An outrageously generous opportunity presented itself last month; I doubt you would have passed up an all-expenses paid trip to see meet the people of the Delta Faucet Company – I couldn’t either. This opportunity arose right about the same time I was preparing to leave my job, and I couldn’t jump on the offer to travel representing no one but myself fast enough. Blog-work travel in real life. For 3 days. In Indianapolis.
Want a peek behind the curtain?
I was invited along with 8 other home-related DIY bloggers to learn the ins and outs of the company, from manufacturing technologies, to trends, to research and development, and industrial design. It’s to Delta’s benefit to influence publishers like us, and to our benefit to meet their teams and realize the technologies and products that are in the marketplace (good info as we make decisions with our own home projects, or when we make recommendations to you guys).
I’ve grown to love traveling for work; besides seeing new things and people, I find that I can get a lot of work done in the airports during layovers. I also consider it a good layover when I find my favorite jeans at the Gap in Philadelphia’s airport marked down to less than $6, which I did. Excitement ensued.
Once arriving in Indianapolis, I was able to meet up with the rest of the bloggers at a catered social at the hotel on Wednesday night; it was great to meet the real people behind some of my favorite sites, eat (a lot – which was an ongoing trend of the event), and meet our hosts from Delta and its Chicago-based PR agency. We ate beef, pasta, california rolls, chocolate-covered strawberries and drank from an open bar. And then went out to a hooka bar where I did not consume alcohol, but hard-to-find-in-Rochester Bubble Tea. Enough said.
Thursday was booked morning-to-night, and started at Delta Headquarters. The offices were quite spiffy, and the whole lobby space was used as a showroom; you know what a sucker I am for a nice workpad.
We learned of the company’s heritage (founded in 1954, with product now in 50+ countries!), and commitment to employees and community (they’re the sole sponsor of St. Jude’s Dream Home Giveaway, worthy of a thumbs up!). Different marketing managers were introduced throughout the morning to share brand and product overviews of both the Delta and high-end Brizo lines. (If you can believe it, 60% of Delta products didn’t even exist 3 years ago – how’s that for growth and innovation?).
We also learned a bit about the spots that Leo Burnett produced over the last few years – you likely have seen like this one (fun fact: voice talent is actually Sesame Street’s Count von Count), and I bet you’ve seen this spot too (fun fact: the body paint used was mixed with soap to wash off the way it did).
They had great product displays throughout the building; really, quite impressive indeed. Not a place for children with sticky fingers. This is one of the images I tossed up on twitter during the event:
Also fit in before lunch on Wednesday, we were given demonstrations of existing and new shower technology; one of the most impressive demonstrations of the entire visit was this one, where a strobe light was used to demonstrate how a series of running shower heads compared in water diffusion style and drop size. The one on the right happens to be smaller and have fewer holes for the water to fall through, yet is more efficient, and produces a stronger stream than than the more commonly seen rain shower-like fixture. This effort on the part of Delta strives to provide the consumer an adequately powerful and pleasurable shower head while adhering to water conservation guidelines issued and mandated by many states. I don’t know about you, but I love a powerful shower:
Obviously, a small part of why bloggers were asked to participate is because we’re among their target audience; we do projects ourselves, and many of the products produced are intended to be easy enough for the average consumer to install without a professional plumber. We did at one point pair off into groups and do real working installations with real products, and while very few of us (me included) had never done bathroom or kitchen faucet installs, it was astonishingly easy and I’m confident that anyone could do it (honestly). I couldn’t take photos of these things, because some soon-to-be released products were off limits. You’ll like them, just trust me.
Speaking of new products, over 320 new products and components are due to release to market by October of this year; that’s no small feat, and we’re sure you’re going to be impressed, whether you’re a DIY’er or contracted pro.
Dinner Thursday night was at a small restaurant near Indianapolis. Recess, the restaurant, is known for having a single dinner prepared each night – meaning, the 4-course meal I ate was the same as everyone else dining that night. I was very interested in the restaurant design – unexpectedly contemporary with cement floors, reclaimed wood surfaces, and amazing light fixtures:
I’m not much of a foodie even though I like all foods, but that night I ate everything from chicken, ham, salmon, and lettuce, to portabellas, strawberries, and carefully selected wines that complimented each course. Yum-may.
If you follow me on facebook, this is where I was when I posted that photo of the amazing flat file storage. Each drawer was labeled indicating that the unit was used to hold silverware, dinnerware, and menus. Again, apologies for the poor iPhone-produced image.
I also took a quick picture of the restroom. Call me weird, but it was so cozy with it’s exposed cinderblock and drywall walls I wanted to spend more time in there than would make other restaurant-goers comfortable.
Our Friday at Delta was a half-day session. From there, we made return trips home. In between breakfast and lunch, we were treated to a presentation by the internal design team who reported on trends and the Delta process of new product design. We also received a tour of the design and engineer suite at the headquarters, which was amaaazing from a workspace perspective, packed with modular and movable furniture and more prototypes than you could ever imagine; I wasn’t allowed to take photos in this area, so trust me again that it was wonderful – a truly inspiring space.
And of course I’m leaving a big thing out: While learning about the company’s heritage and growth, it was also great to meet fellow bloggers in the process. All highly-driven and entrepreneurially-spirited, it was a tremendous group to spend time with. It was really enjoyable to learn more about each blogger’s perspective and approach to blogging and life; and while we all came from different backgrounds professionally, it was great to relate on the home-improvement-DIY-lust level.
Go check them out too:
Roeshel of The DIY Showoff
A talented DIY’er with a dedicated following, Roeshel’s a veteran of the True Value Blog Squad Team. Cool girl. Overall enviable wardrobe. Visit her site and be prepared to see a LOT of great DIY projects.
Joey and Lana from Joey and Lana Make A House A Home
I’ve fancied their blog and utterly amazing home for as long as I’ve been following blogs; not only are they an inspiring and hard-working breed, but they have big plans involving new kitchens and an updated site in the near future!
Maggie of Holyoke Home
A new bloggy find for me when I saw Maggie on the attendee list, and I’ve been loving the time spent reading her past posts. An adorable home in a historic part of Massachusetts, I’ll be sure to be spending more time here.
Dan of Daily Home Renovation Tips
An energy and water conservation enthusiast, I actually learned a lot from this guy in person. His blog includes stories about updating his own bungalow. You’ll probably learn a thing or two or a million and the world will thank you.
Holly of 504 Main
Holly’s the only lady of the group who had a successful faucet installation prior to our Delta trip – you go girl. Her site is chock full of fun projects (cooking + creating), and she has a wedding blog too… because she’s a published wedding planner too! Cool.
Lisa of Condo Blues
Lisa’s the blogger of the group most involved with a green living lifestyle, and I learned all kinds of things from her; from exfoliant techniques using coffee grounds, to DIY loofahs grown on vines. I still have to look that up. I need to grow my own loofahs.
Mike of Handyguys Podcast
A correspondant of the Handyguys, you’ll hear Mike’s Delta recap on their site one of these days. A professional in the education industry but an avid DIYer and handyguy in his own right, Mike was my partner when it came to the faucet installs and we were a kick ass team.