As a mother of a “tween” I often look across the room as my daughter practices piano, works on homework, or finishes her latest art project and think about what she will become. How do I ensure that my daughter is a woman who leads? Is there a book she should read? Is there a class she should take? Or, am I to be her mentor? Is my role perhaps to not only be her mom but also to be her shining example as a woman who leads and one that leads well? More importantly, if that is to be me, what does that look like?
When I opened the doors to my first store, my daughter was two years old. She has known nothing but having a mom who is always talking business. Our life has been atypical by most standards. Right or wrong, through the often stormy days of small business ownership, I have chosen to use the ups and downs as perfect opportunities to show my daughter how to lead. I have by no means arrived as an expert and I do not come close to getting everything right when it comes to leadership! However, I do realize that through transparent conversations, I can teach others what leadership should look like.
If we truly want a new wave of women who will lead, we need to teach this generation to focus on looking outside their box of self-comfort and stretching their comfort zone into the sphere of serving others. We all have young women in our lives who we can influence positively. These eager leaders come from those we teach in school, those who play in our front yards, those who we volunteer to partner with through programs like “Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” the opportunities are all around us.
Confidence in leadership is born from an attitude that says:
- I am responsible for my success AND for my failure, therefor I will accept accountability for every action
- There is always someone I can serve
- There is always something I can learn
- Tomorrow is a new day! A clean slate with the opportunity to do better
As we focus on this next generation of women who will lead, we need to start with these basic principles. Additionally, we must model them and reflect them in our daily lives.
Go find a girl that you can encourage to lead with confidence and together Get Your MODE On!
With Memorial Day 2016 in the books, the unofficial start of summer has hit us. Just like that, Mother Nature blasted parts of our country with heat, humidity and a mass amount of rain. With the sudden change in weather, many are scrambling to dig out their summer wardrobe and often unsure of what to do when the heat index increases but our love of jeans stays the same. Our tip this week will teach you all about why jeans are not just for those cooler days and can still be our best friend on hot, humid and even rainy days!
How to wear them! As we have shown in the past, we love adding a cuff to skinny or the classic boyfriend crop. Add a nice sandal or boat shoe to complete the look of your cuff, but be warned, no socks when you are going for the cuff look. Many times women worry about a new look and how to pair it with what they already have. Take what you have, heels, sandals and boat shoes are great with this look.
If you have time and the heat hasn’t blasted you yet – take some time to wear in some of your newer jeans. For a lighter weight option, stick to 100% cotton as we know it’s not the time of year to be sucked into a stretched denim that doesn’t breath. Some great looks that we are seeing are a lighter weight skinny with some great distressing. This won’t keep all of the heat in, has a good, thin fabric and looks amazing.
We love “dry” or the “raw” denim which can often be stiffer, but save those for a great fall look where you are looking for that extra less breathable option.
Of course, when in doubt opt for the crop, capris or the shorts, which are always a go-to option for summer denim. Never fear, MODE girls we won’t let that beautiful denim slip to the back of the closet over the long days of summer!
I had the pleasure of shopping with a great friend recently as she was in hot pursuit of THE perfect outfit for an upcoming wedding. Now we all know when we are looking for the perfect outfit, it nowhere to be found. The perfect outfit often finds US…when we aren’t necessarily looking, in the market for or have it in the budget. This was our experience on our shopping adventure, which lead us to examining her current options in her closet at home. After seeing at least 3 suitable and beautiful dress options, I suggested to her that we change the look of the dress up. Are you ready for this? I suggested we add some fun, funky and colorful statement jewelry! Yes, ditch the idea of a whole new dress, let’s jazz up what we have and make it a whole new look. Wild idea, I know…but too often we forget that we can make something we currently own into a whole new look. At MODE we offer beautiful designer statement necklaces that sometimes retail for up to $100 but are MODE priced at $14.99 EVERYDAY. With options like this, you can change up any look this summer!
Heather Pitsiladis of MODE Bismark was on discussing Summer Trends for Your Body and shows off some of the great looks at MODE for all body types!
Ok fashionistas, we want to talk blazers with you this week. The blazer is quite possibly the easiest and best go-to top that was ever made. Yes, its cousin the cardigan may beg to differ, but let’s look at the amazing ways all women can rock this look.
Variety! Blazers come in so many cuts, fabrics and styles, so you won’t be trapped into the business suit look if you are diving into the world of blazers. Lengths vary, so if one style has you looking boxy, look for a shorter blazer that accents your figure best.
Versatile! This is the best part, a blazer can always be dressed up or dressed down depending on the look you are going for. Dressed up with a pair of dress pants or dressed down with a great pair of jeans. One way we love pairing the blazer is with MODE jeans of course, a fun t-shirt and a great statement necklace. This look can take you from a day at work to an evening out.
All Seasons! Blazers come in a wide range of looks and fabrics, so the look can be an all season thing for most women. We love the linen and lighter blazers this spring/summer and many offer a shorter sleeve or can easily be rolled up a bit to offer a cooler different look.
Fancy up even a black blazer with a fun pop of color under it and a fun statement necklace or summer printed scarf. Paired with your favorite pair of MODE jeans and some cute heels, you will be set!
New styles are out for spring and summer and we know many of our MODE girls love trying new things. We also know that some of our MODE girls are creatures of habit! We understand that, which is why you will always find a good classic jean and top at MODE. What we want to do is challenge you to try one new things this season, be it the romper, the angled tops or a light spring poncho, break out of that comfort zone! Sometimes this is so simple, it could be as easy as adding a new color to your wardrobe. Many times women think certain colors are “not for them,” when in doubt, they look amazing in them. Branch out and try a new color, just as we change hair color, we can change our wardrobe look! Jeans are also a great way to change up your style. Colored, skinny, flared, boyfriend or high waisted jeans are all on our racks. We dare you to try some, quite often women are in awe how great they look off the hanger and on their bodies. At $40, you can’t go wrong with a new style this season in your denim collection!
MODE girls, enjoy the looks this season and be daring to try some of the new looks! We KNOW you will look amazing!
I love the colors that come with summer, but I do have to admit, I am afraid of white. I am an A+ spiller and along with that comes my fear of buying cute whites and soft pinks. That being said, I challenged myself to buy both a beautiful white tank AND a great soft pink cardigan this week. This is big, but before I did this, I armed myself with some quick and easy get out of trouble tips for stains! Here’s my list, let’s hope you never have to use these!
Tip 1 – Blot! Blot and do not rub the stain. While rubbing it may seem to help you feel like you are doing a better job, STOP. Blot and absorb whatever was spilled.
Tip 2 – this is for my wine-o’s out there. If you spill red wine on your clothes, use its friend, white wine to get the stain out. Don’t have white wine? Try hot water!
Tip 3 – Lipstick stains can easily be fixed by using dish soap. Allow the dish soap to settle in to the stain and then wash. Dish soap can also help with coffee stains!
Tip 4 – ketchup or red sauce stains! Gently rub detergent in to the stain and soak the item in cool water for 10 minutes. Wash and air dry – be sure not to dry as that can set the stain in.
I had a real life lesson in the different stages of hustle a couple weeks ago when after 10 years of growing my business, after 10 years of working “on the business” instead of “in the business” (like all business coaches tell us entrepreneurs to do), I found myself back behind the counter of my original retail store.
When you hear that entrepreneurs need to hustle, we all agree. Entrepreneurs need to talk about their ideas; develop a product that works; attend networking events; speak to dozens of investors; entrepreneurs need to HUSTLE!! Although, that initial hustle is a real one, it is not the only stage this verb will be realized in the life of a business.
At MODE I have traveled through several “hustle” stages. After creating a retail concept that was ready to franchise, (I definitely hustled to get MODE to that point) I found myself moving into round two as I began to look for prospective franchisees. Finding that first franchisee is a hard task for any franchisor. Finding that brave sole that is willing to take on the risk of signing a 10 year contract with a proven concept but no other franchisees as peers can be a daunting task, but I did it. I hustled and I found that number one and then that number two and then that number three until I soon had just under a dozen MODE franchisees, all rocking and rolling. Amidst that emerging franchise growth I found myself in a “hustle” for a third time. How do you scale a business? How do you stay ahead of yourself, always anticipating the future and its issues and its potential? How do you train a team to lead? You grind though intentional networking and concentrated mentoring. Attending events, cold calling industry experts and asking for 30 minutes of their time or a word of advice, the “learning stage” of the hustle is real and it’s necessary! In this stage you learn to ask and listen.
After ten years of fighting my way through the three stages above I was just ready to sit! Ready to sit in an office (in 10 years of business I have never had my own office) and appreciate the work that had been done. The day after I moved into my new corner office, I found myself staring straight into the face of the “back to the original hustle” stage. That stage when you find yourself not at the corner office desk you have dreamed of for 10 years, but instead behind the original retail counter where the dream was originally born. At first this stage threw me for a loop. My mind screamed “Why me? Why now?” Maybe even a little “it’s not fair!” However, I am an entrepreneur! I HUSTLE! Therefore that “woe is me” attitude only lasted 5 minutes and then I put on my best pair of jeans, I grabbed my coffee and I hit the floor, (the retail floor that is). I choose to take this hustle stage as the one that will give me the opportunity to re-experience the roots of my brand. The hustle that will give my brand the “back to the basics” perspective of why this brand works and grew in the first place. I am choosing to hustle while I take this opportunity to roll up my sleeves and once again work IN the business, all the while still working ON the business. My focus is to hustle in a way that shows my team what a leader looks like and shows my franchisees that the system works when you work the system! This round is a smart hustle for sure.
Go out and find your hustle this week and Get Your MODE On!
Beautiful weather brings about some of our favorite looks and along with them come amazing shoes. With the sunshine out, I brought out two of my favorite pairs of shoes this week, a pair of cute flip-flops and my go to ballet flats. I love these shoes, they let my feet breath a bit after the long winter of hibernation. The only problem is, they leave your feet feeling like they were in a marathon as the piggies aren’t used to the rubbing of the fabric, leather or plastic on our summer shoes. Another sad side effect is the smell from wearing a ballet flat in the warm weather. Let’s be honest, nobody has tim for blistered feet and smelly shoes. Luckily we have some tips for you to get through some of the most painful and awkward shoe problems of summer.
Blisters, they are inevitable in the summer. Wearing heels on a hot day, new shoes needing to be broken in or just letting our feet get used to our summer shoes, we tend to brew up a few. A first step to try involves when you buy your shoes. Our feet swell during the day and even more so in the summer. Try to do your shoe shopping at the end of the day to get a good feel for the type of shoe you are trying on. Another preventative measure is to mold your new shoes to your feet. Simply spritz your new shoes with a bit of water until they are damp. Wear them around until they dry and let them form to your foot.
Shoe smell, ick! Ballet flats are so cute, but many times a culprit for odor. This is my favorite tip and it works! Put a few drops of essential oils (I personally like the DoTerra purify, but others work well too) with a few tablespoons of baking soda in your shoes. Let it sit overnight and pour out the baking soda in the morning. Be careful with leather and other materials as the oil can stain!
Let those toes enjoy the summer sun this year!
MODE Bismarck shows us how to dress up or dress down any outfit!
MODE Founder and COO, Ciara Stockeland recently sat down with serial entrepreneur, Eric Holtzclaw of the Eric Holtzclaw show, Biz1190 to talk all things MODE, Mentorship and Small Biz! http://ericholtzclaw.com/owning-a-franchise/
MODE is home of the $40 designer jean, but we LOVE to play around with some fun summer styles each year! This year we are loving the fun varieties of rompers. The beauty of this fun one-piece short look is its comfortable style which can be worn to the lake or dressed up depending on the look you go for. We suggest trying on a few styles as not all body types are the same and you may find each cut to fit your body type differently. As always the perfect pair of shoes can make or break the perfect look, try out some fun wedges or strappy sandals to give your romper the perfect pairing it needs. Yes, we know it takes courage to try out a new look, but play around with the look, various fabrics and styles, it just may end up being your favorite summer look!
DREAM BIG 2016: This Retail Vision Led to Building a Brand http://uscham.com/1SUuag3
As a denim outlet, you are used to finding all types of jeans in our MODE stores. Flare, skinny, bootcut, dark and light, we have them. As we enter the spring and summer months another style is making its way back into our store and into our closest, colored jeans. If you’ve been in lately you may have noticed our fun coral tones, our green shades, pink distressed and of course a nice summer white. What we love about colored jeans in the spring and summer is that you have so much fun ways to pair them with your favorite tops. We love pairing fun colored jeans with a crisp classic denim shirt either open with a cute tank under or buttoned and partially tucked in. Summer tops also bring us a lot of whites and cream colored t’s and tanks which pair so nicely with a pop of colored denim.
We hear many women tell us that they rarely branch out of their typical denim wash, but with so many fun colors and styles we encourage you to branch out this year. Find a fit that you love and look for something a bit subtle at first like a grey or a light teal to get started. We know you will fall in love with this fun change to your warm weather wardrobe!
Founder and COO, Ciara Stockeland had her story featured on the Story Exchange. The Story Exchange is a nonprofit media organization dedicated to telling the personal and professional stories of women business owners.
Read her story here: http://thestoryexchange.org/ciara-stockeland/
Last week we told you about the little tips to cleaning out your closet. We know you scurried to clean out your closet after that read and maybe came across your necklace collection in the process. Now what to do with that awesome amount of jewelry you have in your perfectly cleaned out closet!? We are here to help again with some easy tips to organizing (or even displaying) your necklaces!
The Accordion Style Peg Rack – you now the thing that folds out and mounts to your wall with pegs on it. It often comes in a variety of wood or plastic colors. I noticed this when visiting my Grandma. The woman LOVES her jewelry and has a ton of it on display. I noticed her jewelry peg rack and while I hadn’t seen one being used in years, I thought HOW BRILLIANT. The beauty is, you can make it the size you want, which accommodates many styles and lengths of necklaces. Props to you, Grandma Helen!
This is a fun idea even for those of us who are not do-it-yourselfers – hang nails on the wall! WHAT?! Try this, find an old chunky frame, 11X17 or 16X20, then take the back and glass off of it. Use some fun spray paint on it if you want and hang it on the wall near your closet. Next fill the space within the frame with various nails at lengths for your necklaces. Now you have a bit of décor and a spot to hang your necklace!
For our final tip, find some fun looking shower curtain hooks. Either hang them on your closet rods or mount a small curtain rod or towel bar in your closet. Hang the hooks and sort your necklaces as you wish.
While you are at it, remember the tips from cleaning out your closet! Now may be a great time to make room for some new and vibrant spring and summer jewelry!
After a recent move, I made the powerful decision to clean out my closet! YIKES! Closet cleaning and organizing can bring out the best and sometimes the worst in people. Some get overly minimalist and end up getting rid of everything just to have the perfect looking closet. Others get concerned and run the risk of separation anxiety at the very thought of getting rid of an 8 year old sweater. Regardless of which category you fall into, we have some easy tips to help you as you get that closet spring ready!
Not ready to get rid of ANYTHING? Here’s a simple challenge for you. Turn your hangers the opposite way, so the hook is facing you. When you wear something, put it back in your closet the correct way. In 6 months, take a look at your closet and eliminate anything you haven’t worn. For those who experience the full four seasons, do this seasonally. If you box up something for the season that has not been worn that season, time to eliminate it from your life.
Here is another one we all often struggle with. Does it fit?? Yes, we all have that favorite pair of jeans or amazing top that we WILL fit into again. How about this, make a small box of these items, put a date on it and if you haven’t opened it to actually wear (not just look at) the items, it’s time to say goodbye.
Damaged items generally tend to stick around a lot longer than they really should in my closet. As much as I want to think I can fix things, I don’t often take the time, can’t find my needle and thread and quite honestly, I get lazy. If you cannot or will not fix it, time to package that item up for its next home.
Ok, so now what do you do with all of these amazing clothes that no longer belong in your closet? You have so many options; sell, donate or swap. Find a local consignment shop and make some of your money back, it’s easy and no need to write out rummage sale tags! How about donating them to a local women’s shelter or agency in need. Have nice dress clothes to donate? Check out Dress for Success, a great organization that welcomes gently used dress clothing! Swap with your friends, how much fun would a girls night be where you can simply swap or share clothes?
We know you can do it – get those closets tidied up and ready for your next beautiful must have item!
Creative block. You know, like “writer’s block” except for entrepreneurs! An entrepreneur, just like a writer, is required to be creative, ingenious, forward thinking and always on the cusp of something new. Sometimes, entrepreneurs get “creative block!” Sometimes entrepreneurs, aka small business owners, just want to sit and listen and let someone else do the thinking.
What is a small business owner to do when they just run out of the energy to think of another idea, come up with another plan, execute on another creative idea? What does an entrepreneur do when they get “creative block?”
I think there are several practical actions any entrepreneur or small business owner can take when the creative juices just won’t flow.
1. Dig deep and force-feed yourself. Identify the problem in front of you and research the be-jeebers (is that a word?) out of it. Yes, force-feed yourself! Make yourself see a new point of view, observe your competition, listen to your critics and then seek to understand.
2. Pull your team in close. You hired your team for a reason. Each team member has a gift and a skill that makes them a valuable member in your organization. Pull those team members close, tell them you need help and let them shine as they rise to occasion!
3. Get away from your desk. I think this is the hardest part for a small business owner and entrepreneur, however, we need to allow our minds to rest and recharge. This can be as simple as a walk after work or quiet time each morning. Our minds must be turned off. (Easier said then done I know!!).
4. Invest in someone else. Get out of your zone and invest in another entrepreneur or small business owner. Sometimes understanding the struggles and joys of others will produce more ideas than any book in the library!
Get rid of that “creative block” and Get your MODE on!
Jeans and Shoes, they go together like peas and carrots! The perfect couple when matched accordingly.
I love this time of year as all of my shoes get to go on dates with all of my jeans. One day, it’s beautiful and I get to wear my 3 inch teal stilettos with my amazing boyfriend jeans and a cute t-shirt. The very next day, Mother Nature brings the chill or rain, so I get to pair my skinny jeans with my tall leather or rain boots and a light sweater!
Another look we LOVE is pairing your straight leg jeans with a fun pointed toe stiletto. Just the perfect look to add some additional style to an already classic cut.
Where are my flared jean fans? I am recently guilty of purchasing two pairs of flares, a dark classic and a high waist light distressed. I couldn’t help it – they are amazing and comfortable! Even with super long legs, the flare cut look so amazing with a wedge or a platform heel. Also, by adding that extra height, you won’t have to worry about getting your flares in any of the spring puddles out there!
Yes, spring can mess with our wardrobe, but consider it a great time to put your entire jean and shoe collection to good use. Enjoy mixing and matching your jeans and shoes this month!
MODE Founder and COO, Ciara Stockeland talks with Dan Hammer from KFGO-AM about being a finalist for the U.S Chamber of Commerce 2016 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award.