Archive for July, 2011

How Do You Handle Product Reviews?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Laptop Bag Reviews

I need some advice.

Since the bag has launched, I received review requests.  Not from any big sites like CNET or Engadget, but from bloggers.  Of course, being a blogger myself I took every one of these requests seriously.  I looked at their sites, asked them questions over email and tried to make a rational decision.

But I haven’t sent out one bag to any of these folks.

It’s expensive for me to send out bags.  Besides the obvious cost of the bag itself, there are also costs in packaging and shipping.  While I’d love to get as many bags out there as possible I can’t just send them willy-nilly.

For those of you with products how do you handle review requests?  And every time you have a new product how many do you send out for reviews without requests?  I’d love to hear your best practices.

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Spark & Hustle – Day One

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Tory Johnson's Spart & Hustle

Last week I attended Tory Johnson’s Spark & Hustle in Atlanta.  Here were my highlights:

Tory
First of all, she looks just like she does on TV.  Flawless skin, perfect hair, the whole nine yards.  I was impressed.  She also made it a point to to talk to everyone at the conference.

My question to her was simple “I’m having trouble getting national media.  What can I do?”  After some discussion she had some wonderful advice.  1.  Focus on my big local market – Atlanta.  (Sorry Charleston, I wish we could be called “big”.) and 2. Concentrate on selling out during the Christmas season.

I also told her how I was uncomfortable doing press because while I wanted reporters to focus on the bags, many of them wanted to focus on me.  She said something that will still with me.  “It doesn’t matter if it makes you uncomfortable, it matters what is best for the business.”

Shameeka Ayers

Shemeeka Ayers
You may remember Shameeka has the founder of the conference I went to last January – Lavish!  She was back in action at Spark & Hustle with her presentation “You Too Can Be a Kardashian: Make Your Brand a Household Name.”

Shameeka is living, breathing example of a great brand herself.  (If you follow her on twitter you know all about side eyes and church waves.)  My favorite point was that you need to “get yourself a junkyard dog” to protect your brand.  For the Kardashians, that person is Kris Jenner.  If you’re in start-up land, YOU have to be the junkyard dog.

Also, I’ll never forget her imitating Kim Kardashian walking into a room to “This is Why I’m Hot”.  Seriously.  I may or may not be listening to that song right now.

Alicia

Alicia Rittenhouse
Besides that fact that Alicia and I have the same name, I liked her immediately when she sat at my table.  Her magenta (Alesya Bag Pink) highlights seemed to make her look more professional.  No easy feat.

She talked to us about why we needed to be more active on LinkedIn.  I actually believed her.  Also, she made me see how really capable and even amazing virtual assistants can be.  Maybe I need one?

Vanessa Wilson
Even though people love the video of the Alesya Bag, I hate being on video myself.  I can hardly watch it.  The whole thing makes me feel very vulnerable.

But Vanessa – with her energy, passion and funny frankness – made me realize I’ve got to get over my feelings and start doing more videos.  She was hand picked by YouTube as one of their new stars.  Whether you like crafts or not, check out her video channel and I think you’ll see why.

 

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Wanted: Alesya Bags College Ambassadors

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Good Monday Morning!

I’m looking for a few college students to give an Alesya Bag to – for free.  If you think you’d love a bag or know someone who would, please check out the job description below or download it to send by email, etc.  I can’t wait to hear from you! ~A

Alesya Bags British TanWANTED:
Alesya Bag College Ambassadors

Alesya Bags is looking for college ambassadors to carry our laptop bags around campus while chatting about them on social media.  Here’s your chance to finally get a cute laptop bag – and for free!

What You’ll Get
If you’re picked as one of the first college ambassadors you’ll get an Alesya Bag of your choice for free.  You’ll also get valuable experience with a fashion brand – great for your resume.

Your Duties
All you’ll have to do is carry your laptop bag around campus and tell others why you love it on your favorite social media platforms.

How to Apply
Email Alesya@alesyabags.com by Friday August, 5, 2011 with the following:

  • Name
  • College or University
  • Year in School
  • Major
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Color Choice

Plus, please answer these two questions:

  1. Why do you want to be an Alesya Bags ambassador?
  2. How would you talk about the laptop bag online?  HINT:  This is a great opportunity to show me your social skills.  Write a blog post, create a video, get 100 people to retweet you…whatever you think will show off your online presence best.  Be sure to include a link so I can check it out!
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Google+ To Influence Search?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Search for Alesya on Google

For the last few days I’ve been testing out Google+.  On the site there’s a lot of chatter about what Google+ is, how it works and how it compares to Facebook.

I believe Google+ is going to win the social war.  Here’s why.

Check out the search for “Alesya” above.  I’m logged into Google+ and the very first thing that comes up is my Google+ profile.  Now, check out the image below for “Alesya Bags”.  The very first that comes up are links that I’ve given a +1.

Search for Alesya Bags on Twitter

Let’s extrapolate on this.

We all know Google controls it’s own super secret search algorithm. Google decides which links will come up first, what images appear, how news is ranked etc. when you enter a search term.

Doesn’t it make sense that they’d give a little extra love to anything mentioned on their own social network?  That your profile on Google will eventually show up at the top, above everything else?  Or something with a ton of +1′s will get ranked highest?

As a personal brand, job seeker, marketer, recruiter, business owner, celebrity, football star, CEO, fashionista or any person on the earth, wouldn’t you want to use this power to your advantage?!

YES.  YES.  YES.

Google’s power and strength has always been in search.  And now they are flexing that muscle again.  If you had to bet on one horse…would you bet on Facebook to win social or Google to win search?  You’d bet Google every single time.

Hurry on over to Google+ and get involved.  Now.

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Fuck It

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Messy Desk - Alesya Bags

I’m sorry to tell you, that is my desk.  If you look closely you’ll see two sample Alesya Bags, a parking ticket, receipts that need to be filed, DVDs from the Modern Connection and stationary from Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer.

The aftermath of a launch.

A launch that left me pretty drained.  And honestly, I didn’t anticipate it which probably made it worse.  Other launches have left me invigorated and excited.  This one felt like the middle of the roller coaster rather than the end.  I had the release of falling down the first big hill (getting the laptop bags into the country and the site live) and within moments I was already climbing the next hill (selling the bags).

It was an emotional shock.

On top of that the morning after launch I left on a trip to LA.  Like…I stopped working at 11:00 PM, started packing at 11:15 PM, when to bed at midnight-ish and got on a plane at 7:00 AM the next day.  Then I returned to Charleston, then it was 4th of July, then I wanted to spend time with my daughter who I hadn’t really seen in a week then….

You get the idea.

All of this lead me to a paniced email to my coach Jackie that said “It’s like I go to bed every night with not enough done, no food in the house, laundry to be done and not enough bags sold!”  I was behind in every aspect of my life.

She could hear the frustration in my email so we had a call.  “I’m giving you permission to say FUCK IT.”  I was taken aback.  Um…what?  “You know…just say FUCK IT to something,” she explained, “like, you’re just not going to worry about it right now.”

I was dumbfounded.   I never say that.  I couldn’t even come up with anything to add to the list!

“Oh, COME ON, Alesya!” Jackie pressed, “I’m not going to give you this card very often.  If fact, you can’t even use this card too much, or else you’ll go to jail.  But right now you’ve earn it.  What are you going to say FUCK IT! too?”

“Well, I have guests coming this weekend and I’m not going to clean my office.” I finally replied.

“Good, what else?” Jackie asked.

“Well…..I’m not going to reply to emails this weekend.”

“Anything else you just want to say FUCK IT to?”

“In fact, I’m not going to ANY work at all this weekend! FUCK IT!”

Whew.  And that felt good.  I needed the break.  And you know what?  As soon as I let go for a minute, I had two deals come in my other job working for Josh Linkner.  Then on Saturday I sold two laptop bags overnight.  And I could exhale.

Have you ever got to the FUCK IT point?  What did you do about?

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Photo Shoot – Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Now that you’ve seen all the bag photos, here’s a full look at what happened during the first photo shoot.

Here we are in downtown Charleston setting up the product shots.  The light was excellent because we had the white background on all sides of us.

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot

The first location with the model, Alexandra Deom, was on lower King Street.

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot
I loved this background when we originally scouted locations, but it just didn’t work in photos.

Why yes, that is my stylist, Charleston Fashionista, Ayoka Lucas.  Her creative eye is simply unmatched.

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot - Ayoka Lucas
Even behind the camera, I’m sure you recognize my photographer, Charlotte Elizabeth.

Alesya Bags Photo ShootOur lovely assistant for the day was Stephanie Schmidt.  You can see why she was picked to intern at Rebecca Mincoff this summer.

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot
Alesya Bags Photo Shoot
This was my favorite location. The light, the driveway…everything just worked. It was last one of the day and I’m so happy to we took the time to use it.

Alesya Bags Photo Shoot

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How’s It Going?

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

That’s been the big question on everyone’s mind – “So you launched this thing, how’s it going?”

Sales

I’ve sold a handful of bags every day since the site launched to the Wait List.  I thought I’d be doing better than this, but people keep telling me I need to be patient – ecommerce is a “slow and steady wins the race kind” of a deal.

But we all know how I am about waiting.  Not my strong suit.

I’m very encouraged by the kind of sales I’ve received though.  Customers have been coming from all parts of the country – Detroit and Charleston  of course, but also San Francisco, Palm Beach and Canada.  Also, order have been placed by my friends, but also by total strangers.

Each time a sale is processed I get an email.  There is a real excitement every time I see one pop up in my inbox.  What a fun feeling!

Shipping

We’ve had a few issues with shipping, but luckily all on the billing side and none on the actual getting the bag to the client side.  It makes me understand why a lot of the larger retailers do a flat fee.  It’s good for clients and good to take a lot of the variable out of the process for the company.  I look forward to doing that one day.

American Express

Working with Authorize.net and Lemon Stand, I thought American Express processing was already included.  Guess what?  Not so much.  I had to call American Express and open a special account just for them.   Good to know.

American Express cards were not being accepted during the soft launch for this reason.  Now that is resolved.  Yea.

Those have been the hiccups thus far.  All in all, I think it’s going very well!  With this long weekend upon us it’s time for me to take a mental break … at least for a few hours.  I hope you’re out celebrating with your family and friends.  I’m looking forward to spending some time with mine.


 

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