We are Hiring for a Part-Time Retail Sales Associate!

Job Title: Part-Time Retail Sales Associate

We are Savoir Faire Home – A boutique Interior Design Firm and specialty Home Décor store located in the heart of downtown Andover. We are looking for a friendly, high-performing, professional Retail Sales Associate to join our team! This individual would help cover all sales job duties in our retail store including assisting customers, running the register, receiving items and restocking. As the primary contact with our clients, the Sales Associate is responsible for working closely with customers to determine their needs, answering their questions, and effectively selling our products and services. In order to be a great resource to customers, the Retail Sales Associate is expected to continuously refresh their knowledge of company products, services, and policies. The position is part-time at an hourly rate depending on experience.

Responsibilities:

-Ensure high levels of customer satisfaction through excellent sales service.

-Build productive trust relationship with customers.

-Welcome customers to the store and answer their questions.

-Handle incoming shipments, including unpacking boxes, receiving items into our POS (Point of Sale) system, pricing items and merchandising them on sales floor.

-Process POS purchases as well as web orders.

-Take special orders for items that are not in stock.

-Restock, organize and perform cleaning duties on sales floor, as needed.

-Answer email and phone inquiries promptly and professionally.

-Team up with co-workers to ensure proper customer service.

-Leverage company tools and technology to confidently provide the customer with product knowledge, which will enhance customer engagement and maximize sales.

-Work independently with intermittent supervision and have the willingness to learn the retail field.

-Wrap gifts at customer’s request.

-Assist in year-end inventory process.

-Other duties as assigned.

 

Qualifications:

-Available to work Thursdays, Fridays and every other Saturday, to start, with more hours required during holiday season.

-A friendly, confident and energetic personality with customer service focus.

-Basic understanding of sales principles and customer service practices is a plus.

-Basic computer skills required.

-Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs.

-Online Point of Sales systems experience a plus.

-Clear communication skills and ability to get along with others as part of a team.

-Solid organizational skills and ability to follow instructions.

-Ability to multitask and adjust to changing priorities.

-Ability to perform under pressure and address complaints in a timely manner.

-Willingness to accept feedback in a positive manner and act on it appropriately.

-Strong work ethic and sense of personal responsibility.

Interested in joining our team? Please email your resume to anne@savoirfairehome.com!

2019 Color and Texture Trends

While soft, neutral colors have been the dominant interior design tone in recent years, 2019 has welcomed an energetic and daring color movement to homes across the world. Along with the timeless gentle grey and shades of white, designers are incorporating moodier, more dramatic hues of red, pink, yellows and greens along with striking, multidimensional patterns. Another thriving movement this year is the use of natural materials and “bridging the gap” between nature and design. With the impressively rapid rise in technology and an “always connected” culture, many are looking to curate soothing spaces that return them to the basics. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Miry Park, VP of Marketing at Cowtan & Tout, about how they unveiled their take on 2019’s color trends.

Cowtan & Tout’s Manuel Canovas collections burst with vivacious colors and patterns that marry diverse cultural traditions and create an animated and free-spirited feel. Park explains, “Bolder color schemes and richer hues are inspired by the return to an appreciation of pretty as well as our fascination with global chic in an elegant, high-style bohemian way.” What are some of the words that come to mind when you look at the images from Cowtan and Tout’s Manuel Canovas collections below? For me, I see joyfulness, tolerance, community, and a celebration of being alive. I think this concept is just spectacular – That a gathering of threads and weaves can not only inspire creativity and jubilance, but also merge the concepts of togetherness and independence. I encourage you to browse through the Manuel Canovas collections for more inspiration, found here.

If you’re a little skeptical but still want to give it a try, I welcome you to start small. Add some accent pillows on your sofa, maybe a fun rug for your entranceway – Or a pop of colorful artwork on your wall. This playful and exciting theme is all about embracing acceptance and happiness into your life. Let loose and have some fun with it!

Another widespread movement this year is the integration of natural colors and materials into daily life. With the ever-growing presence of technology, it is all too easy to miss out on valuable time outdoors. However, the relationship between humankind and nature can still be nurtured through the incorporation of woodland color shades, floral patterns, and organic textures, to name a few – All of which apply to Cowtan & Tout’s fabric production. Park writes, “Natural fibers derived from plants and animals provide comfort and texture which add a level of luxury to the durable manmade fibers that allow functional practicality to our lives… We are embracing natural materials and hand-crafted goods such as sisal, cork, abaca, and unbleached fibers to create wallcoverings.”

See some of my favorite examples above, reflecting a few of the many nature-inspired wallcoverings by Cowtan & Tout. As Park points out, “Animals and wildlife in all its forms offer endless pattern and color inspiration. Landscapes become wall murals or tapestry-like verdures printed on cloth. The indoors go out, and the outdoors come in. There is a trend to remove the barrier between interiors and exteriors (nature) as we design buildings, walls, and interior fabrics that allow us to incorporate greenery and natural light.” Explore Cowtan & Tout’s wallcovering collections further, and you will find hues, textures and patterns inspired by lush forests, bright flowers, soothing oceans, and more.

Unsure of where to start? Some of the trending colors this year include mushroom browns and fern greens, and the trending threads are spun from wool, silk and hemp. You can also add a few pops of wood, stone, straw, clay or ceramics to bring in dimension and texture. Exercise your creativity with the process and use what speaks to you.

At Savoir Faire Home, we invite you to use us as your primary resource to help incorporate these sensational ideas into your space. We have access to endless fabrics and wallcoverings, and our Interior Design Team specializes in hand-selecting the perfect pieces to bring your vision to life. Our services include a broad range of support to clients from simple room designs to interfacing with architects and builders during a renovation or new construction process. We offer room planning, color consultation, flooring, wall coverings, furniture, upholstered pieces, drapery, lighting and accessories. Call today to inquire further about our interior design services and to set up your appointment today.

All Images Borrowed from Cowtan & Tout - Images Source

Join Lisa on her trip to Luang Prabang, Laos

During my bi-annual trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I took a 5 day detour to Luang Prubang, Laos. Luang Prabang is located in Northern Laos and sits on the banks of the Mekong River.

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It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. Much of its French Colonial roots are still visible in the country, including its architecture and food. Though quaint and charming, it is still one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Laos is known as the “The Land of a Million Bombs”.  More bombs were dropped on this tiny country during the Vietnam War, than the total of bombs dropped during all of World War II. Sadly, most of the victims of these unexploded bombs are children. About one third of the land in Laos is still contaminated with these unexploded bombs. Therefore, many of the night markets sell items made from the metal of the bombs.

My first morning in Luang Prabang was an early one. At 5:30 am, local monks from all of the surrounding temples descend on the town to gather alms. Gathering alms means that each monk carries a small wooden bowl around his neck, and passes by locals lined up on the streets.  Each person gives the monk a small donation of food. The monks then take this food back to the temple where it is combined and distributed to feed the entire temple. I will never forget the site I witnessed that morning. I arose at 5:00 am and waited on the street. I was about 20 minutes into my wait on a hot and steamy morning; the haze and moisture hung heavy over the city. Nevertheless, hundreds of monks came out of what seemed like nowhere and from all different directions. They lined up in single file, and descended on the town. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. At this moment, I felt like I was in a National Geographic episode. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience, one which I will never forget.

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Laos is also home to many hill tribes including the Yaun, Hmong, Lahu and Akha.  Each tribe arrives at the town every evening for the night market. Many of these tribes are known for their different kinds of handcrafts.  Most handicrafts include weaving with hand spun cotton, natural dyes like indigo, and intricate embroideries. Each tribe also wears a very distinctive “costume” (although most traditional dress is disappearing in favor of western style clothing). I was lucky enough to come across a Hmong women selling beautiful clutches made out of authentic Hmong costumes.

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The workmanship that goes into these handcafts are amazing. I couldn’t pass up the scarves, bags and table runners which were made from hand spun cotton ,and dyed in the traditional blue and white indigo. A day trip down the Mekong, on a long boat, brought me to a unique weaving village that also happens to specialize in Cobra whiskey. I purchased many beautiful scarves for the store, but passed on the Cobra whiskey.  

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Last but not least, a trip to Luang Prabang would not be complete without a visit to the Pak Ou Caves. These limestone caves are one of the most respected holy sites in Laos. The site contains over 4,000 miniature Budhhas figures that date back thousands of years.

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It’s a 2 hour boat ride up the Mekong, but it is worth it. This is an incredible expedition, one that results in stunning home made goods and astonishing memories. 

Trip to Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangkok

How special is Cambodia to me?
It becomes readily apparent when I approach the passport control desk in Siem Reap. The officer turns the pages of my passport and responds “welcome home Mrs. Duffy”.
It’s my 10
th visit in 6 years and I’m excited to see the
28 Cambodian girls who affectionately call me “Mom”.

It’s late at night when I arrive with my daughter and husband but, it’s clear word has gotten out amongst the girls about my pending arrival. My IM account starts beeping upon arrival in Siem Reap and I know the girls are anxious to see us. They know it will be a fun and exciting week and a welcome break from their daily routine of chores and studying. I come bearing goodies of all kinds including Trader Joe’s chocolate cookie dough spread. 10 jars and many bags of pretzels later and it’s gone in minutes. They don’t get chocolate often if ever. The heat and the expense make it prohibitive.

Arts and crafts are always on our agenda. This is something most Cambodians have never experienced at home or at school. What teenage girl doesn’t love arts and crafts? T-shirt decorating, mirror painting and collage making kick off the start of the week. To watch the smiles and laughter when the girls start to paint is just such a great feeling. So little brings so much joy!

For the first time ever we attempt an ice cream party. To watch us transporting ice cream and toppings, in plastic wash tubs filled with ice, in an open air Tuc Tuc, in 100 degree heat, was hysterical. But we pulled it off!

Each afternoon, when we would leave the girls' house, we would start planning our nightly activities for another group of girls. These are the girls who once resided at the PAGE house but have since graduated and are now working and going to school. Many of these graduates still live in the area and they are also anxious to see us. Years ago, I started taking some of the recent graduates to dinner every evening. That has now transformed into a nightly reservation for 18-20. We seemed to have expanded beyond just the girls to boyfriends, husbands, friends and family. Other than the PAGE graduates most of the other attendees don’t even speak English! It's funny to look around the table and see Uncle Sarem staring back at you smiling and not knowing one word of Khmer. All kidding aside,It is so much fun to see how these girls are transforming into young women before my eyes. For the most part they are managing through some of the most difficult situations and trying to stay focused on completing their education but, it clearly is no easy task. Working full time and going to school ,while still having to send money to their families, is a lot of pressure for someone just entering adulthood. My visit always culminates with a party and a couple of pinatas. It’s so much fun but, always so bittersweet to know it will be some time before we see each other again. “It’s not goodbye but see you later” I say to the girls. 

Before I depart I manage to visit my favorite village for ceramics. Each piece is handmade and unique to each artist. The owner recognizes me immediately and says he will now offer me a discount he only saves for his best customers. I also know that it is low season and he is anxious for some sales. 

I also stop in another village to check in with my some weavers who are working on more placemats and napkins for the store. Handmade products, small artisianal workshops and and age old craftsmanship are something I can’t get enough of. 

Before I leave Cambodia I make one last stop at Ta Prohmn
Temple. In all the times I have been to Cambodia,I have never visited this site. 

This is the temple made famous by Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Raiders. It’s in much of the same condition in which it was found: a combination of trees growing out of the ruins deep in the jungle. It’s quite a site and I would recommend going early in the morning because it is unbearably hot and was crowded, even in the off season. 

                                            Next stop, Myanmar, formerly Burma.

                                                                         Buddhist Monks lining up for lunch

                                                                         Buddhist Monks lining up for lunch

Myanmar has always fascinated me. Twenty five years ago my husband and I visited the border between Myanmar and Thailand. I remember watching the droves of people crossing over the border into Thailand each morning looking for work. It was, and still is, a desperately poor country and at that time,most Burmese had never seen a foreigner. Clearly no one with fair skin, light hair and blue eyes. I remember standing at the border crossing admiring their traditional dress. Little did I know that I was more interesting to them. They wanted to touch my face and hair. It was just a little unsettling. Each evening they would have to make the trek across the border back home. Getting out of this country was almost as difficult as getting in. Myanmar has suffered for years under a brutal military regime until the countries heroine, Aung San Suu Kyi, won in a landslide in the country’s first democratic election. Aung San Suu Kyi was held captive in her own home for almost 15 years by the military rulers. Recently opened to tourism, Myanmar was always on my bucket list and I was eager to start this part of my adventure.  

We landed in Ragon, Myanmar which is the country’s largest city. It’s much more developed than Siem Reap. It’s also a much more conservative country than Cambodia. Most women still wear the traditional ankle length silk skirt,called a longyi, that is adorned with some intricate embroidery. There are far fewer westerners on th streets of Ragon. Strangers came up to us asking to take our pictures. I was told it was a sense of pride to have a picture hanging in your house with a foreigner, even if you don’t know the person. You’ll also quickly notice that most Burmese men and women wear a chalky mask on their faces. It’s made from a natural tree pulp and it’s supposed to be a sign of beauty while offering sunscreen and other benefits. Even babies have their faces adorned with this mask.  

On our first day we took the ferry from Ragon over to Bagan. It's a short ride to Bagan and well worth the visit. There are no cars in Bagan and I wanted to visit some of the local artisans. My transportation around Bagan was a Burmese version of a rickshaw.  

Of we went to my first stop. I was told there was a candle maker there who has been making candles the same way for the past 100 years. It was an amazing site to see. Big cauldrons of boiling wax being hand poured into tiny birthday candle sized molds. It must have been 120 degree in "rustic" barn. 

My favorite part of traveling is seeking out local artisans. This was well worth the visit. 

My second day in Ragon included a visit to Scotts market. It's a large sprawling market that sells everything from jewelry and silk to jade. I am in my glory searching for new and exciting pieces to bring back to the shop. Mother of pearl, silk and embroidered bags were just a few of favorite purchases.  

If you come,there are few ATM's so make sure you exchange money at your hotel. Credit cards are not excepted and neither are US dollars.

Next stop....Bangkok

I've been to Bangkok at least 4 times. It's a big,busy and congested city. My main reason in visiting Bangkok is to go to the world famous Chatuchak Market. It's only open Friday evening through Sunday evening. It contains everything from rare and exotic animals to cutting edge clothing designers and housewares. I love this market and it continues to fascinate me. The Thai vendors love to bargain and it becomes silly when you realize your fighting over pennies. You can get lost in this market and it's advisable to take a map. We spent 8 hours there one day and only covered 1/3 of the market. I think I like it so much because, many of the Asian markets I visit, I see the same items over and over again. This market is unique and contains many local designers selling one of a kind items. 

My next stop in Bangkok is to Siam Discovery. I have been very fortunate in my business to experience double digit growth. I'd like to think it's because I seek out the unique and unusual and create a shopping experience that is not the norm in the US. I am always on the look out for cutting edge lifestyle retailers that I can learn from. I hit the jackpot with Siam Discovery. 

Normally ,when I hear the word mall I think of cookie cutter stores selling mass produced items. This mall was the exception. It's hard to describe why it was so special. I headed straight up to the home accessories section and it didn't disappoint me. Row after row of long tables divided into small sections. Each section displayed a very small sampling of one-of-a kind artist and home ware designers. Each designer had their web site prominently displayed and a bar code to scan if you wanted to view,or purchase, more items from the vendor. It just made shopping such a adventure. Siam Discovery was all about discovery and it didn't disappoint. It even had an interactive exhibit where you type in your Instagram account and 100's of small monitors create a visual collage of you account. I would call the whole experience part shopping and part museum. 

Until my next trip....thanks for following!

DAY 3- Trends in Design

It seems the recent tragic events in Paris have impacted the design community. Every year there seems to be one bright luscious color that takes hold of this great design event.  In years past, I've seen bright orange, deep purple and turquoise in everything from bedding to lighting and furniture. This year, the colors are very dark, muted and a little somber. Deep blues, subdued grays and taupes are everywhere.  The contrast of black juxtaposed with white is the only real attempt at color.  But luckily, like fashion, color will return!

 


DAY 2 - Paris

Today, as I was walking through the show, I came to a "booth" decorated in traditional French Haussmann style architecture. I was truly amazed when I got close enough to realize it was all done in wallpaper. The trompe l'oeil effect was so authentic and beautiful.  This French designer has created a line of wallpaper, wall coverings,vinyl rugs and pillows in a wide variety of trompe l'oeil effects.  Wall coverings that mimic a birds eye view into some of Paris' most elegant apartments.  The vinyl floor coverings mimic perfectly aged French hard wood floors and antique tin tiles.  I can already envision so many applications for this sophisticated and stylish French product.

 

Follow Lisa on a European Buying Trip

Where do you go when you're looking for inspiration and design trends?
You go to Paris and, in particular,
you go to Maison Objet, one of the largest and most innovative home design shows in the world.  Here you'll see everything from designer textiles,handcrafted furniture and the finest in home accessories.

I arrived on a very cold morning and quickly warmed up after my first cup of French cafe au lait. There's nothing like French coffee! Within 10 minutes of my arrival, I stumbled on a Portuguese glassmaker.  The company, run by a mother and son duo, makes the most beautiful colored glasses, dishes and table top items. The jewel tones of the glass candlesticks would be perfect in almost any room in your home.  I can't wait for these to arrive in time for Spring. 

 

Next up on my list is a favorite for many Savoir Faire Home clients.  Arte Pura from Italy creates some of the most elegant and sophisticated table, bed and bath linens that are like nothing else I've ever seen. 
I've ordered them in a variety of muted tones and each one is adorned with hand applied crochet and lace. These are so special.  This year I added some of Arte Pura's candles.  Each candle is decorated with wax lace.  
Beautiful!

 

As the long day was coming to an end, I was happy to see a familiar face.  Sergio from Bella fabrics greeted me with a big Italian hug.  Bella fabrics produces fine Italian wool and cashmere blankets and they were a big hit at Savoir Faire Home.  His new introductions include hand embroidered wool in the most incredible designs. The quality of their workmanship is incredible.

 

A trip to Maison Objet will always include a sighting or two of the most bizarre.  This year didn't disappoint me.  Here is just a few of the craziest things I saw.  A refrigerator covered in blue fur!  

Pillows and benches made from hay. Yes, real hay!

Finally, florescent colored Turkish olive jars.

 

 

Thanksgiving Feast - Harvest Bisque

HARVEST BISQUE
1-1½ lbs of cubed butternut squash (1” cubes)
5 cups of chicken stock
4 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
¾ Cup ½ and ½ - or milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Place sqash in heavy 4 quart pot with chicken stock.  Cook over medium heat until tender – about 15 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Stir stock into squash puree.  Set aside.  In same pot, melt butter, stir in flour and curry.  Cook, stirring over medium heat until smooth.  Add pureed squash mixture to pot.  Increase heat to medium-high heat and stir until soup thickens slightly.  Reduce heat and add ½ and ½.  DO NOT ALLOW SOUP TO BOIL AFTER THIS POINT.  Add lime juice, salt and pepper.  Ladle soup in to tureen.  When ready, serve in bowls and serve immediately.
ENJOY!

 



Start your Thanksgiving feast with Harvest Bisque soup.  
Served in this beautiful soup tureen from Savoir Faire Home... 
wonderful on your own table or to take to your host's home.  

High Point Market - Fall

Just back from FALL High Point, NC Market!

We spent last week at the High Point Designer Fall Market.  Found some great things for the shop.....
Fell in LOVE with this little sled!

AND....
Found some great new
 furniture, rug, lighting and accessory options
for our interior design clients.  

Trends at High Point confirmed Savoir Faire Home's
relaxed sophisticated decorating style using natural colors
textured fabrics and rugs
...with a pop of something unexpected. 
We are excited to share some of our finds with our customers!