Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gearing Up for Another Rose Parade

Rick at Fiesta Floats in Irwindale, CA
As we approach New Year's Day, workers and volunteers at Fiesta Floats in Irwindale, CA are busy decorating floats for the 124th Annual Rose Parade.  Among those is the Natural Balance Pet float! This year, the theme of our float is "Canines With Courage", as we salute and give recognition to the brave canine members of America’s armed forces that so gallantly serve our nation with this patriotic salute honoring their loyal service and heroism.

The float will feature a floral replica of a new bronze and granite National Monument to Military Working Dog Teams, which will be dedicated in 2013 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. This is the first time in the history of the United States military that an animal, a dog, has been elevated to National Monument status by U.S. Congressional Law, and Natural Balance is proud to make this the feature of our float.

Our floats have become famous for the incredible record-breaking designs, floral beauty and of course the fun with Tillman the skateboarding bulldog, and his canine friends. This year's float isn't intended to break any Guinness World records as heaviest or longest, but it will be big on pride for our Military Working Dog Heroes. Tillman will be on the float this year, as an honorary Marine, but he wont be performing. Instead he will be helping raise awareness about these incredible Canine Heroes.

As you can see from this photo at right, the float is still being decorated. Remember that as part of the Rose Parade regulations, the decorations covering the floats need to be floral or plant material. All the colors and textures will be derived from flowers, seeds, petals, etc. For example, the round wood circle at the front is waiting for the decorative panel that will be applied. While I was there, that panel was being decorated by a volunteer. It is painstaking work, with incredible detail that isn't immediately obvious when viewing the floats from afar or on television.
At left is that front panel I mentioned above. It will be applied to the front of our float. Notice the incredible vivid colors....those are all from flowers or seeds, not paint!

The workers use an adhesive glue and place the seeds or flower petals by hand. This artistic design on the emblem models the emblem that corresponds to the actual monument.
To give you an idea of the detail click on this photo to enlarge it. Here is another photo below of some roses with an off white border...which I believe was rice (I could be wrong), but look at the photo for yourself to see.s
 You can watch the Rose Parade on TV January 1st, check local listings for times. If you participate in social media, follow along on Twitter searching for the hashtags #RosePets and #RoseParade, or on Facebook with Natural Balance or Petco or me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Noise Pollution Notice

Our friends on the other side of the pond have such sensible regulations in London. I snapped this photo of a sign instructing motorists to be mindful of noise pollution. Don't you just wish we had such manners here?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Even Sheldon has Holiday Spirit

Even Sheldon Gryffindor is getting in the Christmas spirit. He has been running around wearing his new red Christmas sweater. Generally Sheldon isn't a fan of wearing things, but it has been on the chilly side recently so he seemed fine with this doggie sweater...although the expression on his face while putting it on was priceless. I could actually hear him gulping hard as if he were dreading it!
Once he had it on, he was all too happy to show off and model his holiday fashion for me. Admittedly, Sheldon can be a bit of a ham and isn't the slightest bit camera shy! Here is is beside our Christmas tree, smiling as usual. I was trying to get a good photo of the back of the sweater, which has some cotton snowballs around a Reindeer. With some persistence I finally snagged this photo of his back, which isn't great but at least you can see the design:
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Swags of Christmas

The Christmas spirit has now reached the very perimeter of the property at home. Festive swags of garland now line the walls that enclose the courtyard. This year it seems everyone has festive Christmas lights up, so I felt the house needed something. Just a little touch of Christmas was all it took. I think we are now ready for Old Saint Nick to visit. Christmas in Palm Springs. Home Sweet Home.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bringing in A Little Christmas Mood

For some reason I've been taken with the Christmas spirit this year a bit more than previous years. So much so that after the inside of the house was decorated, my eye turned to outside. The easiest change was to convert the underwater pool lights to green. Just beyond the pool you can see some tiny white lights in the distance. Those are the 'net lights' draped rather carelessly on our pencil tree, but it works.
Then it was onto the cactus plants in the west garden. Other than a few oleander bushes, there really aren't any shrubs in the garden, so that meant it was up to the cactus plants to carry the lights! This one is adjacent to the patio fireplace and looked kind of fun with lights on it. I was worried it might look tacky, but I think its OK.
Needless to say once I was finished stringing the Christmas lights everywhere, it brought an elegant and festive Christmas mood to the grounds. I wanted a little Christmas, and here it is, Palm Springs Style. I hope your holiday decorating brings as much joy to you this season.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

In times of war bad things happen. They say time heals all wounds, and to a great extent that is true. But it is good to recall incidents from history from which we can learn.Today is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day which commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, during World War II. So many US service men & women lost their lives or were injured that day. 

A few years ago I visited Pearl Harbor and went to the museum as well, it was very haunting and emotional (although I had no one related to me involved in that attack). I have a deep respect for our veterans young and old, living and deceased. We must always honor and thank them for their service and sacrifices. Fortunately today we have friendships with many of our former enemies, time does heal most wounds. It does not diminish the need to remember those difficult times from our history, and bow our collective heads, even if just for one day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeling Festive and Cozy...

I'm not entirely sure where this year has gone, but the Christmas season has arrived...and i couldn't be happier about it. I've been feeling especially festive this year, embracing the holiday spirit immediately after Thanksgiving. Garland adorns the mantle of the great room, with the glow of tiny white lights adding a special ambiance to the sitting area. 
Even our kitty Owen found a cozy spot on the hearth to curl up in front of the fireplace.

The Christmas tree is decorated and now holds the fascination of the cat and both dogs. I'm especially happy with the tree this year, perhaps it is just my overall mood that is more festive, but regardless of why, I am feeling festive and cozy.

How is your holiday decorating going so far? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Collectable Christmas Gifts

Do you know someone who really appreciates collectables? Recently I've become familiar with the World's Fair line, such as this "Circus" in the photo at left. There is a great store in downtown Palm Springs called Memento Gift Shop that carries these and other collectables. I borrowed this photo from their blog. Check out their post on collectable Christmas Gift ideas. If you live in the Palm Springs area, check them out...their store is at 111 La Plaza, in the heart of downtown, right next to See's Candy shop. 

As a reminder, nothing here on my blog is a paid post, but I wanted to help out these folks, as they have a great retail store, and its locally owned too. I believe in shopping local as much as possible. I hope you do too!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade 2012

This past Saturday evening was the 21st Annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade, held downtown along Palm Canyon Drive. The event is hugely popular for our tiny desert community; this year it attracted well over 90,000 spectators to enjoy the festive lights to kick off the holiday season. The event organizers report on their website that during the past 21 years, the parade "has featured a host of marching bands, performing groups as well as the Budweiser Clydesdales, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snoopy and the Gang – and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus". Here are a just a few photos of some of my favorite parts of the parade. I hope it puts you in the holiday spirit.

 Happy Holidays, from the Palm Springs Savant!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guide Dog Heroes Brunch Honoring Betty White

Today I attended the 6th annual Heroes Brunch, an event benefiting the Guide Dogs of the Desert. The Guide Dogs of the Desert are one of my favorite non-profit organizations in Palm Springs. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with them for over five years already. This year's honoree was Betty White. No doubt you already know that this amazing lady has won seven Emmy Awards during her 60+ year career in Hollywood. You probably are already aware she is known as an animal advocate, having helped numerous shelters and animal related causes throughout her life. In addition to all this, she has also been a huge supporter of non-profit guide dog programs for many years. I've also been involved with Guide Dog fundraisers for several years and had the opportunity to see Betty White's passion for these incredible dogs. Betty White's current dog 'Pontiac' is a retired guide dog. She told me that "old dogs have a special place in my heart' which is why she adopted Pontiac.

Dick Van Patten, Betty White and his wife Pat Van Patten
Actor and animal lover Dick Van Patten attended the Heroes Brunch to day, in support of his friend Betty White. His pet food company, Natural Balance Pet Foods (for whom I work) has long been a supporter of guide dog schools nationwide. It was great to see Betty White and Dick Van Patten together, sharing a few laughs, and helping raise awareness about the important work guide dogs do to help visually impaired people.
Dick Van Patten, Betty White & Tom Sullivan
Dick told me he and his wife were so happy to be with their friend Betty as she was honored for her work to help the Guide Dogs of the Desert of Palm Springs. Seated next to Betty in this photo is Tom Sullivan. She and Tom are long time friends and also co-authors of The Leading Lady, a true story about Mr Sullivan's first guide dog Dinah, and the impact she had on both of their lives (Betty ended up adopting Dinah when she retired from her work as a guide dog). It was a great event, I'm so proud of what Natural Balance does to help this wonderful organization here in our beautiful desert.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shopping in Downtown Palm Springs

I've never been one for all the "Black Friday" hype....but I did find inspiration from the "Small Business Saturday" grass roots campaigns I saw floating around the web. Small businesses are in fact the lifeblood of the American economy. Lots of people make their living by either working for, or owning a small business. If you've ever been to Palm Springs, especially along downtown Palm Canyon Drive the one thing you will notice is the absence of big business.

It was an easy decision to support the "Small Business Saturday" campaign...all I needed to do was not drive to the big malls, but instead swing by the shops on Palm Canyon Drive here in Palm Springs. There I found a delightful array of unique shops. Memento Gift Shop is one of my favorites, as well as Cold Nose Warm Heart. I also like Crystal Fantasy, R&R Menswear, British Invasion, and loads of others. I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of people shopping our downtown village area on Saturday. 
My hope is that the focus of "Small Business Saturday" helped re-introduce consumers all across America to the many small businesses right in their own communities. Here in the Coachella Valley, we depend of tourism, snow birds and driving distance visitors from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and other coastal communities. If you come to Palm Springs anytime soon, stop by our lovely downtown village and see some of the really great retail shops we have along Palm Canyon Drive. As the Palm Springs Savant, I can vouch for the great businesses, restaurants and hotels here. Don't miss an opportunity for a different shopping experience, and a chance to support real people who need your patronage.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Being Thankful...not just on Thanksgiving

Americans have plenty for which to be thankful. We enjoy an incredibly high standard of living and good fortune as a nation. Our Thanksgiving holiday of course, has deep traditions from the Pilgrims, but it is relevant even today. Taking a day to be thankful, share gratitude with friends and family and pause to reflect is a good habit. Taking 365 days to be thankful is even better. 

I'm thankful for all the blessings of my life. For friends, family, a career, living in a great community, having good health, and much more. I could wax poetic about this topic, but suffice to say I am thankful every day of my life. Our time on this planet is short. Give thanks today for sure, and every moment we can.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I know there's something going on

Growing up, I was a huge ABBA fan. Oddly enough I still consider myself one today. I can recall when VCR tapes were all the rage. The big debate was between VHS and BetaMax. For some strange reason my dad chose BetaMax because it was supposed to have a higher quality resolution. Anyway, as a kid I went down to my local video store to find an ABBA BetaMax tape for my family VCR. I special ordered one for $100. Can you even imagine? A hundred bucks? Anyway the tape finally arrived. The year waa 1982...and suddenly, there was a new tape for me to order. It was Frida, one quarter of the ABBA foursome. Frida had released a solo album, and her first single "I know there's something going on" was the big hit of the day. Instantly I knew I had to have Frida's album. Anything associated with ABBA was sure to be of interest to me, I thought. Sure enough I bought the album and eventually a VCR tape of her video. Frida was a rocker-chick, more so than her ABBA counterparts, but I loved the hard sound. Even to today, I know there's something going on!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lessons Learned from Champagne and a Snack Stick

Not long ago, I was meeting a friend for a Sunday Brunch meeting but was an hour early at our destination. I decided to relax with a nice glass of champagne to kill time until the appointed hour arrived. After perusing the wine list, I selected the least offensive from an already over-priced list of champagnes by the glass. When the server brought the champagne, she also delivered a single snack stick in what looked like a double shot glass. I wasn't expecting an abundance of snacks--nor did I need to fill up on anything at this point. However it stuck me how odd it seemed to have just one single snack stick placed before me, particularly considering the price I was paying for the glass of champagne. Not one to complain, I smiled and nodded politely in acknowledgement to the server. I stared at the lone snack stick and pondered the precise moment to delve into the treasure that stood proudly before my eyes

After a few small sips of champagne, I began to crave the texture of the snack stick in my mouth. My mind drifted ever-so-briefly, as I stared longingly at the snack stick. If I eat it too soon, and am not done with the champagne, I would regret it being gone, I thought. If I wait too long to eat it, then I wont have any champagne left to drink and would have a dry mouth. Decisions, decisions. Maybe I should take one small bite, I wondered, to slowly savor the snack stick in tiny parts. Yes, that seemed like a plan. I reconsidered that plan and wondered if it would just be best to eat it in one bite, and plan now to simply order a second glass of champagne to wash down the crumbs.

Then out of nowhere I was roused out of my deep thoughts by the distant sound of a child screaming. It was a metaphor for my own whining. There I was, with a lovely glass of champagne before me, on a quiet Sunday morning, and yet all I could think about was the lone, lousy cheap, free snack stick. How could I lose sight of what mattered, and so easily, at that? I realized that as Americans, we tend to obsess over what we have, and that which we do not. The notion of a "limited supply" can be stirring...whether it is a snack stick, or more vital needs, like fresh drinking water, food, or even gasoline, which at the moment is still being rationed in the New York area post Hurricane Sandy.

I'm certainly not being flip or arrogant with this story of the champagne and snack stick, but rather to illustrate a point. Life is about perspective, focusing on the right things that matter. Its about living in the moment, and being thankful for what we do have. None of us know what tomorrow brings, but one thing I do know is that nothing in this world is forever. So make the best of everything. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Looking Ahead

Autumn has long been one of my favorite seasons because of what it represents, both literally and metaphorically. Wonderful things happen in Autumn. The change of winds and weather bring new energy and reasons to celebrate. While things may not always appear what they seem to be, this adds an element of surprise and wonderment. When the fog lifts, we are better able to truly see the clear path to the future. Success is at hand. The honorable shall be victorious and exalted, have the confidence of others and smile once again at the blessings of this incredible life.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Barkworld is Bark-tacular!

Without a doubt, Barkworld 2012 day two was a big hit. Lots of awesome networking, great sessions,  reconnecting with friends and making new ones too. In fact, here is a great photo of two pals I met at the first Barkworld several years ago...its Diane (@ToDogWithLove) her talented 'Cosmo'(@CosmoHavenese) and Vicki (@BunnyJeanCook). Diane has been a guest on my show, she is wonderful. Both she and Vicki regularly use their social media network to help animal charities.

One of the reasons I come to Barkworld is because it really is a true social networking conference that offers great educational content blended with fun events. It draws a nice blend of full-time and part-time bloggers, and folks who are new to the world of social media. Founder Denise Quashie has done an excellent job attracting sponsors and exhibitors who together make the event interesting, educational and fun.
Hey do you love puppies? Check out this super cute English Bulldog puppy "Jazzy", here with her humom Wendy (@SirMacLadyAlley). What's not to like about a pet social media conference where you can network with puppies?
 And how about this SUPER COOL poodle named Linus (@LittleDogLinus) who looks rather dashing and intelligent in his bowtie and glasses, don't you think? I was so impressed to learn that Linus is actually a therapy dog. How cool is that? 

Tonight's 'Block Pawty' turned out to be really terrific. Attendees mixed and mingled for most of the night, meeting sponsors, networking about business opportunities and enoying some great tunes from the DJ. Kudos to Denise and her team for pulling off a very successful day. I'm so pleased to be attending along with my company Natural Balance Pet Foods. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arrrrgghh Pirate Attack at Barkworld

My how time passes so quickly. Its already time for the BarkWorldExpo annual social media conference kicked off today in Atlanta, Georgia. Well, actually at the Westin in Buckhead, a lovely suburb of Atlanta.  I've attended this social media conference for several years now and always find it interesting and stimulating too. 
This year I was delighted to serve as emcee at the opening event for Barkworld. I introduced 'Norman the Scooter Dog' as he performed at Barkworld, kicking off the Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest. I decided to dress up in a costume, so as host I would fit in with all the contestants. I chose a pirate costume, which was kind of dun actually. Here I am with Norman before he went out on stage for his opening performance. He really is one amazing dog. There were some really fun costumes, and great prizes too. Sponsors for the evening included Petco, Bayer, ASPCA, and The Atlanta Dog Spa.

I was happy to represent my company, Natural Balance Pet Foods as the emcee for the evening. If you are attending Barkworld, please stop by our booth and say hello. Or send me a tweet @RickRockhill or @NaturalBalance using the hashtag #Barkworld I'd love to say hello and meet you.

If you are not attending Barkworld this year, checkout their website to follow along, there are some live stream opportunities. You can also follow the stream of posts by following the #Barkworld hashtag.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Obama's Broken this!

Video clips of actual promises made by President Barack Obama, which he didn't keep. We can do better.

Sheldon Gryffindor for President

Campaign Poster by Sir Mac & Lady Alley (SirMacLadyAlley)
The Presidential election in the United States is here whether we like it or not.  I've decided to vote for my very own Sheldon Gryffindor for President in 2012, from the D.O.G Party. I think he would make a fabulous president. His platform makes the most sense of any candidate I've seen in years. He has the best Pawlitical sense of any candidate in years. For starters, he is
committed to nominate the following Canines & Felines to these Cabinet Level Positions:
  • Department of State: Irish Wolfhound
  • Department of Defense: Bulldog
  • Department of Treasury: Basset Hound
  • Department of Justice: Doberman Pinscher
  • Department of Interior: Labrador Retriever
  • Department of Agriculture: Australian Cattle Dog
  • Department of Commerce: Maine Coon Cat
  • Department of Labor: Border Collie
  • Department of Health and Human Services: St Bernard
  • Department of Housing & Urban Development: Alley Cat
  • Department of Transportation: Dalmation
  • Department of Energy: Jack Russell Terrier
  • Department of Education: Standard Poodle
  • Department of Veterans Affairs: Rottweiler
  • Department of Homeland Security: German Shepherd

 Sheldon Gryffindor's Platform:
  •  Right to Pursue Happiness: Supports free belly rubs for everyone
  • Job Stimulus Package: Endorses programs to recycle plush toys, putting countless seamstresses and stuffing people back to work. 
  • Supports new Yappy Hour legislation in all 50 states
  • Taxes: The only tax increase in his budget is a mere $1 per person to feed homeless pets in shelters.
  • The New Deal: Sponsor of the "Done Bone Stimulus Initiative" (DBSI) which puts a new bone in every dog house, donated by private citizens.
  • Health Care: Promotes Spay & Neuter Programs with Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics. 
  • Health Care: Supports a bill to provide access to elect affordable vet care insurance funded by the money saved by reducing the IRS Staff by 20%.
  • Health Care: Supports new anti-hairball legislation which will help millions of cats.
  • Business Friendly: Supports Responsible Breeders who also support breed rescue. 
  • Peace Talks: Suggests unilateral peace talks between Petco and Petsmart
  • Equal Rights: Believes in equal rights for small and large breed dogs
  • Mental Health Programs: Suggests a ballot initiative to require mandatory "Take Your Dog To Work Day", everyday
  • Anti-Discrimination: Seeks to overturn anti-pet friendly laws and to allow pets into all restaurants.
  • Low Income Citizens: Supports subsidized dog houses for low income humans, funded from savings by the elimination the unnecessary pennies currently minted and circulated by the Treasury.
  • Marriage: Supports the right to mixed species marriages, dogs + cats would be free to marry.
  • Education: Seeks education reform for humans on proper pet handling and etiquette.
  • Civil Rights: Supports the addition of a new category to dog shows for "Best Mixed Breed Rescue Dog"
  • Commitment to the Environment: Supports Recycled cat litter and recyclable dog poop bags.
Does this sound like a candidate who should be in the White House? VOTE: SHELDON GRYFFINDOR in 2012
special thanks to Sir Mac & Lady Alley for designing the campaign poster!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wagging Tails Make Me Happy

There's nothing quite like seeing your dog's tail wag enthusiastically to realize how much they love and appreciate you. This first video is of Duncan.

This second video is of both Duncan and Sheldon trying to get my attention.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are You More of a Glass Half Full or Empty Person?

image from
I've long considered myself to be an optimist. By nature I tend to focus on the positive side of things. My 25 years of business experience has trained me to assess and understand all scenarios, but in the end I'm wired to see the proverbial glass of life as "half full" versus "half empty". To me, it all comes down to choices we make in how we want to think. It is the difference between deciding to be happy with what one has, versus deciding to be unhappy because of what one doesn't have. Which do you choose for yourself? British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Isn't it better to spend your precious time on this planet talking what you are happy about, versus complaining about what you don't like? Numerous studies have shown that people who are more positive minded also tend to self report as being more satisfied, fulfilled, and generally happy. The same studies also show those positive minded people as usually being more successful.

It is the power of the mind at work. Even people with rather unfortunate life circumstances can choose to be happy. They can choose to see the glass as half full. I'm not suggesting that life is always easy or happy every day, but generally, you can choose your attitude. Here are two cases in point:

A woman I know lost her husband to an illness. She and her two young kids struggled financially and even lost their home in a foreclosure situation. They moved into a small apartment, and are barely making ends meet. Yet she finds time every Sunday to help poor families at her church. She told me she decided that if she focused on what had gone wrong in her life, she would "short-change" her kids the opportunity for a happy childhood. She feels that while she has had some tough things happen to her, she is grateful to have two healthy kids, her own health, and a job. She even told me that she is happy.  Amazing? Not to me. She made up her mind that she wanted to focus on the positive aspects of her life.

Another person I know very well recently lost his job.  He had a difficult situation at work and the company he worked for let him go for performance issues. He has a new home mortgage, a baby on the way and some credit card debt to repay. He had been earning a very good living and now faces the prospect of finding a job in a difficult economy. He told me last week he decided not to be bitter about having been fired at work. He came to terms with his situation and is grateful to have his health, a wife he loves and a family who are a great support network for him while he decides what to do next. I asked him how he remains so positive-minded. His response was: "What good would it do for me to focus on what has gone wrong? What will it get me to spend my time blaming my old boss or someone else? I've let that go from my mind and now am thinking about better things". 

My view is that we all must take responsibility for our own lives. That means not expecting someone else to fix everything for us. Not the government, the boss, a business, or a clergyman. We alone must take action, work hard, made decisions and accept consequences of our own actions.  We alone must decide whether we want to be happy or not. And I assure you this decision has nothing to do with money, or material possessions.

Before I was preparing for this subject, I stumbled on something in Men's Health magazine this month. Someone had written in asking how to make themselves more of a "glass half full guy". The column responded by referencing the book: "The How of Happiness" by Sonja Lyubomirsky with these tips:
  1. Keep a best-possible self journal. spend 15 minutes a week thinking about the life you desire.
  2. Set sub-goals. break down big goals into small, manageable chunks
  3. Overcome dark moods. think about past challenges where you overcame. Save things that are offer encouragement: an email from someone else, a photo of a race you completed, etc and revisit them.
The key is that you can influence the way you think in life. Don't let anyone else influence how you feel. When a person accepts responsibility for one's own thoughts, and how one can influence others then one can influence the direction life can take.

So the question is: Are You More of a Glass Half Full or Empty Person? The good news is, the choice is all yours.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Whoop Whoop, It's My Birthday!

Ah September 8th, how I love thee. Not that birthdays really matter but I'm still a kid at heart I guess. You see birthdays mean chocolate cake. Did someone say cake? Say no more-- I'm there. That pretty much sums it up. I'm not looking to celebrate the fact that I'm now middle aged, or looking to wear party hats and receive gifts but I do plan to have chocolate cake. Oh and by the way, I like to celebrate my birthday for as long as I feel necessary. So if you see me having chocolate cake next week, that could very well be why.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brooks Brothers...a model for excellence

It's the little things that make a difference
Admittedly, I'm a fiercely loyal consumer. When I find a brand or store that I like, they usually earn an out-sized share of my disposable income. Favorite restaurants, retailers, airlines, hotels, it goes on. It isn't easy to earn my loyalty...I'm a tough customer and have very high expectations and standards. I'm more than happy to pay a little more for things I value but of course I don't want to be ripped off. Let me feel special. Make me feel valued. Every so often make me feel like I got a special value or discount. But moreover, you'd better have high quality and great service. Never, ever take me for granted. If you can rise to these challenges, I've be forgiving when you fall down from time to time. I'll understand when you have to raise prices modestly. I'll even accept having to wait a bit longer for service if you have to cut back on staff to remain profitable during tough times. But never take me for granted. Ever. One of my favorite brands and retailers, hands down is Brooks Brothers. When I say that "pretty much all of my clothes are from Brooks Brothers" I'm not exaggerating. With the exception of custom made garments my tailor has made for me, everything else I own came from Brooks Brothers. Even some of my beloved trademark ascots came from Brooks Brothers. My closet is a mini Brooks Brothers store. Why? Because I like their style, and their quality is excellent. Their wrinkle-free dress shirts are the absolute best in the business. They make clothes that not only last, but are timeless and rarely go out of style. Their clothing has helped me maintain a professional image throughout my career, from an aspiring manager twenty years ago to senior executive positions today.

Brooks Brothers offers tremendous customer service, consistently from city to city, even through international locations. Do you know what I like even more? Their amazing customer loyalty program. I get rewarded for buying products I love. Their program has encouraged me to skip other retailers and consolidate my purchases to them over many years. It is such an exhilarating feeling when those little $20 gift cards that magically appear in the mail. I've worked in the retail and marketing side of business for over 25 years, so I understand how CRM loyalty programs work. I understand that they get shoppers to spend a little more just to earn what amounts to an 8% discount. But I don't care. I love Brooks Brothers. Even when I receive a nice hand written note from the local Brooks Brothers store, to inform me of a sale, it brightens my day. But you know what makes me grin even more? The simple birthday card they remember to send me every year, along with a $20 gift card. It reminds me of when I was a kid and those cards I'd get from grandma and aunts on my birthday, with a perfectly folded $20 bill inside. Nobody sends me $20 anymore in the mail, except Brooks Brothers, that is. Even their social media team are top drawer. They nurture their followers and post interesting content on Twitter. They ENGAGE with their followers. 

So yes I do love Brooks Brothers and I'm proud to say so. I'm proud that there are retail brands here in the USA who still get it. They know how to build and maintain relationships with their customers. Whether you are a small business owner, or an executive at a major company...consider my remarks above, particularly the first paragraph. In my opinion, Brooks Brothers is a model for excellence in business. I hope someone at Brooks Brothers reads this post someday and can smile broadly, knowing that their efforts have been worth it and have not gone unnoticed by the Palm Springs Savant.


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.

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