Must all good things really come to an end? Alison Heath, our marketing director extraordinaire, will be leaving us after this week. Her last day in the showroom is Sunday.
She came to us in 2007 after a career in marketing for non-profit organizations, and after a well-earned spring break, she plans to return to that realm. We’re just happy she decided to venture into our realm for a few years.
It all started when Alison was at the Convention Industry Council, but she had developed a habit for vintage and antique furniture on the side. “That was part of why, when I was looking through The Washington Post Magazine, I noticed a curly maple Waterfall coffee table” in our regular ad, she says.
She looked us up online, and loved the furniture. “Most people wonder, ‘Which piece should I buy?’ But I was wondering if these people needed any help.”
Alison called General Manager and Co-Founder Greg Gloor, and they later met for an informational interview. That led to Alison working in the showroom part time for about nine months while she kept her day job. Two years later, however, she signed on full time with us.
I asked her what her favorite parts of the job were. “It all comes down to the customers. Where in the furniture world do people just come for a visit?”
Customers – especially our repeat-customers – will often stop into one of our showrooms, ostensibly to look for something new, but end up staying for an hour just to chat.
“It’s like going to work and meeting the coolest new people every week,” Alison says. She adds that another favorite element was writing the newsletter.
“I loved it when someone would come up to me in the showroom and mention something I had written about, like the 3/50 Project (www.the350project.net), which promotes shopping at independent retailers,” Alison says. “It made me feel like I was providing a valuable service and it was fun to share some of my values, like buying local, and events that I enjoy, like Smithsonian programs and exhibitions, with other people who would ‘get it’.”
So why is she leaving? At 31, she’s still exploring different avenues in the marketing world, and she wants to make room for some “balance,” she says, such as her volunteer work with the Smithsonian, her church, and her family when they come into town from California.
And we admit it – a seven-day retail operation has a way of invading every pore of your life – but in a good way, right?
At any rate, it will be hard for her to forget us, as she is the proud owner of two pieces by Hardwood Artisans – a file cabinet she helped design (“sort of a combination of the Linnaea and Essentials styles”), and the pièce de résistance: A platform bed with floating headboard.
“Once you get accustomed to a certain quality of furniture, it’s hard to go back,” Alison says.
We all hope she’ll keep her word and continue coming back to visit. We wish her the best of luck!
P.S. From Mark Gatterdam: Alison’s leaving is very hard for me to get used to. Since almost day one she and I have worked to update the look of Hardwood Artisans. We agreed and fought and settled with each other. We completed each others sentences. She has done a lot of good for this company, and I for one am a much better person for having known her.