Week 8 was a short week for me at Kentucky Lighting. I only worked on Tuesday, due to the fact that spring break had begun. Even though I only worked one shift, there was still very many interesting things that happened in the showroom. One incidence in particular stood out in my memory. I had a customer come in who was looking for a number of items. He usually worked with a sales associate named Lee. Unfortunately, Lee had retired and moved to the East Coast, so I helped him. He was looking for 8 PAR20 Led lamps, two bronze LED Pucks, and the smallest transformer that we had. Many people think that at Kentucky Lighting, all we do is pick out pretty light fixtures, but it is exactly the opposite. We have tons of clients come in with all types of lighting questions. Even though we have an electrical side, which houses all of the lighting components, as employees of Kentucky Lighting, we are expected to know just as much. The PAR20 Led lamps were easy to find, because he had brought one in as an example. Also, there were plenty in stock so this was very good. Next, the Pucks were also not too hard to find. Lastly, we provided him with a 25 volt transformer to go with the pukes. After verifying that the items were correct with the customer, I began to ring him up. I am still getting use to working the system, and am not always sure what certain things mean. As I was trying to ring up the bronze pucks, it was suggesting me to place an order. When this happens, that means that we do not have the item in stock, but we have would have to order more. I was confused because I had the two pucks in my hand, so I did not know that we had to order anything. When I asked the question, my co worker explained that this is because the pucks were already committed to another order. We have tons of phone orders, and orders in advance placed. This means that the two pucks that I had selected were already committed to another ticket, and could not be sold to this man. After I explained this to him, he decided to order new ones. This really taught me the lesson that it is always important to double check when you are not sure of something. If I had let him walk away with those pucks, there would have been a problem, but by double checking, I was able to avoid that.
Below is a photo of the bronze pucks that I was referring to above.
This week at Kentucky Lighting has been very interesting. As always, there are many interesting customers that I have been pleased to help with. A customer who I worked with on Thursday, brought me slightly out of my comfort zone. Even though Kentucky Lighting is primarily a lighting showroom, we also sell many other products. These products include chairs, dressers, tables, and accessories. We mostly sell lighting fixtures, but occasionally will sell some of the other furniture as well. I had a customer who was looking for a new mirror for his dining room. They wanted to brighten up the room, and the current mirror had a thick, black frame with gold ornamentation. While this mirror was lovely, the customer wanted to brighten up the space with something different. The style of the home was traditional, and he wanted this to match the mirror. Also, the desired finish was gold, so this had to come into consideration as well. The mirror was to go over a table along the wall that was 64″ long. The customer wanted the mirror the fit the space, so it could not be over 64″ or shorter than 50″. Since we didn’t have anything in the showroom that he was interested in, we decide to look through the catalog. This is a better way to show the customer that we have a larger selection. He also really liked the brand Uttermost, which is a decorative company that we order many of our accessories from. After flipping through the pages, there were a few that the customer was interested in. The issues was, is that the few mirrors that he was interested in, were not the correct size. From that point on, we explored the option of the possibility of ordering a mirror that was bigger. After contacting the manufacture, it was concluded that we could not get the mirror in a bigger size. Even another one that he found in the catalog that he really liked, was possibly in defective. After seeing if we could take a look at that mirror, it was gone as well. As we pondered the possibilities, my customer came up with a great idea. He thought the he could get a slightly skinnier mirror, and place lamps on either side. I told him that would look lovely, and help brighten the space, which is what he originally wanted. Sure enough, we found the perfect gold mirror that was in our showroom. This mirror was 32″ long, which is exactly half of 64″. This is perfect because that would leave about 24″ on each side, which is just enough room to place a lamp. This proved to me that when working directly with clients, its always best to go through the process with them. Even though it can seem like there is not a good option for them, there always is. This customer left very happy and I was glad the I could have helped him.
Below is a picture of the mirror that he purchased from Uttermost.
This weekend I got to do something new at Kentucky Lighting. I know every year that our showroom is involved in the Central Kentucky Home Expo. This is a large event where different vendors set up booths and present their products. Many people visit this, and it takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. This always happens the last week in February. Every year our company takes place in this event, and has a booth. The booth is basically a vignette, with one main fixture. This year it was a vignette with the background painted red, with a transitional fixture at the center. Behind this chandelier, was a circular mirror that almost matched the size of the chandelier perfectly. To the sides, were two matching pendants that were very contemporary. My co-worker who had helped with the design of the vignette said that she got inspired from New York fashion week. As well as the fixtures, there was a beautiful dresser on display, with two arm chairs on either side of it. Even though the dresser was a grey, it appeared light blue next to the red wall. This vignette helped to show the people walking by that we are not just a lighting supply store, that we sell furniture and full designs as well.
I was lucky enough to attend the expo this year. My co worker called in sick, so they had me come over to the show half way through my shift on Saturday. Arriving at the show, I thought our vignette looked great. The color really made it stand out, and a lot of the people were taking notice to it. We were doing many different promotions to attract in people. We were having a $250 raffle, which attracted a lot of people. When they signed up for the raffle, we also offered them a 15% off discount card with a business card attached. We also had little gifts to give out such as bags, light up balls, mints, and hand sanitizer. People seemed very interested in our booth and we got a lot of attention. The show also offered many other types of goods and services. As the days stated to wind down, I walked around the expo. The coolest thing that I saw were tiny houses. There were about four tiny houses on display, and they were all designed by different builders. One was modern, was transitional, and the other two resembled a cottage. The coolest thing about this was that I actually have experience designing a tiny house. Our freshman year one of our studio projects was to design a tiny house, so being able to see one full scale was an awesome experience.
Below is a photo of the logo of the Central Kentucky Home Expo
Week 5 was another successful week at Kentucky Lighting. As the weeks go on, I find myself more comfortable there, and feel that I am better able to assist the customers each day. This week, one of my focuses was exterior lighting. We have two major sections for interior lighting within the showroom. In the front, we have exterior lighting displayed, and then in the back near the sale area. The main differences between these two displays are that the front is LED lighting, and the back is incandescent lighting. LED lighting is very popular now, and really is the best resource for lighting. The lights last exponentially longer, and last much better than incandescent lighting. This is especially useful for exterior lighting because changing those bulbs are usually more time consuming than changing an interior bulb. Since one of my tasks had been to place lifestyle shots in the display area for our bathroom lights, my next job was to place the same type of photos underneath the exterior lighting display. This will help the customers to visualize what their lighting will end up looking like. For the lifestyle shots, I decided to go with a verity of different photos. I went with close up pictures of the lights, full shots of the house, and shots of the front door. This seemed to be very effective and many people liked seeing these different inspiration images.
There was however, a mistake that I had made this week. On Tuesday, Diane (my boss), had an assignment for me to do. She handed me a pricing sheet and told me to print new tags and put the item number on them. She had also mentioned something about a price increase, so I assumed the prices were increasing as well. This was a wrong assumption because they were not. As I was going through, changing all of these new tags, something seemed off. The prices were going up very high, which did not seem normal. When I came in on Thursday Diane and another employee had realized what I had done wrong. Then I had to re-print all of the tags at the same price. In total, this was about four hours at work. I was unhappy with myself that I did not ask Diane about the pricing. I should have double checked that I did not need to change the price as well. Even though this was unfortunate, all the tags were changed back to their correct price. I did learn something from this situation though. It is always better to ask questions and be absolutely sure, then to assume things. Because in the long run it can end up being much more time consuming to fix the mistake, then to ask the question and not make one in the first place. This is something that I will try to do better, and will remember when I start my new job in Los Angeles this summer.
Below are some photos of our exterior lighting fixtures in the showroom.
During week 4 at Kentucky Lighting, I was able to learn a lot. Now that I am able to work the cash register, that is probably the most helpful thing. Each time I am doing it I am getting better and better, which is not only helping me but the showroom too. Throughout the week, one of my favorite things to do is always work with clients. I am a people person and have always enjoyed human interaction. I also enjoy sales, so working at a place where I can combine my design knowledge with sales is very enjoyable to me. I had one client in particular who definitely stood out. She was an older woman, and she came in the store alone. She was looking for a bathroom light and a hallway light. The first item that we looked at was bathrooms. She had purchased a vanity light from us before, and liked it, but did not want the same one in her hall bath. When she showed me the first light she purchased, this gave me a sense of her style. She was transitional. I would say that transitional is the most popular style the we have in the showroom, and what we sell most frequently. Transitional is a combination of contemporary and traditional. This is perfect for people who live in a traditional home, and are looking to put some upgrades in, but don’t want the cold modern look. I showed her some options, but she was not happy with the finish. Thankfully, we decided on a fixture towards the front of the store, that had two different finishes. It had the brushed nickel (which she liked), and some chrome (which she did not really like). She was leaning towards brushed nickel because that is the finish that she had in her bathroom. This combination fixture would make the most sense to her because she was able to mix modern with contemporary. I would have never thought to show her this piece, I would have thought she would hate it. This shows that clients may surprise you, and you have to be flexible with whatever their needs are. The second light the she picked out was a hallway light. She was not as particular about this light on the finish, because it had nothing to match. This was an enjoyable client to work with because even though she was picky, she knew what she wanted and was not afraid to say it. When I showed her something that she didn’t like she would quickly say no. This is very helpful when it comes to picking out items because it helps you to move on faster. She had decided on a transitional fixture that was hating on a cord, and was a bulb with a beveled glass bowl cover. Though this was simple, this was not the end. She was very particular about her light bulb. I put in many options for her, but she was not satisfied by any. Finally, my boss, Diane, recommend that we use a socket extender. These are items that extent the socket. This made the bulb appear bigger, which is what she was looking for. All in all, this client was very happy in the end. This showed me that it requires patience working with clients, and their wants and needs is what comes first.
Below is a photo of the bathroom fixture my client selected for her hall bathroom. It is the middle right.
My third week at Kentucky Lighting was great. As I am now getting re adjusted, I am finding that I am getting back in the swing of things. It is always somewhat hard to start a job after a long while off. It is also different because most of the staff is different. My manager, Diane, is still the same, but many of the team members a new. This is great because it gives me a chance to work with new people. This is great training for the real world because things like this happen all the time. Jobs are not as secure these days, so people will often bounce around from job to job. Having to work well with people is one of the most important skill that you could have. Especially in the design world, you often have to work very well with others. The people that you work with in your studio are very important, and as well as the clients and other people that you encounter on a daily basis. As a designer, you are constantly meeting new people and having to adjust to their working styles. I feel that this is one of my stronger suits, and that I am able to work well with others. Having several new employees at Kentucky Lighting has helped me with learning how others work, and adjusting to that.
As I have mentioned before, I am now learning how to work the system that we have in place. Eclipse is the computer system the we use to ring up product for customers. This is something that I am just learning now. Since the program is somewhat dated, this almost makes it harder to learn. With that being said, I feel as though I am doing a much better job learning the program. Today, I was finally able to do complete a sale without the help of any of my coworkers. This was a great feeling because now I am able to help a customer without any assistance. Before, I would have to ask someone else to finish the sale. This was especially convenient today because we were short one person. Saturdays are always the busiest days, so being short one person was a little bit difficult. Even though there was one less person, the day went by fairly smoothly. It was very helpful that I was able to learn the software, so I wasn’t relying on any of my coworkers to assist me. This also gives me great experience for the working world because I will have to learn new technology all the time. The better adapted you are to technology, the more efficiently you will be able to work for your company.
Below is an image of the system that we use called Eclipse, and a picture of our showroom.
My second week back at Kentucky Lighting was great. I was able to really get back into it and familiarize myself more with the showroom. One of the biggest differences between this semester, and last spring semester is I am now able to work in the system. The system that is used at Kentucky Lighting is called Eclipse. This is definitely a dated system, but it is fairly easy to use. Last year, I would just talk with the customers and help them find what they were looking for, but when the sale was final, I would hand it off to one of my co workers to finish. I was never able to actually check out a customer. This did limit me with some things. It was more difficult for me to check inventory for customers, since I did not know the system. Now that I am learning it, I feel like will be able to help the customers much better. It is also great because I am able to fully check out a customer. This also gives the customer a much better feeling, as opposed to two different sales associates helping them. I think that this will help me also understand the business better.
One of my tasks that I was assigned was provide some lifestyle shots for the showroom. At to bottom of the displays of our vanity lights, was where we use to place the specification sheets. Since I have left, we now place the tags directly on the fixture. This opens up space at the bottom of the displays. My manager, Diane, had decided in this empty space, that we were going to out lifestyle shots. A lifestyle shot is an image of a space where the fixture is displayed. So basically this is an imaged that has the fixture being used in an actual setting, This is beneficial because it shows the customers how the fixture would look in real life. This is especially helpful for people who have trouble envisioning a space, which most people often do. This could also inspire people for the theme of their bathrooms. We often have clients who are just starting the beginning phases of their design and remodels, so these lifestyle shots can really help them. This is also enjoyable for me. It is sort of like a scavenger hunt to find the right display for the right fixture.
Below are some pictures of the vanity light displays