Unbranded, a pop-up retail and event concept, returns to Downtown Dallas for 2017

Love this SO much!

Downtown Dallas, Inc.'s Blog

Dallas, Texas — October 25, 2017 — For the fourth year in a row, Unbranded, an innovative pop-up retail and event concept, has announced it will return for 2017 in Downtown Dallas. Downtown Dallas, Inc. (DDI), long-time partners of the project, will be taking over ownership and operations of Unbranded, while its co-founders, Matt Alexander and Bryan DeLuca, will remain closely involved in an advisory and editorial capacity. As in years past, Unbranded will provide free retail and event space to a curated group of entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, artists, chefs, and more.

“We’re excited to be taking on full responsibility for Unbranded this year,” said Shalissa Perry, CMO of DDI. “It’s been a thrill to watch vendors graduate from Unbranded participants to full-scale retailers in Dallas and beyond. Now, as part of our retail recruitment strategy, we’re excited to explore the development of a longer-term retail incubator, encouraging concepts of…

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About “Tiny Blunders/Big Disasters”

29 Tiny Mistakes That Changed The World Forever!

Source: About “Tiny Blunders/Big Disasters”

Building awareness with Intstagram

At one of our Think Tank Scociety meetings, we planned to talk generally about Social Media. Tiffany Bollinger who led our discussion, was so excited about Instagram, we stayed on that topic instead. Tiffany who does social media for various companies feels its the social media duJour for almost any type of company.

Here is how to make it work for you:

1. Hash tag to reach your audience. Learn more about hashtags here.  Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges — #ThrowbackThursday, for example, encourages users to post retro photos.”

2. Content is everything. Make your photos great looking.

3. Follow companies who do their social media via Instagram very well. #Mudsmith, a local Dallas Coffee Shop was named by the Dallas Observer as one of the best users of Instagram for Business. One of Tiffany's Clients, has been amazed of the awareness she has created for them over a very short period of time using theses basic guidelines.

If you need help with your social media campaigns, you can contact Tiffany Bollinger at tiffanybollinger@att.net

Let’s support Small Business Saturday

Here are a few of my favorites for small and local.

#shopsmall, #smallbizsat, #smallbusinesssaturday, #shoplocal #smallbiz, #smallbusiness

The Think Tank Society supports and encourages small business leaders through education and connections support. We cheer each other on and tell others about our friends businesses.

With Small Business Saturday ahead of us, I thought it would be fun to list our friends and members businesses! Please consider buying your gifts from our friends!


Freckled Chicken


Simply Livly


Amy Catherine Designs


Hunky Dory


Loops by Keri


Music and Collegiate licensed accessories:

Whispering Angel


For the Home:

LV Cr8


Red’s Gone Green


Wellness/Self Care:

Tapping/Massage by Pauline


Essential Oils with Tiffany Bollinger


Creative Oasis with Jill Allison Bryan




Photo books and Notebooks:

May Designs





Local (Dallas) Retailers:

Ra Ra’s Closet


The Gypsy Wagon


The Toy Maven


What you should know about LinkedIn SEO —Tips from Terry Pope






Every time I organize a Think Tank Society meeting, the anticipation of the event makes me restless with excitement. This is for me, what Martha Beck refers to as a “hot track”. These events are my bliss!

How I came to meet Terry Pope is a fun story. I was trying to find out what happened to FUN ED here in Dallas and I tracked down Terry to find out. Better than that, I found out that Terry is an expert in LinkedIn.  He had to lecture at Think Tank!

Terry Pope, we are are so grateful for your tips that you shared.

Here are a few standouts from our meeting.terry

1. More is More when it comes to your LinkedIn Profile. Forget the OLD “one page resume” rule.  Long is the new short, and redundancy of your keywords is a must.

2.  Pepper your whole profile with your key words over and over! (pick the keywords and key phrases that you think people would be using in a LinkedIn Advanced Search to find someone with your skill sets, experience, and level of employment, and use them as many times as possible, and in as many sections as possible – the new “FIRST” objective is to “get found”. It doesn’t matter how well your resume/profile is written if no one can find you)

3. Earned “hidden” points,  keywords, and being active in LinkedIn are the 3 main ingredients for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you want to be on page 1 of a LinkedIn search or page 40. People rarely go past page 3 of any search results. Earn points by completing, maximizing your profile with as much info as possible, and engage regularly.

4. Get a great picture of yourself and add it to your profile. (Points are earned for having a photo) Target and JCPenney offer Business Profile photos and you can get a great photo for as little as49.00– but the best part is: YOU LEGALLY OWN THE PHOTO! (Not the same if you get a family portrait – THEY own the photo.)

To reach Terry Pope for your own LinkedIn training for your organization:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/terrypopedfw

Phone: 972-768-8786

Email: terry@socialprofilemasters.com


Outline for next meeting

Outline for next meeting

Outline by Terry Pope

A surprise guest speaker got me thinking…

By Anna Brindley
Last week I had the privilege of sitting in on an impromptu guest speaking engagement at a fashion college in Dallas where I teach. Our guest speaker was Korto Momolu best known for her 2nd place prize on the fourth season of Project Runway. (but not for long, my girl has big plans!)

Her presentation had already begun when I arrived due to the fact that a student was late finishing up a test. For some reason, I felt this super sense of urgency to see her. Never mind that the first time I had ever even heard of her was about 12 hours before. In hindsight, I had somehow sensed she was special.

As she spoke, I was immediately drawn in by her physical beauty and how confidently she spoke. She was clearly someone who believed in herself.

She told us about her journey from Liberia to Canada and then to fashion school.  Stop there! That would have been interesting enough…but she went on to tell us about how she ended up on Project Runway.

She captured the essence of the folks who attend our Think Tank Society meetings in that she said we should all encourage each other to rise up and above. She believes that we all need to work together to help one another. Since that is the exact spirit we harness in our Think Tank Society, I couldn’t help wishing some of our members could be there and that she could regularly attend our great meetings.

Great sound bites are only a small piece of the Korto pie. She overflows with possibilities and is so very inspiring. Some of my favorites were (and I paraphrase) the following:
–your work (or your designs) should have a distinctive signature
—follow some basic rules but break some too
—smile at the dream killers
—keep enemies close
—believing in yourself (and your ideas) sells your products
—keep on a path of growth, keep growing
—be half rock and half sponge

When one of the students asked how one should find his or her way/calling/signature Korto recommended that this student spread all of his work out in front of him and look for the common thread. She said, if you look close enough at everything you create, you will see a common thread. It could become your path, your signature, your essence.

She believes that is what will make you stand apart. Your special “twist” or “mix” that makes it all you for others to love and admire —–in a very competitive world where “designers are born everyday.”

Korto Momolu is on an very winding path and she clearly keeps growing. Her energy alone was inspiring enough  and she wants to take everyone on her journey with her. What a generous spirit she is and I am so grateful I got to experience her—her signature, her essence, her vibe!


By Nancy Lovell

“Be bold.  Be brief.  Be concise.”  E.B. White

Use your sentence’s two strongest places:  at the end (primary emphasis) and the beginning (secondary).  Softer ideas go in the middle.

Note: Think three times before wasting your beginning with  “It is” or “There are.”

Correct:  Although there are various reasons for paralysis such as injury, virus, or stroke, the message the body is giving is much the same.
Better:  Paralysis has multiple causes—paralysis, virus, or injury, for example— but in every case the body’s message is the same.

Correct:  There is no list on the page other than who brings coffee.
Better:  Beyond who brought the coffee, the page has no lists.

Lose the qualifiers . . .   really, very, pretty, quite, hugely.  The right word needs no gilding.  (From “How to Speak, How to Listen”: harness the power of understatement.  When you overstate, gush, exaggerate, hyperbolize . . . people mentally discredit your claims.)  Also, specifics lend credibility.  (“Specificity is the soul of credibility.” Peggy Noonan)

Correct:  We drove by this really big house.
Better:   We passed a two-story Georgian McMansion.

. . . and be concrete.  (“The surest way to arouse and hold the reader’s attention is to be specific, definite, and concrete.” E.B. White)
Correct:  I can’t do my work very well because my husband got sick and I can’t concentrate.
Better:  Since my husband’s heart attack last week, the computer keyboard blurs and the screen is a blank wall.

Avoid passive voice.
(E.B. White:  “The habitual use of the active voice makes for forceful writing.”)

Correct:     Their first visit to Boston will always be remembered by them.
Better:     They’ll always remember their first trip to Boston.
(A guideline about contractions: use them.)

Correct:    At dawn the crowing of a rooster could be heard.
Better:    The cock’s crow came at dawn.

Correct:    The reason he left college is that his health was failing.
Better:    Failing health forced him to leave college.

Use strong verbs.  Collect good verbs and keep them handy.  Shoot for single-syllable and go from there:  skip (pass right by), bolt (leave in a hurry), spike (shoot up quickly), unravel, diffuse, stir.  As you review and edit, look for “buried” verbs, especially those ending in -tion.  When you find one, uncover the root verb.  Examples:

Correct:      Mary Smith had obtained the school’s authorization to dance with the stars.
Better:        The school had cleared Mary Smith to dance with the stars.

Correct:    Anna felt she had an obligation friend Sue on Face Book.
Better:        Anna felt obliged to friend Sue on Face Book.

Correct:    Luciano was told by Clara that he had given a beautiful performance.
Better:        Clara told Luciano he had performed beautifully.

State the negative as a positive:
(E.B. White:  “Consciously or unconsciously the reader is dissatisfied with being told only what is not; the reader wishes to be told what is.”)

I don’t have any:  I have no . . . I’m missing . . .
She didn’t ski very often: She seldom skied
He didn’t have any idea where to go next:  He had no idea . . .he was lost

In every case, aim for short, strong words.  One-syllable words have punch.  In the same vein, avoid jargon, pretense, business-ese—any show-off words that alienate your reader.

Correct:  “I believe this book is unique in its content,” Getz said. “The 1,500 principles are situated in a life-affirming presentation, adjacent to the ideas that were their inspiration, each featuring a question designed in a way to help the reader apply them wherever they are in life or location. Then, each principle may be transitioned by QR code to online resources to take the application even deeper.”

Better:  “This book is one-of-a-kind,” Getz said. “Each of its 1,500 principles appears next to the text that inspired it.  Next to that, a question helps the reader apply that idea to his or her own life. After that, the real treat: each principle links by QR code to an online video lecture—taking that life principle that much deeper.”

Life Relation Each principle is stated such that readers can relate to their lives and understand how the principles should be applied.

User Friendly Each principle helps readers relate it to their lives and understand how to apply it.

Practical Each principle clearly relates to real people and applies to real lives.

Paula LaRoque challenges journalists to rewrite their lead paragraphs using only one-syllable words.


1.    Words in transition.
Impact – only two things legitimately are “impacted”:  teeth and bowels.
Hopefully – means “in a hopeful manner.”  it is hoped.  Let’s hope.
Awesome – if you use it to describe a salad, what do you have left for God?  (Avoid word inflation.)

2.    Words often confused and misused:
Anxious/Eager – right words are a pleasure
Hardly/not hardly

3.    Who and Whom
Mike is who we hope will win.  (We hope HE will win.)
Mike is whom we’re voting for. (We’re voting for HIM.)

4.    That and Which:  Which always follows a comma; that does not.

5.    Salutations and commas:
Hello, Dolly.   Hi, Mary.   Hey, Sam.   Thanks, Dad.   No, Frank, I missed it.
Go, team!

6.    Show confidence:
No need to preface a statement with: “I believe” and “I think.”   If you’re writing it, you think it. Lose insecure, irresolute use of words such as would, might, may.

7.    Including, for example, for instance – and etc., and others.  “Includes” means the list is NOT exhaustive, that it IS a sample.  So to say, the list includes A, B, C, etc., is redundant.

8.    NONE is singular.  None of us IS perfect.  None of the horses was there.

9.    However. “However” should not start a sentence; plant it inside.  “She sat on the front row.  The rule, however, was for girls to move back.”

10.    Because.  No comma before the word “because.”  Commander Perry failed to reach the Antarctic in by May because the ship was frozen in port.

About Nancy Lovell

Nancy Lovell is a partner in Lovell-Fairchild Communications, a PR and marketing firm.  For 12 years she was on her own, a freelancer writing “anything I could follow up with an invoice”–brochures, scripts, editorials, article.  And before that with Tracy-Locke, a Dallas-based ad agency.  In college she majored in advertising/PR and got a minor in English because one of the courses was on “Jane Eyre,” which she’d already read six times.

How to copyright your work

From Legalzoom.com:
How to copyright your work

When you write a blog post, you instantly create a copyrighted work. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, your original work receives copyright protection “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” In other words—you wrote it, you own it. This also applies to photographs and images—once a photograph that you took or image you created is fixed in a tangible medium, the copyright is yours instantly—no registration necessary, and no little © required.

However, there is one big “but”—if you want to sue someone in federal court for copyright infringement, your work must first be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

So you want to do a trade show?

By Anna Brindley

It has been suggested to me over and over to do a trade show. I just couldn’t justify all the costs involved, long days of working the booth, and the time I would need to put into preparations – until now.  My head is still spinning as I sift through information overload from last week’s four-day Home and Gift Market show in Dallas.
I did a lot of things wrong—and a few things right but I feel: like having children–you just can’t  know what is like until you do it for yourself. I am sure there are even more insights to come, but for now here are some tidbits from my experience.
In November, in the sort of creative rush that you can’t ignore, I had an idea for a beautiful line of baby blankets. Anxious to get it to market, I rushed the process.  The good news is that now I know I can bring a quality product from conception to reality in two months flat, a shorter development cycle than I had ever before experienced. The not-so-great news, yet valuable lesson, is that now I realize there are other critical parts of brand development that cannot be rushed.  Here are a few things of the things that I’ve learned:
-The cost of the trade show booth may have been worth the leads I gained and networking from the show, I wasn’t able to recoup it immediately on sales as I had hoped.  It turns out that retailers want to see you there for three seasons before they trust that your company will be around long enough to fill their orders. This is not true in all cases but the sluggish economy is making this more of a constant.
-Prices of booths can be negotiable. I might have paid less for the space I got had I known to bargain.
-There are such things as dead zones. Look at a floor layout plan and try to determine where the high traffic areas will be. Is there a Starbucks close, for example?
-Walk the market that you hope to show in. I had represented a line before in apparel, so I thought I had enough experience – but this show was entirely different.
-When you do get visitors in your booth, get their business card. Follow up is a big part of the process of selling.
-A contact list of buyers is part of the package you purchase. If you allow enough lead time (in other words–don’t rush) you can actually call or write to invite prospects to come see what is new!
-Talk to reps. Talking to reps ahead of time is a good way to see what is available in the market place and at what price point. Even though the internet is good for that, seeing first hand at the market is invaluable.
-Simple, cost effective booth designs can still make an impact. Spending more money doesn’t mean it is somehow better. A really simple design for a booth that I saw won the award for best booth design.
Should you have any tips to share…please do.