learn how to use Instagram for your business

I have some REALLY exciting news to share with you, dear readers.

As I've already hinted at, I'm in the middle of developing some very cool resources for you.

Back in the summer, I sent a short survey around to my blog subscribers and asked some questions about what kind of material they would like to see more of. I was shocked, but also pleasantly surprised, that 86% of you told me you'd like to see more social media tips on the blog!

Good thing too. Social media is where my expertise lies for all non-S&D parts of my life.

In fact, in the past five years I have overseen social media programs at three major universities in Ontario, connecting students and alumni in online communities serving 27,000+. I have facilitated workshops for organizations such as the Canadian Armed Forces, the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers, and the Student Affairs Peer Group at Humber College. I have also worked with a number of local clients including interior design companies, authors, editors, photographers, and tech entrepreneurs.

I LOVE social media. I live it and breathe it. But my life is busy and gets in the way (I know you can all relate). I spend a lot of time carefully fine-tuning my social activity, honing my craft, so that I end up focusing my time on only the most effective and most time-saving activities.

I want to share that knowledge with you.

As you all know, I just love sharing my knowledge and building community with you stylist sisters. I am so crazy happy that you've found this blog to be a helpful place. In order for me to help you grow your business online, I've decided to start blurring some of the lines between my S&D business and my other side hustle - social media coaching with my company Scribbles Social.

After a few months of surveying and research, I've found that the majority of stylists have at least one social media platform they're desperate to get started on, but struggle to find the time (or don't know where to start). The top three that have been identified to me are Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

I am creating a BRAND NEW online course for small business owners to learn how to get started with and use Instagram. 

The course will walk students through the exact steps they need to follow to set up their complete profile, strategies to continue creating awesome content, and the best systems and tools so they’re saving as much time as possible while still making an impact online.

Time is the resource we are all short on. This course is built to give you helpful, actionable information that will SAVE YOU TIME.

I’d love for you to check out the course page here (or copy this link into your browser bar: http://bit.ly/teachablecoursescribblessocial/)!

If you're eager, I'm already accepting early enrollments. The best part is that I'm able to offer this course to you for a super low price - an amount you'll earn back in less than TWO average orders! You can sign up now and be the FIRST to access course material when we go live on December 13, 2015 :)

If you think this is something you or your network would find useful, I hope you'll consider sharing the link http://bit.ly/teachablecoursescribblessocial with other stylists on your team. 

OMG I can't wait to learn how to maximize #Instagram for my business! http://bit.ly/teachablecoursescribblessocial

I'm always happy to answer any questions you might have so feel free to tweet at me (@LdeFleuriot), find me on Facebook, or email me anytime.

Thanks so, so much for your ongoing support!

my 5 top tips going into the holiday season

Happy Stellaversary to me! I've been a stylist with Stella & Dot now for THREE years, in varying levels of time commitment. I joined the tribe on October 15, 2012 and have not looked back. Most months I work the S&D biz pretty casually but I do like to ramp things up in the Fall, leading up to the holidays and the best shopping season of the year!

Looking at the calendar year, we know that the top selling months are November, October, and December. So what are you going to do to maximize the next few months? Let me help you identify some steps. We are heading into the most profitable few months of the year and I want to share my top tips with you.

Here goes! 
5. Always, always, always start with your Who Do You Know list. Go now and pull it out and open it up. Did you have to brush the dust off of it? Yea, I've been there. If you don't use your WDYK list regularly, you're really missing out on a key tool to this business. Take a look at it now and give it a little update if you need to. Start here. Reach out to two a day (remember the 2-2-4-2 formula?)
Related posts: who do you know? 
4. Remember all those summer trunk shows you did? It's time to follow up! They've had a chance now to wear their sparkly new S&D jewels now for awhile and have maybe taken a peek at the new Fall and Holiday lines. If you didn't talk to them at the TS about the stylist opportunity, you should mention it again now. It often takes people 5, 10, 15 times to hear about the opportunity before they take advantage of it. It really is the best possible time to start as a new stylist in this business, so share the LOVE!
Related posts: words to say - customer service call 
3. Book some holiday vendor shows. This is a great way to expand your networks by meeting new people in your local community. Check out the classifieds, Kijiji or Craigslist, watch for flyers on local bulletin boards, etc. Bring a friend along (it's always more fun with a friend), or a stylist on your team - you can split the leads you make that day.
Related posts: making vendor shows work for you (part 1) // making vendor shows work for you (part 2) 
2. Partner with a local business for a pop up shop. Reach out to your hair stylist, masseuse, gym trainer, restaurant owner, etc. The most effective partnerships happen when you find a complimentary product/service. Think cocktails and crystal ;)
Related posts: Q&A: approaching local businesses 
1. Share gift ideas on social media and in your monthly email newsletter. Steal borrow inspiration from other stylists if you need to. Check out this feed with 70+ stylist Facebook pages - follow it or bookmark it if you'd like. Be sure to highlight and showcase the brand new Icon Watch collection [they're totally beautiful, right?] and some of your other favourites from the Holiday line.
Related posts: things you can gift in a pouf // about the goods: engravables

BONUS: I wrote a post at this time last year, walking through 21 ways to increase your november sales. It's the perfect time to review it now - so go take a look!

Tell me! When is YOUR Stellaversary and what are you going to do to celebrate it? Leave me a note in the comments below.

my 5 top tips going into the holiday season

5 ways to surprise and delight your top customers

Today I'd like to talk about ways in which we can surprise and delight our top customers - or really, any of our customers!

Since I'm on this topic, I thought it would also be a good opportunity to surprise and delight YOU my dear readers! So, at the bottom of today's post you'll find details on how to enter a prize giveaway. I couldn't help myself! I was in my local Indigo the other day and saw these most adorable Shine charm bookmarks - I couldn't resist! I bought one for myself and TWO to give away to some lucky blog readers.

Entries accepted until 12:00am EST September 26, 2015.
Contest is only open to residents of Canada and U.S.A.

Let's get back to the topic at hand. I consider 'surprise and delight' to be a crucial element to providing excellent customer service. As consumers, we always remember the companies that go above and beyond to make our experience memorable. Some companies' stories even manage to go viral: WestJet planned a surprise holiday giving to flyers; Trader Joe's delivered free groceries to a snowed-in senior; the Ritz-Carlton sent a child's stuffed toy on an extended vacation.
It's amazing really. All of these stories give me that warm, fuzzy feeling. I can't even imagine how the recipients of these kind acts felt! It inspires me to want to give this feeling to my customers too. A little bit can go a long way when it comes to recognizing our customers, showing them appreciation for their business, or even spreading some love "just because". These acts build trust, strengthen your relationship, and make you more memorable.

Here are some of the ways I love to surprise and delight my customers:
  1. Free Shipping: I have a handful of customers who shop on a monthly basis. They'll host a trunk show every now and then but insist that they don't want to enjoy the perks of being a stylist. Although I'd LOVE to have these women join my team so they can take advantage of the community and even deeper discounts, I want to spoil them occasionally anyway. Every few months I'll pay their shipping charge.
  2. A Gift at Her Favourite Store: At Christmas/New Years I like to mail hand-written holiday cards out to anyone who made a purchase with me during that calendar year. In the cards for my top 5 customers (or top 10, depending on how profitable the year was!) I'll include an extra little thank you. Most often I'll choose a gift card from StarbucksAmazon or Indigo because these are stores I think pretty much everyone can appreciate. 
  3. Matching Studs: Repeat hostesses are among some of my favourite things. I use a sneaky little tactic to encourage my past hostesses to book their next show. I like to look through historical orders from hostesses who had successful trunk shows in previous seasons or years. Hostesses who earned tons of style rewards and were particularly enthusiastic are exactly the gals who I want to repeat. Based on their past purchases, I'll pick out a pair of studs to coordinate with something they bought and send it to them with a note that says, "Thinking of you! I had so much fun at your trunk show this time last year. Hope you're still LOVING the jewels you earned for free! I picked these out as a special thank you that you can wear with your Pegasus necklace. Let me know if you're interested in partnering again!" They just eat it up!!
  4. Stella & Dot Jewelry Cleaner: This is for that customer or hostess who has ordered a TON of S&D jewels from you and has a HUGE collection! Our jewelry cleaning kit is super effective and a great gift for any jewelry lover. [See some tips on caring for your jewels here]
  5. Thank You Note: If you don't feel like you can afford to splurge by getting your customers any of the items on the list about, that's okay! You can still show them your appreciation without spending any money. One of the stylist's on my up-line team sent out this text message to her top customer/hostess from a recent team meeting: 
    I'm at a Stella & Dot meeting and we are talking about the biggest supporters of our business and YOU came to my mind. I just want to say thank you for all that you do for me in supporting me in my business. I couldn't continue on this amazing journey without you. Love you girl đŸ˜˜ xoxo
A simple gesture like #5 this costs you nothing - barely even a minute of your time - and can make a huge impact in retaining customers' support and business. I challenge you to text this out to someone NOW to see what can happen.

Take 15% Off Regular Priced Home Decor, Style & More at Indigo.ca! This Weekend, Online Only.

Alright, alright! Enough of my rambling! Now, for what you've all been waiting for... the giveaway!

Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to earn entries to this contest. There will be TWO (2) winners selected to receive one "Shine" charm bookmark, compliments of yours truly.

Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
FYI - this post contains affiliate links. Just like I receive a portion of the sale (in the form of commission) from purchases made on my Stella & Dot PWS, I also receive a small commission on the sales of items from these links. This does not affect the price YOU pay. Regardless of whether an affiliate relationship exists or not, I ONLY feature products that I buy myself, love, or think you will find useful.

5 ways to surprise and delight your customers

a match made in heaven: Stella & Dot and Starbucks!

Have you noticed? Fall is coming!

I can always tell because Starbucks' #PSL comes back, the cool weather arrives, and our favourite fashion retailers start releasing their gorgeous new Fall styles - Stella & Dot included! Can I just say... how amazing is the Holiday Preview collection?

A couple of weeks ago I opened an exclusive giveaway for my Freebie Club subscribers - two lucky ladies were drawn to receive a Starbucks gift card from yours truly! Congratulations to Brooke and Jenn! Thanks for your feedback. You'll see an email from me this week with details on your prize.

Do YOU want in on the next giveaway? Subscribe and join the Freebie Club in the sidebar over there ----------->

On that note, I'd like to point out how perfectly matched Starbucks and Stella & Dot are. Sweet, stylish, and simply irresistible ;)

I love to surprise my top and repeat customers with a $5 Starbucks gift card every now and then. Showing my appreciation is key to maintaining their ongoing support of my business. It's a great place to meet with hostesses to talk about their upcoming shows, with prospective stylists to talk to them about the opportunity, and with members on my team for coaching time. It has really become a go-to location for my business.

Starbucks Canada

I'm not the only stylist who loves SBUX!

A photo posted by Charity Remington (@wildwithdelight) on

A photo posted by Mirjana L (@fashionmommiem) on

Here's an interesting idea... Host a style session AT your local Starbucks!

I want to know! What's your drink of choice? Are you a coffee addict like me, or a tea junkie? Leave a note in the comments below.

a match made in heaven - Starbucks and Stella & Dot

Q&A: approaching local businesses

This week I received a sweet little email from a reader that said this:
Hello.  I stumbled upon your blog today and I LOVE IT!  Thanks for sharing so much.  I love my Stella & Dot business and am trying to gear up for the fall and holidays.  You had 21 things to do for November [that's this post] and I especially liked the reach out to businesses.
Would you have words to say by chance?  This is the bulk of what I'd like to do for the fall.  I even came up with a little flyer to hand out to offices.  I always get stuck so any thing you might be able to share would be appreciated.
First of all, THANK YOU! Thanks for emailing me :) I love it when readers take a minute to let me know that a blog post was helpful. 

On the topic of your question, here are some of my thoughts.

I approach and warm up local businesses the same way I do with any prospect. It's really about building relationships. We meet, I introduce myself, tell a little about my story, learn a little about the other person, then stay in touch and try to offer them a little something valuable.

Here are the specific steps I follow to do this with a business:

  1. I always try to visit the owner/manager in person. I find this is a much more personal touch and has a bigger impact than an email message. Ultimately, the idea is to establish a lasting relationship with your new contact.
  2. I try to do as much research about the company as I can in advance. When I walk into a storefront asking for the manager by name (not just by title), it is far less likely that I get a rude response in reply. Then, I simply try to be my charming self! 
  3. I introduce myself and explain that I am a local entrepreneur, specializing in jewelry and accessories. I've found that it really helps to position the conversation around the fact that I am an entrepreneur and small business owner (just like they are) who is looking to network and build connections with other businesses. They'll open right up!
  4. I avoid pitching a joint event on the first meeting. I find that a lot of people find it off-putting to have to make a decision about a "partnership" on the first time meeting you [I use the term "partnership" when speaking with other businesses instead of hostess/host - it's a language they understand]. Ask questions about their company, how they found themselves working in this industry, and any other questions you would ask a new acquaintance. 
  5. I arrive prepared. I suggest bringing a few look books and a business card - then, if the idea of doing a staff appreciation show or a joint event comes up in natural conversation, you have everything you need with you!
  6. After your first meeting, follow up with a quick email (because you grabbed their contact info too, of course!) to say how wonderful it was to meet them and a nice note or compliment about their business. At this point, if it hasn't already come up, mention how you've worked with other small businesses in the past to partner for a internal events and joint customer-facing events and if this is something they're interested in, you'd love to chat some more! [If you haven't yet worked with any local businesses, it's okay to embellish here a little
  7. And, as usual, following up by phone is key. Call them about a week later and see if they've put any thought into partnering with you.

This approach can take a little longer than a traditional stop-by-and-drop-a-flyer method, but I promise you that building an authentic relationship with the business owner will produce better results in the long run.

It is a good time to start at this now if you're wanting to build your business up for the Fall/Holiday season - most retailers and service-based companies will already be thinking about holiday appreciation ideas around now!

Tell me! Which local business is on your chicken list? Leave me a note in the comments below.

Q+A- approaching local businesses

hoopla and fall rally takeaways

Last week I attended my local Fall Rally event to learn some of the best tips and takeaways from Hoopla. Unfortunately, yet again I was unable to attend Hoopla this year. My life is simply too hectic around July and I can't spare the time away from my full-time job.

If I can't be at Hoopla in person, at least I can watch it online and still get valuable training when my local leaders come back all pumped up and ready to coach!

Here are some of my favourite tips from the Couture Club rally:
  • Your Who Do You Know list should be a living, breathing document. Keep it up to date every time you meet someone new. If you're OCD like me, you could colour code and date the names on that list so you can really keep track of your pipeline. Need a little inspiration? Check out this blog post for WDYK list prompts.
  • Create a Who Do You WANT to Know list. This is genius! Write down names or descriptions for specific people in your community or just-outside your network. Use this list as inspiration and take small steps towards meeting these people. For example, you noticed that a cute little shoe boutique has opened up in your community and you think this would be an awesome place to host a customer appreciation event - write that down! "Cute shoe boutique owner"
  • Further on that note, partner with local businesses. Get to know small business owners in your community. You can refer business to them and they can refer business to you!
  • Always, always, ALWAYS keep minis in your purse. You never know when you might run into someone who compliments your jewels or your bag. Minis are the perfect hand-out item to showcase the most beautiful and trendy pieces from the collection. The fact that it does not contain the full collection creates the perfect excuse for you to follow up with your new contact later to "introduce you to the complete collection".
  • Don't wear other brands' product. You're a walking billboard! There was a reason Jessica Herrin chose to build this business around jewelry and accessories - they're highly visible and they're one-size-fits-all. Besides sentimental jewels (wedding ring, etc.), choosing to wear products from another retailer means missing out on an opportunity to share the style with new people.
A few of us Savvy Sapphire gals hung around for a photo after the Rally!
Lastly, I wanted to share my most favourite and valuable piece of advice from that night:

Learn Social Media

Brick and mortar retailers are struggling. Retailers we all thought would be around forever are downsizing and closing their stores (Gap recently closed 25% of its stores). Despite this, S&D is expecting huge growth via e-business. This is the best time to learn how to capture that traffic and funnel the growth to your own online business through social media.

Remember when the Sparkle Studs sold out because everyone started re-posting the pic and blurb about their size, etc.? Well, before that post went viral S&D was selling 300 pairs a week. After it, they sold over 3,000 in two days - WOW!!! Some of you are probably still waiting for these studs to come back in stock! This really speaks to the power of social media when it comes to your business.

HO has put together this neat little guide that can help you generate some ideas for your online marketing. I know lots of readers have questions about this though, so I'll be starting a series of blog posts about social media practices soon. In the meantime...

Have you read the guide but you're still struggling to get started on social media? Do you have questions about how to navigate a specific platform? I'd love to help you! Send me your questions and I'll help you get launched! Connect with me using the social media and email links on the sidebar over there ---->

Did you attend your local Fall Rally? Tell me what your favourite takeaway was! Leave a note in the comments below.

Hoopla and Fall Rally takeaways

how to order strategically from the new collection

I'm so upset I couldn't make it out to Hoopla again this year! It is my busiest time at my full-time job and they say they just can't spare me in July. It sucks because it means that every year I'm stuck watching the Instagram feeds light up with awesome #SDHoopla updates from my desk (then later from my couch) when I really just want to be there in person!

With Hoopla comes the Fall Collection - the best time of the year. It really is Christmas in July for stylists and fashionistas alike!

It can be so tough to decide what to buy from a new collection - especially when the new stuff is so gorgeous and juicy - but it is very important to exercise self-restraint. I know, it's a LOT easier to talk about self-restraint than it is to actually practice it!

Here are some great tips that were shared online by a stylist from my up-line team (Julie B.):
  1. Get your ticket for your local Fall Launch over the next few weeks, if you haven't yet! You'll have the chance to check out a fashion show, get updated on the news and top tips to come from Hoopla, and what you're all waiting for - there will be tables set up to view and try on the jewels from the Fall Collection!
  2. Check out the fab recommended list from our merchandising team, split out by the amount you wish to invest:
    For new stylists: http://com.stelladot.stylists.s3.amazonaws.com/…/NAFall15_N…
    For existing stylists: http://com.stelladot.stylists.s3.amazonaws.com/…/NAFA15_Sty…
  3. Look at YOUR OWN collection first... Do you have enough gold vs silver in your display? ...delicates, mid-size necklaces. Then fill in and prioritize based on that. I personally sell LOTS of $74-$84 necklaces and stacking bracelets so will use that as a starting point, in the metals that I need to round off my display. Focus on jewels far more than bags and wallets.
  4. Book some trunk shows! It is more fun to buy new samples when you have upcoming shows on the books
This is a great approach to a new collection launch. Take a look at the jewels you already have first. I usually have some items that have made it onto the 'Retired' list that I need to rotate out of my display, leaving some holes in the variety. This season specifically I'm looking for new bags so I am definitely going to grab up that awesome Hudson tote with matching City Slim clutch. I'm in love!

Don't forget - this is your business and you need to treat it like one. Protect your investment and be a savvy business owner!

Tell me: Which pieces from the Fall 2015 collection are you just DYING to get your hands on? Leave a comment below.

How to order strategically from the new collection
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