Learn the Five Secrets of Powerful Networking to Grow Your Business

I’ve been thinking for a long time about how I can share my tried and true networking knowledge to help entrepreneurs grow their business. An opportunity came up. In my role as a SCORE Business Mentor, I was asked to give a class on modern-day networking methods that truly helps to grow business followers. If you are in the area, I hope you can attend!

Why Celebrate Local Businesses?

In honor of National Small Business Week, I’d like to encourage everyone to shop local! As a Small Business Administration’s SCORE Mentor, I’m more enthused than ever to support entrepreneurs. Let’s all help business owners to succeed in building unique businesses that help to build healthy communities.

It has been disturbing for me to see so many of my favorite local small businesses shut down.  We all know that high vacancy rates in our communities invite crime and general deterioration of the area, which devalues our housing prices along with diminished community image.

My favorite shopping places are scrapbooking and stamping stores. Two of my favorites were located in Issaquah, just a few miles east of where I live. One of the stores, Lasting Impressions has already closed its doors. I seriously went into depression about this! I sent an email to Shirley, the store’s owner and expressed how much I will miss shopping there. My dog Max and I spent many hours in this store, browsing through its numerous aisles which were filled with stamps of all kinds. It was a good feeling to have the staff call me by my first name and they even remembered Max’s name! Every time Max and I visited the store, staff came over and played with Max.  One staff member even brought over a Jack Russell Terrier rubber stamp which looked exactly like Max. Of course I purchase the stamp.

My other favorite store in Issaquah was the Mad Scrapper. The store’s owner, Deanna, owned this store for seventeen years and she worked hard to keep her shelves stocked with the latest papers and embellishments. Keeping a full inventory is not an easy task during difficult economic times. Deanna held on-going workshops for her customers. The classes were free as long as we purchased our supplies from her store. There was no doubt that she put in extremely long hours every day to keep the store’s doors open from morning until late.

One evening, I was working madly to make a cute mini-scrapbook in one of Deanna’s classes. There were ten women in this class. One of the students did not have a particular tool which she needed and was about to get up to purchase one from the store. The woman who was sitting next to her whispered, “Don’t buy it here. You can get this same tool at Michael’s for only half the price using one of their weekly coupons.”

I was so disturbed by what I heard, I couldn’t help but to tell everyone what could happen if we all thought this way. All small, local businesses will be gone, leaving us with only the large chains. Can we get this kind of personalized service from anyone other than the small business owners who struggle every day to stay in business for the simple reason that they are passionate about what they do?  If stores like the Mad Scrapper are forced to go out of business (which, I’m sad to say, is exactly what happened), it will be a sad day for all of us who love the specialty stores and their amenities.

So my advice to all is, please look beyond the price and look at the big picture. Do you like what the small local store do for its customers and the community? If your answer is yes, you owe it to yourself to patronize the small businesses and do your part to keep them growing and thriving. In the end, you may end up spending a little more but you and the community will be better off with a vibrant and healthier economic growth. Happy shopping!









Reflecting on 2016

Happy New Year!

If you are like me, you’ve probably spent some time reflecting on the past year. I’m sure that among the good and the disappointments you’ve experienced there are some events that you remember fondly with a smile. I encourage you to reflect on your past year and focus on the most uplifting events. Today I want to share a video of an event that always brings tears of joy and a smile to my face. Read more

Rudy’s Story…A Tail of Rags to Riches

To My Readers, I wrote this story for the North American Post. I wanted to share this with you because it’s my favorite story. I spent time with Ginger’s Pet Rescue, helping unload the animals that were rescued from various puppy mills in Washington state. The heart-breaking moment was when I saw the rescued dogs in the back of a large van as Ginger brought them into a parking lot of her restaurant. Each was scared and shaking so bad that we had to entice them with treats, love and patience to lure them out of their crates. One little poodle dog’s leg broke instantly as he tried to step out of his kennel. This poor dog had never been outside of his kennel in his 2 years of life. Another sickly dog had deceased puppies still inside her stomach that needed to be removed. These poor dogs needed so much medical care before they were ready to go out for adoption that I held a fundraiser in my salon, Studio 904 to raise money to help with their medical care. I am happy to say, over 100 people responded to my call and we raised $10,000 for Ginger’s Pet Rescue.

Here is a story of one very lucky dog…


The minute my eyes connected with Rudy’s, I knew that he was a very sweet and special dog. Sitting inside a small, wire cage, his soulful brown eyes felt like they were piercing right into my heart. His caramel-colored, short hair was shiny and smooth as he quietly sat and pleaded to me, “Please, help me.” On top of his kennel was a handwritten sign that read: “Rudy – 2-Year-Old Male – Mixed Breed.”

As I glanced around the spacious room, there were rows of dogs sitting in small crates alongside about two-dozen other small breed dogs. They were all at an adoption event that was sponsored by Ginger’s Pet Rescue. The reason I decided to attend this particular gathering was to see Cesar Millan, the world famous “Dog Whisperer.”

But, back to the very beginning…This whole thing started a few hours earlier when my niece, Geri Lynn called and asked, “Aunty Kay, do you want to go see Cesar Millan at the Ginger’s Pet Rescue event? Can you call Uncle Gary to see if he’d like to go with us?”


When I called and invited Gary, he said, “Why do you want me to go? You know that I’m not looking for a dog.”

I don’t usually do this, but I begged him, “Oh, please, come with Geri Lynn and me; I want to see Cesar Millan. Don’t you want to meet him in person instead of simply watching him on TV performing his miraculous, dog behavior modifications?” After a lot of arm twisting, Gary reluctantly agreed to join us. Read more

For the Animals

Pasados and Friends Fund Drive for the Animals

Indie was rescued by Pasados after the Hurricane Katrina.
Indie was rescued by Pasados after the Hurricane Katrina.

Hard to believe… this year will be our fifth year to hold our Pasado’s Safe Haven and Friends fundraiser at Studio 904. Organizations which will receive the money we raise are: Pasado’s Safe Haven, Ginger’s Pet Rescue and Precious Life Animal Sanctuary.

Please take a few minutes and tour their websites. You will see that each of these organizations focuses on their unique nitch. One thing which surfaces loud and clear is their dedication and commitment to help the animals who are abused, neglected and abandoned. Their work is arduous and heart-breaking. I want to do my share, even though small to help them   continue their good work.

How does a small business help?

Buy raffle tickets $5.
Buy raffle tickets $5.

We have our salon decorated with posters and mirror signs, letting our clients know how lucky we are to have such dedicated animal protection organizations in our state. We have boxes of  fun raffle prizes displayed, asking our clients to purchase $5. raffle tickets to enter the drawing to win a prize.


Thank You to Volunteers!

So thankful for our volunteers. They are generous women.
So thankful for our volunteers. They are generous women.

A group of dedicated volunteers who love making art has been working year-long, making unique hand-made gift items which will be sold at the “Santa’s Workshop” on November 30th. Gift items are reasonably priced. Everyone is encouraged to attend and purchase their holiday gifts.

 Santa’s Workshop


Come Young and Old… It’s an all day celebration.

Hand-made gifts to buy, make your own tags and ornaments to take home. Enjoy refreshments and feel good in the good company of like-minded friends!

November 30, 9 – 4    Location: Studio 904  3041 78th Ave. SE   Mercer Island, WA 98040 (206-232-3393)

 Click here to see our gift gallery!

When it’s over, we pat each other on the back and say, “It was all worth it!”

Please  come and support our fundraising effort for the animals!


Meet the Animals!




































































































































































































































































































We have our salon decorated with posters and mirror signs, letting our clients know how lucky we are to have such dedicated animal protection organizations in our state. We have boxes of  fun raffle prizes displayed, asking our clients to purchase $5. raffle tickets to enter the drawing to win a prize.