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The Handmade Highway!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Freckle Face

Contain yourself ladies and gents. This shop is out of control!

I found Freckle Face yesterday when I was browsing The Indie 5 videos on YouTube. I about fell out of my chair when I saw the video. I was laughing so hard. I've never seen anything like this and I'm sure you'll agree.

I had to go to the shop right after I watched the video and I'm SO in love with the Britney.

Timothy Adam Designs

My earring collection is growing out of control. I probably have 40-50 pairs that I've purchased since June. I've been trying to figure out a way to better organize them and yesterday I found the most amazing earring tree from Timothy Adam Designs.

I'm so utterly in love with it and told my husband that he had better get it for me for Christmas. I was looking for something like this online and the one ones I found were junky plastic things. It's made from American Steel and the craftsman ship looks like one of a kind.

I'd probably need a bigger one considering that I'm purchasing like crazy lately. I love having a wish list available for my husband. He better get to work!

I also have my eye on their delicious hand made steel business card holder. It's unique and would go very well on my desk. I've been holding out for the right one and this one might just be it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm offically the world's best shopper..

I went to JC Penny's today to do a return on two pairs of pj bottoms that were cut so low in the back every time I sat down half my butt hung out. Not cute. I was going to get 20 bucks back. As I was walking to the back of the store to do the return I mentioned to my mother in law that I needed a new down comforter to fit my new king size bed. Suddenly, as if it was glowing from afar I see a big huge 65% off sign and dash towards it. Regularly $120 marked to $42 bucks! I don't need anything fancy or high quality. I just need something that will make do until I can afford quality. I'm young! I spill stuff and sometimes the kids will crawl into my bed and have accidents at night when they are snuggling with me. Not often but hey, it happens! They're six!
I did my return and ended up only spending 26 bucks on a king size down comforter! Score!! I also found 3 pairs of pj bottoms for 7 bucks, and my rear no longer hangs out. Booooooyah!

Friday Feature - Sherry Truitt Studios

Name: Sherry Truitt

Business Name: Sherry Truitt Studios

Email Address: marvelousmoondance@earthlink.net

What Year Was your Company Established: We were founded in March 2004.

Describe your business or service in detail: I craft three distinct lines of jewelry - Form Meets Function, Vintage Marries Modern, Simply Silver

What made you start your business? I've always loved craft, weaving, sewing, but I chose jewelry as a business because, I wanted to wear jewelry no one else was wearing. I wanted clients who felt the same way.

What inspires you? I've always been inspired by the everyday world around me. I love tools. My form meets function line is the the one I am most proud of. It incorporates everyday objects such as magnets, spirit levels, maps and compasses with sterling silver to create wearable, functional art.

Do you have anything interesting or unique that you want our readers to know about? I also love vintage Lucite and glass that I set in modern sterling to create pieces in my vintage marries modern collection. It connects us by bringing pieces of the past into the future.

Do you have a favorite product that you offer and why? My favorite piece, is my chalkboard necklace, which I designed in honor of my mom. She was a kindergarten teacher. My husband cuts the slate for me from a 50 pound piece that once stood at my mom's house.

Who is your target audience? My target market is diverse. Women of all ages purchase my jewelry. I hear amazing stories when my customers order custom map necklaces. Vintage maps spark the memories of many. I've done them to commemorate an anniversary , a place where the couple met, the birthplace of someone's mother and the land where a child was adopted. I collect the stories and will write about them one day.

Is crafting a full-time job for you? This is what I do full time. I have a studio in the attic of our 1918 Craftsman bungalow. I can be a mom and a metalsmith at the same time. When you have a passion for what you do, it's not really a job, it's just part of who you are.

What one piece of advice do you give to new businesses or online shops? One of the most important things I have found, is having different price points for your shop. It will bring in a variety of different customers as well as offer a little something extra to a customer purchasing a more expensive item.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Butterfly Design Hand Crafts

Boy do I have a treat for you those of you who have babies in your lives. Doesn't have to be your own baby to enjoy this shop! Are you an uncle or aunt? Maybe you're a mother. Or how about you know someone with a young child that you are planning to shop for? Do you want to be the friend who gives the cool gifts at the baby shower?

I found Butterfly Design Hand Crafts yesterday on the Etsy forums and when I took at peek at her shop I wished that I had babies again! These hats are truly magical! I've never seen anything like this. Each and every one of them are to die for!

I'm afraid my boys are too big and would look silly sporting a caterpillar hat - If only there were two years younger! I adore all the designs and the berry hats are the cutest! I'd take a cupcake one too. Wah! I want a girl! Somehow I don't think Miss Coco Keane could pull a hat off being as she's a kitty but if she could I'm sure she would since she's only the best kitty in the world... as she sits on my keyboard trying to make a mess of this blog entry. She's the only girl in my life that is spoiled and since they don't make kitty hats she'll have to pass. Darn!

Which hat do you like? I want them all! These would be great in a bricks and mortar type shop! Hurry and pick one up! Winter is coming up and a hat from Butterfly Design Hand Crafts will most certainly do the trick!

Funky Junk

My husband has a Christmas stocking from 1972 that is really really small. Last year I couldn't even fit stuff inside of it really - yes, we still do stockings for each other. That's the best part! I was browsing around looking for something cool on Etsy for him so that I wasn't forced to just go get one of the L.L. Bean ones.

Instead I found the perfect stocking for Coco Keane! Spoiled! I found this "funky" stocking from Funky Junk. It's just what the kitty ordered! Hey! Coco's part of the family she should get a stocking too. I never thought I'd be one of those strange people that considered pets as people but I totally am after rescuing Coco last December. I love that cat SO much. That cat has my husband so wrapped around her paw. Their bond is disgusting. For instance - He just got home from work and the cat is in the bathroom with him taking a shower. Well, the cats not in the shower with him but it insists on sitting right on the side of the tub and hangs out with him. I can actually hear him talking to her.

Oh, Coco. What a life you must have.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Midnight Creations

Shhh.. I'm a huge Gwen Stefani fan. Actually - why am I hiding it? I adore her! I am a giant fan of her LAMB clothing collection and purchase whenever I get the chance. So what, I like handbags?

Well, I've been looking for a business card case for my purchase and when I'm shopping I like to shop with businesses who have been good to me. I go through my favorites looking for items that I like and usually I find something I really like. That's when my eyes laid upon Midnight Creations' houndstooth fabric! This fabric is SO LAMB and I must have it. Thankfully this shop is working on small wallet type item that is just perfect for business cards so once the design is perfected I can have my houndstooth business card wallet! Woot woot!

When I was browsing around the shop I stumbled upon their fabric coasters! I love these! Let me tell you why. I drink iced tea all day. I can't imagine what my insides look like from all the tea build up - but it sure keeps me awake and it's refreshing! I hate - HATE those water rings that the cups leave on my desk. These would be perfect for my desk and also help prevent those stupid water rings that ruin any paper that they come in contact with. Plus, I love the funky designs on the fabric. They are SO me!

Spirit of Silver

I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to write about a business that I throughly enjoy and have lots of respect for. Spirit of Silver is a great new Etsy jewelry shop that doesn't seem to have caught on yet. Maybe the pictures aren't doing the stuff justice - I'm not sure what it is or why they aren't picking up steam yet but I simply adore the owner and I've even purchased and the experience was amazing.

Spirit of Silver participated in our Christmas in July event and the only sale they had was mine. How disappointing! Now they have participated in our August box and I know for a fact that their earrings should have been a hit and I hope - I'm crossing my fingers - That seeing the actual items will help make people want to support this shop. The earrings were totally elegant and dainty. They were very very nicely presented and a lot of thought was put into them.

Please take a little time today to check out this shop and see what they have to offer. Maybe you can't make a purchase today but at least send a convo or email to the shop's owner telling them what you like about their shop. We have to support each other!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Sweet Home - Seattle

I'm really missing home today. The weather is gloomy and it feels as if I'm back home in Seattle on a typical Fall afternoon. The kids have been back to school for over 2 weeks and the kids back home don't go back until next week. The weather starts to change big time in a few weeks there. The hot hot heat won't even change for about a month and a half. Last winter was amazing here. It was sunny every day but 70. The snowbirds will start coming shortly. Pools will close up if they haven't already and life picks up pace because people start going outside again.

I miss high rocky peaks in Washington - including the snow covered caps that start showing up in October. I like watching King 5 and hearing about avalanche control on Snoqualimie Pass. Even better is watching for the ski report and finding out when Mt. Baker, Steven's Pass, and Crystal will be open.

My favorite thing when I was a kid was asking mom and dad if we were going to take the express lanes through downtown on I-5 because we got to go through the tunnels under the convention center. Or how when heading south on I-5 through the city you just needed to look to the right and you can see the whole Seattle center. The Space Needle and the Experience Music Project stand out big time. Catching the monorail to West Lake Center and heading to Nordstroms, Macy's (Or Bon Marche for you Washington folks!) and now even Sephora is right there too. A few blocks down is the Pike Place Market where you know you'll catch someone playing music on their guitar and tons of tourists.

The smell of the sound will smothered you and take your breathe away as well as the ferries coming and going. Alki - West Seattle - Capital Hill - U. District - Magnolia - Pioneer Square - Fremont, and the troll - Madrona (woot!) - Ravenna - Queen Anne - Sodo - Ballard - Green Lake and so much more.

I'm so lucky to have experience my youth in Washington and especially the surrounding Seattle area. I hope that if you've never seen the beauty that is Washington that you'll be able to go there some day. It's truly magical. I found "Seattle" themed goodies on Etsy to make me feel better.

Mad City Sue

I'm a cold processed soap and whipped sugar scrub snob. I've tried many a scrub and plenty of soaps in my day. When I purchased The Little Black Box things became increasingly worse as I had access all the samples pouring in. I'm also a member of Makeupalley which doesn't make things any better. When I see posts from people posting their hauls or sale info I usually pounce.

Fair warning about Makeupalley though.. As a business owner you can NOT really post there without a witch hunt type atmosphere taking place. It's pretty cliquish. There are a few gems there but a majority of the members aren't so friendly and will do anything to take you down if you look at them wrong. My best advice is to read and only post if you have something to add. Never post about your business if you are a business owner. They'll black list you...

Carrying on. I found out about Mad City Sue from Makeupalley. See - they are good for something! Actually the more I think about it I may have found them from Wickedly Chic. Either way I found them! Mad City Sue was one of my 1st purchases from Etsy many years ago. Since then I've purchased from this shop regularly as it's a staple of mine in the shower. I used my Vanilla Cupcake sugar scrub this morning and it was heaven. Simply delish! I pretty much won't ever say no to a foody scent and Mad City Sue has a wide variety of them. If you don't see a scent that you'd enjoy then her scent list will allow you to find one and you can send her a convo requesting a custom order. I do it all the time!

I use their scrubs on my arms and legs and when I'm out my skin feels soft and smooth - so alive again! My husband even sneaks into my scrub stash to pick out ones he likes. He's into earthy scents so when Christmas rolls around I usually snag 2 or 3 for him and toss them in his stocking so that he'll stay out of mine.

I urge you to check out this shop if you are a bath and body freak like me. If you are thinking of adding sugar scrubs to your inventory send me a sample and I'll tell you what I think about it. Let me be your guinea pig!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ode To Black Licorice

Warning - If you detest black licorice and everything about it close your browser now. This post will contain graphic images of all things black licorice like and flavored. If your gag reflex becomes active at the thought of this tasty treat then run!

I'm a gigantic fan of black licorice. Give me it in a scent and I'll swoon. If you want to make me happy and be buddy buddy with me then supply with a stick of if and we'll be friends for life. I love it. I want it. I need it. It makes me happy.

During my search for all things black licorice on Etsy I found a variety of things. Including these black licorice caramels from Homemade Caramels. I actually purchased these and they will be arriving shortly. I can't wait! I also found black licorice lip balm which I purchased in a snap from Body Language Soaps. Then I found beautiful Anise scented soap from Southern Vermont Soap that tickled my fancy so much I added it to my favorites.

I couldn't believe it when I laid my eyes on spiral bound notebook from Ivy Lane Designs that had my favorite candy, Good and Plenty, for a cover! Yes!

You wouldn't believe what you'd find when you type in "Black Licorice" into the search on Etsy. It's amazing! I'm set for the day now. My only problem is that I don't have anything here to cure my sudden craving. Guess I'll have to wait for my lip balm to arrive.


I send a ton of mail each week. I get lazy and usually you can't even ready my return address because I'm in such a hurry writing it out that it's all scribbles. I've spent many years looking for the perfect address label for all of my mail but I've never found anything that screams, "Kimberlee Keane."

I found Krystan over the weekend on my search for the perfect office supplies. I know that my readers come to this blog daily because in a way they are a little like me. They like what I like and trust that I will only provide them with items that I think they'd like and want to purchase.

Well, I'm sending a convo to Krystan right after I'm done with my blogging for the morning and asking her if she'll do a custom address label for The Little Black Box! Her graphic design is so cute! Check out the cupcake ones! The shop even has sushi ones for all you sushi lovers. The designs will speak wonders about you. I used to get insanely jealous of all the pretty looking mail that I would get but now it's my turn to rev it up a notch and put my special added touch on the mail that I send others and you can too!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Teachers Gifts

I plan everything really early. I think I find the best stuff on the web when I do this and when people wait until the last minute to shop I just feel that all the stuff that they should have been able to find are no longer available.

This is why I have started bookmarking stuff that I find on Etsy that would be a great addition to my boys' 1st grade teachers this holiday season.

Last night I found really cool apple magnets from Butterfly Mosaics. They are hand painted and are perfect for the classroom or even to take home. I think they'd get a kick out of these.

I also found really neat stationery from It's All Personalized. The one in particular that I have my eye on is a set of 12 flat note cards with a pencil on top and then the teachers' name in the pencil. I bet the teachers would adore this!

Or maybe even this totally amazing glass personalized pencil jar from Studio JK. This would make an amazing addition to any classroom and can also be used over and over each year. The teacher is sure to be impressed with the item and will also probably make her fall in love with the idea of having her name on the jar for all to see. My boys happen to have teachers straight out of school so personalized items will really make them feel like they made it after all those long years in school. Note: It's the vinyl only that you are purchasing for this item. You must supply your own jar. Still a very cool idea!


My husband I spent a majority of the weekend redecorating my office. I purchased a bunch of cheap plastic shelves to store all the boxes that arrive here daily. Each shelf has 4 tiers and now I no longer have to shuffle around boxes kept on the floor. I also bought a shelf to keep my printer and all my business supplies on. I feel so organized!

I just need a few more things and I'll be set! Last night I was looking for a business card holder for my desk that was funky and different then most and I somehow managed to end up in mouse pads. Not sure how business card holder and mouse pads ended up in the same search but they did!

Low and behold I found HBIC and this amazingly cool cherries mouse pad. OH MY CUTENESS! This is perfect for me and will go amazingly on my new desk.Oh, how I love my new desk and it's size. It's ginormous!

HBIC has all sorts of different mouse pads in a variety of fabrics. There's one for everyone! The cherries float my boat and I can't wait to get it in my hands.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Desert Rain Jewelry

Straight out of Mesa, Arizona, only a few minutes from moi's home, comes Desert Rain Jewelry. I got a bunch of promos from this business on Tuesday afternoon and I was SO pumped when I saw what they came up with.

There's a pair of earrings that she did multiples of that have a bright green and a bright blue stone and I nearly gasped and grabbed when I saw these. I wanted them! I'm naughty and took them! Well - Diana did say I could steal a pair that I liked! I instantly emailed Desert Rain Jewelry and told them that I had to spread the word about this business to everyone I knew.

Take a look at this Aquamarine bracelet. I love that she used sterling silver along with the stones because it looks so delicate. I would totally sport this and while doing so I would know it was made with love and care instead of being manufactured in a large factory. That's the best thing about handmade items!

I'm so glad this business decided to pick The Little Black Box to advertise with. I'm crossing my fingers that their items are hit to all the box buyers in August.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Work Space

I have a giant board above my desk that I pin all of the stuff that is sent to me on. There's a ton of business cards, thank you notes and other random items. I also pin up cool promo items that people have sent me. When suppliers, vendors, family members, and the such stop by they are always just staring at my board and looking at all the neat stuff on it. I've only been collecting stuff for the past 2 months and I only have a small spot in the bottom middle of the board open now. I actually need to move it more to the left because I got a bigger desk today and those cheap shelves you can sorta see in the picture to put a bunch of my supplies on. Now you can't see any of the cool stuff hanging from the right side of the board.

I am a Seattle girl born and raised. Whenever you are downtown there's always flyers and such all over the lamp posts with stuff about art shows, concerts, and garage sales. Thousands of flyers stacked on top of each other. My goal is do this same sort of thing with my board. I'm just going to keep layering it and layering it with all sorts of funky stuff that people send me with their promo items. Can you spy your promo items? Did your mail end up on my board?

If you want to contribute you my board my address is on the right side bar - Even if it's just a hello! Now what does your work space look like?! Comment me with a link to your work space or Let's play I spy!

My turn!

I spy with my little eye - Alway's Amy sponge WoW, POW, ZAP, BAM stickers on my computer monitor. Red Marionette's felty goodness. A Bin Hog cupcake luggage handle wrap. A Promo's In a Snap fabric mirror and..... LOTS MORE!

Friday Feature - Daydream Glass

Name: Daria Kusk

Company Name: Daydream Glass

E-mail Address: daydreamglass@sbcglobal.net

In what year was your company founded?
I've been working with different forms of glass (fusing, lampwork, casting, stained glass) for more than twelve years, making jewelry for over 25 years.

Describe your products or services in detail?
I presently make one-of-a-kind lamp work jewelry and fused glass gifts. I've also created many custom stained glass panels for people's homes and businesses.

What made you start your business? What made you decide to use a particular material?
I started my business to support myself and two children. I formerly worked as an electrician, and after homeschooling my kids for ten years didn't have the interest of going back into manual labor full time. I've had a lifelong fascination with glass art and it's such a versatile medium that I don't think I'll ever run out of new things to do with it. I love the organic flow of the hot glass and the almost endless color combinations and reactions between certain glasses. It feeds my addiction to color and form.

What inspires you?
I get inspiration from nature, music, people and daydreaming, -hence the name - Daydream Glass.

Do you have anything unique or interesting that you would want readers to know about?
Glass rings are wonderful for people with metal sensitivities.

Out of all your products which is your favorite and why?
My favorite things to make would be lampwork rings. I've always loved wearing rings and I'm delighted by the look of a glass ring. The colors and designs are almost limitless. I think they're a little more challenging, but more fun for me to make than beads.

Who is your target market?
Any one between the ages of 10 and 110.

Is crafting a full-time job for you?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peggy Li

If you read my blog regularly you know how much I love natural stones and turquoise jewelry pieces. I go nuts for bright colors and stuff that's super funky. If I'm going to spend money on accessories it better be something that I know I'll get many compliments on. I'm choosy. Thankfully I found Peggy Li and their Turquoise necklace. I'm so completely in love with it. You have NO idea.

There was no questions about it. When I found this necklace on their site I just knew I had to blog about it the minute I laid my eyes on it. Smooth tumbled chunks of green-blue Chinese turquoise are some of natures most beautiful natural stones as stated on the website. I couldn't agree more!

There's all sorts of cute stuff on the site. If you like cute, funky, and even purchasing items that have been featured on hit TV shows then don't wait any longer at shopping with Peggy Li.

August Contest Winner

Congrats to winner KatieG! She won our August Little Black Box giveaway! Woot woot! Thank you KatieG for supporting our blog and The Little Black Boxes. I appreciate all the time you took commenting and showing the businesses I blog about your support. Send me your address so that I can hook you up.

If you want to win a September Little Black Box all you gotta do is comment! All comments from now until September 25th count as an entry towards winning a black box of your own.

Keep those comments coming. Keep supporting our revolution!

August Little Black Boxes are on sale now!

Busy busy!

I'll be updating the blog tonight as I'm swamped packing boxes with everyone. There's a ton! I'll also be announcing the winner of the August contest..

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Personal Note From Kim

I feel like I need to write this morning to get some things off my chest as it's business related and all goes back to my baby, The Little Black Box.

My candle site, Whiff and Sniff Candles, has been in business since October 2005. It was my first love. I slaved away over that hot wax and yummy scent combos to make stuff for myself and all family at first. I learned a lot and remember even trying to sell my first batches - which totally sucked! Nearly 3 years later I don't have time for that business like I used to so this morning I decided to put the site for sale. The business has so much potential and I brought it so far and I know that someone could do wonders with it as it already has established traffic and customers...

Anyhow, 3 years ago when I was trying to figure out how to get it off the ground I found Amy Jagminas the old owner of The Little Black Box. She started TLBB also in October 2005 as sort of a spin off of her other website, Wickedly Chic. Wickedly Chic was like a online magazine that featured handmade stuff and readers started asking her for samples so that's when she started the site. I found out about her because I was a member of the bath and body board on Makeupalley and contacted her wanting to be in her boxes. Her business made my business grow and I was a regular in those boxes.

Come April of 2007 I get an email from Amy burnt out on the boxes wanting to sell it and I jumped at the task, purchasing the site. It was the best thing I ever did. Amy established the site following with her dream and then I took her dream and ran with it. Back in day there were only 3 sampler sites. Lemming Central, The Sampler, and The Little Black Box. These three businesses I full endorse and have even participated in with my candle site. The owners are witty, charming, and know fully well what they are doing. All three current owners are also new owners as the original owners sold the sites to us. We paid good money for the sites which were already established.

I can't tell you how many times a week I get emails from businesses I work with directing me to another fly by night sample business who has taken our business model and is now attempting to make it work for them. This week alone there's been two. They can't even be creative enough to find a different market to work in. Of course I'll even be directed to ones that take my entire html and change the colors or a few words here or there. It drives me insane! Considering that my box supports artists who value their work you'd think these businesses would get that and find a clue by not copying what others are doing. It's disgusting and unethical!! There's literally 15 other "sample" boxes on the net right now and each one has popped up after finding one of our sites and copied it almost word for word. We have red boxes, pink boxes, blue boxes, sample boxes, friendship boxes, fun boxes, box boxes, and cool boxes. Oh, and don't forget the cubes! At least the cubes thought of a word other then box - at least they were creative!!

What do YOU think about this? Am I off base? Do these businesses really know how much time and effort they need to put into a business in order to make it? I'm going on a year and a half as the new owner of the "original box" site and it's just now picking up steam because of the 12-14 hour work days I'm putting in on top of running a family. I literally laid in bed last night after sending a few choice words to another copy cat and wanted to scream because I work so hard to defend my business and come up with my own ideas and then I get directed to another copy cat.

Thankfully a few months ago I started the process to protect myself, my business and the income for my family. It's just frustrating that even when you send an email making the copy cat aware that you know they exist they send you an email back saying, tough. When does it end? When will people come up with their own ideas? Why would you want to start a business supporting artists who despise copy cats by copying someone else's business model. Thank goodness I'm not one for "outting" otherwise I'd be all over that. You guys know who I'm talking about. I urge you not to support businesses who can't think on their own. I urge you to not purchase from them. I urge you to not supply them with promo items. Show them that you won't tolerate it! I'd do it for you because I believe in you and what I do. SAY NO NOW!


/off soapbox

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bin Hog Contest Winner!

The winner of our Bin Hog luggage handle wrap is commenter "kathryn"! Yay! Please email me directly at kim@thelittleblackboxes.com to redeem your prize and send me your address as well.

If you would like to sponsor a contest on this blog just email me and tell me the deets. We'd love to have you!

The Little Green Box

I'm feeling funky again today so I wanted to keep it simple and write about a promotion we are having in January for The Little Black Boxes.

Starr, at Starrlight Jewelry, first participated in our black boxes - errr bags, in July and she had asked about having Vegan bags. I had no idea what she was talking about but I knew that I couldn't limit bags to Vegan only items as everything was pre-packed and I had businesses already sending in everything. A few weeks later she mentioned again wanting a Vegan bag so this time I had to really try to figure out what in the world this poor girl was looking for! That's when Starr explained that she was Vegan and that there is a whole community on Etsy that are as well. They run their lifestyle and their shops following strict rules about what they will and will not surround themselves with. No honey, beeswax, milk of-any-kind, freshwater & salt water pearls, leather, silk, wool, shell, mother of pearl, horn, bone, feather, and baked goods made with bleached & confectional sugar. That's just the tip of the ice berg!

I think their list won't be too hard to follow and since "going green" is the new way of living as well we're going to tie the Green Movement together with the Vegan movement - I think they fit together pretty well. We're going to have an earth friendly/Vegan box in January and I hope everyone is really excited to see what we come up with. I'm going to make a large event out of it with some of the proceeds of the boxes going to an organization that supports the movements on behalf of the The Little Black Box and all the January participants.

This should be a ton of fun!

Edited to add: Thanks for all the emails about the January event. In order to participate in the boxes every single item first and foremost has to follow the Vegan lifestyle standards. On top of that we are going to also ask that the items are earth friendly. It can't be one or the other. I think they follow each other hand in hand basically. You do NOT have to be Vegan in order to be in the box or purchase a box. The item itself has to be Vegan AND Earth friendly. Hope I cleared up any confusion.

Monday, August 18, 2008

1st Comes Love

Promo items from 1st Comes Love arrived over the weekend and I was so impressed with what I saw that I just knew I needed to blog about this business Monday morning, so here we are!

I love when artists send me not only promo materials but also actual mock ups of their work. It really helps for me to see what they are really capable of. I work hands on with lots of other businesses who promote artists and when I find ones that really blow me away I always pass on their work. It was great for me to see exactly what 1st Comes Love does and also have neat new items to pass on to my colleagues.

1st Comes Love specializes in one-of-a-kind invitations for all the events in our lives. Whether it's a birthday party, graduation, engagement party, wedding, or cocktail party they have it all. I'm a huge fan of their kids birthday party invites. I plan on using this business for the twins birthday invites next April. That's just how much I like this business. Roopal Shah is so talented and I see very big stuff in her future!

The Pebble Collection

Ahhhh what a weekend! Friday morning I came down with the a case of the nasties. It was so strange! I think it's from overworking myself. Working 12-14 hours a day really does take a toll on your body and it all caught up with me around 9 a.m. that day. Saturday we visited with my father and step-mother who's in the hospital for a surgery and is recovering and then yesterday we stayed indoors and played games and hung out as a family. I also took a nap! I never do that! I even slept through dinner. It was the best.

I did manage to still get a little internet time and I found The Pebble Collection during my down time. I instantly fell in love with their tree pendants and more specifically The Willa necklace. These are just too cool! I've never seen any design like this and I'm pretty sure that most of you will see how unique this is and be able to appreciate it. They have a bunch of different colors for the stones so your tree can be any color you like. I'd like to see a tree pendant with reds, oranges, and yellows. Fall leaves! I love it!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Prez's for Perez?

I'm a bit under the weather. It came on after being up for an hour or so this morning. I've been in bed most of the afternoon which lets me lay there and think of ideas for my business. Yesterday I posted about wanting to organize a basket of sorts to send to Ellen on Etsy and I had a good response but also some negative response. Which left me thinking of who else I would simply adore doing a gift basket for...

Perez Hilton!!

The Etsy community would have a blast doing it too! He's my favorite blogger. I read him daily over and over again. I love how he makes videos of all the cool stuff fan sends in and I know without a doubt that the Etsy gang could pull it off.

So who's with me? Send me an email if you think you could satisfy the Queen of all Media! Man I come up with brilliant ideas when I'm sick.

Ok, crawling back into bed to take care of myself. As always I'll update the blog over the weekend but won't be working or answering emails until Monday. I need a break!

Friday Feature - Savor

Name: Lisa Salamida

Company Name: Savor

E-mail Address: orders@savorsoap.com

In what year was your company founded? 2007

Describe your products or services in detail?
Savor offers some of the most unique scent blends and soap styles that you can find -- from luscious soaps with real chocolate to skin-pampering natural soaps loaded with oatmeal, calendula, and cocoa butter, there is a soap for everyone! My mission is to offer clients a truly sensual experience in every bar. I look for combinations that perk up your senses and create a sense of indulgence. When I craft a soap, I carefully consider each detail: the oils, the fragrance, the texture and the packaging.

I currently offer three main lines: bar soap, shaving soap and whipped soap. The bar soap is offered in a couple different styles -- some rich with olive oil, some with cocoa butter, and in the future I'll have a line of honey-based soap.

The shaving soap is loaded with skin conditioners and extra glycerin, perfect for just the right amount of razor glide.

The whipped soaps are a true best-seller -- I call them "Creme Fraiche" or "Fresh Cream" -- they are so decadent, with an amazing lather and the most lovely and delicious scents. I load up the whipped soap with sweet almond oil so that they are moisturizing, and some "flavors" contain exfoliating ingredients like jojoba beads.

What made you start your business? What made you decide to use a particular material?
My husband really inspired me to get the business started. He sells prints on Etsy, and once I discovered how easy it was to set up a store front, I jumped right in. I had been making soap for years, so it was a natural thing for me to offer for sale. My business is run very professionally -- everything from collecting sales tax to having business and liability insurance.

What inspires you?
I'm driven by an intense love of food from all cultures. This is how I can go from Italian bergamot and tarragon (the Italy bar) and cornmeal (the Polenta bar) to soaps like Coconut Mochi, Cardamom Vanilla, to Sweet Carrot -- which is based off of an Indian dessert. I like to "travel the world" with my ideas, brining in unusual scents and delights. Lavender soap is fine, but isn't it fun to try Payapa and Black Pepper?

Do you have anything unique or interesting that you would want readers to know about?
I think Savor may be unusual in that it's a completely debt-free business. I advocate being debt free whenever possible -- and especially with something "risky" like starting your own business.

At any point, if Savor fell apart, I can simply walk away with nothing lost except my own hard work.

To work debt free, you need a lot of planning. You can't get everything you want all at once -- I had to work up slowly to my current setup. Some times this means you have to make-do with
inefficient equipment, doing things the "hard way" -- and you have to make choices about what's best and what's next!

It really helps you decide what is important. If I save up for two months to upgrade a piece of equipment, then I know whether or not I really, really need that item. If I spend without thinking, I might buy things that I wind up never using. It also helps keep supplies in check -- crafters LOVE new supplies!

But if you've got to pay cash only, you tend to use up what you already have before going out and buying more. It keeps the business running very smoothly and helps me keep an eye on the in- and outflow of cash.

Out of all your products which is your favorite and why?
Current favorite, hands-down, is the Ginger Icing Creme Fraiche. I cannot get over the scent -- it's so lovely, I want to wrap it around me like a sweater!

For bar soap, my current favorite is a tie between Geisha and Little Black Dress. The Geisha is girly, very pampering kind of scent, and the Little Black Dress is delicious black licorice!

Who is your target market?
My main market during the year is the 20-50 year old bracket of women, most of them unmarried and most of them without kids. I do get a lot of moms shopping for their children -- especially for soaps like the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! But most of my sales go to women that
have some extra cash around that they want to use specifically to pamper themselves. The awesome thing is that I've gotten a lot of boyfriends and husbands hooked -- they start stealing the soap in the shower!

Over the holidays last year, men made up 50% of my customers, since they were buying gifts. Many of those gift recipients turned into regular customers.

I keep in touch with my regular customers through Etsy "conversations" and also through my newsletter -- I set it up on my site so that people can opt-in if they'd like to receive news from Savor. This helps me in case Etsy ever goes down -- I can still reach my customers easily and let them know what's up.

Is crafting a full-time job for you?
Crafting is definitely a full time job -- which means I carry two full time jobs right now. Since my "real" job offers some incomparable benefits (401k matching, profit sharing, fitness allotments) it's so hard to replace that with just an Etsy shop. While Etsy sales have been outstanding for me, going Etsy-only won't ever happen. When I make the break to Savor-only, it'll be after I have an established website of my own, in addition to Etsy. Regular wholesale accounts have been a huge help -- and I pick up new accounts every month. I'm very fortunate that my husband and I do work for the same company -- he works right down the hall, in fact! so I know what kind of benefits will cover me if I left this job -- the health benefits would stay exactly the same, in fact.

I know that I won't be able to produce enough in my current environment, too -- my husband and I plan to move within the next year, which will make it much easier to run Savor.

What one bit of advice would you give to new Etsy shops?
If I have to choose one thing, it's gonna be something boring and dull and a drag, but it's ABSOLUTELY necessary.

Treat your store like a business.

Make a business plan and a budget. Follow through on accounting, thank all of your customers courteously (that part is fun actually), and keep all your paperwork and receipts organized.

When you make it big, you will regret it if you don't do this! And I believe that it's very hard to succeed if you don't have your mind set on your pennies. Keeping track of cash flow will keep your business afloat and growing steadily. You want to have enough revenue to pay
yourself a wage, to put back into the business for innovation, and to upgrade equipment and education when you need to