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Monday, July 18, 2011

Diane Kazan, Flooring Blog, Urban Design + Renovations

Meet Diane Kazan, owner of Kazan Flooring & Windows, partner in the newly formed Urban Design + Renovations, and author of the Kazan Flooring Blog which she launched in July 2010.

She's been busy since launching that flooring blog and relentless in coming up with communication and merchandising approaches not often embraced in flooring.  In between her Do-It-Yourself Bathroom Workshop happening Thursday 7/21/11 in Franklin, TN, Diane took the time to answer a few questions.

C.B.: Tell me about yourself and your role in your business. 

DK: We are located in metro Nashville, in a small town called Franklin. Franklin is considered by most to be the best town in Tennessee, if not in the southeast. Our store, located in the downtown area, features 20’ feet of glass windows, which we use to our advantage with seasonal displays. It is estimated there are 25k vehicles that pass by the store. We also try to engage those who stop in front of the store at the traffic light.

We are a small business, and with only two of us handling the estimating, design, specifying, project management, contract preparation, invoicing, bill paying, and marketing. When I have a opening or some down-time, that is everything from a project standpoint is caught up, I can focus on marketing. We try to post on Facebook once a day about tips, projects and link all back to the blog when appropriate.

Also, we have a “Do It Yourself Bathroom Workshop” scheduled in late July that we are very excited about. It includes manufacturer and distributor reps from Schluter, Mapei, Dal Tile, Armstrong Cabinets, Hanwha Quartz countertops, Porter/PPG Paints and more. The purpose is to educate the consumer on how to tile a shower, as well as promote related products and allow the attendee to get questions answered. We are planning great door prizes as well. We are promoting this event on Facebook with an ad, along with window signs on our building. A secondary goal of the workshop is to increase awareness of our store and what we offer.

C.B.: Diane, why did you launch a blog?

DK: Because I had something to say. No seriously, it was an opportunity to share ideas and trends and provide solutions to flooring questions and problems. It was also a platform to build credibility in the middle of Tennessee by writing about flooring projects.

C.B.: What inspired you to do so? 

DK: I saw it as an opportunity to establish myself early in this venue.

C.B.: What are your favorite topics to write about? 

DK: My flooring projects and new products.

C.B.: How has that changed since you launched the blog? 

In January 2011, I teamed up with a partner and formed URBAN Design + Renovations with an emphasis on kitchen and bath remodels. That development has increased ten-fold the sources for blogging articles.

C.B.: How do you manage your ideas and your time? 

Diane Kazan & Nick Besaw, URBAN Design + Renovations
Diane Kazan & Nick Besaw, URBAN Design + Renovations
DK: I try to blog once a week. Thankfully we are in a very visual business and people love “before” and “after” photos.

C.B.: How do you use the blog in your company?

DK: I promote it on Facebook and on two websites, Kazan Flooring & Windows and then URBAN.

CB: Do others participate with you?

No, I handle the blog myself, primarily because its origin is Kazan Flooring.

C.B.: How has the blog benefited you? 

It’s given me a venue to promote my ideas about the remodeling industry.

C.B.: What are you biggest surprises from blogging [good and bad]?

DK: Is anyone really interested in my blog? I don’t have a lot of followers, so that is frustrating and I would love to have advertisers too.

C.B.: How do Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn fit in to what you do?

DK: We participate in all, plus send email blasts via Aweber, have a QR code on our business cards, and just launched an URBAN mobile website and will soon add texting as another opportunity to reach customers.

C.B.: Any observations about blogging platforms, mechanics, etc?

D.K.: I’ve used Blogger, but currently the blog is on WordPress.

C.B.: What advice do you have for others in flooring who are considering a blog?

DK: Be consistent and always be looking for ideas, projects, “before” and “after”. In summary, I see blogging as part of an overall strategy to promote my business and increase my credibility in middle Tennessee.

Urban Design + Renovations
C.B.: Thanks, Diane, and congratulations!

Diane sent in this photo of her store and explains that "The photo of the store front features the "Fourth of July" decor. We have over 25k vehicles driving by daily and we try to increase awareness of our business with our window displays. In fact, I've had several people say they look forward to out window decor changing. 

The faux shower for the DIY Bathroom Workshop will be the next entry as it will be set up a few days before the workshop and will remain after, too. 

I was curious and asked her about her competition. Does anyone else do what she does? Here's her response:

Our main competition is men owned business, the majority of which tell their customers to select their finishes and they will install. We have found success with the opposite and bring the selections to them and then manage the entire project, including scheduling all subs, and those are subs with whom we have established relationships and constantly use their services, thereby guaranteeing first priority for our projects. 

As far as connecting with women, we do because I am and my partner isn't. We are different in all ways, except that we excel at this. He is more the selling connection and I have more of the project management skills, but I believe we "ooze" confidence and that comes across when we are presenting a design, explaining the pricing or signing the contract.
I wish I could be in Madison for the DIY Workshop!

What's your reaction to Diane Kazan, the Kazan Flooring Blog and URBAN Design + Renovation? Could you see implementing some of her ideas in your business? Have you already tried some of the ideas?

Share in the comments. There's so much creativity happening in the retail experience and I love highlighting examples from the flooring industry. I bet you have great examples, too!

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Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

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