Direct Selling @ chloe + isabel

Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location. Peddling is the oldest form of direct selling. Modern direct selling includes sales made through Trunk Shows, one-on-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements as well as internet sales.  A textbook definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.” #wikipedia

In October I started working for this fabulous new start-up, Chloe + Isabel.  Chloe + Isabel is a dynamic and socially innovative jewelry brand designed to connect women through a modern-day social-shopping experience. A destination for fashion-loving, creative and confident women, Chloe + Isabel believes that today’s women deserve jewelry as exceptional as they are. In addition to providing customers with one-stop-shop for gorgeous jewelry, Chloe + Isabel is positioned to become the driving force behind developing highly motivated women of “Generation Net” into the world’s next great entrepreneurs. C+I Merchandisers receive a personalized online dashboard to create their own boutique shopping experience and earn commission on all of their sales.

I had been laid off for 6 months when I accepted this opportunity.  The buy-in was minimal and I loved the jewelry.  I also liked the Sales Development Manager.  I felt like I could really excel in this business.  I had a great group of fashionable friends and I knew that they would want me to succeed.  I booked my first Trunk Show right away.  And then several more after that.  I was ranking Top 5 in the company with sales from my online boutique and my shows.  I liked the fact that I could see my friends at their home and in the process meet more fashionable women.  The jewelry was the reason for the “get” but for me it was more.  It was a way to stay connected without spending money.  I was actually making money while I was hanging out.  After a few months my friends started canceling their shows.  Or they never set a date.  Or they postponed so many times I just stopped following up.  I think they felt like the only reason I was keeping in touch was to get them to host a show.  Not the truth.  We are still friends.  I am on a limited budget and that only means that going out to lunch and dinner and to the movies is outside of monthly budget.  My income is based on commissions.  If I don’t have shows, I don’t have income.  I have been looking for full-time employ and have not received an offer that is mutually beneficial.  So I take this job very seriously.  Posting on FB, Twitter and Pinterest daily.  I wear the jewelry and hand out business cards to anyone who gives me a compliment.  I strike up conversations with complete strangers.   In this business it means that you are social savvy.  A Socialista!  No need to apply if you are an introvert.

We are always looking for fashion-loving, socially savvy, dynamic, modern women. Our mission is to give you the tools and training to discover and grow the empowered, entrepreneurial you – ready for anything, prepared for a brilliant future!

Chloe + Isabel gives you the opportunity as a Merchandiser to create your own online and in-person fashion boutique business. We give you everything you need to get started – including the beautiful hand-crafted jewelry, and YOU create the experience.

It’s as easy as designing your customized e-boutique, curating a collection of your favorite jewelry, and hanging out with your friends online and at trunk show parties!

This month (March) Chloe + Isabel is offering $100 in FREE jewelry if you become a Merchandiser.  It is a great time to join, as the new collection arrives April 11th and you will want some of these pieces in your display.  You can read more about the opportunity here: http://valeriesoule.chloeandisabel.com

Or maybe you just want to make a purchase or book a Trunk Show.

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/soulestyle/

or like my Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Valeries-Chloe-Isabel-Boutique/

Be creative. Be confident. Be you.

 

BFF

I can count how many BFF’s I have had on one hand.  Forever isn’t as long as we think it is.  You change, I change or life just gets in the way.

I had a childhood best friend, a college best friend and 30something best friend.    My best friend of late just stopped calling.  I can actually remember the last thing he said to me.  “I am at work, can I call you back?”  He never did.

The last time I saw him he was planning on moving to CA from FL.  We spent most of his visit looking for places to live.  He liked a place so much that he told me he put a deposit down on it.  But the move-in day came and went.  I don’t feel as if I pressured him to move.  Of course I wanted him to live closer.  I heard his voice almost everyday for 9 years.  Either in person, on the phone or in a voice mail.   And then there was silence. He stopped returning my calls, texts, FB messages and letters.  I received no explanation for the silence.

It has been over 6 months and I still want to pick up the phone and call him.  I want to get his opinion on everything just like before.  I want to hear all about his day and what he wore, what he ate and who annoyed him.  I want him to come for a visit so we can go to the mall and drink iced tea and eat a salad and take self portraits.

I want to just give him a hug and tell him I am sorry even though I don’t even know what I did or if I did anything.

My heart hurts.  Everyday.  His memory haunts me.  Everyday.

Best Friends Forever, forever is not long enough…

 

 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

My husband and I ventured out after dark last week to see a friend of his perform stand-up at a local bar.  I perused the menu before going as we were to arrive just when my stomach starts to growl.

When we were paying at the door the emcee mentioned that the food was fantastic.  Bar food, really?

I ordered an iced tea once we were sat and I asked our server if it was fresh brewed.  I am a snob when it comes to iced tea.  She assured me it was.  Thumbs up.

As we were waiting for our friends set we had the opportunity to see several funny acts.  A common thread between all of the acts was a bit about drugs.  I am not sure why this stood out to me but I actually said it to my husbands friend.  He said at least you’re laughing and I want to hear you really laugh when I get up.   I am not just saying this because he is a friend, but he had the most laughs. Those laugh out loud, snorting laughs.  You know the ones where you miss the next joke and wish you had a rewind button.  He was by far the funniest.  Check him out, his name is Luke Hanbury.

Now I am beyond hungry.  I review the menu and there isn’t a lot of healthy options for me.  So I just say to heck with it and order whatever sounds good.  SO. Fried Fancy Chicken ~ free range chicken, sweet potato mash, braised kale, shallot bechamel.  Ok it has kale.  The superfood.  Sweet Potato Mash offers a lot of nutrients including vitamins A, C, iron and calcium.  So far so good.

I was the only one who ordered food at our table of 5.  It didn’t take long for the food to arrive.  When the waitress set the plate in front of me my mouth began to salivate.  I was too hungry.  I took a sip of my iced tea and then I took my first bite combining all of the ingredients from the plate.  My taste buds were going crazy.  The combination of flavors was a shock to my system.  I can honestly say that I didn’t come up for air.  I devoured the entire plate and if my husband wouldn’t have stopped me I would have picked the plate up and licked it clean.  I am not joking.  It was not lady-like in any form of the word.  The best version of fried chicken I have had in a very long time.

I actually can’t stop thinking about it.  I will need to go back to the www.thefederalbar.com and try it again, soon.

It was a great night out!  Great food, great friends and great comedy!

On the Verge

I just got up, out of bed to come type this.  I just have this crazy feeling that my life is on the verge.  I am not quite sure that it is on the verge of something good or something bad.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t dwell on the bad stuff.  But my axis is shifted.  I wanted to look up my horoscope and have my cards read.  So after I type this out I am going to do just that.

I just wanted to be sure that I am putting out the right energy.  You know when you think about something a lot, and then it happens and you think it is a coincidence?  Well, I don’t really feel that way.  I believe in the Law of Attraction.  Not for everything.  Some things are circumstance.  Being in the wrong place at the wrong time or vice versa.  This whole week has been about me figuring out how this Next Chapter is going to look.  Goaling myself.  Prepping.  Meditating.  In order to prepare for the shift.  But was I preparing for the wrong shift?  I think I was covering all of my bases.

Now do you see why I had to get out of the bed to type this?  If this shift happens when I hope it happens I will have a story with a date.

So this post is to date stamp the shift.

 

#anidiotabroad

My husband turned me onto this show last season.  He was so excited and actually counted down the days until it aired.  I was hooked after the first episode.

What is this show about?  First Season: You take a guy who doesn’t really care about global travel and send him on journey’s to see the 7 Wonders of the World.  Second Season:  You send the same guy on activities/adventures from other peoples Bucket List (Things to do before I die).

Why I recommend this show?  My husband and I watch this show together.  It is an hour long show, however during the course of the show we pause and discuss.  We laugh out loud and then have to rewind to re-watch and rewind to re-watch.  You don’t want to miss a second.  We try seeing ourselves in each scenario and wonder what our reaction would be to his journey.  The reactions Karl has to the different cultures is pretty much in line with my opinion except he actually follows through with most things that Ricky and Steve throw at him.  I am not a global traveler.  Seeing some of the basic things he has overcome just with the basics, (food, clothing and shelter) I don’t think I could do what he has done. Actually, I know I couldn’t do it.  The first season, food and bathrooms were a major point of contention for him.  Season 2 it is the actual adventures they send him on are frightening to the masses.  He has conquered some major fears of mine.  I think that is the point.  He is scared, fearful and still takes the plunge.  It is amazing that he can get there in his mind, much less have his body follow.  I love Karl’s perspective on the events.  Before and After.

BTW this is a documentary, done in reality television style.  The main character, Karl is a miserable bloke.  He is British and uses words and phrases that may need translating.  My husband is a long time fan of all things British so he has become my translator.  The fact that Karl always see things as the glass half full never gets old.  You will LOL at every miserable situation he is in.  He tells you exactly how he feels, without holding back.  Ricky and Steve know exactly how to push his buttons and you become fascinated by how far he goes with each challenge.

Last point: Watching this show has made me realize that what I know is so little in comparison to what is out there. I want to conquer the 50 states before I try going global.  There is enough to see in the US.

Wanderlust, the highway beckons.  

 

and they lived happily ever after…

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of officiating my good friends wedding.  How did this come about?  Well…the bridal party was settled at 3 on each side.  But they still wanted me to be part of the celebration.

The Beginning:  The summer of 2010 the bride and groom-to-be came west for Comic-Con and we decided to join them.  It is in San Diego so we drove down and picked them up from the airport and then headed off to lunch.  The soon-to-be groom kept razzing the soon-to-be bride to ask me already.  I had no idea what they were up to.  And then she popped the question, “Would you officiate our wedding?”  My husband and I almost fell out of chairs with laughter because we thought she was kidding.  Me, a minister?  Now that is something.  They knew it was a big thing to ask me.  I really wasn’t sure what to say.  I was absolutely shocked.  But my curiosity was peaked.  I told them I would look into what my obligations would be and I would let them know by the end of the week.

To be honest the second we dropped them off at their hotel I jumped on the computer and started my research.  There are many routes you can take.  I figured, Why the heck not?  I like being the center of attention.  Plus I don’t mind speaking in public.  The next day I told them I was in.

I had 18 months to prepare.  But it wasn’t until I got laid off that I started the process.  March 2011.  I didn’t want to become a Minister with any church that would have me.  I did my research.  I wanted to be able to have access to a good site with resources.  I knew I would have a lot of questions.  My husband and I eloped so this whole process was completely new to me.

The wedding bug kicked in around September 2011.  I began watching You Tube video after You Tube video.  Reading wedding vows.  Starting folders on my desk top of things I liked.    Readings, tons of readings…  They gave me carte blanche.  They had no idea what was up my sleeve and didn’t want updates.  After Thanksgiving they decided they wanted to write their own personal promises to each other.  Whew!  That was a relief.  Really wasn’t sure how personal to get and with no input from them it was stressing me out.

I had the entire ceremony written by Christmas and I just took a break.

One week out…I needed to approve the readings.  I didn’t get them until the week before the wedding.  I ended up sharing my collection and we picked from there.  I also didn’t have the personal messages from the bride and groom.  Grooms arrived first.  DENIED!!!  I sent them back with a message and a few standard relationship questions.  “Be yourself, answer these questions and then write your vows.”  The brides vows were on point.  Down to the wire I get the grooms second attempt and they were perfect!!!  Made me cry, so I knew we were good.  Did I mention that my initial dress that I bought no longer fit because I lost so much weight that I was ordering dresses online and having them shipped to the house so I could just be done with it.  The perfect dress arrived and I could now breathe easier with that off my list.

Now that I had everything in hand I started to fit it all together and I no longer liked what I had written.  Back to the drawing board for me.  I completely re-wrote the entire ceremony in one afternoon. and then re-wrote it again the next.  One week until the wedding and I am freaking out because I want it to be perfect, personal, light and different from anything anybody else has seen/heard.

My husband and I arrive in NYC on Wednesday and we have a few days to explore.  It was a great way for me to unwind before the big day.  At the rehearsal dinner I met the bridal party and we hit it off at the word Hello!

Last minute change was made to what I was to call the groom during the ceremony.  He had 3 different names from different walks of life and he wanted me to call him by a name I was not familiar with.  Really messed with my head.  I kept saying it over and over again and couldn’t get it right.

The big day:  At the risk of sounding like a Diva I decided to do my own hair and make-up.  I just wanted to be able to blame myself if it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it.  I reviewed the vows over and over with the addition of the new name I was to call the groom.  Meanwhile the bride-to-be was getting dolled up in one room and the rest of the bridal party was in another room.  They decided to do pictures before the wedding and we only had an hour to get everything done.  The bride-to-be had the jitters and we were just trying to get through the pictures so she could just BE.

Minutes before the ceremony is to start:  No podium?  What do you mean no podium?  I need a podium.  Voila!  Podium appears.  Now I have to decide how I am going to put this song in the ceremony that a friend of the family recorded just for this occasion.  I hadn’t even heard it.  I was flying blind.  I gave it to the DJ and I told him I wanted after the first reading.  I made sure I told everyone not to lock their knees.  I watched so many videos of someone passing out that I just needed to be sure I informed everyone.  Although it makes a great story.

Enjoy the show:  Weddings are a production.  I was the Director, the Bride and Groom were the Lead Actors, then the supporting cast with the Bridal Party and the lovely ladies doing the readings. I typed up all the parts on cue cards and handed them out.  I had the best time.  The opening greeting was all about love.  I chose an exert from “The Art of a Good Marriage.”  The first reading was Union by Robert Fulghum.  Tears had taken over the entire bridal party and the bride and groom and as far as I could see into the crowd.  Not what I was going for, but then the DJ played the song entitled “You are so lucky you met me.”  OMG!  the song was lighthearted and catchy.  I actually started singing and the groomsmen starting doing the doo-wop.  The groom even swayed back and forth.  Laughter was heard from the crowd.  Awesome! The tears have passed.

I knew the “I do’s” were up next and I really didn’t want to cry.  So the placement of that song was genius.  Yep!  I am patting myself on the back.  I wrote the “I do’s” using words that they both used in their personal messages to each other.  Unbeknownst to them.  The personal promises are up next.  On the front of the cue cards I wrote “Take a deep breath.  and now take another.”  There was a long pause before the groom got started.  He ad-libbed and really rocked it.  Received a great reaction from the crowd.  Not good for the bride.  She was a mess.  She sobbed her way through her promises and made him cry.  Unfortunately much of what she said was missed by the rest of the crowd.  But I heard it and had a single tear run down the side of my face.

May I have the rings please: Now for the comedy part.  Wasn’t meant to be comedic.  It was a repeat after me section.  “May this ring forever be to you the symbol of my growing love.”  The groom didn’t get it on the first try so we tried again.  And he flubbed it the second time and I said “Close!”  I would have moved on but he wanted to get it right.  So I broke it down for him word by word.  He finally got it and the crowd ROARED!!   The bride got it on the first try!  Probably because she had heard it 4 times already.

One more reading:  I like this reading very much.  “On Your Wedding Day” Author unknown.  I have no idea where I found it but it worked great with the rest of the service.

The final blessing was back to LOVE.

You may kiss your BRIDE!!!!

I really enjoyed being part of their special day.  The feedback they got after the ceremony was amazing.  Heck, the feedback I got was amazing.  My husband even took compliments for me.

The reception was fabulous.  Water’s Edge in Long Island City.  With a backdrop of Manhattan.  Sweet!  The appetizers were fabulous, the dinner was fantastic and the dessert plate and cake were delunktious.   I danced all night becasue the DJ played one song after the next that I LOVED!

So the moral of the story is this…if you are getting married you might consider asking a close friend to be your officiant.  Or you can ask me.  I would be honored.