedly heard this before, ‘there’s gold in those hallways.’  I hope to see you networking in those halls!

Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine, and we will be speaking at the Remodeling and Deck Expo, October 9-11, 2018. She can be reached at http://lisbethcalandrino.com. or Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com., 518.495.5380.

#Remodelinganddeckexpo #2018Remodeling/deckexpo #lisbethcalandrino #Beingawomaninamansworld #Thecoachingedge #Leadingsuppliersconference #Nationalassociationofhomebuilders #Remodelingdeck18 #remodeling_deck #remodeling_eduregistration remodeling show


How to Make Your Showroom Look Better and Inspire Customers to Buy More

emilFabulous Floors Magazine is happy to have guest blogger Emil Mellow of EM Creative Services. Mellow is extremely talented and understands retail.

For the second year in a row, the vast majority of retailers (86 percent) believe there is a direct correlation between proper execution of merchandising directives and an increase in sales conversion rates. For Retail Winners, the rate is even higher: 94 percent recognize the link between merchandising execution and sales.

Who doesn’t want better sales? Here are some ideas to make the overall customer showroom experience exciting and inviting.

LangCarpet_Collage1 copySteps to a Great Showroom.

  1. Make a great impression! The purpose of your showroom is to stimulate and motivate your customers to make a purchase. Don’t forget, your salespeople need to be motivated to show your merchandise.

They say ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression’ and it’s true. Get a third-party to evaluate your store from front to back. People notice your window displays.

I design showrooms everyday but it was impossible to redesign my own studio! I had to have someone with fresh eyes and not emotionally attached.

Does your exterior building have ‘curb appeal’? What about overall appearance? Check your signage, parking lot and planting. According to a FedEx survey, nearly 76% of consumers, (8 in 10) said they had entered a store or business they had never visited before based simply on its signs.

Your entrance way – is it fresh – is your flooring clean and new? Is there a sign greeting your customers? Fresh flowers? For instance, enter a Safeway grocery store in the chain’s upscale Marketplace format, and your eye is drawn to the floral department on the right.

Make your retail store first class – you want to create a special shopping experience and a clean well-lit showroom is a good start.

  1. Choices not ‘Chaos’

I would say 80% of showrooms that I evaluate are overcrowded with merchandising displays and samples. I hear the excuses…’I’ve got to keep that one I’ve known them for ages’. That is not a good business reason to have their display. Research now shows that there can be too much choice; when there is, consumers are less likely to buy anything at all, and if they do buy, they are less satisfied with their selection. HBR

If your strategy is to showcase the best products to help your customer, then you need to make the tough strategic decision on what products are the best and only showcase them. Don’t duplicate! It will only confuse your customer. They are there for your expert guidance or they would be shopping in the big box!

Get rid of deadwood (Displays that haven’t performed or are duplicates).

With fewer displays that have your preferred choices you’ll have more room for wider aisles and a better shopping experience.

Finally clean your show room like it’s your formal dining room – get rid of the clutter!

Want better sales? How easy is it for salespeople to find the right products? How many times have you been in a store and the salesperson says, “I know the perfect product for you—it used to be right here!” Every time this happens the salesperson loses status with the customer and appears to be not on top of their game. Cleaning up and organizing your showroom is the critical link to getting things sold.

  1. Let your store shine!

Proper lighting is a must. Well balanced lighting is critical to see color and texture. Ask your retailers to only use low volt LED daylight balanced fixtures for your displays. recent study from Lux suggests that in-store lighting can actually help guide customers through your store, and increase the average spend per customer: “Zumtobel claims a fashion retailer in Germany saw its sales go up by around 12% compared to another local store, after it installed a new lighting scheme specially designed to appeal to the personality profile of its target customers.”

  1. Don’t forget the ‘fanny’ room.

Wide aisles and sight lines – the best showrooms have both. Tall displays in the center of your showroom create a visual barrier and a shopping ‘maze’.  Take an example from your retail friends in attire. They have low racks in the center and line the walls with the taller displays…they do this for a reason! Women shoppers like to feel comfortable not claustrophobic.

  1. The Disney Way

Hire, pay, train and retain friendly engaging sales people.

One successful retailer I interviewed told me he uses a personality test to determine if the store associate is the right type. This is critical because if they are ‘shy’ or don’t like to engage your customer everyone fails.

This is not rocket science. You have to get the right people on your floor to have a good pleasant customer experience and build repeat business.

It helps to have someone with flooring experience but not 100% critical. They can learn about flooring. In fact, the better flooring providers love to give PK (Product Knowledge) session right in your store. Take advantage of this free service.


I get it…it’s a daunting task to re-do a showroom but essential if you want to do more business.

It is also tough to lose business to the ‘bigger and better’ store down the street. So do the right thing…evaluate, plan and change. It’s for your survival and growth. Ask for professional help if you need it! The results will be new and repeat customers, happier sales people and more profits. Now that sounds like a project worth doing!

Emil Mellow is owner of EM Creative Services and has over 20 years of retail merchandising experience from design to implementation. Some of his design experience includes Armstrong Flooring, Karndean Designflooring, Disney Epcot, DuPont, Stainmaster® and Wawa. He can be contacted at emellowcreativeservices@gmail.com or by calling 302.690.2358.

Lisbeth Calandrino is Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine. She can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com  or 518.495.5380.

#EMCreativeservices #Emilmellow #showroomdesigns #Lisbethcalandrino



Lisbeth Calandrino, Associate Publisher, Fabulous Floors Magazine

Every time I look at the magnitude of our SURFACES show, I feel an enormous pride to be part of the floor covering industry. I’ve learned so much from industry experts, met so many great people and had the privilege of consulting with many others.

I’ve been going to the show for over twenty years. It’s  comprised of  three world-class trade shows: SURFACES, StonExpo/Marmomac, and TileExpo events, TISE is THE industry marketplace for floor covering, stone, and tile industry professionals – offering four impressive days of the newest products, hands-on demos, inspiring trends, key manufacturers + industry suppliers, along with unmatched education and networking opportunities.

TISE is definitely for the creative types; architects, interior designer and installers as well as business owners.  Having been in the industry for over twenty years, I’ve always felt that installers and fabricators were the backbone of our industry. Through the years, have become more respectful of those that have the skills to take our products and turn them into magnificent floors.

One interesting seminar “Art & Technology Collide: Creating Unique Designs with Waterjets” will be highlights both the art and the installation of waterjet. It will be presented by Jim Belilove; WE06 January 31, 12-1PM. There are a number of seminars listed specifically for stone fabricators and/or installers; this is a unique seminar for those interested in specifying water jet projects.

This year I was honored to be on the Advisory Board for TISE with other industry professionals; they came from all areas within the industry and the press. I enjoyed listening to their ideas for seminars and what they felt their constituents cared about. The process of determining what seminars should be offered was done over a two-day period, and at times it was difficult to determine what should ‘go and what should stay.’

Whatever seminars you should choose to attend, you should know the programs were determined with much thought. I enjoyed listening to the participants ideas for seminars and what they felt was important to their constituents. The process of determining what seminars should be offered was done over a two-day period. At times, it was difficult to decide what should ‘go and what should stay.’ Whatever seminars you should choose to attend, you should know the programs were determined with much thought.

TISE is an important event for your potential customers. As you look at products, think about whom at home (interior designers, architects, home owners, installers and builders) would be interested in what you are learning and seeing. Here are some ideas for you.

  1. How about a live video streaming with Facebook Livestream? You can video a conversation with an interior designer, a manufacturer or anyone you feel is interesting to your target market.
  2. Post new products to your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest or Houzz page. Check first to see if you can take photos of products; if not, you can take photos of the brochures.
  3. Collect all the literature to bring back to your team. TISE maybe ‘old hat’ to you but I’m sure your teammates will love to know what’s new. I never carry literature back; I have it shipped by FedEx. They have several locations: on the show floor and Mandalay By front desk.
  4. How about posting 2018 Design Trends on your web site as well as interviewing the presenter? Everyone I know, whether they’re in the floorcovering business or not want to know about the latest design trends. Interior Designer, Christopher Grubb will be presenting “WE10 – Health & Wellness Design: A Conversation with Four Top Designers, January 31from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. As consumers age and decide to stay in their homes, there are different concerns for their living space.
  5. Plan your time wisely. It’s easy to get off track, especially when you meet an old friend you haven’t seen since last year. Make your conversations short and find a way to meet later on.
  6. If your hotel has a spa or gym, why not take advantage of it? Check out your Fitbit; it’s likely you will be able to get more than enough steps for the week!


#TISE2018 #WE10Healthandwellness #Facebooklivestream,#WE06Artandtechnology,#Instagram,#ChristopherGrubb#Mandalaybay #Surfaces#Lisbethcalandrino #customerservice #StonExpo/Marmomac, #Tilexpo #uniquedesignswithwaterjet


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 https://www.compusystems.com/servlet/ar?evt_uid=450.

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: https://la.dwellondesign.com/Attendee/Schedule/SessionDetails/40037/

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, Lisbethcalandrino.com

Jim Belilove Explains the Theory of 10-1 for Architectural Water Jet

Kalahari Water Park

Kalahari Water Park

Jim Belilove, owner of Creative Edge Master Shop, and I often talk about business; his is in a very precise business with no flexibility for error .Architectural water jet is a very detailed business; you are literally taking computer generated photos and turning them into magnificent stone art for the walls and floors. It takes lots of good ideas to make this work.  He also has a 10-1 theory about how things work.

We were discussing how many ideas you need to have before you have a viable one. Jim’s 10-1 theory is  very useful and can be helpful for all types of decision making including the design of architectural water jet projects.

“When I was teaching business in the University Of Maharishi School Of Management in Fairfield, Iowa , students would ask how they would determine how many projects would actually work. Just being enthusiastic about a project doesn’t actually make it happen. I figure that  based on experience that 1 out of 10 work.  Each project has to pass the ‘10’ test before it’s viable. Even then, things just happen that make you have to scrap it.”

How does it come to 1 out of 10? I asked.

“After years and years of ‘good ideas’ I realized that there are certain forces that erode and defeat our plans.  There is always the demand for products and the cost of the idea which are an important part of everything we do. We must remember that only to the highest bidder will go the very highest cost.”

“At Creative Edge Master Shop, we get all types of projects that can be created through waterjet. We would love to take everything from conception to the prize of getting it paid for and completed, but there are a number of factors to consider. I created a checklist of these 10  factors.  This is a way to get something done before you get in ‘too deep’ without a way out. (You don’t want to be committed and then find out the cost is too expensive for the customer.)”

Excitement and the ability to ‘think out of the box’ are essential but all most pass the ‘critical 10.’

  1. What will the project cost to build and what is the final cost to the customer? The price consists of many things below and must be included when quoting a customer. The project must be paid for before it’s delivered.
  2. Projects that often look the same are always different. Having done something similar once before doesn’t guarantee the present cost. Product prices and labor costs always change.
  3. Can you get the project competed in a timely manner? One that will help you bring it under or close to the cost you anticipate?
  4. Can I get all of the products I need in a timely manner? Is everything available?
  5. Can I get the project to the customer within their time frame? Is it realistic?
  6. Will the materials work together? Sometimes things occur which we haven’t anticipated, i.e. a reaction between the glue and setting materials.
  7. How flexible is the customer? Sometimes a customer is too difficult to work with and becomes a problem from the start. It’s better to walk away early.
  8. How will the project be shipped and who will be there to receive it? We’ve done this so many times that we are very cautious about this and how it’s done.
  9. Installation of the product. This is another critical factor. In fact it’s often important to get this information on the front end. These products must go to real artisans that understand what materials they are working with and do things by the book.
  10. Try and see things clearly. No matter how exciting we must try and see them clearly and  not skip the crucial steps or think we can somehow make an excuse for one of them.

No matter what, we must continue to come up with ideas; it’s what gives the world its uniqueness. To connect with Jim Belilove at Creative Edge Master Shop: @ jimb@cec-waterjet.com, 641-472-8145 ext.101, CST.

Lisbeth is one of the original founders of Fabulous Floors Magazine and has been a business consultant in the industry for over 20 years. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.


Do You Really Know What’s Going on in the Retail Flooring Industry?

The Secret Shopper Research

The Secret Shopper Research

Have you read the “Secret Shopper Research, the In-store Evaluation?” It’s in the September/October, 2015 issue of the Premier Flooring Retailer, published by the World Floor Covering Association. (This is the first of the reports, the new one isn’t yet posted.)If you haven’t, I suggest you do. It is definitely thought provoking.  I know the sampling isn’t thousands, but it’s enough to make you question what you’re doing. The survey is being conducted by David Romano, Founder and Owner, Benchmarkinc.

I have not read part one, only the second part; How Consumers View Independent Flooring Retailers & Big-Box Stores.”  Frankly, the statistics and information have not made me feel warm and fuzzy about the flooring  industry in general.

The most troubling of the statistics is that “Only 3% of the shoppers for both Independents and Big-Box stores felt they were properly qualified and only 13% of independents and 19% of Big-Box stores offered financing.”

This seems a bit dismal to me. Maybe we all need to step up our game and pay attention to improving profits in our industry.   Do we forget to train about qualifying the customers or how and why to offer financing? It seems unlikely.

Both statistics are connected to selling at higher prices and getting better margins.  The financing partners have spent considerable money on training and offering special packages to retailers, what are we missing?

Everyone talks about the value of selling at higher prices and improving their bottom line but this survey clearly points out that it didn’t happen with this group.

Why wouldn’t a store want to sell at higher prices? Over the years I’ve heard many excuses for not selling better products. Are we still afraid that showing better merchandise will scare a customer into not buying? Is the 2008 recession still in our heads?

Do we think we’re insulting the customer if they can’t afford it?  If we’re not doing a good job “qualifying,” how do we know whether or not they can afford it?

(I don’t know but I always feel better when I’m shown the better merchandise, it gives me something new to think about. If I like the merchandise, I also rethink my budget.) Does your sales staff feel the same way about showing better merchandise?

How are you paying your sales staff a good wage? Do you have enough traffic for them to go for the higher tickets or do they have to sell every customer no matter what the cost?

How are you mining your leads and your sold customers? Are you so busy with everything except selling that no one has time to call past customers?   In a June report from RSR Research, 41% said that employees aren’t spending enough time on selling and customer service, and 46% said staff is spending too much time on paperwork. Are salespeople just too busy with everything except selling?


Being unable to qualify the customer is the prelude to “leaving money on the table.” Selling cheap customers almost guarantees cheap referrals. Do you have the mindset that any sale is better than no sale? Could you be selling better?

I know if I were l in the retail business, I would be reviewing the “Secret Shopper Research” with my sales staff and working on training for the New Year. What does the article mean to them?

Even if your business is doing well it can always strive to be better. The independent retailers claim to be the experts in the business but are we really?  It’s tough to think that the Big Boxes are gaining on our territory. Maybe it’s time to rethink what we’re doing and  go back to basics.

I would love to know your thoughts about the survey.


Lisbeth Calandrino is the Associate Publisher and Director of Social Media, Fabulous Floors Magazine. To find out more about Lisbeth, reach her at http://www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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, http://highdollardesigner.com/get-new-clients-for-your-interior-design-business-with-social-media-marketing. 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 www.lisbethcalandrino.com