VLOG: Why I Quit Piphany & Joined Paisley Raye
Why did I quit Piphany for Paisley Raye? I'm ready to tell my story! This video is a review of my experience as a leader and advisory council member with direct sales company Piphany/Honey & Lace, and what ultimately led to my decision to leave the company and my team in pursuit of a happier and more fulfilling experience with a smaller company, Paisley Raye.
I'd also like to share a little bit more about my background and how my experience with Piphany shaped my decision to join Paisley Raye.
Part 1: Why I joined Piphany, and why I started a team.
My initial reason for joining Piphany was something that a lot of young mothers come across at some point--a desire to do something for myself, as well as a desire to contribute to the household income. My husband is enlisted in the military, so living on a single income was never an easy feat for our family. Although I'd had a successful photography business, I was looking for a career that utilized more of my skills, as well as a sense of community. I loved the idea of becoming a fashion stylist, and when I stumbled upon Honey & Lace, I immediately connected. I was excited to get started with such a small company, knowing that I had so much to offer. The staff at corporate was approachable and welcoming, and I felt confident that I could help this tiny (roughly 130 consultants) direct sales company become something huge.
When I started with Honey & Lace, there was no website, and there wasn't a ton of marketing or social media presence for the brand. There were a few consultants who were doing a really great job at social media, but I was excited to contribute as well. I worked with my upline and her team on getting the name out there, wanting to aid in brand recognition. I also knew that I could contribute some quality content with my background in photography and graphic design, so I set to work creating beautiful imagery for my team to use.
While I always enjoyed helping my upline, who has become one of my best friends, with resources for her team, I began to feel really drawn to the leadership aspect of direct sales. I wasn't sure I'd be any good at it, as I had very little experience in leadership, but I wanted to give it a try. And once my team started to grow--it flourished! I began building my team about 3 months after I started with Honey & Lace, and by my 1 year anniversary, I had a team of almost 200 women and men training with me. I absolutely loved leadership--fostering a team environment, creating training resources, supporting my downlines when there were problems to solve. All of these aspects of leadership made me feel useful and I loved seeing my leadership have a positive effect on my friends' businesses.
Part 2: When leadership lost its luster.
As with any small company, Honey & Lace went through its fair share of changes. Some of these adjustments were simple and, although briefly stressful, the team breezed through them almost effortlessly. Other growing pains were more of a nuisance, and required some work on my part to encourage my teammates to push through long enough to allow the positive side to shine through--like when we were low on inventory for several months at a time as we had a sudden influx of new consultants. Still, even the more "painful" growing pains were manageable for me, and at times even enjoyable to guide my team through. I enjoyed the challenge and I loved watching my teammates overcome each hurdle and become stronger business owners. I loved having a role in that success, though it may be little, with my positive reassurance and guidance.
It wasn't until September of 2017 that this reassurance became a heavy burden for me. I was just a few weeks from giving birth to my 3rd baby when Honey & Lace made a big announcement--via a seemingly random email--that the company was undergoing some sort of rebrand. Except, this wasn't your typical logo-update-and-a-facelift rebrand: Honey & Lace had changed its name to Piphany. Along with the name change came several other changes: The Facebook IAC page (stylists' main source of contact with corporate) was abruptly shut down, the phone number to corporate had conveniently been disconnected just a few weeks earlier, and a 19-page "Policies and Procedures" document was released outlining a myriad of new processes that were to be effective almost immediately.
This was a lot to process, and especially a lot to process while 30-something weeks pregnant, and with 200 teammates watching closely. They needed me to tell them it was going to be okay, but I could hardly offer reassurance. As a top leader in the company (my team accounted for roughly 10% of the company), I couldn't understand why the company hadn't at least offered me a warning before releasing this critical information. I had no time to process it before I was bombarded with questions--so much anger and resentment meant for the company, but directed at me because stylists' main sources of communication with Home Office had been removed completely.
Over the next few weeks, I put my maternity leave on hold and continued to do my best to keep my team encouraged. I went back to training and offering support in every way I could while I waited to welcome my new baby. Meanwhile, sales were plummeting as brand recognition had all but disappeared and our warm, homegrown Honey & Lace brand was replaced with the new seemingly cold, unattached brand, Piphany. We were all fighting to keep our sales businesses afloat as the changes continued to roll out and stylists neared the November deadline to change all of our Honey & Lace branding to Piphany.
On September 29, 2017, I welcomed my sweet baby boy in the perfect home birth that I'd always dreamed of. Though overwhelmed with the responsibilities of motherhood and leadership, I vowed to take some time with my 3rd and final baby to enjoy those precious first weeks.
I returned to full time working on my business and team about a month later to realize that things were getting worse. We were now coming into the busiest sales season of the year, yet stylists were complaining that their sales had never been worse. Consultants had rebranded their businesses to match the new Piphany likeness, yet we were still receiving clothing with Honey & Lace tags. I continued to urge my team to give the company grace, to try to be understanding of the changes and to continue to hustle toward recognition for this new brand. I was sure that if we worked together on marketing, and were able to keep morale up, our sales would come back up.
Part 3: An invitation to make amends.
It was the week before Thanksgiving when I received a phone call from the new Piphany CEO. I was invited to attend a meeting in Salt Lake City--the first meeting of the inaugural Piphany advisory council. The meeting was in just a few days, and my husband would be away for military training. I committed to go and to be a part of this council, under the understanding that I could be a voice for my team. I was relieved to finally have a glimmer of hope that this new company wasn't going to continue to leave leaders in the dark and make decisions without a clear understanding of what the sales field was going through. So I arranged childcare for my 2 and 4-year-old, packed up myself and my 8-week-old baby, and made the trip to SLC.
There was a perception from many of the Piphany stylists that the advisory council was some sort of leaders vacation on the company dime. This wasn't the case at all. Though the company did pay our expenses and treat us to a nice meal, this was a work trip--and it was hard work. It was emotionally and mentally draining, but it was work that I was happy to do on behalf of my team. I sat in meetings with my fellow leaders for the 2 or 3 days we were in SLC, hashing out the major issues that the field was having. We offered a myriad of solutions, we pleaded for change, and in the end, we felt we had made a big difference. I came back to Georgia feeling exhausted, but accomplished.
We continued our advisory council calls over the next few weeks while we waited for the next in person meeting. The calls were fairly productive, though a bit harder to conduct with 12 council members and no face-to-face interaction. Still, they felt acceptably productive given the circumstances, and so I pressed on. I continued to juggle my family, my personal sales goals, my team trainings, and weekly leadership and advisory council meetings. It didn't leave a lot of room for self care, but this was something I was willing to sacrifice for positive change.
Except, it felt a bit like I'd been lied to. Although we'd been told this was our chance to have a voice, I (and I know there were others) felt like my work was in vain. Despite the guidance the council was offering, corporate continued to make decisions that went against the needs we'd clearly presented. I was growing frustrated, feeling like my time was being wasted when I had so little to give.
Though I can't go into detail about the exact issues I was pushing, there were certain things that I (and the rest of the council) felt passionately about but weren't being made a priority. I was very frustrated about those issues when I was offered a call with the CEO and my upline. I hoped this would be an opportunity for me to gain some clarity on why these issues were being ignored, and how I could help to work toward a solution. The call did not go well. After the way the CEO of our company reacted to my plea for change, I knew the advisory council was no longer something I could be a part of. I gave myself a couple of days to reflect, and then sent in my resignation from the council.
Part 4: The icing on the cake.
I didn't take great joy in having to tell my team that I had resigned from the council. I felt like I was letting them down and showing my weakness as a leader, especially since I couldn't even offer details of why I was leaving. I decided to take this opportunity to double down and really focus on sales training. The holidays were now over and the team was still feeling an overall dip in sales. Very few (according to my survey, less than 10%) of my teammates were experiencing an acceptable sales volume, regardless of how many hours they were working.
Though I hadn't been able to affect much change in the marketing plan on the council. I knew the team could help. I encouraged them to help get the word out about Piphany, to start doing more in person events and churning out high quality, eye-catching content online. I encouraged them to interact with corporate social media profiles and do everything they could to help boost Piphany's overall online visibility. Although I'd left the council, I was doing my best to help the company as a whole, in hopes that it would help the people who were trusting me to guide them through this business.
Just a few weeks after I'd left the council, we had a leadership call. During this call, Piphany announced an entirely new business model involving customers being able to pick and purchase their pieces directly from corporate. This new system had many sub-changes to it: a new onboarding process, new monthly and yearly fees, new policies and procedures, and more. Did leaders have a say in whether they felt their teams would receive this well and whether it was a business model they'd like to participate in? No. It was being announced company wide the following morning.
By this point, I had already been exploring my options to leave Piphany, as my interaction with corporate had really left me feeling uneasy about the company I was representing. The day of the leadership call, I doubled down on my efforts and began searching harder. At the same time, my upline and good friend was meeting with another company, Paisley Raye, and I asked her to fill me in.
Part 5: Goodbye stress, hello opportunity!
I knew I couldn't manage the stress of another business-altering announcement from Piphany, and the more I looked into Paisley Raye, the more impressed I was. Regardless, I'd already made up my mind--I was done with Piphany. I could no longer encourage my team to stick with a company that I no longer believed in, and it didn't feel ethical to continue to collect commissions off my team if I couldn't bring myself to lead them. So, after Piphany publicly announced their new system, I submitted my resignation from the company. I announced it to my team the following morning, and as I archived our team Facebook group, I felt both a (small) heaviness and a (huge) weight lifted. Though it was difficult and painful to leave the team I'd led, and though it would drastically alter my family's financial situation, I knew I'd done the right thing.
Now that I was free to do whatever I pleased with my business, I began to seriously consider Paisley Raye. I was thrilled with the opportunity to represent another small company, and this time I felt confident that my talents would be appreciated and put to good use. I connected immediately with Ruth and Christi--what a difference it could make to have intelligent, strong, down-to-earth women representing corporate! But still, there was a part of me that just felt so done. Honey & Lace had been my first ever direct sales experience, and it had ended in a way that was so hard for me to process fully. I wasn't sure I could do direct sales again; I considered reopening my photography business or moving on to an independent boutique.
But, my desire to lead was strong. I was reminded of my team's victories with Honey & Lace--those who were given a sense of confidence, a bolstered sense of purpose, those who were able to significantly support their families with Honey & Lace. I remembered the company that it was, and the company I had envisioned it would become, and I thought, what if Paisley Raye achieves that future, or better? I knew this was an opportunity, and though it may not pan out exactly as I wanted or expected it to, I could foresee that this company is going to do great things. That this company is different. That this company has a purpose in my life, and so many others', and that I deserved to continue growing into my role of a leader and mentor to the people who needed my guidance.
And so, I submitted a stylist agreement with Paisley Raye...
My sweet baby hanging out at a Piphany advisory council meeting