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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

SHELVES!!!!!

Hi! How are ya? Good, I hope! I have a few updates for you. We are now in mid January and things are moving along. The biz partner/best friend and I have been talking NON-STOP about our plans for 2014. I mentioned some of these goals in the last post but things are really coming into focus.

The word that keeps swirling around in my mind is SHELVES. We MUST get on more shelves. So we are laser focused on making more connections, talking to more people, pitching NMW to more retail establishments and going after some big beauty shelves: Target, Ulta and my heart's desire...Sephora. We WILL find these buyers and tell them why they MUST get NMW on their shelves.

Let's see, what else has happened since we chatted? Oh, yes, I had a very nice e-mail exchange with the Executive Beauty Editor of O, The Oprah Magazine!!! Talk about my heart's desire. Oh man, I will faint on the spot WHEN (not if) we appear in that magazine! I sent some Wands and information over to NY so we'll see were that goes.

Just yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of being interviewed for a movie focused on small businesses. I had a great time! I was asked questions like, "What is the most inspirational book I've read? (Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou) What advice would I give someone who is interested in starting a business? (Be 100% sure that you believe in what you're doing and that you are ALL IN because there will be obstacles and at times it will be tempting to put the idea down but your complete dedication will keep pushing you along)." I can't wait for the viewing!

The biz partner/best friend has been reading the book written by The Shark Tank sharks and she's been filling me in on their tips and tricks. I have vowed to do more reading this year and that will absolutely include information about growing this business. The main focus now is marketing, marketing, and marketing. We took a stab at some paid advertising and lo and behold, it was a success! Sales really sparked up. :)

The last thing I want to tell you about has me crazy excited. We decided to do a 12 Months of Giving campaign. I asked friends and customers to tell me which causes were close to their hearts and I took those suggestions and slotted them into the 12 months of 2014. NMW will support (with time/money) these causes, with the help of whomever is interested. I will include the list of causes below. I am SO excited about this campaign because I honestly believe that we all have the ability to make a difference, even if it will just help one person. If you are interested in supporting any of the causes on the list, let me know at nikki@nikkismagicwand.com. We'd love to have you!

January 2014- Linus Project (Blankets for traumatized children)-
February 2014- The Rescue Mission (Helps the Homeless)
March 2014- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
April 2014-- Autism Awareness Month
May 2014-- Veterans' Services
June 2014-- Domestic Violence Services
July 2014--March of Dimes (Assists babies)
August 2014--The Sanctuary Project (addresses violence in the community)
September 2014--Animal Rescue League
October 2014--Bethlehem Haven (Women in Shelters)
November 2014-- Cupcakes for Smiles (A treat for all)
December 2014--Every Child, Inc. (Assists children in foster care)


As always, thanks for reading!
Nikki

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New (Nikki's Magic Wand) Year!!!!!

Hey ya'll! It's not even 9 am on 1/1/2014 and I had to come say Happy New Year and tell you a few things. Just a few though, because I know you're in reflection mode, ya know, thinking of having a clean slate, considering joining a gym, blah blah blah. Just do Hip Hop Abs along with me...that Shaun T is something special. Ok, I digress. Anyway, I wanted to tell you a few things that are in the works and you know what, closed mouths don't get fed so I'm just going to go ahead and ask for some help. I don't ever ask you guys for anything (well, ok, I did ask for your votes on QVC, and thanks a MILLION for that win! :)) In reading the list below, if you think you know someone that I could talk with who could help accomplish that goal, let your friend, Nikki know. It takes a village to raise a company. Yes, yes, I know that's not exactly the saying but NMW IS my baby, so it fits. :)

Ok, here goes:

1. Get on more local shelves this year. What shelves you ask?  Boutiques, Gift Shops, Salons and Spas. And local is not just the 'Burgh, where I am, but more Mom and Pops who could make some money selling NMW.

2. Now this is a big one. Get on some national shelves. Now dig deep. Who knows how to get in touch with the buyers at Sephora, Ulta, Target, other national chains? Help ya girl out.

3. Get more press--local and national. Radio, newspapers, magazines. I know there's a mover and a shaker who can help make this come true. My biz partner always says, "Girl, you have a story to tell."

4. Get some features on tv. A Valentine's/Mother's Day gift guide. A story about how a chick from around the way invented something, while holding down a 9 to 5, and she happens to be brown.

5. Because I love this SO much, more opportunities to speak to the youth about the corporate life and entrepreneurship. If there's any way my little story could make someone think they CAN do something they previously thought they could not, then I would be OVER THE MOON.

6. Grow our Magic Money Makers Sales Force around the country. You buy from me at the wholesale price and then sell them at the retail price for a 100% profit. Come on and make some money in 2014!

7. If you hear about features on Ellen, Katie, etc where small businesses are being featured or able to compete for some cash or something, PLEASE let me know at nikki@nikkismagicwand.com.

8. Let me know of opportunities where you think we can work together. I want to support more small businesses this year and we could possibly have a beautiful partnership at an event, on a project, etc.

9. I'm sure there's more but begging is not my style so I'll stop here. My final request is for your continued support, love and good thoughts. I can't do any of this without those things.

I sincerely hope and pray that 2014 is THE BEST year of your life! That's what I'm planning and embracing for me and for NMW.

Tight Hugs,
Nikki