Think Twice Before Joining The Style High Club

Hubby recently joined the Five Four Club. For $60 per month, he was promised an entirely new and fashionable wardrobe. Upon registering, he completed a detailed questionnaire so the company could gauge his style and taste and send him items according to his preferences.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The first shipment came the other day. I had to include pics because not only were the styles completely off, but the quality is extremely sub-par. The jacket is some kind of flimsy nylon material and the shirt is just a plain black t-shirt with a couple of buttons. Neither one of us was impressed and Hubby decided to cancel the membership.

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After keeping him on hold for about twenty minutes, Hubby found out he couldn’t return the clothing items for a refund. That’s part of the program, not one they widely publicized, by the way. He was definitely cancelling after hearing that.

But then the customer service rep said if he’d like to continue the membership, they would send him higher quality items the following month. Hmm.

Can you say swindled???

That first month tells this company a lot about their subscribers. If customers let it go without complaining about the crappy items they’d received, the company continues to send them shoddy items, saving themselves wads of cash because they’re able to keep costs down and send the lower quality merchandise.

For the subscribers that may not be happy with the quality, they may not want to sit on hold for eons so they’ll just suck it up, take the clothes and not wear them (at least they won’t if they have wives like yours truly).

Only a few will be disgusted enough to call, sit on hold and complain to customer service. These are the ones who they still have a shot at retaining. Offer them better quality to keep them happy. It’ll cost the company a little more, but they’re already making money hand over fist with the others who are just accepting what was sent.

Then there are the dissenters…the ones whom they can’t convince to stay. These are probably few and far between and not the true target for this company anyway, so better to let them go. Not cost to the company since they don’t give refunds. They still sucker them for $60 a pop (even if it was only ONE pop).

The Five Four team is not really embracing the concept of customer loyalty. Or maybe they just don’t care. Seems like a scam to me. Buyer beware. Big time.

The Swifty Entrepreneur

I’m currently obsessed with Taylor Swift’s newest hit, Style. I admit I wasn’t always a fan but over the past months, I’ve changed my tune, no pun intended. Her music is peppy and catchy but what really impresses me is the way she’s been able to transform her brand into a vocal empire.

Three specific things come to my entrepreneurial mind.

1. Know Your Customer – When you’re building a product, you need to be in tune (ha! I did it again!) with the needs and desires of your target audience. Taylor’s demographic is primarily female, primarily millennial. She creates music that appeals to their tastes – snappy, bouncy beats tinged with a bit of heartbreak and vulnerability. We’ve all been there and can relate to the trials and tribulations of dating. Her blatant honesty makes her music that much more refreshing and you want to sympathize with her plight because, really, who hasn’t had their heart pummeled at one time or another?? As women, we band together (OMG, I’m totally on a roll here, right??) and support one another in times of need. It’s just our nature. And with her 40 million Twitter followers, she has a pretty captive audience for those tales of woe.

2. Perfect your Product – As entrepreneurs, we work tirelessly to build and deliver quality products. But if we can’t believe in them wholeheartedly, how the heck can we convince the world to embrace them? Sometimes we need to make choices about our market distribution. Setting the right perception up front goes a long way in resonating with your target customers. If they see you offering your product for a lower value than they perceive it is worth, you may lose them. Consider Taylor’s decision to pull her music from Spotify. Why, you may ask? Because she felt distributing her music through streaming services devalued it. She recognized that perception is reality and being true to her hard work meant she needed to be very selective about her distribution channels.

3. Stay True To Your Brand – Taylor is a crossover success story. She tweaked her image but never strayed from her core which is why she’s sitting pretty at the top of the charts. The beats changed but the message always stayed constant and her fan loyalty persists as a result.

Stash Your Phone And Enjoy The Moment!

Back in December, I wrote a post about product offerings from some super-cool female-run startups. Hubby took note of my list and proceeded to get me some of them for Christmas.

I’m happy to report that one is being crafted as I type.

Meet Ringly, the cocktail ring that will keep you connected with an app. You can keep your phone tucked safely away in your handbag without worry that you’ll miss an important meeting, update or call.

The rings are made with an 18K matte gold 3 micron plated setting and precious and semi-precious stones. They are available in US sizes 6, 7 and 8 and new orders will ship in the spring.

LOVE!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

My only reservation is the potential skating…I have pretty small fingers so I’m a little concerned that the weight of the stone will make the ring skate around my finger, a pretty huge pet peeve of mine. But judging from the look of my new finger candy, it’ll be a small sacrifice to make.

This fab creation works with iOS and Android devices. Through a downloaded app, you will decide what notifications come through. Waiting for an important call from your sweetie while you’re out at happy hour in a super noisy bar?? No problem! Ringly will let you know when he calls through one of your selected color and/or vibration patterns.

You’ll never need to have your phone glued to your hand again. With Ringly, you can actually hold your cake and eat it too. =)

How Do You Keep The Music Playing? How Do You Make It Last??

So you’re sitting in front of your laptop a couple of months post-launch scratching your head, thinking “What the heck should I do NOW?”

Very good question. It’s one that I’m pretty sure most small business owners have.

Launch week ROCKED!!! We sold a TON!!! But now? Two months later? CRICKETS.

You’re still a ways off from releasing 2.0 so what are you supposed to do in the interim? Twiddle your thumbs while you obsessively refresh your sales numbers? How long can you publicize your initial offering while you prep for the new one?

It’s not easy, especially if you don’t have a ton of discretionary capital to toss at promotional services. When our Krina handbags debuted in InStyle magazine and OK! Weekly, sales skyrocketed. But the problem was maintaining that momentum when those issues were off the newsstands. Sure, we tried to capitalize on the wins but it only got us so far. Everyone wanted to see what was coming next…and we were still trying to figure out how to find the funds to produce what would come next.

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Building momentum takes time. So instead of panicking that sales are dropping off, consider different ways of reaching customers. Your primary goal is to keep your brand name top of mind. So get it out there to the masses and establish yourself as a source of knowledge in your industry. All of your efforts will indirectly help raise awareness of your brand. It may take time for your sales numbers to rebound but if you reach people on another level, they just may be interested enough to find out about your offerings. Don’t shove the buy links down their throats…try some new ways to build your customer base.

Consider these ideas:

  • Create a website and BLOG – Figure out what your audience wants to read and create a content niche for yourself.
  • Submit guest posts on websites where your target market congregates – This will help associate your name to a particular type of content. Say you run a handbag design company and you love fashion. Find blogs that cater to fellow fashionistas and inquire about submitting articles about topics in fashion and style. When you include your social media contact information in the post, readers will be able to see that you are also a designer/entrepreneur and maybe they’ll be interested enough to buy one of your handbags!
  • Post in forums that focus on your product and market – This is a networking opportunity, a chance for you to find fellow fashionistas who love handbags! Tell them about your faves and begin nurturing relationships (and hopefully, future fans)
  • Identify channels for cross promotion – Research owners of complimentary businesses and ask about cross-promotional opportunities. Offer to promote their brands if they do the same for you. Share the love and see how it positively impacts your business.

In the early stages of a business, the most important thing is to raise awareness of your brand. The more people that know about your products/services, the more of a chance you have to convert them to customers.

Want To Digitize Your Closet? There’s An App For That!

I am a self-proclaimed fashionista.

Clothes-horse, shoe-whore, handbag junkie…you name it, I’m all over it.

But sometimes having all the components makes assembling the perfect outfit even more difficult. Like, where the heck do you find time to sift through everything and put it all together so it looks effortlessly chic????

Ahhh, luckily for me, there’s an app for that. =)

ClosetSpace is a new application from fashion analytics company Stylitics that wants to give you a digital closet for your smartphone as well as supply you with daily fashion inspiration and access to a personal stylist for only $25.

Yikes, the thought of snapping pics of everything in my closet makes my head spin!! But to have my phone feed me daily outfit suggestions, saving me oodles of time in the morning? Well worth the money!!!

The app can even offer weather-based suggestions and “style stats” from over 140 fashion bloggers providing fashion advice and fresh ideas on rejuvenating your personal style.

ClosetSpace Brings Fashion Inspiration And Recommendations To Your Smartphone – TechCrunch

“It’s for anyone who wants to dress better, feel more organized, or do more with the clothes they already own,” says CEO and co-founder Rohan Duskier.

Additionally, ClosetSpace will work to connect users with offers and deals from retailers based on the makeup of their closets, as well as other services they might like to try, like laundry delivery or beauty services like GlamSquad.

I’m GLOWING For The Bargain Price of $4,000!

If you’re lucky enough to find the absolute PERFECT dress, how many of you will wear it until it can probably walk around by itself? Yeah, I know. Me too. =)

But how cool would it be to BUY that fabulous dress and be able to customize the color and pattern through an app, constantly reinventing the look?

Flipping AWESOME concept, right???

The Coolest Fashion Innovations of 2014

CuteCircuit is a super-innovative fashion brand creating amazing technology-inspired and interactive Haute Couture and Ready to Wear designs. You can transition from day-to-night and seriously maximize your closet space…to leave room for more shoes, of course! <wink, wink=””>

Celebs Love CuteCircuit Too!

Nicole Scherzinger and Katy Perry are devoted fans…probably because they’re among the elite who can actually afford the hi-tech couture. The K dress, for example, is priced at about $4,000. But it’s so HAUTE!!!!!!!

How Does The Technology Work??

After the great success of the K-dress, inspired by the gorgeous CuteCircuit couture dress that Katy Perry worn at MET Gala in New York in 2010, CuteCircuit presents a new version with even more LEDs.

Slightly longer than its predecessor, the hand-pleated silk chiffon dress with hundreds of LED lights embedded in the fabric comes in a variety of colors.

The LED lights glow and sparkle in whatever color and pattern you choose. The K Dress has a small snap-in controller that recharges via USB. Just plug it into your computer USB port and charge. The long-life battery is fully charged in about 2 hours and you will be dress to impress all night long.

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Still Plenty Of Time To Shop Startups!!!

This is such a fun post because it combines several components I’m very passionate about….FASHION, TECHNOLOGY, SHOPPING and ENTREPRENEURSHIP!

Women 2.0 put a list together of 21 gift ideas born of female-owned startups. This is right up the Idea Mama’s alley!!!!!

21 Gift Ideas That Technology Made Possible

There were several that really popped out…really super-cool, sleek and cutting-edge. Check out these awesome finds and support these fabulous females this holiday season!!!

Elemoon – Jing Zhou, Co-Founder & CEO – Boring rubber wristbands…yeah, they’re considered “smart tech” but they are NOT considered stylish…at least not by self-proclaimed fashionistas like myself. Elemoon combines a touch interface, activity sensor, notifications and colorful lights into one elegant accessory. The Elemoon’s LED light designs and colors can be customized to match different outfits. Can we say WINNER????

Ringly Smart Jewelry – Christina Mercando, Founder & CEO – Love the look of this finger bling! I hate the feeling that I’m going to miss an important text or call when I’m out, but I also dislike carrying my phone in hand. This brilliant tech invention comes with an app that helps you decide what’s important and what’s not. If something is critical, your ring will alert you by buzzing or lighting up while your phone is tucked safely away in your bag. And it’s PRETTYcrafted with a rhodium plated setting and a tourmalated quartz semi-precious stone and available in black onyx, pink sapphire, rainbow moonstone and emerald. YUM!

Everpurse – Liz Salcedo, Founder & CEO – Brilliant! How many times are you in the situation where you’ve completely drained your device battery from obsessively checking Facebook and your email? Everpurse is a clutch that charges your iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or Samsung Galaxy S4. You charge the clutch on a mat overnight and when you wake up in the morning, you can keep your phone juiced for up to 48 hours!

CuffLink – Deepa Sood, Founder – Cuff smart wearable technology enables you to connect with friends and family members in emergency situations. Activating the device will send a notification with your GPS location. It also incorporates audio so whoever you notify can hear what’s happening around you. Safety plus fashion equals a surefire winner!!