February 24, 2021

Digital: The New Land Rush!

The Digital Land Rush - Zachary Lovelady

To digitize or not…Is that the question? COVID is shaking things up in the retail world. This year, digital startups may look like frantic Irish immigrants planting their stakes in the e-commerce land grab. Like Tom Cruise in Far and Away, companies will be expanding market share. 


Who can enter? Really anyone! Meet one competitor in the e-commerce coatings race, Becca Berger. MBA turned entrepreneur extraordinaire. This scrappy little lady owns a company called WeatherWash Coatings, an earth-friendly reactive stain that turns raw wood into barnwood by using tannic acid inside the lumber to achieve a specific color. Her product has no pigments or dies. No VOC’s. She invented the most earth-friendly product on the market. If you check Home Depot online, her reviews are 4-5 stars. Recently her product launched through Walmart online, and from day one sold as much as ten brick and mortar stores. How is that possible? 


Rebecca has a strong foothold on Instagram with 32,000 followers. Type “wood stain” on Instagram’s search, and she’s often ranked #1. She has over 17,000 followers on Facebook. An impressive portfolio. Support videos. Chat support. Phone support. A blog. An app and an algorithm. She doesn’t even have a brick and mortar store. She doesn’t want or need a storefront. 100% of her sales are e-commerce. She started with stains because it’s niche, and the most significant competitor, Minwax, lost distribution with Home Depot after Sherwin Williams acquired the lagging brand for an eye-popping $11.3B. 
         
“Since stain sales were in decline, I thought, this is exactly what Jeff Bezos did with books. He started niche and expanded. I started in stain, and I’m in the process of expanding into the paint.” Speaking to hyper-growth she claims, “I’m a big fan of Jeff Bezos ‘fly-wheel of growth,’ which relies heavily on Amazon’s 2-day shipping model and a simple website. Storefronts are closed for twelve hours. Even when they’re open, COVID has made it so clients can’t enter a Sherwin Williams store. My products can be delivered right to your door once you order them from my website. Also consider that if harmful emissions can be reduced, the coatings industry is going to have to reformulate. The majority of VOC off letting happens in this industry. So, innovators like me are going to have to make every effort to save the planet instead of ‘cover the earth’.”       
         
The largest entrants in the digital market space race are undoubtedly Walmart and Home Depot; Walmart is the world’s largest economy. Depot is the world’s second-largest economy. Four years ago, in their 2017, 10-K report, Depot revealed they plan to compete with Amazon by spending $11B on “store, supply chain, digital experience, and people.” With that kind of funding, the retailer known as the eight-hundred-pound gorilla expects to be on equal footing with Amazon’s 1-click, 2-day order fulfillment by the end of 2020. Can Depot achieve the “flywheel of success” by buying success? Maybe? It should be duly noted that part of Bezo’s high growth strategy is attributable to acquisitions like Zappos, Petco, and Whole Foods. But Depot is not in acquisition mode, so most likely not.
         
In 2001, Home Depot opened its online store. Nineteen years later, they are still nowhere near Amazon’s e-commerce platform. According to Depot’s 2019 10-K, their ambition is to be a “One Home Depot experience.” However, that vision is not clearly defined. What is clear is that Depot’s initial $5.4B investment in e-commerce is taking longer to recoup than expected. Why? There are many reasons, but one major obstacle is that 90% of developed software will not be utilized. Not to mention when the software is finally available, the hardware used to write the software is outdated. More software development questions will buzz around like murder hornets, “What is our hardware budget? What should we expect to pay for software development? How long will it take? Why isn’t it working? Can we outsource development?” Bezos has already answered ALL of these questions, and he did it about nineteen years ago. 


Bezos developed a sturdy platform from HTML source code to the back-end JavaScript. He also custom built the hardware so soundly, he is one of the few companies that survived the dot com bust. He then expanded Amazon by investing in more hardware and software. Bezos owns AWS and an undisclosed share in Google, meaning that large retailers relying on Google’s SEO or Amazon’s AWS services will compete with Amazon on Amazon’s hardware/software. The end game may be what happened to mom-and-pop bookshops, here today, gone tomorrow. 

Competition is also ramping up. E-commerce is a different game than retailers are used to playing. Historically, retailers had to battle for sales in newspapers, radio, and TV ads. Suppliers were never a threat. Each retailer competed on price, product, and availability. Now retailers could lose sales to suppliers. A cheetah gazelle relationship is developing between the two. So, who is the cheetah, retailers or suppliers? That’s hard to answer because suppliers like Sherwin Williams are building websites that sell directly to end consumers while simultaneously maintaining 4,106 brick and mortar stores. But they aren’t the only ones building websites. Inventors like Becca, mom-and-pop shops, Walmart, Depot, Sherwin, Ace, and Amazon all have websites. The cheetah is whoever gets to the Do-It-Yourself or Do-It-For-Me e-commerce consumer first, captures the gazelle, stakes their claim, expands their fences, and grows market share. 

Amazon will maintain a steady lead once it grows into hardware and paint because the e-commerce onboarding process for Depot and Lowes can take up to a year and costs suppliers several thousands of dollars, which means lots of suppliers won’t even make it to Depot/Lowe’s online e-commerce platform. Not only that, but Depot is marking suppliers’ products up 100% even though they aren’t shelving suppliers’ products, picking, packing, or shipping. The value seems to be the brand. Lowe’s onboarding process is equivalent to Depot’s. Sherwin doesn’t even have a process for onboarding suppliers. They have an email that they don’t reply to. Most of these overlooked suppliers will go straight to Amazon for no other reason than it only takes fifteen minutes for suppliers to onboard, giving Amazon a favorable lead. Of course, a faster cheetah i.e., inventor, could sprint to the lead by leveraging platforms like social media, a professional website, and leveraging relationships with established e-commerce brands. Still, these contenders are often acquired early on, so finishing the race becomes questionable. 

In a nutshell, Mr. Bezos may have fired the first shot for the digital market space land grab, took his place on the start line, and quickly sprinted off with the competitors. Time will tell who captures the gazelle and carves out their claim. Will it be retail brands? Suppliers? Inventors? Mom & pop? or Amazon?

Zack Lovelady

January 13, 2021

Family Life Centers Around a Great Table & Baby Angel Art, Florence



All the baby angels!! In Italy, these angels are called Putti. πŸ‘ΌπŸ» πŸ‘ΌπŸ» πŸ‘ΌπŸ» The ones I shared in the below post are all from larger portraits in the Uffizi - found in Florence, Italy. I love the ones with colored wings. I hope you will friend me on Facebook, so I can see what you like to do, too! 



This project is so heartwarming. The kitchen in the center of the home today and this one is no exception! Let's see how to get the look of their gorgeous table!


Materials



Directions

1.] SAND
For this project we used alder, if you're using a different species check out this color chart for weathered wood options: Color Chart. Sand the boards and with 80 grit sandpaper and now they're ready for you to apply stain. 

2.] STAIN
If you want a pure gray, you should use Reclamation, if you want a gray with brown in it, use Salvage. Using a wide brush or sponge brush, apply heavy coat of stain. Like in the above video, the wood will absorb the stain as it dries. The color will change from raw wood to stained. 


3.] LIGHTEN
To lighten the wood, use White Maintenance Oil Topcoat. This will lock in that light driftwood look and protect the wood. It's a wipe on and wipe off application. Use a brush or rag to apply and a clean rag to immediately take it back off the wood. The longer it stays on the wood, the whiter the wood will get.

4.] PROTECT
To seal the wood, use Weatherwood Polyurethane. This will lock in that light driftwood look and protect the wood. Just brush on 2-3 coats. 


You can save 10% on Weatherwood products, like you saw here, with code WELCOME10. 
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July 24, 2020

Corporate Bullies?



Hello architects, designers, industrial designers, contractors, painters, DIY-ers, weekend warriors, and close friends. We had a very interesting week. Not sure how you're all handling COVID, but three of our employees tested positive. As if that weren't dramatic enough, WeatherWash received a "cease and desist" from Sherwin Williams!

Why did we receive a cease and desist from a company that makes $56.3 billion a year? We were wondering the exact same. We've attached the letter so you can read it for yourselves. It would seem that the hundred year corporation is threatened by our tiny company using their hashtags. Well, not theirs as in Sherwin's hashtags. Minwax's hashtags. Didn't know that Sherwin owns Minwax? Well, now you do. I imagine Sherwin needs to watch those hashtags after loosing a major distribution deal with Home Depot. I mean, the ad budget for Minwax is probably a couple of hundred million, but that's not where the value is. It's in for SURE in the hashtags... and we have been legally warned.






If any corporations legal departments have contacted you, please email us. We are very interested in getting to the bottom of these inquires. Of course, we want to give Sherwin's legal team the benefit of the doubt here and explain why they're targeting a female tech entrepreneur. 

On the surface it seems like they feel threatened by her massive Instagram social media following, which is four times theirs. And since they can't compete with an earth-friendly product, they're trying to chip away at market share any way they can. But that's just surface talk. We will hope to deep dive with a phone conference and will write a follow up! So stay tuned.

Zack Lovelady



May 13, 2020

RH Style Balustrade Coffee Table & Bologna, Italy


Take a walk down this Bologna restaurant alley with us!! It’s packed with tourists, fresh food, people eating, & rad details. I’m crazy obsessed with these colorful buildings- they’re all shades of red, orange and yellow. It’s looks so warm and inviting. Bologna was such a wonderful surprise. We did an overnight here and toured the famous spots!




Materials


Directions


1.] SAND (SORT OF): Normally, I'd say you should sand wood and with 80 grit sandpaper, but for projects that have intricate carving you'll want to use something else. You can purchase denatured alcohol, it's inexpensive and faster than sanding. Apply it like you would stain, with a spray gun or paint brush. Make sure to the wood the day before you plan to stain, so it can completely dry. 

Create & Hold White Washed Gray Cabinetry

2.] STAIN: If you want a pure driftwood gray, you should use Reclamation. If you want a brown with brown in it, use Salvage. Using a wide brush, roller, or sponge brush, apply heavy coat of stain. Like in the above video, the wood will absorb the stain as it dries. The color will change from raw wood to stained. 


Once you're wood is dry, which takes about 30 minutes, you're ready to move to the next step. You will see the before and after transformation of raw alder to Reclamation stained below. 

Then you want to decide if you like the color as is, in which case just seal it with Weatherwood Varnish. If you want to lighten it, you'll want to use Weatherwood's WHITE Maintenance Oil Topcoat, RIGHT. However, if you want to darken it, and enhance the warmth of the wood tone, then use  Weatherwood's CLEAR Maintenance Oil Topcoat (LEFT).
3.] LIGHTEN / DARKEN: We decided to lighten the wood, so we used White Maintenance Oil Topcoat. This will lock in that light driftwood look and protect the wood. It's a brush or wipe on application, brushing is faster but a rag will make the product go further.


Allow the oil to penetrate for 5-10 minutes. The longer it sits, the whiter the effect. The use a clean rag to wipe off. If it gets too pale, just buff the finish back down. The White Maintenance Oil will provide light to medium wood protection. 

4.] SEAL: Depending on your project! If you need heavy duty wood protection, you will want to use Weatherwood Varnish over the cured oils. If it's a cabinet or something, that will need the varnish!



If you're really loving this color and you'd like another project idea, check out this:

Awesome DIY Restoration Hardware Reclaimed Gray Oak Finish Tutorial and Video#fg2b

1-2-3 that was so easy! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out! 
Lots of love!

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April 9, 2020

Good-Bye, The Handmade Hangout

After 6 fabulous years of parties, Allison and I will be ending ours! Thank you to all of those who have participated over the years! We have had the best time getting to see your work and creativity! I wish it could go on indefinitely, but Zack and I have so many exciting things happening!! 

We are launching several new projects and I can't wait to share them all with you. We have a been working on a short film and plan to enter it at the Sundance Film Festival. We got the idea while we were working in Sicily last year - I told you a little about it here. 

I have also been developing a beautiful paint line, straight from Italy! I’ve been gathering pigments from all the the world and cannot wait to share. We will be launching that soon. More to come on both of those fronts! 

I love you guys and will miss hearing from you, the most! Please continue to comment so I can stay up to date on your lives, too. xoxo


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April 8, 2020

Black (Wood) & White Sideboard & Tour of the Dome, Florence


The famous Florence Duomo is frescoed with these EPIC images from Dante’s Inferno and it’s the largest fresco in the world! ⛪️ Definitely take a minute to zoom in, because the detail is unreal!! πŸ˜ The bottom shows all the demons and satan in hell. πŸ”₯ You can see angels proclaiming that Christ is on the judgement seat. πŸ‘‘ Around the dome’s center the apostles look like they’re about to fall off the painted ledge! πŸ˜± INCREDIBLE!




Materials



    Directions


    1.] WOOD: Here's how you can get the look, first make sure you begin with sanded white oak. 80 grit sandpaper will do the best job.


    2.] STAIN: Use a wide paint brush to apply Weatherwood's Reclamation stain. The stain is reactive, so apply a heavy coat and allow the wood to absorb it. As the wood dries, it will turn colors.
    You'll see what I mean in the above timelapse. We stained both sides of the door, even though this is going to be used as a headboard. 

    3.] HIGHLIGHT: Once the wood is dry it will be dark, apply Weatherwood WHITE Maintenance Oil to highlight the wood grain. Just wipe or brush on and wipe off. Apply per the video above or the bottle's directions.




    You can save 10% on Weatherwood products, like you saw here, with code WELCOME10. I hope to see you at tomorrow's party!
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    April 1, 2020

    Salvaged RH Style Pine Coffee Table & The Vecchio Bridge


    We were on our way to dinner, but the second we stepped out the amazing sunset demanded to be seen! So we headed to our favorite spot, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, to take in the colors. The bridge was a totally party, as usual!! Enjoy the videos!



    Let's get to this awesome project. It's my favorite kind of post! Where usually hard to achieve colors are a piece of cake! This client wanted to match her new farmhouse coffee table to Restoration Harware's "natural" color, on this Salvaged Trestle Table. This look is easy to achieve on pine and it's just a subtle aging.



    Materials


    • Pine Furniture 

    Directions


    1.] SAND: Begin by sanding the wood piece, that way the wood will easily accept the stain and create a good pallet to begin your work. Start with a rough grit with a 120 grit. 


    2.] STAIN: Once the wood has been stripped or sanded back down to raw, you can stain it using Weatherwood Stain's Reclamation stain. Simply apply Reclamation with a sponge brush, brushing product onto sanded wood and allowing it to air dry. Allow to dry one hour. You'll see in the above time-lapse, the color change is subtle and is pretty similar to Restoration Hardware's "Natural" color. 

    3.] SEAL: Apply a wax or varnish seal coat to protect the piece. SatinVarnish will give the look of raw wood, but the protection of cabinetry!





    The texture on this maple just makes the color POP, don't you think? This stain will turn most wood species this shade. 
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