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Enjoy Your Life! Build Your Business! Have Your Way!

Tell me a bit about yourself - your business, your challenges!

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Hi Marla
I'll start this party since I'm just about ready to launch and have a few things holding me back~

first off~ I had a lovely logo designed, found a company to make my labels, apparently the sales person is busy ? She said the labels are with the designer and ready to go~ but has not gotten back to me yet to approve the final design and it's been like 3 weeks~ I hate to call and be ugly but I NEED those stupid labels~ should I just go with another co? I'm thinking of calling this am and see what's up~ soon as I have the labels I should be good to go~ All bottles are here, product has been ordered and is just on hold~ argh~ I have a real problem being assertive with MY biz $$~ wish I could change that~ I feel like if I'm spending my hard earned $$ I should get good CS~ maybe it's just me~ any suggestions? Also, if anyone knows of a good label Co, please ~ help a sweet soft spoken Southern Indie out~!
Hi Sindy ~ I'd give them a quick call and ask them where they are on the project. I'd start out friendly by saying that last time you spoke with them they said (state specifics) and that your deadline is (next week or whatever your deadline is). Then ask if they are able to meet your deadline. Do you have money invested in this project, or can you walk away from it?
Thankfully no money yet, just time and effort~ I did email Monday and did a read receipt since the salesperson said my emails were not coming thru~ it went thru and was read on Monday about an hour later~ still no response~ so I emailed the owner~ where i rec'd a out of office msg~ so I will call right quick~ I hate to have to start over with another Co but may have to~
I'm very surprised since this is a really large Co that advertises with soap groups quite a bit~ This week is fix it week I guess~
Time to fix this label biz one way or the other~I was sorta in coast mode for a couple of weeks but time to engage~Finish my soaps, bottle this lotion, package up some baskets with bath bombs, candles etc and get these soaps, and lotions and head out to the store~I hate to have to start over but if I can get my logo to another Co and they finish and print in a week it will be worth it~I think because so many people in the community have seen me at school events lately and are asking about products and when I'm going to restock the store, I'm a little nervous about being able to keep up with orders~ but I guess that's a real blessing to have that problem~ I just need to engage and get going~There are many things I'm NOT good at, so I've decided to get someone to do that for me~ from facebook, blogging to webpage, what ever it takes~ Thanks so much, heading for the phone now~ (oh wait it was stuck by lightening~so I guess calling a repair person would be first~!~!
Hi Sindy,

A quick suggestion for you about those darn labels (because I had the same problem):

I ended up finding that the quickest and easiest way to get labels done for your products are to design them yourself (or have a graphic artist design them) in Adobe Illustrator, and order letter sized (8.5'' x 11'') waterproof labels from OnlineLabels.com. Then you can just take your file in to kinko's and they'll print it for you. It's a little extra effort, but it's MUCH cheaper and pretty convenient once your labels are designed. You can check mine out at my website, www.EarthtonicsSkincare.com.

Hello to Everyone!
My name is Daron, I'm the creator of an handmade herbal skin care line called Earthtonics. It's been on the market for about three months now. I am very lucky to have a wonderful freelance web-designer boyfriend, so business has mainly been on the website and at local Farmer's Markets, building a local following. So far, so good, I'm loving being a business owner and I can't wait for it to be my only job. : )
Hi Daron!

Thanks for your suggestion and introduction. Great tip on printing your own labels. Nice to meet you!

~Marla

Daron,

 

I love your labels.  I want to redesign my labels and have been using Labels by the Sheet.com.  they are still considerably cheaper than the conventional label printing companies, but they charge for every change.  Did you design your labels yourself?  Just asking because like I said, I really like them.

Hi Marla,
I own Sirona Springs and focus exclusively on handmade cold process soap. I've had the website for just over a year and have been trying to stay connected with blogging, twitter and facebook. (I got THAT message at the HSMG conference loud and clear ! LOL) I also teach soapmaking at The Nova Studio.

My biggest challenge right now is to figure out the sellling venues for my company and for me and my lifestyle: I don't want to own/manage a retail space and I don't want to commit to a regular farmer's market. So I'm exploring home parties, occasional fairs and small, local wholesaling, in addition to the online site.

Any suggestions or resources that you can point me towards when it comes to approaching a retail business about carrying my soap? I feel clueless about the in and outs of that.
Hi and thanks for having this group Marla! My name is Louise and I guess I'm kinda in transit. I am feeling overwhelmed. What is my niche? What products should I make? Everytime I turn around I see a new great idea that would just fit in with my little soap line and so on and so on...

My website I did all on my own. Please check it out. Does it look too disorganized? http://www.soap-gallery.com I've become the fastest social networking diva within the last week.. wow who knew twitter had so many ways of being used?

Until I settle back in Canada in the new year, I'm trying to draw traffic to my site and perhaps use the time left here in the US to host some home parties. Once I'm there my plan is to open a proper brick and mortar shop.

As always I gain so much by coming here. Do you have any advice for someone who is over enthusiastic yet does not verbalize well?

Louise
Hi Louise!

I completely understand about seeing new ideas and wanting to start making them. I did that for quite a few years and well, it didn't work out too well. My company didn't have a focus. I was making anything and everything customers asked me to make. At that time Back Porch Soap Co. did not have a niche, let alone a clue. :)

You can't be everything to everyone. I learned that the hard way. Once you focus and determine your niche, you'll see your sales increase. You can still add new products of course, but they will fall under your niche. This way, when a customer sees your site, they will easily and instantly recognize what you sell.

Less is more when it comes to the internet. When I see all sorts of choices my mind gets overwhelmed. I'm looking for the simplified sites. Show customers where you want them to go and what you want them to do. Use "Buy Now" or "Click here to add to your shopping cart."

It's great to be overly enthusiastic. Just work your plan and figure out what market you want to tap into. Organic? Men's? Babies? Novelty? Funky? Once you have your plan, then proceed. Most people do it the opposite way (myself included), then have to draw themselves back in and redesign/relaunch. It's much easier to get it right the first time (or so I hear). ;)

~Marla
Hi again Marla! I've already started to implement some of your advice. I went to my first ever networking meeting and I quoted you "I've been told that i need to focus and determine my niche". And i told them ( i did some soul searching the other night to see what i just enjoy making and i shall stick to those ideas).

Thanks again for some much needed advice!

Miss Louise
Marla,

My biggest challenges are Time and Lack of Help. I work a full time job. So finding the time to really promote my line and draw traffic to my site is tough. I have NO help, so trying to do it ALL sometimes gets the best of me.

On weekends, I do home parties, craft fairs, trade shows in and out of state, whatever I can squeeze in, in a short amount of time. I need to learn how to work smart and not hard.

I really need help in promoting my website to draw more traffic to it and finding help, I realize that working hard means nothing if you are spinning your wheels!

Torrian Denise
www.dornee.com
Hi Torrian,

I completely understand about lack and time and help. This is where outsourcing comes into play. Are you passing off any tedious tasks?

Consider posting a position for an intern (who works for free in exchange for the experience) on Craigslist or at a local high school or college. Many colleges have online job board listings for both paid and internships. If it's website help, you'd be amazed at what high school/college students are able to offer these days. Many of them know SEO (seach engine optimization).

My suggestion is for you to compile a list of tasks that you can easily have someone else do for you and get those off of your plate to free up some time.

In the meantime, go to www.websitegrader.com and run your website through it to see what suggestions it gives you. This is a quick way to see where you are and where you need to be. Then sign up for a few webinars (they are free) at www.hubspot.com and see if you can learn a few quick tips and tricks.

Remember, it's not always increasing traffic that we need for our websites. It's actually sales conversions. I've had record months sales on months that my traffic has been the lowest! We want quality potential buyers coming to our sites.

Have you checked out Jamilia White's (ECommerce Diva) courses here on Indie Beauty? I learned a lot from her!

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