General Manager for Metz & Associates
Shady Side Academy, Pittsburgh
Education: Elgin Community College in Chicago, culinary program
Lives with husband, Gregory, and two daughters in Pittsburgh.
People are always looking for tranquility in their lives, and many have turned to feng shui as a way to achieve it. For the past 18 years, Yvonne Phillips, general manager for Metz & Associates at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburg, has been helping people rearrange their living spaces to create good chi.
"I am a feng shui expert and I've been doing this about 18 years. I got started when my young daughter wanted to redo her room and she brought a feng shui book home and said, ‘this is what you do.' And I said, ‘no, I don't.' And she said, ‘yes, you do.' And from that time on, it's truly been my passion. I really live feng shui.
I've been certified by two masters-one in the United States and one abroad. People started asking me, ‘could you do my house?' It just became larger and larger, so I decided I would start my own business. It's promotional marketing and visual merchandising. So in all of those aspects, no matter what someone wants me to do, they always get feng shui. I will analyze the space. It's kind of the same thing you would do in the foodservice industry. You take a look at the flow of traffic. You look and see what's happening in an area. Is it an active area? Is it somewhere that people aren't going, but they should be? I can show them how to get people to go there. I use it all the time in my job. Of course, your food needs to look attractive and good feng shui is about colors and layout and placement on your plates. You want your food to be in an area that makes the product look good with nice crocks and serving utensils. What's on top of the counters, I look at that. You need proper signage there and maybe something that identifies with the product.
You need the map of feng shui and it's called the bagua, which are the nine areas of your life. What you are supposed to do is use that map to design the layout of a room. If perhaps you want to work on your relationship, that would be an area that is located in the northeast area of a room. So that's the area you'd focus on anything having to do with a relationship. It could be a picture of you and your partner or something. Everything is symbolic and representative of something.
The certification process took me a long time. It took me almost a year to get my first certification. It's with a school called Feng Shui Institute International. You basically go to the classes for a one-week intensive. From there, you have to do written assignments as well as a lot of homework. For the written assignments, you have to do actual consultations and you turn them in just like you turn in a term paper. If they don't like it, you do it again and again in more and more detail.
Most everyone thinks feng shui is just the furniture or the stuff in the room, but there's more to it. It's a very sophisticated analysis. The first question I ask when someone calls me to do his or her feng shui is, why do you want me to come there? There's generally a problem and the feng shui will be the solution. Perhaps it is, ‘my career isn't going very well and I need some support in that area.' So what I do is go to the home and look at the south part of the room and I see all kinds of clutter in that area. One of the basic rules is to allow opportunities to come to you. Looking at that file cabinet in an office and there's no room for another file, means there is no room for any new business to come to you. You have to open it up, get rid of the old. There has to be space."