Cindy Monroe finds the opportunities in adversity at Thirty-One Gifts

Faster and smarter

Once Thirty-One stabilized, Monroe continued to encourage the innovation that the decline helped engineer. New product lines including pillows and home décor generated interest, helping evolve the brand and keeping it relevant for consumers.

“One of the things this last year we’ve been focused on is, how do we make sure that we turn the categories and turn the inventory a little bit more frequently,” she says. “We have gone to a quarterly model.”

Previously, Thirty-One introduced new products twice a year, along with a few seasonal items.

“Now every quarter, we have a launch of new categories or a new line. That has been just in this last year, and that has continued to help with our stabilization,” Monroe says.

This summer, the company also rolled out a new digital training platform.

Traditionally, new consultants are matched with a sponsor who shows them how to do business. Over time, however, people have begun marketing and selling the products differently.

“We still have women that get a group of ladies together in a living room,” Monroe says. “But now we have women that get a group of ladies together and they go to the wine bar, or they go to the pool. And then we have so many that don’t get a group of ladies together, they will just sell through their friends and family through social media, or they may have an online party.”

If a sponsor is following one method, but a new consultant wants to try something else, the new training platform will help with that.

“You’ll be able to select what is best for what you’re trying to accomplish, whether it’s the amount of income that you’re trying to earn, or the style of the party or platform that you want to use,” she says.

Monroe and her team are also closely watching the economy. They’ve learned that when the economy is strong, Thirty-One can see a bit of dip. Young moms always need extra income, and there are always women looking for the flexibility and freedom Thirty-One commissions bring, but when the economy is good and consultants don’t need the extra income as much, the total number of consultants and the effort they put into their sales decrease, she says.

“Our business definitely ebbs and flows with the economy. Whenever people experience layoffs, or whenever people are unsure about their income, then they come to Thirty-One wanting that extra stability and that extra income,” Monroe says. “So we’re trying to make sure that we’re watching that and that we’re ready to support them whenever they need that extra income.”

Takeaways:

  • Find the opportunities in the midst of challenge.
  • Use adversity as a rallying point for innovation and change.
  • Learn from the past, but always be casting a vision for the future.

 

The file:

Name: Cindy Monroe
Title: Founder, president and CEO
Company: Thirty-One Gifts

What was the hardest management skill for you to learn and why? Having clarity around what needs to be executed and following up on the execution, because I’m a visionary and I’m always ready to move on to the next thing.

That’s why I love my CEO title. Whenever I have to put on the president hat, I will, but managing the day-to-day business is definitely not my strongest area. Whenever you go through a decline and you have to right-size the business like we did, I tell everyone I earned my president’s title.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? We love to ski, so we go out to Utah quite a bit. And then we love the water, so we will go down to Florida on the Gulf side.

Where do you like to spend your weekends? I’m always outdoors. So, it’s skiing, hiking, paddle boarding, boating — it’s anything outdoors.

If you weren’t a CEO, is there another job you’d like to try? Maybe coaching businesses. I like to serve and care for other people, and I like to solve problems.