Career  Side-Hustling

Lessons Learned After Two Years as a Chloe and Isabel Merchandiser

Chloe and Isabel is a direct sales opportunity much like Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Jamberry, etc. They have beautifully crafted jewelry that’s hypoallergenic and lifetime guaranteed at affordable price points.

I was first introduced to the brand when my roommate hosted a “Pop-Up” in our apartment. I bought a pair of studs and a convertible pearl necklace that I still wear consistently almost three years later. If I could have afforded more on my grad-school stipend back then, I would have bought more!

Later when I moved to Virginia, I happened to meet a woman who worked for the corporate office. I took it as a sign that I should try my hand at being a Merchandiser (my entrepreneurial self just couldn’t resist!) and she shared with me an invitation to do just that.

Now, after two years of selling Chloe + Isabel, and finally becoming cash flow positive in the past month, I thought I’d share some of my “lessons learned” so far:


Carry business cards always

When you become a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser, it becomes all you wear and transforms you into a walking billboard for your business.  At the bar, grocery store, brunch, I’ve received compliments on pieces from friends and strangers alike.  Seize the opportunity to turn these spontaneous moments into sales by carrying business cards in your purse, wristlet, or wallet always. You can order cards directly through Red Stamp,

Less jewelry, more lookbooks…

In the beginning I was buying pieces that I wanted for myself, and pieces that I thought would sell well. What I’ve come to experience from hosting a few popups, however, is that my guests don’t really decide what they’re going to get based on whats on display. Instead they usually take one look over what’s laid out and then spend the majority of time going through the lookbook. So make sure you have enough copies for each attendee, and instead of burning money on pieces that are only going to be for display, prioritize ones that you like and are going to wear!

… but not too many lookbooks!

The hype around lookbook release is real. But the reality is that I have *so many* copies of older lookbooks because I’d order more than I’d end up giving out. Especially at popups, even if people place orders they tend to leave the lookbook behind. Therefore I would suggest only buying lookbooks for customers that you know are going to take and make use of them, and have enough on hand to facilitate a popup knowing that the majority can be reused for multiple popups, especially if you provide a sheet for guests to write down the item numbers of their favorite pieces instead of marking the book.

End up with a stack of old lookbooks like I did? Consider repurposing them using an “old lookbook” sticker to catch new clients in public spaces.

Invest in a good stamp

One of the best investments I made with my commission $$ was purchasing an ink stamp with my logo and website. I use it on the back of lookbooks, envelopes for thank you cards, and other customer gifts. It looks far more polished than hand-writing your information, and makes your business appear legitimate and professional. There are many artists on Etsy that can custom design and make one for you.

Use an online bookkeeping tool

For a short while I mentally wrote my spending off as startup costs and didn’t worry too much about it. Then, once I sat down and added up the numbers, I realized I was approaching a point where my “investment” into the business would take a significant amount of time to pay off at the rate I was selling–oops! To increase my visibility and accountability around the numbers, I started entering my purchases and commission in the online bookkeeping app, Wave. It gave me the clarity I needed to set earning goals: first for breaking even, then for achieving the $5,000 sales milestone!

Are you a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser? Leave your own tips, tricks, or lessons learned for other merchandisers in the comments below!

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