abyzaar showroom pic….easily accessible by the Go Anywhere bus during Market, AND available ALL YEAR, by appointment,  for To The Trade Customers!

There’s alot of buzz going on about the revitalization of High Point and how it can, and should, be so much more than home to the twice hpdc logo squareannual Furniture Market.  I have been a believer of  this for years, in particular at the level of being a destination point for designers to shop between markets in addition to during markets. High Point Design Center, a group I joined in 2008, has this at the core of it’s mission, and I deeply respect all that they have done and continue to do to support this.  Yes, it is by working together that we can make  this a reality, and I love the collaborative Spirit amongst the showroom members that emulate this.  However, there are many businesses in High Point, available to do business year round, that you might not know about.  Some “secrets” in High Point that shouldn’t be a secret if you will.

With this in mind I am excited to introduce to you, a neighbor of mine, that I have  only recently been made of aware of, that , like me, has turned their warehouse into their showroom.  If I didn’t know about them, and they are only 1 mile from me, I am guessing you don’t know about them either, and thus this introduction is my Gift to you, because you’re going to love what they have.

C & S Acosta, in business since 1985, like Antiques by Zaarin business since 1999, is a family business, and have been showing in High Point for over a decade.  And like Antiques by Zaar, their focus is on Asian product.

In their words…

2014-04-09 14.11.06“We are probably best known for our beautiful selection of blue and white hand-painted 2014-04-09 14.17.50porcelain and antique reproductions of bronze sculptures imported from Thailand. However, over the years, our collection has expanded to include accent furniture, wooden handicrafts and magnificent mirrors that are made in other regions and exotic islands of Southeast Asia.”

Get a sneak peak of their fabulous warehouse/showroom here. Product is not only exquisite but well priced.

If you have a need for beautiful Asian furniture or porcelain, you do need to check out the both of us.

Antiques by Zaar, is at ZAAR Design Center, at 741 West Ward (A on map).

NOTE: Although address is West Ward, the entrance ZAAR flagis on Green. Look for the bright yellow flags. C& S Acosta (B on map)  is but a mile from us. Continue down West Green (left  hand turn), turn right onto West Market Drive  and turn right when you see Trucking company  sign. They are located in building behind that business.

abyzaar to acosta map

Know that ZAAR will have a smattering of C & S Acosta’s merchandise displayed at ZAAR , just to give you a taste of the fine craftsmanship of their product.

ZAAR is open 9;00- 5:00 from Saturday April 18th, through to Thursday April 23th, hosting a lunch n learn with Deb Barrett on Sunday April 19th, starting at 12:00 CEU Credit course….and although not required, RSVP appreciated.

Look forward to seeing you.



…or, the Magic Penny Effect.

withit conf imageIn August I attended the annual WITHIT  (Women in the Home Furnishing Industry Today) conference, which had as it’s theme “The Vision of the Modern Renaissance Woman.)  My 4th time. It is ALWAYS a great great conference and I ALWAYS come away from it fired up and warmed up by the bonding that occurs during the conference. But for the first time I determined that I was ready to step it up a notch….not quietly  be present, taking it all in, but to work a little harder at putting myself out there.  This meant sucking in a deep breath (on more than one occasion) and yes, ASKING. As a result…. I had a place to rest my head the night before conference, and further fostered a budding friendship,  I have a new accountability partner, all because of a decaf Starbucks encounter,  I have a great speaker lined up for Market, because I approached her after hearing at a round table we both attended that she was already lined up/wondered if she’d be interested in adding a new venue to her schedule….and she said YES,  I have some great ideas that need to implemented into my social media outreach, because I thanked someone for encouraging me along in my forays on social media way back in 2008,  and  I have benefitted by reaching out and calling on women that I’ve come to know and respect, for advice and counsel, as I determine the next right step to take to grow my business. You know who you are. 🙂

Sara King, principal at Optimum Insights, led one of the break out sessions at above mentioned conference, offered a new perspective on “asking” when she put out to the room full of women….”who here felt  good doing things for other people,” To this  the room immediately filled with raised hands. She further put out to us…”when we don’t ask we rob the giver the ability to give/feel good…like we feel when we give”. Hmmmm.

I don’t really believe in coincidences, but more in serendipity, and I think ASKING , either by you or by someone else, is what helps make such moments serendipitous and furthered to be times of connection. All this to say I guess my mind was open to this ASKING mentality when, shortly following the conference  I was ASKED for a unique request, which I responded to…well, read about it below…

Christian Cedras, the managing partner of the BHi Music Group,  is the epitome of being an  asking agent and he started a chain of asking that ended up in a photoshoot that I helped pull together….yes, by carrying on the ASKING.

ruth and jon and the jones

Jon and the Jones,  a newly formed NYC based band, which he represents, he felt NEEDED a traditional English chesterfield sofa as backdrop for the band’s marketing materials, as it spoke to their unique style.  So he went about the mission of securing a sofa for said shoot…unabashedly advising that he wanted to do this for as little cash outlay as possible.

Nuts and bolts he ends up calling me, for, as, in addition to having Antiques by Zaar,  I am the US Sales Rep for a company called Distinctive Chesterfields. He asked did we have a NY showroom. No.  We chatted for a bit as I tried to figure out how I could help him get what he needed. He then went on to ASK did I have a NY customer that might be ok to let the group use a sofa?  Brazen eh?  I delayed slightly and then said YES, and immediately thought of my customer  John Angier (also in the music business as an arranger) if he’d be up for this unusual request. He actually  was but there was a scheduling conflict and he couldn’t offer his sofa for a couple of weeks. Band was wanting to shoot the photos sooner rather than later. So, I ASKED yet another NY customer, Esther Budanitsky, a newly minted lawyer, that I thought just might be up for it. Go figure, admittedly an unusual request, but she thought it would be fun and so said YES.

End result. The band got the shots they needed, with the “perfect” backdrop….and within their budget.  Esther enjoyed opening up her home for this unique request and the lot of us all left the evening with a sense of kinship that was fostered in all the Giving that was Gifted in those ASKING moments.

jon and the jonesSide notes.  Christian and his fiance Krista and I share a connection to Haiti on many many levels…including fact that his aunt owned the house my parents rented and which has served as a guest house for missionaries for over 20 years.  In casual conversation found out that when Esther first moved to NYC she shared  an apartment, not only in the same building we currently have an apt, but on very same floor!

Esther and I grew our connection from customer -sales rep to new level of friendship and we both felt good about being part of this bands launching, taking a very keen interest in their path to success….and looking forward to hearing them in concert at B.B. King, headlining the Charity Concert for the 9/11 Memorial Foundation on September 17th.

Recalling this all simply gives me a warm fuzzy, and further makes me realize what my big takeaway was at the conference.

And so, I will continue to work on ASKING, and I will continue to see what opportunities come my way by saying yes to someone else ASKING. Nuts and bolts is, “it’s all good.”


Last week, during the HPDC Designer Wed, we had the pleasure of a visit from Joyce Allen-Crawford. The intention of her antiques by zaar prizevisit was two fold. As owner of her own design business she was scouting out pieces for her clients, and as Manager for the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau, she was delivering the token of their appreciation as shown here.

Joyce and I met several years back, through our mutual association in the High Point Design Center and thus she was aware of my antique business and the fact that my warehouse for my collection was located in High Point….actually, quite literally 1 mile down the road from the Convention Center/Visitors Bureau.  She was also aware of my interest in doing whatever I could to support driving business…retail or trade, to boost the commerce happening in High Point.

Thus, it was a shoe in for Joyce when she first set foot in our showroom. She quite simply needed to  decide what would work best in the Center. Per the photos below, you can see that our pieces pull together the setting quite nicely.


mongolian sideboard, pumpkin stools

Great job Joyce. My Mongolian chest,  black pumpkin stools and love seat have added to the warmth created by Joyce…with further contributions from several other furniture companies based in High Point.

abyzaar_post_front_fall12Thrilled to be able to add to the ambiance of the Welcome Center and also to have this venue to promote my business. Yes, we keep a nice stash of post cards available, shown here on the left, to offer contact info, as well as keeping a basket of fortune cookies available…with our business card attached of course.

And similarly, am happy for the opportunity to offer yet another furniture shopping resource to visitors to High Point. All good for everyone eh?


100_1505FYI, yet another hat Joyce wears, as she serves as rep for the jewelry line Cookie Lee.  Thrilled that she joined several vendors in November at our first annual ZAAR Design Center Christmas Bazaar. We had a great day…first hosting guests from the High Point Design Center and later in the day from WITHIT….evening event punctuated a potluck dinner and presentation from Kimberly Stone ,WITHIT and ZDC member, of Sans Souci Sisters, sharing the story behind the very personal hand made creations in her Santa Claus’s.  Check out photos from that great event here.

….did I say repurpose?

It truly is great to know that your blog has a shelf life much more than just the original posting… one of my big “take a ways” after listening to a presentation given by Melissa Galt, of  Melissa Galt Inc, at High Point Furniture Market, and happy to give her credit here.

There are many many portals out there to do just that, and I would  like to remind you of the basics, as well as reinforce one which isn’t considered part of “social media” , that being the online newsletter…

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been putting out an online newsletter since 2004…one in which the “meat”, or my business updates,  were couched in personal antidotes…. See some past issues here…thus making my newsletter not just a venue to give company updates, but also give people a chance to get to know who is behind this business and at same time staying close to those who have done business with me. 

When I started dipping my toes into the blogging world, and as stated in my very first blog, I intended to reverse that and couch the “personal” side of my business with the meat of my business, that of selling Chinese antiques online.

And what I’d like to propose here is that the merging of these  two mediums, your newsletter and your blog, is a great way to maximize your output/reach.

OR, if you’re having a hard time engaging as a blogger, and aren’t touching your customer base, prospects and past, by way of an online newsletter, I would encourage you to start with that first…if a choice is to be made….for the following reasons:

1. Knowing your audience knows you, or is at least is familiar with your company, is a much easier writing experience, ie less intimidating, than trying to draw a new audience in.

My logo is very recognizable and is front stage on my newsletter and blog header…and, btw, is my name in Chinese.

2. You can use this online newsletter as a way to warm up to the discipline of blogging, as output for a newsletter is good monthly, whereas to make any impact with blogging you need to put out at absolute minimum once a week.

3.  It simply is good form to touch regularly those who know you, simply to remind them that you’re  there, ….for when they need what you have again…and to give those who haven’t decided to shop with you yet, a place to get to know you. These people need to hear from you and the online newsletter is unobtrusive and inexpensive.

…AND also is a place to show that there is a PERSON behind the business. My face is pretty familiar by now as well 🙂

And, with this online newsletter in place you have a wonderful place to imbed your blogs, sharing with a defined audience/your mailing list, what you are writing to a non defined audience….especially since you can now easily SHARE your newsletters of choice  on Facebook, Linked in and Twitter. LOVE it how these are all so connected for us!

Yes, I consider your newsletter as a primo place to re purpose your blogs. And I’ve taken to this and love merging these two forms….

1. As part of the text…giving a lead in to what is fleshed out in the blog, thus reducing, but at the same time increasing, my information put out in the newsletter…example here in my Thanksgiving missive.  I like to have at least 3 blogs worked into my newsletters like this.

2. By listing  of all blogs posted in 2 month span. This gives my mailing list an introduction to my blogging …example here… particularly as there’s a pretty good chance they wouldn’t otherwise find/read my blog…so nice unobtrusive way to invite them in as readers, follow my output.

3. And/or by pulling  together several blogs that represent a particular topic, to bring attention to…such as blogs which have as part of their content, applications of Chinese Antique Furniture…example here. Matter of doing a sort for them.

I have given precedence  to this specific venue to repurpose as I feel it is not commonly considered and not as obvious as what I am simply going to list below…

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn…

1. When you set up your blog you can have it that your blog will automatically post on Twitter and Facebook. IE, you post your blog and off it goes…

2. By adding  a SHARE button on footer of each posting, others can readily post your blog to their audiences. Also, this is the way I share on my LinkedIn groups.

3. AND, lastly, I often embed past blog postings into current ones….as I did at the beginning of this post.

If you’re already doing an online newsletter, good on you for having  in place this platform to further repurpose your blog. If I’ve incited you to think about  doing an online newsletter, as a preface to doing a blog, great…

I use Constant Contact and love it. Some friends swear by Mail Chimp as well, although I’m not familiar with it.

I so KNOW of the value not of only putting out an online newsletter, but the value of being REAL within that form, that I simply want to encourage others to consider the same, and let this venue of staying  in touch with your customers/prospects work for you, and further to have this platform serve your blogging efforts as well.

Do let me know how you’re doing either in producing a newsletter and/or a blog.


HINT: When  you gather your names/email addresses of your customers, I advise putting them in excel format, as by doing so it is really easy to add them into constant contact mailing list, share your list with others, or use in other formats…. IE, repurpose said list once compiled 🙂

… no, nobody does this mix better than Gary and Sylvia Muller, propreitors of the Mill House Inn/Graybarn Cottage,   located in pituresque East Hampton.

Their love for this anchor in their decorating schema serves them just as well in their New Hampshire farmhouse (adding Stickley classics and French antiques to the mix) as it does in their Long Island retreat/place of business….which is a place well worth the visit for your next getaway.

I asked Sylvia for a note or two, to share with my world, with regards to their decorating philospophy..the below which she sent to me, in honor of said request. Please enjoy the below…with comments from yours truly in italics.

Antiques by ZAAR has been a cornerstone in our “design family” for almost as long as they have been online for business. Ruth and Mark work with us to find the perfect pieces for our inn and our home and have become part of our family of friends in the process.

At The Mill House Inn, Gary and I have worked hard to create an ambiance of comfortable luxury.  We design everything ourselves, from bathroom tiles and fixtures to the room decor, the amazingly comfortable bedding, and the organic soaps, lotions and fragrances we use in the rooms. The aim is that our guests should feel “at home” from the moment they enter the inn, and never want to leave…and trust me, this is true on both counts…from the feeling like you’re sleeping on a cloud, to the delectable breakfast laid out, to the cookies, coffee, and tea always there for you, to ALL the details they pay attention to…it truly is the getaway of all getaways.

Choosing the right mix of furniture and furnishings is crucial.  Each guest room is designed to evoke a story.  But we never want a room to feel “over decorated” or contrived. By mixing genres we make a room feel like it has evolved over a lifetime.

Our Captains Quarters Suite makes one dream of travels to exotic places in a bygone day… with Asian Antique furniture mixed with comfortable leather sofas, mica lights, maps of the China seas and Harpers Bazaar covers of the early steamship days. Add in a great iron bed, a couple of flat screen tvs, a gas fireplace and woven wood shades and you create a timeless and inviting environment.

Our Graybarn Cottage is an old barn with lots of character of it’s own.  We filled it with Asian pieces from Antiques by Zaar, slipcovered sofas and leather pieces from Mitchell Gold, leather chairs from Palacek, a custom ‘antiqued’ eight foot round table from Fishers in Sag Harbor, Kichler candelabras, Justice Design’s candle lamps, classic white dishes from Fishs Eddie, and my black & white photos of the beach, check out more of Sylvia’s photos on her blog Sylvia Walks,  to create a home that makes people go “wow!” when they walk in the door and never want to leave…

In our own home, Black Dog Farm, we have also used a mix of styles, incorporating our favorite  pieces from Antiques by ZAAR with comfortable leather sofas and chairs, early American pine, Stickley classics and French country antiques.  Click here to see further photos of Black Dog Farm.  It all works together and we never want to leave there either!

Having visited the Mill House Inn, Graybarn Cottage and the Black Dog Farm, I can vouch for the warmness that Gary and Syliva have as people, is reflected in the feeling you get immediately upon stepping into the door of any of these places of living/respite, that their hands have touched….their penchant for quality, great taste and detail, oh my, the details!, is unmatched. …and am so thrilled that they have provided me with this text and accompanying photos to serve as an example of how Chinese Antiques complement the classics.


Click here to read previous posting I did on Mill House Inn.

Photo Shared by an Antiques by Zaar customer

Photo Shared by an Antiques by Zaar customer

Selling a line of fine Chinese antique furniture and having a long list of customers sing your praises is something that certainly makes my world go round. Please feel free to visit the  Testimonial section of my site and/or my Home Gallery, both locales having wonderful words and photos as provided by my dear customers. Having someone that carries the credentials to validate your collection is simply “icing on an already sweet cake.

To my delight I would have such a treat by way of Daphne Rosenzweig, of Rosenzweig Assoicates, and member of the International Society of Appraisers, who visited my warehouse August 2008 with her friend and colleague Carla Butler of Butler & Associates of Greensboro. Daphne had been following my site for some time and had been recommending me to her clients that inquired on my line. When visiting her friend in Greensboro she took it upon herself to arrange a first hand viewing of the collection she had seen online.

Vignette in the Antiques by Zaar warehouse

Vignette in the Antiques by Zaar warehouse

In her words. “It was a delight to visit your warehouse in High Point NC and view your excellent inventory of late Qing furniture….was impressed with the wide range of furniture, and its fine condition….your on-site manager was perfectly delightful, helpful and thorough… have always found your website an excellent resource…it is useful to find a company upon which one can rely for a straightforward and honest approach….”

Jeff Moore, the best of the best, as representative for AbyZaar.

Jeff Moore, the best of the best, as representative for AbyZaar.

My High Point warehouse is open by appointment throughout the calendar year and all day for High Point Design Center Events. As such we will be fully available August 6-7th for the 2 Day Sale/Poker Run/Networking Event.

Please feel free to contact me for further information. And for a sneak peak of our warehouse, please enjoy this video clip I made last Spring.


Ruth Olbrych, owner Antiques by Zaar

Ruth Olbrych, owner Antiques by Zaar

I was thrilled when asked if I would contribute as a guest columnist for the High Point Market Authority, and am including link HERE to the article that was published late last week.

Back in 2000 Antiques by Zaar served as a pioneer selling, solely on the internet, a line of Chinese Antique Furniture that my husband and I directly imported. I truly think that if we had really over thought the viability of selling something so personal (and “alive”) online that we would’ve never moved forward on it. I’m so glad we bit the bullet and simply plowed on forward.

I have and continue to find immense pleasure in the fact that I am able, through the transaction of selling/buying, broaden my world with the many fine people that find their way to my website and become part of my Antiques by Zaar family. It is our website that has served as the main portal to present and promote ourselves, and now, with the additional venues made available by way of “social networking”, I am given that many more opportunities to make myself known to that many more people. I am beyond excited. In fact I am jubilant.

Keeping it personal. The familiar logo is Ruth's name in Chinese.

Keeping it personal. The familiar logo is Ruth's name in Chinese.

I love to write. I love to connect. I love to share my story, my perspective, my self with anybody that cares to listen. I love to hear from people and learn their stories, their perspectives and their selves. I love to inspire, encourage and promote.

I love what I sell. And I love that what I sell is congruent with my approach to selling, in that it is personal, alive and real. And again, I love that I am able to spread the word and let the world know the viability of putting yourself out there, online, and bringing it to the “real” world, and making a life and a living in a way that offers latitude, freedom and pure joy.

Welcome to my world!


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