After 23 Years Of Success, Cookie Lee Reinvents Itself
Cookie Lee, the 23-year-old fashion jewelry company that revolutionized the direct-selling business with a sales model offering a lucrative package to its consultants, is undergoing a rebranding that will revolutionize the direct-selling business once again, and help the company grow 20% by the end of 2015.
In April 2014, founder Debra Lin sold the company to industry veteran Debbie Millar, a successful business woman who discovered her true passion while serving as a prominent leader in the direct-selling field.
As owner and CEO, Ms. Millar re-launched the brand under the ViVI name, and is introducing new contemporary designs that still sell for less than $50 and hold true to the core consumer while targeting a younger audience. ViVI will also implement state-of-the art industry technology and social selling options. One of Ms. Millar's first changes was to rename the company. We are a company of women helping women, says Ms. Millar. We want our Personal Stylists to 'be ViVI' and ViVI stands for vision, inspiration, value and independence. These are words that represent and speak to every woman.
The decision to pass the baton to a new owner helps guarantee a sustainable future for Cookie Lee's home-party consultants, said Ms. Lin.
Debbie's experience in the direct-selling industry as well as her track record of entrepreneurial success and commitment to mentoring women, make her the perfect leader as the company moves forward.
In keeping ViVI a woman-run business, Ms. Millar has assembled a world-class team of executives. Assisting the direct-selling field teams and ensuring the continued, overall success of the company, two key players on Ms. Millar's core team are the vastly experienced Shawn Forbes, former senior fashion director and merchandiser of Macy's West, and Genevieve Skory, an award-winning author of direct selling training tools and programs with sales-management and leadership experience from previous positions with The Pampered Chef, Creative Memories, Ahni and Zoe, and Legacy Republic.
As ViVI, Ms. Millar and her team are fully committed to maintaining Cookie Lee's core principle of growing a community of successful women. The Cookie Lee Sisterhood has enabled more than 150,000 households across the United States to earn a flexible and sustainable income by allowing them to earn up to 50% profit from all jewelry sales while sharing their passion for fashion through social selling and home shows or socials. In the past, Cookie Lee's top consultants have earned more than $1 million in sales. Incentivizing their Personal Stylists – also known as ViVI Visionaries – to sell more product and mentor other stylists is a key part of their personal success, one which earns the Stylist points towards the ViVI Vacay, a lavish vacation that top-earning Personal Stylists can attend for free. Allowing women to be the very best entrepreneurs in the direct selling space, is important to me personally and to ViVI as a company, says Ms. Millar. Every effort will be made to continue to help women achieve their financial goals.
Among these efforts, Ms. Millar sees a strong focus on the individual development of its Personal Stylists. A significant amount of time and resources are dedicated to coaching and creating exciting marketing tools aimed at helping the company's Personal Stylists reach their financial goals, and on enhancing technology capabilities. Ms. Skory, ViVI's new Vice President of Sales and Training, will be leading these initiatives and assisting with the company's overall marketing plans.
Ms. Millar also sees technology as a key factor in propelling the company forward. ViVI's direct-selling technology will be taken to new heights with a platform called Socialite, which enables ViVI stylists to sell directly through their social media pages. Socialite giveseach stylist their own mini website that connects to the company's main site through magic card dynamic links. Those links enablecustomers to digitally purchase product from ViVI Personal Stylists in addition to the traditional 'on the spot delivery' platform used during at-home parties.
According to a recent social media survey* conducted by Teen Vogue, the leading monitor of millennial fashion and beauty enthusiasts in America, 85% of respondents have been driven to purchase something after seeing it on a social media network. Furthermore, one in four respondents have made a purchase directly from a social network. This is important information for us as it is gleaned directly from the younger audience we are targeting, said Ms. Millar. We fully realize that the future of selling is in e-commerce and we see the company's future growing with the next wave of direct selling.
Spearheading the creation of ViVI's gorgeous product – which is the driving force behind the company's success – is Shawn Forbes, Vice President of Creative. Ms. Forbes has more than 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. While at Macy's West, she was responsible for color direction and trend forecasting, skills that she will draw upon to lead ViVI's merchandising department and oversee its designs for a younger audience. We have a large contingency of mother-daughter sales teams and we want our jewelry and accessories to appeal to both, said Ms. Millar.
About ViVI: ViVI, which stands for vision, inspiration, value and independence, is about celebrating individuality and honoring the bonds of friendship through helping women succeed in achieving a sustainable income. ViVI Personal Stylists can earn up to 50% profit from all jewelry sales, participate in a variety of personal development and coaching programs, and capitalize on incentive programs. ViVI is just as committed to serving its customers as it is its Personal Stylists by offering a wide variety of affordable, fun and fashionable jewelry inspired by fashion-forward, trendy, contemporary designs and classic basics – all under $50. The jewelry is delivered directly to customers through e-commerce and social media channels, home and office shows, fundraisers and personal shopping through an ever-growing base of independent Personal Stylists. Customers can expect exquisite jewelry with new designs each month, including accessories like sunglasses and scarves. With ViVI, it's wear it, share it, sell it! To learn more, visitwww.bevivi.com.
*The survey was fielded March 4-11, 2014, and generated 1,074 responses composed of a U.S. sample of young women ages 13-29. The survey was developed by Teen Vogue's in-house consumer insights group, Teen Vogue Think Tank.