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The Customer Edit

When I first started my business back in 2005, I would work with anyone.

And I mean anyone.

If you had a pulse, and money in your pocket, you could be my customer.

I was clueless about who my perfect customer was and how to find them.

Check it…

: I drove around to spas and left stacks of my brochures at the front desk for their clients (without having any clue who their clients were!).

: I rented booths at trade shows, networking events, and expos of all kinds. (And handed out my “girlish” pale pink note cards, notepads, business cards, stickers, and brochures – which you can imagine went over BIG at commercial real estate trade shows).

: I placed ads on the back pages of alternative newspapers. (Only realizing this was a bad idea when a man called asking me if I could help him find a Christian wife. Even though I was clueless about my target market, I was confident Christian matchmaking wasn’t it.)

Even after hiring a top business coach and attending countless workshops on how to create a customer avatar, I was still clueless. 

None of the mainstream advice made sense to me. It felt formulaic and out of alignment with how I naturally moved through the world.

For someone like me who designs products and services from her heart & soul, boxing myself in with ideal customer profiles, avatars, and demographics was the kiss of creative death.

And get this, at the time more than 50% of my clients were men. Now there’s nothing wrong with men. But when I was working with men, I never felt like I could be totally myself. 

There was a new, more vibrant Erika who wanted to come out. 

On my blog and in my emails I wanted to write about stilettos and all things glam. I also struggled with my writing voice as I was crafting Think Like A Stripper. 

I wanted to have clients I could go to happy hour with. And hang with women who wore skinny jeans & stilettos, loved green smoothies, and read Fast Company. 

I knew I had to make a major shift in how I was showing up. 

Now, I’m not a “hype” gal. I just take care of what needs to be done.

So I didn’t make some sort of a grand announcement. Instead …

I took three small – but very effective – actions that made it clear who I was marketing to and what I would be sharing with them.

  1. On my blog, I used the pronoun “she.” I referred to my audience as women. I talked about stilettos, makeup, and lip-gloss. 
  1. When I was writing Think Like A Stripper, I imagined that I was writing the book to one of my besties. And I pictured groups of women sharing their favorite stripper tips while sipping green smoothies.
  1. I started networking almost exclusively at women’s events & conferences. (Oh, and of course I ditched the pale pink “girly-girl” branding in favor of a look that reflected my BOLD personality!) 

As I rolled out these changes, some of my male readers wrote to me and asked, “Hey, do I have to be a hot lady to read your blog now?”

“NO!” I replied, “But you do have to put on red lipstick before you open up my emails.”

Before long, I’d narrowed down my client base to women who were interested in my BOLD viewpoints and voice – and who wanted to grow their businesses with sales & marketing that was FUN.

Years later, I love my audience (that’s you!). 

I love my clients.

And all from three tiny, but mighty, shifts.

XXXO

P.S. Have you entered to win a $1500 marketing audit yet? We pick 4 winners a week. The winners get a recorded zoom strategy session with us and a custom action plan (created by us for you!) Women are loving these. It’s like getting your fortune read and then getting the practical steps to make your dreams a reality in one shot. Go here to enter.

Bugattis & Butlers (I Want You To Meet Octavia Luxe)

Buffed to a high polish. Courageous. Daring. And wise.

She unleashes her brilliance and authority all over the Internet without hesitation. Then reaps the rewards. 

OCTAVIA LUXE has entrepreneurship down.

For one, she knows her business inside out. Products galore. Selling is a snap. Marketing is a delicious treat.

Because she’s made product creation, sales & marketing unique to her DNA, her customers flock to her IG. And refresh daily to see if there’s anything new. 

They’ll happily recommend her with as many superlatives they can pack in a single sentence – without pausing for breath or passing out.

OCTAVIA LUXE loves to talk about business. She sells her services like she’s giving you a gift. And she is. The gift of her knowledge, experience, and ENERGY. A gift you can’t wait to pay for.

She’s obsessed with what she does – and people are naturally attracted to her expertise and enthusiasm. 

OCTAVIA LUXE is expensive and worth it.

She’s clear on her value. And dismisses anyone who doubts her.

You know what else?

OCTAVIA LUXE creates lists, takes action, and trusts her work & the Universe. She’s never afraid to take time for herself. To rest. Relax. Recharge. A hot organic lavender bubble bath. Lights dim. Candles lit. Champagne poured. Harmony always has her back.

And that’s not all.

She has a butler!

Which is all to say that OCTAVIA LUXE is as calibrated and finely tuned as the best exotic sports cars you can buy.

(Bugatti. McLaren P1. Hennessey Venom GT. Koenigsegg. Take your pick.)

OCTAVIA LUXE isn’t just a woman. She’s an experience. And I TOTALLY MADE HER UP!

OCTAVIA LUXE was born from my deepest desire that every woman be truly confident, secure, and KNOW … Why she’s a GENIUS.

Whether you dream of …

Having your own butler,

Driving to Whole Foods in a Bugatti (with your butler riding bitch),

Simply knowing – without a doubt – what makes your business  enchanting.

You must uncover your genius and work your own OCTAVIA LUXE magic. That’s an order!

XXXO

P.S. Have you entered to win a $1500 marketing audit yet? We pick 4 winners a week. The winners get a recorded zoom strategy session with us and a custom action plan (created by us for you!) Women are loving these. It’s like getting your fortune read and then getting the practical steps to make your dreams a reality in one shot. Go here to enter.

Does Your Pricing Pass The Birkin Test?

It’s no secret I love luxury.

Sometimes I fantasize I live inside a Gucci store. Except it’s not a store, it’s my house, where even the mousetraps are by Gucci.

Le Sigh.

That being said, there are luxury items so over the top, they seem out of control.

Which is why I never understood the Birkin bag from Hermes – which starts out at $6000 and goes up to $120,000+.

I mean, I KNOW the story behind why it was created – and it’s a cool story.

Here’s the rundown. 1970s model, singer, and icon Jane Birkin had a signature bag. Not from Hermes.

Nope, she carried a basket. Like a picnic basket.

In the early 1980s, Jane was on a flight from London to Paris, and her basket tumbled from the overhead luggage compartment, scattering her belongings all over the place.

The gallant gentleman sitting next to her helped her gather everything up, and asked her why she didn’t carry a handbag. She replied that none of the fashionable bags had an interior pocket, so she might as well be carrying a straw basket.

It turns out that the gallant gentleman was none other than Hermes designer Jean-Louis Dumas, who then created the bag with Jane in mind – interior zip pocket and everything.

Okay, great story. But it’s going to take a lot more than a story and a 1970s icon to make me throw down $6000 (at the low end!) for a bag.

So what’s the REAL deal with the Birkin?

After a little digging around, my research team discovered some things about the Birkin that make the high-end pricing seem like a BARGAIN!

>>> Having high-prices seem like a bargain is the REAL secret to luxury pricing.

NOT slapping on an over-inflated price and hope you get it because you think you’re worth it. You can’t think it. You have to know it. You have to embody your premium pricing.

For example…

If you want to be on the Hermes bag fabrication team, you must go through a 3 year apprenticeship.

3 YEARS before you can help craft a single bag.

And the Birkin bag has master craftspeople for every stage in creating the bag.

There are:

  • Master tanners to achieve the perfect buttery soft leather.
  • Master dyers to give the leathers an incredible range of rainbow colors.
  • Master cutters, stitchers, and riveters to build the bags from the ground up.

All the rivets, zippers, and hardware are cast by hand, coated with gold or palladium (no peeling away to reveal brass underneath), then buffed, polished, and installed by a craftsperson.

Now, I have a background in apparel design, and I know how to design and sew a fanny pack and a software luggage bag.

If you’re doing it right, it’s time consuming and finicky – this is no bikini you’re whipping up.

So to make a profit on a bag requires nimble manufacturing – which is why so many brands resort to sweatshop labor.

But not the Birkin. There is NO assembly line manufacturing this baby.

Each bag takes about 50 hours to create. More than a WEEK for each bag.

The artisans take so much pride in their work, they instituted a ‘bag spa’.

For as long as you own your bag, you can send it back to the workshop, where they will recondition it, for FREE!

Hermes also encourages its artisans to create freely – and in small batches.

No two Birkins are truly alike. And there are no repeat productions.

So if you see a red leather Birkin with palladium hardware and a unique stitching pattern, you will never see another one exactly like it. Ever.

Hermes considers each bag a work of art, so the master craftspeople and artisans are not held to a production schedule.

The delivery of bags to the boutiques is unpredictable – even the employees have no idea when bags might arrive.

At one point there was a waiting list of up to 6 years of people dying to get their hands on a Birkin.

No other bag has EVER evoked that kind of lust.

The resale price of a Birkin at auction is typically 3 to 5 times over the original purchase price.

TRUTH TIME: DOES YOUR PRICING PASS THE BIRKIN TEST?

: Have you set the standards?

: And are you holding to them?

: Even if Lady Gaga (or her assistant) called you and wanted to get in on what you have to offer, do you have enough pride and confidence in your product or service to actually charge her?

Have you put in the time, energy, creativity, and work that justifies a hefty price tag? Even if no one ever knows about all that work but you?

Just like the Birkin.

Which I now find TOTALLY worth it. And I TOTALLY want one now.

If I ever create a vision board, the Birkin is going on it.

XXXO

P.S. Have you entered to win a $1500 marketing audit yet? We pick 4 winners a week. The winners get a recorded zoom strategy session with us and a custom action plan (created by us for you!) Women are loving these. It’s like getting your fortune read and then getting the practical steps to make your dreams a reality in one shot. Go here to enter.