withit logo Withit, is the acronym for Women In The Home Industries Today, and is a group that I was first introduced to by Kathleen Holterman of French Heritage, last Spring.

 Kathleen and I share membership in the High Point Design Centre, and how I first connected with her; HPDC being a group I joined to further promote my business presence in High Point. As we chatted further about how I could further network in the area she suggested membership in Withit. I joined immediately and we talked about my doing a presentation to the NC group in the summer. Logistics would merit this to be postponed.

 Fast forward to Fall 08. Had just returned from the ASID Carolina’s conference in Raleigh Durham, where an inspiring talk by Jane Pollak, among other things, urged me in the direction of pursuing the venue of blogging for my business, and networking on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. A new and daunting world but it seemed right and so I determined that one way or the other I would indeed engage in this new phenomenon called “social networking”.

Volunterring to promote HPDC@ ASID conference in Fall 08. A win on all fronts.

Volunterring to promote HPDC@ ASID conference in Fall 08. A win on all fronts.

 LinkedIn. Ok, I’m inviting people in. Now what? Join groups that share your interests. Writing groups, entrepreneurial focus groups, women’s business groups, and eventually  Designer groups…my customers.

  Go figure Withit had a group on LinkedIn, monitored by none other than Leslie Carothers. Read discussions. Look for tips on how to engage. A post by Leslie, the “queen” of social networking, on Twitter stating “if you do nothing more than set up an account on Twitter for your business, do that. You MUST have a presence on Twitter!” Ok, I bite. Now what? Start following Leslie and others that she is in conversation with. Start connecting on Twitter with others I share group memberships with on LinkedIn, including Withit.

 Fast forward Spring 09. I am again attending the ASID Carolina’s conference, this time in Greenville, SC. Perusing over the table where name cards are laid out I recognize the name of someone I follow on twitter, namely Starr Miller. My online world and real world are merging, meeting someone in “real”. So cool. Starr is a delight to meet and I look to her tweets and now blogs with even more interest. (Come to find out that Starr is also a member of Withit. World is getting smaller and larger all at the same time.)

Reprsenting HPDC @ ASID conference in lovely Greenville, SC.

Reprsenting HPDC @ ASID conference in lovely Greenville, SC.

 It gets better. After the conference I determine to spend a few days in my warehouse working before heading back to Maine. Carol Gregg, of Red Egg (another HPDC member) hosts a lovely party on her porch, introducing me to a group of dynamic women, that are, I find out, are ALL Withit members, including Kim Wray of High Point Market Authority, and a founding member of Withit!

 A Wonderful evening had by all at home of Carol Gregg.

A Wonderful evening had by all at home of Carol Gregg.

  I am embraced by a warmness of female camaraderie, of women that have all forged their ways in their careers/lives and that are eager to welcome me to the fold. (L to right: Ellen Geffen of  Geffen Productions, Kim Wray of High Point Market Authority, Shannon Hamed of Scott Thomas, Chemmine Taylor-Smith of Elle Decor and Metropolitan Home, and,  yours truly of Antiques by Zaar and our hostess, Carol Gregg of Red Egg.)

I unfortunately was not able to attend the conference that has taken place in Charlotte this past week, but I wanted to take the time here to let my world know how pleased I am to be part of this group and that although I was not with you in person this week, that I was there in Spirit; ensured that the energy, fervor, and enthusiasm I KNOW that was there, will be so again next year, when I will be able to partake. In the meanwhile I will continue to enjoy what I garner from those from Withit which I follow on Twitter, follow blogs of fellow members, and connect on Facebook and Linkedin for those participating in those venues. And I will continue to look forward to meeting in “real” more of these wonderful Spirits.

Ruth

www.antiquesbyzaar.com

ruth@antiquesbyzaar.com

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