Monday, March 10, 2014

Business, Beads and the Beach

I'm so excited to share what I've been up to lately! Life moves very fast, so it's hard to believe that it was 3 weeks ago already that I traveled to Florida for a whirlwind, amazing trip!

First, here's the souvenir... Squeeee Beads! Not that I have ADD or anything. ;)

The trip to Florida was an incredible experience. As an Ambassador for Cousin Corporation, one of the benefits to reward us for sharing & promoting Cousin beads was a retreat with all the other Ambassadors for 3 amazing days of business, pleasure and you guessed it... BEADS!

Instantly, Florida felt like home... warmth, sunshine and super wonderful people.  Jessica our incredible leader from Cousin set us up with the most amazing rooms at the Double Tree Resort.  Can I tell you, the view of the ocean was magnificent, but waking up to the sound of waves rolling in because I could leave my balcony door open was PRICELESS.  Seriously, I almost went down to the front desk and offered to buy my room because I could totally live there forever!

Day 1 was about getting to know you and lots of fun!  We took an amazing photo as a group with the Chamber-of-Commerce-Worthy Florida sunset in the background.  Then cocktail party fun that lasted until the wee hours.  Sleep was a minimum while fun was at a maximum!

Day 2 brought and EARLY rise & shine (translation multi-coffee kind of morning) and headed off to "work" while the coffee was trying to kick in.   We toured the Cousin offices and warehouse, client stores, brainstormed trends and new ideas and discussed the current products Cousin carries.  

What was fascinating to my entrepreneurial brain was the B-2-B side of business.  In my business, my clients are amazing women that wear the finished pieces of jewelry I design.  However, for Cousin, their clients are the stores and boutiques that carry their beads.  As a jewelry designer you can purchase beads through their daughter site, but the corporate site is designed to help businesses carry and sell Cousin beads.  So from marketing to various collections of designs, each step is very well thought out so that it resonates with their clients.

Then in the afternoon we had the chance to design with an amazing group of designers from Cousin.  Kristine was the designer that Vicki O'Dell (a.k.a. The Creative Goddess) and I worked with.  We had a blast and Kristine was super helpful to bounce ideas off of and create with.  The project we designed are for A.C. Moore to use in their advertising and marketing.  It was a blast playing with beads that haven't even been introduced for sale yet (coming soon to A.C. Moore.)  I can't show you photos of my finished pieces because they are highly classified... ;) BUT I will tell you I got assigned the turquoise color palette to work with and I was dancing all the way to the bead room!

That evening we shared an amazing dinner with Jeff Cousin, owner of Cousin Corporation and members of the management team.  We dined at Middle Grounds Grill in Treasure Island, FL.  Let me tell you, when I retire in Florida, I'm totally becoming a regular there!  The food was amazing and the service was exceptional!  They really know how to take care of their clients every need! 

Seeing my necklace on display was a nice welcome present!
Day 3 brought meetings in the board room, discussing social media, more about upcoming trends in jewelry design and beads.  Finally we went on a whirlwind no budget bead shopping spree in BeadLand before we had to head back to the airport to come home.  I won't regale you with the adventures of airport and weather suffice it to say I almost tossed my boarding pass and headed back to the beach to permanently become a Florida resident. 

The overall take away from the retreat was this:  Cousin is a family owned corporation.  I felt like part of the family.  Meeting Jeff & his wonderful wife Marie really allowed me to build a personal connection to the company and the family that started it.  The management team that helps coordinate all of us crazy, creative ambassadors are so kind and generous.  Everybody listened to what each of us shared and we were truly able to contribute to ideas, plans and future projects Cousin is working on.  We're really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to put faces with the names and online personalities we've connected with since I became an ambassador last summer. I loved getting to know the other ambassadors and spend time brainstorming and of course, collaborating over sparkly jewelry!  Thank you Cousin Corp and everybody there for making this trip so special! 

If you'd like to see the necklace I wore in the group photo, head over to my website!  You'll see all the beads and be able to connect with me, up close and personal!

Until next time... peace, love & beads!

1 comment:

Saturday Sequins said...

Hiya, Dawn!

Wow, that sounds like a fantastic trip! I haven't been to Florida in ages, but I remember how amazing it was and how much it felt like home.

Sounds like Cousin really takes care of its ambassadors. Can't wait to see what you make with all those awesome beads.


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