9.08.2014

JOIN ME SEPT 8TH-17TH FOR THE TOTAL WOMAN SUMMIT!

Are you ready to make the last 4 months of the year the best time of your life??
 (and can you believe we're already in September?!)


Well starting today, join me as Monique Brown of the Feminine Allure Academy presents the Total Woman Summit, an online conference designed to help you position yourself as the woman you've always wanted to become! Join 20 experts (YES, including, me, yours truly!) as we discuss the secrets to living a more fulfilling life in 5 key areas--Your Money, Your Health, Your Spirit, Your Castle, and Your Relationships. Every day for the next 10 days these nationally recognized experts will share their tips to help you create the home of your dreams, generate income by branding your expertise, find your purpose, cultivate your spirit and create inspiring relationships. 

Aaannnnnddd guess what??
We're doing all of this for FREE!!!

Beginning today, September 8th and running through September 17th, you'll be able to log on and hear from some of your favorite entrepreneurs, bloggers and life coaches who have been featured on ABC's Nightline, The Dr. Oz Show, Essence, Forbes, Marie Claire, Fast Company, Black Enterprise, HLN, MTV, Instyle and more. The Feminine Allure Academy has created a virtual experience to expose you to new opportunities that you may have forgotten are even possible for you! 


The Total Woman Summit is for you if:
-you want to learn specific tactics to create a fulfilling life
-you know there's more out there for you but don't know where to begin
-you're ready to set your house in order--literally & financially--to alter the trajectory of your life

I'd love to spill the beans about my talk on creating the home of your dreams buuutttt.....of course you know you'll have to sign up for that!! ;-)

I'm so excited to extend an invitation to you for this exciting event!!
Click here to grab your FREE seat--I'll see you there! 

6.25.2014

BEFORE & AFTER: MY ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL WHITE BOX DESIGN CHALLENGE REVEALED!

BEFORE:



AFTER:





The 2014 "Watch List" event hosted by brothers Kent & Kevin Rathbun was an inaugural event for ADAC, the Atlanta design center, as well as the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

It was, by all accounts, also a smashing success. 

10 Atlanta designers were each tasked with taking a blank, 10x10 space and creating magic in which attendees, chefs & mixologists could mingle about for a 3 hour food & wine feast. 

These, without a doubt, are the kind of opportunities that designers love because they free us up to do what we love most--design and create with the sky as the limit. There were a few stipulations--furniture had to come from the design center (ADAC), ceilings & ductwork couldn't be painted, and the space had to go back to it's original state by Monday morning at 10am (paint, furniture and all!), but other than that...we were off to the races. 

I decided early on that I wanted my space to be dramatic and took my design cues from the furniture I was able to borrow. We could create any kind of space we wanted (lounge, dining area, living space, prep space) but what you designed ultimately depended on the availability of of your required pieces. Since I haven't had a chance to go all out on a dining room just yet (excluding a current project!), I had my heart set on creating a dining room vignette. I knew I wanted to start with a bold wall design as a focal point and then build the space in layers. I was originally saving this graphic pattern to use on my own office walls but with the soaring ceiling, the event space ended up being the PERFECT place to highlight this design! I shared sneak peeks on Instagram and Facebook and pretty much had everyone fooled when I posted this pic...



During install, people were so confused when they walked by my space and saw that it had later been painted white like, "Wait--wasn't this space black before??".

Oohhh...just wait...

(lots of paint from my friends at Sherwin Williams!)

The first piece I fell in love with were the pair of Teak chairs from Martin Nash. The chairs weigh a TON, but they are so breathtaking in person..they're like pieces of art.  The Edies rug from Kravet and the gold accented Swaim dining table from Robert Allen became the foundation for my dining space and were accented by the tufted leather Baker dining chairs with chrome nailhead trim. The oversized Tangled pendant from Signature Piecez was custom finished in Ebony to match my decor and was a huge hit for my space...I love it so much I'm thinking about replacing my current chandelier with it!
Finding the right art piece for this space--one that had the right look AND wouldn't be too heavy for the walls which was a major concern) was a chore but I found perfection at Beau Holland Studio in a metal, oversized elephant piece. The space was finished with Arbor Vitae trees & planters from a local nursery plus my favorite Kravet Cross stool (in citron velvet, no less!) and sculptural brass wall art from Baker.  

For the tablescape I combined a mix of my own collection plus vintage & retail finds to reflect a table that echoes the colors reflected in the rug (if I had to choose my favorite colors, without a doubt they'd be black, white & gold). If there's one thing I love, it's a beautifully styled eclectic tablescape. I took a chance & tried my hand at creating a large centerpiece to anchor the table and...I think it turned out pretty well!!



The Rillette of Rib Eye (imagine a pâté made of rib eye steak!) prepared by "my" chef, Jared Ralls of La Boca  restaurant in New Orleans, was by far one of the most praised dishes of the night...so tasty that I went back for thirds. 
And the party?? 
Oh, yeah....that was fun, too. 


Patrón on tap!!! 


Can't wait for next year!

5.19.2014

ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL 2014: RATHBUNS' WATCH LIST EVENT


Every Spring Atlanta welcomes the Atlanta Food & Wine festival to the city with 4 days & nights of delicious food, a line up of incredible new chefs (and old favorites) plus a jam-packed schedule of some amazing culinary classes. This year Atlanta chef Kevin Rathbun & his brother, Kent Rathbun (Texas), are hosting an evening of "food, drink, music & fabulous decor" with the "Rathbun's Watch List"--an ADAC-hosted Saturday night event that pairs rising stars in the design industry with emerging stars in the food industry to celebrate "the next generation of Southern tastemakers".

I love that last line...and it's pretty cool that I'm considered to be a "tastemaker", too!

So here's the skinny--I've been paired with Chef Jared Ralls from New Orleans and I'm charged with designing a 10x10 space which is a total blank slate as of now. My team can do anything except permanently change the floors, make structural alterations to the walls or exceed my given spatial allotment. The idea is for attendees to move around the event space and experience each vignette so if tablescapes are tackled, they've asked us not to make them so formal that people think they are expected to sit down for a bite. The room has to return to it's original look by 12pm on Monday so there are also some time constraints with regard to load out, but I'm SO excited about this opportunity! I had to cross my initial idea off of the list because it seemed like too big of an undertaking--I have a tendency to start HUGE and have to scale back--but I've got another plan in mind & up my sleeve....can't wait to share the "after" pics!

So it you're in Atlanta, joint me on Saturday, May 31 from 7pm-9pm at ADAC for what's sure to be a fun & magical evening. If you stop by please find me and say "hello!".

Xo,
D

5.14.2014

DAYKA ROBINSON+ ATLANTA HOMES & LIFESTYLES 2014 "15 UNDER 40" LIST


Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 
+
the annual "15 Under 40 " list
+
Me.

That's quite a combination, right?


I got an email back in February from Elizabeth Ralls, the EIC of AHL back in February informing me of my selection to this year's "15 Under 40" list and was utterly blown away. I still remember exactly where I was when I read the email (like, 5 times in a row) and how it felt. 
Have you ever experienced a moment of sheer joy? 
Like the kind where you can feel the chemistry in your body just shift in an instant?

That's what it felt like.
And for some this may be nothing more than another notch in the belt of successful business ownership, but for me it's a lesson in faith, focus, passion and drive. 4 years ago I had this list pinned on a bulletin board in my office and it was something that became a goal of mine for a long time...almost like I was trying to figure out how to get on the list. And after 2 years of constantly looking at it as I worked, I took it down and stored it away, because I realized that I wanted it to be about the work for me, not the end goal, and that--while making the list would be fantastic--not making the list didn't mean that my work wasn't good or I didn't have any validity as a designer. So I set off focusing on the other stuff...making a life I love, creating a business I enjoy, and totally forgot about that list at all.

Until that glorious day in February.
And then I did the Nae Nae.

The magazine is out this month in the May 2014 issue of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles...


along with a feature on the AHL blog (found here) detailing how I got my start as a designer & the secrets behind my successful blog...I couldn't be prouder.


So to all of my fellow entrepreneurs, the best advice I can give you is this:
Keep working, and stay focused on doing what you love the most and not the accolade that comes with it.  Keep your head down, don't focus on anyone else's business but your own, and just go, go, GO! I just celebrated 3 years in business this past November and what I know for sure is that if God will do it for me, He'll do it for anyone. 

Fist pumps and jazz hands for everyone!

4.10.2014

DESIGN CONFIDENTIAL: HOW TO ATTRACT THE CLIENTS YOU WANT


Attracting your ideal client won't ensure your business will be a raving success, but constantly working with "your people" is one of the best ways to position yourself FOR success.
If you're feeling creatively stuck as a designer (or ANY creative artist), one of the first things you should assess is whether you're really working with your targeted crowd...because nothing will suck the life outta you like an "un-ideal" client (that sounds much nicer than calling them "bad", right?). An ideal client is to a creative like a weave is to Beyonce...you can still have a business without it, but it doesn't quite have the same spirit. (Get my drift?) 

HERE'S WHY (AND HOW) TO ATTRACT THE CLIENTS YOU WANT

1. Figure out who they are. I mean really sit down and figure it out. People always crack up at me because I can easily run off the demographics of my current client base (income, ethnicity, family size, education, location, age, marital status)--one thing you can be assured of, I know who my people are, and I know who I want to work with. Simply saying that you want to work with "people with money" might be the obvious choice but it isn't enough, plus...it cheapens you as a creative. Do you REALLY want to work with just anyone who throws a stack of money in your lap? I know I don't. I like clients with great energy & an appreciation of great style (fashion, makeup, hair, architecture, Interior Design, etc) who like to like to push past their boundaries and are confident in their selection of me as their designer not because I'm the cheapest, but because they want to work with me specifically. I like clients who want to take chances but hire me because they love my aesthetic and are not quite sure HOW to make the right choices in their decor. Simply having a big wallet just isn't enough.
As a creative, there are certain jobs you shouldn't take on and in order to be clear about which jobs to turn down, you have to identify your tribe. 

2. Know who YOU are. Wait a minute--are YOU even clear about what you're doing (or what service you're providing)?? If not, this is square one. Make sure you're clear about who you are as a brand & business owner and can clearly communicate your "who-ness" to others verbally (or if you wanna get all business lingo technical, it's known as your USP--unique selling proposition). If you're not sure about what & who you are, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize your people aren't going to be sure either.
And if they're not sure, they won't hire you. 

3. Create your highest standard (like attracts like). Look for opportunities to do the work you want to be doing now--no matter where you are in your business--and create according to your standard. I recognize that this isn't always easy, especially if you have a taste for fine linen, custom drapery from the finest silks and 100% wool carpeting with a $1000 budget, but you can always start somewhere. Use your home as a canvas. Create smaller vignettes that articulate your style. Imagine that you're working with your ideal client--what would you create for them? Even if it's nothing other than a case study or concept board, create like you're already where you want to be. After all...everyone knows that the fastest way to get what you want is to BE what you want.
And like Ray Kinsella said in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come."
So get to building!

4. Be consistent.  Quality control, quality control, quality control! Be sure that the work you present to the world represents the kind of work you actually want to be doing in your business...all the time. If French Country isn't your thing but you happen to have taken on a few of those projects, don't share those images (or even pay for professional photography) on your website or social media accounts. A client would rather see one stellar project that represents the kind of work you're passionate about on your website versus 40 photos of a mix of styles that will confuse them about who you are and what your area of expertise is (besides taking the first check that comes along!). If you're a budding photographer and only 3 of your last 20 photo shoots met your expectations, only share the 3 you love and share those projects until the wheels fall off!
Again, when you're consistently communicating who you are and who you want to be in business, you make it easier for the people who are looking for YOUR area of expertise to find you.

5. Ask for what you want. If you want a certain type of client, ask for them! I don't mean beg and plead in their face, but when you're networking and sharing about your business, speak with confidence about who you want to work with. When you run across your ideal client in your daily travels, communicate your desire to work with them and share not only how you can be of assistance to them but why/how your business or product would be a great fit for their project (or a project you can create).
You have not, because you ask not...sometimes it really is that simple.

Are you working with you ideal clients? 
Have any advice to share?
If so, please chime in below!

image via

4.04.2014

BABIES LOVE MOD! A MODERN NURSERY DESIGN IN BLACK & WHITE...



My roommate-road dawg-goeverywhereanddoeverythingtogether-BFF from my days at Spelman College just had a baby 6 weeks ago and I was thrilled when I found out she was pregnant! Waiting to find out the sex of the baby was kind of like torture, but when I found out she was having a boy I was over the moon to know that there'd soon be one more cute little boy walking this earth with an intelligent, classy, fun & very stylish gal as his mama (and that his mama also has a friend like me? Double bonus)!

Thankfully I have a group of pretty stylish friends and as such, SpelmanBFF would NEVER even consider using novelty bedding/accessories for her baby-man's new home. She gave me a few inspiration images but overall, told me to have at it. 
And that I did. 

Her nursery is about 9x9 and had some distinct challenges including window & door placements. She planned to maximize the use of her closet but wanted a dresser as well as a changing table, a place to sing baby-man all the little lullubys his heart can handle PLUS a place for guests to sleep. In the end we had to nix the sleeping area (after all, the priority IS the baby!) but still came up with a plan that's modern, graphic & sophisticated. 

The plan was to keep the walls white (my favorite is Alabaster by Sherwin Williams) and paint a huge 4' vertical black stripe directly behind the crib. Color & visual interest, but not what you'd expect in a boy's nursery. Anchoring the stripe are 3 images from her baby-man's newborn photography session enlarged to encompass the width of the wall. Directly opposite the crib sits the Ikea Hemnes dresser which, when equipped with a changing pad, also does double duty as a changing table. The ambient lighting (which plugs into the wall) is positionable and when pointed in the right position (like against a wall) also acts as dim lighting for late night/early morning feedings in her modern, Poang leather rocking chair. The dresser wall is anchored with a mix of prints (some custom, some stock) from my favorite Etsy artists and the room is finished off with semi-custom ombre drapery and a large black drum pendant. 

Now how's that for a modern & stylish baby-man cave??

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