Thursday, February 16, 2012

Re-Lilly 9,000 Fan Celebration Giveaway

Cheers to 9,000+ Facebook Fans! Welcome new fans! Thank you to all fans for continuing to make our Re-Lilly Facebook Community so special, successful, fun and the BEST place to buy/sell/swap Lilly!

I had to dust off this blog! It has been a long time since I have blogged! We skipped celebrating surpassing the 8,000 fan milestone as our family was in the middle of relocating from NH to FL, then came the holidays, then medical issues and here we are! For those who are interested below is some history on Re-Lilly and also a transparent account of why the new format was chosen. If you wish to skip this lengthy reading no offense taken, just hit "END" or "Page Down" to the end of the post to enter the Giveaway, that is the main reason you are here right? :-)

Re-Lilly History:

                For over two (2) years now I have spent many hours (countless hours) running Re-Lilly on a daily basis. Why? Because I sincerely love the brand and sharing my love for Lilly with other Lilly Lovers. In December 2009,  when I created Re-Lilly I never dreamed that we would be at 9,000 fans in 2 years! That is 9,000 Organic Fans, we have never had a referral contest on Re-Lilly to date (not opposed to having one, just haven’t felt the need, if you want this kind of contest let us know). We've had many other types of giveaways, contests and promotions but never incentives for recruiting fans, each and every person found their way to Re-Lilly on their own, by Googling, Facebook networking or by word of mouth.

I enjoy hearing stories from fans about how they heard about Re-Lilly. One of my favorite stories was from a Lilly Lover boarding a commercial flight dressed in Lilly who struck up a conversation with a stewardess, a fellow Lilly Lover, who told her she should “check out Re-Lilly on Facebook” and wrote it down on a piece of paper for her. I love hearing about stores referring fans and always intrigued when one of my husband’s colleagues or business associates (or their wives) are  Re-Lilly fans yet had no knowledge that his wife runs Re-Lilly. How did you find out about Re-Lilly?

December 2009- December 2011:
For two years I have invested my time and money into this group. I have logged in every day, always dressed in Lilly, admittedly often in my Lilly PJ’s J  I find happiness in helping small businesses, from independently owned Lilly Via/Signature Stores to department store brand/department managers to Esty shop owners crafting items from authentic Lilly fabrics, papers, etc. As a former small business owner I believe in supporting our economy and favorite brand through the small business owners whenever possible. I have made mistakes along the way and learned so much! I smile reading kind words that come from the hearts of fans/members. I think my dedication to Re-Lilly for 2+ years is a testament to the depth of my passion for Lilly. 

I believe in living a colorful life every single day, a life without color is dull and boring and Lilly girls are the life of the party and often the most kind hearted people I have ever met. In life you can always choose to look at the bright side or the dark side and choose whether your glass is half-full or half-empty, for the record, my glass of pink lemonade is always half-full and the sun is shining on my pink lemonade :-)

January 2012:
Changes............I want to express my sincere thoughts and intentions with everyone here since some of my intentions are in question by some. Why the changes on Re-Lilly? Well, there is not a simple answer but a few big reasons for the changes and I will do my best to explain them. First, for a year and a half or longer I’ve received suggestions to take all the listings posted on Re-Lilly and organize them by size and categories in separate photo albums. I have always agreed with this request from fans and desired to do so but could not figure out a way to accomplish this within the confinements of Facebook. The only way possible was for me or admins to post every listing to sort them into albums.  If only Facebook would allow fans/members to choose the alums they post to then we would not have arrived at this crossroad.

Unfortunately fans can only upload to the main wall album leaving everything in one huge album with no organization. To maintain some sort of organization and to try and keep the album up to date and fresh we requested sellers delete items when they sold and to wait 7 days before posting the same item for sale again. Too often sellers left those old sold items or posted the same items multiple times, (tons of such offenses are still being deleted from the main album. My helpers have been helping me plug away at deleting as time allows, in recent weeks over 3,000 photos were deleted 1 at a time. My helpers are generous gals, fellow Lilly Loving Re-Lilly fans who have families and careers and donate their time generously to maintain the integrity of the Re-Lilly community. Most admins/helpers in the last year have chosen by their own choosing to remain anonymous, to not accept any credit for their work and usually they chose to be anonymous to avoid the drama and bullying that they have seen me become a target of as the creator of Re-Lilly. I fully support their desire to remain anonymous but only wish I could publicly give them the recognition they deserve. 

With the best intentions my helpers and I have posted reminders on the wall,  sent friendly reminders and warnings to those breaking the rules (most commonly for not deleting old photos and for posting the same items multiple times, price haggling, etc) and too often were faced with a defensive reply and too often a rude message back that was undeserved and the behavior continued and the problems with the album escalated, the album became much less shoppable (Is shoppable a word?) and we often had sellers who follow the rules complaining about those who do not, this created a whole other issue. The other problem was the chronic rule breakers with their privacy options set to private, there was no way to politely ask those fans to read the rules & guidelines and please follow them. None of us liked to ban people and felt terrible for having to remove a few.

The amount of hours spent reading messages and emails with complaints about people breaking the rules with photos, price haggling, causing drama, buyer/seller disputes was out of control. Volunteers wanted to put in less hours and felt very unappreciated and asked for changes to the way Re-Lilly is operated. We put our heads together and brainstormed. There are only so many hours in the day and Re-Lilly was competing with my family (most of you know I have an active 4 year old Minnie at home), my school (attending full-time) and my medical issues. I became very ill. I’m not going to get too personal but will say I had a preexisting medical condition prior to Re-Lilly and developed another after starting Re-Lilly that has progressively gotten worse and currently recovering from surgery.

                It became evident that at this crossroad there were 3 choices: 1. Shut Down the Re-Lilly Page (I didn’t consider this for more than a few minutes, too many have formed bonds here, made true friendships and visit Re-Lilly every few hours, this option would be so unfair) 2. Continue as is, allow the album to grow and chaos to continue or make changes. The vision I always had for Re-Lilly was becoming lost, unmanageable and consuming too much of my time. I can’t expect any of you to understand my position without walking in  my McKims. 

To sum it up, think of managing almost 9,000 fans in an online group on a daily basis, working every day for over 2 years while not receiving a paycheck. I don’t know many who go to work every day for free? To those who are full time volunteers my hats off to you! In the past I have held moderator and administrator positions for other Facebook pages, Facebook Groups and off Facebook websites and chat rooms and none of those were nearly as demanding or time consuming as Re-Lilly.

That brings us to choice # 3, change the format of the way Re-Lilly operates and institute a small fee for some listings to make it worthwhile or capable of paying someone to post and manage the albums. Obviously I chose #3 after the input from administrators, fans, family, friends, mentors and school professors. I never ever intended when I started Re-Lilly for it to be a business, career or in any way profitable, nor did I expect to be logging so many hours most weeks. I decided that if I (or someone else) would be spending that kind of time there should be compensation and or a way to make buying/selling/swapping more efficient and make it better for every single fan. 

                In no way will anyone get rich charging $1 per item to be listed. After PayPal fees the net is 67 cents (.30 cents per transaction plus 2.9%). That 67 cents is nothing compared to the time it takes to transfer listings from emails to listings by album and size and to perform album maintenance, that tedious and time consuming job of deleting the sold items in the albums. Not to mention all the other things it takes to make the page run successfully. The real winner here is PayPal (or their parent company eBay) who collects the fees on every transaction. Ebay was one of the reasons I originally created Re-Lilly on Facebook, as a PowerSeller I wanted to escape the high fees I was paying to sell my Lillys and other goods. As a Powerseller and eBay seller for over 9 years(never received a negative feedback from a buyer)  I was not pleased with the new eBay changes so I can completely understand where some of you are coming from who dislike that Re-Lilly was 100% free and now charging small fees for some services. Re-Lilly offers a new format, giving you all what many have begged for, for a very long time, a more shoppable (there is that word again, is it really a word? My spellcheck says it is not) format with listings organized by sizes and categories. 

                I have received numerous emails and messages from both buyers and sellers giving feedback that they love the new format and how Re-Lilly is now operating. Sure, there are still minor things that need tweaking and wrinkles to be ironed out. We begged (sounded like a broken record) asking sellers to help with the task of marking items sold and deleting them but many ignore or choose not to. As my helpers have said they are tempted to call out names to show who is not deleting their photos but that is not the Lilly way. Surprising or comical that some of the worst offenders are now our biggest critics. It is also interesting and surprising that some of the biggest critics of changing Re-Lilly are those that have sold the most, sadly some do not appreciate the fact that they have sold hundreds of items without paying a dime in listing fees. Too many were taking advantage of my time and the volunteers time, selling items and not bothering to do their part with removing old sold items and contributing to problems by not waiting 7 days to repost or posting the same items over and over….and over and over. 

                In a perfect Re-Lilly there would be no rules but with growth the need for rules arises. Usually those most opposed to the rules are those most often breaking the rules. We try to keep them at a minimum and have far less than eBay, Craig’s List and other Facebook pages,one simple page here: . Each rule and guideline was created in response to situations and needs that arose on Re-Lilly, no one was randomly making up rules just for fun. Just as I did not decide one day to just start making money off people selling on Re-Lilly.

To be clear we brainstormed alternative ideas, including but not limited to taking Re-Lilly to an off Facebook Discussion Forums/Chat Boards/Discussion Boards type of sites that are free, and the main reasons they would not work for the Re-Lilly are: the traffic is on Facebook, people spend many hours logged in socializing on Facebook through many networks and to drive fans away from the source of traffic and social activity does not make good sense unless a site off Facebook offered more than Facebook at no charge. A big problem with chatboards is spamming and people making habit of bumping their own listings to the top. The main problem with those style sites we looked at was the marketplace, there was no solution to making selling/buying/swapping Lillys easier or better, most made it more difficult due to lack of visual display of items. I won’t go deeper into the subject, just making a point that charging $1 an item on Re-Lilly to sell was not the immediate choice and came as a last resort.

There are many places to buy/sell/swap Lilly and each has its own unique qualities with pros and cons. eBay has incredible traffic with high fees. Craig’s List is free but not very effective for selling Lilly or clothing in general. There are other Facebook pages to buy and sell Lilly and other clothing brands all over Facebook, what is unique about Re-Lilly is that it is (to my knowledge) the first of its kind, Lilly ONLY and the largest concentration (9,900+) of Lilly Lovers swapping/buying/selling and socializing in one place. Selling items on Re-Lilly has a proven track record of very high success rates. When items are priced correctly (priced to sell) they sell quickly because there is a targeted audience seeking Lilly only. Without going too deep into numbers of social media tracking I will share that 1270+ fans are currently talking about Re-Lilly, this is far above the average for fan participation of a group this size! This didn’t magically appear, it is the result of 2+ years of hard work and dedication from those who have been running Re-Lilly. 

Another question we have been getting in regards to the changes and $1 charge is, why not have more volunteers/administrators to help? Why not have them posting all the listings to albums to keep it free? I have been down this road with Re-Lilly and other online communities that I am a part of. This, in my experience, is not usually successful for a few reasons. Unless everyone has a vested interest usually it is not done right. Volunteers often quickly lose interest, and in the case with Re-Lilly we have had people lose interest due to the rule breaking and the feeling of babysitting. When you spend 2 hours deleting photos and message the  people breaking the rules and ask them to please follow the rules it gets old fast.

We could certainly stop deleting photos and let album grow indefinitely but that is not the vision of Re-Lilly and wouldn’t really work, there were already too many complaints from buyers that they spent hours combing the album , sent in inquiries on items only to have the sellers respond, “that is already sold” or they were ignored. Most community members have expressed the desire and need for sellers to mark items sold, to remove sold items and to not post the same items many times. Even if we DID hire multiple volunteers who were willing to delete photos and maintain albums, send warnings, answer questions, etc, who do you think has to manage the admins and train them? Yes, that would be me, again, something I have done in the past but no longer have the many hours to continue doing.

So we arrive at $1 per listing, which offers the following benefits:
1.       Items are placed into sized & categorized albums that are fresh, up-to-date and easier to shop for buyers. No need for time consuming scrolling the wall.
2.       Sellers can more easily locate their items for sale.
3.       Having Re-Lilly post your items for you keeps your selling business private and out of the newsfeed for your friends, family and colleagues to see, no worrying about managing different friend lists and privacy settings. No need for alias accounts that several fans have felt compelled to create to hide their selling on Facebook.
4.       Re-Lilly is the most affordable place with the highest chance of selling your Lillys. We may not have the traffic of eBay or Craig’s List but your audience on Re-Lilly is close to 10,000 authentic Lilly Loving fans who all arrived on Re-Lilly without being solicited, that’s right, no marketing done! Fans came for the love of Lilly and the desire to clean out their closets or to add to their collections while socializing with likeminded people. Side note: Other pages with fewer fans are charging more per listing. 

At this point the new process and format is a huge success. Traffic is higher, there are more sales, more fan participation and we gained over 1000 new fans in less than a month! The small group of chronic rule breakers and drama makers have left and it has been so nice for the community to be drama free! Sure some people got upset about the $1 charge. To anyone unhappy with the $1 fee I say this, we still love to have you, join us for socializing and shopping, you don’t have to sell your items with us, we will love you anyways J We plan to stick with the format and evaluate the success on an ongoing basis. If it continues to be a success then wonderful, more happy sellers and buyers and that will create the need for more help to post listings, if you are interested in making a little money for helping with this send along your name and we’ll keep it on the list of people who have already expressed interest in doing this. 

We are well aware that there are new and old Facebook pages and websites trying to do the same or similar as Re-Lilly and often vying for the same fans, as I have often said, there are plenty of Facebook fans and Lilly Lovers to go around!  No one needs to pick and choose and Re-Lilly would never make anyone feel the need to choose. It has been brought to our attention that some people have received messages asking them why they sell on RL or suggesting they leave and sell this we say there is no control on our part of anyone sending messages or emails in response to any posts on Re-Lilly or any public page for that matter, if this has happened to you the only recourse it to report it to Facebook that type of behavior is against the TOS (Terms of Service) on Facebook and will get accounts shut down if reports are made. 

I have also been made aware of gossip and vicious rumors being spread about Re-Lilly and myself. I do not respond directly to this type of negativity nor do I feel the need to defend myself or Re-Lilly to this type of untruthful, un-Lilly-like behavior. Of course there will be those who think they need to damage your success to further their own and there will always be jealousy. Look at any successful person or business and you will find a pack of haters at their heels. A person hates you for 1 of 3 reasons. 1) They want to be you. 2) They hate themselves. 3) They see you as a threat. A favorite quote: "Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots." ~Unknown  The success of Re-Lilly and 2 years I have contributed should speak volumes about my integrity and character. Don't be fooled or get dragged into the mud.

I believe in a Free Market and the principles of supply and demand. We at Re-Lilly will never tell you that you should not list your items elsewhere, that is entirely up to you and your business, list anywhere and everywhere, whatever floats your boat! I was always taught in my career and business classes that you do not badmouth the competition. While I would not classify other pages and sites exactly as competitors we are aware that others have attempted to lure people away from Re-Lilly and there is much gossip and misinformation out there, if we can answer questions or clear up confusion feel free to send an email and you’ll receive an answer.  Just remember the grass is always greener…………. frankly we are glad to see a few go........those who constantly started drama, posted the same items over and over and those who always complained, never said Thank you for providing a free place to sell all their Lillys, were always quick to criticize every little change but never offer suggestions or alternatives, yes there are some people who are just plain miserable in this world and some of those miserable people love Lilly. Please do not buy into any ridiculous gossip and if you have a question about gossip and rumors then send a private email, we’ll be happy to provide the facts.  To be fair to loyal fans/members and to demonstrate the value of having us list your items for you into organized albums by size and category we posted all items for free initially and had incredible success and many emails from sellers excited that they sold between 4-10 items in less than 1 hour and often within minutes of us posting their listings. 

We have had many emails from buyers saying Thank You, expressing love for the new Re-Lilly and have stated they have waited so long for this. This is who and what matters, not those few going around stating that Re-Lilly is greedy or spreading lies. If I was greedy I would not have given two plus years of my life to Re-Lilly and helped thousands of people sell and buy Lillys for free.I challenge anyone to go do the same and then come and talk with me in 2 years. I give up now politely explaining because a few have a sense of entitlement that is wrong and they just don’t get it. I chalk it up to age and maturity. This was simply addressed for any true fans who may have been confused. Anyone who does not like Re-Lilly is asked to ignore it and go elsewhere. I was taught to ignore the people and things I do not like. This commentary ends here. No more wasting positive energy on negative things. Re-Lilly will continue to be fun and classy, drama-free and only Lilly-like behavior is welcome. 


One Lucky Grand Prize Winner will receive the following:
1. Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style [Brand New Hard Cover Book] by Jeffrey Banks, Doria De La Chapelle, Introduction/Foreward written by Lilly Pulitzer. This book contains fabulous vintage Lilly Photos. Retail Price $45.00

2. New With Tags Lilly Pulitzer Women's Murfee Scarf in Multi Show Me Some Skin, Retail Price $118.00 

3. OPI Nail Polish Laquer in Hot, Hot, Hot! A favorite pink shade of mine for matching Lillys. Retail Price $8.50 

4. 1 Box of Keep Calm and Have a Cup of Tea, Retail Price $4.99 

5. 1 package of Lifeguard Press Lilly Pulitzer Beverage Napkins in Limeade Floaters Print, Retail Price $4.95 


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck! Check back for more giveaways and celebrations as Re-Lilly reaches 10,000 Facebook Fans!

Cheers! xx Sue


Alyssa said...

I love the new Re-Lilly format. Thank you for all of the hard work you put into this fabulous group!

Erin said...

Love everything about this site! Thank you for all you do!

LKF said...

Love this site! Don't listen to the haters!

Is through this comment section how we enter the giveaway?

Re-Lilly said...

@LKF, Thanks for the comment, to enter please click the links via Rafflecopter widget in the blog. Unfortunately the comments left when enetering via Rafflecopter do not post here but they are still counted towards the giveaway. I was hoping they would post here too, still new to this giveaway widget :-) Good Luck! xx

lutefisk said...

You host a wonderful page and community.

lutefisk said...

Thank you for hosting a wonderful Re-Lilly community.

Carole said...

There will always be detractors. Just do what you do best and ignore them.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic giveaway and well written blog!

SKB said...

Love Re-Lilly so much, thanks for all of your hard work!!!