Moving Product Off the Shelf


Despite what you may think, one isn’t always awarded for being ahead of the curve.  I’ve been blessed and cursed with the ability to foresee trends and to act on them. Unfortunately, many of my greatest ideas have been tossed aside by the powers that be, because they couldn’t see what I saw, and didn’t want to risk following my vision.

You’ve probably seen the big hoopdelah about Traditional Home cozying up with the first webzine – Australia’s Lonny – to create TRADHOME – a totally online zine like the much more hip and very youthful Lonny Copycat Rue Magazine.

Well, about four years ago, we conceived a story idea “Garden Retreat” that was exclusively for an online magazine, using stills and videos to promote both product tie-ins and various hot and unknown designers, who would all decorate its interior in their way.

At a time when Garrison Hullinger was still working in retail, but was showing signs of breaking out as a designer, we asked him to host our online idea. We had a retreat – not a man’s cave – specifically built for women to get out of the house and find relaxation, creativity, and the lovely view of a garden. The building was constructed using product tie-ins, and was filmed and photo’d from the tear-down of an ugly tin storage unit on its site to  the entire building process. The retreat was designed to mimic the 1909 Craftsman home to which it belonged.

Garden Retreat Idea for ONLINE MAG by BSE - 4 years ago

Of all the many pitches we made regarding this idea, the only person who really GOT it was a woman at Country Home. She was really stoked about it and the concept began to make its way to the bigwigs in New York… when… Yep, you guessed it, the magazine downsized and she went to another corporate division at Meredith. Shortly thereafter, the entire magazine folded – ad sales were down because… Yep, you guessed it again, the world wide web was eating into magazine sales and therefore affected ad revenue.

Here’s a link to the entire site we created – with lots of videos and stills on the project… Enjoy perusing them all.

If we had just gone ahead and made our own webzine at that time, no doubt it would have been as successful as our You Tube series for professional photographers – which has gone around the world and back again – and is now approaching 50,000 hits in 1 year’s time.

Happy Anniversary to all those who participated in the idea that DID come to fruition, thanks to creating it ourselves.

BSE's Hit You Tube Series - Pack Your Kit - 50,000 hits


1 Charmaine Manley { 04.13.11 at 2:22 pm }

I remember discussing this with you years ago. Such a fantastic idea for this beautifully created garden retreat.

WHY don’t the powers that be – GET IT?

2 Lisa McElliott { 04.14.11 at 7:43 am }

The powers that be sometimes can only think of their bottom that their bottom line is shrinking because of print they are looking toward the future..which you saw, waaaay before them..
A woman before your time, Donna Pizzi!

3 Philip Clayton-Thompson { 04.14.11 at 8:05 am }

Thanks, Lisa, but it is Philip who is the idea man who wrote this piece, not I… He has always been ahead of his time…. Brilliant!

Leave a Comment