ILCA Women’s Networking Group

Yard Crashers: Crashes Gender Worries by kathywicks2215
July 16, 2010, 11:02 pm
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By: Kathy Wicks
Have you ever seen an episode of Yard Crashers on the DYI Network? If you haven’t, here is a quick run down: The host, Ahmed Hassan, stakes out a home improvement store located anywhere throughout the United States. He finds an unsuspecting homeowner who is trying to improve their back yard. Ahmed follows the person to their home, checks out the backyard and asks the homeowner what they would like to have in their yard. Through the magic of TV the designer and crew show up and poof…. 2 days later the backyard is magically transformed into a paradise worthy of the rich and famous!
Buy The Yard, Inc. was recently given the opportunity to supply gravel, garden soil, mulch and sod to a Yard Crashers’ project in Chicago designed by Michael and Lori Anthony of 1 Design Group. I arrived early at the site on Monday morning. In front of the house there were many contractors from different trades talking to each other and waiting for the “shoot” to begin. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to get out of my truck because I was the only female on site at the time. A few minutes later, I had introduced myself and our company to a fence contractor, an artist, a plumber and an electrician. More women soon arrived and the entire crowd was excited to jump into this project. The women represented areas of design, management, television and landscape specialists.
As the two days of organized chaos unfolded, it soon became clear that gender was not an issue for anyone who was participating in this “crash”. The playing field was equal as we all worked hard to complete the homeowner’s backyard oasis. A cohesive team spirit joined us all together with a vision to make the project a success for the homeowners. As the second day concluded well into late evening hours, the TV crew finished filming and the celebration started! I had a conversation with tile mosaic artist Billy Michaelis from Texas. He commented on his observation that women from Chicago are very confident and secure in who they are. He was so impressed to see women in this industry working as respected equals. We know that women are the minority in the Green Industry. I walked into the task, a bit worried about gender, but I walked away from the entire experience physically exhausted, but emotionally charged and proud to be a woman!

Ahmed Hassan, host of Yard Crashers and Kathy Wicks


AN EVOLUTION by kathywicks2215
June 3, 2009, 1:31 pm
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Evanston Garden Fair 2009BY KATHY WICKS

Buy The Yard, Inc. recently had an opportunity to be a vendor at an annual event in Evanston that was sponsored by the local garden club. Our company had never been a vendor at this event before; as we never had anything we could sell directly out of a tent! Historically, Buy The Yard, Inc. had only sold landscape materials by the cubic yard. In today’s market, we are searching for new ways to generate revenue. This event spurred us into bagging our own material. Bags appeal to a market of homeowners who want convenience, don’t need an entire cubic yard or don’t have a place for a cubic yard of material to be delivered. We had to think out of the box and our comfort zone. How would we bag? Where would we purchase the bags? How would we seal them? How would we price them? Thankfully, one of our WNG friends, Christa from Midwest, gave us a source to call and a jumping off point. Logistically we had to adapt to a new way of doing business and evolve our product into another form. The Garden Fair event was a great way to get our company name out to the general public. Networking also occurred as our friends from the Talking Farm and other local green industry professionals participated at the Garden Fair. We did sell quite a few bags of various materials and passed out many brochures and discount delivery coupons.  Better yet we gained exposure in our community. Sales have been generated and our company now has additional items in our product line and our bottom line! What could your company do differently this year?