Scenes from the Supershow: Seminars Draw Crowds

Seminars have been a huge hit at KBIS 2014. Over the course of the three-day event, more than 80 speakers – representing all industry segments and every level of profession – are sharing their knowledge about everything from business management and sales/marketing to design and inspiration in the ‘Voices From The Industry’ Conference Series.

Laurie Knoll, River Oak Cabinetry & Design Inc. in Plainfield, IL, has attended up to three seminars each day. The main message she’s hearing… “be consistent. Whatever your goals, be consistent.”

On Wednesday she attended Meghan Murphy’s seminar about how to ‘Take Your Jobsites Viral Through Social Media.’ The designer and co-owner of Trilogy Kitchens in Arlington Heights, IL, led a dynamic discussion of attendees – some newbies to social media, others more advanced – in the art of navigating Houzz, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

She relayed how she uses each to build her brand. For example, she often creates Ideabooks for her clients on Houzz, then uploads images from jobsites she’s working on that may pertain to a particular client. “Maybe someone I’m working with is interested in a farmhouse sink,” she said. “If I’m working on a jobsite with a farmhouse sink, I can take a picture, then upload it into their Ideabook.”

Facebook is the easiest, friendliest way to communicate with clients, she related. “A lot of people use Facebook instead of a webpage because it’s cheap, i.e., free,” she said.

Facebook is a great way to show job progress, she indicated, adding that in today’s world of televised design shows clients can get a distorted view of how long projects actually take to complete. She also uses the site to give sneak peeks into projects. Just make sure to follow through and post regularly, she advised.

Twitter is also a useful tool for creating timelines for projects. “Sending tweets to your followers can really help them better understand what happens on a jobsite,” she said. Set a realistic timeframe to tweet about each jobsite, she suggested. For example, make a note to yourself to tweet every Monday morning.

Instagram and Vine are great platforms for sharing photos and videos. In the case of Vine, it’s all very short videos… just six seconds long. Murphy suggests taking photos and videos of interesting things that happen on a jobsite, then post them for your followers. For example, on one recent jobsite she shared with her followers the intricacies of moving a one-piece quartz countertop into her client’s home, posting a compilation of snippets to create an 18-second video.

While each platform has its benefits, in the end she suggests bringing whatever platform(s) you choose back to your website… and make it easy for your followers.

Later in the day, Lary Skow, Northern Contours, Inc., St. Paul, MN, took a step back in time, relaying how the past influences the present in his seminar about ‘The Evolution of Kitchens: History Repeats Itself.’ It took a while, he related, before modern design really moved into the kitchen.

Kitchens in the 1900s were basically just a place to prepare food without a fireplace, he noted. In the first half of the last century, people didn’t necessarily change their kitchens… living with what they had.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that kitchens became the most expensive room in the house. Open floor plans connected kitchens to the rest of the home and appliance improvements, including the microwave, became staples.

Moving through the decades towards current kitchens, islands and countertops became common for meal preparation and dining. Kitchens became the focal points of a home, and functional cabinets and interiors became more important.

Technology and innovation drives current design and kitchens are now the social gathering place. Designers are mixing textures and media. High gloss finishes are popular, as are waterfall countertops, floating shelves and horizontal grains.