STORY OF THE BOA
When Kate and I launched our business, The Coaches Console, we knew that in order to gain credibility and exposure one of the best things we could do was to be an exhibitor at various conferences in the coaching industry. One of the first conferences we exhibited at was at a Coachville Conference in 2005 and this particular year it was being held in New Orleans (this was a few months before Hurricane Katrina hit). We arrived a day early so we could get our bearings, setup our vendor booth and be relaxed and ready to go for the 3 day conference. We had about a half a day to play in New Orleans. I had never been there. So Kate, her husband Tom, a friend of ours Cynthia and I all went walking around in the French Quarter area of New Orleans.
Have Fun?! Over My Dead Body
Have you been there? If so you’ll recall all of those little “tacky” shops that carry souvenirs, T-shirts and all sorts of New Orleans style festivities items. This one particular store we walked by had an entire wall strewn with feather boas; every color, every style. Kate was mesmerized and immediately went into the store and started putting them around her neck. She was giggling and her husband was too. They were like little children; kids in a candy shop. Cynthia quickly jumped in and they were parading around this shop with all these feather boas. Kate said, “we have to each get one and wear if during the conference Won’t that be such fun?!” The Melinda back then was a much different woman than I am today. She was very serious, get-down-to-business, and would NEVER dream of doing anything so ridiculous. I mean after all what would people think?!?! I told her, “over my dead body we’ll be wearing these at the conference.” That didn’t stop her or Cynthia from the fun they were having in trying on the boas. Laughing. Sauntering. Petting. They were having a blast and my pessimistic judgmental thoughts were not about to stop them.
It actually became contagious. Tom had found a big festive hat, large brim, velvet, tall, purple, green and gold, New Orleans style. He too was laughing and having a blast. I wanted in on the fun! So I did, I jumped in and started playing with the boas. Then Kate realized that they had boas in Coaches Console colors – blue and orange. Kate bought a blue boa and I bought an orange boa, that had sparkling feathers sprinkled in so it shimmered and sparkled when it moved. I couldn’t believe what I was doing. AND I couldn’t believe that we all wore the boas (and Tom wore his hat) out of the store and down the streets of New Orleans. Kate always did make sure we had fun!
Marketing Strategy or Marketing Signature:
That was how the boa came into our business. So how did it become a signature for us? The next three days at the Coachville Conference Kate and I wore our boas (that matched our company colors and our booth). Everywhere we went, breakfast, the exhibit booth, the breakout sessions, the general sessions, dinner, everywhere we wore our boas. Within one day people began to call us the “Boa Babes.” While we were at our booth sharing our product with conference attendees, we were having a blast. People would just walk right up to us and start “petting” the feathers and cuddle them around their necks. Others would comment about how fun they looked. Some looked at us like we had three eyeballs, but that was okay, because at least they looked. We realized that our fun combined with the boa engaged people. It somehow broke down the unspoken and unconscious barriers that people had with vendors at the tradeshow. It naturally started conversations and gave us a fun way to interact with others that was nonthreatening (I mean after all we were vendors at this conference to sell them something that would help their business). The magic of the boa was actually pretty powerful. It was engaging when people were otherwise guarded. It was an element of fun at an otherwise exhausting and long event. It was a connection when otherwise disconnected. It was an unspoken symbol of what people were longing for – to have fun, to engage in conversation and to enjoy life.
The essence of our business was bringing spirit and fun to business. I mean after all, we make your back end sexy (the back end of your business that is). The boa did exactly that. It infused people and reconnected them with their spirit rather then keep them entangled in their egos, judgments and fears. It was freeing for both Kate and I and for the passer-byers that encountered our booth. While so many of the other vendors were exhausted, worn down and disappointed that they had to sit in the exhibit hall for 8 straight hours, we were giggling, skipping, laughing and engaging with everyone we saw. We had a blast, connected with new clients and made life-long friends.
By the end of the conference people knew who Kate and I were and also knew our business. We had found our trademark and the boa had become our most successfully marketing strategy. The years following at other conferences, people would call us and ask if we were coming AND ask if we’d be wearing our boas. It is so nice to be noticed AND remembered while helping others have fun! Years later we are still going to conferences, still wearing our boas and still engaging people in life and making their business FUN.
The Power Behind A Boa
We actually carried the boa farther than just conferences. Kate and I each keep boas in our offices. When we get stuck, frustrated or overwhelmed we simply put on the boa and instantly that energy is transformed.
Have you ever worn a boa? Try it. You can get them on line. You can get them at most costume or party shops. Go get a boa, I highly recommend pink. Put it on. See what happens. Feel what happens. Notice your body, your energy, your facial features. Do this in front of a mirror and pay attention to what you notice in each of your five senses. Now take a walk around your house, office or wherever you are. What do you notice?
I actually did this with a lady at one of the conferences when she asked with curiosity “why do you wear the boa?” I told her that rather than trying to explain using words, I wanted her to feel the reason I wear a boa. I did a little experiment with her. I first had her walk about 10 feet and back without wearing the boa. Pretty normal walk – you know the kind with head down, purposeful walk. I then had her put on the feather boa, put it around her neck, feel the softness of the feathers and do the same walk, 10 feet and back. She sauntered and giggled the whole way. She said that with the feathers around her neck she was aware of a sensuality that wasn’t there without the boa. She was aware of her hips moving as she walked. She was aware of her presence and how she was showing up in the room. She walked with the energy and magic of the boa. The boa reconnected her with an aspect of herself that often gets buried with the burdens and distractions that come with building and running a business. The boa gave her permission to express her own gorgeousness when she otherwise would give into the “should’s” of her ego. The boa unleashed her beauty, grace and elegance. It sparked her own creativity and fun. When this aspect of ourselves gets sparked and tapped into we become like a magnet attracting our desires and intentions. It engages the Law of Atraction and there is actually nothing that can stop us from creating and experiencing what we want.
What I love about the boa is that it bypasses the logical understanding…
We don’t have to know why it works, or how the boa does what it does. We don’t have to spend our time figuring out what obstacles we are facing, why we face them in our lives or the purpose they serve. The boa bypasses all of that and immediately gets right to the resurrection of our spiritual essence, our fun and our creativity and allows it to be expressed openly and freely. It frees our ego, mind and fears from the bondage of “should’s” and puts into motion our spirit that always knows our highest good.
The feather boa for a woman is so much more than a fun thing to wear. It is so much more than a silly childish act. The boa is a direct line to our creativity, inspiration, love, joy and sensuality; to that which makes us WOMEN.
When we wear the boa, we don’t have to understand how it works or why it works, we just know. we trust. we smile. we saunter ourselves right into the feminine essence that ignites our light within us and we infuse THAT into our business. As Marianne Williamson says: “As we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” After all isn’t that what we are all seeking in this world to do through our coaching businesses?
I am forever grateful to Kate that she was so immersed in her fun that day she found the boas that her fierce determination to have fun cracked open my fears and helped me to overcome my struggle with doing or not doing things based on what others thought of me. I am so grateful that we had the courage to wear the boas at the exhibit booth and allowed our own light to shine that day in New Orleans. The magic of the boa has changed our business, our own lives and the lives of thousands of people.
The magic of the boa challenge:
I now keep about 6 boas in my office at any time. I have one wrapped around my laptop, draped on the back of my desk chair and fluffed on a table with pictures, lamps and plants. I wear it often while I’m at work. I’ll wear it while I’m doing mundane, necessary business activities (like emails). I’ll wear it while I’m coaching a client or even cleaning the house. The magic of the boa can be infused into any aspect of your life. I invite you to take the magic of the boa challenge today and see what you notice.