We Never Know When An Opportunity Will Happen

I wanted to share this story even though I've talked to you before about the importance of always being ready to wear or market your work and have those business cards available as well!

Over the years I've made jewelry for my mom and my sisters to wear. They are some of the best advertising I can ask for and they carry my cards as well. My oldest sister was wearing one of my creations the other day in her office. I told her that I should take that piece back from her because I could probably sell it and we had a good laugh about it.

Later that day a client stopped in and my sister said she noticed her starring at her necklace. The client asked her about her necklace and complimented her on it and she told her about me. She told her that she wanted to talk to me because she wanted to see about adding my jewelry to her store. My sister gave me her email address and we've chatted and it looks like my jewelry will be added to her store soon.

That same evening my sister stopped at a gas station out of town after going to dinner and she was still wearing the necklace. The lady working the counter commented on the necklace and told her she loved it. My sister told her who created it and she gave her my website and the lady said she'd be getting in touch with me. And she did!

So with one piece of jewelry, I've gained another retail location and a sale.

Are you always wearing your products (if you can) or sharing your work with others? If not, you should be! This is some of the best marketing and advertising that money can buy you! A little time invested in materials and creating the item is all you are out. But what it could gain in return is going to be more than worth it.

I encourage you to always be ready with your merchandise and also your business cards. Opportunities can happen when we least expect it!

I wanted to share this with you all as a friendly reminder to always be prepared and always market/advertise whenever you can! I've talked about this with you all before. Be bold and talk about your work. And find others who will talk and share your work as well.

Until next time--Blessings! ~ Dawn


Home Shows - A Few Tips

I've had some email questions about home shows lately so I thought I'd take this post to share my thoughts on them.

I think home shows can be a good way to advertise your business. I have done a few and have always found them to be a good, relaxing, no pressure type of situation to share what you do with a small audience. They are usually easily done with little to no cost to you, so that's always good! Getting some good advertising without breaking the bank never hurts!

Here are some tips and ideas for this type of show that you might find useful...

1. In sending out invitations for home shows I always make sure that I send out all the info on the event myself. I never leave that up to the hostess. I want to make sure that all the materials that go out have my logo on them and match my other business items such as business cards, labels, etc. I ask the hostess for the names/addresses of those she wants to invite and I take it from there. A week or so after the event, I usually follow-up with a brief thank you note and a business card enclosed and thank them for coming and let them know that I will extend the discount offered at the show until a certain date via my on-line store as well.

2. In my invitations I stress that this is a relaxed time away for them with friends and food and a chance to see some jewelry at the same time. I don't want them to feel pressured to buy anything. While we'd all love for them to come with their checkbooks and cash to throw at us for our merchandise, we don't want them to feel they have to do that. Making the guests feel at ease and give them a chance to have some time out is always a good way to address your show.

3. I always talk to the hostess and see if she wants to offer food. Most of the time the hostess has already thought of this or is willing to handle this aspect of the event. If for some reason she isn't, then ask her if it would be ok if you brought food. Having some type of light snack/finger food is always good at these shows. It's always a good way to get people socializing and talking at the event and food usually does that with people!

4. To start the event, I usually say a few words and thank them for coming to the show and encourage them to get some food and a drink and relax and enjoy the time. I thank the hostess for inviting me in to her home and allowing me to share my jewelry with her and her friends. I tell them a little about my jewelry (keep it brief!) and also throw in that if they are interested in making a purchase that night I will give them a discount on their purchase. I tell them to browse and if they have any questions, feel free to ask. I leave it at that. I don't pressure them, follow them around, etc. I let them enjoy their evening at their leisure.

5. Try to have a nice variety of merchandise and also offer different price levels if you can for your items. Since you may or may not know everyone in attendance, this gives you a chance to "reach" everyone there. Making attractive displays or groupings of your merchandise is always good as well. Be selective as to where you set up and make sure you have plenty of lighting and space for everyone to browse. Clustering up in a small room or having poor lighting could hurt your event so seek out the best place possible for your show. Arriving early if you aren't familiar with the hostesses home will help!

These are just a few tips and suggestions for doing a home show. If you do home shows or have done them in the past, feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with the other readers in your comments.

Home shows can be a good marketing tool for your business in your local market. Even if they don't purchase that night, you have at least gotten your name out there and connected with those in attendance. This could lead to purchases in the future!

Good luck if you decide to do a home show or if you do them regularly! Let me know how it works out for you!

Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn


Re-Evaluating What We Do - A Lesson Learned

Lately I've received a few emails asking me how many craft shows I do each year. The answer is....ONE! The only reason I do one anymore is because it supports the high school I graduated from and it has always been a successful show for me, mainly because its labeled as a "gift show" rather than a craft show and it happens right before the Christmas shopping season starts and most people are looking for quality gifts and are ok with spending a little more on something at this type of show than most!

I quit doing craft shows about three years ago. Not saying they aren't good events or worth doing for some artists, I've just found for me that they aren't really my target audience.

In my first two years of designing and selling jewelry, I felt this was the only way for me to get name out there and sell my jewelry. I found while doing these shows though that more and more people would walk by and look at my jewelry and say, "oh that's nice, not in my price range though," "beautiful work, don't wear jewelry," "can't afford it" and many other words of wisdom. Upon hearing those words and realizing that I was loosing money in doing this type of event, I decided it was time to stop and find a way to get my website created or find a way to sell on-line. Spending about four weekends a year or more at these shows, lugging my merchandise, tables, displays, etc. and spending 6-8 hours each day at the booth, I quickly changed my mind and thought there has to be a better way to sell my merchandise! There has to be a better way to invest my time and money!!

So I took all that energy (good and bad) and worked hard at continuing to sell my jewelry to friends and family that were familiar with my business until I had saved enough to get a website designed for me. Also during this time I did some research on-line and began absorbing all the info I could on small business marketing, jewelry business marketing and more. Once I got that site established, then I really started looking at my own marketing and advertising because having that site made me feel like I could "compete" in business. Having that site then lead me to opening my store on Etsy. My website is still up, but its now basically used for advertising and directing customers to my new store on Etsy.

My point with this post is that I took a step back from something that really wasn't working for me and decided to invest that time and energy in to other resources that I felt worked better for my business and helping me spread the word about my jewelry. I realized the craft show circut in my area wasn't a good target audience for me. They were looking for cheaper items or more bang for their buck and that's ok. There are tons of crafters and small businesses that find this IS their target audience and do amazingly well at these shows! If you are one of those people, I encourage you to stick with it and you have all my support!!

But if you've been doing these types of shows (or some other type of marketing) and you find yourself leaving at the end of the day exhausted and no money to show for it, then you might want to reconsider this. Take this time and energy and do a little research. Find other ways to market or advertise your business that are more effective in reaching your target audience.

Don't waste anymore of your time, money and good energy on things for your business that aren't working. As I've written before, spending a little time researching how you are marketing/advertise your business could be the best investment you make in it.

Remember to take a few minutes each day to "evaluate" things!

Until next time - Blessings! ~ Dawn


How Do You Treat Your Customers?

I stopped by my sister's office briefly tonight before I came home to give her some papers she needed. She has owned her own business for over 20 years now; she is an award winning Certified Professional Resume Writer and has been published in numerous books. In June of 2008 her husband retired with 30 years of service as the Director of Printing at Ohio University. Since he was only 48 he wasn't really ready to "retire," so they expanded part of my sister's business that already existed under a seperate name from the resume writing service. They do custom printed clothing, promotional products of all kinds, engraving, trophies, plaques, banners and lots of other fun stuff!!

As I was in her office, a customer came in to pick up his order. My sister had just shared his story with me before he came in to the office. He'd stopped by their office earlier in the day as he was upset with a nationally known company that he'd went to here in our town to get some work done for his business he is starting. He explained to my sister that the magnetic signs he got from this company were the wrong type of magnet and caused damage to his truck when he tried to take them off. While the damage was minor, it was still a major problem and this company basically took an "i don't care" attitude with him. They offered no compensation, no refund on the defective product...they did nothing! So as he was leaving town very upset, he drove past my sister's office and decided to stop to see if they could help him with the right type of magnetic signs for his truck.

My sister assured him that they could provide him with the right type of sign for his truck and that they could have it for him later in the afternoon. And while he was in their office, he discovered they could also do his business cards for him. He left their office a happy man and returned in the late afternoon to pick up his signs and business cards and was thrilled.

He thanked my sister over and over again for the wonderful customer service they provided and said he would definitely be back to order some other things from them. He also said that he would be telling other people about their business.

BINGO!!! Just what every business owner wants to hear! A customer that is happy and goes out and tells everyone else about your business...some of the best advertising you can get and it is FREE!

Taking care of our customers is extremely important. We all know this as business owners because without them...we don't have a business! :-) As small business owners, its even more important that we go out of our way to take care of our customers and make them feel special and encourage them to return to our business and also tell others about our business. And taking care of them doesn't always mean giving them something extra, it can simply be a smile or a friendly email that let's them know you appreciate them and want them to be completely satisfied with their purchase!

So let this be a friendly reminder to you...take care of your customers! Show them why dealing with a small business is a good thing! We never know when the "big guys" might mess up and we might have to clean up after them!

Until next time ~ Blessings! ~ Dawn


In Marketing Overload Right Now?

Lately I've been seeing several business owners on various sites and forums talking about how they are overwhelmed with having their small business. Running a business isn't easy, that's for sure, and its especially hard when its just YOU to do EVERY aspect of the business!

One of the main areas that most business owners seem to be struggling with is the marketing. Marketing isn't easy that's for sure, but it doesn't have to consume every second of your business time either! And I see that happening for more businesses more and more and that's not good!

Upon seeing these posts and reading the emails I receive about how I do my own business marketing there is one common factor I see for those who are overwhelmed. They are trying every concieveable type of advertsing and marketing they can get their hands on because someone else suggested it or it worked for another business.

If this describes you...do me a favor...STOP what you are doing!! :-)

I'm not telling you to stop marketing your business!! I'm simply telling you to take some time and thoroughly study all the areas that are available for your business to be marketed or advertised in. You are overloaded and stressed right now because you think you have to do everything everyone suggests and that's not always the case!!

You need to do a little homework before investing your time and money in to advertising. Make a list of all the types of advertising you see talked about, such as twitter, myspace, facebook, artfire, project wonderful ads, personal blogs and blog ads, and the countless other resources that are available. Then find out how they work. Who is reading those sites, who is seeing those pages? Who is already advertising on those sites? Is it a busy site? Where will your ad be placed? Will your blog you write attract readers?

Once you have done this research, then seek out the best advertising for YOUR business. What works for Pete's Pottery in Yazoo, MS might now work as well for your custom candle creations in Topeka, KS!! :-)

Invest a little time and money (if paid advertising) in a couple of "ads" or "promos" at first. Give them time to work. Think out well thought ads or posts for these sites. Read other blogs and see what makes them interesting and makes people follow them. See how these few "investments" go for a little while. If you don't feel they are working, then you might drop one and pick up another marketing idea or ad in another outlet.

Trying to do everything you read or see talked about when it comes to marketing your business is what is overwhelming you and makes you feel like you can't handle running your own business. You can run your own business, you just need to think it through a little bit and make wise marketing/advertising investments that will HELP you!!

You can't possibly keep up with all these sites, ads, blogs and more and still have time to create, list new items, handle the paperwork, package and ship your items and also have time to go the bathroom, among other things.

That's why taking a little time to do some research and find marketing outlets that will best market YOUR business effectively will pay off in the long run with more time to do the other aspects of your business and also bring in the sales you want and need.

Until next time - Blessings! ~ Dawn


Business & Marketing Review Service

I thought I'd take a few minutes and provide some more in-depth information about this new service I am beginning to offer for small businesses. I think some are thinking this is just a quick "shop" critique and its more than that as you will see below!

To start the process, we will send you a brief questionnaire. It will ask a few general questions about your business and what you are currently doing with your business in order to promote it along with some other general questions which will allow us to fully look at your business as a whole. This will then give us the chance to give you a full review of your business from your store to your marketing to how you ship your products and more after receiving your responses!

This is more than just a quick "store" critique. This is a chance for us to review your on-line blogs, ads, off-line marketing techniques and more and give you recommendations and suggestions in to your business as a whole.

If you are looking for a full in-depth review of your business and how it is working, then this service is for you!

Still have questions about this service? Feel free to contact me at shadesjewelry@aol.com!

Thanks, Dawn


New Service Being Offered

Just a quick note to let you know that I am now offering a new service for small business owners! Notice on the right side of the blog that we are offering small business reviews! After some requests from business owners and wondering if I would do personal reviews of their businesses, I decided that I would offer this service for those interested.

I'm currently offering it at a low price of $30 for a limited time. I feel this is a great deal as I will spend at least two hours or more reviewing all the information you give me on your business and I will then prepare the report which will give you detailed information regarding your business. This is a reasonable rate for probably 3 or more hours of work! :-) But I wanted to keep it affordable!

Feel free to email me with any questions regarding this new service! shadesjewelry@aol.com

Until next time...Blessings! ~ Dawn


Developing A Class

Wanted to send a quick update to let everyone know that I'm continuing to work on developing a class or seminar type event to host for small business owners. My goal in offering this class is to make it a very casual, relaxed and affordable time in which small business owners can receive information that will be useful and helpful in helping their business succeed.

I feel that this class should be a learning time in which you will receive lots of information that will be helpful and useful in marketing your business. There are tons of wonderful ideas and resources out there and my goal is to compile this information for you and present it to you in a fun, exciting way!

I would also like for this class to have a question and answer time in which all of us can sit around and share additional business information and ideas. Having a chance to talk and network with other business owners is important and this class will give you that opportunity.

Having been in and around small business management and ownership for over 15 years with my sister's business as well as my own, my goal is to try to help others and bring small business owners together in a relaxed, fun format to share ideas and thoughts with other like-minded individuals!

I hope you will consider answering the survey below in the previous post if you haven't already and share your thoughts and suggestions you might have about this class!

Thanks for your interest! Until next time, Blessings! ~ Dawn


A Business Survey - Answer & Win!

With this survey, I'm hoping to find out just how much of a market there is for a small business marketing/advertising/promotional type seminar. I've received emails and convos from several business owners (through Etsy and other sites) who have said they wish I would offer a class or seminar on this so they could talk and interact with others and find good resources and ideas.

I've recently partnered with my sister's business which sells promotional products of all types and also does imprinted clothing (t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.) and does some work on logo design, etc. and we thought together, we could offer small businesses a great opportunity to get items they can use in their business, without breaking the bank! They can get special pricing on items and can also do on-line presentations of items you might be looking for and email it directly to you! This is a great time-saver and money-saver as well!

With this I would also be sharing some of the information like I've covered on my blog, but of course, this would be a little more in-depth and there would also be some additional information not covered!! We would also offer a time of questions and answers and a time to network with the other business owners in the class.

I would like to keep this in a very low-key, low-pressure setting that is relaxed and fun! I also want to keep the price down and affordable because we all know as small business owners, times are tough!! I would be traveling to some area cities that are larger and easily accessible by highway or plane, and be at hotels that will offer great rates with nice accomodations, in towns such as Columbus, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, KY, Lexington, KY, Nashville, TN and possibly others if there is enough interest!

Please copy and paste the following questions in to an email and then give me your response to each question. You can write as little or as much as you would like! Please email your response to: shadesjewelry@aol.com. I appreciate you taking the time to help with this!

Everyone who answers will be automatically entered in to a drawing in which you will receive a gift card worth $25 for my Etsy store and the opportunity to attend this seminar for FREE!!


1. Does a small business marketing/advertising seminar sound like a good idea for your business?
2. Would you be willing to travel (and how far) to an event like this if it was cost effective?
3. What type of detailed information would you expect to receive in this class?
4. What would you be willing to pay for this type of class (seperate from your lodging/travel expenses)?
5. Does having access to promotional products as part of this class sound good to you?
6. Please share any other thoughts, ideas or questions you might like answered regarding this seminar...