Monday, June 27, 2011

On the Sunny Side of Life

A friend recently commented that I have such a positive outlook on life, and asked me where it comes from?  I've never considered myself to be overly optimistic. Although I believe that what you send out into the world comes back to you in one way, shape or form, I also have a cynical and sometimes negative side.

Self-doubt can put you in that dark place from time to time, and I believe it's okay to go there, as long as you make it a short stay.  Bring a nightlight.  Or at least your smart-phone, because when the Negative-Police allow you one phone call, you're gonna need to reach out for a life-line.

How do you lift yourself out of a funk? Meditation? Journaling about your stressful situation?  A brisk walk to shake off the bad ju-ju's?  What about heading to your local florist and setting a bouquet on your desk so you have some fresh, fragrant inspiration?

When I'm in a funk I know that I have three to four go-to people that I can call to bail me out.  A quick laugh, some levity and a reminder that I'm so lucky for what I have and before I know it, I'm being released on good behavior.  Whatever you choose to do to alleviate the negativity, remember to keep working at it until you see the sunny side of life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Lynda Stenge, Blanche Agency

For this months Spotlight we would like to introduce you to a small business owner out of Los Angeles who has fearlessly transitioned out of Corporate America to build her very own agency.  What I love about Lynda Stenge and Blanche Agency is their unique mission to strategically align brands with the music and entertainment industry. Read on to be inspired by one of Lynda's most memorable campaigns and to hear what advice she has for women thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship!

Tell us a little about how Blanche was born. 
Blanche Agency, which is a marketing agency that creates promotions, partnerships and social media campaigns for brands and the entertainment industry, was born after I was laid off from my corporate gig, it was a downsizing thing.  I love what I do and couldn't imagine not doing it anymore especially with my wonderful clients.  After working in the corporate world for over 12 years and going through company downsizings, corporate structure changes, unpleasant bosses, having my hands tied to expand in new territories, I knew it was time for me to branch out on my own.  Because of the level of service I have always delivered when working at various other companies, I called my clients, most of whom I had been working with for years and asked if they wanted to continue working with me at a new company, they all said yes.  Without missing a beat and a seamless transition for them, Blanche Agency was born the Monday after I was laid off.    

You say that your business thrives on doing things different.  How does Blanche Agency accomplish that goal?
There are several ways we do things differently.  First and foremost, client service is most important.  As the President and owner of Blanche Agency, I personally work with each client, they know they can reach me 24/7.  Additionally, if a client wants or needs a service that might be outside of our offerings instead of refusing to help them or sending them off blindly, we will do the research, find what they need and offer them those options - they know that no matter what they may want, we will find the solution that best fits their needs. Our clients appreciate that we will work outside of our comfort zone to help them accomplish their goals.  Another way we are different is that our fee structure is affordable, we don’t charge clients  based on corporate “overhead”.  As a small business, we can accomplish the same goals and deliver the same results as a large corporation yet we make it much more cost effective.  Again, our clients appreciate knowing they get incredible service when they need it, they know that we will find a solution for what they want and we make it affordable.  Blanche Agency changes the rules and delivers the highest quality service and opportunities to our clients whether you are a major brand, a small business or an entertainment client!

What was your most memorable, innovative campaign and why?
That’s a great question and a tough one to answer.  We have created so many fantastic campaigns and promotions that it is hard to pick the most memorable however if I must choose one, I think the “Share The Secret About Hunger” campaign we created and executed was rather memorable.  One of our fashion retail clients wanted to do an in-store and online campaign that would excite and engage customers while giving back to the communities where their stores were located.  We partnered them with the band OneRepublic, who are supporters and very active with Feeding Americathe nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, supplying food to more than 37 million Americans each year.  This campaign was very integrated and included several components including but not limited to; In-store signage, food bins in 190+ stores, exclusive videos made for this campaign by OneRepublic, email blasts, text message blasts, social media marketing, 25% off coupons for every donation, exclusive OneRepublic CDs, a win a trip to see and meet the band,  iPods, gift cards and signed CDs were all part of the campaign to raise awareness as well as excite and engage customers.  This one was especially memorable because the goal was to raise enough funds and collect enough food to provide 100,000 meals for Feeding America, through this campaign our client exceeded their goal by providing 165,000 meals!  Working with a band or artist that is relevant to your customers, creating a fun and engaging campaign with a call to action makes for an incredibly successful campaign!  We were very proud to have put this campaign together - working with an incredible band, doing something good for those in need and seeing the incredible ROI our client received!

What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? 
I think the thing I enjoy most about being an entrepreneur is that there are no rules, no boundaries…  I can do anything I want, meaning I can branch out, I can take risks to make things happen and I don’t have to “play” within a corporate structure!  I have been able to do so many interesting, fun, creative things by not having boundaries.  A saying I use quite often “We are only limited by our imagination”!

How do you stay motivated? 
I stay motivated by my clients.  By nature I am a very driven individual and I love to think of new and innovated ways to help brands and small businesses create engagement, drive loyalty and ultimately increase sales in fun non-traditional ways.  In my humble opinion, there is no better way to stay motivated than to know your expertise will help achieve the goals of those you work with.

What is your advice for females who are thinking about starting their own business?
My advice for females who are thinking about starting their own business - Go for it but be smart.  I was fortunate to have clients already so if you do not have clients or a built in customer base, be smart and make a plan on how you are going to achieve this.  Build a business plan of what you want to do and the tools you will need to get there.  That being said, I believe that the most successful businesses are those that are run by people doing what they love so if you are doing what you love, you will only be limited by your own imagination… 

To contact Lynda and Blanche Agency, visit, tweet her or email

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beep, Beep

Did you hear that? Yep, it's the sound of me tooting my own horn.  (thank you Danielle for the great blog inspiration)  Although it may feel outside of your comfort zone, you have to promote yourself in order to get ahead.  You are your best cheerleader.

So if you've landed a big sale- make sure your manager is aware. If you've solved a complex challenge- don't be shy about alerting your colleagues. If you've won an award, tell the world.  Which leads me to my shameless self promotion.  I haven't been writing as much on my blog as I normally do because I've been busy! After years of honing my writing skills on creative briefs, I'm happy to report that I've been contributing to many articles on networking, etiquette and strategies for entrepreneurs.  I've even been asked to be a contributor to an upcoming book for young professionals.  I'm thrilled that my words are being received so well, but I promise to keep blogging so you'll know all about SleeveShirt's endeavors.

For now- please check out the Buzz section on our website to see what I've been up to.  Beep, Beep!