July 22, 2008
Here’s the longwinded email sent out to managers / coordinators of Weekenders regarding their abrupt closing. To some, it’s the smoking gun that indicates she knew darn well that they’d be closing, and things weren’t as sudden as she otherwise claimed:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I appreciate and value your time.
The purpose of our call today is to help you understand what happened at Weekenders and to tell you what I am up to, because as I have always said when I tell my story “When God closes a door closes, she opens a window.” And I am here today to tell you about what could be a huge window of opportunity for you. Before I get into the details, I want to tell you once again, what an honour and privilege it has been for me for the past 15 years to allow me to be your leader. You are an amazing group of women who I respect, admire and believe in.
So let’s start with what happened at Weekenders. As you know Weekenders has been struggling for some time and was on the brink of bankruptcy when Jan and Emilio took it over. Jan and Emilio invested millions of personal money and the money of investors to keep it going. Unfortunately, the sales just weren’t there and we fell further and further behind in paying our suppliers, everyone from the manufacturers, to the button people, to Canada post and our customs brokers. The load was so huge that on Monday June 9th they decided to cease operations as they prepare to declare bankruptcy in the next few weeks.
All of us have lost money all staff world wide, including myself, and the other heads of countries, our suppliers, the owners, the investors and of course you, our Coordinators and our Customers.
Due to the way I was told about the closure and since I was not in the office at the time the decision was made, the communication of the closure was done extremely poorly.
For example, I first understood we were bankrupt and then they changed the term to “cease operations”. I was under the understanding that all orders up to and including June 9 were picked and shipped, and in actual fact, this is true….what I was not told was that the boxes are in limbo with shipping companies they had not paid and with customs brokers they had not paid, the goods were stopped in transit.
I gave you the most accurate information I had at the time. I wanted to communicate to you quickly before my Weekenders e-mail was shut down, which it has been since Weekenders ceased operations.
All of us were treated poorly; I like to think not maliciously or with intent, but by lack of experience and lack of true understanding of our business. I am trying very hard and I encourage you also not to take what happened personally and to try to put this behind you.
That is what I am doing, I am forever grateful for what Bob, George, Jan and Emilio have done for us as an organization and as individuals, we had some great times, made lots of money, spent lots of money and now it is time for new beginnings.
From June the 9 to June 13 I had my own little personal breakdown. (Yes I am human) Heartbroken does adequately describe how I felt, yes I was out of commission for 5 days and my darling husband whisked me away for a romantic de-stress weekend in PEI…lobster cures everything.
When I got back from PEI on Monday I had not one but two amazing world class companies wanting me to create a brand new direct sales company in fashion for them.
There is one opportunity that I am very excited about and I have been in negotiations with this company all week. We are well past the initial phase and the investors in this company want to proceed and a preliminary plan has been submitted to the board of Directors for approval.
The founding of this new company is very close to being final and here are some of the highlights of what this company will offer you. This company will have no association with any of the former Weekenders owners or founders; the opportunity is with totally different people who currently have a multi billion dollar high fashion manufacturing operation.
This is a multi billion dollar fashion manufacturer with the financial stability to make this new venture successful, with over 30 years in business. This company currently exports to the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia for major retailers.
They own 10 factories producing garments, for leading companies such as Anne Klein, Banana Republic, Polo, Anne Taylor and Talbot’s, just to name a few. They also produce jewelry, handbags and accessories. They now want to get into the direct sales business and have chosen us to do that.
While our marketing plan is in the approval process here is what I can tell you now and I look forward to presenting our final marketing plan in the next two weeks.
Here are just some of the highlights of what we will be offering our Fashion Consultants, subject to finalization and approval by the Board of Directors.:
The Fall/Winter collection is small only 15 garments in four colours, this is just the start up collection to get us up and running. The basic concept of mix and match wardrobing stays intact.
The sizes will range from extra small to extra large; easy to invest, easy to carry and easy to show.
The collection includes:
8 basic garments that mix and match in four colours of VS knit
4 high fashion garments that mix with the basics
3 “active wear” garments Jacket, top and pant
This offers a seamless transition of your existing customer base to the new company.
The fall shows that are already booked would hold.
Weekenders Sales Manager genealogy stays intact offering a seamless transition with your unit.
The marketing plan is still being approved however, I want to assure you we are very aware of what other companies are offering and we will be just as competitive.
We are also aware of the issues that de-motivated our former sales force and we want to address those issues as follows:
Company pays hostess credits.
No Visa/Master card merchant fees.
All orders will be direct ship to the customer via Canada Post (customer pays shipping fee) from our warehouse in Toronto.
No deliveries or exchanges handled by the Fashion Consultant
Fast Start includes free product for sales and sponsoring
Kits go on sale in July with a deep discount for former Weekenders Sales Managers. (upon sign up)
Our desire is to have Managers kits in your hands mid August.
Mini fashion previews in August in the major cities.
We understand how difficult it has been these past weeks not being able to honour your client’s orders. Our new company will offer any former Weekenders customer who did not get her order a 75% discount on her first item purchased from our new Fall/Winter collection.
I know you have lots of questions and I will be happy to call you directly over the next few days. Please e-mail me at email@example.com I will be returning your calls starting on Monday June 23.
I would love the opportunity to start something fresh and new and totally ground floor with you. I know the potential this company has and the opportunity we have ahead of us and I encourage you to wait a few weeks for us to get you the final details. This our opportunity to be pioneers all over again, because Canada is their first country of operation.
I am so excited!! This is just the beginning! We are already investigating the eco-basic kit concept with the organic cotton and bamboo knit fabric, which I know you love.
This company approached me directly because, ladies, they have watched our track record as a team and we are the best there is. The investors want our team to stay together as much as possible, and I know some will and some won’t and that’s ok too. I wish each and every one of you nothing but health, happiness and prosperity, no matter what it is you decide to do in the future.
I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your kindness, your love and support over the past 10 days and the past 15 years as your President.
I appreciate what you have gone through and are going through, we went through it together as always. I want to sincerely thank you for being on our call today and I will be forever grateful and appreciative of each and every one of you. I admire you, for your strength, your courage, your empathy and your belief in not only me but also the belief you have in yourselves and each other.
“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.”
I always wanted to give you a future to live into and I believe this is it.
With love and respect,
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July 22, 2008