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…there isn’t an App for that

  My view this morning.

Over the past months, speaking with countless ladies and gents of all ages, there has been one striking commonality. Everyone seems to be wanting. Wanting appreciation. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be heard. Wanting a better job. Wanting a better life. You name it, someone wants it. Unfortunately, all these wants are wanted NOW and most cannot understand why it doesn’t happen as fast as they can snap their fingers. Being a parent of a “millennial”, I have had many an interesting conversation, debate or all out argument over this exact phenomenon. So, today Ladies and Gents, boys and girls, I am going to tell you what I have told my daughter (I can feel the eye roll), …”there’s not an App for that.”.

Think about it for a minute. Gone are the days of the waiting list for the one encyclopedia at the library you need to complete a paper. Need facts? You can pick up your phone and Google it. No more lines at the card catalogue with pencil and scrap piece of paper in hand to write down the Dewey Decimal number to retrieve the book you need. Looking for a book? Your local library’s web site can do it for you as you pick up your pre ordered Mochachinofrappalatte. No more pining over that shirt you had to have, but were too late deciding and now it’s been sold. Hop onto amazon and have it to your door by tomorrow. Remember the weekends as a kid? Wondering if someone was home? Trying to call but the line was busy, so you kept trying every two minutes to see if it would ring through to the other end as your parents bellowed “Get off the DAMN phone!!!”. Today, surf your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and not only can kids find out who’s home or where their friends “are at”, you can also know what they had for breakfast, what they are wearing today and how unfair they are being treated at home because their Mom asked them to ….gasp…empty the garbage.

Here’s the deal. You want something out of life? You gotta do the work. No App is going to clean your house, or change the oil in your car. No App is going to mend a broken heart or take back an unkind word. Sometimes, you will not get a text back as soon as you send it, it’s okay. Maybe the textee had a bad curry for lunch and is tormented in the bathroom and just doesn’t want to share “whassup”…yet. I am sure you will hear about it on Facebook or god help us, see it on Instagram.

They say that whenever you get a “like” or a text, dopamine in released. Guess what? It’s released in other ways too. Before you get up on your soapboxes, yes, I realize I am blogging, and yes, I realize I share this on Facebook and other sites. Yes, I post pics of the cookies I made on Instagram …I also hand deliver said cookies to share with those who see them. I physically go and see people and I look them in the eye when I speak to them, face to face…not to be confused with Facetime. Dopamine sans technology my friends.

Life gets in the way. Trains are late. Flights are delayed. Emails go unanswered. The only thing you have complete control over is yourself, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible? Set up a little corner with your favorite things that make you happy and bring back the warm fuzzies. Go outside and look around, not for anything in particular, just look. Surprise a friend with a coffee…without your phone in hand. Hand deliver a Birthday wish instead of making Facebook do all the work. Try to live every moment and laugh everyday. Plain and simple.

 

 

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Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

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VIP…Venus style

When you think of Monday, you picture people trying to come up with an excuse to stay nestled under the covers, laying in their beds mourning the loss of their weekend, or trying to convince themselves their early morning sneeze is the beginning of the flu and they should call in sick to work. This past Monday, yours truly was up before the first chirp of the neighbourhood birds, raring to go. Why you ask? Well, I had somewhere to be. By 8 a.m. I was on the highway, headed to Niagara Falls to the Venus Beauty Supplies VIP Event, or #VENUSVIP16 for my social media peeps.

Held at the Sheraton On The Falls Avenue Resort ( a lovely venue for those looking for the right place for an event), Venus put on quite a show. The main stage was rockin’ with appearances from Schwarzkopf, Peter Coppola, COLORWOW, Revlon, Unite, Moroccanoil, Reuzel …just to name a few. New color applications and cutting techniques were showcased as well as new product launches. When you entered the adjoining room, you were met by brand managers from each line to answer any questions you may have or to point you in the right direction of which product was which, and which product would suit your client’s needs best. Everyone was very welcoming, enthusiastic and you could feel the pride that they had in their brands, and in themselves as representatives of their products. Here’s a little peek of what my Monday looked like;

  The newest addition to the Schwarzkopf family – FIBREPLEX! Their FIRST Bond Enforcing System to protect the hair from breakage during lightening, high lifting or coloring process.

The FAB! stylists representing Peter Coppola. PSSST…The Infusion AntiFrizz Cream is outstanding and can be used on the finest of strands to the thickest of tresses!

 The dapper Gents of FRAMAR. Some of the best hair coloring tools and accessories around….OH! I have to tell you, I can’t believe I haven’t already…KOLOR KILLER Wipes – you gotta get ’em. These babies remove any color that may have stained the skin in a flash! They smell great and are safe to use on sensitive skin. How do I know? Well, all other color removers leave me in a red, blotchy mess. The KOLOR KILLER Wipes do not have any effect on my skin, except the removal of a color stain. Get some for your Salon. Seriously, get them now.

 REUZEL. A Fabulous line created for Barber’s and the Gents in their chair. Their story is a great one, that I cannot do justice. Check them out at http://www.reuzelpomade.com

 Can you say SWAG!!!! Venus Beauty Supplies DELIVERED!

 The FAB! Patricia, my Venus Rep. and I. Calling her a rep. doesn’t do her justice. She is awesome.

Yes, today’s tale was short and sweet, like yours truly. I gotta go. As you can see from my FAB! SWAG bag, I got a lot of products to test and try, to let you all know what’s what! Stay tuned Beauties and thanks for the love!

 

 

 

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…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.

 

 

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Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

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…the last to know

Today’s tale is meant for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors alike. Our industry, I believe, is one of the best to be in. There is always something new around the corner. New coloring techniques. New cutting techniques. Our workplace always smells great. We change peoples lives. We improve their self image and in turn their self esteem. It’s exciting and it’s fun. …and it is a business. Something, I am sorry to say, as of late, many are tending to forget.

Over the past 5 months I have been on the receiving end of many an unreturned call, email and text. I have had to find out through my own investigative skills that products have been discontinued, that products are on back order and that certain companies no longer had a rep. for my area. I have even had to hear about a brand promotion from a Rep. that is a competitor of the brand that is running the promotion. I have not been too impressed, to say the least.

I am fortunate enough that our Salon/shop carries over 25 professional hair care lines, so I am able to suggest another product. I am also very fortunate that our shop has been around for over 15 years and our clients/customers trust me and my suggestions. I do not think other Salon’s are as lucky. In fact, I know they are not because I hear about it everyday. Trust me, when a woman isn’t getting the straight goods, she will let everyone from the mailman to the newspaper delivery boy know about it.

Stylists are in the service industry. We are in the business of serving the client and the customer –  catch phrases I hear all the time. Yes, this is true, for Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners. It is also true for Sales Reps., Sales Managers and distributors. To be clear, I have a few Sales Reps. that go above and beyond their call of duty. They keep their appointments, they call when anything changes from products to our appointment time. They offer retail bags and samples, free of charge so I can in turn give them to our clients and customers. They have become my friend and someone I hold in high esteem. I also deal with some distributors that are on top of their game and are in contact with me when it is needed. Unfortunately, they are the rarity when they should be the norm. So, being me, I have compiled a little how to or reminder list, think of it as a job aid.

  • In the age of facebook, twitter, email and text, there is no reason, whatsoever that a Salon can’t be notified that there is not a rep. for their area. All Salons should be notified, not just the big accounts. PSSSTTT…the little accounts could have become big accounts if you had kept in contact and showed up more often.
  • When an email is sent, respond to it. If you don’t have an answer, then politely admit it and let the person know you will be in touch as soon as you have an answer.
  • If you can text a picture of a cat driving a toy car, you can text that you are running behind and may be late for your scheduled appointment. *Again, I cannot stress this enough – do this for all accounts, not just the big ones. I have personally had a $500.00 order waiting for a rep. who didn’t show up or return my texts (well, she did, 3 days later and made the mistake of telling me was “sorry” but she had landed a big account and was too busy to get to my shop – her exact words), so I gave it to her competitor – because she did return my text and showed up to see me, even when I didn’t have an order.
  • Stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners are customers too. I can only speak for myself, I do not like when someone thinks for me. Never assume we do or do not want a product or product line in our Salon. Show it to us, leave a sample if possible, explain it’s value and let us decide. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – explain the retail value of your products, not just the backbar/station use. …clients love the way they look in the chair, they also want to love the way they look at home and retailing products is the key to opening that door.
  • When a product is discontinued, let us know. Write it on the invoice with the order shipment, it’s that simple. Hoping I will get the point and will stop ordering a product after 10 tries to order it is not the way to do business. Many times that product is a special customer order and now I have egg on my face, a disappointed customer, and a lost sale. *While they were waiting for that product, if I had known it was discontinued, I could have introduced them to something comparable.
  • When an order is placed, please confirm you received it. I emailed an order because the sleuth in me discovered I no longer had a Rep.. It wasn’t until I sent another email forwarding my first email that I got a response that the order had been shipped and again, the product ordered was in demand and I had a list of women waiting for my call to let them know I once again had it in stock.

I didn’t like waiting for the phone to ring when I was 16, I really don’t like it now. …and in business, no one likes to be the last to know.

 

ThatGirlx3

 

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Womankind?

I want you to picture two women in a shop. Another woman walks in and recognizes her friend and stops to say hello. Pleasantries are shared. Introductions are made. “So great to see you! You look terrific! Lets catch up over coffee…soon!”. As our third lovely lass is leaving the shop, her heel not even over the threshold, the two women begin “Did you see her hair?”. “Hmmppt…doesn’t she think she is all that since losing weight.”. “I wonder who she slept with to get that job?”. “What’s with the red hair? Doesn’t she know how foolish she looks?”. “I think she drinks too much.” as they saunter up to the counter.

This is a sampling of the daily, yes daily conversations I hear and am sadly sometimes apart of, everyday. I am not proud of this and when I realize what I am a part of, I try to stop it, or at least my part in it. Once I realize what is happening, I am usually excluded from these conversations soon after they begin because I tend to call people out on their shit. The minute I ask “What makes you say that?” or “How is she doing anyway?” or “Oh good for her! That’s awesome!” most women look at me like I have 3 heads and am speaking Chinese, then begin to carry on the conversation with whomever is closest and I am slowly but surely “uninvited” to the conversation.

Ever since I was a child, I never understood meanness or bullies. In fact, I was the kid who would end up getting in a scrap with the school yard bully. I don’t know why, I just had no room for someone being mean to someone else. I would always give them fair warning about what was to come. Some listened. Some did not. Jeans were torn. Eyes were blackened. Tears were shed (of course I held my in until no one was around, had to keep up appearances). In the end, the bully started to leave more kids alone. Some times we ended up becoming friends. Fast forward 30 years and I still cannot understand nor abide meanness and bullying. On the cusp of 44, I can no longer tell the bully to meet me behind the school, but I can speak my mind and speak up for the woman who is not present for the dissection of her image, her decisions and her life. I don’t know what it is about women, we are the first to unite against any man who disrespects a woman, yet we are also the first to disrespect a fellow woman for her choice of skirt length or hair color.

A few years ago, when I saw and heard what my then 15 year old daughter and girls her age were going through, Sunday Confession was born.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/06/09/sunday-confession/

Today’s I have some reminders for those of us over 21, who should know better and should do better. Be kind. Seriously, it really is that easy.

  • Primary school playground antics belong on the playground.
  • High School is over.
  • Life is not a popularity contest.
  • Gossip is tacky
  • Do not be two faced, with anyone. There is not enough makeup in the world to cover that up.
  • If you see someone you don’t like when you are at the grocery store, do not cower under your shopping cart in hopes that they don’t see you. Do what your mother taught you, smile and say hello as you pass them.
  • When a woman changes her hair or hair color and loves it, do not ask her “Does your husband still kiss you with that hair?” – I have had more than one woman ask me this gem…and the answer is yes, every day.
  • If you wouldn’t give another woman your opinion to her face, please refrain from tweeting it or making it your status update.
  • You do not have to agree or respect another woman’s choices, nor does she have to agree with or respect yours.
  • When the day is done, who cares if you breast feed or bottle feed your baby. All that matters is that they are being fed….and it’s no one’s business what you choose to do with your baby.
  • When a woman loses weight, do not automatically assume her marriage is in trouble – another gem of a question/accusation tossed my way.
  • Reading “50 Shades of Grey” does not mean a woman is easy. …if anything it probably means her partner is very happy.
  • No one is what they “post” to be. (cannot take credit for that one, came across it a while back and love it)
  • When you hear of another woman’s accomplishment, celebrate it and her.
  • Unless you are the Madame of a brothel, it’s really none of your business who a woman has or has not slept with.
  • If you don’t want everyone knowing your business, don’t tell them.

The next time you are about to belittle another woman’s accomplishment, her life choices, her sexual partner or her hair color, remember this…what you say about the other woman says more about you than them.