Designers Discuss Benefits of Networking, Community Organizations & Charity Events

"I think networking is incredibly important. To be informed about all aspects of the design community you must be involved with not only NKBA but also ASID, the Design Council, Chambers of Commerce, ICAA and vendor events. I also host ‘reunion parties’ in my showroom that include past clients, builders, architects, vendors and trade personnel.”

Bev Adams, president/founder/CEO

Interior Intuitions, Inc.

Denver, CO


"We market in many ways, but we do not pay for any of it. We use word of mouth and are active in the community, from youth soccer coaching to local AIA chapter roles. Houzz is a big source of new work for us. Local realtors are good for referrals, too. We also make use of AIA Austin Homes Tour, as well as publications in local and regional design and shelter magazines.”

Hugh Jefferson, owner

Randolph Architects

Austin, TX


"If your business is client centered, then creating relationships with your community is not only critical to your success, but is a concept that should drive everything you do. Anyone can join a local professional association or business group, but there are other ways that connect you with your community and network your business by saying, “I care.” Sponsoring baseball teams, using our showroom as an opportunity to host local fundraisers, using the local high school to offer internships and finding artists to display their work in our showroom and office are some that have helped my business grow.”

Tracy Martin, owner

Blue Lotus Kitchen & Bath Design

Pennington, NJ


"Business networking is vitally important to my business and its success. I have close work-related relationships with many builders in the area. When a client comes to these builders with a renovation or new home project, I am the first person they contact. I belong to the Charleston Home Builders Association and have built many valuable relationships with many of its members. I have also built a profile on Houzz and advertise monthly on the site. I am currently working on a house in Texas which is really exciting.”

Jodi Crosby, principal owner

Crosby Creations Drafting &

Design Svcs, LLC

Meggett, SC


"I have been involved in myriad community, not-for-profit, religious and international service organizations. It is imperative to convey the key element in joining a community organization and an individual’s involvement. Anyone can join any given organization. But what you give to that organization determines what you get back. If you seek to join an organization purely with the thought of gaining new business, I strongly suggest not joining. I have been involved in Rotary International for 24 years. Over those 24 years, I watched plenty of individuals join because they thought only of gaining business contacts as the single motivational factor. Without exception, everyone with that motive left short of one year. I am involved in my church as a council member and choir member. I have sat on advisory boards of public utility corporations. I am involved in my local community at the school system level and as a supporting member to the trustees.”

Robert A. Somrak Jr., CKD, v.p. operations

Somrak Kitchens, Inc.

Bedford Heights, OH


"We belong to the Chamber of Commerce and NHBA. Three years ago I wanted to find a way to let my clients and potential clients know that I really do care about the people I work for. Since 90 percent of my clientele are women between the ages of 25-64, breast cancer is an issue. I’ve had several women talk to me about their battles with the disease, or how their friend or family member has, or had, breast cancer. With this in mind, I created a program called ‘Cupcakes For Cancer.’ I put it on during a cooking show that is attended by about 1,000 women each year. I have raised around $4,000 for the American Cancer Society. I place myself in the midst of my clientele, raising money for something that is important to all women at an event that has nothing to do with construction. People remember that I wasn’t there touting my wares.”

Ron Lucas

R. Lucas Construction & Design

Columbus, GA


"I am involved with several organizations including Vistage, the YMCA and our local historical society. But don’t get involved expecting to get work out of it directly. People will spot you a mile away. Instead, we get involved to do some good and make some friends. We might make a donation, or help sponsor an event. When good people know you and think of you as a valuable asset first, you will have a great opportunity to grow your business eventually. Additionally, we donate cabinetry all over town to a woman’s shelter, the police station and the firehouse. The receiving organization often publishes a list of donors in a newsletter, or sometimes the local paper or news outlet will pick it up. Again, nothing comes out of it right away, but as we sow seeds of generosity, they always make their way back.”

Lance Stratton

Studio Stratton, Inc.

La Jolla, CA


"We are very involved in the community. We hold a chocolate and wine night for the Tiffany Circle, which is a women’s group within the Red Cross. We offer four seminars a year for the public entitled, “Ten Common Mistakes Made in Kitchen Remodeling.” Last year we hosted an event with the Make-A-Wish Foundation – “Women, Wine and Wishes” – where we raised $10,000, granting two wishes. We participate in two remodelers showcases each year, inviting the neighbors to an unveiling party. This year we are going to host a fundraising event for the Smile Network.”

Jolynn Johnson, president

Crystal Kitchen Center, Inc

Crystal, MN


"Networking is pretty important. We want to be considered a valued area business within our town. We belong to our local chamber of commerce and we often extend showroom hosting invitations to other chamber members. Local events and home improvement expos are valuable to us, as well.”

Rachel E.J. Peterson

Simply Baths & Showcase Kitchens

Monroe, CT