You know that phenomenon where as soon as you hear about something, someone, or some trend, all of a sudden, you notice it everywhere? Like when I first heard about Stella & Dot a few months ago, I had never been exposed to the wonder that is jewelry trunk shows. Then Stella & Dot stylist Christina Welch spoke at an Fashion Group International function where I was a part of the panel as well. From that moment on, I have heard everyone from co-workers to girlfriends raving about how cute and stylish their pieces are. They were an exhibitor at VISIONS: The Women’s Expo where K was a guest speaker, and I’ve even seen their work featured on tv, online, and maybe even a billboard or two! Seriously, if this isn’t a sign I need some new jewelry, I don’t know what is…
After the FGI Fall Trends Panel, Christina reached out to Haute in Texas and we were ecstatic at the chance to sit down and chat with her about just what makes Stella & Dot such a phenomenon. Her Facebook page is here and if you’re in the market for some new jewelry or just an excuse to party with the gal pals, Christina will take care of you! P.S. Isn’t she gorgeous?!
Haute in Texas: Stella & Dot seems like a really amazing company to work for. Tell us a little bit about how they work and how you got started with them!
Christina Welch: Well, you’re right. Stella & Dot is amazing! Based in San Francisco, with design offices in New York, Stella & Dot is a social selling company that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women. Our boutique-style jewelry and accessories line is available exclusively through in-home Trunk Shows by Independent Stylists like me and online on my website. The heart of Stella & Dot is the private trunk show ~ women get together over coffee or wine, I bring the jewels, and then they shop with me as their personal stylist for a couple hours. It’s loads of fun, no presentations, just girlfriends getting together. We thank our hostesses with free product and half-off shopping, an average of $250 free! As stylists, we also have the opportunity to layer our business by sponsoring other stylists and building sales organizations of our own by sharing the style and coaching our new stylists to do what we do.
So you ask, how did I get started? Before kids, I managed the regional PR and special events programs for Macy’s West in Texas. After my first son was born and I was home with him for about a year, my book “Wear To Shop” (a fashion guide to San Antonio) was published. At that time, I dipped my toe into doing freelance events and public relations with the CE Group ~ a fabulous local event marketing agency ~ for exciting events like the 2008 NCAA Men’s Final Four, an art exhibit featuring artifacts from the Vatican, and the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, to name a few. But I really missed my fashionable roots, and one day, I was online while my boys were napping, I stumbled into Stella & Dot. This was back in 2008, no one had heard of Stella & Dot, and I was intrigued, but slightly cautious. To be honest, I never thought I’d have a job where I’d be out doing home parties! My apprehension changed dramatically when I read about the savvy team that was behind this company, and I KNEW that Stella & Dot was something special that would revolutionize the way one aspect of business was done in America. With our Founder, Jessica Herrin’s, vision, entrepreneurial record and her wild success with WeddingChannel.com, our Chief Creative Officer, Blythe Harris’, insane design talent and pedigree, and our Chairman Mike Lohner’s business acumen, I put myself through this filter: would I regret NOT doing Stella & Dot. My answer was a resounding yes. I immediately joined, and as they say, the rest is history. Today, I not only offer private trunk shows, but my team and I have built an international sales organization of close to 900 stylists from New York to Hawaii, and we’ve just welcomed our first stylists in the United Kingdom. I have built my business by following the simple formula that Stella & Dot has set forth: share the irresistible style through private trunk shows, share the opportunity to be a stylist with all, and then coach and mentor those stylists to the level of success they desire, whether it be to make a few extra hundred dollars a month or to make a 6-figure income.
HIT: What are the various ways a girl can get access to Stella & Dot jewelry? Is it just trunk shows, or are there online options, catalogs, etc?
CW: Trunk shows, online, look books, we have it all! As stylists, we go into business with a world-class e-commerce site (mine is www.stelladot.com/christina), we have gorgeous Look Books that will make you feel like you’re reading In Style (I’m happy to mail one on request), and then the jewelry comes to life when you get to see and share it in person via a trunk show.
HIT: What would you say to someone who says they could never sell for a living or do a hostess-type gig like Stella & Dot?
CW: Since I was this girl, I can speak to this firsthand. Part one: selling. No special experience is required, so if you think you need to know how to sell, you don’t! If you love the jewelry, want to get out and earn a little extra money, and you’re willing to learn, we’ve got the training and support that can help you soar! Part two: hosting. I may be biased, here, but it’s a no-brainer! Getting together with girlfriends over irresistible jewelry and handbags, and at the end of the night, you’ve got free jewelry? My philosophy on selling and hosting is that I want every guest to find what they love. If they love a pair of $29 earrings or if they love $500 worth of jewels, as long as I’ve helped style them, find what they love, I’m happy because they’re happy.
HIT: What’s your favorite accessory that you own and why?
CW: My wedding ring. I’ve got an amazing husband who loves me, believes in me, and supports me. Without him, I would not have what I have not just with Stella & Dot, but in life.
HIT: Awww! If you had to pick one piece of jewelry to completely change your look, what would you pick and why?
CW: I believe in the power of a fabulous statement necklace. It can transform last year’s LBD into a showstopper or make your tee and jeans go from simple to stylish in a snap.
HIT: What’s the best part about your job?
CW: I love that I am a part of building a global brand that is innovative and that is not only stylish, but that has the power to allow women to style their own lives and change their world. We’re really in the business of joy. Knowing that I’ve made someone a little happier by finding the perfect necklace, by seeing the look on a hostess’ face when I tell her she’s earned $500 in free jewelry; coaching a stylist on my team to success that will help her family’s bottom line, pay for a shoe habit, or allow her to leave a full-time job to be home with her kids…that’s what I love. Personally speaking, I thank my lucky stars every day that I took the leap of faith back in 2008. Today, I have a flexible career that allows me to be professionally fulfilled, have some fun, and be the mom and wife I want to be. I’ve got a dream job. It’s work, but it’s all worth it.
HIT: Last but not least, a Haute in Texas tradition: Pancakes or waffles?
Adorable, right? And we don’t just mean the pictures, but Christina, too! Be on the lookout for a Stella & Dot giveaway here at Haute in Texas soon!