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Exclusive Million Dollar Listing Lifestyle Experience

Million dollar listings seem to be far more frequent in today’s national real estate marketplace. Each listing, especially in certain parts of the country, requires a unique approach to market the listing to the industry and affluent buyers. It is essential to differientiate it from the other multi-million dollar listings vying for buyers.

Establishing this competitive advantage is where Yvette Craddock Designs excels.

The real estate market typically hosts exclusive Broker’s Opens that brokers, agents and other influential industry affiliates attend. Some times as few as five people show up. An open that attracts about 50 guests is considered very successful. On April 5, 2017, over 300 brokers, agents and industry affiliate partners attended the invitation-only Paradise Valley lifestyle experience.

As we see in the retail environment, what worked before no longer is sustainable for any industry. In order to reach today’s busy and fragmented target customer, new approaches to reaching their minds and hearts are necessary.  The manner in which people buy homes, furniture, source financing as well as other products and services is more word-of-mouth, by referral and in unexpected places. That is exactly what this experience accomplished.

Design

Design is always a creative advantage. We designed collateral that marketed both the house and the event. We carried this aesthetic throughout all visual and written communication. We designed a series of evites, social media banners, a web site, posters, programs and brochures. I also designed and implemented a pre- and post-event social media campaign. A targeted public relations campaign garnered the two interviews below.

Sponsorship 

A curated list of sponsors were approached about participating in the event to showcase their products and services to the influential invitation-only list. Sponsors were able to provide drawing items in addition to adding marketing inserts in swag bags that attendees received at the end of the evening.

Experience

Everything I design has a multi-sensory element. This philosophy carried over to the event with the perfect mood music, food prepared by a chef on-site (a first in the market), lighting, furniture and overall ambiance. The environment was upscale yet warm, approachable and facilitated  valuable networking between the guests.

Here are some of the highlights from the event:

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NBC12 interview can be watched here.

If you would like an award-winning experience for your listing, business or social event, contact us today!

Photography compliments of Simon Photographic.

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Don’t Call it a Gala if it is a Picnic

Recently a former client demanded that I label their inaugural event a gala. I wouldn’t.

The event that they sought out my expertise to design was an introduction to their non-profit. A celebration of their one-year anniversary that coincided with the upcoming launch of their new performance season. The event’s purpose was to enrich existing fan relationships, establish connections with new audiences and to facilitate intimate dialogue with all attendees. At the eleventh hour, they demanded that I label their inaugural event a gala when it was an early evening introductory showcase with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. That demand ended the relationship. Let me inform you of why it did so that you do not repeat the same mistake.

A gala is typically reserved for the black-tie circuit. The type of grandiose fundraising balls held at five-star resorts with ticket prices ranging from several hundred to a few thousand per person and purchases by table. The type of affair that society’s upper echelon attend in their finest gowns, tuxedos and jewels.

Ironically, this demographic group comprises the organization’s target audience of desired patrons. These society members would probably scoff at the idea that a gathering was marketed as a gala especially given the unknown brand, leadership, location and ticket price. The improper event description diminishes the organization’s credibility as well as mine. By the way, people will not attend a misrepresented event.

This lesson is one to heed along with these other event description pointers:

  • An event goal and budget will determine the type of event. The type of event will establish a theme and structure. The structure will generate a timeline. All of these elements are packaged to present the event and its intended purpose.
  • If it is first-time event, it is an inaugural affair and should not contain first annual in its description. This detail applies to galas, awards programs and events intended to become annual traditions.
  • If it is a gathering the set-up is more informal. This includes happy hours, potlucks, picnics and spontaneous social meet-ups.
  • A fundraiser is expected to benefit a legitimate 501(c)(3) organization or serves the purpose of political pursuits. If you are invited to a fundraiser, please expect to make an investment and dress according to the stated code.
  • Festivals, retreats, showcases and screenings are events that generally are as transparent as they sound and provide detailed instructions pertaining to attendance and participation.
  • Celebrations generally implies contributing some type of gift. Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and graduations all fit in this category. An emerging trend is to hold celebration of life events over funerals.

Ideas of grandeur can taint our vision from time to time. However, when it comes to events, it is wise to remember that they are an increasingly essential brand extension. An appropriate description of your event is appropriate and necessary; especially if you want to gain or increase your organization’s credibility.

Arizona Cocktail Week, CCAP and Nine Degrees North Hospitality

It was a blast! The 2017 Arizona Cocktail Week nestled in a hip, mid-century modern boutique hotel shrouded in pal trees, grass and flowers in Scottsdale, AZ. This was my first time at the event, now in its sixth year, enjoying new friendships, learning about new liquors and hearing stories from people in the libations and food industry from around the world.

My involvement was primarily to serve as a Careers in Culinary Arts Program (C~CAP)  volunteer.  Richard Grausman founded this national non-profit organization in New York in 1990. It provides disadvantaged youth job training programs in the culinary industry. The Phoenix Chapter encompasses the entire state of Arizona. In 2017, they awarded over $400,000 in scholarships to qualifying students. The youth learn valuable life and job skills such as time management, personal accountability, team work and critical thinking skills.

C-CAP Arizona’s official training kitchen is housed in Chef Billy Sims’ Nine Degrees North Catering location.

Learn more about Arizona Cocktail Week and C-CAP through the links above. In the meantime, enjoy some of the event highlights.

 

 

 

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10 Ways to Remix Your Boring Event

The new year celebrations are long gone, but there is a full year of other events to come. Much like an annual celebration of New Year’s Eve, other annual events can become boring quickly. If you plan or manage an annual event, you might be taken aback to discover that more than likely your event has become boring.

Boring events happen by choosing the same routine year-end and year-out including the venue, set up, color scheme, food and the same ol’ everything. The first year was good, but years two, three and four could have been cancelled. When something is perceived as a success, oftentimes the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality governs the day. This formulaic mindset is ideal for repetitive business functions, however; it is not so fabulous for social, professional association and corporate occasions. When it “ain’t broke” is the perfect time to remix it.

Four tangible signs of an event losing its beat include 1) a decline in guest R.S.V.P.’s, 2) reduction in time spent, 3) deviations from the dress code (usually more casual than previous times) and 4) decreasing enthusiasm during the festivities.

We all appreciate the predictability of routine. However, when it comes time to learn, network or celebrate; diverging from the norm is an ideal platform for a new experience. The world evolves. Dynamics change. Styles shift. Let your event, even one steeped in tradition, breathe in new ideas and perspectives that synthesize a rhythm that is alluring to guests. Humans love surprise and delight with glittering sounds and mesmerizing lights.

Here is my 10-point list of considerations to facilitate the creation of something new, fun and meaningful:

  1. Are you really ready for a change? Be honest with yourself and any participating team members. Even those with the best intentions can easily revert to the same routine out of fear or lack of imagination. Those are temporary moments. If you work through the trepidation and embrace the opportunity with positive energy and enthusiasm, you will experience a creative adventure.
  2. Is your timetable realistic? Time is an event planner’s friend. It avails you the chance to brainstorm or daydream with freedom and affords you the convenience of clarity. The amount of time devoted to an event reveals itself in the presence or absence of difference-making details that show up in the final performance. If the event involves numerous logistical details and hundreds to thousands of people, a solid nine months to one year is ideal.
  3. Is the budget realistic? Last year’s line item isn’t necessarily this year’s number. Every year, it seems like everything we buy has an upward price adjustment. If your guest list and event goals expand, then is it realistic for your budget to reflect those expansions. Establish a realistic budget with these two pointers in mind and add a 20% buffer to that number.
  4. This again? Sometimes tradition may need to hold sway to a needed update. Open up to some new ways to accomplish the celebration of job performances, build teams, launch new products/services/processes, announce mergers or acquisitions, roll out a new location or coronate new alliances. People love the thrill of the surprise so be the one to give it to them.
  5. Are you reheating the food? Most households fall into a meal trap, i.e. the same meals served weekly. Resist the temptation to transfer home habits to event planning. Events are an ideal environment in which to explore new tastes. Let the experts imagine some new menu mashups for your group.
  6. Is the venue programmed in the GPS? We can all attest to how comforting familiar locations and even seating arrangements are especially in group settings. Nonetheless, if the same space is on replay, it is time to stretch the boundaries. Sure, there are limitations to the number of venues that can accommodate certain group sizes, room arrangements and food and beverage. Even if you have no other choice but the same location, try a new room configuration. Room configurations are silent partners in setting the flow of the experience. You can create the feeling of a new venue by selecting new surfaces, table styles (round versus rectangle), and configuration flows (continuous U’s versus individual rounds).
  7. Is the plastic still on the furniture? Room décor is a visual trap that, when corrected, is instrumental in transforming an event’s energy. Imagine people walking in to the space gasping for air with excitement. Rental companies have many new furniture and accessory options available that will literally rock a room.
  8. Are the same resources contracted? Resources include music playlists, presenters, performers, themes, topics and timelines. It is natural to gravitate toward favorite and reliable resources. However, it is completely acceptable and becomes necessary to seek out and vet new sources of expertise. The key is to keep an open mind and have fun meeting new people who can help you produce an original event.
  9. Does the event happen at the same time? Perhaps you can put a twist on an event by changing the time of day and even the season. Turn dinner into breakfast or bring breakfast to dinner. Spring into fall or bring summer to winter. Shifting speeds can generate fresh experiences.
  10. Are we engaging the senses? An event with food and high-top tables in a large empty hall leaves plenty of room for lots of creativity and sensory engagement. The most successful events engage all the senses. If you want a memorable gathering, include an element that touches each sense to mix magic.

Once you evaluate these considerations, you and any team members are on your way to remixing an event of any genre.

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Modern Holiday Tree Vignettes

It’s that time of year that you have unspoken permission to decorate in excess. For those with a modern aesthetic, there are many new fun options to select from to create an entire space or vignettes that reflect your individual interpretation of the holidays. For some reason (perhaps because I’m a tree hugger), trees grab my attention first.

Abstract designs that symbolize the holiday season are my favorite.  While sourcing decor for client events, these pieces popped off the shelf.  Their charm and modern design appeal inspired my modern holiday tree and winter tablescapes/vignettes below.

My intention is that these modern holiday trees and accessorized vignettes will inspire you for some of your upcoming celebrations or just make you feel warm and fuzzy with glee. Oh, I threw in a transitional rustic vignette for you as well. Enjoy!

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10 Tips for Behaving Like a Gracious Guest

The tables are set with beautiful centerpieces, the candles are lit, a welcome drink is awaiting you at the door and the music is pulsing with the party beat. The thrill of walking into a party still makes people’s heart beat.

Invitations to personal or business events connote an element of importance, favor and acceptance. In today’s lax environment of anything goes behavior, it is my belief that we could all benefit from a refresher on showing more appreciation and respect for invitations and to possibly relearn how to be a gracious guest.

Here are my tips for behaving as a gracious guest:

1.      Most invitations contain a  R.S.V.P. which is a French phrase, “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.”  A final guest count is important for a host for numerous reasons. These include:

a)   Responding to a caterer for food count.Whether the caterer is on-site or the host orders and picks up from a restaurant, both will require a final count to accommodate preparation timelines and to confirm the host’s food costs. An on-site caterer will need time to secure an adequate staff to facilitate the planning, set-up, presentation, management and clean-up of food. This process requires a lot of work and organization. Additionally, most caterers will quote a price based upon a start and end time. If the timeframe is extended due to a variety of reasons, the host may have to pay them more.

b)   Responding to a bartending service firm for staff and/or purchasing enough alcohol and/or non-alcoholic beverages to accommodate the guests.

c) Adhering to a venue’s maximum capacity as set by local law.

As you can ascertain, these three factors alone require planning and coordination. It is less stressful for the host, if a planner is not hired, to avoid having to make lots of last minute adjustments due to a lack of timely R.S.V.P.’s. Besides that, hosts and guests want to keep the party fresh and alive with plenty of food and libations for all.

Conversely, if you R.S.V.P., it is completely acceptable to inform your host that your availability has changed and you will not be able to attend. We all know the feeling of anticipating guests and then not seeing them.

2.      Rentals. At times, it is necessary to rent tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, etc. If that is the case, then the host will need an accurate attendance count for the rental company so that they can fulfill the order as needed.

3.      Dress appropriately to honor your host, yourself and the venue. It is a matter of courtesy and respect. Once you R.S.V.P., you are a participant who agrees to partake in the host’s planned festivities. Have some fun and make some fun (please see tips five and six).

4.      Bring a gift. Like a R.S.V.P., a  gift is a gesture of gratitude. A gift does not have to be expensive. Something relevant and thoughtful is ideal.

5.      Avoid overindulgence. Yes, the memo on this topic is still is either unknown or ignored. Please be conscious of the amount of food and especially alcoholic beverages you and your guest(s) consume. A free (open) bar is not a license to overindulge to the point of behaving belligerently including acting aggressively and slurring words. I have seen grown adults lose their bodily functions at professional events and it is never a shining moment for them or the host. Please demonstrate some discipline while at celebrations.

6.      Act responsibly. This includes not damaging the venue, whether it is an employer’s private residence or a local venue. It also includes socializing with the other guests and participating in the fun.

7.     Adhere to food etiquette. Do not put your hands in a platter of buffet food, stand over a buffet and begin eating, take multiple helpings prior to fellow guests receiving their first, use multiple plates when one will do, ask for containers to take food home in or stuff food into pockets or purses. This is disturbing behavior that I see at nearly every event. This is not your personal meal or kitchen space. The food is accounted for and set for numerous people to enjoy. I have also seen a brazen, arrogant guest put their fingers in a pan of cooking food at chef-attended private functions. This behavior is disgusting and inappropriate. Let’s stop being so self-focused and show some respect for everyone, starting with yourself.

8.      Do not hover over or block pathways of chefs, caterers or other staff that are in the process of setting up food. Wait away from the area for the set-up to finish. Then wait for announcement that dinner is ready for everyone.

9.      Clean-up your area. Even though staff are usually at an event to help with clean up, it is completely acceptable to take a moment to clean up your personal area and gather your plates, napkins and cups for disposal. If you dining with china, await the staff to gather your plates and silverware. There is a system for collecting dishware and disposing of food.

10.  Thank you host upon leaving and mail a personal note of thanks. In your note, you can mention some of the event highlights for you and your guest(s) as a wonderful way to further build your relationship with the host and share happy memories.

Events are meant for everyone’s enjoyment. When we all do our part to behave like gracious guests, then more fun is typically had by all. When you host an event, you’ll appreciate your guests abiding by these same tips.

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Modern Monday: Grey + Brass

Modern Monday features geometric lighting that makes an artistic and metallic statement in one configuration. Notice the monochromatic paint on the ceiling and walls. This room is a reminder that functional items can easily serve multiple roles in your space.

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Tabletop Tuesday – Black + White Pop Art

Tabletop Tuesday features this black and white place setting with a mix of geometric shapes, diagonal lines, modern flatware and black glassware. The pink flowers in a white vase pop off this black linen. The presentation is like a canvas of dynamic pop art.

Beauty is the perfect start to a delicious meal. Decorate boldly. Eat consciously.

 

Wallpapers’ Bold Floral Bouquets Fused with Fashion

As the season transitions to colder temperatures and stems retract into the soil, our thirst for vibrant arrangements of luscious flowers seems to intensify. Our affinity for year-round blooms is represented in the latest designs featured in both the interior and fashion industries.

A bold, big floral bouquet creates its own vocabulary of style, vibrant color and shapes. The most interesting seem to meander without formal structure or symmetry. These same floral arrangement patterns transfer to the latest floral wallpaper motifs. As a beauty bonus, this blog coordinates wallpaper with fall fashion.Plus you will learn how to decorate your space with a feature floral wall.

Monochromatic Wallpaper Bouquets

A monochromatic color pattern features one dominant color and can include derivatives and close complements to that color. Most floral wallpaper motifs include one bold flower or repetitious prints, literal and abstract, of a small bouquet. Roses and poppies are common preferences on a white background. Monochromatic themes allow you to easily repeat the patterns in upholstery on a chair, pillows or drapes.

 

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Pastel Wallpaper Bouquets

Another option to incorporate a bold pattern is to soften the palette. In these examples, one type of flower is repeated in a large scale image and the others are a series of smaller flowers presented in fresh, contemporary watercolors. The end result is both striking and easy on the eyes. If you incorporate pastel floral wallpaper, you can extract the most prominent color for foundational pieces such as sofas, loveseats, chaises or rugs to create some balance.

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Assorted Jewel-Tone Wallpaper Bouquets

Vibrant colors are the cold season’s antidote for sunny, happy days. These jewel-toned floral bouquets designs will make your walls sing with bold strokes of color in an array of exotic flowers. The following wallpaper images dance with unstructured bouquets filled with pink, fuschia, azure, orange and red with luscious lime and avocado colored leaves. These types of statement prints pair well with solid colored furniture with smooth lines upholstered in velvet, suede, cotton and other tightly woven textiles.

floral walls Dolce & Gabbana dress

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Dark Color Wallpaper Bouquets

In tandem with the black wall trend, black serves as the canvas for contemporary arrangement selections of tulips, roses, poppies and more along with designs reminiscent Renaissance era floral paintings. Black with pinks and reds seem to be the most prevalent motifs. The contrasts will make metallic accessories in lighting, accessories and furniture hardware really pop. You can also just repeat black in your furniture and leave the patterns to the walls and rugs.

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The rules for living a distinctive modern life continue to adapt to people’s desire to customize every inch of their spaces.

Remember, if you can’t match your drapes, you can now match your wallpaper.

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New + Next: Custom Tabletop Design Services

A beautifully decorated table is the foundation for celebrating friends and family over delicious food and libations. Even though every meal is an opportunity to surround yourself in beauty, the holiday season is perfect for time for showcasing a sensational table.

It is as easy as commissioning me to create a custom setting.

I can create designs utilizing your dinnerware, flatware, serviceware and glassware or I can bring in a completely new ensemble with accessories customized to your casual or formal tastes.

Let’s begin the process to reserve your commissioned table design today. It’s easy, just click here. Inquire about multiple event packages.

Remember, that chef led meals and custom menus with service staff are also a part of my cultured, culinary experiences services.

NEXT!

Please follow and like my profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see my original tabletop design ideas every Tuesday for Tabletop Tuesday. The image below kicks off the campaign.

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