Everyone should have a little black book. If you are unfamiliar with this term, let me explain it to you:
A book containing names of people or organizations to blacklist.
I need you to understand that we are not using this black book as a form of blackmail to other people. In this series, we will be focusing on how to curate your brand through key connections. Now, why is this black book important? I’m glad that you asked.
Have you ever looked at your favorite socialite or model to see if they have a standard beauty ritual? You may have noticed they have a team that makes them look good. When you take a closer look, you may see something different.
Rosie HW with her hairstylist, congratulating him on the launch of his haircare brand.
This socialite constantly works with the same people to build their signature looks and routine. You can even follow her team on social media now for the behind-scenes looks. For example, check the story of how Rosie HW met her hairstylist as a young model in London. This all dives down to branding, strategy, and trust.
Having a signature look is one of the key tools to make you memorable. It was always my hair and how I chose the color red in my social media photography. Even in the case of makeup etiquette, I would wear lighter coral-red to make my lips noticeable.
I know exactly what I want to portray in person and online from this understanding.
- What is your signature look? Is it your makeup, your hair, or even your scent?
- Is this memorable to other people?
- Make a mood board on Pinterest if you want to change your signature look. Develop two looks, daytime and nighttime looks. Get specific on what looks you desire.
- Challenge yourself every day for 30 days to get dressed, do your makeup and become that signature look. [Send it to me on Instagram (@thesterlingstudy) – I will be your accountability partner for the challenge.]
If you are serious about your branding and elevating yourself, you MUST try this. You will recognize things about yourself that you never have before. From how you like your brows done to how you prepare your styling for the day, it will be hard at first. Your goal is to curate a look that will take you less than an hour to complete. The It Girl seems effortless because she already KNOWS what works for her.
Now, why is this a strategic move for you?
You are walking into Nordstrom and heading to the beauty department to purchase a new foundation. You head over to the [insert your favorite makeup brand] counter and you see a no-name BA/SA (Beauty Advisor/Sales Associate) there waiting. You tell the BA what you need quickly, don’t make chit-chat with them and they ring you up for your order. You get what you need with one free sample and leave.
Sounds like a success, right?
OR it can go like this…
You are walking into Nordstrom and heading to the beauty department to purchase a new foundation. You head over to the [insert your favorite makeup brand] counter, see your two favorite BAs, Sarah and Rachel (Manager) and greet them their names. They are so happy to see you and let you know that a special gift (brands have special deals for their key clients) is ready for pre-order.
Sarah already knows what you like, gets your foundation, and asks if you need a re-up on your favorite moisturizer. Of course, you agree while setting up your pre-order gift with Rachel. Sarah rings you up with your foundation and moisturizer. Then Rachel rings you up with your gift separately. Due to the relationship you have built, you want both of them to gain their commission from you and trust them.
You thank them both, they give you a couple of samples, and let you know about events coming up for Nordstrom members of the Influencer range ($2,000+ annual spending). They know that you are not at the level to get access to that event, but they are putting you on the list to get access to it.
Happy with your purchase and getting access to an exclusive event, you head home to relax. But, of course, a month later, Rachel calls for you to pick up your gift.
It can go in two ways: one is where you are catered to with the best service vs. average quality service.
The Water Room ATL is where I get my nails done.
The luxury service still relies on who you know. I have a black book of quality BAs, SAs, stylists, makeup artists, restaurant servers & managers, and more that I keep with me at all times on my phone. Social media and Youtube have given us as consumers so much power as the person that can immediately research if the product or service is right for them.
I need you to understand that you need to let the BAs and SAs work for you. As a former SA, I had clients that knew exactly what they wanted when they came in. All because of my little black client book. I can go into the system to find out if they need something from me — call them and get them what they need. All for going the extra mile of quality service, and in return, they only shopped with me.
People connect with people. The trained SA knows to ask open-ended questions to get what you want and desire. Same with a quality hairstylist, nail tech, etc. They are also not afraid to push back to say that ‘this might not be the best for you‘. Get to know the people around you when you walk into the door.
The further that you elevate into the spaces that you desire, you need to recognize and know the people that are around you. Not only the big league name but the ones that are serving them for the day. They see the most out of everyone.
Create your black book in something that is accessible to you. I suggest your phone.
- Write down key places you go to in these categories: hair, nails, makeup, and clothing stores.
- Question to yourself, do you know anyone’s name at these locations? If you do, write down their names, when is the last time you have seen them, and what service was done. Example: “Varish Lane, Erica B, Nail Tech, Manicure on Feb 11, 2021, at 2:45 PM EST with nail color Londontown Royal Wedding Coral.. phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx” — the more detailed you can get the better
- If you currently do not like the places you are going to, it’s time to do some research. What do you desire to head in? Read my previous post on how to research on social media.
- You can even develop this book further to include what key brands you like. Example: ” I prefer Dior Forever Skin Glow Foundation in the summer and Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation in the winter. I use Moroccan Oil and Olapex Products on my hair. Everything is curated for the best of the best products.” — I was specific, and it is an understated conversation of what my budget is with high-end brands and salon-based hair brands. It shows that I invest in my appearance.