Tomato Design Goes Green!

We’re measuring our economy by the wrong numbers!
October 9, 2011, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Politics

This compelling article in Sunday’s NY Times points out that the numbers used to measure the health of the economy are absolutely the wrong ones. Instead of G.D.P., stock indices and trade data — that are “so deeply flawed as to be irrevelant or worse, dangerous distractions” — approximately assessing only the status of corporations, banks and the military, we should be looking for numbers that reflect what real citizens want and need.

After, it’s the corporations, banks and military that got us into this mess in the first place, and they are still profiting handsomely from “our” recession. It’s a bit like a cattle rustler stealing a cow from us, and then demanding that we pay for its room and board!

Measuring happiness (or at least, contentment) is what many successful European countries do, and we fall very short when it comes to this.

Read this powerful article by David J. Rothkopf: “Redefining the Meaning of No. 1”:

(David J. Rothkopf is the author of the forthcoming “Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government — and the Reckoning that Lies Ahead.”)

. . . And start checking your life to see if it measures up on the “happiness scale”!

10 Quick and Easy Client Attraction Strategies
March 3, 2009, 2:34 pm
Filed under: Marketing Your Business

This article appeared in my e-mail, courtesy of Debbie LaChusa. Enjoy!

“When marketing online, one of the first rules is to set up a system on your website that enables you to build a relationship with new prospects, vs. trying to sell to them on their first visit.

To do this, you offer visitors the chance to get a “free gift” from you in exchange for their name and email address.

This is nothing new, and it’s always the very first marketing strategy I work on with my clients. We set up a lead generation system on their website so they can build a list of their ideal clients. This way they have a solid foundation to build a strong, long-lived business on.

But one of the first challenges they often face is getting people to their website so they can then get them onto their list.

Now there are lots of ways to drive traffic to your website, but we want to make sure we’re driving qualified traffic – that is, ideal clients, not just any Tom, Dick or Harry!

Here are 10 quick & easy ways to attract your ideal clients:

1. Article Marketing
Write articles in your area of expertise and post them on online article directories This positions you as an expert and drives people who are interested in your topic to your website.

2. Teleseminars
Do teleseminars for other people’s list. Find other solo-professionals with the kind of clients you are seeking, and offer to teach a free class for their audience.

3. Joint Ventures
Find other solo-professionals serving your ideal clients and find ways to partner, promote each other, or even feature each others articles in your newsletters.

4. Reciprocal Links
Find other websites that your ideal clients would be interested in and post links to them on your website. Then ask those websites to return the favor.

5. PRWeb
Publicize your business by posting a press release on This gets the word out about you and drives people who are interested in learning more to your website.

6. Social Networking
Network with other solo-professionals on sites such as Facebook. This is a great way to share what you’re up to and connect with potential joint venture partners.

7. Google Adwords
Buy your way onto page 1 of the search engine results for your top keywords and start driving traffic to your site immediately.

8. Advertise in Other E-zines
Find e-zines that reach your ideal clients and if they sell advertising, buy an ad and promote your free gift to build your list.

9. Affiliate Programs
Use a shopping cart system like with a built-in affiliate module to enable your happy clients to get paid for spreading the word and promoting you.

10. Offline Networking
Don’t forget about good old fashioned networking events and conferences. Attend them on a regular basis and hand out business cards with a call-to-action for your free gift on the back.

If you’re not getting all the traffic you want to your website, pick 3-4 of these activities and start implementing them right away. If you do them consistently, you’ll see your traffic and list start to grow and you’ll be on your way to building a solid foundation for your business.”

© Copyright 2009 Debbie LaChusa
Debbie LaChusa created 10stepmarketing to help solo-professionals and small business owners market their own businesses more successfully. Debbie believes creating a marketing plan is the first step in building a successful business. Don’t have a marketing plan? You can get a marketing plan template to help you create one when you subscribe to “The 10stepmarketing E-zine” at

Why the tomato?
May 14, 2007, 7:17 pm
Filed under: Why the Tomato??

TomatoDesign was born in New Jersey in 1985; and, due to the intense rivalry between NJ and NYC, Nancy Hoffmann created “The Big Tomato” vis-à-vis New York’s “Big Apple” as her logo — and it stuck!

In 2005 New Jersey officially adopted the tomato as the “State Vegetable” (it is a fruit, but was legistated into a vegetable state, as it were, in the 1890s, for marketing purposes).

Now, when you bite into one of those fabulous Jersey Beefsteak tomatoes, just think of TomatoDesign.Net!

St. Paddy’s Day in May!
May 10, 2012, 4:37 pm
Filed under: New York City News

Niall O’Leary and Darrah Carr gave us a taste of Irish music and dancing on May 6th at Pier 1 (72nd Street, NYC). Niall O’Leary’s group performed, as did Darrah’s ModErin (with Niall). And Niall and Darrah danced together without their groups, as well.

Of course, Niall played the spoons, as well.

Here are some of the photos from the event:

Mad Men Revisited
March 25, 2012, 7:13 am
Filed under: What happened to fun??

I can’t believe I’m old enough to remember the Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons of Mad Men, but I do; and the show makes virtually no mistakes when it comes to historical accuracy. Right down to the (most of) the slang that was used in those days.

As a child in the ’50s and early ’60s, I watched my uncle turn alcoholic as a result of those 3-martini lunches (it eventually killed him: he was in his 30s). But at his peak — as an account guy at Y&R, then Young and Rubicam — Uncle Bob put Deepfreeze on the map. Today we don’t think anything of having frozen food in our lives; but at the time, it was a huge revolution. And it made women’s lives a lot easier, not having to cook every night.

My dad was an advertising photographer (from the ’30s to the ’70s), specializing in pharmaceutical, fashion and food accounts. He even did the Art Page for Time magazine (imagine an Art Page being the centerpiece of a major news magazine today!).

In the days of Deardorff large-format (8×10) cameras and large, hot, overhead lights, food shots were made up of plaster-of-paris, shaving cream and glycerine on the hamburgers. Coke was painted onto the bottles, and ice was simulated by glass or plastic substitutes. Ice cream was a rubber simulation that was very life-like. It was possible to get quite sick sneaking food in the stylist’s kitchen!

When I, as one of the first and only girls, began my advertising as a “junior art director” in 1967 (due to the number of draftable male trainees during the Vietnam War), sexual harrassment was de rigueur. One guy hated my presence in the art dept. so much he twice tried to rape me. He was always inviting all the other art directors to lunch — and then he would dance around my office yelling “You can’t go because you’re a gurrr-ul!” His career never suffered (as mine did). I just made a joke out of the attempted rapes and the guys yelled at him in indignation. But it never stood in the way of his promotions.

My boss treated me as an equal, however (his wife had been one of the first women ADs ever; I was the only one in Chicago — and maybe NYC — at that time. As dictated in the “advertising Bible” by David Ogilvy (which all agencies adhered to), she’d been forced to quit her job at the agency when they’d gotten married, as he was the “breadwinner” and “needed” the job. (By the late ’60s, nobody cared who slept with whom; but marriage wasn’t as much of an issue then, anyway). So Don gave me the opportunity to write copy, direct TV ads, do illustration and design ads, while learning everything there was to know about print production and setting hot, cold and photo type (who remembers that today!)

Creative was king in those days, so when we had downtime, we had a photographer come in and we made a movie (based on the format of “Laugh-In”). It was hilarious, and loads of fun to style, shoot and edit! Editing was done with the something like scissors and Scotch tape — literally. It was easy (though laborious) and great fun!

Money was never an object in those days! And the clients had to do what we told them, as creative was something they “couldn’t understand”.

At Christmas, I would order art supplies (at the agency’s expense) for everyone to give to their kids (or themselves, for their home studios). The CEO would get first dibs; then everyone else.

I took my supplies home and practiced drawing ads with the new-fangled markers, and learning how to “indicate” different fonts (also in marker). All layouts were hand-drawn, and had to be accurate, so the photographer or illustrator wouldn’t have too many problems replicating them the way the client had approved them.

I made my own clothes from designer patterns (you could buy them at Woolworth’s!), and then made big wide ties to sell to the guys out of the left-over fabrics. I called the ties “Spaghetti-Eaters”, as the seams ran up the side and they were reversible. You could spill red sauce or red wine on them at lunch (the colors were designed for that); and then flip it over afterwards and no one would know. We’d all go to lunch wearing the same fabric (me in my mini skirt or dress; them in their matching ties), and people would stop us in the street and ask if we were a famous band!

I have to admit, I miss those days: when it came to sexism, I could out-swear and out-drink them. And as for the rest, it was great fun. I only wish I’d made half the money the men did. Otherwise, I’d go back there in a heartbeat! We had fun!!!

A thought for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday
November 25, 2011, 1:01 pm
Filed under: "Signs" of the Times

(Thanks to Arnaldo Buzack)


I have no idea what the above sign means: but hope your Turkey Day was a happy one!

Best wishes from TomatoDesign.Net!

Hurricane Irene, continued
August 28, 2011, 4:12 pm
Filed under: New York City News

Leaving my loft at 23rd and 6th, I walked one block east to 5th Avenue. The Flatiron Building (or at least the phone store in it) had taken unusual precautions, given the odd-shaped windows they had to cover. A+ for wrapping excellence!

Next I walked south on Broadway to Union Square, where a large number of emergency vehicles was parked at the north end, opposite the New York Film School. They looked so useless sitting there, as the streets were dry and very few tree branches were down. I don’t think anyone in Manhattan even lost power.

Naturally, the above truck had “Emergency” written on it

Further along in the park there were a few downed branches; but not enough to justify closing the park.

I kept walking along 14th St., south of Union Square, and came upon a hardware store with this telling sign:

Just past the hardware store was a ConEd truck, parked and opinionated:

Okaaayyy. Well, moving right along: I continued on into the East Village and saw a tree trying to get out of its box in a schoolyard:

On the sidewalk in front of the tree was the perhaps the most discouraging comment on the heavy rainfall. It reminds me of Sisyphus or maybe the Sorcerer’s Apprentice:

You can’t fault them for trying.

At Tompkins Square Park (in the heart of the East Village) there was tree debris all over, but only a few branches and one tree down that I could see.

On my way back, I crossed town on 10th Street, which gave me this thought-provoking vista. You’d think she would have seen this coming!

At least the trees weren’t real . . .

That pretty much covers the “devastation” of Irene, as we experienced it in NYC. It was very cloudy, but the sun occasionally brightened the sky and it didn’t rain all day.

Arriving in the West Village, I saw these 2 houses by NYU, and photographed them for the hell of it:

I don’t know how you feel, but I find it’s utterly essential to ensure that your ride always matches your shutters.

Next door to it was this house, with an (old?) sign advertising “Private Boarding Stables”. As there was also a sign concerning an Active Driveway, I assumed that the horses had been retired to their celestial pasture some time ago. But maybe not . . .

And, after a ±4-mile trot, I arrived home soaking wet from the humidity.

Some weekend.

Hope yours was better!

Hurricane Irene, NYC — Saturday, 8/27/11
August 27, 2011, 5:19 pm
Filed under: New York City News

OK, we’ve got the message. The trains and buses shut down at noon. Everyone in low-lying areas has been, or is being, evacuated to shelters. The National Guard is prowling 23rd Street (along with thousands of cars and taxis, the only means of transport left). Even then, the streets are fairly deserted.

So I go to my grocery store (The Garden of Eden, of all things) to see if I can pick up a couple of items. This is what I see there:

The lines are longer than the store! So forget about last-minute shopping.

It’s a funny thing: New Yorkers (and New Jerseyans/-ites) respond to events in nature by hoarding food. True, they seem to be terrified of nature (one drop of rain and every NYC pedestrian is under a giant umbrella; and every NJ car comes to a standstill in bumper-to-bumper traffic, generating fender benders right and left). They are basically biodegradable people who are afraid of melting. It never fails.

I continue the mile or so in the drizzle (or is it just humidity?) to Pier 62 of Chelsea Piers.  Here I find an almost totally deserted playground, normally teeming with sports enthusiasts, cyclists, runners and people hell-bent on getting melanoma. Today, however, it’s just iron-gray water, iron-gray clouds, the odd photographer (like me), and emptiness everywhere one looks. Here is what I see:

This is looking northwest toward NJ, looking up the Hudson River.

One of my favorite things at this pier is the carousel, featuring animals from New York State: including a skunk, a crayfish (doubled over and facing backwards), an eel, a turkey (bolt upright and proud) — and even two white unicorns with purple butterflies (something I’ve never seen anywhere in NY state!) Today, however, all the animals are trapped in a cage:

All you can clearly see is one of the unicorns, apparently in distress.

Even the gardens, with their winding paths and tables, are devoid of life:

The Empire State Building (or the Entire State, as a friend’s son once called it) has a scarf of fog tossed carelessly around the base of its zeppelin spire:

Looking down toward Staten Island and The Narrows, one can barely make out the Verrazzano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty (at the left of the photo):

And not a boat or plane or helicopter in sight! The silence is eerie. Only the flowers are there to greet me, so I photograph them. After tomorrow, they will be demolished, I figure:

Was anyone actually preparing for this event named Irene? On the way home, I find my answer. The inscrutably named “Ha.Ha.Fresh” deli has boarded up its windows:

And a restaurant in the next block is taping up its windows, while being filmed in the process. (Many places had Scotch-taped their windows in a half-hearted and pointless way; but this guy is serious, albeit bemused by the camera):

Inspired, I immediately go home and take all the flower pots I had placed on top of the deli’s duct in front of my window, securing them below the duct.

Now the waiting begins. Stay tuned . . .

What I found in the middle of Broadway
May 19, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: What happened to fun??

EngageGreen is a fabulous bag-making company which utilizes only recycled materials (click on the image to see the animated version).

There is a sort of bazaar going on in the middle of the island on Broadway at 23rd Street, and you can see them there.

For more information, go to:

You’ll be glad you did!

If you missed the 5th Ave. Easter Parade, here’s a sampling!
April 24, 2011, 11:25 pm
Filed under: What happened to fun??


Wondering about the deficit? Experts have answers!
April 24, 2011, 4:01 pm
Filed under: Politics

:: This article, by David Leonhardt in the December 5, 2010, NY Times is as timely as ever:

:: So is this link from ;

:: not to mention HUGH LAURIE’S own protest song: — in case you were wondering what his take on it was.

Think about it!

An Entire World of Chocolate, Here in Chelsea!
November 12, 2010, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Business Events

The New York Chocolate Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th Street, NYC, is featuring many fascinating companies. Many are green/fair-trade/organic, as well: so you can sin and feel angelic at the same time! I would like to introduce you to some of them, as they are well worth knowing.

To begin with, OVERSEAS FOOD TRADING LTD. has two lines of top-quality candies from France and Belgium: Le Chef Pâtissier and Truffettes de France. The former includes all natural items such as truffles dusted with cocoa powder, fine champagne truffles, Begian milk and dark chocolate mouthfuls and pâtés de fruits, among other delectable treats. At left is a picture of Mouna Aissaoui (left) with Etienne. The second photo shows the booth for Le Chef Pâtissier.

You can reach them at:

The next company I tried out was COMPTOIR du CACAO, a small family-owned “chocolaterie artisanale” based in France. Apart from such tempting items as flaky pralines, hazelnut pistachio and salted-butter caramel (which won 2 awards at the Paris Chocolate Show!), they also have sugar-free chocolates for diabetics. The photos show the family hard at work.

Their URL is:

• ROGUE CONFECTIONS is an American-owned, New York City-based chocolate company that has only been in business for a short time. Their products are design-oriented, as they affix colorful graphics to their chocolate treats. The inspiration is vintage wallpapers, textiles and Victorian greeting cards. One of the dresses featured in the Fashion Show was designed by them, as well (see photo below). The booth photo shows owner Sherri Adler serving a customer.

Rogue’s URL is:

And what better complement to chocolate than vanilla? BOURBON VANILLA from Madascar takes an entirely different approach at this Show, featuring lovely deep-brown, fresh vanilla pods which smell like sweet perfume! Originally from México, the vanilla plant was was brought to Europe by the Spanish. At the court of the Bourbon kings of France, Madame de Montespan used vanilla to perfume her bath (and I can understand why!) From there, it traveled to Réunion Island thanks to Louis XIV, the Sun King, and thence to Madascar (around1880). The photos below show M. Yves-pol Taburet (at right), and the products artfully displayed.

Bourbon Vanilla can be contacted at:

I was intrigued by the booth for VALRHONA, which had one of my favorites prominently displayed: chocolate-covered orange peels. Created in 1922 by a pastry chef in the Rhone Valley, Valrhona became a registered trademark in 1947. They feature a wide range of products, including single-origin and grands-crus chocolate bars, baking chocolates and gift items.

Their URL is:

Another nice surprise, both visually and taste-wise, was SPICES AND TEASE, a four generations’-old company featuring an enormous array of imported, fresh spices and (what else?) teas. Based in Paris, they have been a source of flavoring for the chefs of that culinary city, and their success has been guaranteed for decades. Below is a photo of Bruno (at left) and François, plus a second image of their vast array of colorful spices.

Their Facebook page is:
They can also be reached at:

and François Payard recently opened a new store at 116 West Houston Street, in SoHo. For Thanksgiving you can check out their chocolate pecan tarts, traditional pumpkin tarts, assorted macaroons and their Masterpiece Chocolate Collection is shown below (the $60 box — with 54 pieces — is on sale for $35 during the Show!) They also feature truffles, panetone, and many other chocolate delights, as well.

Their web site is: http://fpbnyc.

Last but not least: I must say, as owner of TomatoDesign.Net, I was gratified to see James DiStefano, the Executive Pastry Chef of ROUGE/TOMATE walking the floor. They are located at 14 East 60th Street, and are one of NYC’s finest restaurants. It’s always nice to run into another tomato when surrounded by chocolate!

Their URL is:

The New York Chocolate Show runs until Sunday, November 14, 2010. Tickets are $30 at the door and $28 online. Saturday and Sunday they will have demonstrations and exhibits for children, as well as adults.