Category Archives: SOLSAK

Lessons Learned from an Unfunded Kickstarter Campaign (Part1)

Dear John Letter

On December 2, 2015 I launched my very first Kicstarter campaign in an attempt to raise capital for my business. While it didn’t get funded, I learned so much along the way that I wanted to take a moment to share my experience with anyone who may be considering nontraditional means to raise money for their ventures.

For those who don’t know, Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform that allows you an opportunity to take your product directly to potential consumers in hopes that it will resonate with them to the point that they become “backers.” In other words, they pledge financial support in exchange for a prize or the product itself (depending on how much they contribute). The catch is, you set the monetary goal that you would like to raise, but only have about a month or so to reach it. If you reach your goal within the designated window of time, your project is funded. If you fall short however, you get nothing and your backers get their money back as well.

The great thing is, whether you get funded or not, you can always try again. So with that said, here is the first lesson learned along the way.

1. It Pays to Have a Strategy

If you build it… they don’t always come right away. While my video got thousands of views, retweets, reposts, likes etc., I learned quickly that popularity on social media does not always convert monetarily. I also discovered that those who could truly relate and see the value in the product acted almost immediately, while those who couldn’t, liked it on social media and may have forwarded to their friends. While they certainly applauded the idea of someone taking steps to solve a problem, it may not have necessarily been their problem.

Hence, as with most things in life, it’s important to have a strategy when attempting to do anything. In my case, I needed a system in place to help identify and draw my target audience, not just people who knew me. In fact, I have since found a platform that not only helps to identify my target market, but by using an algorithm it can also assess how much I can potentially raise based off of the number of followers I have on Twitter and Facebook. This is key. I have since increased my Twitter following by close to 200 real follower and will continue to grow my following in preparation for the next Kickstarter attempt.

In the future, I will also elicit the assistance of friends and colleagues (who fit my target audience) to personally introduce the product to their friends and colleagues in a more systematic way. I know now that campaigns like these are not a one woman operation. It take a village, tribe, cul- de-sack and block!

Finally, prior to launching the next time around I will start my marketing efforts well before kicking off the campaign because it takes people a while to understand what’s going on and then several reminders for them to take action. I received several notices after the campaign was over from people who thought they still had time. Some couldn’t believe that it had been a whole month.

So hopefully more notice will fix that. :) Over the next two weeks I will share additional lessons learned along this Kickstarter journey.

Please feel free to comment below!

-ga

We’re Moving on UP!!

Klout

Hello Mobilenistas and welcome back to the blog!

I know you’ve been busy, but if you had a chance to check out last week’s blog, you may remember that I ended the post with a personal challenge to reestablish SOLSAK’s credibility on the web by raising our Klout score to pre-hiatus status in 30 days.

Before the break we were at 54 and during the break we dropped to 47, but today, just after one week I am extremely thrilled to report that we are now at 51. YAY! We’ve been working hard, but I honestly thought it would take much longer than a week to see results. I’m just pleased to know that we’re moving in the right direction. Whoop, whoop!

So like I mentioned the other day, the average Klout score is about 40, but I just discovered that those with a score of 63 are among the top 5% of social media users…. Hmmm, so you know what that means?? New goal alert! Not only will we shoot to get back to 54, but we will now strive to hit that 63 mark. Wow, can we do it? Well, we’ll never know until we try.

What about you? Do you have a social media presence? Do you know your Klout score? Let’s build our web cred together. At the end of 30 days, (which will be July 8), I’ll let you know what worked for us.

Chat soon!

Lessons Learned from a Single Entrepreneur

All bags Collage

SOLSAK has been offline for a couple of months, but we’re baaaaaack! I hope you’ve been well and enjoying these wonderful sunny spring days. As for me, I’m just glad it’s not snowing anymore!

So, why the hiatus?

I accepted a project management contract that was very hands on and time consuming. It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. Now that the assignment is complete, I have a few lessons learned that I would love to share to hopefully encourage you along your journey.

Stay Committed to the Cause– As you begin pursuing your goals, life will get “real” and inevitably it may take you off course. Expect it. While you may not be able to control all of the things that arise in your life, what you can control is how you will react. As for me, I took on the project manager assignment realizing that it could interfere with the business; but at the end of the day I resolve to stay committed to SOLSAK and I’m determined to see it through (pray ya’ll :P)

Never let Money be a Deterrent– It’s super easy to remain stagnant due to a lack of financial resources, especially if you’re single and unable to fall back on a spouse’s income. I say start small and do what you can. Even if you have to take on odd jobs or contracts, do what you have to do in order to fund your business until your business can provide for you

Come back stronger than ever– If for some reason you have to take a break from pursuing your goals, make plans to bounce back even higher than before. What does that look like for us? Before the break, SOLSAK had a klout score of 54. Klout is a numerical scale that determines your level of influence on social media. 40 is about average. Today, as a result of the time away we are now at 47. Ugggggh! Not too, too bad considering. Well, over the next 30 days, our personal challenge is to raise that score back to 54 or greater. Can we do it? Stay tuned!

Have you ever had to take a break from pursuing your goals? How did it go? Do you have any tips on raising your klout score? Please share!

#Mobilenista Mondays

#MobilenistaMon

Have you heard the news? #Moblienista Mondays starts Feb. 2, 2015 at 7 p.m. EST and you’re invited!

Yes, yes, I can hear you now. What’s that? And why should I care?

Simply put, it’s a tweet chat where today’s twitter savvy business owners, bloggers, brand ambassadors, stylists, social media professionals, fashion lovers and others convene to discuss relevangt topics of the day and share more about their current ventures.

There is power in numbers, especially when communities come together to exchange thoughts, ideas and insights about a variety of topics. However; even more rewarding is the opportunity to promote and support one another’s efforts across industries.

Every Monday there will be a general theme for the evening where all are encouraged to weigh in. The last 15 mins of the chat session will be time for the “Mobilenista sound-off” where participants are encouraged to introduce themselves as well as their biz. The only rules are to have fun and bring a friend.

We hope to see you this Monday 7 p.m. Be sure to follow @GalleryPlaceDes and use #Mobilenista to participate!

Who Knew Fashion Could Be So Positively Fun!

Suited for change

Have you ever heard of an organization called Suited for Change in Washington DC?

Well last month I had the pleasure of volunteering with the ladies at this organization. It’s fabulous!

Founded in 1992, they provide professional clothing and job-readiness training to low-income women.  Suited for Change sees about 100 clients a month; their clients are shelter residents, former addicts, domestic violence survivors, teen mothers and the like.  Not only do they offer workshops and training, but they also outfit the women with two suits, shoes, a handbag and accessories for their job interviews.   Once they land a job, they can come back for three additional suits in order to have clothes for the entire week, all for free!

Ok, so what exactly did I do?

Glad you asked. On the second Tuesday of every month, Suited for Change opens its doors to the public to shop in their private boutique, one of the best kept secrets in town. It’s a wonderful consignment HAVEN! I had the opportunity to act as a sales associate and provide customer service to many of the boutique visitors. I greeted customers, worked the fitting rooms and helped put clothes away. It was great. And all of the proceeds collected each month from these sales allow the organization to stay in business.  May I add that I also supported by making two awesome purchases, (couldn’t help it). :p

Do you think you’d be interested in supporting an organization like this?  Here are three things you can do:

Donate your Time: Consider volunteering by:

  • Working the private boutique on the 2nd Tues of every month anytime between 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Facilitating a Wednesday workshop at 6 p.m. on job readiness or,
  • Promoting the organization via social media or event planning

Donate your Resources:

  • Drop off new or gently used work attire on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – noon

Donate your Treasure:

  • What organization couldn’t use a little more $$, right?

Suited for change volunteers

At any rate I had a great time, met new friends and will definitely be going back.  For more information contact: Cynthia Moses, program@suitedforchange.org ,visit the website at: http://www.suitedforchange.org/ or follow on TW: @SuitedForChange

 

Why I HEART public transportation… namely the Metro

Public transportation oftentimes gets a bad wrap, and while it does have its shortcomings, I believe that there are far more benefits to riding the train than people care to admit. I personally appreciate riding the metro for a number of reasons.  Here are just a few:

 

  1. Metro is conducive to the life of a procrastinator. I have gotten some of my best cramming done on the train and have put the last minute touches on presentations while in route. I appreciate being able to be totally immersed in what I’m doing (albeit last minute) without having to keep both hands on the wheel.

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2. Metro can make you more tolerant of people in general. Let’s face it, there all manner of people who ride the train on a daily basis. Some sane and others… well, not so much.  Which by the way baffles me — crazy people never have a problem figuring out where they’re going. I digress. Regardless, sitting alongside people on a daily basis that I would ordinarily not encounter challenges me to be empathetic while at the same time being very appreciative of my own issues. :p

man sleeping on man in train

3. Metro can be entertaining. I have heard some of the best jokes (that I still remember to this day) and have witnessed some amazing talent on the train. Especially in NYC. It amazes me how creatively bold people can be in front of strangers. It’s actually quite inspiring!

music on metro

4. Metro is “cheaper” than driving. It reduces the wear and tear on your car that comes along with driving, is cheaper than gas, parking and parking tickets… enough said.

smart trip

5. Metro is an excellent place for style inspiration. I love seeing the latest trends, (and fashion faux pas) on the train. It’s always motivating and just the boost that I need to get my fashion act together!

metro fashion

Again, it’s not perfect, but I dig it.  What about you?  What are some things you appreciate about riding the train?

 

What Makes Business So Hard Anyway?

Although I’ve never heard anyone claim that running a business is easy, it’s not too often that you hear exactly what makes being an entrepreneur so frigging challenging.  Well I’m here to tell you why. My intentions aren’t to dissuade you from launching your own biz, but rather to prepare you for what’s to come should you dare to take this incredible leap.

So here are four things that people don’t tell you:

High fashion  Pic c/o : Timothy Greenfield-Sanders 

  1. You will plan/forecast and prepare as best as you can and chances are things may still go awry.

Wait, not only awry, but things you never expected will creep up and throw you for a loop. Case in point.  When we initially filed our business name, although it was approved by USPTO, this did not stop an established handbag company from threatening to sue us if we did not augment our name. Well naturally I wasn’t going to give up without a fight…  needless to say our legal ping pong game with this company went on for about a year… hello, this was NOT in the plan.

multitask

  1. As a start up with limited funds, you often become a one man act.

If your budget doesn’t allow you to pay others for their services it becomes paramount to develop a working knowledge in: social media, photography, videography, marketing, sales and business. And this my friends takes time. Of course as you grow, it will be necessary to relinquish some of these responsibilities but until then buckle up and enjoy the ride!

time-money

  1. Your time and your finances become extremely limited.

If you are someone who is used to being free with your time and your money, once you decide to launch a business, depending on how serious you are, both will require extreme discipline. You may even lose a few friends due to your inaccessibility, your inability to return phone calls and your constant use of the word “no”; but those who truly support you will stick around while your business  and your new life are “under construction”.

training

  1. You have to prepare to be successful.

It is important that you have a firm foundation on who you are so that you will remain true to yourself whether the business fails or succeeds. Identify your non-negotiables. What are your standards? These things are key because success has a funny way of causing people to compromise and ultimately lose themselves if they are not careful. But we know that this will not be your fate!

So there you have it. Just a few things (in my opinion) that make entrepreneurship so challenging, but ultimately in the end, it’s all worth it… I hope! :p

Are you considering going into business? Or are you already in business?  We’d like to hear from you!

Blazer Weather is Here!

Labor Day has past, the weather is starting to change, and later this month it will officially be fall. Ready or not, here it comes.  *Sigh*. Well, rather than mourn the passing of summer, I’ve decided to highlight one of my favorite fall pieces… The Blazer.

I love blazers for a number of reasons:

  1. You can dress them up or down. The blazer can be worn on top of a dress to the office or with some distressed jeans when meeting up with friends.

Blazer and dress          Black Blazer with beads

2. Blazers can be worn with flats or heels and you can still achieve the same polished look.blazer with flats              Blazer with heels

3. Blazers can add a pop of color to your ensemble.                                        blazer pop of color       Pop of color blazerPink Blazer

4. Blazers can be accessorized with scarfs, a cardigan or jewelry.blazer with scarf                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Blazer with cardigan  Blazer and jewlry

5.Blazers can be fitted or boxy, yet still look fabulous. Boxy Blazer

So there you have it. These are just some of the reasons why I love blazers.  So bring it on fall! I’m ready.

How about you? Do you like blazers? If so, why?

Recap of Blogger Scene’s Summer Send Off

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a local networking event in DC called #BloggerScene’s Summer Send-Off. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with a number of fashion, lifestyle and beauty bloggers in the metropolitan area, not to mention I also received an amazing swag bag with lots of cool stuff, namely a free class at Pure Barre (purbarre.com) which I’ve heard so much about.  Hmmm, I may have to post my thoughts after I take the class.  The event was nice, even though I have to admit, I kind of felt like an impostor because although I do blog, I would hardly consider myself to be a blogger.  :p Crazy… I know.

Check us out.  Can you spot me in the mix?

Bloggers1

 

Anywho, I wanted to take a min to introduce just a few of the Mobilenistas I had an opportunity to connect with that eve and why I think they are all so amaze:

NATALIE OF THE FASHIONABLY BROKE

TheFashionablyBroke1

  1. Natalie was one of the event organizers, very personable and easy going even in the midst of everything that was going on that evening.  She was a great host and is part of the dynamic sister blogging duo.  Their site is dedicated to inspiring the fashion-obsessed and linking people to their favorite brands and products.  I can tell that these two are hard workers, go getters and very business savvy . Visit them at http://www.thefashionablybroke.com/  @NatalieandErika

ANGELICA OF CLARENDON MOMS

Claredon Mom

2.  Angelica is a bubbly and warm fashionista who greeted me as though we were old friends.  She was a panelist that evening who graciously shared some of her insider knowledge and best practices with the group.  She is super passionate about sharing all kinds of useful and trendy information, particularly with mothers. Case in point, she was recently featured on a local morning show sharing some much needed back to school tips.  Say hi to her over at: http://clarendonmoms.com/  @ClarendonMoms

ASHLYN OF LET IT BE BEAUTIFUL

Ashlyn1

 

3. Ashlyn had just arrived from another event but was mingled right in (shopping bag in tow) as though she never missed a thing. I loved her preppy style and most of all her engaging and genuine personality.  We struck up a conversation and I was surprised by the number of Instagram followers she had.  Immediately I began picking her brain. Not only did she give me some advice on the spot, but she even offered to sit down and chat more over a drink of coffee.  How cool is that? Be sure to check out her site for the latest and the greatest fashion trends, you won’t be disappointed. http://www.letitbebeautiful.com/blog/  @loveeashlyn

EMALIA and MARISA OF CLOVER RIOT

cloverriot1

 

4.  Emalia and Marisa are two DC natives who recently came together to blog about their passion for fashion, photography, food, and beauty. What’s so striking about these two is on the outside, they are complete opposites, but beyond that they have so much in common as far as their tastes are concerned. The two were super friendly, motivated and very encouraging.  They’ve only been on the scene for a short time, but they’re already making waves. We’re definitely looking forward to working with them soon. Check them out! http://www.cloverriot.com/  @CloverRiot

Are you familiar with any of these ladies?  Check them out. Let us know what you think!

Top 5 Ways to Break Out of a Rut

Let’s face it. We’ve all been there, you know…that indescribable point of mundane boringness. That span of time in your existence where you feel as though life is living you rather than the other way around. You clock-in and clock-out, do (and say) the bare minimum just to remain employed. You feel uninspired and are so unimpressed by people in general. Simply put, you’re in a rut and you want out!

Here are five ways to help you recharge, refocus and revive your life!

  1. Get back to basics – who are you at your core? Identify things that are truly meaningful to you or hobbies that you love doing just because.  What are some things that you would do even if you weren’t paid to do them?  For me, I love to dance. So the last time I felt myself sliding into Rut-land, I signed up for a series of dance classes. Not only was it challenging, fun and inspiring, but I also had an opportunity to interact with some new people which was great. And personally I think music just makes everything better. :)

dancing

  1. Challenge yourself– do something you’ve never done. It doesn’t have to be anything major. It can be as simple as taking a new route without relying on GPS (scary) or complimenting a complete stranger or it can be something as intense as going sky-diving.  Whether great or small, the point is, stepping outside of your comfort zone breaks up the monotony and adds some spice to your life.
  1. Nature – take a walk and explore a scenic area. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to some exotic island then by all means, make the time and go for it!  But if that’s not an option find a local lake, botanical garden, or observatory. Leave your cell phone in the car, and just get lost for a couple of hours. Clear your mind and appreciate the beauty and simplicity of nature.
  1. Cherish your friendships – Someone once said, “Friends are angels that lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” Sometimes when we’re in a rut a friend comes along with just the thing that we need to help us bounce back. Cultivate and cherish your friendships.

friends

  1. Count your blessings– Develop and attitude of gratitude, remember the grass is greener where you water it. Each day identify one thing in your life that you’re grateful for. You may be in a rut for a season, but there’s hope in knowing that seasons change!

What are some things you do to break out of your rut?