I hope that this segment helps with any questions you had about napkin etiquette.  Remember, any action during any function, always look to the host to lead the way and follow their lead. That way, you can’t go wrong !

Stayed tuned for more Etiquette Tips for your table. Next blog will be about napkins, but the many ways they’re folded and presented in a table setting.

CG

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Fashion Meets Partie Tables

Who would’ve ever thought that fashion influences the world of table linens ? We don’t realize it, but fashion can help us open our minds when it comes to many of things, including decorating our homes and our own parties. Let’s take a look at the easiest example. Most formal gowns have something different that makes each one unique & noticeable. The dress below shows a fabric pattern of a raised flower (rose) outlined in the pattern itself.

Not only does the pattern catch your eye, it helps to create a feminine, elegant look that makes a definite fashion statement. Notice that the pattern is not too overbearing, but just enough to stand apart from other dresses. And the soft pink color helps to keep the pattern from being too “much.” Add a darker, brighter pink sash with a rose accent the same size as the dress’ rose ribbons and you’ve definitely created a style of your own.Now, let’s take a look at examples of the same flower pattern, but in a situation with home decor.

This plum rosette throw pillow not only adds color to this peacock themed decor, but it adds much needed texture to a somewhat flat color scheme. Not only that, the throw pillow adds a touch of femininity without being too girly and the chocolate sueded couch adds a bit of earthiness so that the rich colors of the plum, teal and blue add “pop” to the decor of the couch. This is a great example of how fashion’s influence can add just enough accent to make a statement.

This next example is definitely more for the feminine themed decor.

White lampshade w/rosette accent border

This cute Rosette Hayworth Lamp from Pier 1 Imports is a great example how fashion can influence even a small fragment of decor. The rosettes are merely an accent edge around the lamp that gives it just enough texture to add to the decor of a room and not seem as if you might be going a bit too far with it. And the softer ivory roses are a delicate touch without seeming too obvious that it’s lending itself to be more feminine in decor style. : )

Now, all this talk about decor would not be complete without showing an example of how table linens are also affected by fashion.

Clearly this beautiful satin rosette tablecloth shown here in a warm, dark silver is the epitome of clean style with a feminine twist. Obviously, this elegant design sets itself apart from all other designs and makes a bold statement instead of just lying flat on the table. This tablecloth not only provides color to the table, but it provides the texture necessary to create a certain look and feel to the event, as well as the room itself. This is increasingly becoming a popular product and shows promise by moving in a “classy” direction, utilizing warmer tones of the color wheel, instead of trying to trivialize the design by saturating colors such as lime, fuchsia, and sometimes purple. Clean, simple design is often better than going over the top…it’s stated and it’s just the right touch of class !

Funny how this went from a simple, but elegant formal dress to a rosette pillow, rosette bordered lampshade and now a tablecloth. Who would’ve ever thought that a dress could have such an effect on what someone places on their table ?! Sometimes, all it takes is opening your eyes to the world around you and realizing that everything is influenced and connected by each other.

When one person’s idea of fashion meets up with another person’s idea of fashion, you would be surprised at how similar they are and how there is a common “thread” that will always run between them…this is, for me, where fashion meets partie linens.

CG

Copyright Life of the Partie, 2011

The Fine Art of Customer Service

Even though this is my FIRST blog post, I’m addressing an issue that has come up in conversations and my daily dealings whether personal or through others. I feel I need to discuss it from all levels and offer some sound advice.

Have you ever been a “victim” of bad customer service or just the absence of no customer service ? I’m sure all of us have at one time or another and you probably thought that bringing it to anyone’s attention would do absolutely no good. Now, I’m about to jump right up on that soap box because this is a pet peeve I have that I refuse to get rid of. Even more so that I’m a business owner and care about my clients and their happiness.

According to Wikipedia’s definition: “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation. From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization’s ability to generate income and revenue.[3] From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement. A customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer has of the organization.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this definition and all aspects of it. To a business owner, sales associate, customer/client, this is one of the main reasons people will return to a business…the presence of customer service. In fact, studies show that customers/clients are willing to pay 13% more for a product or service if there is the presence of good customer service. This is due to the fact that the customer is left with an overall sense of good feeling. All based on the fact that someone listened, executed and followed through with the service/product that was provided. Sounds simple, but this is severely lacking in all areas of all markets today, which only means that nobody is devoid of this.

Here are some simple rules/guidelines to follow when dealing with customer service issues:

  1. Try and deal with the issue at hand first before seeking out a manager. Sometimes, it can be a lack of communication with both parties.
  2. Be decisive and clear in what you expect and need. Don’t complain for the sake of complaining. Be firm, yet be rational.
  3. If you find no resolve, then escalate to a decision maker and follow the same rules above. You’ll find that sometimes with experience comes temperance and knowledge, which is passion for what they do. That usually equates to someone who can put out fires easily, even before they begin.
  4. Once your issue has been taken care of, thank them for their time and attention to your issue. You’ll be surprised at how this can help the next time you have to conduct business with the same company and how this sign of respect can help you be serviced a bit quicker.
  5. Regardless of any situation, remember…you’re human and are subject to emotion just as much as the next person. Don’t forget to take a step back and address the issue like an adult and not a child throwing a temper tantrum. It’s not attractive and it doesn’t earn you anything by acting that way except a “deaf ear” to your situation.issue.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to bring something to someone’s attention. They might not be aware of anything that is wrong or they might be lacking in the training to know that they are expected to help you as part of their employment. More than likely, this is often the case. However, that doesn’t mean that the lack of customer service is excused.

I’ve learned that to get ahead and really shine, you have to give great customer service. Be willing to listen to your clients and give them what THEY want, not what you think is “best for them.” This philosophy doesn’t work and inevitably ends with the customer being unhappy, you being a poor customer service provider, and the client finds another vendor to do business with…end of story. If you give more than just the bare minimum, people will remember that and they will call on you again.

Take care and thank you for allowing me to get on my soap box for a bit. Stay tuned to for more blog posts !!!

Always,

Cammie