BLOG 4: Elizabeth Joins the Team!

This past Saturday, my day started at 8 am with the accompany of another fellow interiors student from first year studio, Elizabeth! Elizabeth had approached Mees with a similar goal in mind: to seek experience in a different area of the design industry. She had  originally contacted one of my bosses, Clayton Meyer, in efforts to seek an internship where she could gain experience working with clients, customers, and varying products. After she heard back from Clayton, she came into Mees  last Thursday to get a tour of the shop and see what it was all about.  Similar to what I had experienced on my first day,  I had asked Elizabeth if she had any prior knowledge about the industry and if she had any questions. I then began to show her the different booths, introduce to the  products we carry and then broke down the main differences between the different kinds of natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tile. While there was a lot to be said, I believe Elizabeth was excited to jump in and get started!

I’m glad that Elizabeth had come in prior to her first official day on Saturday, because Saturday began quick and at a fast-passed; We had customers and clients walk a short few minutes after I arrived! However, Jennifer, one of my co-workers, took Elizabeth under her wing and re-walked her through the showroom while  greeted a couple that came in their search of bathroom wall and floor tile.

After Jennifer had  finished showing Elizabeth around again,  I had caller her over to listen in on my conversation with the couple I had been helping. this married couple were in the beginning stages of designing their master bathroom and were eager for our help. I began to ask questions, such as: were they currently working with a contractor, had a color scheme in mind, the dimensions of bathroom, size of shower, amount of natural light, style of vanity top/cabinetry, etc. The couple informed me that they had done some research and seemed to like the look of travertine limestone. Elizabeth and I then began to introduce varying samples from stock booths, that way they knew that none of it would cost for shipping and that it could be returned  if it went unused. After awhile of pulling samples, the couple asked a number of questions themselves, such as: what size tile to lay on their floor, what direction to the tile floor in, what kind of stone was recommended for inside of the shower and on shower walls, what kind of grout to use, and what would it look like if the grout lines varied in size, as well as what maintenance is required for the care of natural stone. The husband and wife also had asked Elizabeth and I to check on a couple sample boards for  other dimensions, so  I showed Elizabeth how to look up prices and  information in the manufacturer books. This was a great learning experience for her as she was able to locate the product information(such as whether or not a travertine subway tile came in a 12 x 24″ or an 18 x 18″ size).

Once the couple decided on three samples of travertine tile to bring home and lay out, I located a sample check-out sheet and a color selection form and then showed Elizabeth how to fill them both out. It is important to write down the abbreviation or full name of the tile manufacturer, the series, color and size of sample piece so everyone knows how to locate the tile. I also recopied the names of the tile as well as other information onto the color color selection form so this way someone can pull the sheet for future reference.

After the couple had left, Elizabeth had assisted a walk-in on her own and helped a customer sort through quartz counter top samples. I saw that Elizabeth also wrote a check out slip and provided her with customer any information that she needed. It was exciting (for me) to see Elizabeth assist customers on her very first day and relay information about product after learning shortly before.

Overall, I think Elizabeth had a great first day despite that it was one the busiest day we have had so far this year.  I know Jennifer, Clayton, and I had fun getting to work with her and seeing her get acclimated with Mees!

 

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BLOG 3: LEDGER STONE?

This past week, I continued to price samples as well as assist our walk-in customers. My manager, Michelle, had asked me to price our new display rack of ledger stone samples. I had to ask the embarrassing question, “what is ledger stone, exactly?” This led to me googling the term only to realize that they are simply stone panels often used on the facades of fireplaces, store fronts, home entry ways, islands, as well as back-splashes. In greater detail,  these panels are comprised of pieces of natural stone, such as slate, quartzite, and marble, that are adhered together to create a “modular” stacking stone veneer. The panels may come in dimensions such as 6″ x 24″ or  in L shape corner panels such as 6″ x 18″ x 6″. These two pieces together can create an overall facade (such as on a fireplace or home entrance). The particular rack of panels that I was working on were new products from the manufacturer,  M S International Inc.

Before I began working with this particular product at Mees, I had always assumed that the totality of a fireplace that displayed ledger stone was built of it entirely; not just used as a facade veneer. I realized my eyes have failed me prior…. and once again I learned a new piece of information while interning at Mees!

 

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BLOG 2: SAMPLES SAMPLES SAMPLES

This past week at Mees, our designers’ office was flooded with new samples from some of our favorite manufacturers and it was my job to sort through each box and price out new products while I was not assisting our clients and walk-in customers.

When I start to price materials and sample boards, I typically will contact the manufacturer’s head-quarters or their sales representative (who is often referred to as “sales rep” in lingo) in order to obtain their price list if they had not already e-mailed it or included a printed copy in the packages. As we have  seen a couple of tile company’s phase out printing (printed sheets, product catalogues, etc.),  I will ask to have an updated price-lists/product sheet sent via e-mail. When I first starting calling the different companies, I was slightly hesitant as I was not entirely sure what to say or how to frame my questions in fright of being an annoyance. However, after a number of phone calls, I quickly became comfortable reaching out once I rationalized that their employees only want to help us and provide as much assistance as they can to better insure the quality of their products, their exposure and success. Moreover, I have learned how to introduce myself and be most direct with any questions or concerns while asking about product. Questions I mostly inquire about vary from  updated prices lists, available quantities of product, how the product is shipped/sold via carton, box, piece, how many number of square feet per carton,  as well as shipment orders and back orders placed.

When I began pricing on this past Thursday, I contacted one of our tile manufacturers, SOHO Studio Corp., as they had sent us two full boxes of new product and updated sample boards. SOHO is one of my personal favorite manufacturers. They provide  a huge range of tile mosaics that come on white samples boards conveniently sized around 7 x12 inches. What is really great about SOHO is that their gorgeous mosaics range from glass and porcelain to marble and other stones that vary in a number of patterns that are reasonable in price for consumer purchase. When I had asked SOHO if they could send over their new  price lists, I had a very pleasant experience with one of their sales reps who informed me that some particular tile had to be ordered in boxes. One of the tile mosaics, called Urban Brick Industrial Mix, is an elongated and more narrow porcelain tile made to mimic brick that is sold by the box and contains five  units (or comparable sheets) per box. Each unit has six loose pieces, meaning that one would receive 30 tile pieces per box. As six pieces makes up one unit, one unit covers a calculated .93 square feet, meaning there is 4.65 square feet per box. If one were to need 30 square feet, they should order about nine boxes which includes an additional 10 percent for waste in cuts and the like.The aspect of waste is something that I had learned that needs to be accounted for when laying tile as if you can order the exact amount of square feet you need but may cut yourself short if their are mistakes or have other cuts made in tile installment.

Below I have included images of both the Urban Brick tile pulled from SOHO’s online website as well as photos I have taken of the other SOHO samples I had sorted through!

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http://www.sohostudiocorp.com/urban-brick-industrial-mix-urbbrkindmix

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BLOG 1: MEES TILE + MARBLE

Hi Everyone!  My name is Carly and I am a third year in the UK/CoD interior design program. I currently intern and work as a design consultant at Mees Tile and Marble, located at 645 S Broadway. My journey began with this company two years ago, at the beginning of the fall semester of my first year studio. I spotted an e-mail sent out by Regina Summers with the attention made to all UK/CoD students particularly to those within the School of Interiors. Mees Tile and Marble was looking for a student intern who was seeking experience in the tile and marble industry….and one that would not mind being paid for their time, of course. At the time I was currently searching for a part-time job, and immediately thought that it would be an awesome opportunity for me to not only gain immediate experience within the design industry, but also cross a part-time job off my to-do list! With this, I knew my first step would to be draft a design-tailored resume and reach out to Mees’s point of contact. When I called, I was fortunate that I was able to get touch with both their architect/sales representative as well as one of their designers who had initially posted the open internship position.

I scheduled a joint interview with both their architect and design consultant, and after a couple reschedules on their end, I finally was able to sit down with the two of them. Leah, a former UK/CoD graduate and interior designer, was about to go on maternity leave and was seeking an interior design intern to help fill  in her spot while she was out. She was in her own terms considered as a “hippie” and had appreciated that I had included at the top of my resume, a “nature enthusiast” and “sustainability”. She made the claim that she was the only one who ever tried to recycle, when then I had shared with her that I collect my own and try to bring it somewhere to be recycled, as my apartment complex does not doso. Moreover,  Leah and the sales rep, Missy, took noted of my many years in customer service from working in the restaurant business as well as my own personal story of how I traveled from New Jersey down to Kentucky to seek a degree from UK/CoD. Overall, its safe to say my interview went really well and that I was called back for a second interview with their CEO.

My second interview consisted of a serious of questions and open-ended questions, such as my major, work experience, personality/customer service, my interest in the tile and marble industry, availability and class schedule, where do I see myself working in the future as well as room for future employment. Due to the fact I had transferred to UK during my junior year of college and was just beginning my journey in the interior design program, they realized I had potential to work and grow with the company over the next four years, as well as noting my age within my first studio year as I was older. However, I was informed that they had been a number of design applicants for the job and that I would be notified if I did fit the internship position.

After waiting less than a week, I was called back with the exciting news that I had been selected as their student intern and that I could start by the beginning of next week. More than thrilled, I accepted the position and was ready to begin.

Dressed in  business-casual attire, I entered Mees Tile that following week eager to learn and get the hang of the ropes. Leah and Missy introduced me to the remainder of the staff and had walked me throughout the shop as well as showroom. They began to touch on all the different stone, tile, and materials they offered, working as a distributor as well as  complimentary design service. I was amazed at the wide array of tile and different manufacturers that existed. I had no idea that their was a strong difference in porcelain and ceramic tile, as well as in tile finishes. Overall, my favorite product that we carry is our natural stone. I was in awe by all the exotic granite, onyx, and marble. However, I had no idea what travertine or limestone was and so I was surprised to learn about them both and what makes them unique.

Since the beginning of my time at Mees, I have learned a vast amount about our products, services, as well as how to best assist clients and customers. Today, I had a middle-aged couple come in to our showroom in the search of master bath floor, shower, and wall tile. While they knew they were fans of light grey and whites,  but were unsure how bold they wanted to go with color. They also had noted they were fans of the porcelain wood tile and appreciated their durability. With my assistance, I helped pull stocked porcelain tile made to mimic beach-barn wood as well as white subway tile, shower floor tile as well a couple  accent mosaic pieces. What is great about Mees Tile, is that we allow our designers, clients, builders, and customers alike check out our master sample pieces to take back to their spaces which can overall provide them with a better visualization of what the product will look like and the spaces’ aesthetic.This is wonderful as many customers have come back to place final orders of the product they had brought home to look at. We never try to push any tile or stone on them as we want their space to be uniquely theirs and adored.

To wrap up this weeks blog, below I have included a couple pictures of the selected tile that the couple was interested in from today.

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ATL w/ Jefferson Browne Architects Blog 5: waiting

This week started out pretty much the same as any other week. There was ne project on my table and a couple that I knew would be coming soon. Not soon enough, by the end of the week there was nothing I could work on. I still went to work though, because there were a couple non-profit projects that needed some care.

What I found really interesting about the lack of work for me to do, was not that the jobs we had were complete, or that the projects themselves were finished, but that we simply needed to hear back from everyone else before moving on. It was as if the rest of the people all disappeared, becasue these projects were all very close to being finished, but they just stopped.

I suppose this is something to be aware of when working a a smaller firm and maybe even in any firm. There will always come a time when you are waiting.

Hopefully I won’t be waiting too long, but while I wait I still have the non-profit work (pictured below is the cross on the mountain where the project is) to keep me a little busy, so I can be thankful for that.

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The Three Arts Gallery

This week I was working in the normal RH location, but I was lucky enough to get to travel downtown to see the Chicago Gallery. It is an old building that they restored for their gallery, in the Gold Coast area of Chicago.

The gallery is huge compared to the one I am usually in. It has a cafe on the first floor, RH gallery on second, baby, child and teen on the third, modern on fourth and then the rooftop on the fifth. It was so nice to see the newer constructed gallery.

The gallery is to show more options than the smaller ones do. Here people can also relax and make it a social activity, not just about design. I was talking to my leader and because it is so large the design associates are given a floor to work on, so they can learn that product well. It was very interesting to see how they run differently from our gallery just because of size, but still have the same RH values and rundowns as we do.

 

Below is a picture from the gallery looking into the cafe that I took.

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Check-In with RH

Since I am having my summer intern with RH count as school credit I do have to have a meeting with them about how I am doing. Except the great thing is that I have a meeting with them every couple of weeks and usually a short update every sunday morning. Which is great so I can know what to improve on or what to keep doing strong.

Every Sunday we have meetings in which we go over the numbers and review the top sellers of that week in the gallery. I think this is awesome, because it doesn’t call out negativity only parts of the team we are proud of. It is to showcase those who are working hard. Every month they even have a different person who we really recognize.

Last week I sat down with a leader and talked over my personal goals and numbers. I got to hear how I am doing great for my five weeks there, but also some suggestions I could improve on. It’s nice to know that they are looking out for me as I am with their company and that they also ask me how I feel about the way they do things. They are open to feedback because their goal is to make RH the best it can be.

Below is a picture of our values as a team that we have framed in our break area:

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