Wow! Wow, wow, wow! I know I’m supposed to be the one with all the words, but the space MAWBster Heba Ahmed Malki has created with the Domilya Group showroom is leaving me a little speechless, it is so beautiful. It is bright, airy, luxurious, exquisite, and breathtaking. Heba generously donated the use of the space for tonight’s MAWB October Evening Meetup, and it’s not just a one-stop-shop for all your renovation and design needs, but it is also a really great meeting space. I have made use of the space myself, when I wanted to schedule a day of meetings with people who live west of Oakville and a meeting in Mississauga wouldn’t be convenient, and I am definitely planning on doing this again soon. I am so comfortable in the kitchen space, I could live there. All I need to do is throw some cushions in one of those soaker tubs to sleep in. If you’re interested in having a temporary office for a day, I suggest you talk with Heba to arrange a meeting.
We started off with some open networking and touring the showroom, and then Christine Hull, our fearless MAWBBoss started the meeting.
But wait…I’m getting ahead of myself…
Welcome to the MAWB!
Welcome, you beautiful MAWBsters, to the MAWBBlog! It’s a cold, blustery October evening, but the MAWBsisters are out in force to enjoy the October Evening Meetup. With our membership creeping towards the 2000 mark, and limited space for all of the in-person events, it is hard for people to stay on top of all the MAWB activity taking place. Each month I recap the monthly Meet Ups, as well as some of the other in-person MAWB events, for all the members who are unable to attend. So, although the Facebook group is incredibly active, sometimes life and other obligations make it hard to get out to the events. This blog is meant to keep everyone involved, virtually.
The MAWB is the Mississauga and Area Women in Business, a networking group for women entrepreneurs from Mississauga and the surrounding communities. Whether you’re a solopreneur, an employee of a larger organization looking to expand your network, or someone with an MLM as a side hustle or your main source of income, MAWBsters, as we refer to ourselves, come together to support and encourage each other, share ideas, and foster real relationships amongst members. Our group’s sensibility, as established by our Admin and MAWBBoss, Christine Hull, is that people will do business with those they Know, Like, and Trust. While this is an approach that is promoted by many networking groups, it is fully embraced by the MAWB. The opening networking at all of the meetups consists of a lot of hugs and a lot of laughter amongst friends.
Most of the activity between members takes place online through the MAWB Facebook Group. The Facebook Group follows theme days, which are posted every morning. While you do get the opportunity to promote your business, the idea is to get to know your fellow MAWBsters as people first, engage with each other, and meet in person for coffee/not-coffee dates. Theme days include Marketing Monday, Welcome Wednesday, and Social Saturday. You can find the whole list on the MAWB Facebook Page in the Files tab, or click on the link.
So, as a fair warning to all the newbies out there, don’t be alarmed if someone you don’t know reaches out to you and says, “Hey, you look cool. Let’s have coffee.” This is just how we roll.
Now, Back to the Show(room)
After welcoming everyone to the Meetup, Christine quickly ran through the evening’s Agenda and introduced out hostess, Heba, who will be giving a presentation on the importance of relationship marketing for your business. There will be door prizes, and then Christine will be spending an hour doing a deep dive into Instagram stories and how to create them. Because we have a much smaller group than we usually have at the daytime meetups, we were able to do a quick 30-second name-and-business introduction to the group. I liked this because there were so many new faces (at least new to me), and you never get the chance to talk to everyone.
We then shared some 10-second Success Stories, as Christine likes to call them. Everyone is invited to share a success story from the last week, either business or personal. I tried to note all of them, but 10-seconds means rapid-fire, and I am just not that fast, so if I missed your success story, my apologies, but feel free to add it in the comments.
- Nair LaCruz, of Nair’s Spanish Food Experience, is collaborating with a Hamilton restaurant every Thursday for Tapas by Nair
- Tammie Kovacs, from Mindwave Coaching, sourced and advocated for the new, easier, more effective colorectal cancer screening test newly adopted by the Ontario government
- Charlotte Tober-Harris, of Attuned Homes, has collaborated on a book
- Dianne MacMillan, of VoxxLife Wearable Neurotech, did a Facebook Live testimonial with a new customer
- Robin Brown qualified for a trip to Cancun with Monat, and she is bringing her mother
- Carina Reeves, a Transformation Coach, held a sisterhood circle
- Charlene Tumanguil, launched an accidental business, Charlene’s Group Buy
- Amanda McNair got her Real Estate license and joined the KeyVantage Real Estate Team
- Heba Ahmed Malki’s big thing is the story of her showroom
- Nisreen MamaFoda, from Holistic Life Solutions, remembered to take pictures of her event!
- And finally, Veronica Gonzalez won VIP tickets to see Tony Robbins
The Family Business
Our venue sponsor, Heba, took the floor to share the story of her business. The name, Domilya Group, is an amalgamation of her two kids’, Emilya, and Adam, nicknames. Her husband, Rachid, started the business as a contractor 15 years ago, and Heba came on board 8 years later. When she started, she was fully hands-on, doing the actual construction work, but she eventually shifted more to the marketing and networking side of the business. A few years ago, Rachid set a goal, to be on TV, and Heba’s goal was to open a one-stop-shop, high-end design showroom. Because Rachid’s goal was more immediately viable, they set their sights on it and made it happen 4 months later. Last year, Heba opened her showroom. Her message: Anything on paper is possible.
Inspired by Heba’s speech, Christine led an off-the-cuff exercise—What is your biggest Dream? She challenged us to dream BIG, write it down, and put it where we can see it every day. Because anything on paper is possible. We didn’t share our messages to the group, but I invite you all to dream big and make it happen, too.
Where can you find Heba and her company online…
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/domilyaGroupInc/
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/domilyagroup/
- LinkedIn – https://ca.linkedin.com/in/hebaahmed
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/domilyagroup
TWOFER TWO One
Christine asked us to pair up and spend two minutes each getting to know the person next to us. I was paired with Charlene, of the accidental business mentioned earlier, and she shared about her Facebook Group, Charlene’s Group Buy. Essentially, she offers products to the group and takes advantage of bulk buying discounts so she can sell at a lower price. Of course, I immediately joined the group—why miss out on this opportunity?
Show me the Door (Prizes)
We had two Door Prize Sponsors for the night:
Maria Howlett, owner and mastermind behind Feelsexyover40, helps women find their mojo after the kids grow up and leave the nest and they realize they don’t really know who they are anymore. She focuses on mindset, fitness, and nutrition, and helps women reimagine how those relationships can work for them. She gave a free pass to a beginner level Crossfit training class, and a nutritional consultation, won by Adeyemi Olusoji, a Chartered Accountant.
Dale Stoneman from Legal Shield, was also a door prize sponsor. Dale became involved with Legal Shield 21 years ago after she had a bad legal experience. Subscribing to Legal Shield is like having a top legal firm on retainer to answer all your legal questions. They also offer identity theft protection and restoration services. She gave a copy of a book by her mentor, “30 Ways In 30 Days to a Better Life”, all about personal development and how small changes can make big differences. The book was won by Nayki Penuarthy, a home stager, and owner of Decor Mantras.
TWOFER TWO Two
We had our second Twofer Two, and I was paired with Aili Than, from Domilya Group. Aili is a designer and admin for the showroom. She has had a winding career path, from working with children with special needs to making and selling handcrafted body care products, but she is really loving learning about design and construction and feels like she has found her purpose working at Domilya Group.
View more photos from the Meet Up: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.1455453164633432&type=3
Relationships Are Key
Our first official speaker of the night was Heba Malki, our venue hostess, and she is a master at relationship marketing. She believes maintaining the relationship is as important as building it in the first place. When meeting with your customers, they want to know you are interested in them. Ask questions about their family and work. Listen to what they have to say and follow up with them. It takes 4-12 “touches” to earn a client. Not following up is the quickest way to lose a client. Heba, a Senior Executive at Send Out Cards, makes a list of five people every week to follow up with, and she has a follow-up protocol:
- Week 1: Phone them
- Week 2: Send them a card
- Week 3: Send them a Facebook Message
- Week 4: Arrange a meetup
- Repeat with 5 new people every week so you always have at least 20 people in this cycle.
The touches don’t have to be a detailed message—like and comment on their posts, send them a message asking for a coffee date, send a “thinking of you” or Thank You card. Potential customers who feel seen, recognized, and appreciated become actual customers, and customers who feel valued and heard give referrals and stay with your business.
Instagram Stories 101
After a brief break, we went upstairs and paired up so we could get a crash course in Instagram stories. We learned so much in such a brief period of time: how to write messages on our images, how to tag, hashtag, add location, add gifs, polls, etc. Stories are used to have a bit more fun with your Instagram business account and go a bit off-brand without messing with your grid layout.
Honestly, we had about an hour playing about, and it still wasn’t really long enough, but there is no way I can walk through all of this in a blog post. My recommendation is to take the Instagram 101 and Instagram 201:Stories classes offered by Christine Hull Online.
All in all, it was an informative and valuable meetup. And it didn’t hurt that the setting was so opulent. If you haven’t made it out to a MAWB Meetup yet, check out the Events tab on the MAWB Facebook Group and register early to hold your place, because space is limited. Or come and check out the MAWB Holiday Marketplace, on December 12 from 1:00–4:00 pm, at Alpha’s Discovery Kids in Mississauga, which is open to everyone. I am going, and I know I will see a lot of familiar faces, but hopefully some new ones, too. I may not leave with any shopping (Who am I kidding? Of course I will!), but maybe I will leave with a coffee date or two.