Client Highlight: Tricia Utley

To help celebrate #smallbusinesssaturday, KOKOON is shining a spotlight on our community of clients and sales reps who walk the walk of being a small business owner! 
As our very first feature, we're excited to introduce you to KOKOON client and Girl Boss: Tricia Utley LE and her business American Apothecary!

Not only is Tricia a fashion queen (what KOKOON customer isn't?) she is also a Certified Holistic Skin Care Specialist and Holistic Lifestyle Coach.

Her passion for skin care and holistic remedies rooted from her personal struggle with dry, sensitive skin, and hormonal acne issues. After almost 20 years of dealing with these issues, Tricia was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Instead of sitting back and accepting her condition, Tricia became committed to her health journey and soon found the correlation between diet, stress, toxic skincare, and environmental toxins. Tricia works in the treatment room and also is an esthetics instructor and trainer. Her knowledge includes everything from skin nutrition to medical modalities. Through Tricia's personal health struggles, she managed to find the silver lining by helping her clients achieve healthy, radiant, toned skin, as well as overall health and well-being. Her current area of study is women's hormone health and Tricia is passionate about teaching women how to live in harmony with their cycles.

Tricia says: "Skin health isn't just about beauty, it's about living a beautiful healthy life!"

Give Tricia's FB page a "Like" and if you're looking for solutions for your own skin care issues, find her American Apothecary business in New Hampshire!

 Tricia wearing KOKOON's Farrah Wrap Dress at work

Tricia wearing KOKOON's Farrah Wrap Dress at work

 Tricia in the Leo Peplum Top

Tricia in the Leo Peplum Top

 Tricia in KOKOON Otto Cigarette Pants

Tricia in KOKOON Otto Cigarette Pants

 Tricia in the Shimmie Dress and KOKOON Stylist Adria in the Reunite Dress

Tricia in the Shimmie Dress and KOKOON Stylist Adria in the Reunite Dress

KOKOON Stylist Highlight -- Lauren Rabin

Meet Lauren Rabin — our incredible Stylist from the Chicago area!

Lauren in KOKOON with her lovely family!

Lauren grew up in Highland Park  — the suburb of Chicago — and currently resides there with her family. We interviewed Lauren to  find out her “must-haves”, her “go-to’s”, and her fashion do’s and don’ts. Read below for our full interview with our fabulous Stylist, Lauren Rabin!

KOKOON: How you were introduced to KOKOON?

LAUREN: I used to represent another line and when that company pulled out of direct sales I emailed my customers to let them know. I had built up a huge client list and I heard back from one of them telling me to “check out KOKOON!” I was like “this is totally my style, I love this line.” I called the KOKOON headquarters soon after and talked to both of the owners that first day! I loved what I saw online but I wanted to see the clothes in person before I made a decision so I went to a local show.  I took some time looking over the collection and decided to signed on, and that was over 5 years ago!

KOKOON: Favorite hobbies, activities …etc…

LAUREN: Tennis! I’m a big tennis player; I like to play multiple times a week. And we love our dog! Our Family dog is a therapy dog.

KOKOON: One KOKOON piece you can never live without?

LAUREN: The camis for sure. And the slips! The Farrah wrap dress has SAVED me multiple times. It is a classic style that you can wear anywhere.

  Lauren in a KOKOON Wrap dress looking amazing!

Lauren in a KOKOON Wrap dress looking amazing!

KOKOON: If you had to describe your own personal style in 3 words…

LAUREN: Relaxed, Simple, and Fun

KOKOON: Best part about being a Stylist for KOKOON? What have you gained since starting with KOKOON (besides super cute clothes)?

LAUREN: Besides a new wardrobe? Well, the clothes are a huge value. This is my ninth season — I still wear the clothes I bought the 1st season! I really love spending my time with a bunch of lovely women. I am a social person so the social aspect is great. Many of my customers are intimidated by the shopping experience at stores, so I really like helping women choose clothes and help them feel really good in the designs.

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KOKOON: Why KOKOON versus other direct sales?

LAUREN: You know, I love KOKOON — it fits my personal style. It is really easy to be a Stylist because it fits me. The price point is great and people love it! It is really easy to wear. I lot of women are intimated by boutique sizes too and KOKOON is just sized really well. My customers consist of  a wide range of women – I have a huge demographic — 30’s – 70’s — and it flatters every women’s figure!

KOKOON: What is your go-to outfit?

LAUREN: For me, I am a jeans girl with a heel! Jeans and a cute top.

KOKOON: What is your first “fashion” memory?

LAUREN: My mom — I grew up in the 70’s  and things were very bohemian, flowy. I remember trying on all her long hippy jewelry and dresses.

KOKOON: Worst fashion item ever bought? Best?

LAUREN: Worst — When I was in high school, I bought these Big Star big baggy jeans! Totally not flattering to my figure. They were the worst thing I’ve ever worn and I wore them a lot. That taught me at an early age that you need to dress for your own figure.

Best — My KOKOON Racer Back ruffle dress; it is the greatest dress! I’ve sold so many of them! I bought the blue, then the black, then the pearl because I loved them so much!


We had so much fun chatting with Lauren and learning all about her personal style and KOKOON journey!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a KOKOON Stylist like Lauren, you can email us at tess@kokoon.net or go to our website.

To see the clothes in person in the Chicago area, email Lauren at laurenrabin1@comcast.net.


Best,

Tess Weinberg

KOKOON Stylist Highlight -- Ann O'Neal

Meet Ann O’Neal, our amazing Stylist from Raleigh, NC!

Ann grew up in Raleigh and so did her husband. After a year in Switzerland during high school, a semester abroad in France during college and a few years in Singapore and Bali, she decided to settle back into her Raleigh roots when she met her husband and got married. We interviewed Ann to  find out her “must-haves”, her “go-to’s”, and her fashion do’s and don’ts. Read below for our full interview with our fabulous Stylist, Ann O’Neal!

Ann and her lovely family!

KOKOON: How you were introduced to KOKOON?

ANN: Laura Sigmund – one of y’alls first sales reps. About 10 years ago – we had a mutual friend and I owned a hair salon and I kind of had the front room as a boutique and this friend of mine was like, “You should call Laura and she could come set up her KOKOON boutique without borders!” So I was a host for 3 – 4 years before becoming a Stylist.

KOKOON: Favorite hobbies, activities …etc…

ANN: Well, boats. I’m a boat girl. I love being on the beach and on the boat. I love to hike and bike. I’m happiest in a rural setting versus in a city setting. I love learning and going to museums. I like to cook and work out!

KOKOON: One KOKOON piece you can never live without?

ANN: Oh my god. I thought about this. I have what I call the “long sleeve cami” (KOKOON’s Ultra Tee). I wear it under everything. You can wear it by itself but it is great for layering as well!

KOKOON: If you had to describe your own personal style in 3 words…

ANN: Unique – I don’t like to look like everyone else — different than my daughter who wants to wear designer stuff and look like everyone else! I’m a little funky, hippy. Most people here are pretty conservative and tailored – I’m like, “oh, please”. I have an older sister and she said something to me like “wear a suit to a wedding!” I’m like, “I don’t own a suit! Who would wear a suit?” So… unique, hippy, comfortable, practical. I don’t like to bring my clothes to the dry cleaners. You have to wash your clothes. And I went my 35 year high school reunion and I had so many people say “You were the cutest girl there!” I was at a party the other day and a girl was like, “You always look so cute!”, and she is coming to see my KOKOON this week!

  Ann and her friend in KOKOON and her KOKOON event!

Ann and her friend in KOKOON and her KOKOON event!

KOKOON: Best part about repping KOKOON? What have you gained since repping KOKOON (besides super cute clothes)?

ANN: I love meeting all these new people! — I love going to a party and meeting new people and making new friends. It is a fun social thing for me. And the clothes, of course. It’s not that much work, it is just fun!

KOKOON: Who is your fashion idol? Why?

ANN: Before I sold KOKOON – I grew up riding horses, I was never into clothes, I wore blue jeans and no make up, wore birkenstocks, totally earthy, and fashion was never my thing. Until I owned a hair salon and had to start looking kind of nice for work. So I have no clue, unless it could be Laine(KOKOON’s designer)! Laine is my fashion idol. She changed my life!

KOKOON: Why KOKOON versus other direct sales?

ANN: I had hosted some other parties. When I sold my business and closed the salon – I thought to myself, “now what are you going to do? I have never worked for anyone else but myself, now what?” I didn’t want to get a job, I didn’t want to work for anyone else. So, I started thinking about Laura Sigmund, and thought that what she does looks really fun. So I called her and asked “are there other companies that do this?” And she was like, “why don’t you rep KOKOON? We’d love more Raleigh reps.” So I called Laine and talked to her for more than an hour and it went great! I kind of looked at other direct sales companies but the benefits to the hostesses at KOKOON  were just so good! KOKOON is better to their customers. I wanted to work for someone is who better to their customers and the clothes are so cute. And of course after having worked for KOKOON now, I love that it is made in America, that its washable, that you get new things in every few weeks – to me it was no brainer! And now knowing the staff and the customer service – it blows everyone else out of the water!

 Ann (left) in KOKOON with her mom (right) in KOKOON and Laine (middle)!

Ann (left) in KOKOON with her mom (right) in KOKOON and Laine (middle)!

KOKOON: What is your go-to outfit?

ANN: Always jeans. And that is what I love about KOKOON – all of the cute tops that go great with jeans, and they make me look cute versus boring.

KOKOON: What is your first “fashion” memory?

ANN: I remember when I was 14 living in Switzerland – I had a full length maxi denim skirt. I remember thinking,  “it is a step up from wearing jeans – it is a fancier jeans!”

KOKOON: Worst fashion item ever bought? Best?

ANN: Worst – this one cracks me up to this day – my friends even laugh about it. When I was in college we had a dance and I have no idea why I bought this outfit — I had these red taffeta capris and I had this white ruffly blouse trimmed in gold, buttoned to my neck. I looked like stinkin’ Napoleon. I can’t remember what shoes I wore but I wore them with white knee-high socks.

Best – I have 4 pairs of cowboy boots. I’ll wear ‘em with a dress. I’ll wear a black one-shoulder dress and black/red/tan cowboy boots and be like, “I am snazzin.” I like cool coats, too. I have a red leather jacket that I love. I am very lucky that I have a few vintage coats from the 50’s. True retro coats — cool, cool, coats.

 

We had so much fun chatting with Ann and learning all about her fashion journey!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Stylist of KOKOON like Ann, you can email us at tess@kokoon.net or go to our website.

To see the clothes in person in the Raleigh area, email Ann at aoneal.kokoon@gmail.com.

KOKOON Representative Highlight -- Tammy Rohde

Tammy Rohde — KOKOON’s 2013/2014 top selling Representative, grew up in Cheyenne, WY and currently resides in Phoenix, AZ with her family. We interviewed Tammy to find out her “must-haves”, her “go-to’s”, and her fashion do’s and don’ts. Read below for our full interview with our all-star Representative, Tammy Rohde!

 Tammy and her lovely family!

Tammy and her lovely family!

KOKOON: How you were introduced to KOKOON?

TAMMY: So… it is interesting thinking back on it. Found it online – I wasn’t searching for direct sales, I was searching for cute clothes. I came across KOKOON dresses somehow. I was kind of looking for a new opportunity but wasn’t thinking direct sales. So I ordered KOKOON — 3 dresses — and I loved them! It all happened really quickly – I talked to Laine (KOKOON’s designer) a few days later.

 Tammy in a KOKOON dress with her husband.

Tammy in a KOKOON dress with her husband.

KOKOON:What are your favorite hobbies, activities …etc..?.

TAMMY:Tennis, Yoga, Hiking, Skiing, and Reading – and being a Mom.

KOKOON:One KOKOON piece you can never live without?

TAMMY: I have so many — the cami’s and ultra tees. And this winter, the kanga poncho! A great AZ piece – you never need a coat but you need a sweater.

KOKOON: If you had to describe your own personal style in 3 words…

TAMMY: stylishly casual, and fun

KOKOON: Best part about repping KOKOON? What have you gained since repping KOKOON (besides super cute clothes)?

TAMMY: The cute clothes are a huge positive. But I would say, I think what it did for me was it gave me more confidence in my style. After having 3 babies, you get stuck in “mommyville” and it brought me out of that. It made me stylish again and made me want to care about what I was wearing. It gave me a fun way to do that. And it has given me a great chance to meet some wonderful women and people. But I think the biggest thing is that it has given me more confidence in my style.

KOKOON: Who is your fashion idol? Why?

TAMMY: Currently, Heidi Klum but growing up Cindy Crawford. But I think my mom (was my fashion idol) in a way, she was a very stylish lady and that had a huge impact on me.

Tammy, mid 1980’s in Italian Vogue with Cindy Crawford…Tammy was Cheyenne’s Miss Frontier Days! Note the multiple hair scrunchies in the side pony ;-)

KOKOON: Why KOKOON versus other direct sales?

TAMMY: I would say that I had never been interested in direct sales, so I would say that I never even considered a direct sales company. I only sell KOKOON because I love it and I live it. I wear it everyday. There is no way I could sell anything I didn’t love. It is a part of me now. There is not one thing I would consider selling besides KOKOON.

KOKOON: What is your go-to outfit?

TAMMY: Cowboy boots, skinny jeans, and a cute KOKOON sweater.

KOKOON: What is your first “fashion” memory?

TAMMY: I have a few! One that really stands out – I was like 6 years old and I really wanted a pink satin jacket and I bought it with my own money because I wanted it so bad. I had the pants and the jacket.

KOKOON: Worst fashion item ever bought? Best?

TAMMY: The worst – when I was in college, I had those short shorts with the greek letters on the a$$ — I didn’t have the butt for those. Those shorts combined with my t-shirts with my own shoulder pads I would put in them were the worst.

The best – I know! My KOKOON “Audrey” furry sweatshirt. I wear that all the time! It is my go-to statement piece. I get so many compliments.

 

  Tammy in her KOKOON “Audrey” sweatshirt with her family.

Tammy in her KOKOON “Audrey” sweatshirt with her family.

We had so much fun catching up with Tammy and learning all about her passions and stylish fashion!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Representative of KOKOON like Tammy, you can email us at tess@kokoon.net or go to our website.

To see the clothes in person in the Phoenix area, email Tammy at kokoontam@comcast.net

 

Best,

Tess Weinberg

I Went Red!

Saturday I was honored to be a part of Minnesota's Red Dress Collection, a night of fashion and philanthropy raising money and awareness for women's heart health. 

 Natalie in KOKOON. A twirl from Viking's Greg Jennings was icing on the cake.

Natalie in KOKOON. A twirl from Viking's Greg Jennings was icing on the cake.

This is a gala event that matches designers with local celebrities, and I was lucky enough to be paired with adorable WCCO anchor and reporter Natalie Nyhus. We hadn't met previously and we clicked immediately. If you're going to custom make a dress for someone, you just hope they appreciate your aesthetic and don't steer you towards fabrics or silhouettes that you wouldn't usually associate with your brand. Since KOKOON is all about comfortably feminine dresses, I wanted our red carpet look to reflect that, and Natalie was all for it.

 Detail of the fabric and trim

Detail of the fabric and trim

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 First fitting...worked beautifully!

First fitting...worked beautifully!

 At the final fitting, we had to keep it under wraps until the runway show.

At the final fitting, we had to keep it under wraps until the runway show.

Since I was traveling a lot and Natalie has a busy work schedule, we were able to condense the entire process, from sketch to completed final dress in one week. Natalie brought a cameraman and did a behind the scenes feature for WCCO, which you can watch here!

Here are some highlights from this magical evening.

 All models wore jewelry designed for the event by Realia by Jen.

All models wore jewelry designed for the event by Realia by Jen.

 A champagne toast helped calm nervous energy.

A champagne toast helped calm nervous energy.

 Fashion Stylist Hollie Mae with Minnesota Red Dress Collection founder and host, Carly Aplin.

Fashion Stylist Hollie Mae with Minnesota Red Dress Collection founder and host, Carly Aplin.

 All the designer's sketches framed as gifts to the models.

All the designer's sketches framed as gifts to the models.

 The Voice's Kat Perkins waiting backstage.

The Voice's Kat Perkins waiting backstage.

 So happy to see Tim Navarro, who appeared on last season's Project Runway!

So happy to see Tim Navarro, who appeared on last season's Project Runway!

 The WCCO team all did a great job of modeling!

The WCCO team all did a great job of modeling!

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 And the runway show ended with Kat Perkin's powerhouse solo!

And the runway show ended with Kat Perkin's powerhouse solo!

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 So grateful to have my handsome husband by my side!

So grateful to have my handsome husband by my side!

 Surrounded by 2 beautiful ladies wearing one-of-a-kind KOKOON dresses!

Surrounded by 2 beautiful ladies wearing one-of-a-kind KOKOON dresses!

 Our friends celebrating the 10th anniversary of their son's heart transplant that night! 

Our friends celebrating the 10th anniversary of their son's heart transplant that night! 

Such a fun experience and so glad to be a part of such a great cause.

See all the photos here. Photo credit to Rhea Pappas.

KOKOON Client Highlight ~ Jessica Caire

I'm so pleased to introduce you to Jessica Caire! Currently living Maplewood, Minnesota, KOKOON met Jessica as our local FedEx representative -- and now, Jessica is a fabulous friend of and supporter of KOKOON! Read our interview with Jessica below.

K: Hi Jessica! Thanks for chatting with me. What are your hobbies, interests, favorite activities…? 

JC: I love my basset hound, my handsome fiancé, shopping, catching up with friends over wine, working out, apps, beer, new restaurants, games, gambling, fancy steak dinners, more working out (grrrrr)…

K: Why did you decide to get involved with KOKOON and host a show?

JC:  After seeing the beautiful clothes, I wanted to share my enthusiasm with my friends and co workers!

K: Thank you! That's so nice to hear. Do you have a KOKOON item you can’t live without?

JC: I love my fury white vest!

K: We love that one, too! What is your most favorite part of the day?   

JC: Anytime I’m caffeinated!

K: Best or worst fashion item ever bought? 

JC:  Worst: The baby doll shirt/dress that just made me look pregnant...

K: That's never the most flattering look...! If you could have one celebrity’s wardrobe/stylist it would be… 

JC: It would be a mix of Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba and J Lo!

K: Why do you KOKOON? 

JC: I love the unique style they create and I have a passion for supporting local companies.

K: If you could describe your personal style in 3 words...    

JC: Current, classy and contemporary.

K: A trend this season that you could live without? 

JC: Skinny jeans…  They don’t flatter my bootie… haha.

K:  We think you look fabulous in your skinny jeans! Who is your fashion idol? 

JC: J Lo because she has helped bring a woman with a butt to the main stage!

K: Lace or sequins? Leopard print or fur? Blue or Brown? Flats or heels?

LC: All of the above, but always with heels!

 

Thank you, Jessica! 

We had such a wonderful time learning all about Jessica, her style, and why she loves KOKOON as much as we love her.

And to learn more about KOKOON…shopping, hosting, or building a fashion career, go to our website or email tess@kokoon.net.

Weekly Highlights

It's only Wednesday and it's been a jam-packed week!

This past Saturday, we had an in-studio photoshoot to round out all of our Spring 2015 photography. I JUST got a sneak peak of the first images and let me tell you -- they look amazing! I can't wait to share with you. In the meantime... here are some behind the scenes phone pics from the shoot. 

Our two beautiful models did an amazing job!


Laine was interviewed by Deena Ebbert (PropellerGirl) earlier this week. You can read the full article here!


Deena has been a wearer of KOKOON and friend to Laine for years and she has her own amazing & inspiring company -- you can check her out here! We also interviewed Deena for our client highlight features (you can find this interview on our old blog page here!).  Thank you, Deena!


We are so excited to be a part of the Minnesota Red Dress Collection this year! Laine is designing a red dress for Natalie Nyhus of WCCO. Below you can see the sketch of the dress and Laine and Natalie in front of a few options for red fabric. Today Natalie is coming back to the office to try on the first fitting! 

Full disclosure: it's beautiful!

We will keep you updated on the red dress!


Thanks for reading -- until next time!

xx,

Tess