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Smarter Stella Dot Sampling Stella Dot Spring 2016 Collection Stella Dot Stylist tips and tricks What should I sampleThis is a special article for all my fellow Stella & Dot stylists…

EEK!  It’s time for another Stella & Dot line launch!

Are you excited yet?

No doubt, if you’re anything like me, you’ve watched the webcast, re-watched it, and then watched it again!  Now, you’re counting down the days (hours, minutes) to sampling like a kid counts down to Christmas!

You are beyond ready for the newest infusion of completely fabulous, on-trend, and ingeniously designed jewels and accessories from Blythe and her dream team.

You’ve marked up your new line sheet and mentally finagled how you’re going to sell your first born be able to get at least half of the 60 new SKUs!

Because You. Want. It All.

Like, yesterday.

If you’ve been a stylist for a while now (I’m working on my 3rd year), you know you’ve got a problem.  If you’re a newbie, don’t worry, you’re likely still in denial.

Stella & Dot product is addictive.

I think we can all agree on that.

It’s a great thing!  It’s what keeps us engaged, keeps our customers in love and coming back for more, but it can truly put us behind in our businesses.

Well, it’s time for a sampling intervention!

That’s right!  Just think of me as your sparkly, little voice of reason saying, “Don’t sample that, girl!”

smarter sampling stella dot spring 2016 collection pavilion necklace stella dot stylist tips and tricks
Above original pics from SydneStyle.com

This will be my 9th major collection launch since becoming a Stella & Dot stylist, and after making every sampling mistake in the book, I’ve finally learned what it takes to be a smarter sampler!

So, sit down and pour yourself a nice glass of wine, cause this might get a little painful.

But, I promise, once you start sampling smarter you’re going to see your bottom line grow!  Which means you get to stay at this gig longer and have less stress along the way!

In this article I’m going to show you:

  • how much you should invest in new samples
  • the three ways to fund your sampling
  • an easy system of ranking your prospective samples with a handy-dandy FREE PRINTABLE WORKSHEET (yipee!)

Download your worksheet here: Smarter Stella Dot Sampling Worksheet

The great news is you still have plenty of time to edit your wish list before sampling opens in a few days!

So, let’s do this!

WAIT!  DOES THIS EVEN APPLY TO YOU?

If you’re in this as a hobbyist or you’re a full-time stylist with a strong team, you have my full permission to stop reading this and keep on keeping on!  Pass this article on to a fellow stylist or to your downline and sample to your heart’s content!

But, if you’re like the majority of stylists (myself included) who use Stella & Dot as a side business, and flex in and out, over-sampling (or chronically sampling the wrong pieces) can crush your bottom line, quick!

If you are a career level Associate stylist or below, then this article was written for you, so read on!

ARE YOU SAMPLING IN THE PRESENT?

The first step in this intervention is identifying what kind of stylist you are today.

Not who you dream to be, not what you were 6 months ago, not what your Q1 goal rank is, or the fact that you plan on completely rocking it out with 20 trunk shows next month.

What have you done in the last 90 days?  Where are you in your business right now?

The answers to these questions are going to dictate how much you should invest in sampling for the new collection.

Stella & Dot 2016 Collection Highly Addictive Jewels Stella & Dot warningHOW MUCH SHOULD YOU INVEST IN NEW SAMPLES?

I advise investing no more than 20% of your quarterly earnings into sampling for the next season.  Ideally, you want to be closer to 10%. 

Why?

Well, since we are 1099 contractors we have to reserve our own taxes.  Jessica has recommended 30% of earnings, to be conservative.  So, adding another 20% for sampling, leaves us with 50% of our earnings in profit.  Which, let’s face it, should be an absolute minimum if we are not treating this as a hobby.

It’s super-easy to find out how much you should invest out-of-pocket (remember there are other funding sources we will be going over too).  Just add up your commissions form the last 3 months and take 20% of that number.

EXAMPLE:  You earned $350 in commissions last quarter (by making $1500 in sales).  20% of $350 is $70.  So, you should invest no more than $70 in new samples.

This needs to be a hard and fast rule if you want to keep your Stella & Dot business profitable!

Here’s where it can hurt for a part-timer:  If you sold $1000 last quarter (yay! you earned StyleFix level 1!!), you made a cool $250 in earnings!  That means you should only invest $50 into your new samples.  Yup, that means your $69 StyleFix coupon should not be used IF you want to remain at that 50% level of profitability.  NOTE:  If you did go ahead and use it, because it’s a freakin’ amazing deal, after taxes and shipping, you would have invested about 35% of your last quarter’s earnings, bringing your overall profitability down.  So, if you’re right on that fine line, be mindful of what it’s really costing you.

But don’t worry!  There’s still hope…

HAVE A SAMPLE SALE!

Selling off your retired samples can give you extra money to invest in a new collection!

This roll-over from your initial investments can help make up that extra $19 (plus tax and shipping) so you can use that StyleFix coupon guilt-free!

In fact, if you wanted to be a real smart-sampling-bad-ass you would use ONLY the money from your sample sales to buy from the new line.

But this can be tricky when you’re first starting out as a stylist and did a good job of picking SKUs that didn’t retire or if you’re heavily invested with engraveables and best-selling pieces.

So, what if you were a super-smart sampler with very few pieces that retired?  Now what do you do?

MAXIMIZE YOUR DOUBLE-DIP TRUNK SHOWS

God love this company!  As Stella & Dot stylists we get to have two trunk shows a year where we earn the hostess rewards!  Can I get an Amen?

I have learned to use these two shows to supplement my sampling for the major Spring and Fall launches.

TIP: Schedule your two personal shows near or on Dec. 31st and June 31st.

Why?

First, these are during Dot Dollar Redeem periods, so you can capture orders from customers when their hostess’ shows have already closed.  And, second, these dates are only a week or two away from our major collection launches.

You want to maximize your free product credits.  (I usually gift the 50% offs from my shows to my hostesses as an extra thank you).  The free product credits can help supplement your sampling for Fall and Spring collections, but remember, you will be buying at retail prices so credits can go fast.

And this is another reason why WHAT you sample matters so much.

Smarter Stella Dot sampling new collection what should I sample Stella Dot Stylist Sampling Worksheet Stella Dot 2016 Spring Collection10 POINTS FOR SMARTER STELLA & DOT SAMPLING

If you haven’t already, make sure to download and print out the Smarter sampling worksheet: Smarter Stella Dot Sampling Worksheet

I’ve come up with a 10-point system for evaluating whether to sample a piece of jewelry (no bags) based on what I’ve learned from being in this business for almost three years now.

Remember, this is geared toward the majority of stylists who are part-timers and are Associate stylists or below.  You are never going to be profitable if you are an Associate stylist with a Star stylist’s sample collection.

Each of these 10 points are guidelines that I’ve adopted after lots of trial and error.  They are meant to help you think about sampling more practically rather than emotionally.

So, let’s tackle these points one by one so you can see that by evaluating samples as a business decision instead of a fashion decision, you’re going to increase your sales, profit and longevity in this business–no matter how big or small your operation!

Would you wear it?

Okay, this is kinda the freebie point.

But, believe it or not, there were a few occasions where I actually went against my gut reaction of “I would never wear that” and sampled a piece that ended up being a dud and retiring early.

Trust your gut, and just because everyone else is talking up a piece on Facebook and Instagram shouldn’t influence your decision!

On the other hand, there are literally only two items I would not personally wear from the Spring 2016 collection.

Come on!  Blythe and her team know what they’re doing!  Incredible, wearable trends are part of S&D DNA.

This is the first point and, really, the least important point if you follow the method!

Would your customers buy it?

Asking your next hostess whether she likes a $169 statement necklace isn’t what smarter sampling is about!

Price point is the absolute most important factor for the majority of customers.  This is the norm.  (So, don’t let that time a customer bought a Pegasus and a Stone Sutton from you at the same show skew your grasp on reality!)

I bet you if you tallied up all the pieces you’ve sold since becoming a Stella & Dot stylist into $50 and under items versus $100 or over items, there would be a clear winning category.

Remember, this business is a numbers game in every way: talk to more people to book more shows, have more shows to make more sales…

And here’s a new one for you: have more affordable product on your table to make more sales with less risk (a.k.a. money out of your pocket).

There’s a very good reason we have the selling point: “Half our line is under $50!”  It’s because that makes our fabulously designed, luxury pieces approachable and shareable by our customers and hostesses. 

Want to know if your customers are really going to buy a given piece, ask these four questions:

Is it less than $100?

Is it less than $50?

Is it less than $30?

Is it less than $20?

So, there is a maximum of 4 points for this category.

Guess which pieces get a perfect 4 out of 4 in this category?  That’s right, our Sparkle Studs and Wishing Bracelets, to name a few–need I say more?

Stella & Dot Stylist Sampling tips and tricks smarter sampling trunk show images 2016 collection

Is it a stand-alone piece or engraveable?

This is important to note because you don’t want to over-invest in charms, watch straps or items that have to work with other items (I’m talking to you Versatile Chain!).

Engraveables deserve to get an extra point because they are very popular.  I would suggest investing in an ID tag over a charm any day.

TIP:  Don’t sample in multiple metal finishes for the same kind of engraveable.  Engveables typically can’t be sold at sample sales, so don’t over-invest.

Is it versatile or a wardrobe staple?

If it can be worn more than one way it gets a point.

Even the Twilight necklace can be flipped over for two different looks, so that counts!

No extra points if it can be worn more that 2 ways (I’m talking to you Suttons!).

“Wardrobe staple” is a little bit more ambiguous.  My definition of “wardrobe staple” are pieces that are highly wearable.  Think of this: no matter what your customer is wearing, could you put this piece on them and it would work?

Sparkle Studs, layering delicates (like the Aurora necklace).  New items like the Cage Cuffs I would also consider part of this category.

Just make sure you decide what constitutes a “wardrobe staple” to you and stay consistent.

Is it likely to sell at a sample sale?

This covers point 8 on the worksheet: Is it a ring, earrings, bracelet or delicate necklace?

I have found a clear correlation to these types of items and the probability they will be sold at a sample sale.

Again, they are typically lower price-point items.  People feel more comfortable buying them as samples because it’s lower risk to them, since there are no returns, replacements or exchanges.

Statement necklaces over $100 do not fair well at sample sales.  In my experience, to sell them off you have to offer more than 50% off retail.

Is it a statement necklace less than $60?

Even though statements do not fair as well at sample sales does not mean that a well-priced statement wouldn’t!

As stylists, we also want to have “pretty” and colorful displays with “fun” things to try on, which is why this deserves a point when sampling.

In my opinion, our $59 and under price-point statement necklaces should be the only ones on our tables!  Again, this keeps everything approachable for the majority of customers and makes hostesses more willing to share the style with their friends.

I mean how many Somervell necklaces have you sold?  I’ve sold a lot!

Some examples from the new line:

  • Wanderer Necklace in Silver, $39
  • Eden Fringe Necklace, $49
  • Essential Fringe Necklaces, $59
  • Arc Pendant Necklace, $59 — this could be a delicate to some but I feel it also works as a statement

Is it a best-seller, giftable or part of the Chic Boutique?

Again, smarter sampling, especially for part-time stylists is all about maximizing the impact of your quarterly sampling investment.

I know these aren’t the sexy statements that we all love and drool over, but these are the things that are selling and will continue to keep on selling for you!

Give your customers what they want, have it ready to try on at your table, at a great price-point, and you will make that sale!

This is another point where you get a little leeway to decide what a “best seller” is.  We definately know what past best-sellers are, but how can we predict a future best seller?

Start with any new pieces that came out in a new metal (like the Marlin earrings just came out in silver).  The new Wanderer necklace in Silver and Wanderer cuff are other examples.  Also, pieces that come from the same “family” as past popular products (like the new Relic Studs).

Whatever you decide upon as indicating a future best-seller, keep it consistent.

Chic boutique are our best sellers and any new items in that line deserve an extra point!

Smarter Stella Dot Sampling Worksheet Stell Dot 2016 Spring collection images Stella Dot stylist tips tricks what to sample from new collectionTALLY & EDIT

Now that you know what each point means, its time to go through the worksheet and tally those scores!

This can be really helpful if you’ve narrowed your sampling down but still need to make some edits to meet your budget.

If you have an extra-tight sampling budget, aim to only sample pieces that score 7+ points.   There are no perfect 10s.

If you can afford to be more liberal, you can add in one or two pieces with a score of 5 or 6.  Especially if they will add some color and interest to your display.

Reserve pieces that score under 4 points as business incentives for yourself.  For example: if you earn the 2nd level of StyleFix this coming quarter, you will sample it next collection!

I know you’re reluctant to go through your line sheet and wishlist and start crossing all the fabulousness out.

It hurts!  Oh, I know it does!

The good news is the gorgeous jewels just keep on coming!  Wait till the Summer 2016 launch!  Everything you thought you just HAD. TO. HAVE. from Spring, will be yesterday’s news!

RESOLVE TO SAMPLE SMARTER!

So, let’s start the new year off right with our businesses!  Let’s resolve to make sampling a business decision instead of a fashion decision!

You’ll get a lot in return:

more sales,

more profit,

more longevity,

and less stress (like those painful conversations explaining to your hubby about the $250 charge from Stella & Dot on your credit card)!

Stay sparkly my friends!  xo, Kristen

Did this help you?  I want to know!  Please leave a comment below, I love getting feedback!

Also, make sure to follow my popular Stella & Dot Pinterest board for trunk show ideas and stylist tips and tricks!

xo, Kristen
Kristen Hong of Hello Nutritarian

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Discussion

  • Erin says:

    Well said and it all makes perfect business sense. Now to just be able to use self control when sampling opens ????

    • Kristen says:

      LOL! So true!! This collection is gorgeous and it really is truly hard to think “straight!”

    • Ella says:

      This is so great Kristen! I become stylist last January and I’m still trying to get in my head that I’m doing this to make some money and help my family not just to look great with my jewels on. Your post is so helpful as I was struggling to pick what to sample from the spring line. I have so many pieces than I never got the chance to wear, too many statement necklaces that are probably putting customers off…Thank you, thank you! xoxo Ella

      • Kristen says:

        Hi Ella! I totally understand where you are right now!

        I went through a phase of wearing multiple statement necklaces and sampling everything in sight. It led to me over-investing, not being profitable (or relate-able) and uncomfortable “intervention-like” talks with my hubby!

        If you stay at this business long enough, you grow, learn from your mistakes and figure out what’s really important! I’m so glad this article is helping you in your progression as a stylist!

  • Nicole says:

    This is great! The worksheet is a great way to narrow down choices. Now for the exercising of self control!! Because III are correct. I think I need it all! At least until Summer!!

    • Kristen says:

      I agree, Nicole, the self control is the hardest part! That’s just a testament to how freaking amazing the jewelry is 😉

  • Tammy says:

    Thanks Kristen! Love this post!
    I’m a hobbyist/part-timer (depends on what’s going on in my other life as an interior designer/entrepreneur). I agree with everything and came to the realization or practice of your tips about a 1.5 yr into the business (approaching yr 3 in April). Although I usually want 75% of any new collection, I have learned to purchase only what I’ve earned in product credits, style fix and double dip shows. It’s been very challenging and I admittedly have fallen short of my spending goals at times. But when I think about the fact that I’m in this to make extra money (and not only to look fabulous), I snap out of my new launch induced trance.
    Thanks again for your words of wisdom.
    Best wishes and happy 2016,
    Tammy
    XO

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Tammy! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

      This is a big reason I wanted to write about this topic because I wish I had thought about sampling differently sooner. StyleFix has helped the whole issue of (seemingly) constant new collections tremendously, but for so many of us part-timers getting to that $500 coupon is challenging.

      I agree, you really have to be disciplined to be profitable as a part-timer or you can easily slip into investing everything you make into the new line!

  • Ashley says:

    BRILLIANT! Really. Thank you for posting – I’m off to whittle down my (LONG) list!

    • Kristen says:

      Yay, Ashley!! Do it to it!! So glad it was helpful!

  • Elaine says:

    Super helpful! Thanks so much! xo Elaine

    • Kristen says:

      Thanks, Elaine! Glad it was helpful!

  • Karyn says:

    Extremely Helpful! Less than a month in as a Hobbyist/part-timer and feeling overwhelmed of not having enough product but wanting to make a profit! Thank you!!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Karyn! If you want to start making a profit, overhauling sampling is the perfect starting point!

      Quantity doesn’t matter, it’s really what you have on the table!

      I guarantee you could have just as successful of a show with these 10 necklaces: Aria pendant, Zoe Lariat, Devon necklace in silver, Alexia in silver, Aurora necklace, Twilight fringe, Nova pendant, Crescent necklace, Bianca and Somervell than with the whole new Spring collection!

      You got this!

  • Pentené says:

    Thanks for sharing your views and tips on sampling! You make some excellent points. Some of what you mention were things I thought about when going over the New Spring Collection and my list went from what I loved to a more justifiable one. I’m a new stylist so I have to think smart. It’s truly important to think about why you’re a stylist to begin with; to make money. Especially if you have other businesses that you’re investing in.

  • Judy Werner says:

    Great advice. Do you ever sample bags?

    • Kristen says:

      Yes, I do sample bags. But I don’t sample them nearly as much as I used to. If I had to make a choice, using limited sampling funds, I would chose jewelry over bags any day.

      I find that most customers are not interested in the bags (many are still brainwashed by designer names). Hostesses are usually most receptive to bags and I’ve had quite a few hostesses order them.

      My best-selling bags have been the Getaway (I sampled the elephant print when I first joined), the (now retired) Tia crossbody bags and Waverly Breton Stripe–hope this helps!

  • Lejean Mitchell says:

    Love the point system — I do a spreadsheet with 3 columns – All, style fix, hostess credits. I use hostess credits mainly on bags or refresh best seller items for the cheaper shipping and customer warranty so, they don’t really count for me. I then break my ‘all’ down into option 1 and 2 moving what is what I like but not what necessarily will sell based on clientele, color, etc to option 2/future/don’t get now/earn it later etc. Thus, I am whittling down basically asking same questions as your point system. I do have a budget-. As a PT/hobbyist most of my $$ is from sample sales held in December. My Blue card is usually all mine to spend on it but I like the 20% rule…. so I loved that tip! I am whittling down again with your point system questions and balance check. Thanks So much for sharing!

    • Kristen says:

      Wow Lejean!! You have an incredibly well thought-out system! I’m glad some of the tips are helping you too!

      • Lejean Mitchell says:

        I’ve made my mistakes on the statements -kind of lessons learned in the almost 3 years so I loved your article, tips, tricks, all of it!

        • Andrea says:

          Totally agree. I just had my 2nd stellaversary in October, I restrained myself today and did not sample the statement piece I don’t love. It was hard, I had a very hard time not adding it to my cart lol. Kristin is 100% right about statements not selling at sample sales!

  • Charlotte says:

    WOW, this is such a great strategy! Definitely sharing this with my team. Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Charlotte! Thanks so much for the feed back and a huge thank you for sharing with your team!!!

  • Deena says:

    As a new stylist, this is so helpful! I tend to be an emotional or fashion shopper, but have been learning some of the exact points you mention here, especially about price points! I’m definitely using the worksheet. Thanks!

    • Kristen says:

      Yay Deena! I’m so glad it has been helpful for you!

      • Deena says:

        Could you explain more about the Chic Boutique? I don’t see that category listed on our site.

        • Kristen says:

          Hi Deena! Yes, I can explain that for you!

          So, in Fall 2014 Blythe created a collection called Chic Boutique that was inspired by our best-selling Rebel pendant necklace. The Chic Boutique collection included the Aria necklace (in gold), the Pave Chevron Necklace (at the time only in gold), Pave spear necklace and earrings, the Pave Chevron ring and the Pave Triangle, Arrow and Chevron cuffs.

          This Chic Boutique collection became so popular, with so many SKUs becoming best-sellers, that S&D has continued to expand on it every collection since! In Spring 2015, the Alexia necklaces, Crescent necklaces, Rebel cluster necklaces and Bianca necklaces and earrings were added to the Chic Boutique.

          If you take a look at pages 14 through 23 in the Fall 2015 look book, you can see exactly which SKUs are included!

          Hope this helps!

  • Olga says:

    Kristen,

    I just came across your blog and absolutely adore it! As a S&D stylist myself, you speak right out of my statement necklaces obsessed heart. Thank you so much for this post and much needed reminder to stick to what sells!

    Have a great week!!
    xoxo,
    Olga
    http://www.exploreyourbliss.com

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Olga! I’m so glad I connected with you on Instagram–so awesome to meet another S&D blogger!

      Your blog is on my reading list!

      xo, Kristen

  • Emer says:

    Many thanks for this, spot on and gives great food for thought!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Emer! So glad it was helpful in some way!

  • chasity says:

    Awesome article! I’ve been a stylist for nearly 5 years and have learned these things over time, although, since I became a stylist for the fashion I do allow myself a couple of splurges each launch on pieces that I won’t necessarily sell and are just for me! You’re totally spot on about the best selling items though–this is a great resource-especially for new stylists! And, I do find that focusing my display on these pieces leads to higher trunk show sales!!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Chasity! Thank you so much for sharing your S&D story!

      I think you have a great approach and middle ground to sampling! You make an important point to remember why you became a stylist in the first place. If it was for the fashion first, then allowing those splurges is understandable! I really wrote this from the perspective of a stylist joining if it was to make as much extra $ as possible (while having fun, of course)–which is why I joined!

  • Kristie Roof says:

    Love the tips! I can’t get the worksheet to print correctly though- tried clicking in a couple places. Any recommendations? Thanks so much!!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kristie! I’m so sorry to hear that you can’t print the worksheet!

      I just tried it on my end and it is working. It could be a configuration issue with Adobe as I have a newer version–you might try updating that program.

      If that doesn’t work, please send me an email through the contact page and I can email you a copy!

  • jeVonne CortezBell says:

    Oh so helpful!!!

    • Kristen says:

      Yay! So glad!

  • Lindsey Whitman says:

    Great tips! I struggle with sampling each and every time- adding items and crossing off! Luckily, I have been smart about sampling since becoming a stylist while not investing in too many $100 and up items (Getaway, Avalon totes, and Suttons have been a few of the exceptions & so glad I have them!) If I had to guess, 80% of the pieces I have invested in are still available and many are bestsellers & don’t foresee many of them going away anytime soon. Now, to sample or not to sample the Sanibel?! I still don’t have one and have been eyeing the gold one since signing up! I know it’s been around for quite a while, but it is very pretty and classic and think it will appeal to many of my customers. Happy sampling!!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Lindsey! Wow, you are doing awesome in your sampling, lady!

      There is nothing I hate more than sampling a piece and it retiring one or two collections later!

      Ah, the Sanibel! I sampled it in silver with my starter kit and it has never let me down! It has been an excellent seller for me! If they didn’t retire it yet, which they very-well may not, then you at least know it won’t retire before the end of summer. And depending on how many shows you are planning to have before then it would certainly sell! It is on the pricey side but it has real stones. I also love it in gold.

      I’ll be curious to know what you decide on the Sanibel!

  • Trish H. says:

    Outstanding article! I will definitely recommend it to any new stylists who join my little team! I have noticed that I tend to sell whatever I am wearing at a Trunk Show, so I now look at my outfit as a business decision. I personallly “had” to have the Plume and the Utopia, and as soon as I started wearing them to shows, I was able to finally sell them! When I know my show is with a lot of SAHMs, I may choose to wear a necklace with engravables and charms. So it helps to know who your customer base is too.
    THANKS!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Trish! That is such an important tip–thinking about what you wear to a trunk show as a business decision and tailoring it to your crowd!

      Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us! And thank you for sharing with your team!

  • Candace says:

    I so love and appreciate this! I’ve been a stylist for almost a year and this was perfectly written for me and how I do business. Thank you!

    • Kristen says:

      Yay, Candice! Congrats on your year at this business! SO happy it was helpful for you!

  • Laurel says:

    Love love love your blog! Thank you so much for the tips!!! May I have your thoughts on sampling scarves? And also – would you consider posting pictures of your display once you have integrated your new samples? XO

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Laurel! I’m so glad you like the tips!

      Sampling scarves: I don’t sample scarves anymore. For the past few years I have only bought a scarf when it’s been on a $14.99 promotion. They are for personal use but I always bring one (even if they are retired) to show the quality and ways to wear them. It’s a middle ground I’ve adopted cause I’d rather invest in a $59 piece of jewelry instead.

      Some areas of the country do better with scarves, like my sister-in-law in San Francisco sells a lot of them! I live in a warmer part of California and I have not sold as many.

      If you are on a tight sampling budget, I would say don’t invest in a scarf. If they have done well for you in the past and you have a bit more to spend then you should consider it more.

      Scarves don’t do well at sample sales for me, so that is another factor.

      Hope this helps a bit! I will try to come up with something for bags and scarves maybe for next launch!

  • Aminah says:

    This is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing- I only wish I would’ve had this when I first got started a few months ago 🙂 I look forward to using this strategy as I continue to try and grow my business in the years ahead. Happy New Year and thanks again!!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Aminah! So, so glad this was helpful for you!

      You are pretty much the stylist I wrote this for! I wish I would have known and thought about sampling like this when I was in my first year.

  • Terri-Lynn says:

    This was SO helpful! I’ve been trying to figure out how to choose what to sample and I can’t wait to try this. It was exactly what I needed before Friday!! Now just how/if to sample the bags?

    Thanks so much for this!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Terri-Lynn! So happy this has been helpful for you!

      If you’re on a tight sampling budget then opt to go for jewelry over bags. Keep an eye on your profitability if you decide to do it!

      I know how difficult this is to do!

  • Renee P says:

    I am ready for my practical, lovely samples investments now! Bring it! Thank you so much.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Rene! Yay!! Do it, girl!!

  • Kirsten says:

    I love this, really helpful, especially thinking about profit when putting a sample budget together. Thank-you.

    • Kristen says:

      So glad it was helpful, Kirsten!

  • Debbie says:

    Kristen,
    Fantastic and timely article! You have hit the nail right on the head and luckily I am seeing the light after being a Stylist part-time mostly for 6 years. I am older and have a little more expendable income but it has gotten totally out of hand sometimes, and I have come to my senses! I have actually begun holding myself to certain limits and trying to monopolize my benefits with sales and style fix when possible. I am keeping this article so I can use it as a teaching tool for any stylists I happen to sponsor from now on, so they don’t feel so intimidated by all the availability and unable to afford all of it!
    Best of everything that 2016 will bring!
    Debbie

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Debbie! I really appreciate you sharing your experience with us!

      My sampling was out of control too, I think I sampled almost the entire Spring 2013 line–thinking I would re-coup the investment with tons of shows that didn’t end up happening. I have finally accepted what kind of stylist I am and that I have to treat this as a business and not a shopping spree!

      It is still loads of fun styling within your means 😉

      xo, Kristen

  • Trisha says:

    This is fantastic advice, thank you so much!

    • Kristen says:

      So glad it was helpful, Trisha!

  • Michelle Thelen says:

    Great advice. I owned a few boutiques and I use to use a very similar format. I would look at literally thousands of pieces and have to put a full store together for each season in 48 hours. I would rate each item that I was interested in. I could not have them all! Number #1 rule is not to turn your order in with a rep, sleep on it. I would go to my hotel room and write my orders based on how I rated them, only writing pieces that scored 10’s. I think you are right on with this assessment!

    • Kristen says:

      Wow, Michelle! That is intense! I can’t even imagine thousands of pieces!

      So glad you think this approach works–that’s a lot of credibility coming from a former boutique owner!

  • Emily says:

    Thank you for posting this! It’s truly brilliant! We all became stylists because of the jewels, hello! This gave me a lot of perspective and will totally help me “reel in” my spending! Thank you!
    XO

    • Kristen says:

      Lol! That’s a great point! We were all addicted to begin with! So glad it was helpful!

  • Jennifer Meyer says:

    This was very helpful and I wish I had read it when I first started a year ago with guns blazing and buying things all year like they were going out of style. Thank you so much for your input and expertise! I will definitely use these tips when deciding today! All information was very relevant. Keep posting!

    • Kristen says:

      Yay! So glad it was helpful Jennifer!

  • Emma says:

    This makes a lot of sense, thanks for doing it, you are the voice of reason!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Emma! Lol, voice of reason, buzz-kill–I’ll take it! Thanks so much!

  • Julia says:

    Thank you!! This is so helpful! Now to choose between the totem hassle or the lotus hassle to get rid of… I always way over sample statements!

  • Harle Wehde says:

    Kristen – this is the single best article I’ve read about S&D since I started a year ago! Genius! I can’t wait to implement your plan when I place my sample order on Monday. Thank you SO much!!

    Harle

    • Kristen says:

      Wow, Harle! Thanks so much! I’m so glad it was helpful for you! Stay tuned, I’m planing on doing a good stylist article each month–anything you’d like to see?

  • Susie says:

    Thank you Kristen, you are spot on well written with solutions .I make sure to talk to everyone from my show so I will up-sell as much as possible. This misled me to believe, “What if I had everything, I could sell more?”
    The problem I have is my addiction to have the entire collection which leaves me unprofitable. I throw logic right out the window.
    Price point is key. If an item is over $100 the likelihood of me selling the piece is minimal. Bracelets over $59 harder to sell.!
    So thank you thank you for your 10 point process, if my arms could reach through the computer I would hug you.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Susie! Thank you SO much for sharing your experience!

      Wow, that was exactly how I did business for my first two years! I had everything and I was not profitable at all!

      I have learned my lesson and I want to help other stylists from falling into the same bad business practices as me!

      I totally agree about price point and t bracelets over $59 is a really great point!

      I’m hugging you back! Thanks for the love! xo, Kristen

  • Cimarron Evans says:

    Thanks!! Great tips even for a star stylist 🙂

    • Kristen says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you found it helpful, Cimarron! And congratulations on being a Star!!!

  • Lourdes says:

    This is great and on point to what I tell my stylists! I’ll be sharing this with my team 🙂

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Lourdes! I’m so glad you found it helpful! Thanks so much for sharing with your team!!

  • Ola says:

    Thank you!!!
    This is the most helpful article I’ve found so far for Stella & Dot Stylists. I’ve joined the company only last week as I absolutely fell in love with jewellery but I want to make it work as a part-time business. This is a brilliant advice! In fact I’ll be returning some of my initial sample pieces and changing them for ones I’ve rated 7plus.

    Do you have any advice for a Stylist that is only starting out, and her sample base is very small? What should I invest in first?
    What is the correlation between having the piece on a trunk show and selling it? Do you ever sell directly from the look books? Shall l I invest in more pieces for customers to try?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Ola! Welcome to Stella & Dot! So glad you found this helpful!

      You should invest in the Chic Boutique collection first–because these are best-sellers. Don’t sample anything over $100 because it is harder to sell those price points. You have to have pieces that show off versatility. I’ve sold a lot of Zoe Lariat necklaces in my career–can’t go wrong with that one!

      Aria pendant & Zoe Lariat should be you two splurges. I love the Lotus chandies for spring and summer because they can be worn so many ways. Wanderer in gold or silver is a must–because of the price point. Also, stick to the cheaper engraveables.

      If you want to maximize your profitability from the beginning, then don’t over-invest in samples. Max out your jumpstart rewards to build you display based on sales and borrow from your sponsor in the beginning!

      I hope this helps! You are going to do great and have lots of fun!! Just focus on keeping your business profitable!

      XO, Kristen

  • Kelley says:

    This is super helpful! I just became a stylist in November and am still uncertain about how to do some things. This will help me not go over budget for the next round of sampling! I have a question though, should you buy your samples with the money on your blue card or no? Go with the budget and buy off a regular card? I’m just a newbie with it all and want to succeed in this!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kelley! I’m so glad you found this helpful!!

      So, I use both my regular account and my blue card–it doesn’t really matter. If you have the money available on your blue card, use that! The main point is to set a firm budget based on your last 3 months of commissions and don’t go over it!

      You are going to learn more and more as you continue on as a stylist and I will be posting about S&D at least once a month! I am going to check your blog out too!

      xo, Kristen

  • Debbie C says:

    What a great and helpful article! The excitement of getting my stylists samples, un-boxing and playing dress up doesn’t get old. Alas I wish I knew when I first joined as a new stylist not to sample the sale items as I now have learned that they were retiring shortly after. Also to purchase limited edition pieces only if you loved the pieces for your own enjoyment.
    I would love to see you post about having a successful sample sale. I’d hate to sell those off for less than what I’ve paid for it (including the S+H and taxes!)

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Debbie!

      I’m so glad you found the article helpful! I am planning to do an article about sample sales–so stay tuned!

      xo, Kristen

  • Lauren says:

    Ugh. So wish I had read this before pressing “order complete”. This is my first go at this; I’ve only been a stylist a few weeks and started just before the fall 2016 launch and definitely spent way TOO much, even after I had cut back. And I definitely think some of the times I’ve bought are duds. Now I know better and will have a better plan for the future. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Lauren!

      Welcome to being a S&D stylist! Yes, I promise you will get better at this! You can also sell your samples off your trays if you’d rather invest in other pieces!

      Yes! Make sure to have a sample strategy ready to go for Spring!

      xo, Kristen

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for this advice. I was really struggling with what to sample that would give me the most bang for my buck. This was a huge help. Thank you

    Elizabeth

  • Samantha says:

    I just love you! Reading your blogs have helped me so much to start my business as a stylist and have helped me not to make these mistakes. You rock!
    I so have some questions on game ideas for online trunk shows. Is there any way you can help me with that ?

    XOXO,
    Sami