The time has come the stylist said, to talk of many things: of bits and baubs and account expiry – of necklaces and rings.*
It started out as a bit of a lark. I walked the 50 steps to my friend Kim’s apartment next door to partake in her Stella and Dot Trunk Show she was hosting along with her ‘stylist’, Bev, in attendance. I had heard of Stella and Dot; I knew they offered pretty and trendy jewellery, though a little costly I supposed for costume jewellery. My lack of up-to-date pieces and a visit with Kim offered an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.
While the experience wasn’t entirely what I expected (never having partaken in a Tupperware party, I didn’t really know what to expect), it was fun none-the-less.
Kim’s living room was transformed into a pseudo-boutique. Trays and stands and hooks of necklaces, bracelets, and rings were on every flat surface, scarves, and a purse or two, were all on display wherever there was space. Kim had her own display of fresh-from-the-oven of delicious hors d’oeuvres and was on top of ensuring everyone had a glass or two of wine to drink.
After meeting and greeting all her guests, we were ready to settle in to listen to what Bev had to say. She began with an introduction of the company, what S&D represents, how popular the line is, what makes it so successful, etc., etc. Beverley then moved on to introduce 4 trends that S&D were selling. She used different women to showcase the looks, and chose chatty Cathy moi for one of them (I have since bought two of those first items: the Renegade in silver, and still one of my faves, the Zoe Lariat necklace in hematite). I ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ like a genuine ham, commented on the heft of the necklace (because heft in my books means quality), and exclaimed with genuine enthusiasm over the versatility of the Zoe.
This earned me a word with Bev, and she passed me some information on what it meant to be a stylist. I was sold and so was the Birdie necklace (I’m a sucker for leather petals and versatility).
I went to an S&D meeting, the Toronto East chapter, met some lovely women, and the top saleswoman in the country. Pretty impressive accolades, and reeling from all the inspiration of that evening last year in late March, early April, I signed up as a Stylist and began the whirlwind process of getting my business up and running.
Website? Check. Marketing materials? Check. Product? Check check checkity check with an exclamation point! That was the fun part. You see, as a stylist you do get product at a reduced cost, and signing up as a new stylist, you get even more bang for your buck —it’s S&D’s way of assisting you with building your collection. Because what you own, is what you bring to a trunk show to display for sales.
In the beginning of one’s S&D career, there are a plethora of incentives (mostly in the form of badges to earn) to entice you to get crack-a-lackin’ on selling. One continuous and awesome example: sell X amount, and you can enter a higher bracket of commission earnings for the rest of the month. I managed to do just that. And let me tell you, it’s so intoxicating. I sold like a mofo to my family and friends (thank you all for your support), and between that, my personal launch party, selling at the office, and another trunk show or two, I earned back the money I spent on my collection and then some.
I know myself well enough to know I’m not a saleswoman. While I believe I have sales and marketing instincts, I don’t have the follow through because I’m not a pusher. Nope, no way. I’m not into smarm, and can smell a smarmy sales rep a mile away, and so, because of my dislike for it, I can’t play act to be that way. Still, I’m proud of myself for taking on the challenge. It’s nice to see what you’re made of, instead of stopping at the, “What if?” portion of the daydream.
Who knows, besides having some fun and classy pieces for $0.00, I may have gained some valuable skills for my future as an entrepreneur. What have I learned? Patience. Courage. How to navigate the back-end of the S&D website, and showmanship (regarding public speaking).
And so, without further ado, I bid farewell to my year as a Stylist: I am closing my website down, and am cutting off my access to some pretty sweet ‘in the know’ deals. This has proven harder than I thought. But it is time. And so, before the month of March comes to an end, I end this mini entrepreneurial chapter of my year as an S&D stylist.
*Influenced by Lewis Carroll’s walrus.