WARNING: Rebecca D. shows flagrant disregard for the rules of punctuation... She uses ellipsis with wild abandon... Punctuation interventions have been done to no avail... If you are offended by such irreverence to the rules of grammar... The very glue that holds our society together... STOP READING NOW... Move on... There is a little button at the top that says "next blog"... You would be well advised to use it... You were warned...

Rebecca Mail... A Brief History

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pinch me... Is this real???

I am not even sure anyone really reads this blog anymore but I decided to write how "Rebecca Mail" came about so at the very least I would have a record of how this all started! 

Back when I first found myself out of M&M I had already signed up with another direct sales company so I just tried to pick up that new business and keep on trucking... The business is Kitchen Fair and they sell high end culinary tools made in the USA. I got the kit, started using the pans and loved them so I figured I'd go for it. But as much as I love the product and the fact that I got a chance to work with some amazing people who I adore it wasn't enough. I knew deep down I was ready for a bigger change but the need for immediate income overcame that feeling. Funny thing is, the Lord never seems to let me keep going in the wrong direction for too long. As hard as I worked, as many cooking shows I did I was not making any sales. I had some at first but then they stopped... By stopped I mean ZERO sales. People loved the products, wanted the product but in the end did not buy a single thing. It was crazy frustrating.

Here's the thing, before the sales ended I spent a lot of time talking to a friend who is training to become a life coach. (She will be amazing when she is certified I will post her info) and our conversations kept leading me to starting my own business. I started really listening to what people were saying to me about what they missed about our team, what they missed about M&M, what they thought my strengths and gifts are and it led me back to what seemed like a crazy idea I had months and months ago, to start my own subscription box. 

But why call it "Rebecca Mail"? I didn't really want to, I had all kinds of cute or hip ideas for a name, but I kept coming back to the mane a team member gave the care packages I used to send to team members. In fact those care packages were a big inspiration for this whole venture. One former team member summed up why I should call it Rebecca Mail, she said every time she picked up her mail and saw she got some "Rebecca Mail" she immediately felt excited. It always felt like getting a hug in the mail and opening it always brought back that feeling you would get as a kid on Christmas morning. That is exactly how I want people to feel when they open their Rebecca Mail box. 

There were huge obstacles to getting to where I am today but I must admit I am SUPER excited and feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. I will explain more about my vision for Rebecca Mail and some exciting thing I have in the works but for now if you are interested in pre-subscribing (first boxes ship in early June) or maybe even investing in my vision check out my Go Fund Me site. 

Thanks for listening,

My Big Reveal...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A sneak peek just for you guys... I am launching my "Go Fund Me" campaign in the next 24 hours and open my web site up for subscriptions in about a week... 

I can't wait to share all the details very soon but the website is up in "test mode" so feel free to take a peek... Things (prices, terms, etc) are still fluid and changing but all the kinks should be worked out very soon. 

Thanks for listening,


Monday, April 18, 2016

Big things are happening...
Watch for my big announcement later this week!!

Thanks for listening,

Business Trouble... Part Two... The Event

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I keep trying to write what happened then ended in my leaving Mary & Martha suddenly but the words just don't come. After much prayer I realize there is probably a reason for that so instead of all the details I will share the "cliff notes" version.

At the end of January was the M&M Leadership Conference in Arkansas. I was sad to not be going as a director but I was hopeful that it would re-charge my batteries and inspire me to move my business forward. I covered in the last post that I had a less then stellar relationship with the new National Sales Director, so I also hoped that this would give me a chance to try to mend that relationship. From a less positive aspect, I have seen some business choices being made that from a business standpoint led me to believe that the business might be in trouble and I was hoping to hear some things to indicate that things were in fact fine.

I was among a small group of top leaders who flew in two days early to be in some company produced videos and got to spend some quality time with some good friends and even got to know one of the top leaders I had never had a chance to get to know. I was having a great time and although there were some moments that were less the fabulous I was still hopeful. The actual conference began Friday morning and it was all going great. We spent the day touring the DaySpring/Mary & Martha home office and then in the afternoon move to the conference center to begin the actual sessions.

After the evening session ended I was talking to some friends when the aforementioned staff member pulled me aside and told me we needed to talk. She started by asking me if "I had something to tell her" and quickly started asking questions about my new business. She then told me there had been an accusation made about me trying to sponsor people for my new business at the conference. I assured her this was not true but it became clear she either did not care or believe me as I was informed I could no longer be part of Mary & Martha, I could not remain at the conference and I could not remain in the Mary & Martha sponsored hotel room I was staying in. A lot more was said but what it came down to is I was kicked out of my hotel room, the conference and the company based on an accusation without being given a chance to defend myself or even know the names of my accusers. I am purposely leaving a lot of detail out but suffice it to say since this all happened at about 9 PM what followed was one of the longest nights of my life. I was over 1000 miles from home and scrambling to make arraignments to leave the conference while dealing with the emotional turmoil of losing the business I had built from scratch and worked on for nearly eaves day of the last two and half years.

Thankfully I had a dear bloggy friend right there in Fayetteville who I had already planned to vist at the end of the conference so I called Conny (from An Ordinary Hausfrau) and asked if I could come visit early. She and her whole family were GREAT and so welcoming... They made me feel right at home and gave me a place to heal and some fun distractions until it was time to fly out.

Here are some pics from our explorations and "girl time" together...

 The face was because I was on my tippy toes as that face hole was really high! 

There is this gorgeous mural in downtown Fayetteville that says "Enjoy Local" I made Conny and her girlies pose in front of...

Look... There they are! 

This is the original Wal-Mart in Bentonville, AR... I did not feel the need to get out of the car and go inside as it felt like a "been there/seen that" moment! 

We also got to catch up on some southern favorites I can't get here... Krispy Kreme, Sonic, Chick-fil-a to name a few! So clearly the whole weekend wasn't a loss...

That being said, I have spent the last month or so picking up the pieces and trying to move on. Just yesterday I finally had the first contact with anyone from the home office and am hoping I can now find some closure. 

I will be back in the next day or so to share all about my new business venture! 

Thanks for listening,

We Interrupt This Message...

Monday, March 7, 2016

I know I said I would post "the next day" but it is taking me longer to write the next installment then I had first thought... I will post it this week. Until then here is some memes that have made me chuckle or shake my head "yes" this week... (Hint... Apparently this week I think pictures of inanimate objects that appear to have faces if funny... You were warned!)

Thanks for listening,

Business Trouble... Part One... The Cause

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Warning... This will be a wordy post and it is the first of three I will be posting. It is all written from my perspective so keep that in mind. It is the first part of what led me to no longer being part of Mary & Martha... {Spoiler alert: I did not choose to leave.}

Back in the late summer my husband and I were taking a long hard look at my Mary & Martha business. His summary was I was spending a lot more then I had in the past and that more then once I spent almost as much as I made. We both agreed this is not sustainable so we took a long hard look at what was working in the past and how it was performing now and made some plans to move forward in a more economically feasible way. Sounds like good business right? Yes, on paper, but without my constant influx of cash my company numbers plummeted. In direct sales you live or die on two things PV (personal volume = your personal sales numbers) and GV (group volume = the total of your sales and everyone in your immediate downline) and when your number go down you stand to lose your title and with your title your status in the company. These new numbers were more accurate for the current state of my business but not a good sign overall. I tried redoubling my efforts but it seemed like no matter how much I poured not it, and how creative I got my number stayed at a lower level. I could see everything I worked so hard for slipping away and if I started to feel that sense of panic you can sometimes get when you don't understand why something you worked so hard for was no longer working.

Of course we spent quite a bit of time discussing what may have caused the decline and like all things it wasn't just one thing but many factors. Maine has had some tough economic hits in the past year or two and people here are more hesitant to spend on non-esstential items then in the recent past is one reason. People seemed to be unwilling to book parties because they were having a harder and harder time getting their friends to commit to coming to one is another. The recent boom in the direct sales industry means more people then ever are "selling" something and there is a bit of a direct sales fatigue forming, especially on FaceBook and other social media. This is exasperated but excited entrepreneurs with little or no marketing savvy basically spamming the world with their business made gaining new customers difficult. Mix all of that with some product decisions made by the Mary & Martha home office that did not create an excitement in my existing customer base to host parties nor inspiring repeat sales business. And to add to my issues there had been some major changes in the home office and their policies... One of which was a major overhaul to the compensation plan that basically meant a significant cut in income for me. In short my business was in trouble. I spent a lot of time chatting with other people in direct sales in my area who operate in the DS field full time and I started to see a trend. Almost all of them were consultants for more then one company. Diversification seemed to be the answer.

I was hesitant to jump right into another business... I wanted one that was complementary to my Mary & Martha business (so I could use them to build each other) but I wanted to be sure it didn't compete with M&M either. I wanted a business that the market is not flooded so I had room to grow. I also wanted one that was something people could find a need for because M&M has such specialized,  boutique style items I didn't want another line that fell into that same niche' market. I wanted one that was not faith based so it would appeal to a broader market in my very liberal part of the country. I also did not want one that required I buy and/or maintain an expensive inventory. I explored a lot of companies but it was when I reached out to my former mentor with M&M and heard about what she was working on that I felt I found the answer. She was working for a company (who I will tell you all about in a later post) that specializes in specialized and high end cookware and culinary tools. The business was still in the "soft launch" phase so it was brand new (in this country) and with the emphasis in M&M on entertaining, cooking seemed like the perfect complimentary business.

I signed on with the understanding I would be finishing out the year solely focused on M&M then launch my new business after my Christmas break. I continued to work my M&M business like a mad woman, continually frustrated by my slipping numbers and trying to keep my team (who were having the same issues) encouraged. In November they made an offer for people to join M&M that was almost too good to be true and a lot of new people took the offer so I was momentarily encouraged but it turns out most of them just wanted the offer and only about 10% of them actually decided to sell/buy anything. It was frustrating to go from breaking records one year to barely keeping my head above water one short year later.

To add insult to injury due to my declining numbers I was receiving less and less support from the home office. M&M hired a new National Sales Director in the spring of 2014 who rolled out many major changes just before the National Conference in July. (The new compensation plan was one) She and I did not see eye to eye on these changes and I stood my ground. I could see how these changes might be better for the company but knew they would be bad for us in the field and wondered if there was any room for compromise. In the end after a very long unfruitful conversation where we both held our ground I suggested we agree to disagree but that as a leader I would publicly support the home offices' final decisions. At the National Conference I received an overly chilly reception from her and it became clear that she and I could be cordial but would have an awkward working relationship. What I did not take into account is that she is the type of person who views the world in a very black & white way. You are either with her or against her, either a "team player" or an enemy not to be trusted and in her mind it seemed I had become the later in both areas. I was still a top leader in the company so she had to deal with me but she would make it clear where I stood in the pecking order and as the "newest" director she got plenty of opportunities to put me in my place. {I have come to see a lot of what she did was bullying and I intend to write a future post about workplace bullying.}

As the fall took hold and my numbers dropped she found many more opportunities to act against me. I had less and less access to corporate support and my mentor there (when I needed it the most) and my waining numbers seems to give her a lot of fuel to add to the fire. I went from having frequent contact to little or no contact... In fact most times my mentor would call me on her own time, or during her drive home etc. I could tell she felt bad about the constantly rescheduled calls but it was clear she was not allowed a lot of leeway. There were lots of other things that happened... Small things that as individual things seem small but add up to something else when viewed as a whole. Little things that would hurt my feelings and would seem petty to complain about so I just tried to keep my mouth shut and accept that either she would get over it eventually or she wouldn't but that I would just continue to be kind to her, pray for her and hope for the best. (I had tried twice to approach her and seek to restore things and she always smiled and said the right things but nothing ever changed.)

At the end of December, after several months of lower numbers I officially lost my title of "Director" and went back to being a "Senior Team Leader" but honestly felt it was temporary. I started the new year with a lot of hope. I would be starting my new business part time and the would relieve some of the burden of pressure I was feeling, income wise and we had the M&M leadership conference coming up so I was looking forward to gathering with my friends & colleagues and getting my batteries recharged. There was about to be a new product launch with M&M and that usually helps business a lot. I was also getting to travel to the home office of my new business about a week before the conference so I had so much to look forward to. I started the month so full of hope and if you would have told me how I would end the month I would never have believed you.
I will share the rest of the story tomorrow...

Thanks for listening,

Enough for today...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

This is by far one of the most true statements I know...

I have found myself smack in the middle of a hard battle myself lately... One I want to tell you about and I know I will but just not yet. I literally have 15 drafts of posts I start (some even complete) but don't post. This new battle has brought a lot of stuff to light and made me see some people in a much different light. 

But for today I want to share this pot of chicken soup I made with each of you... Wishing you were here so we could chat over a steaming bowl of it and catch up.

And share the following verse with you that was given to me by a good friend the other day: 

I once again found myself trusting in chariots & horses for a minute but in the end the Lord caught me and dusted me off and restored me in a way I could not have predicted. 

More to come...
Thanks for listening,