angel 1….as we acknowledge International Women’s Day I thought I’d like to do so by way of sharing a rendition of a letter I originally sent to a long list of my “angels”, back in 2008.

HERE I serve to acknowledge, that which has grown exponentially for me, since that first writing in 08, the great value that I’ve been Gifted by MY Beautiful Women, and for which I am truly grateful. You all ROCK!

Some of you I call my family….my mother and mother in law, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts and cousins.

ruth and girls

 

Some of you are old friends from lives gone by… school chums from Kitchener and Winnipeg and from my years living overseas in Haiti, Thailand and Taiwan…and also from the 4 years in Ontario with my young and growing family.
Some of you are my “Maine” friends, where you’ve contributed to making it my home for 13 years….before my move to Maryland just over 3 years ago.

ruth and the gals 2

 

Some of you are my new “Eastern Shore” friends that I’ve met through church choir, the gym, or the Chesapeake Women’s Network.
Some of you are customers that have become more than that as we both took the chance and got personal.

Some of you are business owners, like myself, that I have met as a result of being out there doing my business.

Some of you I came to know through the business of raising and selling our golden retrievers.

ruth and gal pals good karma

asid hpdc
Some of you I’ve met through my membership with WITHIT and High Point Design Center.

Some of you I have been blessed to have as partners/support in my business at ZAAR.

 

Some of you are people that have simply come across my path and we have “connected”….be it by way of a blog, twitter, instagram and/or facebook.

ALL of you are women of substance.
ALL of you have touched my life in a way that you cannot know.
ALL of you have shared with me a part of you that I now call my own.

All of you have a Story.

All of you are Beautiful.
And ALL of you have given of yourself to me, and I now would like to give back, by, letting you know….

My life has been enriched by the force that comes from sharing with other women…..  And,what I know for sure is that the presence of each and every woman that has come into  my life has contributed towards my life moving forward.

And so, just this moment to say thank you…light poster

Thank you for being there.
Thank you for being who you are.
Thank you for the ear.
Thank you for your caring.
Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your encouragement and support..
Thank you for your gift of friendship.

Thank you for your sharing.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for adding to my “light”.

Thank you for opening my world to this wonderful “sisterhood” and becoming part of my Circle of Angels. I am so blessed.

ruth fb profileRuth

..because there is no better Gift I could give myself AND my business. End of Story. How’s that for a testimonial eh?

withit ruthThis is not the first time I have written about the value of attending a WITHIT event…  and in fact over the past 4 years I have in one form or another included a reflection, where I have been effusive about what I have garnered from attending a WITHIT sponsored event. Why? Because I get so juiced up about it and can’t stand other people not knowing about it/missing the opportunity.  

Seriously, aside from having High Point Market dates set in stone I also have the annual WITHIT leadership withit bannerconference, which takes place each August, and the WITHIT sponsored New York City inside design tour, which takes place each May, as solid don’t mess with my schedule dates, as they are booked!

Why? Well, I already stated that succinctly above, but more so, as my years in WITHIT grow in number so do the benefits that I reap as I embrace all that membership in this vital networking group has to offer, and there is no better way to get sold on the benefits of being a WITHIT member then by attending their leadership conferences. Talk about bang for your buck!

withit gals 2As with every WITHIT sponsored event it is done first class. Great venues. Inspiring speakers. Breakout sessions, round tables (of which I had the honor of moderating one a couple of years back), and loads of opportunities to start and foster friendships that simply grow organically as you take this time to be with what feels like a curated group of women that are your peers and subsequently your friend once you say hello.

Jena Hall, one of the founding members of WITHIT, implanted an image in my mind, during her presentation a couple of years back, that epitomizes my association with what  I’ve coined as my #withitgalpals….and that is of a string of women, on a stairwell if you will, each with her arms outstretched. Each is reaching up with her right arm as someone is there grasping it/ elevating her and with her other arm each is reaching down as she is elevating another. THAT in a nutshell is  what I feel about my experience at each and every gathering. We each have something to get and we each have something to give. Perfection! Need to create that actual image at next conference, don’t you think?

I write this on the cusp of the Spring 2014 High Point Furniture Market . I’ve been participating in the furniture market since 2004. My, how my Market experience has changed since those early days of coming here alone and working alone….

Here in 2014  am looking forward to sharing a house with 5 other women, all of whom I am honored to call my friends…or my withitgalpals, as we all indeed share membership in this group and how I met them all.  🙂

I look forward to attending the WITHIT sponsored events, including pre market kick off, Sunday breakfast and Competitive Intelligence,  where I can foster those budding relationships and spark new ones….and also be educated/inspired!

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I look forward to hosting my own Lunch n Learn on Sunday, where John Lusher will be speaking on Social Media for Interior Designers….John, who I initially “met” on twitter back in 2009 via fellow WITHIT members. I look forward to having, as I have had the pleasure of experiencing in Market’s past,  a bevy of WITHIT supporters attend said event. And I look forward to using this event as a platform to promote WITHIT to my guests. 

I similarly  look forward to supporting the many WITHIT members that have showrooms, are hosting events, seminars/lunches/parties and/or are launching product lines in various showrooms.  The list here is impressive and way too long to include here.

CRLaine_Logo_2012xxxI look forward to spending a fair bit of time in the CR Laine Showroom, where my Chinese antiques are working hand in hand to showcase the wonderful products put out by this NC based company. Their VP of merchandising, a WITHIT connection initially sparked on facebook and then fostered at Market breakfasts, has grown into a mutually satisfying trade partnership and friendship…simultaneously.

We are an impressive lot, if I do say so myself, and we are entrenched in the High Point Market at so many levels….to the point where High Point Market practically serves as another WITHIT sponsored event.

So, yes, quite abit to look forward to. What a great back drop with which to do business all the while, wouldn’t you say?

And you know where I will be May 16-19 and Aug 11-13.  Hope to  have the pleasure of seeing you in New York and Atlanta GA respectively as well.

In the meanwhile, a successful High Point Market to all.

Ruth

 

 

 

….we are here to Lift Up and to Be Lifted Up.  

I LOVE the image this evokes, don’t you? Thank you Jenna Hall for implanting this in my brain, during your address to withit logo squarethe WITHIT Conference attendees what is now 2 years ago. Will need to capture that image in real life…next WITHIT event 🙂

Seriously, we ALL have something to offer each other. Nobody has nothing to give. But we are all at different places in our lives, and it only takes a spark of a conversation for the door to open for such a beautiful transaction to occur where you either find yourself Giving or Getting….the real beauty in that you Get when you Give…this is not new news eh?.

withiti inside design

And what a beautiful thing to experience this first hand, full out, with a group of women, Gifting this to each other. This is what has been my experience this past 3 days in New York, as a participant of WITHIT’s Annual NYC Inside Design Tour….and it can be yours too. Yes, a plug for WITHIT’s Annual Conference right here.

It is my 4th year on the tour, and each tour I come away with the self same feeling of exuberance ,of being fully withit ruthrecharged/energized and just plain excited for the camaraderie that has been felt throughout the entire event, and this year is no different….why should it be?  All the ingredients for a fantastic experience are there.

The Venue/The  Planning Team

NYC as the “venue”. How can you go wrong there?

Hostesses Betty Lyn Eller, yes, our 2013 prez, and Jana Platina-Phipps (and committee of Deboarh Klein and Alicia Connolly)  care so  deeply about the experience they want the tour members to have and it shows. Each year simply builds on the year before.

The Doors We Were Welcomed Into

stiletto network bookThis year the weekend was launched with a cocktail party  in the to die for apartment of a client of Mary Knackstead, WITHIT member….and so much more,  topped off with a book signing of Stiletto Network by Pamela Rykman.

Other Doors?  Carpet Town, Baker, Crosby Street Hotel…all in Soho, Good Housekeeping Research Institute, Tinsel Trading, Global Views Showroom,  and Apartment Therapy …also a WITHIT member.

withit jana and betty lynThis is by no means a complete list…yes, we covered ALOT of ground…. of what we experienced this weekend…simply these are the places and people that hosted us,welcomed us, and fed us, ever so graciously….and on Sunday it was a group of drowned rats that came through each door….ending with a wonderful sit down dinner at the National Arts Club, thank you to WITHIT member/artist Barbara Krohn, for opening this door for us, topped off with a book signing by designer Celerie Kemble.

The Tour Members

As members of WITHIT, the one thing we all have in common is an affiliation to the Home Furnishings Industry. And under that umbrella there is a phenomenal  gambit of expertise, from all angles and spectrum s of the industry, which in and of itself is inspiring.

The other thing we all have in common is that we have each taken time out of our busy lives to come together for 3 days of “inspiration” as that is what we’ve been promised…ie, it better be worth it eh??? 🙂

withit good housekeeping

withit park gals

withit dinner

I don’t think I am out of line in saying that every single participant of the tour left NY with a glow…one that was garnered from a weekend that wasn’t only educational and inspirational from the well crafted and executed program, but was completed by the many exchanges that happened at the cocktail parties, lunches/dinners, and yes, walking from one event to the other.  We all left feeling like we had fed off of each other…feeling less alone, feeling understood,  supported, inspired and acknowledged….and more.

withit subway

stiletto network

Yes, WITHIT is definitely part of the “Stiletto Network”….and I am so thrilled to be part of what is a new and exciting movement that is sweeping the nation….of women, executed by women and not only for other women but for the world. As we join forces, helping each other UP, we are indeed changing the world.

Ruth

P.S. Want more pix of the WITHIT weekend in NYC ?  Check out the Pinterest Board where all are invited to post our fave pix.  Also, HERE are my pix on my personal Facebook page.