You ARE Your Brand

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When you’re a business owner, you know you need to focus on your company’s brand. So you spend a lot of time crafting it and ensuring that it is a fabulous representation of your niche and your company. But there’s one part of branding you may not be considering: your personal brand.

When you own a small company – or even a large company, for that matter – your personal brand is a parallel to your company’s brand. And it is really just as important. They have to complement each other, and they certainly can’t be in opposition.

So what do I mean by that? You have to review and consider every way in which you’re communicating with the outside world to be absolutely sure that those “touch points” enhance your business’s brand, and doesn’t do anything to hurt it. That includes your personal social media, your photos, your LinkedIn profile, and any other way that you appear online.


Here’s an example: You’ve built your business brand professionally and you’re really proud of how it represents what you want to achieve with your company. But your profile photo on your personal Facebook page is one of your dog. Or you just made a comment on a friend’s post that is hilarious to you, but kinda inappropriate. Those things can definitely impact your business’s brand.

I can hear you saying: “But Tobi, my social media accounts are private! I should be able to say and do what I want there.” Ah, but nothing is private about social media. Anything that you post can be found and seen by others. Social media is community-based – think of it like being outside in your neighborhood or town. That photo that in the past you would have shown in a photo album to just close friends and family is now being plastered on a billboard downtown. That’s what social media is really all about. And even if you told only your friends and family where the billboard is, it would still be out in public and could be seen by others.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be “you,” online. But you have to think more about having a personal brand that’s like the one you would present at a networking party. Still fun, still very much your personality, but still appropriate. Remember that every comment or tweet, every photo and post, can have an impact on how people think of you – and how they think of your business.


People want to deal with companies on a personal level today – they want to feel like they have a relationship with brands, so you’re even more fused with your company brand than ever before. That’s another reason why your company’s niche must be fully authentic to you personally.

So if your company branding says that you love working with children, and you’re then posting online in your personal accounts about how you can’t stand being seated next to kids in a restaurant, you aren’t going to appear authentic or believable to clients who might see that.

I know the idea of focusing on your personal brand as a parallel to your professional brand can be tough for some of you. But making them complementary to each other will really only enhance the relationships you want to build with your customers – as much as the ones you want to build with family and friends!







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What Is That Color? The Stroke of Midnight

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I often talk about how people need to remember the “fifth wall” when designing a room – and of course I’m talking about the ceiling! You can create drama and surprise by adding color and pattern to the ceiling of any room. So I loved doing just that when I painted my client’s ceiling in a deep midnight lacquer.

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The deep blue looks like the night sky in this glam master bedroom, especially when it’s paired with that stunning star-like chandelier, designed by Jonathan Adler for Robert Abbey! For that night-time hue, I chose Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Navy in high gloss. It has such great depth and dimension, especially at night with soft lights in the room.

So what do you think of this dramatic ceiling? Is it something you would try in your home? Let me know in the comments section below!

Colorfully yours,






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A Brand New Blue

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It isn’t every day that scientists discover a new color – but you know my ears perked up when I heard the news! And just like so many things in life, the discovery was a happy accident. Chemists at Oregon State University were actually trying to create new materials for electronics when they realized they’d done something that people have been trying to do for centuries – create the perfect bright blue.

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The blue is very close to what I call cobalt – a color I LOVE to use, as you can see above. The chemists created it by heating manganese oxide and a few other chemicals to over 2,000 degrees F. And the best thing about this new pigment is that it’s so stable that the color will never fade. I can see how fabulous that could be in something like outdoor furniture, which I would love to see in this new blue.

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In fact, that blue outdoor furniture would be the perfect complement to the upholstered doors I created for this penthouse lobby, which also has an entrance to an outdoor patio.

So what do you think about the new blue? Does it make you as happy as it makes me? Let me know in the comments section below!







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Tobi TV: Facing Color Fears

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If you have color fears, you’ve come to the right place! Today on Tobi TV, I’m going to teach you how to create a neutral foundation and layer in the color a piece at a time. It’s one of my best secrets for working with color.


It’s called creating a neutral room with a POP of color. And you get to decide if your “pop” is big or small. It all depends on how risky you are. Let’s take a look at what I mean:

See? No need to be afraid of color with tips like that, right? Let’s review them one more time:

1. Start with everything at the core of the room in neutral – walls, curtains, rug and major pieces of upholstery.

2. Then you can layer color into the space in small doses, or even big ones if you prefer.

3. Your room will have longevity because, with most of the furnishings being neutral, these pieces will stand the test of time.

4. If you have color fears, this is the design “Do” for you. It allows you to dip your toe into the scary idea of color.

5. A neutral room with a pop of color is virtually Trend Proof. That’s because only the accents have colors that could be deemed trendy and you can change them out easily if they become dated. Everything else is a classic.

6. And finally, having a room that’s neutral at the base is budget friendly because, with the major pieces being neutral, they are investment pieces. You can keep them a long time, which equals a fantastic return to your bottom line. Then you can change out the accents periodically to stay current. And with only these small additions every few years, you won’t blow your budget.

I hope you liked creating a neutral room with a pop of color. It is a design approach that works for everyone! Now leave me a comment and tell me which benefit  of this design technique resonates with you most.







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Six-Month Check Up

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It’s time for my six-month check-up – not with my doctor, but for my business. We’re moving into the second half of the year and before we know it, it will be the holidays. Scary, right?! So this is the perfect time to look back at goals that we’ve set for the year, to review where we are, and to plan what we want to achieve before 2016 is over.

In January, I set my Word of the Year, like I have for the past five years. This year, I chose the word FOCUS. And I said my intentions would be that:

  • I will forgo the good and Focus on the GREAT.
  • I will say no to many things that seem urgent and Focus on what matters.
  • I will travel less so I can Focus on my family more.
  • I will Focus on what I REALLY want.
  • I will Focus on change.
  • I will Focus on what I can control.
  • I will Focus on what excites me.
  • I will Focus on being healthy.
  • I will Focus on finding joy.


Already I can see where I have already succeeded, and where I still have some work to do. I have definitely been focusing on the GREAT this year, and I’ve said no to a lot of things that weren’t important for my goals. That’s given me time to really focus on my family and what I really really want to achieve this year.

And I have definitely focused on change – some planned changes, and some that I didn’t see coming. But that’s just a normal year in business, right? Change can be fabulous, and it can be scary. Some changes can rock your world, even if you wanted those changes to happen. But I’m excited about what I’m building this year and I know it will all pay off in the long run.

So what do I still need to work on? I need to keep my focus on joy and on being healthy. I struggle just like so many of you do on taking care of myself when I’m also taking care of my business and my family. Too often we feel guilty for taking care of ourselves – and it’s a cycle that so many of us need to break out of. I am already mapping out a plan to ensure that I have some “me” time to help me recharge my batteries, and to focus on my joy this year!


See how important it is to have this six-month check up? It allows us to re-focus on what we want and what we need to do. I’m going to sit down and rethink how I can move my focus off of goals I’ve achieved, and put that attention to the ones I still want to achieve. And health and joy will be a BIG part of that.

So what do YOU need to do to finish this year in a big way? What goals have you set that need more attention? And are there any goals that you set at the beginning of the year that now seem less important? Start making a new list for the last half of this year, and create a plan for achieving those goals. Together, I know we can do it!







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