Earlier this year (2017) I decided to sign up as a Stella & Dot stylist.
Why? Did I not have enough going on with a full time job, two young daughters and a husband with a lengthy daily commute?
Well, yes. I certainly DO have lots going on. But so do we all. And part of me has always yearned to have my own business. I’ve just never worked out doing what!
After being made redundant in 2010/11 (I can’t quite remember the year), I retrained as a Personal Trainer. It made sense to me because I loved exercising and I loved sharing my knowledge to help people. Yet bizarrely, once I was working as a PT, I actually started to lose my passion for it. Instead of being something I did because I loved it, it became something that I HAD to do. Don’t get me wrong, I ran a successful series of Buggy Bootcamps which enabled Mum’s to workout with their babies and I was fortunate that I did that in a brilliant location allowing us to be outside but undercover. Double bubble benefits of the fresh air and exercise whilst being sheltered from the elements! This was the element of my business I totally loved. Working with groups of mums and seeing them achieve their goals – which were hugely varied.
However, what I didn’t like so much was the 1:1 training. It just didn’t suit my personality. I also hated having to ‘market’ myself.
Eventually, after our second daughter was born, it became clear that I couldn’t grow my Buggy Bootcamp business as much as I would have liked and my crippling inability to self-congratulate coupled with my dwindling enjoyment of the 1:1 training (no doubt affected by my battle with PND) brought me to the logical conclusion that I needed to get a ‘proper’ job.
So I did. And I still have it. I also still very much enjoy it and during my time with the business I have learnt new skills and developed my knowledge of an industry I had absolutely NO experience before.
Turning 40 was a shock to me – and I’m not sure I’m over it two years on! I was still battling the PND and on top of that, suddenly the realisation dawned that I was around half way through my life…. middle aged! FML, how the actual hell did that happen?
Attempting to find ways to boost my (non-existent) confidence, I started to follow some blogs written by mums of my age and also finding their way through the 40’s minefield. I think at this point I should say that I firmly believe that 40 nowadays is NOT as old as 40 ‘used to be’… but maybe I’m deluding myself! I think people are staying younger for longer and whilst I shudder everytime i have to admit my age, I don’t actually feel that much different to how I felt 10 years ago… and I feel younger now than I did in my 20’s!
Never having been a huge follower of fashion – more a ‘wear what I like with a nod to the trends kind of dresser – I started to take more of an interest. I found myself feeling inspired by the bloggers I had found and I started to think about fashion in a different way. I also had my ‘colours done’ (more about that here). I started trying out a few different elements and putting outfits together a bit differently. Nothing hugely daring, just tweaks that were ‘new’ to me.
From there, my interest has grown and eventually it took me to Stella & Dot.
I’d heard of the brand and seen it in magazines but, having dabbled with Virgin Vie years ago and briefly explored Barefoot Books when Lily was really young, I was a little sceptical about another ‘network marketing’ business. That said, I owned a few pieces from the collection and enjoyed wearing them. And I’d seen firsthand the reaction that Stella & Dot gets as people always commented on my items when I wore them. This was quite different to Virgin Vie where, although I’d loved one range of skincare, I hadn’t actually been overly fussed on the make up range.
Before signing up, I did a bit of research. I didn’t want something that was going to be a drain on my time. I wanted to do something I really enjoyed with a product (or products) I loved. I can’t lie, at first I was anxious the pricing might have been off-putting to potential customers but the more I learnt about the quality, the ethics of the brand and the manufacturing process (SO much of the range involve handmade elements) the more I realised that actually, the majority of the range is actually £40 or less AND… this is the big one…. they are of a quality you just can’t find at similar prices on the high street.
Yes, the items are (mostly) plated metals but the process used is far superior to the process of plating used my big high street names. This means that the jewellery will retain its colour far longer. Many of the items are versatile – so one necklace can be worn 3, 4 or event 5 different ways (or more!)…. Who does that on the high street? The brand is passionate about paying a fair price to their suppliers and craftspeople – which they do by cutting out the overheads and additional costs borne by the high street. The design is most definitely ‘high end’, you would actually pay far higher prices on the high street for similar styles and quality coming from a design studio with the level of expertise that Stella & Dot can boast. The Delight Guarantee knocks spots off any returns policy I’ve seen from a ‘household name’. Full refunds even on earrings that have been worn. Replacements within 12 months if ANYTHING goes wrong with an item – and it’s not a gimmick…. I wore something so often it broke. Within 10 minutes I had arranged a replacement free of charge and with no postage costs!
Gradually I am building my business. One of the things I love is the potential. My circumstances are such that I have limited time to invest in growing my business but it ticks along and I enjoy it. However, one of my team is off to a cracking start and, being able to invest more time in her business than I can, she’s reaping the rewards.
The S&D community is amazing too. Whether it’s the local team I am part of, the larger regional team or the Head Office network, every individual I have had contact with is positive, encouraging and supportive. In a world where we (and women in particular) love to tear each other down, I love this aspect. The ability that I have, to help other women build a business in a fast moving environment and to do so in a way that complements their life, their style and their goals, is so satisfying. As is knowing that my two daughters see what I do and are learning, from an early age, you can do anything you want to do providing you work hard, support others and enjoy what you do.
So here I am. Owner of more gorgeous accessories than I actually know what to do with, running a sparkly side gig that helps other women create the life they always dreamed of, and bringing high end jewellery and accessories to the lounge of my clients.
If you’re at all intrigued by anything I have said, please get in touch. Whether it’s to see the collection for yourself or for more information about the opportunity for you, or someone you know who wouldn’t say no to extra £’s each month I would love to talk to you. I don’t ‘sell’. I really don’t need to, the collection does that for itself. But I can help with any questions you might have.
Alternatively, if you fancy hosting a Style Session or Pop Up Boutique at home or in your place of work, I’d love to share with you the fabulous benefits you could access for being a hostess.