Written by Justin Gaynor
Your South Florida Oasis
You are excited about your NEW South Florida Oasis. Awesome! At Illumination FL, we love to see people inspired to do greater things with their homes. You read our last blog and now you are ready to get down to business. Welcome back! The Illumination FL family is glad you are here.
The first blog in the series took a big picture look at the process. Now, we are going to drill down into the flow of the creative process. Specifically, in this installment, we are going to focus on capturing inspiration for the project. Let’s get a picture of what our conversation is going to look like.
Three Steps to an Inspiring Landscape
Home improvement at this level requires forward thinking. An inspiring landscape that you will find fulfilling for years, sometimes decades, requires significant investment. Not only investment of money, but also of time and thought.
- Clear your head so you can focus
- Seek vision for your project
- Express your vision to family and friends
First, we are going to talk about clearing your head of all the other things you have rolling round in your mind. Then we want to look at ways to seek vision for the project. Ken Frank, of South Florida’s Home & Décor Ideas Magazine joined us in an interview for this portion. Finally, we will talk about expressing your vision to family members and contractors. You want to capture their imagination and open them up to the vision, firmly placing everyone involved on the same page. Let’s take a look!
Clear Your Head
In the post-modern world we live in there is a lot of confusion and busyness. So, when it comes to making long term decisions about your home, you need to clear your head. Next, focus on and soberly think about how you want to utilize your outdoor living spaces.
You are not just thinking about this weekend. You are thinking forward toward that wedding reception or celebrating that college graduation. For those neighborhood game nights and summertime pool parties. How are you going to enjoy your space in your golden years? Thinking about the long-term usefulness of your outdoor living space will inspire you to make better choices. You will gain a deeper understanding of the value to be found in selecting reputable contractors that specialize in their field.
Our company, Illumination FL, for example, focuses on our core competency – we design, install and maintain great landscape lighting systems. We use highly trained designers, install only the highest quality hardware and fixtures with industry leading warranties, and we offer maintenance packages that keep the systems looking beautiful and in good working order for the long term. With all of the various decisions to be made, you have to start somewhere. Let’s talk with a seasoned professional that has been working with Illumination FL and other reputable contractors here in South Florida for many years, Ken Frank of Home & Décor Ideas Magazine.
Seek Vision – An Interview with Ken Frank, Home & Decor Ideas
Interviewer: “We are writing a blog concerning how to develop a ‘South Florida Oasis in Your Own Backyard.’ And we are getting into the second part of the series. I am here with Kenny Frank, a gentleman that has worked with Illumination FL for a long time. He has graciously agreed to be interviewed so we can explore what it is to work with different contractors here in South Florida to develop a great backyard that you and your family can enjoy on a regular basis. So happy to have you here with us today Ken, how are you doing?”
Ken Frank: “I’m doing pretty good and happy to be with you today.”
Interviewer: “Excellent. Excellent. So, you’re with Home & Décor Magazine which distributes all over South Florida, can you tell us a little more about that and how you got involved with them.”
Ken Frank: “Well, Home & Décor is a part of Clipper Magazine. I got involved with Clipper Magazine 20 years ago and after a while, actually 2008-2009, when the economy turned bad we started Home and Décor Magazine for the home improvement industry. It developed very quickly. We run it here in South Florida, in Broward and Palm Beach county.”
Interviewer: “We’ve been advertising with you for a while now, so folks that open the pages of Home & Décor Magazine will usually see an advertisement from Illumination FL in there. When a person opens that magazine, what are some of the things they can expect to see as far as some of the specific folks that have been advertising with you for a while?”
Ken Frank: “They can see outside home improvement people like a roof, like Illumination FL, a landscaper, like a pool enclosure, like a paver…it has to do with the homeowners improving their residence.”
Interviewer: “The home improvement industry here in South Florida is just absolutely amazing. Now, with everything going on with the Corona Virus we are experiencing some disruption in that, but on a regular basis South Florida is a great place to buy a home, to build a home and certainly to take the home that you own and make it absolutely beautiful. That’s what the advertisers in your magazine help people do, right?”
Ken Frank: “Correct, and even in times like this, we found that people are inside their homes, looking at their homes. Now is the time to think about it. Now’s the time to find out about it. They’re thinking about…their backyards, all the sudden they realize, ‘You know what, I wanted to change it, now’s a good time, I’m stuck here, let’s start thinking about it.’”
Interviewer: “Yeah, I know with us at Illumination FL, we can see a home that is absolutely spectacular and beautiful, but they lack the lighting. I remember going to a little networking event and the house was gorgeous, it had an elevator on the inside, I mean the house was amazing. We were all gathered around the pool, whoever had done the landscaping and the pool and everything did a fantastic job, and I am sure they might be some people that are advertising with you. One thing they were missing was, they didn’t have any landscape lighting! It just seemed to me a big waste to have spent all that money on landscaping and really not be able to see it and enjoy it when you’re having a party.”
Ken Frank: “I agree completely. As you said, someone built a beautiful home, let’s light it up so people can see it, plus it makes it safer.”
Interviewer: “Exactly. One of the purposes of this series of blogs on IlluminationFL.com is that we really want people to be inspired…various locations where they can find inspiration… Now, I’ve opened your magazines many times and seen some amazing photographs that I was able to put on my desk or on Pinterest or in a scrapbook. Do you find that a lot of your customers utilize your magazine for collecting those kinds of concepts and ideas?”
Ken Frank: “Definitely, our magazine and other magazines like us, we’re only part of …the picture. Everybody says everything’s on the internet, well, people don’t go to the internet looking for Illumination FL, they’re looking for a lighting company. But they look for Illumination FL (on the internet) because they recognize the name. They saw the name in a magazine or a newspaper article or on a sign. They don’t just go looking for Illumination FL they are guided there…this all works together…it all leads to people seeing the people that are available to supply their needs”
Interviewer: “Ok. So, if I’m a home-owner and I’m thinking ‘Where can I start?’ I know that I am wanting to do some home improvement projects. I get my mail and BOOM! there’s Home & Décor Magazine. I start flipping through there, and I say,’Oh, WOW, what is this Illumination FL? That house looks amazing! I’d like to go ahead and check them out a little more.’ and they would see our web address on the pages of Home & Décor Magazine. They would cruise on over to IlluminationFL.com and start to look at our portfolio, read the blog, search and see what is involved in the process of adding custom landscape lighting to their home. They give us a call. We give them a FREE estimate. So, is that kind of how it works together?”
Ken Frank: “Absolutely! And at this time, with everybody, most people, home bound…they’re looking at the internet, they’re looking at these magazines. They’re looking at these images that interest them. They’re making decisions to investigate and purchase.”
Interviewer: “Ok, and that’s basically how Home & Décor Magazine works together with different connection points and the internet. What would you say are the top three ways that Home & Décor Magazine is really helpful to homeowners?”
Ken Frank: “Hmmm, it gives them an idea of what’s available. They may see a picture of a $50,000 kitchen, that doesn’t mean their kitchen is going to be $50,000, but they see something they like.”
Interviewer: “That is one of the top ways that Home & Décor Ideas is helpful to homeowners, what would you say are two more?”
Ken Frank: “Gives them various people in the same industry to call. There are usually multiple advertisers in the same industry…gives them a chance to find some competitive situations also.”
Interviewer: “One thing I would say though is that Illumination FL is pretty much the only landscape lighting company in your magazine. We specialize in what we do, whereas, a lot of folks that dabble in our industry, they might tack it on to their main business. As far as a company that really focuses on our core business, Illumination FL – Landscape Lighting, we pretty much connect with our customers through your magazine as the premier landscape lighting company in South Florida and it has been great working with you Ken.”
Ken Frank: “Well, along with Illumination FL, we try and pick good companies to talk to about advertising. It’s not just making an advertising sale, we want the advertiser to be happy, we want the people that get the magazine to be happy. When they chose somebody from the magazine, we want them to be satisfied. So, its important that we pick people and chose people to do the job properly. When you meet with somebody, in our business, if you’re doing it right, you don’t just take the money and make the sale. They’re helping us make a living and we’re helping them make a living. The best policy is to be honest with each other.”
Interviewer: “Absolutely, now, last question for you here today Ken, if someone reads our blog and they don’t already receive Home & Décor Magazine at their home. If there is someone who isn’t getting your magazine and they want to subscribe, is there a phone number they can call or a website they can go to?”
Ken Frank: “They can go to our website, www.homeanddecorideas.com, they can call Clipper Magazine at 717-569-5100, and they can call me at 561-350-3811.”
Interviewer: “Excellent. You know Ken, again, I thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Ever since we sat down and had that first cup of coffee and went over things together it’s been great being in relationship with you. I want to wish you the best, I hope you stay healthy, and hopefully we will continue working together well into the future.”
Ken Frank: “I agree on all counts, especially staying healthy, that goes for you too, in these times.”
Interviewer: “Thank’s Ken.”
That concludes our recent interview with Ken Frank of Home & Décor Ideas Magazine. I think we garnered a good idea of how the various points of inspiration, from magazines to web sites, work together to help us develop a vision. Now, you need to take your project from the realm of concept and begin processing, refining and expressing your vision for your new South Florida Oasis.
Express Your Vision
You now need to begin to express your vision to the other people in your household. Include friends and relatives that sometimes visit as well. Talk about the design ideas that really grab your attention and get you excited. See what they think. Your outdoor space is going to be enjoyed by the folks in your household and the whole sphere of your relationships. As you gather feedback and are perhaps helped through some of the harder choices, your friends and family will begin to feel a vested interest in your project. They will be able to encourage you and perhaps offer some advice. If they have done business with great contractors in the area that you are considering for your team, they will have valuable insight. Be sure to share your scrapbook, your Pinterest page and other visuals that will help bring everyone together.
To be continued…