The Vine Vendor Network Brand Story

After a disappointing holiday season trying to get invited into all the busy holiday fairs and being rejected by most of them, I set on a different path; I started to get the idea that I wanted to organize my own fair and my own network of vendors. In March of 2016, after paying for a weekend-long event with no foot traffic and awful sales, the idea of the Vine Vendor Network was born.

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Read the full article in the Staten Island Advance

 

 

The name “Vine” came to me right away. I actually knew the name before I knew what business I wanted to operate.  The “Vine” would be a network, a metaphorical grapevine growing, expanding, connecting micro-business to micro-business. Entrepreneurs and small businesses would have one “root” place where they could go to find information about vending at different events.

It started simply with a free Facebook group. As I met new vendors at different events, I would invite them to join my group. Some people trickled in, many at first didn’t want to bother.  The few members, in the beginning, were active – they shared, they collaborated, it was growing into what I had envisioned.  But it wasn’t long before a massive amount of people were requesting to join the group and there was no way for me to determine the legitimacy of the businesses. I learned some people were selling counterfeit items, many were in business without proper licenses; it became a hoi polloi of illegitimate businesses. That’s when I decided to create a cataclysm and I deleted anyone I knew was operating a false business. Moderating this group became tedious, but still worthwhile, and I was lucky to meet Sandra D’Auria and Brooke Haramija. I watched how they operated their businesses, their decorum, demeanor, and I asked if they would want to be administrators of the Vine, and so, Sandra became Vice President and Brooke became Chief Consulting Officer.

At that point, around October 2016, we changed the way we allowed members into our group; they were required to fill out a membership form so we could keep track of legitimate businesses and ensure that our group requirements were being agreed to prior to people joining. I started to work on the website which was completed by December 2016. We then started having the issue where we had to bowdlerize advertisements about individual businesses; to resolve it we removed repeat offenders.

By June 2017, we had soared to over 250 members, but at least 75% of them were not active. I started to notice how people would keep asking about fair information, but never post fair information. The core of my original vision was dwindling because I was trying to be open to too many people. I tried creating a “Gold” group, a smaller group who paid for membership, as an ancillary to the regular Vine, but my instincts told me that I needed to return to my vision now before it was too late.

I decided to deracinate both groups so I could create a volte-face. For any standing members, I asked them to pay a membership fee that would come with a new survey of questions. Anyone who did not pay the minimum yearly membership fee by September 1st was dismissed from the group.  As can be imagined, our group quickly minimized. However, as we expected, the quality of our group soared. The payment separated those who were serious about their businesses and the network from those who were in the network solely for rapacity.

As of October 2017, our network continues to grow, filled with enthusiastic, empowering business owners – they are my “tribe.” We continue to strictly monitor our businesses. We’re building authority and reputation with organizers in our communities and the only way we can maintain that authority is through careful vetting. The same works in reverse – we will not advertise an event for a group or organization that is not reputable.  Our whole existence survives on reputation and we plan to exceed far beyond anyone’s expectations.

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Why Small Businesses Need to Donate to Charity

According to the United States Small Business Association, about 75% of small businesses donate to charity each year. With this number, if your small business is not donating, you are seriously missing out on some major benefits.

  • Small business tax deductions for charitable donations (for real 501(c)(3) organizations)
  • Community partnership and networking
  • Faith and trust from customers

Let’s focus on faith and trust from customers. According to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, “More than ever, aligning with a cause is translating into purchasing. Forty-one percent of Americans say they have bought a product because it was associated with a cause or issue in the last year – doubling since we first began measuring in 1993 (20%)”.  The National Philanthropic Trust explains: “Historically, charitable giving rises about one-third as fast as the stock market.”

Even with the downturn of the economy, national disasters, and job loss, people continue to give. In 2015, “Americans gave $373.25 billion in 2015. This reflects a 4.1% increase from 2014.” With so many individuals giving back, the consumer expectation is that corporations will give back, as well.

What distinguishes small business from large-scale corporations is the connection with the community. People want to feel that they should shop at a small business because a small business cares about them, as individuals, and the causes they care about.

Some examples of Vine Vendor Network businesses who donate to charity:

  • RoseMary Algerio, an independent representative of ThirtyOne, donates to Ronald McDonald Houses, Breast Cancer, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Girls Take Flight, to name a few. There is a slew of others they do throughout the year, as well. Customers also have the opportunity to “Round-Up” their orders for an even greater charitable donation. ThirtyOne offers personalized bags, household goods, and jewelry. Shop Now: http://www.mythirtyone.com/RoseMaryAlgerio
  • My company, Bath, Body, Candle Moments, supports a local charity through Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue with monthly charitable donations.  We create handcrafted, artisan, vegan, and cruelty-free soaps, bath bombs, skincare, and soy candles. We also run special donation days throughout the year to support tree-planting and parks for MillionTreesNYC. Shop Now: http://bathbodycandlemoments.com 
  • Roseann Azzinaro-Camarda, the owner of The Max Challenge of Woodrow, Great Kills, and Grasmere, are three gyms on Staten Island. We are a 10-week challenge that includes fitness, nutrition, and motivation. On April 22nd, they held their annual MAX Day Of Giving at Mount Loretto from 9 to 12 pm. They dedicate the day to Play Study Win, a local charity to help underprivileged children with extracurricular activities and after-school tutoring. Sign Up Now: http://Themaxchallenge.com
  • Caren Schagren Cooper, an independent representative of Isagenix, explains how her company donates to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has donated over 5 million dollars and granted many wishes for kids. Isagenix offers weight-loss products, workout products, and skincare. Shop Now: http://Www.carencooper.isagenix.com
  • Victoria Cheng, an independent representative of Barefoot Books, discusses that this month Barefoot Books, a children’s inclusive and diverse book company, is donating books to the Asbergers/Autism Network. Shop Now: https://www.barefootbooks.com/Victoria-ChengGorini

If you’re ready to get your small business charity-ready, check out our blog on how to make it happen!

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Functional and Fashionable: RoseMary’s Thirty-One Gifts

Imagine a job that allows you to travel at your own pace, meet new people, enhance your skills, grow an income, and use accessories that are functional, fashionable, and can be customized. Feels more like a dream, right? That’s how RoseMary Algerio gushes about her experience as an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One Gifts.

Thirty-One Gifts is centered around stylish totes, bags, wallets, and organizational accessories. Offering up fresh and unique designs for the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter, Thirty-One always has a new product to offer to make life pretty and portable. During these times, Thirty-One offers new prints and products which are always the current trends and based on customer input.

What makes RoseMary’s Thirty-One business unique is her focus on top-notch pink-glove customer service. She offers a lively and interactive  Facebook Group where she does sneak previews of new products, live videos, and amazing ideas for how to best utilize your Thirty-One products. Along with shopping through her website, customers can book at-home or online parties for the true personal experience. RoseMary coaches her hosts with complete transparency. She is there for her hosts and customers from the moment of inquiry all the way through delivery and beyond. Whether a customer needs product suggestions or wants to create personalization, RoseMary treats every question and every order with the utmost importance. She is sure to follow-up, sending out thank you cards, and showing genuine appreciation for working with her and the company.

 

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Stylish, Comfortable, Practical, Thirty-One Gifts Offers Organization Solutions for Every Need

 

RoseMary is warm, kind, friendly, and the true epitome of Thirty-One’s message: Caring Customer Service.  When RoseMary speaks about Thirty-One, she absolutely shines; she is a beacon of positivity, passion, and dedication. She chose to represent Thirty-One Gifts as her business because she loves their mission and their charitable contributions. The sense of sisterhood and the bond that is built between the consultants and home office creates an atmosphere that appeals to everyone.   She is a team leader, recognizing that people may be looking to Thirty-One not only to solve their accessory needs but as a source of their own income. Whether a person needs a second job, needs to work from home, or is simply in love with the products, RoseMary can also be your coach, mentor, and guide for starting your own Thirty-One business.

 

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RoseMary (on right) with her family

 

Close to RoseMary’s and Thirty-One Gifts’ heart is the importance of charity and giving back. Thirty-One is very big with working with charitable organizations. They are joined with Ronald McDonald House, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and the campaign “Girls Take Flight.” The “Girls Take Flight” initiative will help fund groundbreaking behavioral health research to impact girls everywhere. In addition, Thirty-One independent sales consultants will aid in this initiative to create awareness and reduce the stigma tied to mental illness. Since 2012, Thirty-One Gifts has donated more than $85 million in cash and product to nonprofit organizations that share its mission to support women and girls and strengthen families. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare systems in the U.S., providing the highest quality of care to all children and their families, regardless of ability to pay. Recently, Nationwide Children’s Hospital announced plans to develop a $158 million Behavioral Health Pavilion, part of a $730 million campus-wide expansion. The pavilion is scheduled to open in 2020 and will comprise 48 inpatient beds. Thirty-One also partners with the Salvation Army and The Today Show for their Toy Drives during the holiday season. Girls On the Run, Operation Homefront, World Vision just to name a few of our charitable organizations. Plus, every time someone places an order they can “Round Up” whatever the difference is for charity contribution.

 

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Samples of Thirty-One Products

 

Thirty-One has products for everyone and every age. They offer products for the home, on the go, the office, and vehicle. RoseMary can demonstrate exactly how Thirty-One Gifts can help you reduce clutter, create structure, and offer beautiful organization. We are proud to have RoseMary Algerio as an active Vine Vendor Network member, and we all know her as the cheerleader and Princess-of-Packing.

Contact RoseMary today to start organizing, to host a party, or to learn more about how Thirty-One Gifts can make your life better.

RoseMary Algerio
Thirty-One Gifts
Products: Totes, Lunch Thermals, Purses, Wallets, Getaway Products, and Accessories
Website: www.mythirtyone.com/RoseMaryAlgerio
VIP Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/RoseMarysThirtyOne/
Twitter @Rosie22572
Instagram @Rosie22572

Learn Sewing with Simply Melissy

Melissa Quijano, an active member of the Vine Vendor Network, has been sewing since she was five years old. As her craftiness and talent grew throughout high school, she sewed her senior prom dress. Seeing the need to bring the age-old art of sewing to Staten Island, she now teaches students of all ages how to design and sew their own creations through her business, Simply Melissy.

Simply Melissy Prom Dress
Melissa, on the right, shows off her hand-sewn prom dress.

 Melissa, like most artists, sewed for the passion and love of the craft, without knowing her gifts would expand into a business. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Brooklyn College, Melissa began teaching creative writing, fine art, and fashion design to students through the Creative Studios project in 2013. This is when she absolutely knew she needed to translate her talent for educating, the fine arts, craftsmanship, fashion, and sewing into a business. Hoping to leave her own mark on the thriving art scene of Staten Island, Simply Melissy was born to spread the love of fashion and sewing around to anyone interested! 

Melissa’s methods are unique compared to other sewing teachers. She has a self-authored curriculum which is flexible to adjust to the needs of diverse learners. She never makes students sew lines on paper; she gets them on the sewing machine making a real project on the very first day. With Melissa’s guidance, students usually make a drawstring bag on the first day, which they can use to keep their sewing supplies in. They always finish in the first lesson, so it’s a great motivator to keep sewing. She never leaves her students disappointed or frustrated – her goal is to educate, build confidence, increase motivation, and have students build their own voice through creation.

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Melissa’s student touts her dress creation.

She largely lets students dictate what they want to do. Students have made Sweet 16 dresses, doll clothes, pocket warmers, stuffed animals and so much more with Melissa’s unique curriculum. She makes suggestions based on level and skill, and students decide when they are ready to move on to the next project – and best of all, they choose the project. She prioritizes enjoyment in the craft over perfection. She believes stressing perfect hems and sleeves from day one is the ideal way to put out the light of passion. All of her students achieve their artistic goals in their own time.

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Students of Simply Melissy use their imagination to create their own fashion designs.

What makes Simply Melissy incredible is that it takes the form of tangible, kinesthetic learning to an entirely new level. She is filling a huge gap in education – the gap where students learn because they want to. Learning for the test is hurting children’s desire to learn, Melissa’s methods introduce topics that could later become passions through the lens of fashion and sewing. She has taught students who have felt hopeless in math fractions in minutes. She has created a lesson where she has students research in real books about history- because they were discovering what Disney princesses “really looked like.” Students are impressed and feel pride in their work because they are learning by having fun.

Melissa's Princess Gown
Melissa’s Princess Gown

Simply Melissy is not only for young students, but for teens and adults alike. People who feel frustrated by garments and garb that are not up to standards, people who want to have the skill to sew, all the way to people who want to turn their crafts into a small business. With Simply Melissy, sewing is no longer a lost art form reserved for tailors and seamstresses, it is a skill to be shared by anyone for any age group.

Melissa is eager to work with individuals, schools, senior centers, or groups to teach sewing. She has a proven method, flexible scheduling, and does her best to never turn away a student. She is a thoughtful entrepreneur with a true vision that all students of any age are capable of learning to sew. Whether you’re looking to fix buttons or fashion design ball gowns, Simply Melissy is the ideal and only choice.

Melissa’s students sew a number of various objects, including dolls and doll fashions!

Melissa teaches in private homes and at Staten Island Dance and Art Center. Contact her to set up your first lesson!

Call or text: 917-734-5835
E-mail: simplymelissy@gmail.com
Website: http://www.simplymelissy.com

Want to see more? We don’t blame you! Follow these links to get an even better feel for Simply Melissy.

Student Fashion Show

Simply Melissy Portfolio