news.

4.17.2014

BRW: What happens when mid-market companies start messing with the program

Published by Robert Sher An attendee walks past a display of Cellairis phone cases during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas – the company is a textbook example of mid-market overreach. Many leaders of midsize companies – especially if they’re the founders – are constitutionally inclined to see new opportunities around […]Published by Robert SherBRW

An attendee walks past a display of Cellairis phone cases during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas - the company is a textbook example of mid-market overreach.

Many leaders of midsize companies - especially if they’re the founders - are constitutionally inclined to see new opportunities around every corner, and they love to pursue them. They forget that the strategy that took them from a small to a midsize firm has already proven itself a winner - to them, a new vision is always more exciting than the present one. So these leaders start tinkering with their core strategies, burning up resources while their companies wander off their tried-and-true growth paths.The tales of two companies - the cellphone accessories retailer Cellairis and the skin care products maker Rodan & Fields - illustrate the dangers of top-level strategic tinkering.Three friends, Taki Skouras, Joseph Brown and his twin brother Jaime Brown, launched Cellairis in Atlanta in 2000 to ride the cellphone boom. They had the epiphany that they could use cheap retail space - the carts that sit in the middle of shopping malls - to sell mobile phone accessories, mostly cases. Five years later, they had a $US50 million business. The future looked bright.That’s when the tinkering began.In 2006, the trio hired an experienced president to manage their rapidly growing business. The new president thought Cellairis shouldn’t only sell accessories, it should sell wireless phone service as well. Skouras, the company’s CEO, thought that sounded like a great idea. People shopping for cellphone cases were natural customers for wireless phone service. So Cellairis jumped wholeheartedly into a joint venture with a reseller of wireless service, Amp’d Mobile, and opened Amp’d stores in the malls. Cellairis’ leaders didn’t think it necessary to test their new strategy. After all, it was just a slight variation on the core strategy of selling accessories.But Amp’d underpriced its services and regularly extended credit to high-risk customers. After nine months, Amp’d filed for bankruptcy, stiffing Cellairis and the wireless providers whose services it resold.During those nine months, Cellairis’ leadership had been distracted from their core business. And not surprisingly, it had languished. The company’s revenue fell 33 per cent in that time, and closing the Amp’d stores cost millions. Cellairis had tinkered with its core strategy, one that had been working beautifully, and things turned ugly.Fortunately, the founders were quick to refocus on their core accessories business. Systemwide revenue for 2013 was $US350 million - seven times the revenue for 2005.Tinkering can kill midsize companies. Unlike a startup, which is supposed to play with alternative strategies until the right one emerges, a midsize firm already has a strategy that works. Sure, the company should always consider whether to adjust that strategy in the face of new competition, changing customer demand, technological innovation or all three. But unlike big companies, midsize firms can’t always afford to divert scarce resources from their core businesses.The management team at Rodan & Fields - today worth $US250 million - understood this risk. That’s why the San Francisco-based skin care company tinkered with its strategy the right way, off to the side, in a manner that would minimize the damage if the experiment went wrong.In late 2009, CEO Lori Bush was searching for a way to raise the productivity of the company’s sales force. A direct seller like Avon and Mary Kay, Rodan & Fields works with about 50,000 independent businesspeople who in turn sell its skin care products to others in their communities. A direct-selling company’s core strategy is its sales strategy - if its salespeople fail, there are no retail stores for the firm to fall back on.While Rodan & Fields makes its sales force feel like insiders, they remain a channel of independent sales professionals (whom the company calls “consultants”), some of whom hope that commissions from selling the firm’s products will become their primary income. And while they love the products, five years ago there was a wide disparity in sales skills.Bush, Chairman Amnon Rodan and adviser Oran Arazi-Gamliel decided they had two choices for the firm’s sales strategy: They could juice the sales commission plan with temporary short-term bonuses as a way to motivate their consultants to work harder. Or they could analyze the behaviors of the most successful consultants and train others on their methods. They pursued both paths at once, but with caution.By the end of 2010, they found that incentive bonuses did have a minor impact on growth but that as soon as they were discontinued, sales dropped again. Over the same period, Bush and Arazi-Gamliel identified top consultants in one particular city and studied their behaviors. They pinpointed a number of new consultants who were excelling, noted their behaviors and then implemented these new field development strategies with their consultants in Atlanta, a particularly tough market for the firm. The results were remarkable. Sales rose 300 percent in Georgia by the fall of 2010 and rose even more the following year. Since then, the company has refined and repeated the training program in many other regions across the U.S.Rodan & Fields’ revenue growth has been breathtaking. Revenue in 2011 was $US59 million. By mid-2013, the company was chugging along with a $US200 million annual revenue rate.The lesson here is to experiment carefully with variations on your successful strategy, not tinker with it in the field of play. This is a hard lesson, running counter to the improvisatory instincts of many CEOs. But they must learn it.Once a firm becomes midsize, the CEO’s impulses must cede center stage. Scaling the business must be the priority, with strategic innovations tested in the wings. Creating a program to prove the viability of a significant change in the firm’s strategy ensures that the experiment won’t knock the ship off course if the idea turns out to be flawed.In these instances, the chief financial officer can play a valuable role: keeping the CEO from yielding to the impulse to tinker. The most successful CFOs I know insist that their company’s core strategy be written down. When someone begins to tinker with it, they push for clarity. They want to see exactly what resources will be required and what priorities will be emphasized. And they want everyone to know exactly how much time a new strategy will be given before it’s deemed a success or a failure.Such discipline creates focus and forces leaders of midsize firms to determine whether a new strategy fits with the original winning plan. These simple protocols can mean the difference between a midsize company that keeps its eye on the road ahead, and one that gets distracted and ends up in the ditch.(Robert Sher leads CEO to CEO, a consulting firm of former chief executives that improves the leadership infrastructure of midsize companies seeking to accelerate their performance. His book, “Mighty Midsized Companies: How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers,” will be published this fall.)Source: BRW
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4.15.2014

The Wall Street Journal: Retailers Snap Cold Streak

Cellairis was featured in The Wall Street Journal regarding the surge in retail sales. Source: The Wall Street Journal Pin ItCellairis was featured in The Wall Street Journal regarding the surge in retail sales.Wall Street JournalSource: The Wall Street Journal
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4.14.2014

The Coveteur: Lily Kwong

Model, Designer. New York She graduated from Columbia with full honors, calls none other thanJoseph Altuzarra family, has her own non-profit organization, has a place on every best-dressed list and is practically a 21st Century Audrey Hepburn. No, seriously—we dare you to take one look at her delicate, gamine-like features and that perfectly polished yet just-undone-enough braided […]Dolce_Gabbana_Lily_Kwong-73Model, Designer. New YorkShe graduated from Columbia with full honors, calls none other thanJoseph Altuzarra family, has her own non-profit organization, has a place on every best-dressed list and is practically a 21st Century Audrey Hepburn. No, seriously—we dare you to take one look at her delicate, gamine-like features and that perfectly polished yet just-undone-enough braided updo and tell us otherwise. If she wasn't so nice, we might just have to hate her. Kidding! Kind of.If it wasn't entirely obvious by now, we're talking about none other than Lily Kwong, who we caught up with over at the Soho Grand Hotel (along with our pals from ELLE Magazine). And while we may have previously convinced Kwong to divulge the details of her beauty cabinet (hint: there was a lot of Clarins involved); this time, Kwong brought along a suitcase that exercised her penchant for ultra-feminine all-Dolce & Gabbana-everything. Think: sky-high, polka dot wedges, dramatic gilded gold jewelry, impeccably tailored, Monica Bellucci-appropriate shift-dresses and intricately-embroidered clutches. Oh, and one seriously lush, full-length fur coat that practically had us floored with a mean case of holy-sh*t-we-need-that-right-now-syndrome.Over the afternoon, we chatted everything from cinematic style crushes ("Lady Brett Ashley, the 'damned good looking' heroine from The Sun Also Rises—she’s my kind of sexy tomboy.  A woman that is self-possessed, witty and intelligent") to international travels ("I’m dying to go see the botanical gardens in Singapore. My favorite city to travel to is Paris, it feels like a second home") and just about everything in between. And as we downed cappuccinos, we watched as Kwong frolicked in front of our photog Jake's camera, her proclivity for all things polka dots, sky-high pumps and cocktail frocks on full display. Not bad for a supposed reformed tomboy, right? Kwong confessed, "I’m a tomboy at heart—I vaguely remember my cousin Joseph Altuzarra teaching me how to walk in high heels at the tender age of 19." We mean, is that a Kwong Kodak moment or what?Dolce_Gabbana_Lily_Kwong-96-376x563

Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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"I studied Urban Planning [at Columbia University] because I’m so passionate about travel and development. The juggling act wasn’t always graceful, I remember hiding full ready-to-wear looks under big coats to class before red carpets and taking a red-eye from Paris to make a Monday morning 'Global Urbanism' class—but I managed to pull it off somehow."

Coat, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"My favorite city to travel to is Paris, it feels like a second home. I am always inspired to write and explore there. My favorite Parisian haunts: Musée Rodin, Boulangerie Poilâne, Archives de la Presse, and La Palette. I’m also dying to go see the botanical gardens in Singapore."

Dress, Dolce & Gabbana

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Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"My first ever modeling gig was pretty humorous. Theo Wenner shot me for Dossier Magazine with his friend, Zac Posen, who has since become a friend of mine. For them it was just good fun. I remember running around Theo’s place in the Hamptons in a blonde wig, with Zac even doing my make-up. I was so nervous at the time… it really cracks me up looking back!"

Shoes and Earrings, Dolce & Gabbana

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"My favorite moment of Fashion Week is the Altuzarra show. I love supporting my cousin Joseph—It is a real family affair. My aunt and uncle come from Paris, my 83 year-old grandma flies in from San Francisco, my brother shows up to support, and Joseph’s brother comes all the way from Singapore. We follow up the Saturday night show with a family brunch on Sunday morning. It is a special event for all of us, especially Joseph!

My least favorite part about fashion week? How little sleep I get!"

Watch and Bracelet, Dolce & Gabbana

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Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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"These days I’m doing a ton of travelling, so every day is a little different. I work with a landscape/urban design firm that has projects in fourteen countries and on five continents, so I’m a busy woman! In between meetings, writing and research, I carve out time to work on my product lines, LK Collection cell phone cases and sunglasses, and sometimes am able to squeeze in a fashion shoot. As for routine, I can say my day always starts with dark coffee and ends with a good sweat. JetSet Pilates, AeroSpace and Equinox group classes are favorites."

Shoes and Bag, Dolce & Gabbana

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"I’m a tomboy at heart. I vaguely remember my cousin Joseph Altuzarra teaching me how to walk in high heels at the tender age of 19."

Shoes, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"I like to keep it simple. The best beauty products in my opinion are clean food, lots of sleep and regular exercise."

Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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"There are so many people [I want to work with], but given that I just finished 'The Eye Has to Travel', I would say for the moment, Diana Vreeland. This book left me with the impression that she was a vivacious, inspired and sincere woman—all beautiful qualities to work with!"

Bag and Bracelet, Dolce & Gabbana

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Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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"Biggest guilty pleasure? 90’s R&B."

Clutch, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"In my bag you can always find: my Moleskine notebook, SmartWater, Blackberry & iPhone, Clarins UV Plus sunscreen, Tumi mobile charging pack, and a good book—right now Frederick Law Olmsted’s 'Landscape into Cityscape.'"

Shoes and Bag, Dolce & Gabbana

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"Candice Lake and I roaming the streets of Shanghai when we were shooting a story for Vogue Australia, was a pretty wonderful mis-adventure. We didn’t have a translator and at one point, a tuk-tuk driver didn’t understand our request for a shot on the back of his little rickshaw and started driving off with me! The entire Vogue fashion team running behind him trying to get him to stop in China’s traffic was a very memorable moment."

Skirt, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"I can’t start my day without reading the paper—I have so many notebooks it’s a little crazy. I still write most of my notes longhand, otherwise it just doesn’t seem to stick."

Shoes and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

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"Lady Brett Ashley, the 'damned good looking' heroine from 'The Sun Also Rises,' she’s my kind of sexy tomboy. A woman that is self-possessed, witty and intelligent—that combination never goes out of style."

Shoes and Coat, Dolce & Gabbana

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Dress and Watch, Dolce & Gabbana

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"We’ve developed a line of luxury tech accessories (LK Collection) after much research and development. The materials include ostrich, pony, fine leather and precious metals. The line was inspired by my super fashion-forward friends – they always had their iPhone in hand but these crappy rubber cases. We developed a really beautiful product and I’m excited to unveil the next season."

Watches, Dolce & Gabbana

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All, Dolce & Gabbana

Source: The Coveteur 
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lifestyle.

4.16.2014

Prom 2014

High school prom- a magical night to remember. Prom is filled with gorgeous dresses, well-dressed dates, fancy limo rides, and a red carpet to boot; it is the night that makes you feel utterly glamorous! Year after year trends change. Some trends go out of style for 20 years and then make a come back! […]High school prom- a magical night to remember.Prom is filled with gorgeous dresses, well-dressed dates, fancy limo rides, and a red carpet to boot; it is the night that makes you feel utterly glamorous! Year after year trends change. Some trends go out of style for 20 years and then make a come back! Some trends may not even make it on the racks two years in a row. But there is one trend that is here to stay: sparkles!Besides the prom ticket, what is the one thing that a girl is going to carry in her cute little clutch? Her phone! Feel like Cinderella all the way down to your phone with DeBari. With several styles and colors to match your gown this year, you can techcessorize in style.Check out this group of beautiful girls headed off to prom in style!

Prom-2014-Fashion

Shop DeBari Now.
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4.7.2014

Live to Give: Shop Now to Make a Difference

Did you know that autism affects 1 in 68 children and that autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average? Did you also know that there is no medical detection or cure for autism? We are so excited to partner with Autism Speaks and help find a cure for autism. How can we do […]Did you know that autism affects 1 in 68 children and that autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average? Did you also know that there is no medical detection or cure for autism?We are so excited to partner with Autism Speaks and help find a cure for autism. How can we do this? With the help of YOU! Today only, 100% of the proceeds of any online purchase at cellairis.com will be donated directly to Autism Speaks! So get to shopping and help give back; Live To Give.And don't forget to check out our Autism Speaks collection here so you can Light It Up Blue today and everyday!

live-to-give-shop-now-to-make-a-difference

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4.1.2014

April Fools’ Day Pranks

It’s that time of year again, APRIL FOOLS’ DAY! We love hearing about amazing pranks. Whether it is wrapping your coworker’s desk AND every single item in tin foil, launching a pretend product, or just a simple scare, we love it all. Tell us your best prank and have a laugh seeing one of our […]It's that time of year again, APRIL FOOLS' DAY! We love hearing about amazing pranks. Whether it is wrapping your coworker's desk AND every single item in tin foil, launching a pretend product, or just a simple scare, we love it all. Tell us your best prank and have a laugh seeing one of our own get scared. Happy pranking!
 What is the best prank you've ever pulled or that someone has pulled on you?
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products.

4.23.2014

Introducing Matter: Fashion You Can Feel

The Matter collection is now available- for both him and her! Available for the iPhone 5/5S and iPhone 5C, these beautiful, textured cases will catch your eye and make your device stand out. Shop him. Shop her. Which Matter case will you choose? Touch it, see it, feel it. Pin ItThe Matter collection is now available- for both him and her! Available for the iPhone 5/5S and iPhone 5C, these beautiful, textured cases will catch your eye and make your device stand out.matter-blogShop him. Shop her.Which Matter case will you choose? Touch it, see it, feel it.
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4.15.2014

Coming Soon: Protection, Innovation, Beauty

Along with the new look of Cellairis, introduced back in January, we have also completely refreshed, designed, and engineered our entire product portfolio. We are committed to growing with the industry and you.  In conjunction with our growth and discovery, we have identified some solutions to everyday lifestyle and mobile device tensions. We are excited […]Along with the new look of Cellairis, introduced back in January, we have also completely refreshed, designed, and engineered our entire product portfolio. We are committed to growing with the industry and you.  In conjunction with our growth and discovery, we have identified some solutions to everyday lifestyle and mobile device tensions. We are excited to help solve these tensions by launching new products and services throughout 2014. Here's a sneak peek:Tension #1: Protection has to be bulkyWe are tired of these large, bulky phone cases. Do they protect your phone? Sure. But do they fit your lifestyle? You've said no and we agree.

Solution: We have the answer to all of your ultimate protection needs with the upcoming launch of the Paladin. Constructed for durability, designed for individuality. Paladin is our ultimate protection case with a built-in screen protector in a slim, one-piece design. We know, we know, you want to know the actual specs.... wait for our official launch of this case and you will see; numbers don't lie! This is sleek + protection at its best.

If you are aren't fully committed to total protection but know that scratched up devices aren't your thing, then the Trilogy cases are calling your name. These cases are fused together using three materials to create a stunning, one-piece case with a slim design allowing you to easily stash it in a pocket or clutch. Simply protection. Shop Now.

[caption id="attachment_8351" align="alignleft" ]Trilogy-iPhone5 Trilogy[/caption][caption id="attachment_8347" align="alignleft" ]Paladin-iPhone5 Paladin[/caption]         Tension #2: Boring and dull accessoriesYou wake up, throw on a nice outfit, and are ready for the day. You pick up your printed backpack or stylish clutch and throw in your phone accessorized with a plain, unattractive case. Seriously, you call that accessorizing? Why ruin your entire outfit when you can enhance your look with an eye-catching, personal accessory?

Solution: Match your phone case to your outfit and your personality. Some of you may not care about a super protective case and it only makes sense that your case matches who YOU are. Our DeBari collection houses the right choice for you. The Crystaria cases (formerly known as DeBari) and the Sterlyn line offer many design and style options to make your individuality pop. Crystaria cases can add the right amount of sparkle to any outfit with new designs and colors to choose from.

Sterlyn combines high quality materials and embellishments for a truly unique look. With so many options, these looks can match your personal style, whatever that may be. Techcessorize with DeBari.

[caption id="attachment_8348" align="alignleft" ]DeBari-Crystaria-iPhone5 Crystaria (formerly known as DeBari)[/caption][caption id="attachment_8349" align="alignleft" ]DeBari-Sterlyn-iPhone5 Sterlyn[/caption]         Tension #3: The need for sophisticationSo you are worldly and modern. What's the problem? Absolutely nothing. However, your flimsy, plastic phone case IS a problem. We are committed to designing accessories for all types of lifestyles and budgets. Affordable luxury for your phone is here.

Solution: Our solution comes in the form of materials. The world around us is a constant source of beauty and inspiration. Matter allows us to take the physical world that is so often overlooked and reinvent it into something bold, alluring, and unforgettable. This line features a wide variety of materials and styles including faux animal skin and fur, wood, and cork. Touch it, see it, feel it with Matter.

Our Bespoke collection uses exquisite materials as well, such as leather and suede, but with added utility or function.  These items cover the entire device and some are even designed with additional features like slots for credit cards, ID, and cash. Bespoke comes in a wide variety of materials with many unique form factors to choose from. Fashion meets function.

[caption id="attachment_8352" align="alignleft" ]Matter-Iphone5 Matter[/caption][caption id="attachment_8724" align="alignleft" ]bespoke Bespoke[/caption]         Look out for these exciting new lines coming soon! 
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4.11.2014

Now Available: Samsung Galaxy S5 Cases

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has finally been released and we’ve got you covered. We have a variety of cases to protect your precious, new Galaxy S5! Shop Now. Which of our Samsung Galaxy S5 cases is your favorite? Pin ItThe Samsung Galaxy S5 has finally been released and we've got you covered. We have a variety of cases to protect your precious, new Galaxy S5! Shop Now.Now-Available-Samsung-Galaxy-S5-CasesWhich of our Samsung Galaxy S5 cases is your favorite?
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