Archive of ‘Behind the Scenes’ category

Employee Appreciation Day

Today is Employee Appreciation Day!  I have been planning for a few weeks what I was going to do for my wonderful staff and I “came up with” (otherwise known as – took from pinterest) a winning lottery ticket theme!  I love the people who work for me and I know Swagger wouldn’t be the same without them.  I have always thought of my staff more as family than employees, and although I hope they know how much I appreciate them, it is always great to tell them!  And what better day than Employee Appreciate Day – right?:)

Here are the bags I am giving them today!  Contents: a lottery ticket, 100 grand candy bars and chocolate gold coins!

employee-appreciation-gifts

My daughter even stopped playing with her shopkins to help put them together:)

kennedy-employee-appreciate

I have a quote hanging in my house that says ” There will always be a reason why you meet people.  Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.”  All my Swagger girls (past and present) have changed my life and been a highlight in one way or another.  I am so grateful for all of them!

Now I’m headed to go deliver these and pray that somebody wins a bunch of money!!

love-mandy

Snow Day Prep

I’m not gonna lie – I love a snow day!  Besides the “my store isn’t open so I’m not making any money” aspect – it doesn’t get much better than a day full of sledding, hot cocoa and Netflix marathons. That is until you have three days of it!

Day one is full of cute pics and snowballs fights and making cookies,

kandme-scarf

but by the middle of day 2 your kid is like I’M SO BORED!  Of course that is why most parents I know go to the wine store before getting bread and milk when the threat of an ice storm hits, but I digress. 😉

So… after this past weekend I’ve realized that I need to be more prepared for the next Snow/Ice Storm!  My family was lacking in the food and fun stuff to do categories, so I decided to get prepared for the next one, because we all know there is going to be a next one!

I created this board on pinterest, {snow style}, to help me get prepared.  I am super excited about Magic Snow, Indoor snow trays (I’m sure the shopkins would enjoy that-ha), and Snow Dough!  These activities should give me at least one more day of snowy bliss:)!

My other goal is to purchase the ingredients for meals and put them in the back of my pantry or freezer so I have them in advance and am ready!    Here are two I pinned for Taco Soup and French Dip Sandwiches.  I know the sandwiches are good because I made them for Christmas Eve and there are just 3 ingredients – beef, beef consommé, and rolls – jackpot!

Here’s to our next snow day – may we all be prepared and not bored!

love-mandy

G105 Radioathon for Bob’s Buddies

This year Swagger’s Annual Holiday Open House preview night benefitted Bob’s Buddies.  When I was approached by this organization as a potential beneficiary and learned the story about how Bob’s Buddies started, I knew Swagger had to help be a part of such a worth while cause.  Bob’s Buddies raises money for the pediatric brain cancer foundation and 100% of all donations goes to researching a cure!

I want to thank you to all of our loyal and amazing customers who came out on Thursday November 5th to shop for a cause!  The event was sold out weeks before the event and so many people told me how this event was how they kicked off their holiday shopping season!

I am honored and blessed to be able to help causes such as this through my small business, but I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of you, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

This Wednesday, November 25th at 8 am (ish) – I will be on G105 presenting the check from our fundraiser to Bob, Erica and the rest of the showgram, so listen in to see how much we all raised for these kids!

love-mandy

To market, To market

Well that was a whirlwind trip!  I absolutely love going to market – one of my favorite parts of my job – but WOW – I always feel like I got run over by a truck when I get back.  And let’s not mention the 5 lbs I usually gain from eating chocolate continuously for a week just to keep my energy up… I am seriously in food detox, but I want to eat my arm off right now. Entry back into the real world is always painful:/

This is what my store manager, Susan, and I looked like on Day 1 – it seems like an eternity ago – not just a week.  We look so fresh and ready to buy, don’t we?!  You should see us both at work today – ha!

Everyone always wonders what it is like to go to market.  Fun, of course.  But also stressful and lots of long hours.  Just ask Susan – I didn’t feed her dinner – TWICE – during the January market because we were writing orders so late.  I took it easier on her this time though – we even got to have dinner with my husband and little girl one night who were in town visiting my inlaws – so fun!

People ask me a lot of questions about buying at market – the tops ones are: What does market look like?  How do you buy?  How do you know what to buy?

I thought I would answer these for you today!
What does market look like?  Here is a pic inside one of the buildings of Americasmart.  And this one is the smallest!  There are 2 other buildings that are 18 stories high and a full city block each.  I go to market for 6 days and still can’t see everything!  The advice I got from a seasoned buyer on my very first trip to market in 2002 was this, “Look in every nook and cranny – that’s where you can find some hidden gems.” And I try really hard to do that – every market!

americasmartbldg3

How do you buy? Because market is so big, I adopted the policy early on that if I see a line I like I will buy it.  I know a lot of people get pamphlets or take notes and come back to their favorites at the end of the show or they buy when they get home, but that just doesn’t work for me.  I figure if I can’t pull the trigger while I’m standing there, I don’t love it and I need to move on.  I purchase items for the 6 months following that particular market and work off an Open To Buy budget plan that I create based on sales numbers from the previous year.  There is a lot of work and planning that goes in way before I step on a plane!  I really don’t know how business owners buy if they don’t have a point of sale system with reporting.  I guess that is the engineer in me – but I love numbers – they don’t lie and they are very helpful in making decisions!

How do you know what to buy? This is a tricky one.  I just do.  That’s not to say I haven’t made mistakes before.  I’ve gotten a couple lines in over the years that I LOVED, but apparently no one else felt the same way and almost all of it went on sale.  Which is a bummer.  A BIG bummer.  But knowing when to say when and actually putting the items on sale is a characteristic of a good retailer.  Cry Uncle, give yourself a pat on the back (you tried) and get out your red pen!  You certainly don’t want to hang on to stale merchandise.  The key is to have more buying successes than failures, and the key to that is to listen to your customers!  Our customers have been asking for House of Harlow necklaces for the last 6 months, so I purchased the line this time! So if you want one – please come to Swagger!:)

house-of-harlow-at-swagger

I’m glad to be back in North Carolina, but I’ve got to enter in all my orders and follow up on the 900 emails I received while I was gone!  I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any other questions for me comment below and I will try my best to answer them!

love-mandy

Let’s Do This!

I’ve been talking about starting this blog for months and today is the day!  I’m really not a procrastinator, so I’m not sure what has been taking me so long!

My two loves!

My two loves!

Here’s a little back story:

I followed my dream of opening a gift boutique in 2002.  Now almost 13 years later, my business has expanded into a 3000 square foot gift AND clothing boutique with an online presence at http://www.shopswaggernow.com.  My family has also expanded to include a little girl who was born in 2012!

Life is amazing and I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love, help support my family and work with an amazing group of women.  I wanted to start writing this blog about my life to give a glimpse into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, mother, wife, house owner, friend, daughter, etc.  To find out more about how I became “The Monogrammed Fashionista” please click here!

I will try not to be too long winded, but I can’t make any promises:)  If you knew me you’d understand…  Everyone in my family is a talker! And since I write like I talk you can see the problem – ha!

So here goes!  And please comment below with your blog – I’d love to follow you too!

love-mandy