Journalist, financial expert and the author of the recent book When She Makes More, Farnoosh Torabi, was recently spotted wearing Stella & Dot jewelry. She is wearing the gold Pegasus Necklace on her web site, Twitter page and recently on the daytime talk show Bethenny, hosted by Bethenny Frankel.
How Stella & Dot Is Giving Old-Fashioned Direct Sales A Mobile Makeover
How a doing-it-all mom became an entrepreneur–and uses tech savvy and common sense to keep her business running.
Seven years ago, Jessica Herrin was driving around with a trunkful of jewelry. She was packing, shipping, and often hand-delivering orders to women who had purchased them at one of her Stella & Dot trunk shows. Herrin had a six-month-old baby at home. She was working around the clock. She was exhausted.
When she founded Stella & Dot in 2003, Herrin had envisioned it as a direct sales company that would give its sales people, called “stylists,” a way to live balanced flexible entrepreneurial lives. Based on her own experience, she knew things had to change if she wanted to really scale the business.
In the past year in particular, Herrin has given the old-fashioned direct sales model a mobile makeover. And it’s working. Stella & Dot has 16,000 active stylists around the world and in 2013, the company made more than $220 million in sales, up from $100 million the previous year–thanks in large part to the company’s massive mobile push and integration of new technology.
Stella & Dot is what Herrin calls an “omni-channel business”–one that blends the in-person experience with technology. “For a lot of e-commerce companies, their challenge is competing with a company like Amazon. That’s why omni-channel retail can stand apart. It has something Amazon can never offer–a warm body on the end of each sale,” she says. “The use of technology has really unlocked how profitable this business can be.”
Here are four ways Herrin has worked mobile technology into her business model to help grow the company.
A virtual community with on-the-go training.
How do you train 16,000 stylists spread around the world? Stella & Dot has online affinity groups including ones for military spouses, stylists of color, stylists over 50, and the list goes on.
But the company uses more than just social media to connect stylists. Last month, it launched a mobile-optimized “Stylist Lounge,” which gives stylists mobile access to notifications, weekly training videos, peer-to-peer online training, and specific tools depending on how long they have been selling with Stella & Dot.
When new stylists log in, for example, they are given step-by step guidance on how to create their website, send their first trunk-show invitation, and make their first hostess call. More seasoned stylists in charge of teams can access business insights about their team and all stylists can easily choose and share from a collection of customized social media messages. “What used to be a log in and click, click, click is now a swipe and a tap,” says Herrin, who calls the mobile push an “on my phone or bust” model.
Staying lean and savvy about inventory.
Direct-sales models often require sellers to have inventory on hand to sell to customers, which means unsold stuff can quickly start to pile up in their closets. Instead of doing this, Stella & Dot uses trunk shows to test inventory. Last year, the company launched an iPad app for stylists called Dottie that not only allows them to place orders directly to the distribution center in real time when a customer makes a purchase, but also includes tons of images of products that might not be on hand.
The danger, of course, is that the human connection the company so values could be compromised by stylists having screens in front of their faces. But it’s a worry that’s been taken into account when designing the app. “We’ve obsessed over the ease of use,” says Herrin. “We want it to be intuitive so that it doesn’t take away from the human connection.”
Another addition is the social media group called the Style Council, made up of hundreds of the company’s top sellers. The group has direct access to the design and merchandizing teams and votes on the pieces in each season’s collection that are showcased most prominently. “The feedback is very constant in real time,” says Herrin.
Getting orders out instantaneously.
Gone are the days of driving around with trunks full of inventory to deliver. The Dottie app includes a form customers fill out when placing an order, which then gets directly sent to the distribution center. Before that was created, stylists had to keep track of orders on paper that they might not have a chance to submit until the following day. The automated form also lets customers double-check their information, which cuts down on mistakes.
A built-in marketing machine.
At Stella & Dot, stylists play a huge role in marketing. They upload trunk-show photos to the Stella & Dot Instagram feed and are encouraged to post about their work on Facebook. But social media aside, the company has also created a mobile notification that pings stylists when orders are shipped, including the names and notes they took on the customers who made purchases. They can then tap on their phone numbers to make a follow-up call.
Bottom Line: “Our mobile tool isn’t just about sales or transactions. It makes our stylists better at customer service,” says Herrin. “We are using the combination of high tech and high touch to do better merchandizing.”
Two weekends, hundreds of musicians, and thousands of people… And we still spot Stella & Dot jewelry! Here are a few of our fave celebs spotted wearing their Stella & Dot jewelry in the desert for Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs and Indio, CA.
The first weekend of the wildly popular music and arts festival, Coachella, has officially come to a close. With no shortage of eclectic, boho-chic inspired ensembles, the Coachella fashion arena brought it’s ‘A-game ‘yet again, giving us the chance to round-up our favorite Stella & Dot style moments across festival grounds.
A concertgoer staple, the Rebel Pendant in Gold added an edgy touch to actress, Camilla Belle’s loose white tank and denim cut-offs. This same necklace was also spotted on Julianne Hough at last year’s Coachella – seen HERE.
I spy Stella & Dot! The couture jewelry brand continues to be featured in various magazines, as a celebrity-loved and editor-coveted, affordable accessories line. Check out the latest press from April 2014.
Better Homes & Gardens recently featured the Stella & Dot Bring It Jewelry Roll in the red cerise color in the April 2014 issue, in the “How to Pack a Suitcase” magazine article. BHG editors loved the pop of bright, fun color (so it’s easy to see in your suitcase) and the price point (just $39!). You can pack several of your travel accessories into this fun, roll-up case for your next getaway. It’s the perfect jewelry travel case!
The sweet & dainty gold Piper Necklace was just seen in the pages of Family Circle magazine’s April 2014 issue. The small necklace is perfect for everyday and also makes a sweet gift. And it’s only $34!
Good Housekeeping magazine recently featured the Stella & Dot Sardinia Necklace in its April 2014 issue in a fashion spread. The necklace is a lovely pop of color and the pendant can be removed. It also look terrific paired with other necklaces and chains, as seen on the model from the magazine.
Once again, Stella & Dot is in the press and coveted by magazine editors and featured in their editorial pages. In the March 2014 issue of Star magazine (with LeAnn Rimes on the cover), the gold and peach Somervell Necklace was featured in the “Hollywood’s Rocks” style article. The necklace looks terrific layered with the Christina Link Necklace or the Mae Necklace – both of which were designed to be worn together or separately. And the Somervell is also available in gold with clear stones or silver with grey stones.
The latest trend for spring? Citrine yellow. And sweatpants. Yep, wear fitted sweatpants with fun accessories for a flirty but sporty look for spring. The floral citrine Palm Springs Scarf from Stella & Dot was featured in O, the Oprah Magazine in the March 2014 issue, in the “Fancy Sweatpants” fashion article.
One of Stella & Dot’s best-selling pieces has a fabulous story behind it: Stella & Dot jewelry designer Blythe Harris molded the Chantilly Lace Cuff Bracelet & Earrings from a piece of lace material that she found from her grandfather’s late lace factory from the turn of the century.
The press loves the story and the design, too! The gold lace bracelet was recently featured in February 2014 issue of Better Homes & Gardens in their “Ace of Lace” fashion article as a perfect lace accessory for spring. Be sure to check out the matching earrings too!
Stella & Dot’s gold Paloma Stacked Rings were recently featured in the January 2014 issue of Glamour magazine with Claire Danes on the cover. The magazine suggested the gold rings for a simplistic work outfit. Get them HERE for just $49. Also available in silver.
Also in seen in the press pages is the silver Rhea Bangles from Stella & Dot. The bracelets were featured in a fashion spread in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Lucky with cover girl Keri Washington. The bangles come is a set of three, and are also available in gold and rose gold.
The editors of Country Living magazine love the Stella & Dot gold lace cuff so much, that they featured it in their gift ideas section in the December 2013/January 2014 issue. The lovely gold cuff bracelet was inspired by a piece of vintage lace from our jewelry designer’s grandfather’s lace factory in the turn of the century. See the equally gorgeous matching earrings HERE. Wear them both with last years LBD and you’ll be the hottest girl at the holiday party.
Stella & Dot’s new holiday jewelry collection is getting a lot of attention and its been recently featured in the December 2013 issue of InStyle magazine with lovely “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” star Jennifer Lawrence on the cover. The bejeweled Zora Necklace from Stella & Dot was featured as the perfect party necklace for the upcoming holiday season. I coudn’t agree more — pair it with last year’s LBD and your trusty pair of heels, and you’ll look smoldering.
It’s about time Stella & Dot’s tech accessories got a little love too! The leopard print iPad and laptop case was recently featured in the December 2013 gift issue of Redbook magazine with singer Carrie Underwood on the cover. The fashion mag actually featured the leopard case as a foldover clutch – a great double duty accessory!
Also featured in Redbook was Stella & Dot’s new Avalon Bracelet Clutch in cobalt blue (the hot color of the season!). The clutch strap can be removed and be worn as a double wrap leather bracelet – yet another double duty accessory! Hmm, I’m sensing a theme here…
It’s not just for Pi Beta Phi sorority girls. And it goes beyond the students, alumni and fans of FSU. The arrow has become a trendy, fun accessories trend! Stella & Dot’s delicate ‘On The Mark Arrow Necklace‘ has been a best-seller and has been spotted on tons of celebs and A-list stars. The delicate necklace is an exclusive piece from celeb jewelry designer Maya Brenner. It is a perfect gift for the holidays and comes in two metals: sterling silver and 14kt gold vermeil.
This article is originally from USA Today. Read it HERE.
LOS ANGELES — Some $2,000 worth of jewelry is spread out across the kitchen table and most will be purchased tonight here at Maya Brenner’s home. Both Brenner, the host, and the woman who staged this “trunk show” will get commissions for their efforts.
If this sounds like a traditional Tupperware or Avon party — friends make money by selling goods to their social network — it should. But there’s a twist: The enhanced online social followings of the digital age and new apps are being utilized to make fewer cold calls and more sales.
San Francisco-based jewelry and accessories retailer Stella & Dot updates the old model and considers itself a tech company. It has $37 million in investments from blue-chip venture firm Sequoia Capital, the company that helped seed Google, Apple, Yahoo, Dropbox, LinkedIn and Funny or Die.
“We’re a social-selling company,” says Stella & Dot founder and CEO Jessica Herrin.
Her salesforce — called “stylists” — use digital tools to sell Stella & Dot products. Each stylist has a distinct S&D website to do business with clients. At the trunk shows, they whip out their “Dottie” — that’s the name of the private S&D iPad app for stylists, who use it to show merchandise at the shows, and take orders.
S&D has struck a major chord with shoppers. It will ring in over $200 million in sales this year, up from $100 million just three years ago.
And Herrin predicts she’ll hit $1 billion in yearly sales before the decade is over.
(She has a long way to go to catch up to Avon, which reported sales of $11 billion in 2012.)
Alfred Lin, a partner with Sequoia and a Stella & Dot board member, says he was motivated to invest in the company because he was impressed with Herrin. She “is mission-driven, passionate, and full of energy. She has a wonderful ability to light up a room.”
The old-fashioned women’s network selling to each other has been around for years. The twist, and why it’s resonating today, is because women and society have changed so much, says Herrin.
The 1950s model of staging an afternoon party has been updated for women who are working, hauling their kids around from event to event and eager to socialize and unwind in the evening, she says.
Maggie Jackson, a vice president with New York-based researcher Center for Talent and Innovation, says Herrin has excelled at taking the old direct sales model and updating it with new technology. “She’s made direct sales appear to a certain younger, Gen X woman, by selling very fashionable jewelry through social media,” she says.
Herrin’s challenge: managing the company’s fast growth. “This is really fast. The challenge is continuing the growth model while also expanding at the same time.”
Herrin, who founded Wedding Channel, an early website that offered one-stop planning services to brides (it’s now owned by the Knot), was looking for the next opportunity when the inspiration for Stella & Dot hit in 2006. (The firm is named after the grandmothers of Herrin and her chief creative officer Blythe Harris.)
The idea wasn’t to do a modern Avon, but instead, emulate more contemporary companies like Creative Memories (scrapbooking) and Pampered Chef (selling cooking supplies).
“These were great experiences you couldn’t get in a retail store, for the modern woman,” she says. Even with the shift to online sales, “women wanted to gather, they wanted a group event.”
Because jewelry is generally housed under lock and key in retail stores, Herrin bet correctly that having items spread out on tables and available to try on and sample would have great appeal. (She’s since also added accessories, like handbags.)
Hillary Fogelson said the L.A. gathering was her first time attending such an event. With the emphasis on online shopping today, “it’s nice to have an event where it’s a party, and you can really put the jewelry on and see how it looks on you,” she says.
To become a Stella & Dot stylist, you pay from $200 to $500 for a kit that includes jewelry samples. Then you start working your social network to set up trunk shows at friends’ houses. The stylists and the friend both invite folks to attend. The stylist gets a commission for total sales of the evening, while the host gets free jewelry.
Items are shipped directly to the customer by Stella & Dot, eliminating the need for the stylist and hostess to have to buy inventory and deal with the hassle of shipping.
Herrin says yearly pay for a stylist can range from $50,000 to $300,000. The average profit for the stylist is at least $250-$300 per trunk show, Herrin says.
She has roughly 16,000 stylists. Some work full time, others seasonally. The whole idea is for women to be able to have a side business, she says. “We don’t have quotas. We’re about a business that’s there when she wants it to be.”
We all love Lara Spencer. We all love Good Morning America. And we all love Stella & Dot jewelry. So what’s not to LOVE about these pictures?!? News anchor Lara Spencer was spotted on yesterday and today’s GMA morning show wearing some Stella & Dot jewelry. Can you tell that she loves our product?? [ABC Good Morning America, Thursday October 24, 2013 and Friday, October 25, 2013]
One of my new favorite necklaces is the black Allegra Necklace from Stella & Dot. I recently wore it in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on my Stella & Dot incentive trip. It was lightweight enough to wear for an evening of dancing , in 90 degree heat and 100% humidity!
The Stella & Dot necklace was recently featured in the pages of Real Simple magazine in their November 2013 issue. The fashion magazine shows how you can transition this piece for fall, with a stripe sweater, fur vest, black skinnies & flats. A perfect casual fall outfit!
They are colorful, very affordable and a great way to add color to your summer wardrobe: the Julep Bangles from Stella & Dot are the go-to summer accessory. The bangles are just $19 each and come in four different colors: pink, blue, green and ivory enamel. Editors are taking notice, too, as the colorful bracelets were recently featured in the August 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine in their “Arm Candy” fashion article. Get one or a few–You will wear them all the time!
More drama. More makeout sessions. More cute clothes. What’s a girl to do!?! Oh, we an only watch in awe and live vicariously through Desiree’s Bachelorette shenanigans.
ABC’s The Bachelorette Desiree Hartsock was spotted wearing several Stella & Dot jewelry pieces on this past week’s episode as she took her eight remaining bachelors to romantic Barcelona [ABC, The Bachelorette, aired on Monday, July 1, 2013; Season 9, Episode 6].
Ahh, swoon. I would LOVE to see Spain! Where would you like to visit??
Des is wearing the gold Avalon Crescent Necklace from Stella & Dot jewelry (below) on her date with Drew. The pretty gold cut out necklace is just $39! She was also seen wearing this same necklace HERE during an interview with OMG! Insider.
Des wore the tiny gold arrow necklace (below) twice during the Week 6 episode of The Bachelorette. The gold On The Mark Necklace from Stella & Dot jewelry is only $59! (Silver also available for a mere $49).
Poor Des was crying over James during this episode. Dump him already! That’s all I got to say. But at least she looked cute. Des is wearing the blue Seychelles Chandelier Earrings, below, from Stella & Dot jewelry, just $44! She also wore these chandelier earrings on Jimmy Kimmel Live, seen HERE.
Stella & Dot’s visionary founder and CEO Jessica Herrin joined Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on The Today Show [NBC morning television show, The Today Show, aired Tuesday, June 25, 2013]. Today’s morning segment kicked off a special series called “Make It Happen Today.” Jessica chatted with Hoda and Kathie Lee about the Stella & Dot jewelry and accessories brand and how women across America can become their own entrepreneur by becoming a Stella & Dot Stylist.
One of my fave housewives Tamra Barney (now Tamra Judge as she married her beau Eddie Judge a few days ago! woo hoo!) has been spotted wearing several Stella & Dot jewelry pieces on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County. She was spotted wearing the Soiree Trio Cocktail Ring from Stella & Dot jewelry on last week’s episode where the housewives went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a bachelorette party weekend… Which of course involved strippers… And LOTS of drama. [Bravo TV, RHWOC; Episode 11, aired June 10, 2013]
Tamra and Gretchen had a heart-to-heart on the beach in PV and I spotted the Soiree Trio Ring on Tamra. I also love her white bathing suit and ripped bod. I mean, seriously, I need to check out her fitness studio. It is, after all, just a few miles away.
Fashion magazines has been loving Stella & Dot’s affordable luxury jewelry! Redbook magazine just recently featured the green jade Suzanne Cocktail Ring from Stella & Dot in its July 2013 issue with Jada Pinkett-Smith on the cover. The cocktail ring – just $39! – was featured in a “Fashion Under $50″ fashion article for summer. Get it HERE.
Spotted again! New bachelorette Desiree Hartsock is wearing Stella & Dot jewelry while making news appearances. Des was seen on E! News on Friday, June 7, 2013 wearing the delicate gold Valor Pendant Necklace from Stella & Dot jewelry as she talked bachelorette drama. [ ABCs The Bachelorette, season 9]
Des has it good. I mean, what girl wouldn’t want to spend her afternoon in a Jacuzzi with 15 half naked men? Really, REALLY good looking, half naked men, I may add. Sigh.
The new season of The Bachelorette continues to deliver the drama as Brian’s girlfriend comes forward, Brandon sobs his way home (to my neck of the woods, eh) and Ben continues to play the douche bag card. [ABC The Bachelorette, season 9, episode 3, aired Monday, June 10, 2013]
And of course Des continues to look freakin’ ah-dor-able. Damn her.
Get Desiree’s look for less with these budget options….
Desiree’s look on her group date tonight on The Bachelorette episode 3 is the epitome of boho chic. Des is wearing a white fringe sweater from Free People, now on sale. And her green cocktail ring is absolutely stunning. Get a similar look with the green Jade Camilla Ring from Stella & Dot jewelry.
Des wore a cute turquoise tank and white shorts with a long gold pendant (as Ben snuck out and got a secret ride with Des, ha!). Get a similar look with the gold Rebel Pendant Necklace from Stella & Dot jewelry.
The season is starting off with a bang, as tension already builds with two of the men in the bachelorette house (do you know which two I’m referring to?). Desiree Hartsock was spotted wearing some turquoise and gold jewelry from Stella & Dot on the second show of ABC’s hit TV show The Bachelorette. [ABC's The Bachelorette, Season 9, episode 2, aired on Monday, June 3, 2013]
Bachelorette Des Hartsock is wearing the delicate turquoise drop Sleeping Beauty Earrings from Maya Brenner Designs (pssst! Did you know that celeb jewelry designer Maya Brenner is a collaborator with Stella & Dot jewelry?!!?). Case in point: Des is wearing the turquoise Maya Necklace from Stella & Dot in this pic, above, from episode 2! And YES, it’s called the Maya Necklace because Maya Brenner herself designed this piece exclusively for Stella & Dot!
Bachelorette Des Hartsock’s hot pink tie waist dress from episode 2 is from Rory Beca, now on sale at Revolve Clothing.
ABC’s newest star of The Bachelorette visited news correspondent Michael Yo from OMG! Insider to dish about her feelings for the remaining men on the show. She wore a pretty turquoise sleeveless top (she really does love turquoise, doesn’t she?!?) with a sequin tribal print skirt and aztec-inspired gold jewelry.
Des Hartsock of The Bachelorette is wearing a sequin tribal print skirt from Haute & Rebellious. And considering it’s only $58, you don’t need to seek out a look-alike for less. Check out Des wearing the gold Avalon Crescent Necklace from Stella & Dot, also a total steal for just $39! Check out the turquoise Sunwashed Tank from Ann Taylor LOFT to complete the bachelorette look.
Have you seen the season finale of Nashville? Oh my Lord, it was GOOD!! I can’t wait for the new season to start… I want to see if Scarlett say yes to Gunnar’s proposal. And Rayna and Deacon’s car accident… Umm, whoa! So good!!
And I love how Nashville’s costume department has Scarlett wearing the same brown boots and silver necklace several times throughout the season. After all, Scarlett is a normal girl with a normal budget, and it only makes sense that she wear her clothing items more than once (ya know, like us real girls do).
She has been spotted on two episodes wearing the delicate silver arrow from Stella & Dot jewelry layered with longer pendant necklace.
Nashville character Scarlett O’Connor wearing the delicate silver On the Mark Arrow Necklace on season finale episode [ABC's TV show, Nashville, episodes 120 & 121; May 2013]
We are all falling in love with Desiree Hartsock, the newest bachelorette on ABC’s hit TV show The Bachelorette. Well, Des is hoping that one of her 25 suitors will fall in love with her too. I personally can’t wait to see what this season will have in store for us viewers.
Get Desiree’s cute Bachelorette look for less!
[From ABC The Bachelorette, season 9, premiere episode: Monday, May 27, 2013]
This bachelorette look that Des Hartsock wore on the season premiere is so cute!! I love the red dress and bold turquoise bracelet and ring. The bold enamel bracelet is the turquoise Crystal Opulence Hinged Bracelet from Joan Rivers for QVC. And the red dress is from Opening Ceremony.
The newest bachelorette Desiree Hartsock was recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live [ABC, Jimmy Kimmel Live; Tuesday, May 21, 2013] and Kimmel grilled the bachelorette star about her final decision and if the pair was still together. Des was mum about who she gave the final rose to, but isn’t so mum about her fashion choices.
And another season begins! Desiree Hartsock met her 25 bachelors last night on The Bachelorette season premiere, including one man clad in armor and another who was a little too handsy and made her feel especially uncomfortable when he asked her to go with him to the fantasy suite. Umm, no. EWW. [ABC's The Bachelorette, season 9, show premiere, Monday May 27, 2013]
The Wonderland Charm Necklace that Des wore on the Bachelorette season premiere is an exclusive piece from Stella & Dot’s collaboration with UK fashion designer Alice Temperley. The necklace can be worn 4 different ways, by removing the charms, wearing it doubled short or wearing it long.
Stella & Dot jewelry, as we know, has been an editor fave for years, and now their new handbag line is a media darling as well. The red ikat print How Does She Do It tote bag and the red ikat Getaway Bag have been featured in several fashion magazines as the hot new bags for summer.
The versatile ‘How Does She Do It’ bag is offered in five different colors & prints, and you can snap down the sides for a sleeker silhouette and a totally new look. It’s like two bags in one!
The Getaway Bag is the perfect vacation tote as you can carry it on the plane and then unzip it to expand to fit all your souvenirs!
Stella & Dot was featured on Good Morning America on ABC this morning [Friday, April 26, 2013; Good Morning America on ABC] in their “Deals and Steals” segment. The fashion brand has been featured on GMA several times before, being touted by Tory Johnson as a great company with which to earn extra income in a home-based business setting. [Seen here.] News anchor Lara Spencer of GMA (and NBC’s Natalie Morales and Kathie Lee of The Today Show, in true competitive fashion) have also been seen wearing Stella & Dot jewelry on air.