365 days ago my entire life changed. 365 days ago a lot of blood, sweat, tears, but also excitement, creativity, tenacity came together. 365 days ago Nikki's Magic Wand opened for business! The years leading up to that day held so many new emotions, experiences and educational opportunities. On December 16, 2012, a Sunday, my lovely website master said, "It's READY. I'm flipping the switch." And I did what I always do...I ran to Facebook and spilled the good news, "You may NOW place your order for your very own Nikki's Magic Wand." It was a surreal moment but little did I know, it was just the beginning for those kind of moments. What some may not know is that on that day, I was biting my nails, praying and sweating that the Wands would make it from China in time for the official launch a mere six days later. You can imagine my relief and elation when UPS rang my bell late one night, a few days later, with eight boxes, stuffed full with the final version of my "baby" which had gone through MULTIPLE reviews and edits and was NOW on my doorstep. Whew!
The Nikki's Magic Wand launch, held on December 22, 2012 was a party of a lifetime. It was the official introduction of the Wand, in the flesh, to friends and family and press. It was honestly a dream come true. The love and support in that building was palpable. Little did I know that party was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to love and support. In the months to come, friends and family showed up and showed out by flooding the website with orders, popping up in my Facebook Inbox with idea after idea about how I could further expose NMW. The networking took on a life of its own with introductions by kind people to generous new friends who wanted to help in any way they could.
We continued to be guided by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, on Pitt's campus but a lot of decisions were based on our guts. Doing what felt right, avoiding what felt wrong. We made the pact to live in each moment, thankful for whatever was happening at that second. Accepting rejections quickly and focusing on the lesson we were to gain from it. We brainstormed about ways to spread the word of NMW; we did Valentine's, Mother's Day, Nikki's in a Good Mood promotions. In February, we added Amazon.com as a distribution channel. As of this writing, we remain 5 star chicks on that site (NMW has garnered a rating of 5 stars from each reviewer). We gave away hundreds of Wands and did multiple BOGOs just to get them in hands. We sent them to bloggers and started to gather some glowing reviews. We kept on that path and coasted through the first half of the year. Then at mid-year, things started to really pick up. I appeared on the Lynne Hayes-Freeland show and then more blog reviews started to show up. We were fortunate to engage a summer intern (Sean) and he began to diligently work through our marketing plan. Sean started contacting more bloggers and beauty schools but he made two very important connections. He called GBK Productions (a company that produces gifting suites for celebrities at major events) and arranged a call with me and the best friend/biz partner. GBK's next event was NY Fashion Week and they thought NMW would be a great fit. I have detailed that trip here but I will just quickly say again, it was one of the best four days of my entire life. We placed NMW in celebs' and press' hands and as exciting as it was to meet these phenomenal talents, the fact that they genuinely liked and "got" NMW was fortifying and amazing. While we were planning to attend NY Fashion Week, we were also preparing to be featured in QVC's Sprout program. Lo and behold, unbeknownst to us, Sean, the intern, had submitted NMW to them and they were interested. After sending them samples and being fully evaluated, we started competing against two other products at midnight on August 31, 2013, (the first set of products featured after the Sprout program's summer break). Of course I ran to Facebook to encourage, beg, plead for votes. By the time we returned from Fashion Week, we had one more week of voting and on September 13, 2013, it was announced to the world that Nikki's Magic Wand had WON the contest. WHAT????? I started getting calls to be featured in local newspapers, the blog reviews continued and now new reviews were cropping up from the press that we met in NY during Fashion Week. Man oh man, September was a mind-blowing month for us. October was not too shabby either, as I was invited to be a guest on "Our Region's Business" with Bill Flannigan and that interview led to orders and more connections. It was also the month that our newly hired PR person started working and striving to get us some features in a few glossy magazines (she's still working for us at this writing). Throughout all of this activity, I attended every vending event to which I was invited, selling Wands one by one and meeting new friends.
So many wonderful things happened this year that I haven't even mentioned, like the fact that there are Wands in the White House (thank you Ali).
At the end of the day, well year, one phrase keeps swirling around my head....Thank You. We are just so thankful to everyone who bought a Wand, who wished us positive thoughts, who spread the word, who invited me to attend a vending event, who wrote about me or the Wand. Thank You for believing and trusting in me and the Wand.
I couldn't be more excited about what 2014 will hold. We've spread the word, had some great exposure but there's still so, so much more to do. This year we WILL apply to Shark Tank, we WILL make connections to get to the buyers at Sephora, Ulta, Target. We WILL begin to work on the next product in the Nikki's Magic Wand line. And we WILL continue to go out of our way to give you a great product, that saves you money, while providing great customer service and most importantly by showing you just how much we appreciate you.
As always, thank you for reading. There's so much more to come!