Bag Check: 10 Essentials Our Ambassadors Never Leave Home Without

You know the old saying, “You can learn a lot about a person by looking at their shoes?” Well, today we are digging a little deeper by revealing what our Design For A Difference Ambassadors carry in their bags.

What we already know is that these top-notch designers lead the industry with their limitless talent, infectious positivity, and love for giving back. After all, that is why they achieved Ambassador status. But how do they keep it all together? Join us as we count down the 10 essentials these super savvy business women never leave home without:


10) Keys & Wallet.

Starting off the list, this seems like a no-brainer. But our designers have big responsibilities which means they need access to more than a house or a car. They have office keys, multiple client house keys, scanner tags for everyday trips to the grocery store, library and gym… as our eco-friendly Nicole Zeigler in Salt Lake City tells us she even has to remember her bike rack key.

Tara Buedding of Madison, Wisconsin, has the perfect solution for keeping it all together. “I use a business card holder that doubles as a passport holder, gift card holder, and credit card holder. I’ve had several throughout the years. I couldn’t call myself a professional organizer without it.”


9) Drafting Supplies.

Unless you’re an architect, we’re not sure who might travel with these oldies but goodies, but JUST in case you need to whip up a schematic or show a contractor exactly where to place a floor outlet… blue painters tape, graph paper, tracing paper, pencils- lots of ready to go pencils, red flairs to redline drawings, black flairs for post-it notes (in every color), and scissors.

Deanna Whetstone of Indianapolis even carries hanging art kit supplies in her car. “My clients always seem to have that ‘one thing’ that needs to be hung and I’m ready to jump in…” Get the picture?


8) Notepads.

If you were to make the acquaintance of our design darling Lucy Penfield who jet sets from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles, Scottsdale, and Naples often, you’d know that she thinks like an artist and has etiquette of Amy Vanderbilt. And the one thing she ALWAYS has stashed in her giant designer-looking tote? Unruled notebooks and Lucy branded notepads in every size.

“How else can I remember everything I see and learn or am inspired by in my travels? I use my note pads to record my meeting notes and have been known to leave a client a love note or two…”


7) Self-Defense Stick.

The true sign of an independent Salt Lake City girl watching her back (and her bike), Nicole Zeigler travels with her self-defense pressure stick keychain.

“It looks more like a sexy token (mine is pink) but I haven’t learned exactly how to use it, aside from the quick You Tube video. I do feel much safer carrying it though when I’m by myself at night.”


6) DFAD Flier.

Halfway through our list, we have Cathy Driftmier, also in Madison, at the helm of our makeover hearts. She makes sure to keep a flyer from her latest DFAD project tucked into her bag. Such a smart way to share her makeover stories AND spread the word:

“I hand one to every potential client at our first meeting. Go DFAD!”

We love you, Cathy.


5) Snacks.

They are working hard and getting hungry which is why our A-team is noshing on almonds, energy bars and, when extra prepared, sliced apples. Deanna, who confesses to using her car as her mobile office, has designated her glove box as the food drawer. Some people keep their owner’s manual in there; Deanna keeps beef jerky and almond butter…  hungry?


4) Skincare.

You’d never guess they’ve just gotten off a step-ladder or schlepped wallpaper books through the front door. Hand sanitizer, wipes, and hand crème are a must. We all want to stay free of germs and feel fresh throughout the day. As designers, we often do the dirty work, so they take action by disinfecting, drying, and reapplying as they go!


3) Lip-gloss, Lipstick and Perfume… Oh My!

Not one of our designers on-the-go can be caught without a perfect pout. Nicole happens to be crushing on her Clinique Chubby Stick. Lisa Schmitz is adding color in Kansas City, and Deanna is lining and glossing during a red light. Lucy of course, after a long day on set, gracefully sneaks a spritz of her favorite Jo Malone travel perfume when she needs to shift from ‘staging to engaging’.


2) Sharpies.

And heading up the top of our list are two items that every designer agrees they can’t live without: Sharpie Markers! And not just a regular Sharpie. Our leading ladies are fully loaded with classic b

lack, in fine and ultra-fine point for Lisa and multiple colors for Deanna. “Sharpies and MORE Sharpies!” Lucy politely hollers from above. So, what’s so special about the Sharpie? Lisa explains:

“It’s my #1 tool! From simply writing, to doing sketches in client meetings to portray design intent, or even sketching in my journal… My writing is just not the same with any other pen. And for sketching, it’s the best.”

I think we may have just discovered a new spokesperson.

And now, drumroll please… the #1 essential our DFAD Ambassadors never leave home without:


1) Tape Measure.

Because showing up without one would be catastrophic! Stephanie Stroud in Kansas City, dishes some typical scenarios besides the common on-site event:

“You never know where you will find the perfect furnishing to purchase for a client. So, knowing if something is going to fit before loading it up the car or sending a delivery company to pick it up is key. I’ve also been known to swoop in with my tape measure and help out fellow shoppers who are struggling to figure out the size of something.” Now that’s going the extra yard!

There you have it. The complete mash-up of what our superstar Ambassadors are toting around the country.

But wait! Dani Polidor of Rochester, NY, has swooped in to give us her essential, and it is something we should all be sure to check every time we step out.

“I never leave home without a positive attitude and a bundle of energy! I love meeting new people and seeing undiscovered sites. Every new smile reveals the innate beauty of a person; so, if we can express that at every turn, then I believe joy will surely spread throughout the entire design process.”

Carry on, Ambassadors. Carry on.


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