During the first few months of this iSparkle journey, much of my time was spent wondering if I could actually pull this thing off. Heck, as I sit and write this post today, I still don’t have finished samples to show or promote. I do, however, have faith that it will all come together.
Back during the spring of 2017, I finally made the decision to give this thing a go. There was so much to be done, but I was determined to carry out my vision.
After joining a few fashion support groups, learning the industry lingo, and connecting with a few mentors, I decided I wanted to start building a following for iSparkle. At the same time, I also needed to start thinking about an official site, which would need photos of girls wearing the initial iSparkle dresses.
One day, it came to me: I could promote a contest on social media where girls could be entered to become models for my dresses. The contest would be titled “The Little Princess Model Search,” and the winner would receive a free iSparkle dress experience, and a photo shoot in her dress. One of the photos would then be featured on the iSparkle site.
This would be great! Not only could I find a model for a dress or two, but I could also begin to build a following for iSparkle, and brighten a little girl’s day in the process. Yes, this would be perfect!
Or so I thought.
Initially, the contest was a major success. As the entrants rolled in, I eventually received a notice from Facebook that my contest ad ranked in the top 9% of all ad performance. Awesome, right?
Only after hundreds and hundreds of entrants had registered for the contest, it dawned on me: I was going to have to pick just one winner. It seemed like an impossible feat.
As I scrolled through the photos of all the girls who participated, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to narrow it down to one winner. The mere thought of it made me nauseous. And yet, more entrants came in daily.
Eventually, it came to a point where I simply hated the contest. Why?
You see, in my mind, by picking just one girl, I was telling several hundred other girls that they weren’t Princesses, or they weren’t good enough. Sure, I know I shouldn’t have looked at it that way, but I did. The thought of sending that message to 800 girls made me want to vomit.
Literally. Made. Me. Want. To. Hurl.
By this point, inquiries were starting to come in from registrants wanting to know when the winner would be picked. I could have made up some excuse, but instead I simply told the truth, and the truth was, this was an exceptionally hard thing to do.
Every single one of the girls entered into the Little Princess Model Search deserved to win. Every one of them is a Princess. However, I knew I had to pick just one.
Or did I? I mean, it’s my company, right?
Although I simply couldn’t offer every girl a crown and a winning title, I decided to at least broaden the number of winners into a group that not only made my job a little bit easier, but would also be more indicative of what I want the iSparkle brand to stand for.
What I mean is, all girls are Princesses in their own way. Every girl should be made to feel as such. So, the contest winners, who would be the faces of iSparkle, should be a diverse group that represents all girls, and every little Princess out there.
Once I had made this decision, the contest became somewhat easier. First, I wanted to select girls that were entered by friends of mine, or that lived locally. After all, where would iSparkle be without the support of those around me? Even though I couldn’t pick them all, I was going to need several little models for my Kickstarter video, so boom!
Here are the Kickstarter Video Princess winners.
Adorable, right? I cannot wait to get all four of them together with Kylie to shoot the Kickstarter video. I’m thinking a little Princess tea party!
Next up, I needed to pick the main contest winners, the ones that would actually wear the dresses photographed for the official iSparkle site. Picking these winners was a much more difficult task. I wish I could fully explain what made me choose the girls that I did, but I can’t.
What I can say is that each of these Princesses had something that reminded me of my Kylie or Kensley. Also, combined with the Kickstarter winners, I wanted to make sure that girls of various different types were represented.
So, here are the main contest winners I chose:
A couple of those girls look like they have Kylie’s sass, while others seem to have Kensley’s sweet nature. I’m sure they’re all a little of both, and all of them are certainly Princesses!
Lastly, there were two girls whose entries stuck with me from the moment I received them. Whenever I thought of the contest, these two always came to mind first. Both of these girls had stories I connected with, and stories I thought were worth telling. Most importantly, these two girls are fighting daily battles that would make any Princess proud.
For them, I created what will be a featured blog post called “The Princess of the Month.” They will be the first two winners, and here are their entry photos:
When it was all said and done, I had expanded the Little Princess Model Search from one winner to thirteen. Through the process, I learned a lot about myself, what I believe, and what I think iSparkle should stand for.
Most importantly, I came to love the contest, and specifically the journey :)
Although I am still waiting for finished dresses, I am keeping in touch with all of the contest winners. I refer to them as iSparkle Ambassadors, and I am slowly getting to know their parents. I look forward to building this bond with them as I move closer and closer to launch. They have all been amazingly supportive.
As for all of the other entrants, I decided to offer a discount code exclusively for them. I know it’s not the same as winning, but it’s a gift from the heart. It is my way of expressing my appreciation for them taking the time to enter, and my way of saying, “Yeah, your girl is a Princess, too.”