BUILDER NEWS Which is Better? Houzz or Pinterest? Jessica Pace Erin Treat of Durango travels a lot, which means when she plans a home improvement project, she has little time to sit down with a decorator or peruse vendors. But because of Pinterest, Treat said she was able to coordinate projects – including new kitchen lights and floor tiling – by sharing Pins with Sheryl Lock, coowner of Handcrafted House in Durango. “In Durango, we have limited access to vendors and design options,” Treat said. “Pinterest refined the search, and it’s a way to communicate.” Since the advent of Pinterest nearly seven years ago, the image-sharing site has evolved into a simultaneous idea machine, time-waster and, for some, an effective business tool. “Our business is probably 90 percent online, 10 percent local. Pinterest drives customers to us,” said Jenny Wrenn, co-owner of Mexican Tile Designs in Bayfield. Wrenn and her partner have been in business three years, and Pinterest drives 20 percent of their web traffic.“We still use Facebook and Instagram and get a sliver of business from them, but neither compare to Pinterest,”Wrenn said. Throughout Durango, decorators, interior designers and home improvement suppliers who are Pinterest users say the website – a visual mediator between client and consultant – has transformed the project- planning process. “People will just email us a picture they found and say, ‘Can you do this for me?’” Wrenn said. Visual communication of that sort in an aesthetics20 | HBRA of Fairfield County | JANUARY 2017 based industry is a growing practice with businesses’ clientele. Rick Klatt, co-owner of McCormick Tile & Stone, said customers introduced him to Pinterest two years ago, and he’s used it since as a demonstration device. “We have a big-screen TV in our show room to show clients different colors and designs and allow them to see them in a real-world application,” Klatt said. “It’s a sales tool.” It’s also a proven path to navigating taste.“All the time, customers come in with too many ideas or not with any, and you’re narrowing the direction. You can feel a customer out through Pinterest,” Klatt said. Andrew Pietrack of Colors Inc., a Durango paint supplier and consultant, handles a lot of walk-in customers, particularly at this time of year when cold weather steers them inside to focus on interior decorating. Pietrack sometimes uses his own Pinterest account to share ideas with clients and help them pinpoint and eliminate color schemes.“In my experience, customers come in and you can tell by what they’re wearing what colors they’re interested in,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to give approval on decisions they’ve already made.” After Pinterest launched in 2010, it subsequently became the popular subject of studies and commentary as to why the site is addicting, why women are its predominant users (about 71 percent of more than 110 million) and how it can culminate to stress and envy. In 2013, the world learned of “Pinterest stress,” an inferiority complex afflicting account-holding moms who said, in a survey conducted by the “Today” show, they feel belittled when they see other moms post their

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