Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

Wow, 2011 was another outstanding year for Paperly - thanks to an amazing team of employees, Consultants, Hostesses and customers.  I truly appreciate everything you do for Paperly.

A few qualitatively highlights of 2011 include:

Quantitatively, Paperly had another blockbuster year in 2011, including:
  • 142% jump in new Consultants. Paperly now has 170+ Consultants located in 34 states coast-to-coast.
  • 47% increase in commissionable sales. We love bigger and bigger payouts to our Consultants!
  • ~$440 in average commissionable sales per Paperly party.

However, Paperly is NOT resting on our laurels.  We know we have a TON of additional work to do to become the world-class organization we're aiming to be.  Our 2012 initiatives can be broken down into 5 key categories: team building, Starter Kit, Fast Start program, marketing & promotion, and training & development.  I plan to discuss each of these initiatives in my next blog post.

Until then, thank you again for the successes of 2011, and I wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Of Course Money is Important!

As Paperly's CEO, I talk to a lot of potential Consultants and I have found the top 2 reasons they are most interested in Paperly are:
  1. They are passionate about the product.  Most say, they love personalized paper and gift products and think Paperly's exclusive designs are gorgeous.
  2. They want to be the first in their community to offer Paperly. Although we've been in the stationery industry for 11 years, Paperly is relatively new to direct selling. Fortunately, our growth has been strong & steady; we already have ~175 Consultants located in 34 states coast-to-coast. Clearly, many communities remain completely untapped, and potential Consultants love knowing they can be first.
Interestingly, very few ever ask about the money. Perhaps they're embarrassed to ask the CEO about money?  Or perhaps it's because money truly is a distant third in the above list? Regardless, I know money is important, and therefore, I wanted to elaborate on Paperly's Commission & Career Plan.

Selling, Recruiting or Both
Paperly's comp plan was built over 9 laborious months and leaned heavily on a third-party expert with over 20 years experience in direct sales/comp plans. Even though he was the expert, I was adamant that Paperly reward Consultants who were successful at selling or recruiting or both (the latter, not surprisingly, offers the biggest payout). So unlike many other direct selling companies, you can join Paperly and do well financially solely by selling products you love - you don't have to recruit. Philosophically, that was important to me. 

Incentive Laden
Also important to me is that Consultants earn lavishly for achieving success. True, Paperly's commission starts at 20% (which already is very competitive), but Consultants can quickly earn much more: a personal sales bonus up to 12%, downline commissions of 3-6% and team/generational bonuses of 2-8%.  It certainly can add-up quickly.

No Resting on Laurels
Paperly requires its leaders to stay active by selling at least $200 per month, which by all accounts is a ridiculously low threshold for a business leader. Why this active requirement? Because I do not want a Consultant to build a big team, retire, and then earn significant commissions from her downline while resting on the sidelines. You must sell - albeit a minimal amount - to stay current. That said, you always earn commissions on your personal sales... no worries in that regard!

No Inventory 
Unlike a number of other direct selling companies, Paperly does not require you to purchase inventory.  If you do the math, purchasing inventory can significantly dent your commissions, especially since you're locking-up money by pre-purchasing products you're uncertain will sell and at what price.  All of Paperly’s products are personalized, and therefore, there is no inventory required.

Cash Bonuses & Paperly Dollars
Lastly, Paperly offers cash bonuses of $50 - $1,000 when certain Titles are maintained for 3 consecutive months.  Paperly also offers Paperly Dollars - which can be used to purchase additional business supplies - when certain personal and team sales are achieved. Again, both cash bonuses and Paperly Dollars align with my desire to make Paperly's plan heavily incentive laden.

Whew - that's a lot of information to digest. Please, if you have additional questions about Paperly's comp plan, ask me.  I'm happy to help.

In closing, I readily admit that (1) passion for product and (2) first-mover advantage should be why you join Paperly, but money matters and I am proud to say that I think our Commission & Career Plan enables you to be wildly successful at Paperly.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paperly: Consultant Displays

I love seeing the magic Paperly Consultants perform with the samples we provide as part of Paperly's Starter Kit.

As a reminder, in Paperly's Comprehensive Starter Kit are the following samples (not to mention the catalogs, order forms, training documents and personalized marketing materials we also include): design swatches, hard-sided coaster, memo sheets with acrylic holder, napkins swatches, placemat, self-inking stamp, clipboard, wallet and dozens of loose samples (flat, folded, labels, stickers, etc.).

Below is a recent picture from Paperly Consultant, KateC, who has accumulated many, many samples during her tenure at Paperly, as clearly evident by her gorgeous display table.  Fortunately, Paperly has recently helped Consultants purchase personalized "hard goods" (e.g. picture frames, platters, coasters, etc.) via its Consultant Sample Sale.

Paperly Consultant, KarenS, is relatively new at Paperly, but even so, her display table is amazing! Here's what she recently said about it, "This is the table I set up for a Santa's Workshop, all direct sell companies. I had limited space so I clipped samples to my mini tree and put the rest in a half size binder in sheet protectors. The binder was perfect and the tree was super cute. The "star" on the tree was the holiday wine tag, I even ordered 3 sets for one customer!"

Lastly, this picture is of Paperly Consultant, KellyB, who not only did a fabulous job with her Paperly display, but I love the personalized Paperly banner she placed behind the table. Such banners - as well as business cards, marketing materials and signage - can be purchased at anytime via Paperly's Marketing Portal.  In fact, many Consultants never reach into their wallets to pay for such materials, but instead, they use the Paperly Dollars they've earned.

As you can see, Paperly's samples make for a very compelling, eye-catching display.  Thank you Consultants for sharing your pictures with me.  I hope to share additional photos soon.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly
The leading direct seller of personalized stationery & gifts

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Direct Sellers Holiday (cont'd)

Seems like my 10/21/11 post, "Direct Selling Only this Holiday Season" seems to have struck a chord. Thank you to everyone that has helped spread the word including:

I even have feedback from the Direct Selling Association that they'll try to promote the idea as much as possible, although admittedly it might be a better 2012 initiative for them, given their need for more lead-time to get their PR machine moving forward.

I also have a number of direct selling executives who are willing to pledge and promote this initiative to their representatives.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But (isn't there always a but).... now what?  How do we continue to gain momentum?  In my opinion, this is a grassroots effort.  We need every direct seller to commit or pledge that they'll try, whenever possible, to purchase their holiday gifts from other direct sellers.

So I ask you - what should such a pledge say?

Please send your ideas to jay@paperly.com. I'll compile your ideas into a "Direct Sellers Pledge" (clearly, it's a working title) and send it to you for distribution.

So again, what should our "Direct Sellers Pledge" say?

Thank you in advance for your ideas.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly
The leading direct seller of personalized stationery & gifts

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Direct Selling Only" this Holiday Season

Last year, American Express launched its inaugural Small Business Saturday. It took place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, traditionally a very busy shopping weekend, and its intent was to support the small businesses in our communities. I love the idea and plan to embrace it once again this year.  Please visit the Small Business Saturday website to get involved: http://smallbusinesssaturday.com.

Did you know that direct sellers constitute one of the largest groups of small business owners? Yes, it's true!  All those women and men selling personalized stationery and gifts, jewelry, purses and dozens of other products are truly the epitome of small business entrepreneurs.

Therefore, I propose we - as direct sellers - augment the "small business Saturday" concept with a "direct selling only" mentality this holiday season.  What does that mean?  Well, when possible I suggest all direct sellers complete their holiday shopping only from other direct sellers.  FYI, there are over 16 million direct sellers according to the Direct Selling Association.  (Check out the Direct Selling 411 website for other fun facts about direct selling.)

Can you imagine how beneficial it would be for all direct sellers, not to mention the economy as a whole, if we focused our purchases - especially our gift giving purchases - on other direct sellers exclusively.  Wow!

I'd love to get your thoughts on this idea.  Direct sellers - what do you think?  Is this possible?  I hope so, because I'd love for your 2011 holiday season to be your best ever.

I look forward to your feedback.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paperly: Thinking Big

Recently, Paperly announced we are hosting our first-ever national Consultant Conference in January 2012 in Atlanta, GA. More recently, we announced the theme of the Conference, "Think Big".

Why "Think Big"?  Well, until now, Paperly has been the new kid on the block.  We're *only* 3-4 years old, which in the direct selling world is still the infancy stage.

(A recent American Express article notes that most direct selling companies "...make little money in their first three years... (but) year four through eight, many companies experience explosive growth.")

With Conference approaching, Paperly is prepared to live-up to its billing of the leading direct seller of personalized stationery and gifts. After all, our credentials are growing daily, including DSA recognition for our ethical business practices as well as Inc Magazine declaring Paperly as the next guard of direct sellers.

Now is the time for Paperly to "Think Big".  True - we never wish to lose our family feel.  (I personally still answer the phone at the office at least half the time... and I hope to continue doing that for a long time to come!)  But Paperly needs to think about a BIGGER market presence, BIGGER Consultant teams leading to BIGGER commission checks, a BIGGER and improve product line and customer experience... basically BIGGER and better everything!

I personally cannot wait for Conference and all its benefits. You can learn more about how to attend at http://www.Paperly.com/paperly-press-2011-08-Conference.asp. I've already starting "Thinking Big".  How about you?

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paperly's Future Leaders Program

In 2011, one of Paperly's top priorities has been to teach its Consultants how to grow their Paperly business via a rigorous Leadership and Development program. Thus, in early 2011, we led our first class through Paperly's inaugural Future Leaders Program. Four of Paperly's top performers graduated after undergoing a challenging four month program. Next month, I am excited that Paperly will graduate its second Future Leaders class. Congrats to all the grads.

So what is Paperly's Future Leaders Program (FLP)? The objective of the program is to help currently successful Consultants develop the skills and habits necessary to dramatically advance their Paperly business: i.e. more parties, higher sales and larger teams. In short, the FLP will teach Consultants a process, that when followed, should help them create consistently improved results.

Future Leaders are chosen because of their initial success as well as their strong desire to succeed with Paperly. Paperly commits significant time and effort to help Future Leaders become even more successful. In return, Paperly expects its Future Leaders to make an equivalent commitment, including:
  • Attend all 4 monthly FLP calls.
  • Attend all regularly scheduled, Consultant-only training calls on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
  • Conduct at least ___ parties per month. The number of parties is determined collectively by the group to ensure buy-in by all.
  • Complete all homework assignments. 
The monthly FLP calls cover a range of topics, including but not limited to:
  • Advanced Personal Selling
  • Building Your Business by Building Your Team
  • Leading and Developing Your Team
I am proud of the Future Leaders Program Paperly has put together. I know we have a long way to go to build a best-in-class leadership and development program, but I feel we're on the right path.  I am a big believer that Paperly will only go as far as its leaders take it. Therefore, i am committed to ensure training will remain a top priority in 2012.

- Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Monday, September 5, 2011

Paperly’s First-Ever National Consultant Conference

You might have seen, Paperly recently announced that it is hosting its first-ever national Consultant Conference in January 2012 in Atlanta, GA: http://www.Paperly.com/paperly-press-2011-08-Conference.asp. Personally, I am very excited to gather Paperly’s best: to share best practices, to brainstorm potential improvements, and best of all, to create life-long friendships.

Being Paperly’s first Conference, I readily admit, it’s a work-in-process. We’re fairly settled on our keynote speaker, which we hope to announce soon. We’re also working on a "brand" for the Conference… something that encapsulates the central message for Paperly in 2012. Again, we plan to announce that soon.

Beyond those announcements, we are committed to ensure two core activities occur at Conference:
  1. Yes, it’s important that Paperly shares with the attendees its vision of the future. However, equally as important, Paperly will provide significant time and opportunity for Consultants themselves to share what is/isn’t working for them, to suggest changes that could dramatically improve their businesses, and to work in small groups to address some of Paperly’s greatest challenges. I know the true value of Conference will be this Consultant-to-Consultant sharing.
  2. Equally as exciting, Paperly plans to launch at Conference its new "One Catalog" which will combine its two existing catalogs: Everyday Collection and Special Occasions. The "One Catalog" concept arose from Consultant feedback and will greatly reduce potential confusion as to which product comes from which catalog.
Again, more announcements will be forthcoming about Conference. In the meantime, we hope you register to attend. The fee is incredibly reasonable, especially since attendees can either pay their attendance fee in installments, or better yet, attend for free (see the last page of the announcement to learn how)! Additionally, and this shouldn’t be glossed over, everyone is invited to attend – Consultants, spouses/significant others, existing teammates and potential teammates. I feel it's important to be inclusive, because it's the Consultants’ support network that enables them to focus on Paperly. I cannot wait to thank all of them for their support.

I am so excited for Conference and I cannot wait to see you in Atlanta!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paperly: The Good Parts of a Sewer Back-up

This past Friday, Chicago experienced its worst one-day rainfall since records began being kept in 1857 - approximately 7 inches in a mere 3 hours. Given that Chicago's sewer system is over 100 years old, back-ups occurred almost everywhere, including Paperly's office.  My best guess, based on markings on the wall, is that 2-3 inches of water covered every square inch of floor.

The clean-up started immediately. Within 48 hours, every baseboard had been removed, carpets and padding were thrown away and heavy blowers and dehumidifiers were brought in to try and dry out the walls and floors (see videos #1-3 below).

So all this begs the question, as alluded to in the title of this blog entry, what could be good about a sewer back-up? Well, as seen in video #4, we've been forced to relocate the Paperly office to my kitchen table! Nothing builds camaraderie as tight quarters, right? Now, instead of screaming across the office when you have a question, you merely need to look-up.  Also, as you can imagine, we're spending a lot more time simply chatting about business and life. We're even taking turns making lunch... and eating it outside in the gorgeous sunshine (since the table is currently occupied ;)

Thus, although I wouldn't wish our flood experience on anyone, all-in-all it definitely has some upsides. I hope one day, we can look back and laugh. After all, what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right?!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Video #1: The big blue round machines are industrial fans intended to dry the walls and floors. The tall silver box, shown at the end of the video, is one of four dehumidifiers. Note the pile of removed baseboards stacked unceremoniously on the floor.

Video #2: The concrete floor was carpeted, but it (and the pad) had to be removed so the floors could dry.

Video #3: Note how everything had to be up off the floor.  It's as if a hurricane roared through the office.  In fact, with ~40 blowers circulating air in the office, the deafening roars kind of sounds like a wind storm.

Video #4: The "Paperly War Room", also know as the Rudman's kitchen table.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TODAY Show: Does It Pay To Become a Direct Seller?

I love this video from the July 11, 2011 TODAY show about Direct Selling:

The video does a great job of highlighting the benefits of direct selling, including:
  • Direct selling is a growing and robust industry.
  • Direct selling is fun for the sellers and a fun way to shop for the customers.
  • The average direct seller can contribute $200 per week to help with the grocery bills, the mortgage or even the family vacation.  (The PamperedChef rep in the video is earning $50,000!)
I also really like Jean Chatzky's perspective on the industry, because she strongly advocates using the Direct Selling Association to help find reputable companies.  (Doesn't hurt that Paperly was recently recognized by the DSA for its ethical business practices.)

Lastly, my favorite part of the video is at the very end when the two speakers suggest that direct selling is all about families and communities supporting at-home businesses. I couldn't agree more! In today's technology-laden world, where neighbors often don't know neighbors, I truly believe direct selling can help bring communities closer. Perhaps that, above all else, makes the direct selling industry worthwhile!

- Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paperly's First-Ever President's Council

Hard to believe Paperly's first-ever President's Council is already over! Congratulations to the inductees: Bridget Golden, Crystal Langstaff, Gaby Lehmann, DeeDee McCoy and Courtney Rambo. The 3 day event, held in Chicago, was packed with fun and educational events, as you'll see from a glimpse at the agenda below.

Friday night began with a fun, "get to know you" evening at Food Life, a high-energy restaurant located in Chicago's famed Water Tower.

Saturday began with a quick tour of Paperly's corporate headquarters, followed by an inspirational discussion with the day's keynote speaker, Susie Lite. Susie helped the Consultants focus on their "Why Power"! She used the following story to highlight the "Power of Why".
Imagine I'd pay you $20 to walk across a 10' wooden plank on the floor. Would you do it? Of course you would! Now imagine that the 10' wooden plank straddles 2 buildings, suspended 100' in the air. Would you do it for $20? Probably not. Now again imagine that same scenario but you're on the roof of one building and your children are on the other and that building is on fire. Now would you walk that plank, regardless of the $20 or not? Of course you would!
Susie's point? The only thing that changed in that last scenario is your "Why". Once you know your "Why", nothing can stop you.

The remainder of Saturday included a sneak peek at Paperly's future as well as a glimpse at some of Paperly's new products and designs. We finished the session with all 5 participants receiving an award as inductees into Paperly's President's Council.

Courtney Rambo

DeeDee McCoy

Gaby Lehmann

Crystal Langstaff

Bridget Golden

We finished a long Saturday with a scrumptious meal at Rosebud, a famous Chicago eatery.

Again, I wish to congratulate all participants in Paperly's first-ever President's Council, and I cannot wait until next year's.  I hope the inductee list continues to grow and grow and grow.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pam's Paperly Party

Thank you so much to Pam, a Maryland-based Consultant, for letting us peek inside one of your Paperly parties. The part I like most about this series of videos (besides the amazing job Pam is doing as a Consultant!) is that Pam is relatively new at Paperly, and yet, she already "gets it".  (And we all know what I mean by "get it" - right?)  If nothing else, I hope you appreciate, after watching these videos, how you too can get up-and-running with Paperly very quickly.

Getting Ready
I truly can't say it better than Pam does in this video, it is "so easy to plan and get ready for a party".

Displays on Display
I love how Pam has utilized every flat surface for Paperly's displays. There are so many beautiful products for her customers to view as they roam around the room.  Her set-up is so lively and dynamic.  (My only concern with this type of set-up is you'd hate for a customer to miss something because it was located too peripherally. Food for thought.)

Three Favorites
No surprise, Pam's three favorite products are also some of Paperly's top-sellers: personalized clipboards, wine tags and platters.

Ordering Table
Pam's ordering table has everything she needs to be successful: order forms, an Open Date calendar, wish lists, an attendee list, etc. Plus, I love the "tabbed catalog" that Pam has created for herself. Perhaps that's something Paperly should provide?

Karen, The Hostess
Why can't I say things as elegantly as Paperly's Hostesses?  For example, Pam's Hostess, Karen, succinctly explains why she decided to host a Paperly party - because she loves the products and wanted to introduce them to her friends. Thanks, Karen!

Lynn, The Guest
Why does Lynn love Paperly?  Because she can always "find something new that (she) likes." Her favorite product? The self-inking stamps. Hint, hint, Lynn... you should host a Paperly party in June.  You can earn a free self-inking stamp.

Flat Notes to Write to Grandparents
Karen is going to apply her Hostess Rewards towards a free set of personalized hard-sided coasters (page 8 of Paperly's Special Occasions catalog). A truly wonderful choice, Karen. I especially love your 2nd choice - thank you notes for your son to handwrite a note to his grandparents. Yea! Nothing is more memorable than a handwritten note. (I recommend the Rugby Stripe on page 14 of our Everyday Collection catalog. You can choose both a primary and secondary rugby stripe.)

Word from Pam
No wonder Pam has gotten off to a fast start at Paperly - you can sense her passion through this video. I have no doubt Pam will continue to perform fabulously at Paperly!

Thank you again, Pam, for the amazing video sequence. If you live in Maryland, and you'd like to learn more about Paperly, you can certainly connect with Pam via her website: http://www.mypaperly.com/pamday.

And finally, it's my turn with the Flip video recorder - yea! This weekend is Paperly's Inaugural President's Council and I cannot wait to film the event. More on that in the coming days.

Until then, take care.

- Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Exciting Summer Ahead

Summertime can be tough on direct sellers. The heat, the vacations, the kids’ baseball games... all contribute to a general ambivalence towards at-home parties in the summertime. Recognizing this, we have developed a series of compelling reasons why 2011 will be a summer to remember at Paperly.
  • In June, all of Paperly’s party Hostesses will receive a FREE self-inking stamp (a $42.95 value) in addition to Paperly’s standard Hostess Rewards. Better yet, if given just a bit of notice, it’s likely that the Hostess will receive her stamp even before her party occurs! You can learn more about Paperly’s June promotion at www.Paperly.com/pdf/Paperly_Free_Self-Inking_Stamp_June2011.pdf
  • In July, Paperly plans to offer its first-ever "Christmas in July" promotion. More specifically, if you order 50 or more of Paperly’s photo cards in July, you’ll receive 25 additional photo cards for FREE (up to a $47.95 value)! The flyer for this promotion has yet to be released, but it will be soon... and the buzz amongst the Consultants has been incredibly positive.
  • Although we have not yet announced our August promotion, I promise it’ll be a doozy. Stay tuned!
Last, but not least, we cannot forget Paperly’s Consultants! They too deserve a compelling summertime offer. So, we are offering a free Kindle to both of Paperly’s top 2 summertime performers! You can learn more about Paperly’s Summertime Promotion at www.Paperly.com/pdf/Paperly_Summer_Incentive_2011.pdf

We are confident the summer of 2011 is going to be a great one at Paperly. I hope you decide to join us either as a Consultant, a Hostess or a Customer. We’d love to work with you!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Key Learnings from Washington DC / Baltimore Trip

Last week, I had the great fortune of traveling to Washington DC and Baltimore to meet with Paperly's amazing team of Consultants in that area. In less than 2 days, I had 2 lunch meetings, attended 2 parties, and probably drove 2 much (pun intended). I must admit, I learned so much (as I always do when I conduct field visits). In fact, there were simply too many ideas and suggestions to outline here. However, I wanted to give you a couple of truly key learnings.

#1 Key Learning: Simplify
Paperly needs to vastly simplify its parties. Honestly, a Paperly party should be a 4 hour event: 1 hour pre, 2 hours at, 1 hour post. To ensure that occurs, we need to consider potentially radical changes, such as:
  • Moving to 1 catalog as opposed to 2
  • Simplifying the catalog (i.e. less color options, less fonts, etc.)
  • Enabling direct ship of products at a reasonable price, and perhaps, shipping as ordered rather than waiting for the party to close
  • Continuing to reduce the error rates
  • Improving the labeling of samples
I cannot promise Paperly will deliver on all of the above suggestions (for a variety of a operational reasons), but they are all worthy of in-depth exploration.

#2 Key Learning: Enhance Support Processes
Paperly could also dramatically help its Consultants by improving its support processes. Such processes begin from the moment the Consultant joins Paperly and continue all the way through the delivery of the product. Areas of improvement might include, but are not limited to:
  • Provide a "90-Days to Success" roadmap for all new Consultants, so they know exactly what they need to do to be successful.
  • Provide a "recruiting packet" so Consultants can successfully deliver key messages to potential team members.
  • Provide better email invitation options/templates, be it for Paperly's system or third-party systems.
  • Provide a better reward and recognition program. For example, how can Paperly make Paperly Dollars more effective?
  • Provide more timely tracking of packages, so Consultants can communicate more effectively with existing and anxious customers.
Lots of food for thought, right? I greatly look forward to tackling these issues - collaboratively - because I know together, we can make Paperly a truly great company.

And finally, before finishing this entry, I wanted to thank the amazing team I met with: Crystal, Pam, Tammy, Kate, Nancy, Kristen, Tracie and Hilary (see photos below). I am super excited to know you are going to help continue to drive Paperly forward... the sky is the limit.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gaby: A Peak at Being a Paperly Consultant

One of Paperly's most successful Consultants on the West Coast is GabyL. Recently, I asked her to document her Paperly business, such as preparing for an event, presenting Paperly's products, and highlighting some of Paperly's best sellers. Below are a few of the videos Gaby shared with me.

A Totable Business
Two common complaints about running an at-home business are:
  1. Purchasing and storing bulky and expensive inventory.
  2. Lugging around that same bulky - and likely heavy - inventory from one party to the next.
Fortunately, Paperly requires neither. Instead, as Gaby's video below highlights, Paperly's products are personalized (and hence no pre-purchase of inventory) and nothing can be simpler and lighter to carry than loose samples of paper.

(By the way, I love the grand entrance of Gaby's son. It's a perfect example of how family-friendly an at-home Paperly business can be.)

Two Display Tables
One of the most common questions I receive from new Paperly Consultants is, "How should I set-up my display table?" Fortunately, Gaby does an amazing job of showcasing her samples in the two videos below.

You can see additional examples of display tables at the following Paperly blog entries:
Best Sellers
Lastly, I love that Gaby has taken the time to highlight her best selling products: beverage napkins, hard-sided coasters, wine tags and self-inking stamps. Listening to Gaby, I know why she's great at Paperly. She doesn't "sell" wine tags, as an example. Instead, she enables customers to make a logical choice: non-personalized and expensive wine bags versus personalized, adorable and cost-effective wine tags. Easy choice, right?!

Thank you, Gaby, for letting us peek into your Paperly business. If you live in Southern California, and you'd like to learn more about Paperly, you can connect with Gaby via her website: http://www.mypaperly.com/gaby.

As for the Flip video recorder? It's my turn! I plan to take it on my trip to Washington DC to meet with the thriving community of Paperly Consultants there.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Thursday, May 5, 2011

2 Videos, 2 Learnings

The following two videos were highlighted at the recent VideoPlus University I attended. Why am I sharing them on Paperly's blog? You'll have to watch and read to learn more.

This first commercial depicts a son using his iPhone to show his father a live video of his new grandchild.

Note that Apple - a master of commercials - never mentions the phone's features.  Apple never gets into the technical jargon that enables live streaming to occur.  Apple never talks bits, bytes or capabilities. Instead, Apple shines by answering the question, "Why?"  Seeing your grandchild for the first-time, even if you can't be there, is the "Why" you need an iPhone.

The same can be said of a successful direct seller. They too answer the question "Why?"  They don't focus on product features and functionality.  Instead, they ask "Why?"  Are you interested in Paperly because you love stationery?  Or is it because you want to earn additional income?  Or maybe it's because you crave creative fun?

Knowing your "Why" (and that of possible team members) provides the clarity you need to grow your Paperly business.

This second commercial depicts a blind man begging for money and a kind woman helping him in an unsual way.

I love this video because it shares the "Power of the Message". As the final panel says, "Change your words. Change your world." No matter what your cause, without the proper message, you will be overlooked.

Think about the message you use to promote your business. Are you too "me" focused?  Are you saying, "I'm blind... help me"? Instead, should you be saying, "I have a something special I want to share with you"?

We often talk at Paperly about your "30-second commercial". Basically, the 30-second commercial is how you explain you and your business in 30 seconds or less to a complete stranger.  If you don't have a 30-second commercial, you need one.  And if you have one, I highly recommend you review you message. Please make sure it's about the "beautiful day" you wish to share, and not about "your being blind".

I'd love to hear your thoughts. What commercials or videos do you love because they convey an important message to you?

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Friday, April 22, 2011

The First Party Plan Business

Quick... name the first party plan business? If you said "Tupperware", think again!

Actually, the very first company to systematize the idea of showcasing products at a Hostess's home to a group of guests (at that time it was typically housewives) was... Fuller Brush Company.

It began during the Great Depression, when a salesman named Norman Squires realized the inefficiency of door-to-door sales, and thus in 1935, he developed his hostess home party plan. Squires continued to perfect the at-home party until 1950, when Earl Tupper, inventor of Tupperware, made Squires general sales manager of Tupper Corporation's Hostess Division. And as they say, the rest is history.

Learn more by watching this video put together by the Direct Selling Association (www.DSA.org) as part of its "Centennial Moments" series.

Perhaps one day history will report favorably on Paperly's incredible success?

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Friday, April 15, 2011

What is Direct Selling?

You have to watch this video titled, "What is Direct Selling?" put together by the Direct Selling Education Foundation.  I love the video's key themes including:

  • Direct selling is the freedom to run your own business
  • Direct selling is about defining success on your own terms
  • Direct selling is being passionate in what you do
  • Direct selling requires trust & integrity (Paperly is proud to be a member of the Direct Selling Association, meaning it abides by its Code of Ethics.)
  • Most importantly, direct selling is about having fun!

I am proud to say Paperly is everything described in this video... and more.

Please feel free to share this video with anyone who is thinking about becoming a direct seller. You just might positively change her/his life forever.

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

DeeDee’s Paperly Party

DeeDeeM, a Paperly Consultant located in a northwest suburb of Chicago, recently documented two of her Paperly parties using Paperly’s Flip video camera. Thanks DeeDee for sharing with us how fun and easy a Paperly party is.

Pre-Party Preparations
I absolutely love the things DeeDee has prepared for her party including a card of upcoming holidays/occasions, a sign that reads “Host your own stationery party”, wish lists and an Open Date Calendar (see Karen Phelps' website for more information). A bit of prior planning goes a long way towards maximizing sales and booking future parties. Great job DeeDee.

(Sorry for the sideways video.)

Displays, Displays and Displays
I find it amazing how creative Paperly’s Consultants are in displaying their samples (see Crystal’s and Bridget’s displays). What a great idea, DeeDee, to use the shoe rack. As she said in a subsequent email, “…the shoe rack is an easy, clean way to display the folded notes and to see so many different designs”. I completely agree!

At The Party
This is a great video for two reasons. First, we finally get to see DeeDee (she’s on the left). Yea! Second, this video shows that the Paperly purchasing process is collaborative… it’s a creative partnership between the customer and the Consultant. I often hear from others how Paperly provides an outlet for their creative flair.

Actually, I have a third reason why I like this video – because you can hear in the background how lively and fun a Paperly party is!

Straight from the Hostesses
Lastly, below are two snippets from the Hostesses of DeeDee’s parties. Of all the videos, hearing from the Hostess – how they used their Hostess Rewards and had so much fun at their party – is always my favorite. Hearing their praise of DeeDee and seeing their delight with the products brings a BIG smile to my face.

(Don't you think both Sarah and Janel should become Paperly Consultants?
They'd be amazing!)

Thank you DeeDee for sharing your Paperly parties with us. If you're in NW Chicago and you're interested in hosting a party for DeeDee, you can find her at http://www.mypaperly.com/DeeDee

As for the Flip recorder? It's already on its way out to the West Coast. Stay tuned...

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Retrospective: Special Occasions 2008

As we prepare to release Paperly’s Special Occasions catalog for 2011-12 (available on April 1, 2011), I thought it would be fun (and eye-opening) to write a retrospective on catalogs from Paperly’s past. Below is the second in the series. My first blog entry focused on Paperly’s original catalog, Everyday Collection 2007. The entry below discusses Paperly’s very first Special Occasions catalog.

While there were many positives that came out of this initial foray into a Special Occasions catalog, there were many mistakes we made and learned from, including:
  • In an effort to be cost conscious, we shrunk the size of the catalog to 8.5” x 5.5”. Big mistake! Unfortunately, it made this catalog seem inferior compared to the 8.5” x 11” Everyday Collection catalog. Lesson learned: Always make your catalogs the same size!
  • We introduced a gorgeous set of stationery that included 30 flat notes and envelopes, packaged within a sturdy, well-designed gift box. We loved it! Unfortunately, to make a reasonable margin on it, we needed to price the product at $75! Wow – lesson learned: There is a price point that cannot be exceeded. We now aim for all personalized gifts to fit within the $19.95 - $34.95 price range.
  • One of the catalogs most popular products was 300 memo sheets stored in a gorgeous linen holder for only $30. It was a hit! Actually, it was too big of a hit, because we quickly sold out and our manufacturer couldn’t replenish the product fast enough. For the first time, Paperly had to tell its Consultants that we were back-ordered. Yuck! From that point forward, I vowed to never let Paperly get into a foreseeable backorder situation like that again.
Whew – lots of mistakes, but lots of success too. We quickly learned of the market’s insatiable appetite for reasonably priced, personalized beverage napkins, guest towels, teacher gifts and notepads. All those items continue to be strong winners for Paperly.

I must admit, it is fun looking back at Paperly’s past catalogs. I can’t wait to write about Paperly’s next one.

Until then,
Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bridget’s Paperly Party

Recently, I asked BridgetG - a Paperly Consultant who was traveling to her hometown to conduct two Paperly parties – to document her parties using Paperly’s Flip video camera. Below are a few video segments, taken by Bridget (although disappointedly we never see her in any of the shots!), intended to show how fun and easy a Paperly party is. Thank you Bridget for allowing us to peek into your parties.

Sample Table
I love this shot of Bridget’s sample table. It is so densely displayed… you certainly get the feel that Paperly offers tons of options from personalized stationery (e.g. flat notes, folded notes, memo sheets, note pads, etc.) to personalized gifts (e.g. clipboards, placemats, wine tags, etc.). I especially love the creative use of the tennis ball as a sample holder. Wish I had thought of that!

By the way, I’ve heard from Paperly Consultants that they love that Paperly’s samples are easy to tote from one party to the next. Guess that’s one of the beautiful things about paper: it’s lightweight!

Below, I’ve included video of customers from both of Bridget’s parties. Why? Because I love that one party takes place around the kitchen table and the other takes place in the living room. The two scenes prove that there is no “perfect” or “right” party. Instead, it’s whatever works for the Consultant and Hostesses. Equally as important, both of these videos provide a brief glimpse at the energy inherent in a Paperly party. Yea!

Hostess Rewards
I must admit, this is my favorite of Bridget’s videos. I love hearing what the Hostess plans to spend her Rewards on: personalized stationery (the blue Grecian Band folded note is one of my favorites too!), a self-inking stamp and luggage/bag tags. Furthermore, I couldn’t have said it better: This has been "definitely the most fun and the most successful" party the Hostess has been a part of. I’m so happy to hear it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Bridget for sharing your Paperly parties with us. If you're interested in hosting a party for Bridget, you can find her at http://www.mypaperly.com/Bridget.

And of course, like all good movies, we’re already preparing the sequel. The Flip recorder is on its way to another Paperly Consultant. I can’t wait to see what her party is like!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Retrospective: Everyday Collection 2007

As we prepare to release Paperly’s Special Occasions catalog for 2011-12 (available on April 1, 2011), I thought it would be fun to start a retrospective series on catalogs from Paperly’s past. So let’s dial the time machine way, way, way back to Paperly’s very first catalog, Everyday Collection 2007.

Being our very first catalog, boy did we make a lot of mistakes with it! Here are just a few key learnings we discovered:
  • The catalog had no pricing! How is that possible, you ask? Well, we envisioned the catalog to be a mere complement to a 3-ring album we had put together, so we put pricing in the album but not in the catalog. Big mistake! We quickly learned that the catalog needed to stand on its own… and soon, we ditched the album altogether.
  • There were no exclusive products! Instead, Paperly used other company’s designs and passed along orders to those companies. Big mistake! Without exclusive designs, customers asked why purchase from Paperly as opposed to the designers directly. Plus, without owning the designs, there isn’t enough margin to pay our Consultants the commissions they deserve.
  • We showcased the designs, but not the product! For example, we’d show an icon of ballet shoes, but we wouldn’t show that icon on a flat note, folded note, luggage tag, address label, etc. We learned that customers need to see the product in use, as a flat note – for example – and preferably in a photo, so depth, contrast and scale were all readily evident.
I could probably go on and on about other mistakes we made with this first catalog, but the important thing is we quickly learned from our mistakes and our catalogs have continued to get better and better.

My next blog entry will discuss Paperly’s first Special Occasions catalog!

Until then, 
Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crystal's Paperly Party

In late January 2011, Paperly gave Crystal L - one of Paperly's more successful Consultants - a Flip video recorder to document how fun and easy a Paperly party truly is!  Below is a few short snippets directed, produced, acted and choreographed by Crystal.

Before the Party
Crystal introduces herself and provides a "behind the scene" look at her pre-party set-up.

Why Crystal Loves Paperly
Crystal explains why Paperly is the perfect fit for her mom lifestyle. In short, Paperly provides Crystal a fun way to make money!

In the Car
Thank heavens Crystal was at a red light when she filmed this short segment!

Arriving at Jane's House
Jane, the Hostess, is surprised by the camera, but more importantly, excited about "so many people are coming" to the party.

As Crystal so eloquently describes it, Jane's house has now been "paperized".  By the way, I love the displays Crystal has done.

The Hostess Rewards
Seems like the hardest part for Jane will be deciding what products to get for free using her Hostess Rewards!

The Party is Over
The food and wine is gone, Jane's husband is thankfully okay (he had a bike accident on hisway home from work) and "everyone had a great time".  What an amazing night by Crystal and Jane!

Thank you so much, Crystal, for enabling us to glimpse inside one of your Paperly parties. If you're interested in hosting a party for Crystal, you can find her at http://www.mypaperly.com/Crystal/.

The Flip video recorder will now make its way to another Paperly Consultant. Stay tuned for more party videos soon.

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paperly is Different... and Better!

On occasion, I hear from potential Consultants, "I'm considering a few companies. What makes Paperly different?" Fortunately, the answer is easy.

While there are many direct sellers that focus on everything from bags to jewelry, Paperly is the leading direct seller of personalized stationery. Being the leader means having the widest assortment of products, the best-in-class technology, a lucrative commission & career plan, a supportive training process and exceptionally strong marketing materials (e.g. catalogs, loose samples, etc.).

Further validating Paperly’s #1 standing is its membership in the exclusive Direct Selling Association (DSA.org). As DSA’s President, Neil Offen, has said, "The members of the Direct Selling Association pride themselves in their commitment to the highest standards in business ethics." No other direct seller that focuses exclusively on personalized stationery can make that claim.

Additionally, and this point should not be underestimated, Paperly’s designs are exclusive. Without exclusive designs, there are few compelling reasons to purchase products from you versus elsewhere. Paperly’s exclusive designs also enable it to keep its retail price as low as possible, since it does not need to pass along licensing fees or royalties.

Lastly, Paperly drop-ships personalized orders directly to customers. Therefore, Consultants do not need to hold inventory. That’s a big deal! Inventory is YOUR money tied-up in unsold products. That’s why some companies need to pay an outlandish commission. Basically, they’re trading the promise of a high, yet uncertain commission for your upfront purchase of inventory. Personally, that’s not a deal I’d want to make as a distributor.

All that said, there truly is no comparison. If you want to be a part of the leading direct seller of stationery, then Paperly is your best option.

Regards, Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Friday, January 7, 2011

In 2011, Produce... Don’t Just Consume

I’m a bit tardy on my New Year's resolutions. Perhaps my first resolution should be, "Don't procrastinate when it comes to writing Paperly's blog!" Putting that minor character flaw aside, one of my New Year's resolutions can be summed-up as, "produce... don’t just consume".

What does that mean? It might be best explained with a few examples:
  • Reading a book, albeit one of my favorite pastimes, is consuming. Writing a book, journal or letter is producing. Writing produces ideas, creates tangible and everlasting artifacts, and leaves something for future generations (kids, grandkids and great-grandkids) something to ponder.
  • Living in Chicago is consuming. Contributing to Chicago is producing. I love Chicago for its beaches (not during the winter though!), its architecture, its fine dining and its cultural attractions. However, to be a productive member of Chicago's community, I need to contribute: e.g. join the school board, volunteer at a shelter, have Paperly sponsor a neighborhood event, etc.
  • Working for a company is consuming. Starting a company is producing. Creating a company offers the owner hope for a better life, provides employees a financial means, and can significantly impact the surrounding community positively.
Tying this back to Paperly (which I undoubtedly need to since this blog is supposed to be about Paperly ;) joining Paperly as a Consultant is an amazing first step towards producing rather than consuming. As a Consultant, you run your own business, you manage your own work-life balance, you generate self-income and you earn tremendous satisfaction by helping others find their perfect personalized product. All are examples of producing. In fact, being a Paperly Consultant might just be the perfect encapsulation of producing rather than consuming.

Perhaps this idea of producing versus consuming is too provocative? Maybe it's an oversimplification of the Golden Rule, "It is better to give than to receive"? Regardless, I am going to work hard in 2011 (and hopefully beyond) to produce. And I think the world just might be a better place if everyone tries the same.

Happy 2011 to you and yours.

Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly