Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hail CESR: Keeping Consumer Consciousness Front and Center in Business

With a great school like the University of Colorado in my backyard, it's always a thrill to be invited to the campus.  The opportunity to engage with budding business men and women always excites me.  It's my personal way to give a little back.  But, it's even better when I get to be a part of CU's Leeds School of Business's Conscious Capitalism Conference.  Their Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR) Department hosts the conference annually in an attempt to encourage students to think about socially responsible principles as they venture into the business world.  This year the focus is on outdoor companies who incorporate Social and Environmental principles into their day to day values and Grasshaven we fit the bill.

When I founded Grasshaven, I wanted to become a company that, from our inception, would be based on principles of social and environmental stewardship.  With a focus on sourcing products locally to giving a percent of our profit back in an effort to encourage youth participation in the outdoors, we strive to think about our world, on action at a time.  By keeping the world in our thoughts and putting actions in place locally, we will help everyone in the long run.

To learn more about the CESR Consciousness in Capitalism conference click here.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inspiration from La La Land

Ready to pack my bags

It was a whirlwind trip.  Less than 30 hours to take a meeting and do some business in Los Angles, so not much time to think about glamorous camping.  Until, that is,  I stopped on route back to the airport to visit a new friend of mine Fre.  She had just returned from Thailand with pictures.  She and her husband on top of elephants in a gorgeous elephant reserve. They had been glamping Thai syle.  And it was beautiful.   It wasn't exactly a tent they slept in but an open air thatched hut seated in the jungle above a river.  Draperies wafting in the windows, deep rich colors, intricate patterns and lots of gold accents.  True luxury in a jungle setting surrounded by nature and it biggest beasts.  Fre described the food, not only beautifully prepared but presented.  She was also treated to an "eight hand message".  Four people messaging her at once. Wow.  There's a glamping trip to put on everyone's bucket list!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bringing Style to Louisville RVIA

Yes I am a Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Louisville trade show virgin.  I have not experienced the sites, sounds and energy of the RVIA show that occurs annually in Kentucky.  I have yet to experience the scale of the show and to see the over the top RV displays.  But, that will change tomorrow.  Outdoor style will converge on Kentucky as I head that way!

As an outdoor style expert, I am looking forward to seeing everything this show has to offer.  I am also looking forward to meeting and networking with others in the industry including teams from and

I am also excited to see how Grasshaven RV and camping houseware products look and fit into Winnebago units at the show.  At Grasshaven, we have been in conversations with Winnebago (amongst other manufacturers) over the past several months.  Those conversations have cumulated with this show.  The four units featured at the show will also showcase customized housewares hand selected to coordinate with the beautiful interiors of the Winnebago Trend, Winnebago Travato, Winnebago Tour and the Itasca Solei.  Fingers crossed all our hard work and style aesthetic is well received with attendees at the show.  As we say, Grasshaven is here to help make RV homes more like home, with comfort and style.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Time of Thanks

Wow, it is amaze at how time flies.  First I can't believe it is already Thanksgiving.  Second I can't believe I haven't posted anything since August 31.  Bad form of course.  Needless to say, I've been busy, as we all have.  Grasshaven continues to grow.  We just sent an initial order off to Winnebago.  Fingers crossed they remain impressed with the offerings.  I continue to build advocacy for bringing style to the outdoors.  We filmed content for our video debut over the last two weekends.  Just awaiting the final filming in LA in the coming weeks.  It is my hearts desire to continue helping families get outdoors in style.

As I sit here surrounded by my family, contemplating the joys of the day and reliving of all my thanks, it is easy to be too simplistic.  Too simplistic in my thanks.  Too simplistic in my gratitude.  Words can not express my profound appreciation for all that I have and the blessings around me.

Yup, the holidays bring out the sentiment in me....

Ok now on to the more interesting stuff.  So many people have asked me what was on the Bitz Thanksgiving menu.  I thought I'd share the menu  (though admittedly it is not most exciting menu of my life).

I can share recipes with anyone interested although when cooking at home, I do not tend to follow them.  Here it goes

Bitz Family Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
  • Apple and Ginger Smoked Turkey
  • Five Cheese Scalloped Potatoes (Brie, Manchego, Gouda, Asiago, and Romano) 
  • Artisan Bread Pecan Bread Stuffing
  • Green Bean Casserole (yes the very traditional one with Frenches onions - my dad's favorite)
  • Orange Mango Cranberries
  • Homemade Yeast Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • and 
  • Traditional North Dakota Raspberry Kuchen (my husband's favorite)

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with good food, beautiful tables capes, friend, family and a good dose of the outdoors.

Happy Holday!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Customer Care: A New Meaning

As an entrepreneur and the founder of Grasshaven Outdoor, the journey has brought new insights into myself and highlighted what I care about most in the business world.

Customers care. Customer experience. Customer service.... these terms are thrown about flippantly in the business world.  I have used them myself on a daily basis.

However when I began this entrepreneurial journey, I knew I wanted to build a company that put customers first.  Zappos as a brand has been heralded as a top customer experience company.  I want the same for Grasshaven.  Do everything we can do to make our customers our top priority.  Really isn't this what should motivate every business.  Because without customers, what is a business?

Taking this idea of customer care to heart at Grasshaven and creating a culture of customer experience infiltrates everything we do.  Everything we say.  And every emotion we have.

From the joys of a little comment about the care we have taken to pack and ship a customers order to the glowing feedback people have given regarding our product offerings, this is motivation.

It breaks our heart for every facebook unlike and unsubscription to our newsletter.  We self reflect and try to understand what we may have done to cause our community any dissatisfaction.

We are building a company that cares where the customer is the center of what we do every single day. And that we believe is all that matters.

Friday, August 30, 2013

RV Style Trending Topics

Recently I became engaged in a discussion on the topic of trends that needed to die in the RV industry. It is interesting to me there is so little style in some units on the market today.  In the 80's and 90's, a sea of blue and mauve was the standard but now beige and brown with accents in black seem to be taking over.  With all the home improvement shows and a focus on the stationary home so prevalent, I ask why are transportable motorhomes and trailers trending so far behind as a whole?

However, before I critique the RV industry too harshly, there are some companies that are really taking a stylish look at the interior and exteriors of these traveling homes.  There are some truly nice examples out there.  I'm focusing on two that really stand out of the crowd (and both in very different ways).  Now before I get too many comments pointing out that I have chosen two of the more expensive options, I will postulate that style does not equate to a large price tag (or heavy weight for that matter).  I will suggest it really boils down to selecting aesthetically pleasing finishes and employing a high level of editing to arrive at a finished look that evokes design envy.

airstream photo: airstream airstream.jpg
Loving the Airstream lifestyle
Most notably, one of the iconic brands, Airstream, continues to lead the pack in high style RV'ing.   Carrying a diehard following including some notable celebrities, there is a reason people love Airstreams.  With interior collections and layouts seemingly pulled from the pages of Dwell magazine or, these artistically designed masterpieces are beautiful through and through. Even their live riveted campaign, is inspiring and fitting for this iconic brand.  Yes their finishes are beautiful with maple and wenge woods and leather options, but pull back from the price tag and they have really hit the design target spot on.
Courtesy of DR Suites

Alternatively a newer RV manufacturer is really heralding some notable interior style.  Though featuring a different design aesthetic than Airstream, these trailers feel as though they could be pulled from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog.  DR Suites newest model, which debuted this year, features shaker styled cabinets and tones of sage and mushroom in its interior.  It is light and airy featuring space that calls for people to stay a while. All around, the trim and accents create a calm and relaxing interior.

What undertones do each of these different brands have?  I suggest they are both looking at interior design trends for the interiors of their units.  They are using a level of editing (no adhesive contact paper-esq Barbie-motorhome pseudo-tiled back splashes here - just leave them off if you think this is the most cost effective route).  I challenge the industry to take a closer look at styles, finishes and trim options - and manufacturers, ask yourself, would you use those materials in your own home?  If the answer is no, then re-evalutate the RV interior selection.  Let's reset the style quotient for the RV industry.  There can be style on the open road.

By the way, I'll put my "money where my mouth is." I'm up for the challenge anytime to assist any manufacturer in creating a beautiful interior and exterior for their units (that is also cost efficient).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Last Minute Getting Away: Friends, Family and Stylish Camping

Yesterday, while sitting with my two good friends Miss C and Miss L the topic of camping came up.  Passionately Miss C brought up the idea of a family camping trip in a few weeks.  She also wanted to make sure we would be camping in style as she looked straight at me, the resident stylish camping expert. No glamping.  Just good ol' family car camping but with no discomfort or sacrifice.  Think of it, four families spending the weekend together and just enjoying the summer away, unplugged from the every day.  We excitedly agreed we were all in, making a pack to go (and forcing the commitment when the dates were actually saved to our calendars).

We were in and starting to think about the trip several weeks off when Miss C texted later in the day to inform the ladies that the only weekend we could get a site at our chosen destination was THIS weekend...oh and the caveat, we had to be there Thursday.  Thursday.  That was 2 days away!  We had no meal plans.  No equipment assembled.  No kids packed.  And officially no husbands until the weekend.  Yet, we all agreed to shout Carpe Diem and seize the day.  Our mantra was be spontaneous and just go!  And go we are.

At Grasshaven, we are utilizing this trip as a fun way to share a blog series.  Called Carpe Diem Camping, we are sharing tips and recipes for getting ready to go on a last minute four day camping excursion.  We are outlining the menu, detailing the shopping lists, and just sharing general experiences when four families come together to enjoy the outdoor with spontaneity.  So follow along on this post for stylish camping expertise or view the Grasshaven blog and go get your camp on! No excuses.