Tuesday Tips with Dominique

Marketing strategies for a small business – not as scary as it sounds, trust me.

Marketing strategies are the backbone of any successful business, DFS included, but more often than not small-business owners do not take the time to develop a long-lasting approach that delivers consistent results. That’s where we come in. Here are three simple #girlboss tricks that should be considered before you implement a marketing strategy for your small business.

1. Consider your target audience (we repeat this on.the.hour)
Do you want adult males buying your products or do you offer services catered to teenage girls? Knowing exactly who you want to target is crucial to develop an awesome marketing strategy. This is also the time to research your audience and discover what they like and what they don’t like. A quick survey is a great way to start! Sounds basic, but there are many ways to acquire this knowledge. Let us help you. It’s our thing. (One of them, at least.)

2.   Decide what marketing avenues your audience responds well to
Small businesses may not need as many different outlets as a major company, but knowing how you can influence your main client base is the key to success. This step heavily relies upon the research conducted in my previous point, and should steer you in the direction of which medium your audiences uses the most. Know your people, people! And know them well.

3.   Decide how success will be measured
This is crucial, because if something you are doing is not working then it’s time to regroup! It’s ok to try new things while still hanging on to tried-and-true methods. . . Regardless, you should always, always, always be measuring success. Otherwise you will never know the true value of what your dollars are getting you.

Having your own small business is exciting, but when marketing is done correctly, strategically, and creatively. . . It is rewarding as well.

Your ideas should be fun and truly reflect your brand and who you are as the owner. These simple tricks will take your small business to the next level, and should you let us, we’ll be right there to toast to your success.

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How Full is Your Tank?

A few weeks ago, as I left the office, I received a phone call from one of those friends that you (under no circumstances) let go to voicemail (unless you are physically unable to answer the phone). Only, this phone call resulted in a comedy of errors that provided for much entertainment and, surprisingly, self-awareness.

Apparently her gas tank was empty, and she was stranded on the side of a busy intersection. And you know what? I love that she called ME.

Having danced on the edge of this one too many times myself (“ZERO is just a suggestion!” I always say.), I said “I’ll be right there. But how do you get gas? To a car? If it’s not at a gas station?” (We can discuss my lack of automotive knowledge at a later date.)

After walking me through how to buy an empty gas can, fill it with gas, and then (duh) drive to her to fill the tank, I thought we were all set.

Until, that is, we couldn’t figure out how to get the gas out of the gas can and into the tank. Fast forward 15-20 minutes (maybe 30, if we are totally honest), and we realized that perhaps the illustrated directions – on the sticker, on the gas can – would probably give us the coveted information we so desperately needed. (Calling spouses and admitting defeat and/or asking what to do was not an option.)

All of this didn’t happen without multiple passers-by stopping to take photos of what probably looked like a stand-up comedy routine. No, nobody offered to help. Not one person. Yes, one of us was head-to-toe in Lilly Pulitzer and the other was wearing the standard leopard print stilettos, a flowy top, and oversized sunglasses. And yes, there came a point where we were so desperate to fill the tank that we tried to splash the gas into the tank. Which only resulted in the ole 80-20 rule – 80% wound up on us and our clothing and 20% wound up on the street.

However, once we actually followed directions which were presumably illustrated and designed by those who knew what they were doing, we got the tank reasonably full and were able to get moving again. Granted we smelled like gasoline for two weeks, but that’s beside the point.

The whole experience got me thinking. How often do we run on empty? How often do we, as those who work both within the home or outside of it (or both) think “I can make it just one more mile. . . even though the indicator is flashing bright red and says ZERO”? How many times do we actually ONLY fill up our tanks when we are prompted to by the light? When is the last time we thought “Hey, let’s put some gas in the tank. . . Just because I know I’ll need it one day.” (Usually such forethought, at least in my case, only happens when preparing for a long drive.)

So I concluded that (at least for me) many wait until we are empty to fill ourselves up. . . And the only time we find to proactively fill ourselves comes when on the front-end of a long journey where we know we will need it.

And that’s not really any way to live.

So I don’t know about you, but I’ve started to make it a priority to not wait until my tank says ZERO or I’m stranded before I do things to nourish myself mentally, physically and emotionally. A small break here, doing something nice for myself (no matter how seemingly insignificant) there, saying “No” without citing a reason and little things that internally validate who I am and what I believe in. . . All of those come together to fill my tank so that I won’t find myself at ZERO or stranded in any way, shape or form.

Here’s to filling up your tanks. And also to those friends who are there to help you refill it when you were too busy being everything for everyone, and you didn’t notice you were running low.

Now about that piece of chocolate cake and a side glass of champagne. I’ll take one of each, thank you very much!


Thursday Tidbits: Claudia Bove

Image Source: Angela Cox Zion Photography

It is just after hump day and we are THRILLED. We’re pondering starting the weekend early with some rosé and hightailing it to Mexico. Who’s with us?

I thought it would be fun to get to know the “DFSquad” beyond the bios on our website. Our first gal is the effortlessly chic Claudia Bové. She. Is. Cool. Makes sense, because she is from Southampton, New York. She brings her minimalist, Northern vibe to our office with her sleek clothes and gentle spirit.

CT: What is your morning mantra?

CB: I don’t know if I really have a morning mantra…I’m typically not a morning person but I always like to jam to some music when I’m getting ready to get me in a good mood for the day!

CT: Who is a #GirlBoss you admire? Why?

CB: My mom is the ultimate #GirlBoss – she has her own company and has continually worked so hard my entire life. I wouldn’t be as motivated and self driven if I didn’t have her as my role model growing up.

CT: What draws you to PR & marketing?

CB: I love that work can be fun and creative! I’ve always had an eye for detail and have taken art classes at different museums and programs since before I can remember, so this feels natural for me. I also love to travel, and I get a lot of my inspiration from foreign cultures.

CT: Thoughts on where you’d like your PR/marketing to take you?

CB: I would love to find a job in this field! My *dream* is to one day move to Europe and continue working there.

CT: Your favorite office snack?

CB: Salt and Vinegar chips!! My all time fave.

CT: Your go-to office outfit?

CB: Totally depends on the weather, but typically pants, booties, and a blouse or fun jacket! I love that our office is so artistic and that we can express ourselves in our clothes at work!

CT: Best piece of advice Dorothy has given you:

CB: What piece of advice from Dorothy isn’t the best?! I don’t think I can pick one specific example, but I would say that all of her advice has an underlying tone of believing in yourself and staying true to who you are. I think in this field especially it’s so important to embrace your unique perspectives and ideas and I love that Dorothy encourages us to do that.

CT: Describe your experience working at DFSCC in one word:

CB: Rewarding!

CT: Favorite thing about the Village?

CB: Watching it grow! Every time I come to work I notice something new or different about it.

CT: Coffee or tea?

CB: Tea! My pantry is full of it.

We sure do love our sweet Claudia! #YGG

Photo: Spencer Stanton Photography

Office Space: Remix

I recently came across this article about work spaces and thought, “Ahh yes. This makes sense.” The DFSCC office is bright, happy, and invites creativity. I don’t think a single person has walked through our door and has not had the thought: why, yes, I really can follow my dreams.

I attribute that to the fact that Dorothy has made this company, and this space, a product of her dreams. And the artists who created the art on our walls have done the same. See a trend?

The article offers three key pieces of advice for a successful work space. And, without bias, I have to say that DFSCC has got it going on over here in the West Village.

1. Create a bright & modern workspace

This is a big one. The bright and whimsical pieces in the DFSCC office provide more of a creative safe haven than a dull environment where my desk happens to be located. We have colorful furniture, open desk areas for collaboration, and inspiring décor.




2. Have a workspace ideal for collaboration

Whether it is at the long table or one of the couches, #GirlBosses love to chat about current musings and projects.

DFSCC office

dfscc working space


3. Attract the best people.

Another thing we pride ourselves in. We’ve got the best of the best (more to come on the ladies of DFSCC! *wink*)

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Cred: Angela Zion Photography.

I hope this offers the #GirlBosses of the world some work space inspo. We love working in this bright and loving little corner of GVL. And if you need office design help, Dorothy is your girl (she really can do it all).


Tuesday Tips with Dominique

We’ve all heard the saying, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” but I’d like to improve upon this. My new phrase? “Delegation is a girl(boss’) best friend.” And ladies, nothing could be more true.

As #GirlBosses inevitably rise through the ranks of management (go us!), we must learn how to oversee a team. This may seem like a daunting task, but one thing that can ease this burden is learning how to properly delegate work. Just because you are in charge does not mean that you have to do everything alone. In fact, delegating tasks to your team members will actually increase their individual performance as well as further your entire project.

Here are the 5 simple steps to delegate in order to get the results you want, while investing in your team:

1. Pinpoint who is the right person for a specific assignment
Find a task that is challenging and thought-provoking. Then, delegate this task to someone who you think will be passionate and eager to learn. This combination is crucial for success.

2.  Make sure expectations are clear
This includes going over necessary steps of completion, how your team member will be evaluated, the time frame they must have this done by, and any other instructions you deem worthy of explanation.

3.  Evaluate their work thus far
Has this person done what they have agreed to do? Are they following guidelines? It is important to recognize a job well done, but don’t forget about mentioning areas that need improvement.

4. Periodically check in and give advice
Once the person has gotten the hang of things make sure to check in with them in case they have further questions. If they are doing exceedingly well, tell them! (We are big Words of Affirmation people around here, in case you haven’t noticed.) It will encourage them to continue their hard work. Has their morale declined? Give them some pointers on how to improve and inspire them to keep going.

5.  Search for more areas to increase delegation
This will increase the strength of your team and develop each person’s individual expertise. Businessman Timothy Firnstahl said, “Delegating means letting others become the experts and hence the best.” And every #GirlBoss wants the best team out there.

Now it’s time to internalize these tips and delegate away! Not only will your team flourish as a whole, but its individuals will begin to cultivate qualities that will enable them to become great leaders (just like you). Delegation is the key that unlocks uncharted potential.

So the next time someone asks you about a girl’s best friend, tell them that its delegation. (Although, there really is nothing wrong with some diamonds thrown in the mix.)

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Fix Someone’s Crown

Featured Image Source: TheyAllHateUs

We have all been there: your coworker just got the promotion you’d give your right arm for, and all you can think to do is bash her. You point out her dull personality, ghostly complexion, ill-fitting 2012 J.Crew coat and how she is so utterly undeserving.

It’s a valid reaction. (At first, before thinking about it.)

When we, or someone we care about, feels hurt, our first instinct is to attack the source of our suffering. I think of it as a defense mechanism. But there, I believe, lies a huge cultural flaw we continue to foster.

Music, movies, magazine articles, etc. They all proclaim (whether explicitly or implicitly) that the best way to make ourselves feel better is to tear others down. And I find this to be a particularly prominent ideology for women. And I really hate it. Shouldn’t we be our own biggest fans? Aren’t we all in this together? I know at DFSCC we are. But I see it elsewhere, and it’s disappointing.

Some of the #GirlBosses I look up to the most are the ones who react to disappointment and hurt in calm and constructive ways. Instead of criticizing who hurt them, they assess the situation and think of how they themselves could have done better. How they could have communicated, served, or treated people in more productive ways. I am a big believer that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. And isn’t that a better way to handle things?

As women in the work place, we at DFSCC know this mantra all too well. It is so, so easy to critique others, even if it’s well intentioned. Everyone has opinions. But that is why we are strong believers in building one another up (back to the love language thing. . . Hello words of affirmation!) and supporting each other in all we do. It’s really the only way.

But we also know that our small-yet-mighty team is just a tiny part of the broader work culture. Not every workplace is as positive as DFSCC, where we consciously work every day to understand, care, clarify, build each other up, and do what we can to ensure happiness of those around us. But imagine how much more productive our world would be if everyone focused on uplifting and speaking well of everyone, regardless of their previous actions. I can’t help but feel certain that it would allow for more trust, creativity, openness, and love. Not to mention some great collaborations, partnerships, and awesome work!

We don’t consider ourselves queens at DFSCC (heck, Dorothy takes out the trash and jokes that she needs to add that to her resume). We’re a bit too married to the positive #GirlBoss concept.

But, if a queen is what you choose to be, go on and fix the crown of another. We will be straightening up others’ desks (which, to us, is kinda the same thing as a crown, TBH).

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Monday Mantras with Caroline

Photo source: Brouzie

I made February my month of self-improvement. And I let everyone know about it. I was somewhat obnoxious about how excited I was to make February “my” month. Aside from February being my birth month, for whatever reason, I elected it to be the month I started really taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Gosh, I am so glad I did.

I was (and I guess still am) in an interesting season of my life where I’m really jacked about letting go of things that hinder me from being happy. Draining relationships, mundane schedules, things I can’t control. I decided it was time to let them stop having power over me.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I am such a fan of the whole “love yourself” mantra going around because it makes sense: how can we best love other people if we can’t even love ourselves first? Before some small changes, I felt like my life was a tea bag stuck soaking in hot water instead of an exciting bottle of bubbly.

This little saying above is cute, but I think it applies to so much. Toxic friendships, disappointing business meetings, clients who let you down, and times when you are getting in your own way in the workplace (ever heard of burning out, anyone?). They all hurt. But we #GirlBosses can choose to let those disappointing experiences pull us back or launch us forward.

So pop the cork, #GirlBosses. It’s time to choose a life of champagne. (But hey, I’m always down for some hot tea at The Village Grind.)

Thursday Tidbits: How to Get Ahead

There may be one key factor that is missing in your equation for the perfect job; your attitude! Even if you’re doing your job perfectly, if you have a bad attitude, no one is going to want to promote you. So what makes someone have a bad attitude? Five of the things that can give someone a bad reputation in the workplace are entitlement, a “can’t do” attitude, no drive, gossip,or playing the blame game.

Have you ever been upset when a coworker gets the promotion you felt you were more qualified for? Well you may be exhibiting some of the signs of entitlement. Don’t get upset if this is you, we’ve all been there! The little green monster of jealousy sometimes just latches on and never wants to let go. If you ever catch yourself starting to slip into this, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can do and that your time will come soon. As hard as it is to wait for your time to come, being patient and diligent is the best way to show your boss how much you care about your job.

Having a “can’t do” attitude can also give off the vibe that you aren’t willing to put in the work necessary to excel at your job, or that you lack the confidence to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. The same goes for having no drive. If your boss gives you a project to work on and you give excuses as to why you can’t work on it, then your boss isn’t going to assign you more projects, won’t promote you, and might possibly fire you if you can’t handle the heat of a fast pace job.When one lacks motivation in the workplace, other people notice quickly, and no one wants to be labeled as “the lazy one” in the office.

As much as I love the show Gossip Girl, gossip in the workplace is a strict no no. When gossip starts, all it can do is cause harm to other people and yourself. As addicting as it can be, it will almost always come back to haunt you. I remember when I was on a mission trip in Costa Rica back in 2013, one of the boys started gossiping about one of the leaders on the trip.Once the rumors spread, it created a division in the team that became irreversible. This made our task at hand extremely difficult to do because no one trusted one another and everyone now had preconceived ideas about our trip leader. This made a lot of our mission work hard to do because this person was no longer seen as a strong leader. When gossip starts, it always ends up hurting another person. Gossip creates division, and as we all know, a house divided cannot stand.

Lastly, playing the blame game is never a game worth playing. We all know someone who hasn’t owned up to their mistakes before or who has blamed someone else for something they’ve done. Once we see this side of an individual, we never want to work with this person again. Why is this? Because it destroys any trust or faith you may have had in that person. No one likes the coworker who is out for themselves and willing to put others down in order to build themselves up. Don’t be the one who pulls people down in order to get yourself higher; instead, help lift up other people who can lift you higher in return. Creating good relations and networking with others is one key to success that we cannot afford to leave out.

Now that you understand what not to do in the workplace, go be the awesome #GirlBosses that you are!