Posted in Alzheimer's, Growth, Inventory, Sales, Sourcing

Ready, Set, Execute!

Today, my sister and I went to a couple of stores to pick up patterns for the Alzheimer’s Fidget Apron and Cuff.

I have graph paper and I could make my own pattern, but I would rather adjust a pattern and save some time.  I was really determined this time to make a final choice.  I’ve looked at so many types on Pinterest (1,629 to be exact.)  The most important criteria will not only be ease of use, but also something that is totally different from what I see on Etsy.

There I sat, at JoAnn Fabrics, looking at 5 different brands of pattern books and something caught my eye in the Vintage Section!   Simplicity (8232) has a 1940’s-1960’s vintage pattern selection.  I found the perfect pattern that will need some minor adjustments.  It does not have a defined waist, but does have tie-backs that I will omit.  You place it over the head, with the neck being all one piece.

There is also another apron on the same pattern that is basically 2 different size hearts sewn together in a vertical pattern.  I might be able to use that around Valentine’s Day.  Again, just omit the tie-back.

I have quite a “collection,” (hoard) of material.  However, I did want to get an idea of what type material would be best for both the apron and cuff.  Washability will be primary.  Durability will be as well.

I found some solid blue, Cotton/Polyester Duck material.  It’s a primary color that will be easy to match with materials I already have.  It was on sale,  However, I needed a cheaper outlet; in order to max out my profit and compete with others on Etsy.

The second place is a recycle store where you can find just about anything that people might throw away.  That includes patterns and material.  The best part is that it is so cheap; and, they price it all per pound.  For $10, I was able to find more solid duck material in red, green and brown as well as the thread I would need.

While at JoAnns, I picked up a pattern for adult bibs.  Again, they slip easily over the head.  They are very basic.  Simplicity (2687).  I began brainstorming that I could make the Fidget Apron and the Adult Bib as a color coordinated set.  It wouldn’t take that much time and might escalate the profit margin even more.

Let me know what you think.  Should I just stick with the Fidget Aprons or should I make a color coordinated set with a bib?

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Growth, Sales, Social Media, Uncategorized

Social Media For Your Small Business

Yesterday, I mentioned Social Media as on of the important steps you should complete before your opening day of business.  Today, I will break down the types of Social Media that may benefit your small business.  Before I do, there is one caveat.  Do not set up on each of these platforms and overwhelm yourself before you even open your doors.

Social Media can be an inexpensive way to promote your small business, above and beyond the platform you are selling on.  A small amount of money ($20) can help to boost your business recognition.  Be careful with this as you want to be sure you are reaching out to possible buyers, not just anonymous users who have no interest in what you are selling.

According to several sources on Google, these are the social media platforms you should focus on as a small business selling a handmade product.  I’m listing them in order of importance and will expand on each.

  1. FACEBOOK:  This may seem obvious, but the sheer ease of developing a business Facebook page should make this #1.  Not necessarily the fact that almost everyone is o this platform for one reason or another.  Facebook has  step by step instructions that will get you through the basics such as your cover photo, your brand logo and shop button.  You can post a special sale, develop a “how to,” video, even pin your company’s manifesto at the top. On the left hand side, there is a “boost” button where you can literally choose women, between 40-50, in the United States, that have an interest in Alzheimer’s.
  2. TWITTER:  This platform is wonderful when you are short on time, but want to get the word out quickly.  Starting an account is very easy, but finding followers not so much.  A suggestion I have is getting people to sign up for extra savings or FB only codes, by signing up on your Facebook Business page as a Preferred Customer.  Ask for their Twitter account name.  Also, promote “follow me on Twitter”
  3. INSTAGRAM:  If you are photo-savvy, this is a wonderful way to get your business promoted.  Better is the fact that most of the aspects are free to use.  Opening an Instagram business account is very easy.  Your profile should reflect you business name.  You are allowed one link for people to shop or get more information.  Videos are called “stories” that are easy to develop and upload, making it easy to promote a new item or a sale.  Coming up with followers can be time-consuming, but again you can get names through your Preferred Customer sign up.
  4. PINTEREST:  This platform is best for slowly developing your company and the items you are selling.  Opening an account under your business name is simple, but you are differentiated from any other member.  Pinterest is not timely.  Your post may interest someone a year after you’ve posted.  In the long run, it can multiply but you need to make sure the link is accurate, and the best for a seasonal  item.
  5. YOUTUBE:  If you are not camera-shy, this platform can help you gain followers on all of your platforms.  Signing up under a business name is easy, the profile you are make gives you several options to describe your business and product. Better yet, it allows you to list all of your platforms as well as your buy link.  The title of your videos should always include your business name as well as the subject matter.  This way, when someone is looking for all of your videos then your account will pop up first then a popular list of your videos.

Social Media is so important in promoting your small business.  With some time and direction from the platforms, you can easily compete with other small businesses on the platform which you choose.  Hopefully, I’ve made the process just a little less daunting.

 

 

Posted in Growth, New Office, Sales, Seasons, Social Media, Time Management, Uncategorized, Virtual Assistant

What Must You Do Before Starting a Home Business?

I was recently listening to several podcasts by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck and found there were a few steps I never completed before starting my previous business.  I thought I would share a checklist that I will try to complete before opening my next business.  The items listed are not in chronological order or in order of importance.

  1. Do the research!  With my previous business, I headed to Ebay to check and see the median price for a pair of used Levi jeans.  This was something I felt I would have great access to at various thrift shops. When researching this business, I have been using Etsy and Pinterest to pinpoint the one Alzheimer’s fidget craft that will make a profit and fill a need.  Fidget mats seem to be a saturated line of fidget crafts.  Cuffs, Pillows and Aprons are not as prevalent.  The first two are small which would have a lower price point and a higher gross profit.
  2. Create a business plan! How much cash will it take to make a number of prototypes?  Do you have the equipment needed to complete the task?  If not, add that to your list of expenses. Will you need some classes or training to make your prototype?  You will be competing against masters of a craft.  What  what will make yours different?
  3. What type of business structure?  There are people and research you need, to plan for before opening.  You will need an accountant to at the very least, file your taxes.  Do you need a partner, in order to complete a quality product in a timely manner?  Do you need a source of funding in the form of a partner?  Do you need a virtual assistant to do the mundane and repetitive activities?  Can you survive financially creating and running this business on your own?
  4. Where will you purchase your supplies?  If you are very lucky, you have the needed supplies to create your first prototype.  If that is not a possibility, can you purchase items from a thrift store, garage sales, a warehouse or a discount retail establishment.  Do not cut quality standards in order to get the lowest price!
  5. Social Media is your Friend! You don’t want to be “that person,” on Facebook asking friends and family to purchase.  You need to get the word out.  Develope your own business Facebook page.  That is free and the cost to boost exposure is minimal.  Start an Instagram account.  Create a Twitter account.  YouTube is a very popular place to get the word out.  Last, begin a SnapChat Account.  If you are not knowledgeable about these platforms, get on the internet or ask your kids for direction.  This is something you need to land on both feet running.
  6. Find some Office Space!  It is very tempting to say you’ll simply work on your laptop from your bed!  What a life!  You’ll go nowhere, quickly.  Can you clear out a closet and begin with all of your equipment stored and a small space?  Can you to take over the corner of a room?  Can you take over an empty bedroom and totally devote this space to your business.   It is so important to separate your business from your personal space in some meaningful way.  You will burn out and be overwhelmed if your house is filled equipment and supplies.
  7.  Make a Portfolio!  This might be as simple as ordering business cards, letter head, thank you notes and envelopes.  You might need a resume and a or presentation of some kind to show possible partners and investors.  Be sure to do this before you open as you will be very busy creating and you need to be prepared for your first sale!
  8. Decide on an Opening Day! Nothing is worse than beginning without a goal.  Okay, maybe opening without all of your ducks in a row.  Either way you will be overwhelmed and disorganized.  Make sure the date is far enough in advance, but also timely.  If your product is Christmas related, you may need to hold off a year as

This is by no means a complete list of things to do before opening your business.  Hopefully, this will trigger your creativity or even help to provide some additional steps that you had not thought of.

Posted in Inventory, New Office, New Year, Sales, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

It is beginning to look like an office.

When looking for an office to move my Reseller business into, I had three requirements

  1. I wanted it on Main Street, in the small town I live in.  It was important to me to help revitalize the central part of our town.
  2. All utilities included.  It is important that my office expense would remain the same each month, as my income isn’t.
  3. Storage space and packaging space was more important than the size of the office.  In order for this business to grow, I must have a place to store at least 2,000 items

As you can see from today’s pictures and previous blogs, this particular office had what we required and more.

The large french doors coming into the office from the terrace bring in a lot of sunlight.  We’ve put a futon as well as a TV with a Fire Stick.  It gives it sort of “waiting room” look.  Truth be told, it’s a place to ‘dump’ items that we’ve sourced and waiting to be sorted!  Looks can be deceiving.

The long countertop with the cupboards underneath is our packaging station.  I would love to get a Dymo printer, but we will be sticking with the dinosaur inkjet we presently have.  The wall hanging above is an inked tapestry from India.  It matches the colors of our business logo.  Nice thing to have to brighten up the room and your eyes naturally go to it when you enter the room.

The other picture shown is the kitchen.  It really is beautiful though we didn’t need anything as extravagant as this.  I jokingly said we should rent it out to Tupperware or Pampered Chef representatives in the evening.  I found a larger inked Indian Tapestry with greens and grays to complement the slate floor.

As of tonight, everything in the office is on hold.

I will be leaving town in the morning, by train, and be in Michigan’s Capital.  No, it is not Detroit.  I’ll give you a hint, it is below the middle knuckle of the mitten.  If you are from Michigan, you’ll understand.

Stay tuned and I’ll explain tomorrow why!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper

Now located at 108 South Main Street in Farmer City, IL

Posted in Inventory, New Office, New Year, Sales, Social Media, Sourcing, Time Management

It is beginning to look like an office.

When looking for an office to move my Reseller business into, I had three requirements

  1. I wanted it on Main Street, in the small town I live in.  It was important to me to help revitalize the central part of our town.
  2. All utilities included.  It is important that my office expense would remain the same each month, as my income isn’t.
  3. Storage space and packaging space was more important than the size of the office.  In order for this business to grow, I must have a place to store at least 2,000 items

As you can see from today’s pictures and previous blogs, this particular office had what we required and more.

The large french doors coming into the office from the terrace bring in a lot of sunlight.  We’ve put a futon as well as a TV with a Fire Stick.  It gives it sort of “waiting room” look.  Truth be told, it’s a place to ‘dump’ items that we’ve sourced and waiting to be sorted!  Looks can be deceiving.

The long countertop with the cupboards underneath is our packaging station.  I would love to get a Dymo printer, but we will be sticking with the dinosaur inkjet we presently have.  The wall hanging above is an inked tapestry from India.  It matches the colors of our business logo.  Nice thing to have to brighten up the room and your eyes naturally go to it when you enter the room.

The other picture shown is the kitchen.  It really is beautiful though we didn’t need anything as extravagant as this.  I jokingly said we should rent it out to Tupperware or Pampered Chef representatives in the evening.  I found a larger inked Indian Tapestry with greens and grays to complement the slate floor.

As of tonight, everything in the office is on hold.

I will be leaving town in the morning, by train, and be in Michigan’s Capital.  No, it is not Detroit.  I’ll give you a hint, it is below the middle knuckle of the mitten.  If you are from Michigan, you’ll understand.

Stay tuned and I’ll explain tomorrow why!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper

Now located at 108 South Main Street in Farmer City, IL

Posted in Sales, Sourcing, Time Management

Moving On Up….To The South Side

It is time to take my relationship with my business to the next step.  I am moving it out of my home.

It was getting confusing.  Where did my business end and my house begin and vice versa.  I go to bed and can see the mannequin staring at me!  Visitors would wonder if I was a secret hoarder.  I am not sure what the mailman thought.

I will lose my two furry assistants, but they may be relieved when they get their pink slips.  I won’t be able to work in my pajamas (that was the BEST.)  I will have to venture out in the heat and the cold, four blocks away.

It’s just time to grow.  There will be a lot of room to do just that.

You enter through a terrace that has overgrown rose bushes and other perennials and on to a covered set of french doors.  This was what first attracted me to the office.  It does not face Main Street and is not a storefront.  I suppose later on, we could do some consignment business but that is far into the future.

As you walk in, the first room has a long countertop with cupboards underneath.  This will make the perfect packing and printing station.  Right now, we use 3 different rooms to pack and ship.

The next room will be the actual office.  It has only 1 window so I guess we’ll have to flip a coin to see who gets the desk in the corner next to that window.  The room is big enough to sort, measure, inventory, and enter information on the spreadsheets for the virtual assistants.

We have a large kitchen along with a beautiful bathroom/dressing room.  It is nice to have, but a bit extravagant.  I’m sure it will be much like the grand terrace, something we will use and utilize later.

Next, we have a large room without windows.  No more changing photo backgrounds and the mannequin looking at me while I sleep.  I believe I can have 4 stationary backgrounds.  I am imagining being able to move the tripod around the room and be able to take pictures so much faster and without having to adjust the lighting!

Last is the closet which is bigger than the bathroom.  The storage we have now will allow us to keep all of the inventory we have in one room (whew!)  There are metal shelves, but I have a feeling they will not be able to hold the weight of items we are storing.  We shall soon see.

Admittedly, being committed to monthly rent in addition to payroll is a bit daunting but I am not scared.  I have faith that as long as I have inventory, I am photographing, listing, weekend markdowns and offer priority shipping, that I will be able to meet those obligations.  I honestly don’t think I will make more than that for quite a while.

Jewels For The Pauper

Where everything is fit for Queen

But

Priced for a Pauper

Now located at:

118 South Main Street

Corner of Green and Main

Farmer City, IL  61842

 

Posted in Sales, Social Media

#Reseller Appreciation Day #RAD

If you are a reseller and reading this with your morning coffee, you know that the reseller community has been totally rocked off course the past couple of weeks.   When it happened, I made it a point to not reference it in my blogs, postings or comments.  I have even avoided YouTube because I knew the gossip-rumor mill would be going into overtime.

Yesterday, Prof Sales and his wife Kaaren posted a fantastic video.  I strongly encourage every reseller to watch it.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sehgiy-_JE  It really cut through the negativity we have listened to the past few weeks and got to the real heart of what makes our community great.   We are human, we have feelings, we care about those we have never met before and we relate to the day to day struggles.

When was the last time you did more than just “punch the like button?”  Something like writing an encouraging comment, sending a DM or even an email can really give thanks to a sometimes thankless job.  Spreading love instead of hate is the basis to this exercise and I hope all resellers are doing this today!

My list in alphabetical order:

#Craigslisthunter – You were the first reseller I found on YouTube.  I cannot list all of the things I have learned from you.  I love your bird and your cat!!!

#LindeyGlenn – I related to you from your first video.  Living in a small town in Kansas, second marriage, wanting to be a SAHM are just a few.  Because of you, I began selling jeans and tried Health and Beauty.

#NicoleState – I admire your strength and drive to get things done.  You made the Algorithm understandable, I converted to charging shipping, I stayed away from hiring an in-house assistant and I got an office the same day you did!!!

#ProfSales – Talk about watching a huge transition!  I related to you from the beginning because you came from retail.  You can compute gross profit in your head and spend a lot of time tweeking your business for the maximum return. It really is all about the numbers!  Your wife, Kaaren takes “spunky” to a whole new level and for the better.

#ResellersStew – You ladies totally rock!  I learned the importance of networking.  I would not have a Happy Planner.  You made me feel like I wasn’t alone in the struggle of juggling family issues with my business.

#RockstarFlipper – You tell it like it is.  Your shows are so informative and you have a very cool car.  While I don’t aspire for that particular car, you have shown that with hard work, anything is possible.

#SeeAnnSave – You are such a woman of strength.  I saw your transition after your husband died and your struggles to continue in your business without him.  You keep it real through each video program

#TexasGalTreasures – Margaret, you literally open your heart and let everyone in.  You have made this journey very “real,” and “human.”  Earlier this week, Philly Nay said she received a 30# box of cloth from you.  Random Acts of Kindness keep us all in business.

#ThriftyBusiness – One of the first video’s I saw live was the Rally to help Nay with her breast cancer expenses.  This helped me to realize how much love was in the reseller community and how it could be extended and shown.  Sending money was just one way.  Sending Nay items to sell, auctioning off a high dollar item and sending the proceeds to her, gift cards and get well cards.

Seriously, there are so many more that I subscribe to and I could write a lot more but there is laundry to be done and another trip to get ready for.  Be sure to thank your fellow resellers and let them know how and why you appreciate them!

 

#jewelsforthepauper

Where every item is fit for a queen

but

priced for a pauper