Hoopla 2012, part 2

Hoopla warp-up, part 2::

One of my most favorite things about Stella & Dot is the connections I’ve made with so many new people, and a few old ones, too. After I signed up as a Stylist, I found out that my cousin’s cousin Katie (she’s in the photo below on the left) was also a Stylist. We hadn’t seen each other in probably at least 8 years until last Hoopla. Since then, we’ve kept in touch and I look forward to getting to visit with Katie and her friend Kirsten each year. She’s so fun and is a crazy dancing machine. This photo was taken at our Wonderland Awards Gala, where we  honor so many of our incredible leaders as well as every Stylist’s successes over the past year. The Stylist who earned top in sales sold over $200,000 in jewelry in the past year!! Way to set the bar, Sandy Sembler! She’s such an inspiration — last year, she attended her first Hoopla and sat in the very back. She later told us that as she sat in that back row, she said to herself that she’d be in the front this year… and she certainly delivered, even in the face of a difficult personal situation. It’s women like her who are an inspiration for me to keep going, even when it’s not easy. This company is full of those women, and it’s such an honor to be associated with them!


We were entertained by amazing Cirque performers during cocktail hour, and after awards, about 1,500 women (and a few good men) celebrated with a giant dance party till late into the night.


Our one and only CEO/Founder, Jessica Herrin. I am confident she has the best dance moves of any CEO in the country, hands down. With our company well on its way to being a billion-dollar business in the next few years, she certainly has every reason to dance.


Two of my team members, Devon and Kari, joined me at Hoopla this year! Kari was the very first Stylist to sign up on my team over 1.5 years ago, and Devon is a new Stylist (who lived on my hall freshman year of college!). The training we receive over this short weekend is invaluable for our businesses, and I’m so thrilled that they decided to take part in it. They are already putting what they learned into action, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings for them!


One of my favorite moments of the weekend::
Our Board Chairman, Mike Lohner, flew to SF from London to give a very motivational and inspiring speech and he started it off with a saxophone serenade to “What Makes You Beautiful.” His performance was so unexpected, and it received a huge roar from the crowd, especially with our Executive Team dancing all over the stage!


Our mission has also expanded! We’re now officially supporting breast cancer, autism, and ovarian cancer awareness months with sales of specific items (like our Tribute Bracelet last October for breast cancer). Stella & Dot is making it easy for our customers to look good while doing good!


Q & A with Jessica closed out Hoopla 2012::
One of her favorite words:: BOLD. Not surprising, given who she is and the empire she’s created in just a few short years. Being BOLD is a leap of faith to try something new, like starting your own business. It’s overcoming obstacles and adversity when you think you can’t. It’s knowing that this business is not just about selling jewelry (even though it’s the most stylish, gorgeous jewelry out there), it’s about being able to style our own lives and giving us the power to help others do the same. It’s about believing 6 impossible things before breakfast. It’s about turning the word “impossible” into “I’m possible.”   Thank you, Jessica Herrin, for dreaming big and making it possible for us to do the same.


I think this photo says it all. I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me!

Hoopla 2012, part 1

This time a week ago, I was about to arrive in San Francisco for Hoopla. I look forward to this weekend every year for so many reasons.
1) Stylists who attend our national conference are the first to see and try on our new Fall collection.
2) We get 2 days of training from the cream of the crop — our VP of Training, Chief Creative Officer, Director of Field Operations, and our amazing/gorgeous/genius CEO & Founder. (And we dance to “Call Me Maybe” while we’re at it!)
3) We also get to learn from thousands of our fellow Stylists and leaders from around the US and Canada.
4) Meeting new Stylist friends that you’ve been stalking (or were being stalked by) on facebook… and reconnecting with those friends that you maybe only see once or twice a year. We have teams that span across the country, so sometimes we’re meeting people on our teams for the first time at Hoopla.
5) Prizes!! Lots and lots of jewelry giveaways as well as super fun swag bags for all attendees!
6) It’s a big ‘ol dance party at every event. We love our DJ.
7) Speaking of parties, there are so many welcome receptions, team parties, team dinners, and recognition parties. This year’s awards gala included a special performance by Cirque de Soleil performers!

So yes, it’s a business trip… but it’s really all about the jewelry, isn’t it? The Olivia Bib Necklace is my FAVORITE piece from the new collection. These red-orangey stones will pop over so many colors and prints…. I’m excited to wear it with light pink, mustard, lime, denim, navy/white, and hot pink! It’s such a statement and can really dressed up for weddings or a night on the town — or it can be thrown over a white T or patterned maxi dress for a casual outing. I also adore those Gigi Studs seen below — and they come in black, too!


And speaking of jewelry, here are some prizes from the trip! Stylists received a pair of the new Secret Garden Earrings, which are gold leaves with sparkle down the spine. They’re pretty, dangly, lightweight, and have just enough sparkle. Stella & Dot also debuted a boutique where we could purchase S&D branded items, like mousepads, water bottles, pens, etc. I got several to give out as prizes to my team who couldn’t make it to Hoopla. No, those TB flip flops weren’t part of our swag bags — I have an awesome Sponsor who loves to shower us with gifts.


This was our last year in San Francisco for Hoopla, as we’ve outgrown the conference centers and hotels there. I’ll miss getting to tour around this beautiful city next time, but I don’t know if I’ll miss 60-degree weather and very windy evenings in July! My sponsor Paige did a team dinner on Friday at a neat little place called Salt House. The food was great… the wait time after ordering was not. We didn’t eat until after 10pm, which made for a very late night for us East Coast girls. My favorites were the loaves of fresh-baked bread tossed on the table (I probably ate 1/2 a loaf waiting on the meal to arrive) and the dessert that one of the girls got — lots of peanut butter and chocolate crunchy goodness. I should have just ordered bread and dessert, and I would have made it out of there much earlier.


Had to get a standard trolley photo::

Day 1 of training — Behind the Design with Blythe::
We added 2 new collections — Mod Safari and New Romantics. My darling Olivia is a superstar from Mod Safari — the collection is full of bright colors, animal prints, and designer-inspired pieces from a nod to 60’s style. I’m also really loving the enamel animal bangles. I mean, who can resist blue and gold tigers?? You can’t have a bad day while wearing kissing blue and gold tigers on your arm.

New Romantics is inspired by Victorian estate jewelry. Some of my favorites from this collection are the Tempest Necklace, which can be worn 3 different ways (that’s pretty awesome for a bib-style necklace), the Lillith Fringe Necklace and Earrings, the Starstruck Cocktail Ring, and the Secret Garden Ring. (All are pictured below, except for the SG Ring.) I love the edgy, rocker look that is still very elegant and can be pulled off by a 20-something city girl or a mom in her 40’s.


Our design team is incredible and never ceases to impress me with the collections they release each season. They travel the world looking for inspiration, whether it’s on the streets of Brazil or in a tiny vintage shop in France, and they then bring that to our customers with a fresh new design. We have a world-class design team that hails from the likes of DeBeers, Ippolita, Banana Republic, and Marc Jacobs — and we have in-house model makers that create models of many of our pieces, which is almost unheard of in the fashion jewelry industry. I am reassured more with every collection launch that I chose the right company to be a part of.

Stay tuned for more from Hoopla!

what’s all this Hoopla about?

In honor of my big HOOPLA trip next week, I’m dedicating today’s post to the wonderfulness that is Stella & Dot. What’s Hoopla, you ask? For anyone who hasn’t heard me gush on and on about this trip the past 2 years, I’ll tell you. (Although I’m doubting any of you haven’t had the pleasure…)

Hoopla is Stella & Dot’s national sales conference that takes place in San Francisco each July. The company has grown tremendously over the past couple years, though, and we’ve finally outgrown the conference hotels in SF. Next year, we’re off to Vegas! Anyway, I’m flying out next Friday for a long weekend of the following:

— 2,000+ women decked out to the nines in sparkling jewelry
— 2,000+ of those same women (and a few good men) screaming and laughing and hugging when they see their long-lost Stylist friends from around the country
— the best training from our CEO, VP of Training, Chief Creative Office, Board Chairman, and many other top leaders in the company
— the fall 2012 collection debut
— swag bags and lots of free goodies
— pajama parties
— listening to stories of struggles, heartache, and great triumph from some of the strongest, most amazing women I’ve ever had the honor of meeting
— awards ceremonies and celebrations
— a HUGE dance party, where our CEO will probably be seen on top of a table in 4-inch heels like last year

Now do you see why I’m always so pumped about this crazy thing called Hoopla?? And oh how that word describes it perfectly. Each year, Hoopla rejuvenates my business and I come home feeling like I can take on the world, one sparkly necklace at a time! I’ve made countless great friends through Stella & Dot — they are my hostesses, customers, and fellow Stylists. I look forward to this extra girly “business” trip more than almost any trip I take all year — and I take a lot of trips.

Here’s a little more of an explanation through photos… enjoy!