Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Women with Wine on Wednesdays

A good friend of mine, and a small business entrepreneur started an inspirational gathering called Women with Wine on Wednesdays. The goal of the WWW network is to bring an amazing group of women together for the sole purpose of inspiring each other.

The evening looks something like this: a casual, but energetic forum for women to share items that have inspired and/or motivated them personally or professionally, all while enjoying their favorite wines.

The inspiration takes many forms; a quote, a fabulous book they have read, a person, experience or a story. I’m sure the stories get more colorful as more wine is poured.

Are you looking for camaraderie and motivation? How about hosting your own WWW event with your circle of friends or neighbors? May I suggest a fine Chianti?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Drumroll Please…

For years I’ve honed my marketing and advertising skills to develop concise and effective creative briefs. Creating a logo for my business was no different than playing Account Manager for one of my clients. I needed to stay focused with singular intent. I needed to ask myself probing questions to get to the heart of what I wanted my logo to convey- emotionally and rationally. I needed to take stock of my company today, and where I want it to be 5 and 10 years in the future. Then I needed to sit back and watch the creative process unfold.

The weeks that followed were exciting and fruitful. Not only was I working with a trusted and talented designer, but for the first time I was taking stock in myself as the “client”. Was I clearly communicating my expectations? Did I respond in the timely manner that I had promised? Was I providing effective feedback? Was I trusting my designer to the design and why I hired him in the first place?

Putting yourself in your client’s shoes is a great exercise to remind you of what you respect about a good working relationship. If you’re in retail, go through the purchase process on your website a few times a year and see what your customers are seeing. Is there anything you would change to make the experience better? If you’re in a service industry, have you ask for feedback from your vendors and clients? Find out if they enjoyed working with you. Did you get the sense that they would work with you again? Ask them if there is anything that you can improve to make the relationship work better for them.

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, Clients, Potential Future Clients,… I am proud to introduce you to the SleeveShirt Consulting logo!

What is old becomes new again.

One of our childhood holiday staples: The Sears Wish Book catalog. I can remember hoarding the book away from my brothers and dog-earing pages so that I could effectively complete my list for Santa. This year Sears, in addition to issuing a printed version of the Wish Book (I didn’t get mine, did you?), issued an interactive version to allow customers to turn virtual pages online.

"For years the Sears Holiday Wish Book has brought Christmas to life for kids of all ages, and made holiday shopping easier and more fun for our customers," said Imran Jooma, senior vice president for Online at Sears Holdings. "While there is still a printed version of the Wish Book, the new interactive version puts a new twist on an old tradition and brings even more value to our customers by allowing them to easily browse and shop online at their convenience."

What took you so long Sears? Novel idea- using the internet to suppor one of your most highly anticipated tactics of the entire year.

In a surprising flip, one of the most respected online retailers of our time, (recently acquired by has mailed 750,000 copies of a printed catalog. Their goal is to re-engage with lapsed online consumers as well as to appeal to those who are more inclined to the paper medium versus a pixilated one.

“Different people respond to different media,” said Aaron Magness, director for brand marketing and business development at in Henderson, Nev. According to Mr. Magness, Zappos is planning a spring catalog for 2010 and perhaps others with themes like “weddings, in June, or housewares, around Thanksgiving.”

Sears is backing away from print, is moving towards it. How long before the two retailers find the balance and maximize marketing bang for their buck? I can’t wait to see…but first, I have to go shopping.