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2015-10-06 17.23.23

I kind of remember the first time Amanda called and asked me if I was interested in becoming a Stylist with Stella and Dot. My phone was plugged in on the kitchen bar in my old house, and I had to lean over the counter to reach it.

You have such great style, Lauren. I really think you would be good at this.

Oh, Amanda, thank you so much for thinking of me. I really don’t think it is a good time with James still a baby and I’m thinking about going back to work a couple of days a week at Sharla’s.

When we hung up, I was grateful I had an actual excuse because the thought of joining a ‘multi-level company’ was anything but appealing. I loved the jewelry and always had fun attending and hosting Trunk Shows. But I had a firm stigma attached to companies like this, and my involvement with one of them seemed desperate. It seemed common. It wasn’t in line with the big life and extraordinary career I had envisioned for myself, although hadn’t yet discovered.

Amanda mentioned Stella and Dot to me several more times over the next four years, and I always smiled and brushed it off–I wasn’t interested. I never seriously considered it because in my head, I thought I had S&D summed up.

I like to be involved in things that are unique. Special. The only thing standing between me and becoming a Stylist for Stella and Dot was $199. No training or talent or education or fashion experience or even a good eye was needed. All that was needed was $199.

This wasn’t the exclusive, cool, lucrative, special and inspiring career I wanted, and I certainly would never find it as a jewelry-lady in a multi-level marketing company…

In June 2014 I launched The Art of Living Beautifully as a way to create the career that had alluded me, and as expected, I fell in love with this little space on the internet. The creativity needed each week became addictive. Photographs and test kitchens and trend boards and beautiful things. TAOLB is my element, the atelier to my artist’s soul.

I very quickly learned, however, how difficult it is to build a following and monetize a blog. Brian gave me a ‘loan’ to get started, but even his generosity would eventually run out. Would I actually have to stop if TAOLB couldn’t support itself?  The Art of Living Beautifully had become an extension of myself with its own little heartbeat. The thought of giving it up was painful, but how long could I continue without it generating any cash flow?

I confessed these fears to Amanda over lunch last January and again she brought up Stella and Dot.

Why won’t you join, Lauren? I cannot even tell you what an enormous opportunity it is.

She hit a nerve.

I didn’t care about whatever details make up ‘the opportunity’ all I cared about was if I could make some money…finding a regular job wasn’t in the cards:

Yes, I’d like to apply for a job please. I can only work Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 1:30 unless my kids are sick or on break from school. I can’t work any weekends or holidays and I don’t want to make minimum wage because my parents spent a small fortune on my private education. Thanks! When do I start?

Maybe Stella and Dot was a temporary path. Maybe this could keep my blog afloat until it could support itself and my real career and big life could begin. All I needed was $199. For once I was grateful for the lack of exclusivity.

I told Amanda I didn’t want to build a team or ask people to host trunk shows…because that was way too embarrassing…but would only sell things through links on my blog.

That decision quickly changed, and over the next few months my eyes were opened to the details of the opportunity.

  • Stella and Dot is flexible–literally I can work as much or as little as I desire. No one ever comes down on me for not producing a certain number but I always receive waves of encouragement from Amanda and other Stylists on my team.
  • Stella and Dot really is inspired and beautiful. My respect grows for our designer, Blythe Harris, and her team with the release of each collection. Did you know Blythe is a graduate of Parsons School of Design? Parsons is the Alma Mater of some of the most respected names in the industry: Marc Jacobs, Donna Karen, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Tom Ford, Anna Sui to name a few.
After the Fall Fashion show at Hoopla last July.

After the Fall Fashion show at Hoopla last July.

Blythe was the lead jewelry designer for Banana Republic when she was approached by Jessica Herrin, our CEO, to join Stella and Dot. She is a passionate artist with a spirit for adventure, and I have realized how fortunate I am to represent a line produced by such talent, especially for a price that is so much less than someone of her pedigree could command.

When you have a moment, PLEASE watch this short video about Blythe and her design method. I promise it will make you smile!

Here are a few favorites from the Spring 2016 Collection:

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  • Stella and Dot recognizes hard work and success. This company isn’t like most Fortune 500s. If the required amount is produced, you promote. There is no getting passed over for that position you really wanted. With Stella and Dot, its black and white: Grow your team and sell ‘x’ amount and you promote. Period.

Home Office and every Stylist in your upline is willing to help in your journey. These are ambitious, smart, capable women who lead teams of hundreds, sometimes thousands. They have become experts not only in sales, but also in people, women specifically. They provide creative, inspired ideas to help each one of us increase our sales or grow our teams. The atmosphere fostered by Stella and Dot is a kind and supportive one.

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I can’t speak for all companies with business models similar to Stella and Dot’s, but I can say that as far as the ‘multiple level thing’ goes, honestly…who cares. Its just business model. It’s not a scheme. It’s not a fake company. It’s just a way the business is run. I had to let go of the stigma attached to that term, and focus on the significant factors: this job is lucrative; this job is style; this job is fun. That’s all that matters.

  • People in your life will support you. I actually had a few DARLING friends that offered to throw Trunk Shows right off the bat and have been FAITHFUL clients over the past year. This was probably the most touching part of this step into the role of Stylist. My friends really did support and encourage me. I wasn’t immediately judged for joining. They didn’t think I was pathetic. They were thrilled.

Laura Bishop, Allison Holland–I adore you both for being so loyal and am forever grateful to you for being so happy for me.

The opportunity I’d been hearing about is real. It is a combination of people, support, positivity and style.

It is not exclusive.

It is INCLUSIVE of everyone.

Anyone wanting or needing a chance is invited. This is now my most favorite part about the opportunity.

One of the most humbling Stella and Dot moments for me last year was when I attended our annual convention called Hoopla in Las Vegas. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I entered the giant ballroom and saw thousands of other Stylists from around the country, it dawned on me all these women were just working; Trying to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families. Some were the bread winners, some needed to pay for their child’s therapy, some just wanted some fun money for splurges, some wanted to take their kids to Disney.

I needed to pay for The Art of Living Beautifully.

Whatever our reason, our ‘Why’ as we call it at S&D, we all needed a solution and found it through Stella. I will be forever grateful to Jessica Herrin for having a passion for creating opportunity and to Amanda Embry for never wavering to offer it.

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Amanda and me headed to the Stella and Dot Home Office in October.

While funding the path to living beautifully, I found an entire new element of it that I hadn’t recognized before: connections and relationships.

Before Stella I searched for a life with purpose, faith and beauty in delicious meals and beautiful tablescapes.  Now I also find it through relationships with other women: Supporting them, styling them and reaching out to them.

If you or someone you know are looking for a new opportunity, may I encourage you to live beautifully by reaching out. Please contact me if you have any questions about becoming a Stella and Dot Stylist. No pressure I promise, but I would sincerely enjoy sharing whatever information I can with you.

This month we are having a sign up special: instead of $350 in Free Jewelry you get $450 worth with your initial investment of $199.

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Or if you are interested in hosting a trunk show, all January hostesses receive an additional $50 in hostess rewards.

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Thank you for reading my words today.

-ciao for now-

lauren

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