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Deer Valley High’s student store well stocked with DIY lessons

The Wolverines’ Den is open for business.

But the fledgling student-run store that opened on the Antioch campus last spring is considerably more than a convenience — it provides real-world lessons that can’t be found in any textbook.

The enterprise is the brainchild of Steve Kish, a teacher in the school’s Business Technology Academy who converted an adjoining classroom into a laboratory of sorts where his marketing students put theory into practice.

“Anything that can be taught in the book can be taught in the store,” he said.

Painted entirely in black and outfitted with ultraviolet lights — remember, teens are running the show here — the room was bustling during a recent visit as students replenished inventory and worked on ads for the custom posters the store soon will be selling.

Ball caps bearing team logos, wallets and sunglasses were neatly arrayed in display cases near a bouquet of small balloons bearing birthday greetings.

Mindful of the money they could make by catering to an older demographic as well, students had stocked one corner with cookware ranging from frying pans and spatulas to pizza cutters.

“You got teachers going in to buy?” Kish asked a boy upon glimpsing a couple of his colleagues leaving the store. “Excellent, excellent.”

Over the course of a year, his do-it-yourself approach has students shepherd a product through the marketing process from concept to cash register.

Students distribute surveys to their peers to determine what products potential customers want and price them competitively. They also promote the store on Deer Valley High’s closed-circuit TV and work on overcoming what Kish calls its “backwater” location by making it an inviting spot to visit.

Teens spend the first part of the year on bookwork, learning such skills as how to be an effective salesman, identify a target market and track cash flow as well as how to analyze a product’s success and decide which items to put on clearance.

A recent stop by Room 111 found many of Kish’s 27 juniors and seniors embarking on one of their SWOT sessions, marketing-speak for a self-analysis during which they discuss the store’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for expansion and factors that can threaten its success.

One pitfall that novice entrepreneurs encounter is choosing a product to promote simply because they like it without considering whether it holds a broader appeal.

“You have to learn it’s not about what you think; it’s understanding what the customer thinks,” Kish said.

Junior Ruben Morado discovered that truth for himself when he pitched the idea of selling faceless wristwatches; classmates nixed the suggestion, saying the general student population wasn’t familiar enough with the design.

The 17-year-old also has learned not to approach customers by asking if they’re looking for anything in particular because they’ll typically say they’re just browsing.

To be an effective salesman, you have to know a product well enough to be able to point out the features that meet the shopper’s need, Morado said.

After students reach a consensus on how much of which products to buy, Kish takes them on an annual spring field trip to a flea market in Galt, where they stock up on goods at near-wholesale prices.

Even with a markup of about 10 percent, the items are still deeply discounted: Ball caps are $10 each, earbuds, wallets and sunglasses sell for $5, and the price for a memory stick is $2.

But the Den is not just about hands-on experiences; it’s where students learn valuable life lessons.

Kish makes it clear that running the store is serious business and should be treated as an actual job. Referring to students as “employees” and their grades as “pay stubs,” he leverages the store’s popularity to instill self-discipline.

He once “fired” a student who, though a natural at sales, was habitually late to class. Losing the chance to work in the store soon turned his apathetic attitude around, said Kish, noting that when the boy rejoined the staff he put his talents to use recruiting customers during the lunch period.

“This is the only (one) out of my five classes that I have no tardy problems,” he said.

The teamwork required to operate The Den also motivates students to toe the line; students responsible for ordering balloons know that if they miss their deadline, they won’t have the product ready to sell by the time it’s advertised on campus TV, Kish said.

The store also is a source of encouragement. Students gain self-assurance when a product they have chosen to market does well, and that enables them to succeed in tough classes like economics, Kish said.

Understanding basics such as sales techniques and the importance of keeping displays tidy leads to small victories beyond the classroom as well: Teens will seek Kish out to tell him they landed a retail job or got a promotion.

“They’re beaming with pride and confidence,” he said.

Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at

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#PretaPostcards: Where to Eat, Shop and Sleep in Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival, running through Feb. 7, kicks into high gear this weekend, with Jennifer Aniston receiving the Montecito award for Cake at the city’s historic Arlington Theater tonight, Jan. 30 and Birdman’s Michael Keaton being handed the Modern Master Award on Jan. 31. We’ve mapped out some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and enjoy.

Where to Stay

Rejoining the ranks of Santa Barbara’s most luxurious lodgings – which includes the Four Seasons Biltmore, the San Ysidro Ranch and Bacara Resort Spa – is the Belmond El Encanto (800 Alvarado Place; 805-845-5800). Situated above the city in the Riviera neighborhood, the hotel is unrivalled when it comes to views, offering a sweeping vista overlooking downtown and the Pacific. After a seven-year, $134-million reno, this beloved hotel, built in 1918, is back with Spanish and Craftsman bungalows featuring marble bathrooms and heated stone floors. Rooms from $425.

For something fresh and hip, head to Kimpton Hotels’ new The Goodland (5650 Calle Real, Goleta; 805-964-6241), a 158-room, pet-friendly boutique hotel (pictured below) with a vintage Woodie parked out front. With a turntable in each room and vinyl from the Carpenters and Joan Baez, you’ll feel like your spending the weekend in your cool friend’s apartment. Rooms from $229.

Where to Eat

At the Santa Barbara Public Market (38 W. Victoria St.; 805-770-7702), a gourmet marketplace and collection of cafes, purchase local seafood, sustainably and humanely raised meats and poultry from Belcampo Meat Co. or enjoy pot stickers or a bowl of noodle soup at the Empty Bowl Gourmet Noodle Bar. 

For a pick me up during movie weekend, downtown’s Kotuku Elixir Bar Superfood (25 E. De La Guerra St.; 805-897-3382) offers plant-based juices elixirs, smoothies, even omega-rich ice cream. 

Arigato Sushi (1225 State St.; 805-965-6074) just hit the big leagues, with the honor of being named one of the best sushi restaurants in the country by Travel + Leisure. The uni (sea urchin) is guaranteed fresh — Santa Barbara is the uni capital of the U.S.

For a sweet organic indulgence – such as strawberry cheesecake with graham cracker crust ice cream — try Rori’s Artisanal Creamery at the Montecito Country Market (1024 D Coast Village Road, Montecito; 805-220-6019). Owner and founder Rori Trovato began her career as a pastry chef and has written for Bon Appétit and Oprah, in addition to publishing her own cookbook.

Olio Crudo Bar (11 W. Victoria Street, Suite 18; 805-899-2699) is a spin-off of one of Santa Barbara’s favorite Italian places, Olio e Limone. The Atlantic bluefin tuna belly with a ginger vinaigrette and wasabi shoots is a house favorite.

Featuring a striking penny-covered exterior, Lucky Penny (127 Anacapa St.; 805-284-0358) in the Funk Zone serves up La Colombe coffee drinks, wood-fired pizza, salads and sandwiches. As an added bonus, it will deliver its fresh fast food to nearby tasting rooms. 

Also situated in the Funk Zone – an evolving warehouse area featuring bars, restaurants and art galleries situated between the beach and Highway 101 – The Lark (131 Anacapa St.; 805-284-0370) offers innovative takes on traditional favorites such as Belgian waffles paired with duck liver.

Where to Shop

Step into interior decorator Tamara Kaye-Honey’s House of Honey (525 San Ysidro Road, Montecito; 805-969-7444), an outpost of her original Pasadena location, where you can browse everything from her debut custom lighting line to accessories from Alexandra Von Furstenberg and Heath ceramics. 

Nestled in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center is Whistle Club (819 State St., Suite A+B; 805-965-7782), a boutique featuring accessories, gifts and women’s apparel from A.L.C., Thakoon Addition, Cynthia Rowley, Zimmermann and Tom Dixon.

At Chocolate Maya (15 W. Gutierrez St.; 805-965-5956), Swiss-born owner Maya Schoop-Rutten has collected her favorite organic and fair trade chocolates in addition to some of her own concoctions. You might even be tempted to taste a shot of thick European-style hot chocolate.

At home furnishings shop Hudson Grace (Montecito Country Mart, 1014F Coast Village Rd., Montecito; 805-565-9600), look for classic white dinnerware and unique vintage silver serving pieces bearing the signature stamps of The Ritz, The Savoy, and The Connaught.

At Santa Barbara Guitar Bar (Funk Zone, 137 Anacapa St.; 805-770-7242), relax on a couch and peruse the dozens of acoustic and electric lines this shop has to offer, including small Australian company called Cole Clark, which produces environmentally friendly guitars. If you find something you like, give it a whirl in one of the four private lesson rooms. 

Where to Drink

The Spanish Revival-style El Paseo shopping center (812 State St.), built in the 1920s, is one of the city’s newest wine hubs. Its Wine Collection of El Paseo now boasts six wine tasting rooms, including Happy Canyon and Au Bon Climat.

Three new wineries have opened tasting rooms in the Funk Zone. Lafond Winery, Fox Wine Co. and the Santa Barbara Wine Collective with selections from Babcock Winery Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery Vineyard and Ca’ Del Grevino. They join Les Marchands Wine Bar Merchant, where master sommelier and owner Brian McClintic (notably seen in the sommelier documentary Somm) stocks a selection of more than 600 wines and offers 25 wines by the glass. (Lafond: 111 East Yanonali St.; Fox Wine: 120 Santa Barbara St..; Santa Barbara: 131 Anacapa St.; Les Marchands, 131 Anacapa St., Suite B)

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B by Brandie Announces Launch of New Collections at NY NOW

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – January 30, 2015) – When it comes to home fashion, the possibilities are endless… and they start right here, with B by Brandie. In a world of kaleidoscope, our mix-and-match philosophy is continued through the debut of new items, including: flatware, servingware, linens, and most importantly, bold, new dinnerware designs. B by Brandie is pleased to announce the debut of these new items at NY NOW, Booth #3624, February 1st-February 4th. 

“It is extraordinary to be able to continue bringing fashion to the table with these new collections. We know that when you host a great dinner party, you’re doing more than serving food. You’re telling a story,” said Brandie Gehan, owner and founder of B by Brandie. “Nothing short of a stellar palette of interior accents and mouth-watering table settings is suitable to describe these additions.” 

B by Brandie’s new dinnerware designs are available in bone china and porcelain styles. Seven, new collections will be debuting, four porcelain and three bone china, as well as additional color options in existing collections. The top selling Zelda Bone China Collection will now be available in navy, turquoise, black, gold, and red. In the porcelain collections, yellow has been implemented into the color scheme. 

The new collection designs consist of graphic, patterned dinnerware, that allow for mixing-and-matching with the existing pieces. The new porcelain collections are consistent of on-trend, modern tribal patterns and floral-burst patterns. The bone china collections consist of sophisticated, contemporary lines. 

The flatware and servingware that will be debuting, is available in two stainless steel designs, one with a modern aesthetic and the other with a more traditional style. The linens consist of cocktail and dinner napkins, in five color options. They are available in 100% cotton, as well as pure linen with embroidery. 

Like the other pieces from B by Brandie, these products are sold individually to enhance the ability to mix-and-match. Bone china pieces start at $38 per piece, while porcelain will retail starting at $30. The flatware and servingware starts at $22 and the napkins at $16 per piece. All of these items, as well as existing items will be available at NY NOW booth #3624. 

About B by Brandie

Founded in 2012, B by Brandie presents high-quality home accessories that add a dash of fashion to the table. The brand’s fusion of distinctive design and modern styling with durability and practicality lends itself to a variety of settings, from traditional dinner parties, modern cocktail gatherings or every day use. With pieces from the brand, consumers can update everyday family dinners with sleek porcelain combinations or take out the bone china for more intimate gatherings. 

The B by Brandie aesthetic infuses every gathering with elegance and exuberance, taking its inspiration from society’s most iconic it girls, cultural trendsetters, and family institutions both past and present. In the spirit of the social butterflies and VIPs for which each collection is named, B by Brandie pieces are defined by impeccable quality, bold design, an abundance of color, and, most importantly, an effortless ability to mix and mingle. 

About Brandie 

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Brandie Gehan grew up reveling at the feet of guests to her mother’s frequent and infamous dinner parties. Inheriting that passion for entertaining, Brandie founded B by Brandie to carry on the tradition of creating proper, beautiful décor for any type of modern get-together. To this day nothing makes her happier than inviting an eclectic mix of people to enjoy good food, great conversation, and a little bubbly! And when there are beautiful dishes, napkins and accessories on the table, the experience is even better. 

Brandie is also inspired by her love of contemporary art, the Texas countryside, traveling, and her loyal bulldog, Meatball. She resides in Dallas with her husband, son, stepson and dog, and truly loves spending her days dreaming up new designs for her home accessories line. 

The following files are available for download:

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NY Now Names Tabletop, Housewares Award Winners

Savora Berry Colander

Savora Berry Colander

NEW YORK-Five NY Now exhibitors have won Tabletop + Gourmet Housewares Best New Product Awards, with Sagaform’s Mini Greenhouse Planter recognized as Best of Market.

Winners and finalists in each category were selected by a panel of editors based on innovative design, creative use of materials/construction and use of new materials/technology. In the cookware category, French Bull won for The Super Cooker, made for gas stoves, hot plates, the oven and microwave. In the dining category, Q Squared NYC won for its Hampton Toile melamine dinnerware. Typhoon Homewares received the gourmet accessories prize for its Typhoon Teardop Duo Drizzler, which has two compartments of handmade glass for storing oil and vinegar. Lifetime Brands’ Savora won in kitchen preparation for its Savora Berry Colander.

Q Squared NYC Hampton Toile

Q Squared NYC Hampton Toile

Sagaform’s Mini Greenhouse Planter has a glass dome that creates a greenhouse effect for growing fresh herbs on the kitchen windowsill.

Additional winners were recognized for excellence in four categories–cooking, dining, gourmet accessories and kitchen preparation–and all five honorees qualify to compete for NY Now’s Best of Home Award, to be determined by online facebook balloting at

“The slate of winners and finalists for the Tabletop + Gourmet Housewares Best New Product Awards represents the leading edge of design and function in each product category,” said Marc Delman, Tabletop + Gourmet Housewares national sales manager. “Our panel of judges took a number of factors into consideration, including product performance and an adaptability to home cooking and entertaining.”

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The official blog of New Orleans Bride Magazine, offering a daily dose of all …

Personalize parts of your wedding down to the smallest detail

Experiment with the monogram generator from Mark and Graham at

When it comes to planning any type of party, little details end up bringing together the look and style of the event. Personalizing — or like any true southerner, monogramming — different elements from napkins to dinnerware shows attendees you put effort into making your event special. What makes a personalized monogram even more special during your wedding day is that it’s your new monogram with your significant other (but not to be used on anything beyond wedding décor and favors until after the big day!). Monogramming is a form of personal branding. Why not add your personal brand as a pair into the day you become betrothed?

Determine where to place the monogram. We suggest personalizing your bar. Turn the labels of your favorite wine or bubbly into a personal label. Champagne flutes and wine glasses will overflow with bottles adorned with your adorable label. If you don’t want to stock the entire bar with labels, put a complimentary bottle on each table. It’s a great favor for your guests and the perfect place to display your monogram, next to your centerpiece.

Martin’s Wine Cellar offers Champagne, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay with personalized labels for $131.88 a case. 




Trunk Show Update:

I Do Bridal Couture in Baton Rouge will be having a Liancarlo trunk show today and tomorrow. A representative from the brand will be in store. 



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