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August 20, 2007

It Sneaks Up on You

You don’t even notice it. It can start out very slowly at first, but once it starts there’s no stopping it. You can’t turn back!

Sounds sinister, but it’s not at all. It’s what I call “the second home mentality” and it’s what we’re all about at Owner’s Locker.

I often get asked where the idea for Owner’s Locker came from. The short answer is that it many years of being an international corporate road warrior where I was always looking for a way to feel more at home while on the road. Since I’m not particularly prone to short answers, here’s a slightly longer version.

In a prior life, I was lucky enough to be based in Europe for 15 years—quite a long way away from my Kentucky home!
Life in a world capital was exciting but the family often tried to get away from London and out in the country on some weekends. We started with a goal of one weekend a month and tried various country house hotels. We found one we really liked called Wooley Grange, believe it or not. But after a while the novelty of it wore off a bit. Some rooms were not so hot and it did cost a LOT. So we tried renting different cottages for a weekend and enjoyed it but felt like we spent most of the weekend figuring where things were inside the cottage and the local area. Don’t you hate trying to remember where the bathroom is in a strange place in the middle of the night and bumping into a wall that you thought was a door?

Next we tried renting a cottage for six months and that’s when it started sneaking up on us. It doesn’t really cross your mind if you’re just going to be there once. I guess you figure you’ll just take the place as it is and deal with for such a short period.

But once we knew we where coming back to the same place funny things started to happen. There was something really nice about being someplace different yet familiar. We knew our way around. It felt comfy. We relaxed as soon as we opened the door. Building a fire in a fireplace you’re used to is nowhere near the chore of discovering the quirks of a new one—ask my wife and daughters.

I think the first things to go were the plates. Of course the place came with dinnerware—but it wasn’t ours. I like ceramics so we slowly bought plates one by one as well as bowls from potters in the area. Each of the kids picked out their own and we kept them there. It was fun to use those plates only when were away for the weekend. We even packed away some of the cooking utensils that were supplied and brought our own. Of course we had our own toiletries but it was a month or two before I broke down and bought a really nice corkscrew. We soon needed some picture frames for the photos we took of the kids riding
horses and we even start a small collection of brass items that we ran into at antique shops.

We knew the place wasn’t ours and that we would have to pack all of the stuff up and take it home at some point but that didn’t matter. And we knew better than to put nail holes in the wall so we focused on personalizing the place with things we’d use of set out on tables. These things made us feel more at home and that was what mattered.

All of this was going on subconsciously. Consciously, we were too busy enjoying the fact that we didn’t need a map to get their from home; that we had met some people in the village; that we had found a couple of inexpensive pubs nearby with really good food—and they even recognized us when we came in. These were the things that we talked about and smile about. But having the personal items around was just as important. They were just as key an element in the second home mentality.


August 9, 2007

Just The Right Color Purple

This has nothing to do with Oprah. It’s about the color of our Lockers….and our vans….and our website. I mean, if you’re going to call yourself, “The purple place for storing your vacation stuff,” you’d better get your color purple right!
blog OL van.JPG

That sounds easy, I know, but like just about everything else with this new business, sounding easy doesn’t make it so.

But just how complicated can choosing a color be? Come on now! Well, read on.

First there was the issue of just what the color should be. We didn’t start out with purple. In fact, I don’t think we started out with a color at all. That didn’t last forever because at some point we needed to show what the Lockers looked like. And then the search was on. What about shades of red and green? There was a really deep red I recall looking good

blog red Locker.jpg

And then somehow, the Locker came out a sort of yellowy-orange. I never really liked it but other people did.
blog orange Locker.jpg
And then there was turquoise which I really did like but I must admit I thought it might be trendy. You know, it looks OK now but five years from now people are asking what in the hell we were thinking when we chose turquoise.
blog turquoise Locker.jpg
And then one day I was riding on a bus surrounded by a bunch of people on vacation having fun. And, you know what? The seat I was sitting on was purple. So we had a Locker rendered in purple just to see what it looked like. Love at first sight!

At about this time, Brian came on board and I told him that one of the things we needed to decide on was the Locker color and I showed him the gallery. No question in his mind. Purple.

Now you might think that was it. I did. But then I don’t think either of us realized that there were about 4 zillion shades of purple. And let me tell you, we started looking at magazines, cars, and even light poles, you name it. And all we saw was different shades of purple—and none of them was the right one. And it was about this time that we realized that computer screens can not be depended upon to accurately display colors and we also discovered a company that specializes in colors, Pantone. They specialize is colors and make these neat accordion looking charts that every color of every rainbow. So off we went, looking and comparing colors in different lights to finally find the perfect shade of purple that would become Owner’s Locker Purple. It had to be bright, cheery, fun and needed to sort of say “vacation.” It’s Pantone 267 C. And you can go to their website, www.pantone.com, do a search and see for yourself (or you can look at the site, or your own purple Locker or our van the next time you’re in Orlando!)

I think what really sealed the decision to use purple for our color came was a conversation I had with one of my 15 year old twins. When Libby saw the van, she said, “good pun, dad.”

And, I said, “what??”

“’The purple place for storing your vacation stuff’—that’s a really cute pun.”

And, I said, “what pun, Libby?”

“Well, you say ‘purple place’ but you really mean PERFECT place…it’s a pun.”

Well, it wasn’t until just now…thanks, Libs!”
“How about an increase in your allowance?”
blog purple Locker.jpg

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