Protecting Your Brand: Copyrights and Trademarks

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When I trademarked the term Lifestylist® over 10 years ago I had no idea what I was in for. I thought by registering the name and going through the proper channels I’d be protected – unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. You have to constantly monitor all of the media that is out there and be the  intellectual property cop which can be very time consuming, but the only way to protect what you have built. I’ve found that some people honestly didn’t know that Lifestylist is a trademarked term and will remove their usage of it, but there are others who insist on getting lawyers involved.

Through all of this I’ve become increasingly more aware that there are some really stellar, ethical bloggers out there that really know their stuff and share great information and then well… there are others. Today I noticed a tweet from someone I follow and respect – Courtney Price of Courtney Price Design and sure enough it was full of great information that every blogger needs to be aware of.

Her article on Copyright Issues for Bloggers shows how to do the right thing – she contacted Susan and William from the House of Brinson about an online class they gave on copyrights,  got quotes and permission to use their photography and credited them in the article. Blogging should be about celebrating all of us – not just your own domain.

We teamed up at the beginning of our Lifestylist journey with Lisa Stewart of Lisa Stewart Photography so we would have the photos we need to tell our story with. I have a photography page at the top of my blog that credits her and states all photos are copyrighted.

Words to the wise: if you don’t own the rights to a photo, got permission in writing to use it or took it yourself, don’t use it. This is becoming an issue that more photographers and writers are taking seriously and winning in the battles that make it to court.

If you don’t know if a term or service is trademarked you can go to the USPTO website, do a trademark search and anything that has been filed will be shown as well as who the owner is.

If you haven’t discovered them already, be sure to visit The House of Brinson and Courtney Price Design to see examples of how to share ideas and make a house a home beautifully.

Doing The Most Good: Donating to Salvation Army

Salvation Army Hurricane 6Salvation Army Hurricane 7Salvation Army Hurricane 1Salvation Army Hurricane 3It’s heartbreaking to watch the news today and see the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma. My sister and her family live in Edmond, OK and I have clients that have land lease communities very close to where the tornado touched down.

People always think that “trailer parks” or “mobile home parks” are the worst places to be during a disaster like this, but that just isn’t true. I was glad to hear that the Yes! Communities in this area only sustained hail and wind damage and no one was hurt. Their on-site managers made sure that everyone got to where they needed to be and are now busy helping them get emergency supplies and repairs. That’s one of the advantages of living in a well run land lease community – there’s always someone there to help.

If you would like to help the people of Moore that were affected by the storm, I encourage you to donate to the Salvation Army. They truly do the most good with every dollar that is donated.

YES! Communities Have The Right Attitude

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Land Lease Communities are such a misunderstood and undervalued type of community. As in every form of housing there are the good and the bad, but after touring some of the yes! communities in Oklahoma and Texas there is no doubt in my mind that this will be the housing of the future.

SE Homes of Texas has recognized for years how important it is to offer the right home for community living and I’ve really enjoyed working with them on this. Getting to see the finished homes and the people who live in them is such a delight – it’s rewarding beyond belief to this Lifestylist® to know you can help these families live in the home of their dreams. With SE Homes of TX being a part of the Clayton Homes family – the largest housing builder in the country- they have the resources to build and design homes that no other company can match.

What is a land lease community? This is where instead of having the burden of owning and taking care of the land your home sits on you lease it from the community owner who then is also responsible for keeping up the streets, common areas, paying the property taxes and making sure that the community is well maintained.  Communities can have a little or a lot of community areas, and most offer on-site management so there is someone there every day making sure the community is run properly. Many of them are in prime locations and can offer swimming pools, sports courts, walking paths, community gardens, and clubhouses. Leasing instead of owning the land your home is on it can save you thousands in property taxes and insurance which you can then invest into your home. You are responsible for your home, but the community owner pays  for everything else.

The advantage of this type of housing over apartments is that you can own your own home, plus you aren’t sharing walls or hallways with your neighbors. Each home is on it’s own lot giving you room to garden or enjoy outdoor living.

I have been visiting communities from coast to coast because I’ve become so interested in this, and the quality of living that the yes! communities provided was above and beyond the others in their areas. Every detail from how the landscaping was maintained to the signage into and around the community is taken into consideration, and even though it is still winter up here everything was spotless! Not a blowing piece of paper or unpainted fence to be found.

What really set the yes! communities apart though was the people behind the name and the residents that live in these communities. Saying (and meaning) yes is the approach this company and it’s people take and the difference this makes is seen throughout. Residents and staff are happy and are excited to be there because yes! has provided a wonderful quality of live for everyone involved.

What’s in a name? Everything when you are talking about a YES! community.

 

Finding The Right Partner

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You would think that finding a contractor or designer to do work on your home would be easy, but take it from this Domestic Lifestylist® it’s not. When I decided to add a test kitchen to The Home Idea Factory I started thinking about having people in my home, and trust became even more important than the cost. Fortunately for me, I found Mike Clark and his team, and my test kitchen is closer than ever to being a reality.

Here’s some tips for hiring a contractor.

Discovering Hope in 2013

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Another year is almost behind us, and I think most of us are looking forward to a fresh start in 2013.

Last year made it clearer than ever that nothing is more important than relationships. I feel so fortunate that I was able to spend time with my cousins I hadn’t seen in years, had some great sister time and what was most important, got to spend a lot of quality time with my kids and grandkids.

Being around the grandkids reminded me how wonderful it is to always be looking forward to tomorrow and the opportunities it brings. The amazement of what a fantastic job my kids are doing as parents, and how talented their Jr Lifestylists are keeps reminding me how important it is to spend time with family.

Here’s hoping that 2013 is filled with hope for all of us, and we remember what brings us joy.

We Appreciate Your Business

I just got back from working on a great new Lifestylist® Designed model home for SE Homes of Texas. It is at The Oakwood Homes of Channelview store, and I still can’t believe all of the features and details this home offers. I really enjoyed going down to Houston to merchandise the home, and one of the biggest things I immediately noticed was how well done the home center was, and how nice the home team was. They went out of their way to help me, and I noticed when they were walking prospective home buyers through the new model the team was very knowledgeable about the building process and really helped the buyers learn about the homes without pressuring them.

When you drove into the center, there was a huge banner that stated “We Appreciate Your Business” and I definitely got the impression that they did. The most valuable thing that all of have right now is our time, and it was great to know that this team wouldn’t be wasting mine. The center was beautifully landscaped, the homes were well merchandised and clean, and the minute you walked into their offices you were greeting by a professional that made you immediately feel at home.

Sadly, not everyone seems to appreciate our business, which makes how these Clayton owned sales centers treat their customers even more special. Coming home to missed appointments and being on hold for hours with the cable and internet companies made me appreciate even more the Oakwood Channelview experience.

Is Bigger Better?

This Lifestylist® spends a lot of time trend tracking so I can help my clients decipher what current fads and forecasting really applies to what they do and their customers. Something that seems to be getting a lot of “Buzz” recently is that people are no longer interested in the smaller sized homes that have been so popular in the last couple of years, but they are back to wanting more square footage.

This may sound good in a news article, but in fact what we are seeing is people want more liveable space – in other words, what they want is every square foot of their new home having a function and no wasted space that they have to heat, cool and clean. Living in a Home Idea Factory like I do may sound glamorous, but with all of this square footage comes a mountain of cleaning that needs to be done every day and maintenance that never ends.

Factory built housing has always been a great example of great use of space. Since every home is engineered, I’m always amazed with how large and functional the kitchens are in a small amount of space. Using as little space as possible for hallways can make a huge difference in the footprint of the home, and taking the time to “space plan” – seeing what furniture will work where and the traffic flow that will happen because of that furniture placement – can alleviate a lot of problems after the home is built.

This Champion Home is a great example. It is a model home in Hobbs, NM and I was asked to re-merchandise it so potential customers would get a better feel for the lifestyle that was possible with this home and how they could live and entertain in it.

What we changed was so successful they sold this home the first day! A rancher bought it and loved the mud room, large flowing entertainment areas, and the ranching lifestyle featured in the model.

When you are looking for your next home, have a seat in the model home and really think about the flow of the home and how your family will utilize every square foot of the home. You might be surprised at what you really do and do not need.