Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lashing Out...by our lovely guest, Zora Foote--Beauty and Fashion Correspondent


I was not born beautiful, nor was I raised in a household that put value or emphasis on looks. I remember my mother had a beauty ritual that included Neutrogena bar soap, water and a towel. Soap up, rinse, dry off. She had one tiny pot of deep, brick colored rouge that sat atop her dresser. When she had a wedding, funeral or family pictures she would apply it hastily, in broad strokes then return it to the exact, dustless circle, where it would remain until the next family tragedy (yes-weddings and family pictures count as traditions that evoke tears, fights and sometimes dead bodies). Growing up, when all the girls were getting into make-up, I was getting lessons on why I was named for the first published feminist writer, or attending protest rally “sign decorating parties” as opposed to face decorating lessons.
 It was my childhood filled with these “beauty” gaps that lead me to the world of lashes. To this day I cannot apply a full face of make-up. My blush always appears clownish, my lids are never properly blended, my foundation is generally two shades off, and I’m still not sure if concealer goes on after or before everything else.  I can’t draw a straight line on paper-why could I possibly do it on my quivery eye? Just because I have not mastered the art of make-up does not mean I do not appreciate it. In my late teens I met a gay man who decided to take me on as his project. He would do my hair, “beat” my face mercilessly, try to bring me to my full 5’10 frame and give me tips on what the people outside of Sacramento (my hometown) were wearing. While I could not, and still can’t hold the Minnie Mouse coffee cup he kept his brushes in, I can appreciate a contoured nose, a properly done smokey eye, hollowing of cheeks.  I loved the way I looked “made up” and others did too.
I’ve long since left the bathrooms of my childhood home that were used strictly for relief of bodily functions and not perfecting the female face. I’ve also lost ties with the man who introduced me to the world of beauty but I have not lost my yearn to look “made up” without actually having to apply make-up. And this leads me to lashes. Wonderful, wonderful, lashes. High heels, a perfectly made mojito and a great set of lashes belong in the same category-things that make you happy and feel beautiful-and sometimes miserable at the end of night. Which is why I am here to discuss them with you-as lashes are the quickest way to an evolved face without having to have a degree from Estee Lauder.
Semi Permanent extensions- These are awesome and what I rock daily! I pay my lash lady like I pay the light bill! I get them done once a month-although they will tell you they can stay on for 2-3 months-they sometimes fail to mention that you will need a touch up. You can swim, sweat, and have sex with them on and have no worries of them coming off! I don’t put mascara on mine, but it is perfectly acceptable and safe to do so!
Pitfalls: Semi permanent lashes can be a little pricey. The first set ranges from $150.00 to $400.00. Touchups can be anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00.  Also, beware of uncertified people! Nova Lash and Xtreme lashes are the most popular. Find people who have attended their classes as they get the product directly from them. Other places, nail salons, alleyways, night club bathrooms, have been known to use hair weave glue which can blind you! Another caveat is they aren’t great if you have allergies or sinus problems.
Strip lashes: You have seen these fluttering beauties wink and seduce you from the aisles of drugstores, department stores, and dollar stores. They come in pairs and are one thin strip of lashes. The colors vary from the mundane, “off to work” or the ready for Vegas or a pole-or both! Recently I saw a pair that mimicked old lace patterns, it was as if your eyes had a sexy see thru veil.
These are best self-applied, by a steady, sober hand. Some come with glue, others you have to buy separately. Their prices range from $1.00 to $20.00. They are one time wear-try to make it last and they will pop off at the most unfortunate times. And never leave them on your bathroom counter after a night of going out-I guarantee the next day they will scare the morning coffee out of you!
Pitfalls: You sometimes have to have an artist’s eye or be an architect to get them on straight before the glue becomes overly tacky. They have lash holders,  that look similar to a lash curler-they are supposed to help keep the lash steady as you adhere it to your lash line. Some designs look very fake  therefore careful selection is a must. They can take you from Princess Kate to Madame Drag Queen.
Individual temporary lashes: These can also be found in the beauty section of a variety of stores. These are cousins to the temporary strip lashes only these are “bunches” of lashes. Each bunch has 3-4 lashes bundled together. They are meant to be applied to the top of the natural lash, then continue across. Again, a steady hand is needed, and patience. These suckers can slip, get lost, get glued to your ear, etc.
Pitfalls: The price on these are in the same range as the strip lashes but these take longer, and are more difficult to apply. Not for a beginner.
Latisse (and other chemicals that promote eyelash growth): These came on the market 10 years ago. It promises longer, fuller lashes in months, if used consistently and frequently. It is a chemical that is applied to the lash line nightly. If used correctly it does work. The price is around 150.00 per .5 ounce bottle which can last 4-6 weeks.
Pitfalls:  Latisse can only be found at a doctor’s office or medical spa. It can be pricey, and the results will go away if you stop using it. My personal experience was the product worked, a little too well, as I had a fine fur growing on my upper cheeks. This side effect is quickly mentioned as a possibility. Once I stopped using the product my furry chipmunk cheeks went away. Results typically take 8-16 weeks to show.
If eyes are windows to the soul then lashes are window dressings designed to highlight, entice and show off the eyes. If you are one of the lucky souls who only need a swipe of mascara on your full, natural, thick lashes then promptly ignore the above BUT if you are one of the weak lashed souls who need plumping and lengthening then we have options. Which option is best for you is a journey you must seek out yourself based on your beauty routines and needs. Be it a bar of Neutrogena or a face full of Laura Mercier, you will be the deciding factor on what your windows say about it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What is my motivation?

Never before has this much time passed between posts. I strive to always be completely upfront with you so here's the deal...I was busy. :) No, no, quite frankly, the lag in time comes down to a few things. The two big ones are inspiration and motivation, or lack thereof. I want to talk about slumps today and I hope my candor will help someone. As you know, just based on the title of my blog, I am a 9 to 5 chick. Have been for 20 years. It's all I know. Sometimes I work very hard and sometimes I do not but you know what? The 15th and 30th,  they see fit to direct deposit my cash and I'm so very thankful. Well what I am learning, as you seasoned biz owners know, is that momentum in business requires CONSTANT attention. Constant posts, constant ads, constant spreading the word, etc. I think, since we'd been working with a PR firm that we decided to let them handle things and sort of step back. MISTAKE. It lulled the biz partner and I into a sense of security and if I'm being real, laziness, that we both recognized and due to personal issues, could not shake for a minute. So, as they say, "Step ONE is realizing you have a problem." We've done that and are now all fired up again! We had been checking in with each other during this down time and following certain leads but now we are moving full force ahead. We've invested FAR too much time and money to not see this thing through. I have never wavered from the fact that EVERY home (and cosmetic bag) should have a Nikki's Magic Wand in it and if the makers of Silly Bandz can be millionaires, we damn well should be able to be successful!

So, in the vein of being fired up and ready to take over the world, AGAIN, we are offering FREE shipping on any number of Wands you buy on Amazon.com and also Buy One Get One on the website: www.nikkismagicwand.com.

Finally, while I'm sure you adore me :) you don't need to hear from me all the time. We'd LOVE to have you be a guest blogger on our website, provided you are in the fashion, beauty, small biz, money raising (JoAnn Forrester :)) arenas. Seriously, we want to feature you on our website.

Email me at nikki@nikkismagicwand.com so we can get you rolling and blogging.

As always, I thank you for reading..
Nikki

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's all about connections....

 I am feeling extra sunny today so I thought this would be the perfect time to sit down and fill ya in. The new Mary Kay Consultant thang is moving along. I had an Open House, where friends stopped in, sipped, nibbled, talked make-up and placed orders. It was a blast! Thanks again to those faithful ones who always lovingly support my whimsical life. :)

So, there's more exciting news! Since I last posted, we entered talks with someone who connected us with the folks who decide what will air on QVC (we've been selling on the QVC.com since September) and it seems we're close to getting an on air spot. Please cross all of your fingers and toes. :)

AND, hot off of the presses (as of last night) comes this news. The biz partner has secured a multistore deal with Woo Skincare and Cosmetics. Soooo, in addition to their Atlanta store, we'll also be sold in their Charlotte and Nashville stores. Yay!!!

AND the biz partner and the Wand were featured on tv in Atlanta last week.

AND, I was featured on the Empress of Biz, JoAnn Forrester's show, talking about building the business and lessons learned.

One of the many joys of having and growing this business is meeting new people and making new connections. I've had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people during this journey.

Here are a few:

1. Allyn Lewis--PR Diva--A model/biz powerhouse who is strategically crafting her empire. Contact her for PR, Social Media, Website help. www.allynlewis.com
2. Christina Cummings--Owner/President of the Turbie Twist--One of the most generous biz women I know. She has opened her Rolodex and let me take a look. Go get a Turbie Twist TODAY! www.turbietwist.com
3. Michelle--Owner of Hair Addict LLC--A down to Earth, hair guru to the stars. If you're in Toms River, NJ, you need to check her out!
4. Robyn Santiago--Illumination PR--This is my sweetheart, who I cliqued with at NY Fashion Week and she has been a gem to me. She's out of NY and totally kind and amazing. She's doing BIG things! www.illuminationpr.com
5. Catenya McHenry--Orca Communications--Catenya is your super polished, but down to Earth friend. She's a hard worker and has formed a lovely friendship with the biz partner. Ask for her when you call Orca. She's the real deal. www.orcacommunications.com
6. JoAnn Forrester--The Empress of Biz--She's been an entrepreneur for decades and continues to help folks new to the biz world. She is a treasure. www.empressofbiz.com

There are so many more that I promise to list soon. I just wanted to thank those listed above for being open hearted and fabulous examples of powerhouses in this business world.

As always, thank you for reading,
Nikki

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Planning for the future....

Hey ya'll! What's been happening? The NMW crew has been plugging away and actually, we sat down and had a strategy session to plan out the rest of 2014. You know how sometimes you have to take a step back to take a bunch of steps forward? We have the PR firm working but that doesn't mean that we can't be on our grind as well. Here are some of the things we discussed:

1. We MUST hunt down the buyers for the large retail establishments where we'd like to be sold.

2. We will try to get to them ourselves but if we can't make headway, we are looking into hiring a broker to do it for us.

3. We want to finally use our Constant Contact account properly and reach out to fab customers and friends of NMW.

4. We want to go back to the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence and have some more brainstorming sessions with them.

5. We want to investigate being sold in online catalogs.

6. We want to investigate being sold on additional websites.

7. We will research Beauty trade shows to see which are the best fit for us.


I have some rather exciting news! Last week, I traveled to the DC/MD area to meet with a local Mary Kay team. One of the consultants had been introduced to the Wand and told her fellow consultants. They LOVED the Wand and almost bought all of the Wands that I'd brought with me. The ladies were very kind I was introduced to the products and the opportunity. Now, I have never sold anything; not make-up, jewelry or kitchen items. I never felt that was "my thing" but I tell you, more and more I am surprised by what has turned out to be "my thing."  The real deal is that I see this venture as partnering with a worldwide cosmetic company to facilitate and enhance the growth of the Wand, while also adding another income stream. Evidently, I have decided that sleep is overrated because this makes THREE jobs now (and we aren't even counting that whole wife and mother thing). :) I am a little tired just thinking about it but when I consider the possibilities of what I can provide for my children, the legacy of hard work and hopefully true wealth, then I'm ALL IN!

So, ya know, if you need some Mary Kay, Wands, or advice on Affirmative Action/ EEO regulations you know where to find me. :)

As always, thanks a million for reading. You guys are the very best,
Nikki

Thursday, April 24, 2014

People and InStyle and TV...OH MY!

Hello!!!!! I have been away from you WAYYYYY too long and I've missed you! Where do I even begin?? It's been such an amazing month since I last updated you. As I've mentioned to you many times before, this entire Nikki's Magic Wand journey has been quite a learning experience. I'm specifically talking about establishing your brand, spreading the word and growing so people can first hear of you, fall in love and slap down their cash for what you're hawking. How do you do that exactly when you have zero experience with it?

Well, you start organically. Let me mention that I'd never used that word related to anything other than high priced produce before this. :) In this case, organically means kinda free. So, initially what we did, as directed, was send Wand samples to bloggers for their reviews and with fingers crossed and clutched pearls, you hope they, #1 Are willing to review it #2 Don't flat out hate what you're selling and #3 If they do indeed love it, then are willing to tell their subscribers. So, off to the post office I went, with package after package, hoping for the best. Thankfully, this worked many times and bloggers really did like it and told people. But, after awhile, that method sort of loses steam so what do you do next?

Well, now's the time to consider spending some money to get the word out. What exactly do you do now? Do you buy TV time? Do you go on the radio? Do you buy an ad in hard copy space? There is another option as well and I'm going to tell you about it, but I need to take a step back first. As you know, NY Fashion Week was one of the most amazing times of my life. I will always think of it with a smile on my face. Well, one of my gifts from NYFW was a woman named Robyn who inspired me from the moment I met her. She founded and owns Illumination PR and was so generous with not only her advice but also with the deliciously flavored Moscato she was hawking at NYFW. :) As we met celebrity after celebrity, many of them mentioned Robyn, how great she was and the fact that she worked with them. Robyn extended herself to me as a friend and fully illustrated the benefits of PR when compared to traditional advertising. I'm not telling you we'll never advertise, certainly we will, but I am here to tell you, having someone dedicated to speaking on your behalf, to contact these beauty editors and TV producers is priceless. Wellll, ok, it comes with a price but and I told you many posts ago, if you can, PLEASE pay people for what they do because it will be done faster and most likely better than you could have done it. We are currently in a campaign right now and Oh My Goodness, it's been amazing. Interest has been expressed from many HUGE outlets like People Magazine, InStyle Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Woman's Day Magazine, two TV shows and Real Simple Magazine. As you may recall, we received a crazy amount of attention and orders after NMW appeared in a Real Simple online feature as one of the "6 items to Simplify Your Life." Now it seems the hard copy magazine is interested in seeing the Wand as well. Woohoo!

Just a few days ago, a TV show in Chicago featured the Wand during an Earth Day segment. After all, my "baby" is great for the environment ensuring less waste! :)

Here's the link:

 
It's been a truly amazing time, with all of the new buzz, as well as invites to entrepreneurial events, business focused podcasts and the like. Who knew I'd be a full on business owner chick that people would want to speak with?! :)
 
Well, I'll end this for now. I will do my very best to fill you in sooner next time.
As always, thank you very much for reading!
Nikki

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Real Simple...Simple Sugars...Simply Fantastic!

Hello! It's been a few weeks and I have some updates for ya. On March 1st, we started working with Orca Communications, a PR firm, and they've hit the ground running. They have been reaching out to various outlets and we've already started sending Wand samples to magazines and tv shows that have expressed interest in NMW. So, fingers crossed, during this four month partnership with Orca, we'll see more features and the "Wand Word" will spread far and wide.

Speaking of the "Wand Word" we got the biggest surprise a few weeks ago. At about noon on 3/7/14, I got a notification on my phone, of a sale from our website and those notifications kept coming every few minutes. My phone was going crazy with notifications and I had to know what was going on. The best friend/biz partner and I were on the phone trying to figure it out. Finally, I sent an e-mail to some of the new customers, thanking them for their order and asking where they'd heard about us. They shared that they had received their e-mail subscription from RealSimple.com and we were shown in a feature called, "6 Clever Items to Simplify Your Life." WHAT?????? Oh. My. Goodness. We were SOOOOO excited and happy. Those orders kept coming for days too! :)

Here's the link to the feature:
http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/problem-solvers-00100000120113/page2.html

A while ago, I set up a Google Alert to inform me anytime something new was posted about NMW on Google and I woke up to one last Thursday, 3/13. There was an article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about yours truly. :) I had been contacted for an interview in late January after I'd done a Press Release about NMW's 12 Months of Giving. My new friend, Kathleen, at the Post called me in early February and we had a nice chat about the business, the charities, the future of the Wand and out Pitbulls. It was so nice being referred to as, "A Newsmaker You Should Know" in the article.

Here's the link to the article:
http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/03/13/Her-wand-conjured-up-a-new-business-1/stories/201403130001

Back in February, I had the honor and privilege of participating in a panel at Robert Morris University, during their "Business Week". During that event, I was chatting with Anne Schlict, from the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham, and she mentioned knowing Lani Lazzari, a very successful business owner (www.simplesugarscrub.com) who had been featured on Sharktank. Anne very kindly offered to make an e-mail introduction. Well, just today, I was able to speak with Lani and pick her brain on her Sharktank experience and I was able to ask her questions about her success (she is the most successful and popular guest on Sharktank to date.) She was open and warm and it just further illustrated to me that no matter how successful you become, you can always give back, in the way of truth and knowledge.

Finally, I want to tell you about something cool. You may be aware of "Beauty Box" subscriptions. Well, one of our friends/business partners, Ashley Thompson and Elliven Spa has been carrying the Wand for awhile now. Ashley has started to offer for subscription, Beauty Boxes, where you purchase a box and get goodies from various beauty companies. Ashley reached out to me and said she'd like to include NMW. I'm telling you, when people express interest in your product, it is the best feeling ever! It will never, ever get old. So, we were one of the offerings in her first ever Beauty Box and we are so proud to be affiliated with Ashley and Elliven Spa.

As you can see, it's been an exciting few weeks since I last wrote. I love being able to come to you with some cool news. :)

As always, thank you so much for reading!
Nikki

Saturday, March 1, 2014

It's better to give than to receive...

Hey! I am completely embarrassed that I totally missed blogging in February but I'm determined to start March off right! Sooooo many amazing things have happened since my last post.

Shelves-- I'm telling ya, when people say how important networking is, they aren't lying! Through a referral from a dear high school friend, we secured our first shelf in Philadelphia! Nikki's Magic Wand is now for sale at Oxsun Spa!! Check us out there!

Speaking of Networking-- The best friend/biz partner was referred to someone at Nordstrom's so we could pitch NMW!!!! We have sent information and samples and are currently biting our nails, waiting to hear something! We also have a referral to someone at Target and Macy's. When I told you that 2014 was about shelves, I promise you I meant it!!!!

Spreading the Word-- I had the honor of being interviewed by a new friend at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, who asked some thought provoking questions. I'll let you know when the article comes out. :) Also, since we last chatted, the beautiful Demeatria Bocella called me and asked if I'd like to include the Wand in gifts bags for super model, Beverly Johnson, former Editor in Chief of Essence, Constance White and two Macy's reps...um, YES I would and I did!!!!

Speaking of Honor-- Ohmygoodness!!! The Soul Pitt Quarterly magazine included me on their cover, along with some great movers and shakers. They also threw us a mixer, where they gave us plaques and we got to mingle. The experience was fabulous.

12 Months of Giving Campaign-- I know that I'm a mushy chick. I own that, but I have to tell you, the love and support we've received since we kicked off this campaign has been so beautiful. In January, through donations of money, time and items, we were able to gift 32+ blankets and books to children. In February, we all pulled together and visited three homeless shelters and gifted 68 bags of essentials/blankets to the residents. The remaining 32 bags have been and will be given directly to the needy.

This campaign has honestly been life changing and it's only just beginning.

This month we will be supporting the Animal Rescue League.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I'll fill you in if it comes to me.

Thank you so much for reading. 😀
Nikki