Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Know the Guy!

line-drawing-handshakeWe’ve all received those flyers in the mail or on our doorstep, with offers from various people claiming to be the best at what they do… but we don’t know who they are. We don’t know if they are reputable or not. We ask around, preferring to hire someone that someone we know knows, or has hired with good results. It’s so important to know, like and trust someone we give our business to, but most of us don’t know that many people.

I belong to an organization called BNI that meets every Friday morning, a group that networks together and gives referral business to each other. I know people from different chapters and other organizations as well. These are people whom I’ve gotten to know, to like, and to trust myself. Let me try and help you…

  1. Are you in need of a knowledgable home inspector? I know the guy!
  2. Are you looking to buy hardwood flooring or office furniture? I know the guy!
  3. Would you like to promote your business with give away items? I know the guy!
  4. Are you looking for savings on carpets and installation? I know the guy!
  5. Do you need a good home and auto insurance agent? I know the guy!
  6. Are you looking to hire a good handyman? I know the guy!
  7. Do you have a website that needs updating or maintaining? Perhaps you want one designed for you? I know the guy!
  8. Are you looking for an experienced real estate agent? I know the guy!
  9. Do you need an accountant for your business or personal taxes? I know the guy!
  10. Do you suffer from back pain or another pain? Have you considered chiropractic care? I know the guy!
  11. Are you in need of a compassionate and experienced family lawyer? I know the guy!
  12. Are you looking to update your window coverings? I know the guy!
  13. Are you looking for a reputable health and disability insurance agent? I know the guy!
  14. Have you suffered an injury or been wrongfully dismissed? I know the lawyer!
  15. Are you looking for a printer with a quick turn around time? I know the guy!
  16. Have you ever considered using a mortgage agent instead of paying those high bank rates? I know the guy!
  17. Is your roof in need of repair or replacement? I know the guy!
  18. Does your car require servicing or new tires? I know the guy!
  19. Are you looking to replace your furnace, hot water tank, or air conditioner? I know the guy!
  20. Have you been looking for a knowledgable financial planner? I know the guy!
  21. Are you in need of snow removal, landscaping, a new deck or walkway? I know the guy!
  22. Does your family need an optometrist for their vision care? I know the guy!
  23. Has your property suffered damage from water, mould, smoke or fire? I know the clean-up guy!
  24. Are you looking for a good house painter? I know the guy!
  25. Are you moving? Do you want to hire a reputable company? I know the guys!
  26. Do you have trouble choosing paint colours or décor for your home? Are you looking to sell in the near future and need a fresh pair of eyes to guide you in making your home stand out from the rest? I AM that guy!

I know all of these folks and a whole lot more! They are people that I myself have given work to and been very happy with the results.

So, the next time you need ‘a guy’ for this or that, ask me and I will direct you to that guy! If you would like to be one of my ‘guys’, let me know and I will arrange for you to join us for breakfast on Visitors Day.

Thank you,

Catherine Menard
Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging

Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzle on table

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed doing puzzles.  I was probably 5 or 6 years of age when I got my very first jigsaw puzzle… The Flintstones.  It was a 100-piece puzzle that I liked to do again and again.  When I learned how to read and write, I progressed to word search puzzles, and then to crossword puzzles.  Doing jigsaw puzzles on a rainy day up at the cottage was a great way to pass the time, when there was no TV to watch or book to read.  Starting with the corner pieces, I would build the frame, then group pieces according to colour and work on mini sections at a time.  It was fun hunting for the right shape to connect these mini sections.  It felt like an accomplishment to have completed the puzzle!  Working on puzzles helped to sharpen my mind.

In later years the popular (with my co-workers) word jumble puzzle got me hooked.  Every day we had a contest at work to see who could complete it first!  Often times, it was me.  This past decade, Sudoku puzzles have been my go-to choice of puzzle.  I love to figure out which numbers go where.  I’m also hooked on online games like Jewel Mania or Bubble Mania and enjoy moving up in the different levels.  I think the attraction to puzzles stems from the way my brain is wired.

Even in my former occupation as a catalogue layout designer, I gravitated to the most difficult pages to design and I made them look good. Others would ignore or skip over those problem pages but I would scoop them up… thrilled that I was being mentally challenged!  When a 2-page spread was completed and looked like it was easy to do, I knew that I had done a good job!  It was like making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the saying goes.

I’ve always been meticulous about things.  I remember, even as a toddler, that I could not stand to have dirty hands.  I didn’t like dirt, grease, or any foreign substance on my hands… it grossed me out!  In my adulthood, I’ve learned to relax somewhat and even enjoy digging in the dirt.  I was a perfectionist… no crayon ever went past the black outlines in my colouring book, and if a friend took to colouring in it and coloured outside of the lines… it drove me crazy!  To me, the book was ruined!  I’ve learned to accept people’s shortcomings.

My attention to detail has followed me throughout my life and my career… whether it was designing ads or catalogue pages, whether it is writing something, building something, or installing something… it has to be perfect!  I guess my brain is just wired that way.

Reader: Are you puzzled by your colour, decor, or furniture choices?  Do you feel paralyzed with fear in moving forward with your decorating?  Are you overwhelmed by the many choices when you walk into a paint store, a furniture shop, or decor store?  Wouldn’t you want somebody with that attention to detail to handle the job for you?  I would love to work with you, to help you design or to redesign your space, and to WOW you!   I’m always up for a challenge and would love to work on the puzzle that you call ‘home’!  Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging could be your answer.

Do you have a favourite type of puzzle?  If so, what is it?  Could we be of the same mindset?

 

P.S.  Any Pop-up Ads that appear on this page are NOT endorsed by Groovy Chick Redesign and Home Staging

Where do I go from here?

IMG_9451… continued from Feb. 2

“Wow, I’m free! No more commuting, traffic, or weather to worry about.  But wait… what do I do now?  Gosh, I haven’t written a resume since before desktop computers even existed.  Resumes have probably changed a lot… oh yes, they have!” – my thoughts after losing my job of 30 years.

My career in catalog advertising ended abruptly.  I was happy, working in a creative environment, and not ready for a change… but I had no control of my career, as a pawn in the corporate world, and I did not like that.  Yes, I did all the right things; I created a new (condensed into 2 pages) resume, I attended workshops, seminars, webinars, etc. on how to find the right job in today’s tough market.  All the while I wondered… do I really want to look for a job that I may lose again?  Do I want to commute across the 4th largest city in North America?  There were no advertising jobs close to home… then it hit me.

For years, people have been asking me to help them with their decorating dilemmas.  I never thought anything of it, but began to wonder… could I do this sort of thing for a living?  I considered several home staging courses and found one that I believed would work best for me.  I was already a perfectionist, creative, had awareness for color, space, and balance.  I worked on the most challenging catalog pages (the one’s that no one else wanted, or were too afraid to take on).  As the saying goes, I could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  What I really needed to learn was how to manage a small business.  The rest was in my DNA.

Many stagers have previously worked in non-related fields.  Designing is all I know.  I have this God-given talent.  I can visualize a space whether it is empty or chalk-full of furniture.  In fact, many stagers will ask that most furniture be removed from the house.  Why?  Because, they cannot imagine how or where to place the existing furniture.  It’s oh so much easier to work with a blank canvas than it is to work with an existing one.  Remember… I’m the one that gravitated towards those most difficult catalog pages at work… remember?  Well, redesigning someone’s space is my new challenge and I say, bring it on!

Who Is This Groovy Chick?

Cathy.headshot.2014I came to realize that outside of my former employers and their vendors, I was a virtual unknown.  In catalog advertising I was well respected, the go-to person, known to be a creative, knowledgeable, and loyal person.  Then one day, it was all gone!

Spanning four decades (after graduating with honors in Graphic Design at Toronto’s top college), advertising was the best career I could have asked for and I loved it!  It took me from the conventional layout table, the light box, the lucy, gluing, and waxing machines, the cutting board, and the photocopier, to the modern-day (all of those things in one) Mac computer.

It was fun to go to work and sometimes reinvent the same products by displaying or designing them in different ways.  We often joked that the merchandisers and buyers wanted their product pages to ‘look the same… but different’.  Somehow, believe it or not, the pages or ads did just that!  It takes creativity to be able to do this; from book to book, year after year… and to always look fresh.

Starting out as an assembly and layout artist, I eventually got to be a creative director in the catalog sales promotion department.  It was like having my very own studio.  I coordinated the work going out to vendors for type, comping, photography, and printing.  I directed photo studios and selected shots, conceptualized, designed and assembled ads, and chose which vendors to work with after securing their quotes.  I collaborated with copywriters, editors, and translators.  Those were the the best of times… but all good things must come to an end.  As large companies are known to do, a restructure was in order.  We got absorbed by the much larger catalog advertising department and that meant proving oneself all over again.  Nuts!

Restructure upon restructure (this was the time of computers entering the workforce) eventually landed me in my favorite section of the catalog… the home section.  I became the furniture specialist and backed up other home fashion departments like housewares, bedding, and draperies.  Impressed with my talents, these other departments requested my presence at their hand-off meetings on a regular basis.  Working in the home section for a decade taught me a lot about the construction and care of soft goods and hard goods, the importance of sizing, dimensions, ensembles, and so on.  I often found cost-savings for the company.  Searching for ways of doing things more efficiently, without compromising quality is who I am.  It was around this time that I got the nickname of Groovy Chick.

I worked my way into an assistant manager’s role and was designing all of the home and hardline pages of a catalog, when it happened again!  This time it was announced that we would be outsourced to another company.  The news was devastating to some, and shocking to us all.  Our security blanket was gone and uncertainty lay ahead.  But all was not lost.  Because of my hard work, dedication, and proven ability to manage the creative on our home/hardlines team, (moving forward) I would be rewarded with the role of catalog linear team leader.  Not bad, considering some managers would be demoted.

Things were different in our new home, fun at times and busy at others, yet there was always a feeling of uneasiness.  Restructuring happened more frequently and every year we seemed to lose good people from our old employer.  Downsizing was becoming the new norm.  The entire landscape in advertising was changing.  Full time jobs were becoming a thing of the past.  Competition and outsourcing to Asia was a reality.  Things were not so groovy.  I lasted nine years in this environment and then… I was gone!

… to be continued