First Book by Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin Coming in May

Photo: Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot Family Brands.


Chief executive Jessica Herrin is a mentor to thousands of entrepreneurs at Stella & Dot Family Brands, the company she founded in 2007, but her insights on life and business will find a wider audience in a forthcoming book.

Titled Find Your Extraordinary, the book marks Herrin’s literary debut and invites readers to “dream bigger, live happier, and achieve success on your own.” The 272-page tome from Crown Business, a subsidiary of Random House, is set to hit shelves on May 3, 2016.

“Whether we work a corporate job, run a family, or run our own business, Herrin offers realistic, attainable steps each one of us can take to achieve extraordinary success on our own terms,” the publisher’s blurb states.

“Through candid and inspiring lessons from her life as a successful CEO and working mother of two, as well as stories of many amazing individuals she’s met along the way, Herrin inspires and empowers us to dial up the sound of our own voices and make our authentic dreams a reality.”

Fresh out of college, Herrin worked with a succession of tech startups before attending the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where—at age 24—she co-founded leading wedding site WeddingChannel.com, acquired in 2006 by The Knot. The seeds of accessories brand Stella & Dot grew from Herrin’s living room in Austin, Texas, where she first designed jewelry to sell at home “trunk shows.”

Now based in San Francisco, Stella & Dot Family Brands comprises Stella & Dot, personalized jewelry brand KEEP Collective and EVER Skincare. The company reports nearly $1 billion in product sold through 50,000 independent business owners in six countries.

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Direct Selling Companies Donate Millions in Gifts to TODAY Toy Drive

This holiday season direct selling companies have donated more than $15.4 million in cash and products to the TODAY Show Holiday Toy and Gift Drive, which supplies gifts to underprivileged children across the U.S.

The partnership with TODAY has been an initiative of the Direct Selling Assocation (DSA) for more than a decade. On Dec. 22, DSA Senior Vice President Melissa Brunton will appear on the show to thank the companies that participated and acknowledge the work direct selling entrepreneurs do for their communities throughout the year.

This month a handful of company executives have visited the TODAY set to present donations on behalf of their employees and salespeople. On Dec. 1, Thirty-One Gifts President and CEO Cindy Monroe delivered an assortment of products worth $5.5 million—one of the largest donations in this year’s toy drive. To date, the seller of functional bags, home organization products and accessories has contributed more than $36.4 million in products to the program.

“We are excited and honored to be part of the DSA’s toy drive support,” Monroe said in a statement. “Our charitable mission, through our philanthropic outreach Thirty-One Gives, is to assist organizations that empower girls and women, and strengthen families. The TODAY show makes it easy for us to enable our many sales consultants across the country to be involved with the donation too by selecting local charities where they can deliver the products.”

The following direct selling companies donated cash or products in this year’s toy drive:

•    Amway
•    Arbonne
•    Good Will Publishers
•    Initials Inc.
•    Jordan Essentials
•    Living Fresh Collection
•    Lulu Avenue
•    Mary Kay
•    Origami Owl
•    PartyLite
•    Shaklee
•    SpenserNation
•    Stampin’ Up!
•    Stella & Dot
•    Thirty-One Gifts
•    USANA Health Sciences
•    Vantel Pearls

Facebook Taps Stella & Dot in Trial Run of New Business Offering

“Facebook” and “work” might seem like a contradiction in terms, but the social media giant is looking to unite the two with the rollout of its new service, Facebook At Work. The company’s San Francisco Bay Area neighbor Stella & Dot is one of several businesses testing the product ahead of its official launch.

Facebook At Work, an enterprise version of the classic network, is Facebook’s answer to popular collaboration tools such as Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack, Asana, and Chatter at Salesforce. The service enables companies to create their own networks, with employee profiles that resemble regular Facebook profiles. The color scheme—one of Facebook At Work’s few distinguishing characteristics—might help to ease the minds of those in management. Profiles on the new interface are shaded white instead of the company’s signature blue.

The team at accessories seller Stella & Dot has always embraced social media in its day-to-day business, according to Vice President of Product Meera Bhatia. Field-facing employees heavily use Facebook, in particular, to communicate with the brand’s Independent Business Owners, who often build their businesses via social media. Earlier this year, Facebook approached Stella & Dot about leveraging the platform internally in a pilot of its new enterprise team software.

“Employees instantly gravitated towards using Facebook At Work and made it their own,” Bhatia told DSN. “It’s really helping teams stay connected in an unstructured way and helping to build the sense of community across our global offices.”

Stella & Dot rolled out Facebook At Work to its full team of about 400 employees in August. To access the platform, users sign in through a separate portal on the desktop or the Facebook At Work apps for iOS and Android devices. Like the classic version, the service features a company-wide News Feed, individual and group chat, Groups and Events. Employees also can communicate through direct messages, voice and video calls, and screen-sharing capabilities.

“Employees have created many affinity groups for purposes ranging from inter-team communication to developing a running club,” said Bhatia. “Our most popular group by far is ‘Stella Shout Outs,’ where employees call out their fellow employees for different accomplishments. It’s great to see this happening at the employee level versus being driven by management.”

Though Facebook unveiled the B2B offering in January, no date has been set for an official launch. The company did announce Monday that it is bringing on its biggest business yet, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which plans to connect all 30,000 of its employees to the network by March 2016. RBS participated in a trial of Facebook At Work that yielded a 90 percent adoption rate among employees, the company told TechCrunch. Facebook is not yet charging companies for the service, but the social network plans to monetize around a freemium business model.

The Future of Direct Selling in the U.S.

by Andrea Tortora

Click here to order the October 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Direct selling in the United States is undergoing a transformation fueled by innovative approaches rooted in classic business practices. The power generators leading the way for direct selling as a channel of distribution can be found in what Direct Selling News has identified as the upper middle market: those companies with annual sales roughly between $300 million and $1 billion.

Because most direct selling companies are privately held and many decline to disclose their financial results, it is difficult to create a definitive list. Our research honed in on a group of more than 30 U.S.-based companies, most of which are experiencing significant growth. Some of them are on the cusp of reaching $300 million, and some likely have recently passed the $1 billion mark. But together they are critical to direct selling’s competitiveness and future. They tend to be among the fastest growing when it comes to revenue, and they account for a large slice of the job creation pie.

An in-depth analysis of this group reveals a high level of consistency when it comes to executing on key common strengths. The ability of these companies to focus in on products, customers, serving their salesforce and creating a culture that reinforces a sense of family put them on track to shape the future of direct selling in the U.S.

Companies emphasize each area in different ways, but in general these leaders:

  • Harness data. The upper middle market knows how to mine the data it has to gain insights that lead to more and better sales. Executives train leaders and consultants to use data to open doors that might otherwise remain closed.
  • Stay true to classic business practices. Technology and social media do not replace person-to-person interactions, they complement them. Upper mid-market firms build relationships with customers that maintain the consultant-client affiliation but also allow the customer to have a connection with the company itself.
  • Use compensation plans that span all levels of engagement. To cultivate trust and long-term relationships, comp plans are created to appeal to new customers, product enthusiasts, fierce advocates and influencers—all the way up to the entrepreneur who is all in. Payments also follow a more modern schedule.
  • Foster an entrepreneurial spirit. Consultants are allowed and encouraged to go far with personal marketing (think YouTube videos) while maintaining brand identity. Companies deliver superior and frequent training and messaging to make this happen.
  • Maintain a laser-focus on selling. The sale of a product, a group experience or an opportunity all lead to more sales, which generate positive results.

No matter the specific approach, one thing all upper middle market companies excel at is …

Click here to read the full article at Direct Selling News.

 

 

TYRA Beauty to Expand Direct Selling Business

Tyra Banks is looking to build America’s next top beauty brand with help from a salesforce of “Beautytainers.” Following a beta test of direct selling through her TYRABeauty brand, the model, talk show host and entrepreneur is opening enrollment for more independent sellers to join the business.

“I’m charged with shaking up the world of direct selling and want future entrepreneurs like you with that same passion to revolutionize the beauty industry,” Banks states in her open call to potential sellers on her website. “We wanna transform how people see, use, buy and SELL makeup.”

Banks launched the fully self-funded cosmetics venture in October 2014.TYRA Beauty markets face, eye and lip products priced from $18 to $63.50 and offers TYovers, Banks’s version of a makeover. After initially selling the products online, the edgy brand also began signing on independent sales reps, called Beautytainers, in March of this year. During the pre-launch phase, the inaugural group of 200 representatives multiplied to more than 1,000.

This week TYRA Beauty is opening its doors to entrepreneurs across the U.S., Women’s Wear Daily reports. Participants can enroll for $59 and receive online training through a program called TYRA-U. They also have multiple options for growing their businesses, whether through the brand’s version of home parties, called TYover Shows, or social media platforms.

Anita Krpata, former Global Vice President Field Development for Stella & Dot, is heading up the direct selling operation as TYRA Beauty General Manager, while Evacheska DeAngelis Barton, who also was previously with Stella & Dot, is charged with training and development as Senior Director Field Development.

Corporate Compassion Award Honors Stella & Dot’s Autism Awareness Work

Photo: Actress Holly Robinson Peete and Stella & Dot CEO and Founder Jessica Herrin attend the HollyRod Foundation’s 17th annual DesignCare Gala. (Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for HollyRod Foundation)


Stella & Dot recently earned the 2015 HollyRod Corporate Compassion Award for its contributions to autism awareness. Since 2013, the fashion accessories brand has raised more than $270,000 in support of the HollyRod Foundation, which is dedicated to providing care for people living with autism and Parkinson’s disease.

Jessica Herrin, Founder and CEO of Stella & Dot, accepted the award on behalf of the brand’s Stylists and customers during the foundation’s 17th annual DesignCare Gala, a fashion benefit held Aug. 8 in Los Angeles.

Actress Holly Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, established the HollyRod Foundation in 1997 in honor of Holly’s father, who battled Parkinson’s disease. The foundation’s mission expanded when the couple’s eldest son, RJ, received an autism diagnosis.

Stella & Dot has supported the cause—one of a handful advocated by The Stella & Dot Foundation—by launching a capsule collection during Autism Awareness month each April. All net proceeds from the accessories collection benefit the HollyRod Foundation.

The San Francisco-based brand has provided tablets to help non-verbal children with autism communicate, funded various summer camps and programs, and helped to open seven RJ’s Places across the U.S. and Canada. HollyRod installs RJ’s Place and technology rooms in hospitals and autism centers as a comfortable space for children accompanying a sibling to treatment.

Stella & Dot CEO to Speak at Inaugural Silicon Valley Conference

Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin has joined an impressive lineup of speakers slated for this year’s Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women. Hillary Rodham Clinton, fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, and professor and best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown are among the women who will deliver keynotes at the first-ever event. Also in the lineup will be Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks, an elite executive national sales director with Mary Kay Inc. as well as a motivational speaker and trainer.

Watermark brings together executive women in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to tech industry hotbed Silicon Valley. For more than 20 years, the nonprofit has worked to increase representation of women at executive levels, specifically through connection, development and advocacy programs. Watermark’s board of directors includes top executives from brands such as Intuit, Oracle and Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The inaugural Silicon Valley Conference for Women will take place in Santa Clara, California, on Feb. 24, 2015. With the theme “Lead On,” the event aims to promote leadership as well as personal and professional growth. Throughout the day, Herrin and more than 100 other speakers will lead discussions and interactive sessions on issues impacting women in the workforce.

Watermark is also using the conference as a platform to introduce its first Watermark Index. Based on a survey of Bay Area companies, the Index will highlight businesses actively supporting and developing the women in their ranks.

SFGate: A Tech Take on Direct Sales

Many up-and-coming companies are successfully blurring the line between direct selling and e-commerce, and a number of those businesses call the San Francisco Bay Area home. From the region that boasts tech industry hotbed Silicon Valley, women-run brands like Stella & Dot and Ruby Ribbon are bringing innovative technologies to traditional direct sales.

To learn more about the “social commerce” powering their businesses, SFGate spoke to Anna Zornosa of shapewear and clothing seller Ruby Ribbon; Jessica Herrin of fashion and accessories brand Stella & Dot; Elenor Mak of personal styling service Keaton Row; and Lori Bush of skincare company Rodan + Fields.

“In the land of startups, where social networks have made many people a lot of money, and women are known for breaking the mold, a reimagined approach to direct sales makes perfect sense,” the piece states.

Read the full feature at SFGate.com.

Stella & Dot Foundation Now Partnering with Every Mother Counts

This week, social seller Stella & Dot re-launched its Stella & Dot Foundation in partnership with Every Mother Counts, a campaign dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. The foundation was created in 2010 to further the fashion and accessories brand’s mission of helping women style their own lives.

“We are committed to making a difference in women’s lives,” Stella & Dot Founder Jessica Herrin shared in a statement. “It’s important for us to extend that mission to impact the lives of women and their families, at home and around the world through the Stella & Dot Foundation.”

Every Mother Counts currently operates in Indonesia, Haiti, Uganda, Malawi and the United States. The organization was founded by Christy Turlington Burns, a model, entrepreneur and activist named one of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2014. Burns directed the documentary No Woman, No Cry to raise awareness of the women dying—287,000 every year—due to largely avoidable complications during pregnancy.

“Every Mother Counts is excited to partner with Stella & Dot’s mission-driven community to help us achieve our goal to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother,” said Burns. “We know we can’t do this work alone and are always reassured that there are others who want to contribute in meaningful ways.”

To kick off the new partnership, all net proceeds of the Stella & Dot Foundation’s new Enlighten Bracelet will benefit Every Mother Counts. At Every Mother Counts, 100 percent of every donation goes to programs supporting its mission around the world.

In Internet Age, Person-to-Person Sales Still Appeal

In a recent Los Angeles magazine piece, Joan Renner shares how a flea market find gave her a new appreciation for the era of the “Avon Lady.” The writer, lecturer and social historian contrasts today’s online shopping carts with the personal, relational direct sales experience.

“Internet shopping has replaced door-to-door salespeople, and we have traded the opportunity to bond with a friend over a cup of coffee and the perfect red lipstick for a convenient point-and-click purchase from a laptop,” Renner writes.

The door-to-door saleswoman may be a thing of a bygone era, but the opportunity to sample and purchase product from friends or acquaintances, in an intimate setting, remains as appealing as ever. Globally, the direct selling industry includes more than 90 million independent salespeople who sell nearly $154 billion of goods and services per year.

The Washington Post explored the current iteration of the “Avon Lady” model at a recent Stella & Dot trunk show in Washington, D.C. Partygoers spanning several generations and a range of occupations expressed their enthusiasm for the relaxed, social setting—away from stores with an up-close look at the product.

Read the full story from The Washington Post.