Lululemon Made Me Feel Like a Million Bucks

Last week in a fit of frustration with a pair of floppy leggings, I published an article titled “Lululemon Makes Me Feel Fat.” What happened next completely changed my opinion of the Lululemon brand and was a shining example of what has become a rarity these days- stellar customer service.

lululemon has amazing customer service
One very happy customer at Lululemon Jacksonville

Within hours of publishing the article, there was a message on my phone from the manager of our local Lululemon store, saying she read the article and wanted to speak with me because that is the LAST way they want anyone to feel. While I was trying to work through a bit of anxiety and muster up the courage to call back, my phone rang again and I did the one thing I hardly ever do- I answered it.

The store manager Vee immediately put me at ease and invited me to come back to the store to get properly fitted with a new pair of leggings. She said when I had visited in November, there were a lot of seasonal workers, and she’d like to set me up with Liza, who had been with them for a long time and was basically a leggings expert.

I will be the first to admit I am the worst at asking for help, so this is really where I went wrong on my first visit. I briefly conferred with the salesperson and then chose the leggings I thought had the cutest pattern. When buying anything high-end, even leggings, you need to be ready to ask for help so you make the right choice.

To say I am impressed with Lululemon is an understatement. Mind. Blown. If I still had my boutique, I’d be taking notes from them on how to handle customer service and a customer complaint. Not only have they won me over as a customer, but I’ve only told 9 billion people how amazing they are since yesterday.

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When I arrived, they had a dressing room waiting with a bunch of different styles set up in my size, and Liza took the time to go over what activity each one was designed for, how it was supposed to fit, special features and types of fabric. Not only that, but I was greeted with a personalized sign on the fitting room, flowers, balloons and a handwritten card.

Like I said, Mind. Blown.

They were completely right about my size – I was a six in most styles. Some of the styles with a thicker material I was actually a four! So not only was I NOT feeling fat on this visit, but I was feeling pretty darn good about my gym progress.

With each try-on, I did sit-ups, jumped around the dressing room, touched my toes and basically bent every which way trying to see if they were going to roll or flop or do something weird. This is also something I should have done this first time! Put on those leggings and then see how they perform doing the thing you are going to use them for.

I narrowed down my choices based on performance and finally went with the Fast and Free Crop II. I was swayed by the side pockets and the super lightweight feel of the fabric. And the fact that no matter which way I bent and twisted, they stayed in place!

lululemon fast and free crop
Winner! Winner! Grilled chicken breast and salad dinner!

I finally get the whole Lululemon thing. I wore these to the gym and felt great. I totally understand what they mean by “naked sensation” now. That actually took some getting used too! lol. But I’m a total believer. My only problem now is that I want more!

I don’t usually write negative articles, but I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome after publishing my previous experience. And after posting about it on Facebook, I found this level of customer service is not an isolated incident. My friend Lindsey responded saying she wasn’t surprised with their actions, seeing how they made her first Mother’s Day special with a gift and flowers while her boyfriend Christian was thousands of miles away running across America to raise money for Help for Children, a charity focused on preventing and treating child abuse. Lululemon is one of the sponsors for his RUN2HEAL event, where he will run 3,000 miles from coast-to-coast with a goal of raising 1 million dollars for the charity. If you are interested in donating, learning more, or even joining Christian for part of his run, check out RUN2HEAL and click “Help me fight.”

So this concludes the saga of the leggings, a tale with a very happy ending! I’d be interested to hear about other companies stepping up like this. Leave me a comment and give a shout-out to a company who has done you right and is a good example of excellent customer service.

 

 

 

 

The Number One Thing I Did to Increase My Blog Traffic

A lot of people ask me about starting a blog and how I got readers. I found one thing that made a HUGE difference in my blog traffic. If you look at my blog stats from where I started with my first post to now, you can see exactly when I implemented this strategy, and how I went from about 200 views a month to 20,000.

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So here’s the big secret: I owned it. I basically “came out” as a blogger. Meaning I put it everywhere and I told everyone about it, and I told people it’s what I do instead of just acting like it was a little hobby or not important. I made it important.

I had my first blog for probably 10 years, and I thought I had a good readership. Overall I got maybe 2000 views a month. I wrote about my costume shop, cosplay events and conventions. I never had very many comments or likes, and I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I had no idea how big a blog could be once you really focus on it.

So how do you make it important?

First, make sure your blog is on all your social profiles. I started getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when I started sharing my posts there. Then I created a LinkedIn account, put on there that I was a blogger and linked my blog. I felt pretty official after that!

I also got a little more focused and accepted the mom blog thing. At first, I wanted a mostly geek-centered blog with crafting, plus movie and book reviews. But what I really enjoyed writing most was my personal stories and doing product reviews. So instead of a geeky blog run by a mom, it became a mom blog with a dash of geek. Once I had a focus, I felt more confident telling people I was a blogger because I felt more secure about answering the usual questions that follow, like, “What’s your blog about?”

It’s been six months since I made the change and became a blogger, not just someone with a blog. While the change was sudden, it takes some dedication to keep the momentum. I notice my stats slipping when I get quiet and stop sharing or commenting on other blogs. It does take at least a small amount of engagement to bring in new readers and stay connected with current ones.

So that’s the big secret. If you want to BE a blogger, you have to let everyone else know you ARE a blogger. Even if it’s just in your own mind to start, lol.

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So what’s your number one strategy for increasing blog traffic?

Mommy Bloggers are Crazy

For many years I had a blog for my shop. Boutique news, convention wrap-ups, costume stuff, etc. So I thought I knew what I was getting into with the new blog thing, but noooooo. Just like everything else that relates to parenting, I was wrong about the Mommy Blog.

crazy mom blogger

Mom blogging is a different world. There are networks, tribes, pods, loops… and you have to learn to navigate through them. It’s easy to get sucked into the networking thing and then next thing you know all you are doing is posting and liking and commenting in exchange for the same on your stuff.

And these people aren’t necessarily interested in what you are actually posting. They’re only interested in the reciprocal like or comment or share. It’s all a big numbers game where people want tons views and followers so they can be seen as an “influencer.” The more influence you appear to have, the more likely you are to get paid for things and get more free stuff.

I lasted about ten seconds on an Instagram follow loop. And most of the follows I earned from that have already unfollowed me anyway so it was a total waste of time. It seems like Twitter has a never ending supply of parent bloggers tweeting and retweeting every little thing. I’ve been pretty stingy with my blog follows, only following back the blogs that appear to have content I’m interested in reading on a regular basis.

I’ve been able to stay out of the mama drama for the most part. I participate in one Facebook group with a small group of blogging ladies that are pretty awesome. Our rules are relaxed and we haven’t had to do the dreaded Facebook ban on anyone.

I don’t plan on getting sucked into it since I don’t have the time to go leave fake likes and comments all day. And I prefer my readers to be real as well. So if you are reading this, liking and commenting, then thank you! I really enjoy reading the comments and knowing they aren’t just some reciprocal compulsion.

I still have a lot to learn in the business of mom blogging and blogging in general. My goal is to keep things fun and keep enjoying it and definitely Not get too obsessed with stats and shares and how many likes something gets. Of course I pay attention to that stuff! But really, it’s just exciting to be writing something people are actually reading. So again, thank you for being here!

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I Don’t Read Your Blog, and Here’s Why

I’m just going to come right out and say a lot of “Mom Blogs” annoy me. They are so bogged down with ads and giant photos that I can’t even figure out where the article starts and ends, but I can figure out where to buy a Vitamix blender, save on auto insurance and get the latest bundle on Direct TV.

I know, I know…you’re just trying to make a little money, right? Utilize all that advertising space? But do you have to do it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of your damn blog post? It’s at the top, bottom, sidebars and sandwiched all up in there so much that I’m thinking maybe this is really just a GEICO ad that somehow got meshed with an informative piece on dealing with tantrums (observation based on an article that inspired this post, that pushed me over the edge and almost made me have a tantrum)

So here’s my Top 5 List of Reasons Why I Just Can’t Read Your Blog:

1 – Your photos are enormous, so they take forever to load and dominate the page. If you have a photography blog, great, that makes sense. But if you are trying to tell me a story and break up your text with HUGE photos, it’s just annoying. I post photos. Sometimes they are on the larger side, but I try not to have them dominate the text.

2 – You have large blocks of uninterrupted text. Writing for the Internet is different and massive paragraphs without line breaks make it hard to follow. You need to break it up and throw in a photo now and then. Just not a giant one.

3 – You have pop-ups. Does Anyone like these? No. My first instinct is to go around clicking all the little x’s to make them go away. I don’t even care what they say.

4 – Ads everywhere. Look, I understand we need to make a little extra money and even I have given WordPress Word Ads a try, but when they are at the top, at the bottom, in the freakin middle of your blog post…I can’t concentrate on the text at all.

5 – You don’t proofread. Spell check was invented for a reason, use it! And don’t stop there, read over everything and edit for grammar, punctuation, etc. We all make typos, but repeatedly doing so throughout the blog just makes it painful to read. And I know I’m not perfect, but I do make a considerable effort to proofread several times before ever pressing publish. (except that one time I published my rough draft and then wanted to scream and hide under a rock)

internet-marketing-jokes

Now I know what you are thinking…except for maybe #5, all these things are being done by popular blogs that actually make money. So maybe the trick to making money blogging is to cater to the advertiser and your google stats, and not the reader. And if that’s your thing, then you didn’t get into this for the love of writing and that’s OK. Since I started blogging I’ve learned there are ALL types of blogs from the personal diaries to product reviewers to business machines where you buy into a blog network and craft it to appeal to your local community. There’s short stories, poetry, beauty blogs, foodies, overall lifestyle blogs and my personal niche, the mommy blog. There’s a blog for everything and everybody!

But if you are going to put the time into writing articles you want people to be able to read and enjoy, just please clean it up a little, cut out a few ads and make it easier to read. I’m incredibly distracted already, I don’t need your flashing pop-ups and wallpaper sized photos competing for my limited attention.

 

From Infertility Blogger to Author, the First Step is the Hardest

I just saw on another blog that this weekend ends National Infertility Awareness Week. I had been planning on writing something for it, since I struggled for seven years off and on trying to conceive. Heck, I’ve even been planning to write a book about my experience since I blogged the entire thing in my first (and anonymous) blog.

But I go to write and I just stare at the screen. I start reading my old blogs and I tear up and stop and walk away. It was just such an incredibly emotionally charged time that I’m having trouble going back there and putting myself through it again, even if it is just mentally.

“Because you’ll never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible.” – RESOLVE, National Infertility Association

After announcing my pregnancy, so many people told me they didn’t even know I wanted kids. I wasn’t even sure I wanted them most of my life. And I spent the last several years pretending not to want them just to have an answer when people asked why we didn’t have kids yet. It was an easier answer than launching into our fertility struggles.

So when we finally decided to do IVF, we didn’t tell anyone outside of close friends and family. And even then, we didn’t say much. I don’t know what I would have done without my blog and the blogging community I connected with while sharing my story. It gave me the emotional outlet I needed. I could scream, cry, laugh about what I was going through and was connected with women going through the same thing. We cheered each other’s successes and consoled each other through the losses.

And remembering that is what keeps pushing me to write the book. I remember searching and searching for stories to read about women going through infertility, looking for happy endings, looking for anything to connect to while going through such an alien procedure. I’m the kind of person who avoids the doctor unless I think I’m absolutely dying, and here I was volunteering to shoot myself full of drugs and subject myself to countless doctor visits. It consumes your life when you are going through it.

So I feel it’s a book that needs to be written. It’s a book with a purpose. I feel that if I can help even one person by sharing my story, it’s worth it. So here I am, just trying to amp myself up to revisit that blog and the rollercoaster of emotion connected to it and write that first page.

i should write a book cat