Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from The Lifestylist® Brands. Here's hoping that your holidays is shiny and bright!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The History of Mobile Homes



There's nothing we love more than a positive story about factory built housing, and BobVila.com has a wonderful article about the history of factory built housing.  Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber was honored to be interviewed and quoted in the story, and what is really exciting is that the author of the story - Jane Dagmi - was so intrigued about what this form of housing offers she's continuing to learn more and visit communities on her own. I'm looking forward to more of her stories in the future.
One of the things that has always been a detriment to our industry was the perception the press has, so having writers not only like our homes but also want to know more is a step in the right direction.
Be sure to also take a look at the timeline that Jane did -it's one of the best I've seen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ROC USA Helps Make Home Ownership Achievable

As a Lifestylist® I spend a lot of time tracking trends and listening to people's dreams and realities. One of the biggest dreams a person often has is a home of their own, and that dream comes in all shapes and sizes.
Land lease communities are a great way to own a home of your own on a budget, but a lot of potential homeowners are afraid of the fact that they don't own the land that their new home is sited on.
When I attended the recent MHI Congress and Expo I was introduced to Paul Bradley and the ROC USA team, and loved having the chance to speak with them and to learn more. ROC stands for Resident Owned Communities, and they help residents of land lease communities buy their communities and own a part of it. I was fascinated to learn that they are a non profit, and loved that the first thing that they do with their homeowners is to choose a new name for their community and start the re-branding process.
NPR and "All Things Considered" recently featured ROC USA on their broadcast, and you can see our interview with the ROC USA team on Lifestylist.com.

Modular Construction on The Rise

It seems like people are finally beginning to realize that factory built housing may be a better way to build - I've had two site builders ask me if the projects that we are working on might be more efficient if we do a modular build instead of the way they traditionally build. What's really great is these are both commercial projects - one is a clubhouse and one is transitional housing for 14 so I'm really proud of my clients for looking at all options. In fact, Champion Homes is doing quite a few commercial builds, including hotels for a major hotel company - I can't wait to see (and stay in) the finished buildings.
Many people have the misconception that using modular construction is very limiting - I'm always surprised with how many people think you can only do 1 story. In fact, all construction has some limitations, but with modular you can build multi story buildings just as you can with site built.
This beautiful home in Montana that was built by the EnergyMate division of Patriot Homes is an example of what can be accomplished using modular construction. It has a 2 story family room and rock fireplace in it -they just completed the fireplace on-site with rocks they found on the ranch.
Before you make a decision on who is going to be building your next home or building, you might contact one of the many fine modular builders that might be the right fit for you.
If you need recommendations on who might be a good fit for you, feel free to contact us at: answers@lifestylist.com and we'll be happy to share our list of qualified builders with you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras Greetings

Daisy loves the Lifestylist® philosophy of Life Celebrating Style.  She is also open to any excuse to wear her favorite hats and attract attention.  Mardi Gras Greetings from Daisy the diva dog and the Lifestylist® family!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The International Builders Show Features Factory Built Homes by Palm Harbor

What a great, busy month this has been! This Lifestylist® has show houses to plan, new products to design and great conventions to attend... there just aren't enough hours in the day for all of the great opportunities that are ahead of us!
Last week I attended the International Builders Show in Orlando and after attending this convention for over 20 years I think this year was one of my favorites.
I am so proud to be a part of the National Association of Home Builders and to be involved in the modular side of home building. This was the year when I saw home builders really taking notice of what benefits factory built construction could offer them, and not only did we do a great job of talking about it - we also showed them.
There are meetings that go on before the Builders Show starts that help put in place best practices to promote and grow the housing industry. Councils cover various specialty groups, and I was impressed to see that Kevin Flaherty, Vice President of Marketing for Champion Homes was not only attending these meetings, he is also acting as Vice Chairman for the Building Systems Council. "The New Champion" is really showing their strength and commitment to the factory built housing industry, and not only are they active with NAHB, they are also becoming more active with the Manufactured Housing Institute. Kevin was a presenter in the NAHB News Conference "Industry Study: Characteristics of Modular Homes" and had great facts and figures about why consumers should consider buying a modular home.
Palm Harbor Homes presented three beautiful factory built homes in the Professional Builder Show Village showing a "Net Zero Eco-Home" that was a 399 sq. ft. park model, a modular duplex, and a modular luxury home. Tony Lucas the designer for Palm Harbor always does an outstanding job, but what he did with the Net Zero home really got people's attention. Tony added the architectural details on the exteriors that made you want to know and see more which is a lot of what you want a show home to do. It was interesting because another builder brought a home for the first time and it was in neutral colors and without much exterior interest, and many people (including myself) passed it by. I heard the home was beautiful inside, but only found that out after the show was over.
Builders were fascinated by the fact that the three homes were installed, furnished and decors added in 8 days. This was proof of one of the many benefits that factory built housing offers - time savings which results in cost savings. Will these homes result in sales for Palm Harbor? Ron Powell, President of Manufacturing for Palm Harbor Homes stated that "I haven't seen the statistics, but our internal feeling is that attendance at Show Village was better than last year. There were more attendees with solid projects in the immediate future. In the last few years, there were a lot of attendees trying to flesh-out ideas. This year, they've got land and are ready to go."
Besides having market driven homes at the show, I was also impressed to see Joe Stegmayer - the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cavco Industries, a director and officer of Fleetwood Homes, Inc.  and Palm Harbor Homes, Inc. ,and a director of Palm Harbor Villages, Inc working the show. How he has time to even attend something like this is amazing, and I said working not attending the show because every time I saw him he was helping a potential customer or answering questions. And in his "spare" time he is serving as the Chairman of the Board for The Manufactured Housing Institute. His hands on approach to the factory built housing industry is one of the reasons it will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
One of the highlights of this year's show for me was getting to hear Ben Bernanke speak about the state of our economy and what's ahead for housing. More on that later, but to see more images from this year's International Builders Show, visit and "like" our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/lifestylelist. I took over 2,000 photographs and I'm anxious to share my favorites with you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Gnome Knows

Let 2012 begin! It's looking like a very busy year for this Lifestylist® - I'm already working on trips to Michigan, New York, Las Vegas and Florida. All of these are to work with clients, and I'm always very frugal as to where I stay when I'm on the road.
The first destination for me when I'm trying to get my travel reservations in order is Travelocity. This has been such a great time saver for me, and I've discovered really cool hotels I never would have known (or Gnome) about without their help. I was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with that cute little guy sporting the pointy red at the past few years at Savor Dallas, and he shared some great tips with me.
One of the best ways to save is to book everything together on their site. Not only can it save you money, it's easier to keep up with to have your reservations  all in one place.
Thanks to their help, I discovered what I consider the best travel deal I've ever found. I needed a last minute room in the Tampa Bay area so I looked on Travelocity to see what I could find, and there it was - The Postcard Inn. Right on the beach, cool and funky, and amazing restaurant, Snack Shack and bar right on site, and under $75.00 a night! I liked it so much my daughter and grandkids joined me there to celebrate my birthday.
The next time you are thinking about heading out of town and experience something different, try Travelocity and trust their suggestions. Hopefully you'll be able to find your own Postcard Inn to enjoy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What's Mine is Not Yours - Intellectual Property

Seth Godin is my guru. He is so no nonsense but funny at times, intellectual but down to earth, and what I really love about him is that he can get a point across faster than anyone else I know. His Purple Cow book started me on a new road to being more involved in marketing and social media so I'm forever grateful. When I worked on the Purple Cow House Campaign with Patriot Homes I made sure to get permission from Mr. Godin, and we credited him for the phrase (and gave out his Purple Cow Book).

Today I got a great post from him titled "Simple Thoughts About Fair Use". So timely, and as always so well written. In this new blogging, social world I'm always stunned to see how many people are using other people's photography, ads, brands, and stories without permission. This article is a must read for anyone who is even thinking about posting on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog and using someones text or images.

I'm fortunate enough to have access to a very talented photographer - Lisa Stewart of Lisa Stewart Photography. The images you see in my blogs, on my Lifestylist Design Facebook page and on my website have been shot specifically for my use. I do that so I'm not using other people's work and having copyright infringements.

Lifestylist® is a term that I successfully trademarked in 2002 - my registration number is 2583235. I'm very proud of this because I thought I had a good idea and made the extra effort do "do the right thing" and spend the time, effort, and money to trademark it. You would be amazed at how much time I've had to spend since them protecting my mark because people haven't bothered to do their homework and see that it's trademarked before they use it in their own businesses.

Before you decide that you have discovered the next great phrase, or "borrow" a photo from someone else be sure to read Seth's post. Wondering where to learn more about these topics? The US Patent and Trademark Office has a great site, and it is also where you can search trademark registrations and applications.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Social Media Lifestylist® Guidelines for 2012

Happy New Year from the Lifestylist® family! I'm really excited about 2012, and the opportunities that come with it.
A lot of being a Lifestylist® is about being a trend tracker and doing research. Today I read something that was written by someone else titled "Social Media Lifestylist Guidelines for 2012" - boy does that sound dull! The first thing that comes to mind is a big dusty manual full of rules and regulations, and that is exactly what social media (and being a Lifestylist®) is not about.
The tag line I have always used for my Lifestylist® brand is "It's All About You". I didn't want the brand to be about me telling people what to do - I wanted to listen to people's wants, needs, and dreams, and help them achieve those even when they didn't know that's what they were really searching for. I don't want to dictate, I want to educate. I've learned that listening is so much more important than anything I will ever have to say, because sometimes if you let people express their thoughts they will find their answers.
Social media is such an exciting new frontier because it gives everyone the chance to tell their story to the universe. It's become a great equalizer because almost anyone  on any budget can get access to a computer and a free site and share their thoughts.
There's a down side to this though as well -there's not as much editing as we've seen in the past. We have to learn that even though someone may have written it, there is the possibility it might not be true. Before we share or depend on information we find we have to be sure and check the facts. As the guardian of the Lifestylist® trademark for almost 10 years now I've seen how many people want to tie into my brand but aren't willing to go through the legal process to acquire a brand of their own.
So what are the real Lifestylist's guidelines for 2012? Never call them guidelines, live your life to the fullest, listen to those around you and you can never laugh too much or have too much great food and wine!
Here's to a boisterous 2012!