Blairfield Realty

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This month we are spotlighting a local real estate company, Blairfield Realty. (Complete disclosure: we used Blairfield when we recently sold our house and bought another one. They were already an Armadillo client, so we knew that they were a great company.)

We asked founder and owner, Donna Blair to tell us about how the company got started and where it was headed.

What is Blairfield Realty?

Blairfield Realty is a boutique real estate brokerage located in the Zilker neighborhood. We specialize in full-service client representation, and we are committed to bringing real value to our clients, our community, and our industry. We approach our job with a “whatever it takes” attitude, and we are extraordinarily passionate about advocating for our clients’ best interest. 

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How long have you been in the business?

I have been working in the industry for about 20 years. I started Blairfield Realty in 2009. 

How did you get started in the real estate industry? 

I started working for a homebuilder fresh out of high school and stuck with that for many years. Real Estate was all I ever wanted to do. 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a career in real estate?

My advice to anyone wanting to get in the business would be to get ready for some hard work.  It is not easy, but it’s not rocket science either. You need to be committed to working hard for your clients and truly care about what you’re doing to be successful.  Too many people get into this business because they think it’s easy money.  It’s not. 

Where is Blairfield Realty headed over the next several years?

We plan to keep doing what we are doing; serving our clients and our communities.  We’ve been growing our business at a nice sustainable pace for the last 7 years, and I’d like to just keep that going for many, many years to come.

Does the business use promotional products? 

Yes!  I think we’ve done a nice job with branding our company, and the promotional products really help with that.  Pens, stationery, shopping bags, and various labels all help to make our brand recognizable to our clients and potential clients. 

Our entire team here at Blairfield is passionate about volunteering and philanthropy. We help out a lot in our community schools, donate money for our park systems, raise money for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, and last December we went shopping for all of the children at Helping Hands Home for Children and bought them all a new holiday outfit.


TrainLifeFit: More than Just a Gym

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This month we visit with one of our clients, Sumari Bhasin, owner of TrainLifeFit to see how things are going and to get some insight into his business.

Sumair, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer with a masters in Exercise Physiology from UT Austin, started TrainLifeFit because he wanted to help people find stronger and healthier versions of themselves.

What is TrainLifeFit?

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TrainLifeFit is a holistic strength and conditioning gym located in the Mueller neighborhood that is focused on creating impactful change from the inside out. We delve deep into optimizing the areas of movement, nutrition, and lifestyle design! Over the past year we have built a community of individuals that act as each other’s coach. Everyone is making sure that their fellow TLF members are staying accountable to pursuing the strongest and healthiest version of their self. I couldn’t have imagined it any better, and love watching this beautiful community unfold.

The people that I serve are those who want to take responsibility for how they want to look, feel, and what bad-ass things they can actually do.  I do not see fitness and wellness as solely for the elite athlete, but rather a birthright for every human being.”

This means understanding and practicing optimal positions, internal cues, and proper breathing. Then we can manipulate things like reps, sets, frequency, and intensity (AKA start to kick ass!). The same goes for nutrition. Before we hit macros, and all of that jazz, I simply help people add high quality nutrients into their dietary arsenal of awesomeness.

I like to see it as I am adding X or Y food to my body simply because I know it will make me feel amazing and perform better in and outside of the gym.

And last but not least, understanding the type of lifestyle habits you need to manage and maintain a feeling of wellness is FIRST. Forget everything else. From this foundation of wellness, then we are empowered to step up and transcend into stronger and healthier versions of ourselves.”

How do you see the business growing over the next few years?

The culture that is being developed here is that of a coaching style. Every member coaches each other. They watch out for each other, and ensure that their movement cues, and nutritional/lifestyle factors are held accountable. With that being said, TrainLifeFit will be holding an Academy that helps those that want to share their knowledge and success with others. Whether that is in the form of being a holistic strength and conditioning coach or someone who just wants to learn the tools to help others, the Academy will serve that purpose. Eventually, it will be a community that runs itself!

Have you used any promotional products? If so, has it been successful for your business?

DSC_8184I have used business cards, signicades, and T-shirts (Armadillo advertising). Probably the most successful advertising that I do is free … word of mouth from my clients.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about starting a business?

  • Find a mentor who is doing what you would like to do and is thriving! Learn from them.
  • Just do it. Most people never start and always live in that state of limbo (wondering if they can actually start their dreams!)
  • Value your product and own your rates. People will buy into what you value and whether you OWN it or not.
  • Don’t be scared to network with people that you consider to be your role models. They often learn from you too!
  • Find out who your target audience is. Even if you can serve everyone. Target an audience, and then you can grow from there
  • If you don’t have the necessary funds immediately, start a crowdfunding campaign!

Anything that you would do differently?

I would have asked for more help from my family and friends.


Drive a Senior – North Central Austin: Helping Austin Elderly Live Independent Lives

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Drive A Senior clients and friends at annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser

This month we are breaking from tradition and instead of spotlighting a local Austin business, we are focusing on a local nonprofit: Drive A Senior – North Central Austin. This is a totally volunteer-driven organization that provides critical transportation services to the elderly in Austin who are living independently at home but who can no longer drive. They often have no family or friends living close by, so rely on Drive A Senior volunteers to get them to the doctor, dentist, pain clinic, bank, grocery store and to help with small chores around their homes. Studies have shown that seniors who live independently live longer and healthier than those who do not.

Serving Austin for almost 30 years

Drive A Senior has been providing these services for almost 30 years to seniors living in North Central Austin. They are constantly in need of volunteer drivers and donations to provide taxi vouchers when they fall short of drivers, which they often do.

How to Volunteer

Volunteers for Drive A Senior get as much as they give. Often they build strong friendships with the people they drive. Here is what a couple of our volunteers had to say about their experience as volunteer drivers:

https://www.volunteerdriving.com/portfolio-items/thats-all-i-need-a-brief-shopping-encounter/?portfolioID=347

If you would like to volunteer to be a driver or  to make a donation to Drive A Senior – North Central Austin, call 512.453.2273 or email  nc@driveasenior.org.

23rd Annual Christmas Choral Concert
Benefitting Drive A Senior

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On December 4th at 7:30 p.m. at St. Louis Catholic Church, Drive A Senior is presenting its 23rd Annual Christmas Choral Concert with the choirs and bell choirs of 10 local churches. This is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.  While it is free and open to the public, the organization is seeking sponsorships from both individuals and businesses. 

 


The Austin Doula Collective: Small Austin Business Making a Difference

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As the owner of a small local business, there is nothing that I love more than to see a new business grow. That is why I enjoy writing about their successes and talking with the owners to see how they have translated their visions into viable businesses. This month I talked with one of the co-owners of The Austin Doula Collective, Sarah Stasica, a business that offers support services to women and their families during one of the most exciting times of their lives.

What is the Austin Doula Collective?

Austin Doula Collective is a group of individual birth and postpartum doulas who offer support to families during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Why did you become a doula?

I was drawn to doula work because of my passion for the birth of a baby as well as the birth of a family. There is nothing more beautiful, amazing and miraculous as seeing a new little person come into the world. I  know that women are strong and I love to help them connect with that strength in labor and early parenting.

In addition to co-founding the Austin Doula Collective, Sarah is also a volunteer with Giving Austin Labor Support (GALS). because she believes that every woman deserves to have loving support during labor regardless of income level.

Why did you start the company?

I started the collective because I wanted to build a supportive community for myself and other doulas interested in joining. This work is amazing and beautiful but it is also intense and can be hard. It is really important for doulas to have a community they can turn to when they need to find loving support. I feel that the doulas in our collective support each other just as we support our clients. I also wanted to start this collective because business is what I already knew. My degree is in finance and I spent nine years out of college working in the financial industry before starting my own small business.

How do you see the business growing over the next few years?

I see the business growing by adding more doulas so that we can support more families in Austin. We intentionally are growing very slowly because we want to make sure that our doulas all share the same philosophy of loving support for both clients and each other. We believe in supporting women and their families without bringing judgment to their choices. We believe that each woman’s birth is individual and there is no wrong way for a woman to birth her baby.

Have you used any promotional products? If so, has it been successful for your business?

Yes, we do use promotional products. We wear Austin Doula Collective shirts to the births we attend which we feel looks more professional while also making our collective more visible. We also give each of our clients an Austin Doula Collective onesie when their baby is born. We have also ordered our business cards from Armadillo and plan to order postcards this fall to spread the word about our collective.

Any advice that you would like to give to anyone thinking about becoming a doula?

Yes, I think that if they feel drawn to the work they should look into different doula training options. I did my training through Doula Training International (DTI) and I really loved their mentoring program. You do five intense days of training and then you are in a nine month mentorship program where you are assigned an experienced mentor and you also have your training class to communicate with. I would say that the lifestyle can be challenging because of being on call so much and missing out on things because babies come when they are ready so you may miss a holiday with your family. I believe the future of doula work is in shared call, it just makes this work more sustainable. I partner with Janixa Ramos, the other co-founder of the collective, so that we are a prenatal team for our clients and whichever one of us is on call will attend the labor and do the postpartum visit. This set up allows us to fully support our clients but also take care of ourselves and give our lives a bit more predictability. Finally, I would say that I feel so lucky each time I can be there to support a woman and then see her child come into the world. There is nothing more beautiful than birth, both the birth of the child but also the birth of the woman into a mother.


DragonFit Puts the Fire in Women’s Fitness

10354224_933740636668567_5340300732775557086_nAt Armadillo Advertising we are committed to helping our small business clients grow and prosper. We work with them to find promotional solutions that will help them increase their visibility and build their brand. One such client is DragonFIT a full-circle women’s empowerment and fitness company located in Marble Falls, Texas, that helps women build not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mind and spirit. Owner, Danielle Bryan, a certified personal trainer and WBFF pro fitness model, started the business in 2014, and in just one year, it has grown significantly.

Bryan started DragonFit because she saw a huge void missing in women’s fitness programs. “Most of the fitness programs I saw were all about ‘looking a certain way and not feeling good about yourself along the way’,” says Bryant. “ With DragonFit, we help to build women up, no matter where they are in their fitness journey. We cheer each other on through each triumph, large and small.”DragonFit offers a wide range of services to its clients. “ We have a variety of virtual boot camp programs for women as well as life coaching and merchandise,” says Bryant. “The boot camps run anywhere from five to eight weeks. Each program comes complete with a weekly workout routine, nutrition guidelines, healthy living tips and fun weekly challenges.” DragonFit offers the following bootcamps:

  • BodyByDragon for any level
  • BridalFit for brides & bridal parties
  • OfficeFit for women who have to sit at a desk all day, and
  • AthleteFit for women wanting to train for a specific race or event!

All DragonFit women are plugged in to a private Facebook group (soon to be app) where they cheer each other on and provide DragonFit support!  According to Bryant, “We really are like one big positive sisterhood, and I think the world needs more of that!”

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Bryan hopes to launch a line of merchandise as the business continues to grow. “The addition of merchandise to DragonFit has been a daunting yet amazing thing for us! We plan to keep selling hats, tank tops and other DragonFit merchandise to represent women’s desire to live a healthy lifestyle and support other amazing women!”

Bryan has a long-term vision for the business. “I would love to grow DragonFit to the point where we have thousands of women participating in the various boot camps, reaching their goals and cheering each other on. This is just the beginning for DragonFit, and with such a strong team of women whose lives have already been changed, I hope to make the DragonFit logo the emblem representing fearless and fabulous women doing what makes them happy and looking good while doing so! We hope to really expand the brand and solidify the merchandise line so we can see that fierce dragon everywhere!


B&G Surveying: 25 Years and Still Going Strong

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I’ve been the owner of Armadillo Advertising for more than 10 years. During that time I have had the pleasure of working with some great local businesses. Many have become more than just customers; they have also become friends. One of those individuals is Jason Garza, director of business development at B&G Surveying a local Austin business. I have not only worked with Jason on projects for the business, but also have done invitations and favors for his wedding. He is a great guy.  I just had the pleasure of asking him some questions about B&G Surveying and how it has managed to stay successful for so many years.

Tell me about your business.

B&G Surveying was started by Mr. Dewey H. Burris in 1989.  Shortly after that,  he brought Victor Garza on board as a partner.  Today Victor Garza is the sole owner.  B&G Surveying provides home owners with a detailed map of their property lines, house foundation and all permanent structures to make sure they are in line with cities’ and counties’ rules and regulations. We are all  about service, and want to make the experience of ordering a survey with us as easy as possible.

I believe that there are several things that make us stand out among our peers:

We always try to have an open line of communication with everyone who is involved with the transaction.

Because anything that involves real estate is always time sensitive, we make it our business to be the fastest at what we do.

We strive to make ordering a surveying affordable.

Finally, what separates us the most is the experience we have surveying Austin.  We know this city and how to survey it effectively.

Do use promotional products?

Yes, we do use promotional products.  I try to think about what my client’s job entails and what would make their job easier.   For example, I have passed out a pin wheel highlighter that everyone really enjoyed.  These were a huge hit.  Also, a compact mirror for the ladies that really seemed to be useful.  I still get asked years later if I have anymore. We also have done notepads and T-shirts for staff and computer and mobile device screen cleaners. These are just a few of the  things that have worked for me.

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Do you use social media?

Yes

What is your favorite social media outlet for your business?

Facebook for me is the easy way to reach a lot of people.

What is your favorite local business other than your own?

Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill. They have great food and a wonderful Austin atmosphere.

Any advice for aspiring businesses?

Stay true to yourself and your vision.  There will be ups and downs but some times that’s when a great idea comes along.  So stay focused and ready.

 

 


Premiere Party Central – Full-service rental resource for event holders

Over the past several months we have been telling the stories of several new Austin businesses.  Today’s interview is with Delores Crum, president of an established Austin business, Premiere Party Central.

Tell me about your business.

Premiere Party Central is a full-service rental company offering a wide range of products and services to individual event holders in Austin and central Texas. We have been in business since 2000. Our clients are catering companies, wedding  and event venues and event planners. We provide everything from top to bottom … the tent, the dance floor, the linens, tables and chairs and the table top. Table top design is definitely one of our fortes. I tell my clients, “your guests spend 70 to 80% of the time sitting at the table, so it is important to make it as beautiful as possible.”We have more than 20 china patterns, flatware, glassware, everything to make your table top stunning.

We have two locations: one is in  south Austin at 11810 Manchaca Road and one in north Austin at 8868 Research Blvd.

Recently we launched a new business called Premiere Select: Distinctive Event Décor and Design. It is a new concept that is catching on fast. This upscale rental boutique is geared to high-end clientele and includes fine china, glassware, flatware and linens. Designed in a gallery style, the business has items displayed in vignettes with themes, as well as floral arrangements and décor.

The objective of Premiere Select is to discover the event holder’s vision and match it to what Premiere has or can obtain to express that vision, The rental gallery also will provide the ultimate in customer care.

Do use promotional products?

Yes, we do. We use them primarily for customer appreciation and customer recruitment. Our main criteria is that the product be useful to our audience, that they showcase the Premiere brand and that they be of a good quality.

Do you use social media?

Absolutely. Social media has been very instrumental in our success from the very beginning of our business. When we launched Premiere Select, we got more than 180 likes in 24 hours. We allocate marketing dollars to have a dedicated social media professional who does all of our social media for us. We use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

What is your favorite social media outlet for your business?

I’d have to say Facebook. We get so much support from our followers, and because our product is so visual, it is an excellent outlet for showcasing our products and services. It lets us tell our story.

What is your favorite local business other than your own?

I’d have to say Simon Lee Bakery. They do amazing cakes for weddings and other special events, but also provide logoed cookies that we giveaway at our events much like an edible promotional product.

Any advice for aspiring businesses?

Work hard. Be focused. Surround yourself with good people. It is also critical to have a viable business product or idea. Also, learn from other businesses.