Arianna, in Singapore...China Town specifically.

No, I’m not changing the name of my blog. Rather, I am pleased to introduce you to my daughter’s first posting of her blog, which she has titled Life on the Ladder.

Arianna, my middle child, and I had the pleasure of spending some great one on one time together this past month when I went to visit her in Singapore, where she is doing a semester abroad with her University. I did write a blog on the Singapore visit  (click here) and a 2nd one on our time at the beach in Langkawi Malaysia (click here).

What I didn’t mention in the latter blog was the spark that was ignited with my daughter as I discussed my “vision” for where I’d like to take Antiques by Zaar, the family business, in its 2nd decade. I was pleased for her enthusiastic support of how I would like to broaden my scope in years to come.

An "inspiring" view in Langkawi...

Well, one thing has led to another and said business student has jumped right on in, with both feet, and excitedly is putting the pedal to the metal, joining with me to keep the Antiques by Zaar name out there…as it continues to serve as a great source for Chinese Antiques, as well as offer a platform to show the value in collaborating, communicating, and connecting.

Yes, the economy has been a challenge, but as you’re sure to hear me say…”the economy serves as a great equalizer”…as we have ALL have had to adjust as to how we’ve done business if we remain interested in staying in business. We’ve all had to implement cost effective strategies and have had to exercise creativity more than ever before.

Whether you like it or not (and I LOVE IT!)  “social media’ and the trend to “build relationships” before doing the “sell”  is THE way to go and not to be ignored. Trend it may be, but truly how I have made my online business work, one sale at a time…starting from nothing but a thought that I could do this. 10 years later I’m here  to stay!

the family businessAside from the fact that my company is named after my kids (ZAAR = Zach, Ari, Avery, and Ruth. Can read About Us on our site.) their past participation has been more of a latent nature….although I must credit Zachary for doing all of my graphic work for advertising, mailings and mangaing the editing of photos for my product. Avery is on board for data base and inventory management and Arianna is taking on managing my marketing. All of this is done remotely, with Ari still in Singapore for 3 more months and Zach and Avery in Montreal (McGill students)

So, welcome to Arianna’s blog. Click here for her first posting of my young lady  who is on her Ladder of Life.  You shall be hearing more from the both of us going forward.

Ruth

www.antiquesbyzaar.com

ruth@antiquesbyzaar.com

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Spread your Wings and Fly!

The other day I was invited on Face book to join a group called “Spread your Wings and Fly”. It was a new group and since Tuesday evening it has grown to close to 100 members. With the mantra as noted above, and in tag line it is noted that the common thread to be serve as platform for this group would be none other than the Law of Attraction. No matter what your thoughts may be on the “Secret” where this was first put out there, you can’t deny the effect of putting out all those positive vibes AND expecting positive results. I’m all there.

Do I need to join yet another group? Heck no. But I went ahead and signed up anyways, and as such I am getting postings from the group manager, Marie Tucker. So, she puts out to each of us the challenge of sitting down and for a solid 5 minutes writing down all that you are thankful for. I bite. I do it and I have no problem scribbling away for the entire 5 minutes (put myself on a timer so as to not “cheat”) Below my list of what I am thankful for. It is by no means complete (which is really cool) but it is what is closest to my heart and put down to paper.

my FAMILY, GOOD HEALTH, my BUSINESS, the people I meet through my business, my HOME, OPPORTUNTIES, being able to see the silver lining on clouds/being a half full kind of person, my FRIENDS, with a special note to all my girlfriends/ANGELS, my CHOIR and enjoyment of singing/getting/giving  joy through this gift,my ability to express myself on paper, the INTERNET,the platform it has given for me to work my business, and furthermore, SOCIAL MEDIA as a means to  further “put myself out there”…esp blogging, my NEWSLETTER and how I can connect with my customers/prospects that way, my ability to learn a bunch of stuff I didn’t think I could (like formatting my writing to send out to you/online photosharing /making videos, etc), the suggestion of this exercise and the fact that I did it, all the SOULS out there that are coming into my life and how we can all be there to lift each other up and yes, my dear dear CUSTOMERS come FRIENDS  that keep me and my business/my life alive and full. And most importantly for the SERENITY I feel, when I acknowledge that I am indeed intent on doing everything I can to Live my Best Life and that, although it may not Happen the Way I might anticipate, that I have FAITH that being on the right track counts for alot.

Thank you Marie…for the invite, for the challenge and for bringing us all together to SHINE, SHINE, SHINE.

Ruth

www.antiquesbyzaar.com

ruth@antiquesbyzaar.com

 

 choose life, choose positivity, choose the golden rule, choose to be at peace with yourself, choose salvation, choose to make a difference, choose to be different, choose to be a diva, choose to be funky, choose to be yourself, choose to create a fashion statement   www.viavegan.com

My gift from my sister...this and so much more.

My gift from my sister...this and so much more.

This is the inscription on the inside of my matt and nat handbag…. a gift from my sister (thank you Linda), and, winner of being the “coolest bag” in my group of 4 at a networking event I attended at the 5th Ave Eileen Fisher store in NYC. As such I was given the floor to start with what it was in my business that “kept me up at night.”

…and what would that be?

November 2009 marks the 10th year since we incorporated Zaar Enterprises but November 2010 marks 10 years since my first online sale. The latter being THE anniversary I truly want to celebrate, this November serves as the beginning of the 12 month countdown that I have to sort out how I want to acknowledge what has been a phenomenal 10 years with my business. And so, this is what would be keeping me up at night. I want to know how best to launch into my 2nd decade of business.

As Jane Pollak, catalyst for why 30 women were gathered Wedensday night, with “facilitated” networking predicted, the 2 hour event did indeed fly (without the timer/bell she used to keep us on track, we would’ve easily been there all night!) by, AND I did indeed come away infused with fresh enthusiasm for my mission/my business, that which is an extension of myself.

DSCN3713

Olga and I both felt that we were "meant to meet" and look forward to doing business together.

And I believe it safe to say the same to be true for all others that attended and participated. Thank you Jane for bringing us all together.  And glad I bit the bullet and determined to include myself as a “remarkable” woman….tag line being an “exceptional and inspirational woman”.  The truly exceptional quality that I found to be present in each and every participant was personableness and warmth which permeated the room as we sought to be an ear for each other.

Highlighting the remarkable women I conversed with….

Carol Casalino of carolcaslino nutrition.

Ruth Sheldon of Ruth K. Sheldon & Associates.

Valerie Cherneski of Cherneski Coaching.

Margaret Maclay of Focal Point.

Michelle Friedman of Michelle Friedman Professional Coaching Services.

Lindsey Pollak of Lindsey Pollak, gen y career & workplace expert.

Olga Adler of Olga Adler Interiors.

Robin Horton of Robin Horton Designs.

Ruth

www.antiquesbyzaar.com

ruth@antiquesbyzaar.com

P.S. En route from Montreal to New York, plugged in Jane’s CD which I purchased a year ago and enjoy pulling out on my road trips to refresh myself with her directives, as learned from her own experience as an evolving entrepeneur.

It is with great pleasure that I share with you that I will be co presenting a seminar on social networking, this Friday in Wilmington, NC, at the ASID Carolina’s Chapter conference.

ASID Conference: My 3rd conference, as rep of HPDC.

ASID Conference: My 3rd conference, as rep of HPDC.

I will be offering what has been my path towards engaging in social media and how it was such a natural extension of my online based business. A business  which is now in its 10th year since incorporation, and which was premised on a very personal approach…namely in the presentation of who is Antiques by Zaar, not just what we have to offer, as put forth in our About Us  section and furthered by our online newsletter  which we started in 2004.
Following my presentation, Neville  Devlaliwalla of  Cisco Systems  will cover the evolution of the internet and the different social media resources and some examples of how other corporations have used them successfully and poorly and where all this is going.
For a complete review of activities/presentations being offered this weekend, click here. The conference is open to all like minded professionals that may have an interest in any of the topics presented. A great place to network as well, with the close to 100 designers that have already registered for this event.
Look forward to sharing with all and also meeting and greeting as representative of the High Point Design Center.
Ruth
P.S. The article I wrote on Social Networking for the High Point Market Authority is showcased as featured article on thier home page. Check it out if you haven’t already.
New England Women Business Owners

New England Women Business Owners

Following along Jane Pollak’s blog as I do, I was introduced to the New England Women Business Owners, or NEWBO, an organization which awarded Jane their Woman of Distinction Award for 2009 and which she (of course) blogged about.

 

Jane Pollak, a woman with a mission.

Jane Pollak, a woman with a mission.

NOTE: I first met Jane at the ASID Carolina’s Conference in Raleigh Durham what is a year ago now (I was there on behalf of the High Point Design Center) , and from the short insight I have garnered into what she has done and continues to do to “lead remarkable women to uncommon success”, well, it is nothing short of phenomenal. She was most worthy of the award bestowed upon her.

 With my warehouse based in High Point NC, the bulk of my networking efforts are focused in that area. However, I am still currently residing in Maine, and thus thought why not plug on along here as well.

 Of course the NEWBO event I chose to attend for my introduction had to be a 7:30 breakfast in Waltham, MA, a mere 2.5 hour drive south from my home. With CD book in place (See below for plug on this read) I was in good stead and off I went.

Karen Macumber

Karen Macumber

The room was bustling as about 40 women grabbed coffee and pastries prior to the presentation, as given byKaren Macumber, entrepreneur extraordinaire, expounding on what she has garnered, with talk titled “From Start-Up to Position for Acquisition: Marketing tips”. All enjoyed what she had to offer, myself included.

And of course, I also enjoyed getting to know NEWBO members, Heather Onstott of Launch Capital, Shelley Hall of Catalytic Managementand Linda Varone of Nurturing Spaces. Linda in turn introduced me to Christine Wojnar of Feng Shui and Space Clearing.

 

Linda Varone of Nurturing Spaces

Linda Varone of Nurturing Spaces

There is always someone at these events that you “click” with and such was the case with Linda and I. (I do believe we could’ve gone on for lunch if we didn’t both have prior engagements following.) I shared with her what I am doing/learning in the social networking world and she gave me hints on how to further my presence in the world of public speaking, that which I am launching (actually, more so re launching after a long hiatus and with new topic) into, co presenting at the ASID Carolina’s conference early October…on what else? Social networking from perspective of online business owner buying into it and why you should too.

 So thrilled I made the effort to attend the breakfast and start this connection with this wonderful group of women. I am never disappointed when in a room full of women entrepreneurs and this was no exception. In fact this event was a small part of what was a phenomenal week of further colluding with fellow female entrepreneurs…but that is for another post or two…to follow.

 Ruth

P.S. The book of choice for this road trip and hot to plug is none other than Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. Enjoyed every bit of it.

Add this to the other great road trip read, The Shack.

Ruth Olbrych/Antiques by Zaar, one and the same.

Ruth Olbrych/Antiques by Zaar, one and the same.

Wanted to do a small series on various social media venues as so much is taken for granted, by way of definition, and not understood, by way of value. Why not start with blogs?

Yes, there is plenty of information out there on this already, possibly too much, so why should you read what I’m writing? Well, I feel I have a perspective as someone relatively new to this scene, that may be able to help other “newbie’s” along the way. I present this as a business owner, engaging in social media as a venue to promote my business. It is my hope that I can, by example, and by sharing my experiences, further you along in this quest, should such be of interest to you.

It is indeed a whole new world out there and can be daunting at best, and wasn’t so long ago that I was pondering this very same question. What is a blog? And furthermore why should I engage in this thing called “blogging”, less that I am hearing over and over again that I must? It was in an Entrepreneurial magazine that I read almost 2 years ago that I first even heard of the term, suggesting the value of such for one’s business. It would be a year later, at a conference listening to a presentation by Jane Pollak, where I’d be prodded further to engage, and finally November 25, 2008, I bit the bullet and posted my first blog…which viewing  now I see is missing just a few things. 🙂   Hearing Tobi Fairley speak in  Feb 09 further spurred me on and I’ve never looked back (And yes, I did blog about this.  Read here  if you like.) I feel I have come a long ways since my early monthly (ouch, not enough) postings, in that I understand such enough that I feel I have something to offer fellow “wonderers” about this blogging thing. It is indeed a process. So, here goes.

A common term used in describing a blog (contraction for term “weblog”) is “online diary”.  It is considered to be a website, that serves as a place for the contributor (blogger) to post information, photos, videos, links and such, regarding, well, just about anything they want. It is an interactive place where readers are encouraged to leave comments.

A blog is not a newsletter but both have their place in your communications, should you be considering a blog for your business, as opposed as it being purely personal. (If it’s for personal use only, knock yourself out and get that online diary going, like does of Content in a Cottage. A must follow! She’s inspirational.)  A  newsletter is the venue where one does more direct “selling” to ones’ customer base, whereas in a blog, the “selling” part is expected to be more subtle.  It is more to be a place of offering information, making yourself known and available. Also, although it is appropriate to post a newsletter no more than twice/month, a blog should be posted more frequently. Once/week is a minimum, three times/week ideal….at least for myself.

 Over the months I have truly come to see that it is all up to you as to what you want to blog/write about. My personal interest in reading others blogs  is in following folks like myself that are working small businesses, folks that are supporting said small business owners (yes, including media and social marketing folks), and those that would include a  target audience of mine, namely being Interior Designers/Decorators. By reading these blogs I am determining what appeals to me in other blogs and helps me to fine tune my own presentation. For one, I like them to be not a long read (generally one page of text max), and so in keeping with such a standard (although a tad too long here)  I will close this post with next in this series to delve into why blogging is perfect for me.

Look forward to your comments/questions.

Ruth

www.antiquesbyzaar.com

ruth@antiquesbyzaar.com

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