Fresco Decorative Arts Challenges
- Single venue for job histories and sample circulation
- SaaS for automatic updating and independence from IT
- Easy to configure and adapt
- Comprehensive project histories
- Permissions management
Fresco Decorative Arts
The Customization is Always Right
Per Nicolette Lagomarsini, Fresco’s (solo) Sample Librarian, when she began the search for an ILS, the primary requirement was to find one that could handle a very diverse range of meta data/field types (color, texture, materials, and artist details, along with detailed recipe content, and project history) while also being able to operate like a lending library for the purpose of sharing samples with artists, decorators, and their clients.
Prior to implementing GeniePlus, the samples were kept in binders, with many physical copies, and very little had been digitized. Even with digitized files in folders, the collection is too large and the information too disparate. Per Ms. Lagomarsini, “We needed a single venue with items mapped to other items in order to create a single story.”
Ms. Lagomarsini discovered finding software that goes beyond “generic media” to optimize special collections isn’t easy, so when she saw GeniePlus and realized she could adapt it herself, it was the obvious choice. Original cataloging is required, and she catalogs everything herself, using metadata based on what the samples physically look like and using terms that make sense to her and Fresco staff. She maintains her own authority table, to which she is continually adding as the cataloging project moves forward.
The database has two branches, one for jobs, and one for samples. Each job gets its own profile, with location information, attached finishes, names of artists who worked on it, any special conditions for the site, and practitioners’ notes on any last-minute changes. With job histories documented and fully searchable, if a client asks for prior projects to be refreshed or touched up, it’s no longer about relying on people’s memories. The days of sitting around a table brainstorming about “this street, this person, this color blue” are over. This takes GeniePlus beyond a specialized database into knowledge management territory.
Recipes for Success
Fresco artists make all the finishes, including primarily plaster, but also vinyl, resin, faux finishes, gilding, or canvas. Each has a “recipe”; these recipes and their history are extremely important. With GeniePlus, Ms. Lagomarsini created an online form that artists can quickly complete, typing in recipes and notes, and adding diagrams or photographs taken with their cell phones—a major reason why mobile access was a key requirement for the new ILS. In the past, with paper files, there was much frustration over handwriting, stains, scribbles and incomplete sketches. Those challenges have been overcome with GeniePlus.
Ms. Lagomarsini maintains information on over 8,500 finishes, each with multiple copies, and supports approximately 40 Fresco staff in Manhattan, Long Island City, and The Berkshires. Staff include artists, project managers, administrative staff, and estimators who put together the quotes on new jobs.
Out and About
Permissions management is important, even though the database is internal only. Project managers, senior artists, and the estimators have full access, while other staff may not. Ms. Lagomarsini emailed everyone their own link and login to the homepage, after having set their permissions and creating the logins. Fresco artists do travel for work, often internationally, so 24/7/365 access via any browser or device is critical.
Downstream, once the entire collection is cataloged, Ms. Lagomarsini will implement the Circulation module to keep track of physical samples. For the first time, that will make it easy to see at-a-glance where samples are located, and which designers have taken them for meetings or mood board creation, for example. “If something gets specified for a job, do we have it in house? Do we need to get it back from an artist or designer?”
Knowing What You Don’t Know
There’s also potential for GeniePlus to be used for project management workflow, and per Ms. Lagomarsini, “… after we’ve been using the system for a couple of years, the statistics will be even more helpful.” Clearly, reporting is of great help to the estimators and others, who will be able to avoid duplication and leverage past projects to support current quotes and production efforts.
In addition, through reporting, Ms. Lagomarsini anticipates being able to spot trends such as which finishes are the most popular under what circumstances—aiding artists in making evidence-based decisions. They can look at which finishes designers think are the most popular, and if there are ones that aren’t being used, they can analyze how they might be made more sellable. Says Ms. Lagomarsini, “Something might be too ‘out there’ for an individual client, even if not for the designer. The texture might work, the color does not, or the shine is too much. Very talented artists working at Fresco can use their skills to adapt recipes and make any finish into one that is something people want in their homes, restaurants, or businesses.”
In closing, Ms. Lagomarsini told us that “As a solo librarian, Lucidea and GeniePlus are my partners. GeniePlus makes me look very good at my job. With it, I am the most effective librarian I can be.”