Lifestyle 10 April 2017
A cutting edge business plan in today’s crowded marketplace must be more than simply spreadsheets, quarterly growth and profit margins. True success is measured by collectively using every avenue available for growing a vibrant community of customers, suppliers, distributors and artisans, and committing to a corporate culture of trust, quality and compassion. When I found Nashelle Jewelry and learned of their long-standing track record of doing all the right things, I fell in love.
As the new managing partner for Nashelle Jewelry, I firmly embrace the company’s signature mission of donating one plate of food for every piece of jewelry sold. I strongly believe that all responsible business entities have a unique calling to give back to our society in a tangible and meaningful way. Our company has a targeted legacy of providing those in need with nutritional help through a variety of nonprofit, neighborhood-based programs including Feeding America and NeighborImpact.
When Heather, my friend and business partner, first started Nashelle Jewelry in 1999, her goal was to use her talent simply to make enough money to support herself and her children. She wrapped jewelry in her living room, marketed at local festivals and was an iconic presence at a makeshift table with a handmade sign in the town square of Bend, Oregon. Word quickly spread throughout the region about her beautiful creations and enamored shoppers stood in line to purchase her newest designs. Often, a local bride would have Heather design a unique necklace to perfectly complement the theme, dress and style for her wedding day.
Not surprisingly, given Heather’s talent and popularity in her hometown, word spread through the Northwest about this budding, young jewelry designer, and over the past 17 years, she has been featured in major publications such as Vogue, Glamor and Cosmopolitan. Her stunning creations have graced the runways of major fashion weeks and star-studded award ceremonies across the globe and are carried in thousands of independent retailers and specialty boutiques. Heather’s keen eye for beauty grew a very successful business in a very competitive marketplace.
In tandem with Nashelle’s increasing popularity and profits, Heather made a heartfelt and courageous decision that she wanted to share her company’s success with children and families in need of the very basics of life. As a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur, she deftly focused on the needs of low-income families and banked in karma the knowing smiles of her children as they learned by her example with every dollar she passed along.
While Heather was busy creating Nashelle Jewelry, I was working on growing my own companies in a variety of industries, including retail sales of children’s clothes, a restaurant, a rapid delivery shipping company and investment real estate. My favorite business ventures are those where I have the opportunity to form connections with passionate, creative, smart entrepreneurs with crystal clear visions of what they want their business to become. It’s a unique personal bonus when I have a piece of the marketing puzzle from my own past experiences coupled with the financial resources to be able to help extraordinary people achieve their goals.
Nashelle Jewelry came to my attention in 2014 through social media after I recognized and respected many of the people who were commenting on, liking and promoting this unique brand. Surprisingly, I learned that Heather was also a product of Juneau, Alaska, and we had even attended the same high school. It’s fun to follow and celebrate success stories from your “homies,” and I was immediately drawn to Nashelle’s no-frills mission of giving back. I contacted her and congratulated her on the success of her brand, letting her know that if she were ever looking for investors, I would like to explore that opportunity.
We started following each other through social media, discovering that we both were newly married with large families. (We have 11 kids between the two of us!) It was fun to keep up with the posted adventures of our two families, and I stayed keenly aware of Nashelle’s progress.
By 2016, Nashelle found ever greater success in worldwide markets and was filling more plates of food than Heather had ever dreamed of, but growth offers new and often unforeseen challenges. Heather reached out to me last December during a stressful Christmas season and told me that she was ready to talk about taking on investors to help manage the remarkable growth of the business.
My husband and I journeyed to Bend just after Christmas and met Heather and her family for the first time. I immediately knew that she was the exact person with whom I wanted to be in business. Most impressive was her dedication to the mission of donating “one plate of food for every piece of jewelry sold,” which was fulfilled even during times when she wasn’t able to take a paycheck for herself. That sacrifice was one of many she made to maintain the integrity of her business culture during the 17 years of growing her brand.
When we first sat down to discuss the vision for the future of Nashelle, we immediately agreed that growth and profits, while critically important, are secondary to promoting the charitable mission on which Nashelle was built. In early 2017, Heather and I decided to write the next chapter of Nashelle as a partnership, and we are diving headfirst into our respective roles. Heather is, and always will be, the designing force and creative director behind the brand. I have taken over the day-to-day management of the business activities to support the ongoing sales and growth. Nashelle is rapidly approaching 500,000 plates of food donated, and with significant orders and new large retail partnerships coming online every day, we hope to sustain and expand this effort exponentially in the years to come.
Being a woman in business isn't easy. The constant demands of family along with the pressures that we all put on ourselves daily to succeed in business is a tough rodeo ride. We are all striving to be the best mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter and business partner we can be. The task is often overwhelming. One solution I’ve found to that relentless nagging feeling of “I’m not doing anything well enough” is to build my own daily report card on two strategies that are at the very core of my professional career.
The first criteria for my well-being is to support amazing women in their kaleidoscope of daily tasks by making sure that we can always share openly those irksome pressure points that we face around every corner, every day. I work diligently at creating and refining a personal culture of compassion and uncompromising support for those women experiencing the very real fears of failing to be perfect in everything we do.
The second component of a meaningful life is in finding creative and business-friendly ways for giving back. My own investment of time and resources into Nashelle has been one of the most emotionally rewarding ventures of my career. Sharing success with others in need of your skills and resources goes together like a wink and a smile. It just feels good to give back to those who haven’t found their own path to success yet.
2 Min Read
It all started when I began documenting my daughter's 436-day hospital stay on Instagram.
She was a perfectly healthy 3-year-old and out of nowhere had a ruptured appendix made worse by a failed immune system. Sepsis began to consume her body and talking about it on social media was my way to cope with the fear of the unknown.
The doctors saved her life that night in January of 2018, but it was touch and go for a while until the doctors decided she was ready for a bone marrow transplant.
By then my daughter Theresa and our family had gained attention locally and nationally because of the rarity of her disorder. It doesn't even have a name. People would comment day and night on my Instagram posts wanting updates about how she was doing and wanting to see her on video.
View this post on Instagram436+ days in the hospital with Theresa taught me how to prepare to be productive during shelter in place . When you really couldn't go anywhere often while in the hospital . Not like there was anywhere TO GO... just waiting day in and day out for answers that took a long while . Didn't want to venture out much because didn't want to get Theresa sick . It feels VERY similar to now. Little within your control no matter how much you'd panic and worry . You realize you can see this as an opportunity for growth or an opportunity to let fear and worry consume you . . Let me give you my best advice on how to tackle shelter in place, from someone who gets it all too well . . 1️⃣ Develop your new routine: some may say to keep your normal routine but chances are we've gotta adapt things, like training schedules and coaching calls to fit with the fact the kiddos are home 😅 . 2️⃣ Fill your cup first: get an iced latte, take a walk, take a nap, whatever you gotta go to feel your best before you pour into working on your new project or content . 3️⃣ communicate: talk to your spouse and kiddos and ask for their support in your balancing life, family and work. Ask what they need from you right now and share how they can best support you . 4️⃣ Create as much as you consume: it's easy to get sucked into scrolling and the next thing you know the sun has set ☀️ set a timer ⏱ to step away from your tiktok for you page (just me? 😂😂) to write an email or post to your IG feed . 5️⃣ dont try to do it all alone: it's a crazy time and your feelings are valid. You don't have to navigate this by yourself. Ask for help, reach out... you know I always have your back❤️. . . Comment below: what are you up to this weekend?
A post shared by Kayla - LAUNCHING EXPERT (@kaylaybanez) on Mar 21, 2020 at 4:04pm PDT
It was in the Fall of 2018 when people started to ask me how I was doing certain things on Instagram. I didn't realize how good I had become at utilizing hashtags, posting easily digestible content and building up a loyal community around my daughter's journey to health.
I realized that the months I spent learning everything I could about using Instagram the way I had been, gave me skills that small businesses and online personal brands would pay for. For the longest time this was a way to make myself feel normal (because living in the hospital for over a year isn't normal) and now, people were ready to pay me. It was a surreal experience.
I started by offering one time consultations and the more demand increased, the more I realized that I had a very specific niche in mind. I wanted to help online business owners use Instagram to make genuine business connections without spamming or "cold messaging" them.
I made it my personal brand to "stop the 'hey girl' messaging movement," which is essentially the unfortunate standard of small business owners randomly messaging anyone they cross paths with online and asking them if they want to purchase their products.
Especially while we were in the hospital I would receive dozens of spam messages a day from people trying to sell me their products without even taking a moment to look at my page to see what my family has been going through let alone learn my name. That's where the "hey girl" comes from, because they couldn't even be bothered to look at the name on my page.
I called out these sleazy business tactics because I believe social media is meant for true relationship building and connection.
My message took off! My personal brand has become instantly recognizable because I am speaking out about things business owners feel but have been afraid to talk about because nobody else was talking about it — as a result, my business boomed!
I went from focusing on working with people 1:1 into working with more group coaching. This allowed me to scale my business to the point of making over $300,000 in revenue since I started in the fall of 2018, all from a system and strategy I created while in my daughter's hospital room.