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MassChallenge hosted the Sisterhood of Startups with Exhale Magazine for Women

Exhale Magazine’s “Women in Conversation – The Sisterhood of Startups” event was an impressive gathering of 180 women where Debi Kleiman of MITX led a panel conversation with women who participated in the MassChallenge competition.

Ainsley Braun / Tinfoil Security, Ashley Lucas / Diffuse 5, Dr. Sonia Divney / Zarzatech, Erica Zidel / Sitting Around, Candice Cabe / Day2Night Convertible Heels, Erin Viestra / Zyrra, Stephanie Kaplan / Her Campus Media

The “Women in Conversation” meetups take a story in the magazine and  bring it into a living room style gathering to take the topic into a lively exchange.  They continue Exhale Magazine’s mission to celebrate, inspire and support today’s busy women.  The entrepreneurs featured in the article about the Women of MassChallenge shared anecdotes from their progress in businesses dominated by men, to pitching a product that solves a woman’s problem to a group of men, and how men see business through a different lens.

Every woman who spoke at the event had common themes about her quest to define her business and to define herself in her leadership role.

  • There’s a real need for mentoring among women.
  • There’s simplicity in just asking for help and you actually get it.
  • Rely on life experience along with the power of trusting one’s instincts.  Those instincts proved right for situations ranging from knowing the target customer to knowing how to pitch for funding.

The level of networking among the women in the crowd created quite a vibe and the connections made should create business exponentially.  One of my favorite parts of the night was when a woman in the audience, Emily Benson, stood up to affirm the power of trusting her instincts.  Just having moved her business from NYC to Boston she was anxious to bring her Fashion Truck  to a high-traffic event in New England, but once she saw what the Laconia, NH weekend looked like … well, you get it.  The cool part is that the entire room soon knew about the Fashion Truck.

Exhale is also a startup that relies on advertising and sponsorship revenue to grow.  Thanks very much to our sponsors, New York Life and TaskRabbit.  If you’re a marketer or business owner reading this I’d be remiss not to ask for your consideration to invest some of your marketing in Exhale.

Here’s a link to the article on the Women of MassChallenge.

If you attended the event please share what you got out of it, give props to the woman who inspired you, the woman you want to celebrate and who you want to support.


Boston Wine Expo Farmers’ Market recap

The purpose of this post is to share how the first year Farmers’ Market pavilion at the 21st annual Boston Wine Expo went and to plant seeds for more collaboration throughout the year among local farms, local businesses, events, sponsors and media.

Farmers' MarketThe Farmers’ Market pavilion recipe might be called “wine, women and farm”, but the integrated marketing had three key ingredients:

+ a high-profile event with great demographics attracting thousands of people each day

+ a strong advertising campaign in print, online and social media targeting women

+ participation of five key farmers’ market vendors and a fantastic state resource

As mentioned in a previous post, the inspiration for the Farmers’ Market was a conversation I had with some of the BWE team members who attended Exhale Magazine’s “Top Dish Boston” sustainable food event in October.

Here’s how it worked:

The Boston Wine Expo added Exhale Lifestyle Magazine for Women to its advertising mix in print, online and through social media.  Women represent the majority of wine purchases on-premise and at retail.  (I’m still looking to source this truism and need to find a verifiable source to note – please comment if you have one, I’d really appreciate it).

Exhale solicited participation from key Farmers’ Market vendors including Wilson Farm, Mama Micki’s All Natural, Piantedosi Baking Company, Boston Organics and Gabbie’s Goodies Bon Bons.

Exhale involved the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) as a promotion partner to distribute information, maps, collateral pieces and website resources about farmers’ markets, apple picking, culinary tours from Boston to the Berkshires, wineries and food producers across the state.

My takeaways from the Farmers’ Market at the Boston Wine Expo:

  • the Farmers’ Market pavilion attracted lots of attention and added an interesting extension to the BWE’s week-long celebration of food and wine
  • there’s a lot of interest from the general market, particularly women, in finding their own local farmer’s market and buying Massachusetts-made products from cookies to bon bons  to wine and cheese.
  • even though this winter event took place in root vegetable season and coincided with a Patriots’ playoff game to become Super Bowl-bound, the Farmers’ Market recipe worked well for all and set the stage for planting, growing and harvest seasons.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts on how this recipe can be improved and adapted.  Please comment.


Performing Arts Holiday Marketing Recipes & José Mateo Ballet Theatre

ArtsBoston has done an admirable job orchestrating The Mayor’s Holiday Special  for performance ticket offers and an inviting layer of dining discounts to people attending shows.  Theater dining discounts are not a new offering, but the waves of group buying options this year have conditioned consumers to shop for a deal and a discount on practically everything.  Some have described the effect of these flurries of offers as “deal fatigue”.  There’s an artful balance to marketing, ticket offers, paying the light bill and staying afloat as non-profit arts entities.  Arts organizations are re-examining their marketing recipes for the holidays and year-round to boost attendance and stay financially stable.  Each has their own measure for print advertising, broadcast, direct mail, sponsorship, web, social media, community engagement, ticket offers and more.

I’d like to give recognition to Scott Fraser, Managing Director of José Mateo Ballet Theatre and an ingredient in their recipe.  Scott recently invited me to a gathering at their space at the Old Baptist Church in Cambridge called “Behind The Mirror”.  It’s conducted twice a month.  This was not a get-’em-in-the-door donor shakedown.  It was a very genuine introduction to the Theatre’s mission including the School, The Performance Company and the Dance for World Community Festival.  Apparently there were other non-profits in attendance to glean best practices from this organization marking a quarter century.  They’re not resting on a 25th year bash,  members of the organization talked consistently about long-term growth and community engagement as part of their recipe.

We left with 3 clear calls to action from  the José Mateo Ballet Theatre:

  • donate items for the performance space and events
  • volunteer
  • expand the organization’s network of friends, ticket buyers and invitees to future “Behind The Mirror” tours

This basic invitation to come in and be introduced by a friend may seem to be old-school in a digital world where Klout scores and the size of friends and followers matter, but this is part of a recipe that is growing  José Mateo Ballet Theatre Company.  Maybe that’s why their production of the Nutcracker flourishes in the competitive bright lights of the likes of Boston Ballet and the Rockettes.


Boston Wine Expo Farmer’s Market with Exhale Magazine

Boston Wine Expo

Thanks to everyone who sent this around through social media.  The food and wine crowds are wired, that’s for sure.

Building upon “Top Dish Boston”, our successful sustainable food event to promote local farms and producers Exhale Magazine is teaming up with the Boston Wine Expo to create a Farmer’s Market right in the middle of the two day event January 21st and 22nd at the Seaport World Trade Center.
On Saturday and Sunday, The Boston Wine Expo welcomes 3,000 consumers a day to a spectacular showcase of food and wine.  Strolling through the beautifully decorated hall, guests will experience the wine, food and culture of four regions of the world—Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the Southern Hemisphere and North America.  Our vision is to create an authentic indoor Farmers’ Market where local farms, producers and purveyors can display, sample 2 oz. servings and sell pre-packaged foods on site.  The Farmer’s Market will be situated for lots of traffic at the front of the Consumer Entrance in the North American region.
The Boston Wine Expo attracts an impressive crowd.  They appreciate great food – at home and dining out.  This is a great demographic to engage, attract as new customers to your property, add as Friends and Followers to your mailing lists, and to invite through social media to your participation at markets, festivals and events.
Farmer’s Market participants receive:

  • Table display at the Farmer’s Market pavilion.
  • Inclusion in the Boston Wine Expo Show Program

Please share this opportunity with everyone you think would enhance the Farmer’s Market and could benefit.  @exhalelifestyle will be promoting this on Twitter, so please follow along.
Tim Stansky 617 261-4600 ext 123


#entrepreneurs … no, make that #womentrepreneurs

In the short time I’ve been working at Exhale Lifestyle Magazine for Women I’ve encountered some very impressive groups that foster female leadership in organizations and strive to pave inroads for girls and young women across a number of industries.  Among my favorites so far are The Commonwealth Institute, WEST – Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and Mass Innovation Nights.

Yes, Mass Innovation Nights is a woman-led entity and I’m writing this to give Bobbie Carlton her props for building this monthly gathering where products launch to market.  @BobbieCThe companies involved have ranged from major corporations to kitchen-table startups.  Bobbie is a community builder for innovators to connect and promote each other through the power of social media in the stone soup theory of creating a delicious meal with a place for everyone at the table.  For a woman who has built a career in public relations she’s modest about what she does for others.  That’s why I want to give Bobbie her props for being named one of Mass High Tech’s All-Stars of 2011.

If you’ve attended a Mass Innovation Night or launched a product at one of the 30+ Monthly Launch parties here’s your opportunity to give her a shout:


Twitter #Hacked, now QR codes…

Do bad things truly happen in 3’s?  It IS October.  My Twitter account was hacked and I since learned that my fascinating friend the QR code is the next victim.  Maybe it was the foreboding question someone at Mass Innovation Nights #MIN31 (note the number) asked me about the QRCTT project I’ve been shepherding.  “I just got this new smartphone, I want to try this QR scan and Tweet for one of the Innovators.  Are these things safe?….”  Fortunately the wiseguy in me replied “well in tech most anything is possible, so I can’t vouch for that…”.  I’d like to point you to John Paul Titlow’s recent post on ReadWriteWeb.

Mobile Marketer does a good job embedding a Final Take video in articles.  Here’s Chantal Tode’s Final Take on yesterday’s article “Malicious QR code campaigns threaten legitimate marketers”:

I’ll share more as Dag, Bobbie, Jim, Nirmal and I circle back on the QR codes and analytics from the next Mass Innovation Night #MIN32 on November 9th at the Mass Challenge incubator in Boston’s Innovation District.

And the third bad thing happened, not horrible, but it’s over.


My Twitter account was hacked. Here’s what I did.

I’m giving a shout out to Bobbie Carlton for her message sent just after 4am last week suggesting that my account might have been hacked.  I thought I was the early, bright and shiny one at 5am reading email, news and trades.  But she was up and at it before heading to the gym.  I did not know about the secure settings option.

Your friends will tell you in very creative ways that your account might have been hacked.  Some of your Followers will think you’ve lost it. Try these easy steps.  Go to your Settings.!/timstanskyOn the Account tab, scroll down to HTTPS Only, check the box “Always Use HTTPS” and Save changes.!/timstansky

Share this with your followers.  They might eventually need it.

Now I have to ask this question to those of you who have been hacked…..  what’s the funniest thing that came back to you when your followers told you that you might have been hacked?  Please share.

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