In preparation for my amazing interview with the Divalicious Kelly Mitchell I decided to take some time out to reflect on the amazing transformation that has happened in my own life and what is this beast Team Diva all about?
In 2008 Team Diva was a little zygote of a business. I like to think of her as our “love child”as she wasn’t necessarily planned but we love her just the same. Basically as I was running a successful solo real estate biz as Seattle’s Real Estate Diva for many years and one day – in an unexpected turn of events – Ms. Chavi decided to leave her job at Starbucks on a whim and come work with me. Initially the thought was that Chavi would be an “assistant”. But we soon found out that she was not one made out to be in a support role. In her first week Chavi stared blankly at the fax machine like it was a Dinosaur, effectively melted the laminator and broke the office printer. At the same time our open houses were empty and we knew we had to increase turn out and build buzz for the dynamic duo. Basically – we need to rebrand, reinvent and totally rethink our we functioned as a team and how we used every resource at our disposal to get the message to the peeps. Using the old Diva brand as a foundation we reinvented ourselves as Team Diva Real Estate.
I think it was this whole re-branding process that truly saved us during the recession. Because we had to reinvent ourselves into this new entity we were given the license to throw everything out onto the table and say “ok, what stays, what goes and what new ideas can we bring to our business. Quickly and effectively we transitioned to email marketing using Emma. Inspired by a Portland boutique we saw how they made us feel about the success of their little store. We saw how the store used Emma to talk about bigger issues effecting their industry and created engagement. For about the cost of one post card mailing we adopted the fancy e-marketing technology to get in front of our Diva Dwellers and talk about real estate market from our point of view. We had and still have personal stories about our Diva Dwellers.
Effectively we made the Diva brand something that all of our peeps were invested in to see as a success. Taking that engagement to Facebook and Twitter was a natural next step. All of our friends were on Facebook. Our art friends were using Twitter. E-Marketing, Facebook and Twitter coupled with a dynamic Diva brand designed by Noel Gaudette set us gals up to be Divalicious. So you cannot tell me that Social does not have an return on investment. “Work it out” as DonnaTella would say!
Looking around us we noticed that our gals in small business and non-profits were experiencing the same slow down as we were. We banded together to see what we could do to support each other. Starting with the Holiday season in 2009 we threw our first Shop Local event for Retail Therapy and the proceeds benefiting Velocity Dance Center called Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your Ginch. Well what we stumbled upon is that doing something that is so us, having champagne, and boys peeling bananas makes people want to be involved in whatever we are passionate about. And for us that is having fun, small businesses, the arts, and real estate!
The combination of being passionate and using all of our media tools really came to a head this year. Referendum 74- the legalization of Gay Marriage is a key issue for our clients and for the two of us gals personally. It was time for us to cash in some of that marketing prowess that gets our listings sold and do it for social good. Ever since the Don’t Let the Grinch Steal Your GinchÂ event we started hosting an annual Seattle Gay Pride called “Divas Take the Hill”. This year’s event was extremely special for us because we decided to raise money to support the Referendum 74 campaign to legalize gay marriage in WA State, something that obviously hits home forÂ ChaviÂ and I. We had over 100 folks at the event and raised almost $3,000 for Referendum 74.
Now people know us as an early supporter of Gay Marriage. It changed the campaign, we made new and fabulous friends, and more importantly we have a stronger base of people who support Team Diva and our business.Â If we’ve learned anything over the past four years about this business it is that no matter what you do, how you promote yourself and your business – just be authentic and be who you are. For us it has been the best key to success and it makes it a lot easier to love yourself and what you do and to build the best fans any Diva could have!