Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Great Find




So Saturday before I went to Market, I went to get some gasoline at the little mini-mart not far from here. They are doing some construction there and have this huge dumpster. So as I drove by I saw this cool shelf on top. I asked the guy working there if I could have it and he actually got it down for me, I would never have reached it! So now it's hanging on the reverse of the other chrome rack. I'm going to put the Rainforrest on there, it's the "Best smeller" and it deserves to have its own shelf. So I guess the moral of the story is to look around, some times it pays off!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Friends




I was at the Martinez Farmers Market today and I was thinking about the friends I have made there and the connections I've made.
I have the awesome folks that have been my customers since the begining, our kids have grown up and we've told stories to one another of the day to day things, and the major things that have happened in our lives.
There are also the wonderful vendors that I have known for years. Many of us attend the same Markets and we compare notes about how the days Markets were and we have become sort of a family that travels around each week. Sometimes you wont do a Market with someone for a while and when you see them again, the connection is instant. You know that they make their living this way too, with the ups and downs, days with stellare sales, and the ones that are "craptacular".
I think at the end of the day, the connections we make are so important and I am so grateful to those that I have connected with. Thank you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Every Biz has to at some point





raise prices. I only do it once a year and I always agonize about doing it, I know how expensive things are for everyone. Things keep going up and it's one of those things where I absorb the costs myself as long as I can, however, when you're in business there are only a few choices:
--Absorb the costs (losing money)
--Raise prices (staying at a more even keel)
--Quit altogether! We know that last one isn't a real option, not for me, I love making soap!

I really agonize over doing it, although I know I need to. Months ago a 50# box of coconut oil was $65 now it's $93.50 and I have to drive to Oakland to get it, so you see, there's just no choice!

Things like that make it a challenge, but it comes with the territory!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Complacency




I used to have this boss who said "never settle for status quo". You should never "settle" anyhow, blaze your own roads, do things that change the situation for the better. Don't just take the easy way, you've heard the expression "well behaved women seldom made history"? It's true with everyone! Get up and make a difference, just don't do what you need to do to "get by" really exist! Make things happen! Don't take "no" for an answer!

Friday, August 26, 2011

More to offer





Remember the other day, I was saying the more things to offer your customers the better? If you have more choices you will have a wider audience of folks you will appeal to, makes sense right? So, I started making Glycerine Soap again, it makes a nice gift and really appeals to people that like to give "pretty soaps". Here are a few of them, so you can see that I try to practice what I preach! It's actually fun for me too, glycerine will do tricks that the Goat Milk Soap wont do :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Major Retailers


(That's a "money Truck" in case you can't tell!)



I was reading this interesting blog post yesterday (http://www.craftmba.com/2011/08/24/are-major-retailers-worth-pursuing/ ) about working with a major retailer. If you do Handmade there are a lot of things to consider.
--Cash Flow, depending on the retailer you may have to wait a bit for your payment.
--You may actually be giving them a rate less than wholesale.
--You may also grow your brand quicker with the recognition that a big name retailer represents.
So what are your thoughts? I wouldn't MIND really, the big consideration for me would be how much time it would take from my other venues, my existing customers are of paramount importance to me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do it!




The following has been hanging on the Stuio fridge for years, I love to read it now and then to keep the momentum going:

You can't win if you worry,
You can't win if you're whining,
You can't win if you're waiting,
You can't win if you're weeping.
You can't win if you're wishing that things would get better.

Success if the by-product of work, commitment, passion, tenacity and endurance.

You can choose today to complain how unfair life is or you can decide to get up and make your mark.

You can decide to run with the big dogs or stay on the porch and bark!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Pears!




Remember that Seinfeld episode when they wanted the Macinaw peaches and they were just there for a short time? Well I feel that way about the pears from Alhambra Valley Pears and Beef, OMG they are about as wonderful as can be! Today was the first day and they got a crowd! They are in Martinez on Sundays and Concord on Tuesdays (although I'm not sure if they have the beef Tuesdays in Concord). They treat their trees to something called "dry irrigation", they'll be happy to tell you about it, that's one of the great things about shopping from the farmer directly! When have you ever seen a nicer looking pear? It was quite yummy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How spoiled am I?




My customers are always so sweet to me, it's hard sometimes to figure out when they become friends as well as customers! Anyhow, one of my long time customers came today and got her stash of soap and said "I have something for you, for when it gets cold". Aren't these just TOO cute! She made them herself! The thing is that when it's cold out, it's really hard to work in gloves, counting money etc, so these are really the bee's knees! Do I have the nicest customers or what?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Passion




Passion. It's what puts the wind in your sails. I love seeing someone who is passionate about what they're doing, be it work or play, or if you're one of the fortunate ones like me, they're sort of entertwined.
I was saying last night "I wonder what I should wear tomorrow" and my husband thought I said "I don't want to work tomorrow" and he went "WHAT?!" and I repeated it, he said "you haven't said that since you've been working for yourself" - I don't think I've EVER said "I don't want to go to work"!
Have you noticed too, the people that don't have that passion, tend to not do a great job on whatever they're doing? Their heart isn't in it. I feel badly for folks that just work to work, to pay the bills. Life is too short to do that. I know we may not be rolling in dough, but the rewards far outweigh the struggles!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Wish for you




I always think that to some degree being happy or not is a decision we make, of course there will be times that you have things you're going through, that's a given, but so much of life is the way we deal with it. I always have thought its 1% what happens and 99% how you chose to deal with it! Wishing you a great day and a positive outlook!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Got Goat Milk?




I used to work with the children that were involved in 4H, but alas I've been doing this long enough that the children have now grown up and gotten out of the "goat biz". Then I got the milk from a very nice lady that raised the goat for her children that had issues with cow's milk. I am in awe that she did that for her children, what an awesome mom! But She had to let her goat dry out due to some health issues the goat was having (she's OK, don't worry). So, I was having to get the Goat Milk from Raleys, or as I just found out, Trader Joes also carries it. It's quite expensive and the thing is that I SO prefer it straight outta the goat! So, I am meeting with a lady in Brentwood this week to see if she may be my new supplier, I am so exited! The picture by the way is of a general goat, not THE goat! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August




Just dollars rather than Hundred dollar bills, August is always my worst month (after January of course) for sales. Folks are taking the last vacations before school starts, and then they come back and have to get school supplies/clothes etc. I always know its coming but somehow always hope it's better. I am not sure how it is for the rest of the retail world. So what happens is that I miss a lot of my "regulars" which brings me to the point: the 80/20 proncipal. Ever hear of it? In this case, it's 80% of my business comes from 20% of my customers, and I do belive it! When they are missing you definately feel it. The proncipal applies to all sorts of things, I thought it was fascinating the first time I heard of it.
So those of you that make your living this way, hang in there, the month is halfway done! "Awful August" will be done before you know it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Differences




If all your customers were like them (but not penguins) they'd all be more or less the same, and you could do one product and everyone would be happy. The thing is that your customers are NOT all the same, so you need to have different offerings to appeal to a greater crowd of people! I have a lot of customers that buy our Olive Oil Soap because it's fabulous for your skin, and then I also have a lot of customers that come to us straight away for gifts, and they have a lot of choices as well. The thing is that the more you have to offer the better. Remember to diversify what you offer to appeal to as many as possible. Each of us is an individual and will have our own preferences!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Credit Cards




Here's a cool thing; when you accept credit cards, particularly in person, you will hear this "oh you take credit cards, so I can stock up" which of course is music to your ears! Here are a couple of options for you, of course there are others as well.
This one is pretty neat but wont work with my phone, it's called the "Square" and is this tiny little square plastic card reader, they can send you the reader free and the app looks really clean for it too. The fee is very tiny and I understand that there is no contract. You can check it out by going to Http://www.squareup.com (I'd totally go for that but am not ready to give up my Blackberry!)
I have used Http://www.propay.com for ages and have been very happy with it. I think the square is the less expensive way to go, but this works out for me. I don't have a card reader so I use the old fashioned "knuckle buster" (you can get them on eBay and they can make the little plate for you with your shop name) and then run the cards through when I get home. The option with this that I like too is that with the plan I have, I get a Mastercard and the funds go in that automatically or I can transfer them to my checking account.
There are other choices but that will get you started. Do look into it, it will help your business grow!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

asking




So now that we're not afraid of rejection, or being intimidated, it's time to ask for what we need or want! The thing is, you may get the answer you want, and even if it's "no" you are no worse off than you are before you ask! It's important to let people know what it is that you're after, if you need assistance, no one will know until you say it out loud!
Here's hoping for lots of positives for you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Great Myth




The great myth is that if you're self employed, you get to get up at 10 every day, work in your pajamas, that's when you FEEL like working. You work only when you want to and you rake in the dough.
The truth is, that you will work harder for yourself than you EVER will work for anyone else, you will often work longer hours and if you don't do it, it wont get done! It makes me crazy when I see th myth perpertuated on TV and in movies.
Don't get my wrong, I LOVE whan I do and I know that I'm blessed to do what I enjoy, but know that working for yourself is NOT for the faint of heart! That myth is BUSTED!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Intimidation





Eleanor Roosevelt once said "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Never give it" I love that! It's true.
My best friend isn't easily intimidated, she was once asked why she wasn't intimidated by a certain person, she replied "well he can't eat me!"
Remember the amazing person that you are, never forget that, and never let anyone make you feel second best! You are a star!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rejection




It happens to everyone. The thing is to see where you can improve and turn the experience into something positive. It's really an opportunity to see where things can be made better.
I always think things like that are very zen, accept it, learn from it and move on, no point on dwelling on it unless you can make a positive change.
The important thing is to NOT give up, if you do, they have won! Figure out a way to move forward, that's the goal, always look at the big picture! It's an opportunity for growth!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pike Place Fish



I was talking to a friend about Pike Place and he mentioned the "fish throwing" - guess I live under a rock, I had never heard of it! It's a fun thing they do at the Fish Market there, the philosophy of the Managment is to Have Fun
Make Their Day
Be There
Choose your attitude
I really liked that last point because I look at life that way too, for the most part, I feel like you can only control so much that happens, it's 1% what life gives you and 99% how you choose to deal with it. I also liked their tagline "Catch the energy; Release the potential" it's a good motto for business or for life.
Choose to make this an awesome day!
(copy and paste to view the video http://youtu.be/P6ssn6WqxFc )



Monday, August 8, 2011

Tech Shop




This is something else I learned about while I was at the conference, but from the folks at my table. I thought it was COOL BEANS! There are a few locations here in the Bay Area, it's basically this cool place where you can take classes and rent equipment to do all kinds of cool things. You can learn laser cutting, woodshop, screen printing, stained glass, just all sorts of stuff! I think this is fabulous because 1) you don't have to have a place to make your creations 2) you don't have to own the expensive equipment 3) you can learn! It's just a super idea! Not to mention you'll find yourself in the company of other "creatives" :-)
Here's the link ( you'll prolly have to copy/paste) http://techshop.ws/index.html

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Outsourcing




Another thing we talked about at the Conference is outsourcing. Nothing wrong with having someone else do something you either arent great at or don't want to do, or have the time to do. Some of the creative professionals are in a field where they use agents to help them with getting fees on projects. The agents have expertise in these fields and it frees up the creative professional to do what they are good at - creating!
Sometimes its a case where the mundane stuff is taking up a lot of time and can be delegated to others, to again, leave the creative professional time to do the most vital part of the process - creating!
So the point is to give some thought to where you can share the workload to give yourself more time to do the thing you love to do - create!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs




I had the priveledge of attending the first day of the 3 day Conference, I had such a good time! It's being held in San Francisco so I took BART over and it couldn't have been easier.
We had sessions all going on at the same time in different rooms and they were tailored to whatever your specialty was, be it illustration, blogging, writing or other artisan activities.
The one on blogging was interesting, I thought it was going to be about affiliate programs (you have a banner or such on your blog and if folks click on it and sign up or whatever, you get paid for it) but it was actually more about monetizing your blog if you have a larger following. Didn't really apply to me, although it was interesting nonetheless.
I also enjoyed spending the time with kindred spirits, it was fun to use the "lingo" and know they knew what I was refering to.
I definately plan on attending all 3 days next year. I highly recommend it if you are a "creative" too! :-) More next blog post!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planning




I am a big one on planning. Of course you have to be flexible and expect the unexpected, however, you've heard that failing to plan is planning to fail? Especially when you are a "solopreneur", you have to make sure that things don't fall through the cracks.
My system works well for me, I have a planner that goes everywhere with me, it should be surgically attached! LOL Anyhow it keeps me on track. What I do is write down things I need to do as I know they'll arise, and then the evening before I write down my to do list for the next day, then I pretty much hit the ground running the next day. I do the nasty stuff I don't want to do first, that usually ends up being the most important stuff anyhow. There's just nothing like getting to cross something off the list!
I think it's really important to manage your time, not the other way around. Do you have any great time management tips?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My City (some of them)


I get to go to the Conference on Friday (more on that after I attend!) and it's in San Francisco. We lived there when I was a kid, twice in fact and I just have to love the place, such history, there's nowhere like it in the world. A friend of mine once showed me a picture of this big city and I remarked at how flat it was, and she explained that most cities ARE flat, that's why SF is so famous. Being native to the Bay Area, I thought everywhere was like that!
I also count Oakland as one of my cities, I lived there a long time and it does have it's beauty, I love the old homes there.
Alameda will always be a special place, I love to go there and am instantly re-bonded to it. A part of me will always remain there.
Last but not least is Antioch. I've been here since '87, raised my kids here and have done a lot of living here. The downtown is my favorite part, having lived on 7th street for so long, that's where Delta Moon Soapworks got its start. Funny how you can sort of have a relationship with a city. Oh and Martinez, almost forgot, have never lived there, but it's one of my favorite places to be too! How about you?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Favorites

This handmade mug is one of my favorite things. I bought it on eBay years ago. The lady had bought it at some festival in Oregon and wasn't really in love with it and I ended up with it and think it's so cool. I love the moon being there and the color, and I appreciate the time it took the artisan who made the mug to craft this unique mug. Little did I know when I purchased it all those years ago that I myself would someday have a business making something handmade. I'm glad the lady let it go, so it would go to someone who appreciated it. For me it's always the little things that bring me joy, as you can see! So what are some of your little joys? Off to have my coffee now! :-)