Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Lemons, Martinis, and Foul Mouthed Drunks

When live gives you lemons, they say make lemonade. I say, make Lemon Drop Martinis. And I've had a lot of lemons in 2010. The first lemon was tossed at me as a seed in January 2010. And the seed has grown into a full blown tree in the last few months. So I've been making gallons of martinis.
But unlike lies, deception and lemons, lemon drop martinis have a hint of sweetness. The rim of the glass is dipped in lemon juice, then in sugar. The combination of vodka and sugar makes the lemon not so tart. And I'm all for that.
I'm not drinking a lot of these martinis (just making and freeing), mainly because I'm not a foul mouthed drunk, like some people I know. But I do like to sip one at the end of the day ever so often. And definitely have one during my chats with Twitter buddies. But then I also like POM martinis, and apple too. The vodka smooths things over and makes foul, nasty things not so bad. But too much and the next day you are sorry. Not unlike a lot of other things that I've had too much of lately. Thank god I'm not a foul mouthed drunk. Sometimes I'd like to be. But I strive to be a better person on a daily basis, and being a FMD would defeat the purpose.
Besides, what do I have to be depressed about enough to need to drink too much? I have two successful businesses which I love, and that I strive to run with honesty and professionalism. I have employees that have been with me for years, because we work as a family. I have GREAT customers, who I enjoy getting to know, and have developed great relationships within this last few months. And my last marketing campaign was a huge success, bringing in several new retail stores that now sell our Mommy Jewelry along with other designs.
So I think I'll prune that lemon tree and make it a house plant. And I'll have a Lemon Drop Martini once in awhile, but not to drown my sorrows, to celebrate.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Passion & Luck

It's not often that a person finds their passion in life at an early enough stage to enjoy it. And to be lucky enough to make money while pursuing that passion is even more rare. Me, I have both.
First, I love to write, and for several years I was paid to write articles for a crafts business magazine. And it paid well. I love writing, and I learned from the articles I wrote.
At the time I was writing, I was making glass beads and selling them at bead shows and on my web site. I used what I learned to move of from just making beads to making jewelry and selling at art shows. I had quite a following after a few years.Each December I'd get to spend a week in Chicago (one of my favorite cities), and go to the theatre at night and see my loyal customers in the day time. Yes, the show days were long, but I loved working directly with my customers.
Then I once again used the research I'd done for my articles to move my jewelry business in another direction. I now sell wholesale. But in selling wholesale I had to learn a whole new lifestyle. I'd never done production work, and I had to come up with my own market niche to stand out from all the other jewelry. And I did.
I used sales reps to show my line and pretty much just worked in my studio.
But in all things, we move on. And I missed the personal relationship with my customers. So I'm selling retail and wholesale, and I'm selling my line myself. I mean who else is going to know my line as well as I do? And who would have more passion? Not that sales reps don't try, but with 20-50+ lines to rep, how passionate can you be about one line?
I just have my line to be passionate about, and I am. I love what I do, and I hope to never lose that enthusiasm. I thought it was lost, as I was burning out. But I realize I wasn't burned out, I was left out. I wanted to be a part of everything, and I missed the interaction with customers.
This year we have 4-6 trade shows planned, and I'm really looking forward to meeting current and future customers. And I hope I can give something back, by helping my customers better sell my line and therefore better their bottom line.
It is with utter passion that I built and designed this current line of jewelry. And as an artist that loves to draw and paint, I'm hoping to find a way to add that passion in a new line someday. For now, I'm happy. I've never been happier. I'm so very lucky.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thank You

After a great year in 2009 I want to thank our customers. Without you we wouldn't have a business. We've enjoyed seeing how you present our line on your web sites, and in your stores.
We are expanding our line for 2010 and think you'll love the new pieces and fun/sassy sayings we've added.
In 2010 we are establishing our own sales office to give you better customer service, with well-trained employees who can answer your questions, and help you with issues, without having to make extra calls to get you an answer.
Customer service is very important and we promise to provide prompt, professional service going forward. If there is anything we can do to make selling our line easier for you, let us know. We love learning from our stores.
And again thank you. We are so excited to be going in a new direction in 2010.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

And thoughts for 2010

As 2010 comes around I'm reminded of things that kill us slowly. And one of those things is GREED. GREED is one of the seven deadly sins, and for a very good reason. Wanting money, a nice car and your dream house are the reason we work. And working for your money, profits, windfall is not greed, that is unless you prey on unsuspecting individuals or groups.
I want the American Dream too, but I'm not willing to grovel near the pits of hell to get it. And I believe people who prey on others for money, or fame, whatever, are doing just that. How can that person feel good about themselves, and do they even have any friends? Because if money, or prestige are the only things that are important, you'll sacrifice friendships, and possibly family to get there.
In my life I've worked hard, many hours each week, to get what I want. I've never preyed on the weak, or less fortunate. I'm the one who digs in my pocket for change to help someone out. I'm the one taking the hit in my pocketbook, so my customers don't have to. Though many don't even know it. Because in my life, I've only strived to be a good person, be a good business owner, and earn the money I make honestly.
I pity those who prey on others. It must be a lonely life when in the end all you have is your money to keep you company.
So remember in your daily life, and in business, do what's right. I mean do what's right for the other person, because KARMA is a very strong energy, and when it comes back to you, all will be good. When you go to sleep at night it will be with a clean soul. And in the end, not only will you have prosperity, you will have family and friends who love you. Really love you.
In my life, I'm lucky enough to have an abundance of friendship and love. And for me, as long as I treat others fair, that is more than enough.
When I go to sleep at night, I sleep well, knowing I lived well that day and didn't harm anyone by being greedy or unjust. I think that's why my business keeps growing, my customers are long term, and my friends and family are always there for me.
Live well my friends and do no harm. If not KARMA can be a bitch in the end.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't sweat it.

I've been stressing over some very minor things this holiday season. Stressing about change, and the new year, and about expanding my business. Stressing about how to handle being a corporation, and the new accounting practices I'll have to learn. About things from the past that have been bugging me. Mostly about how someone has lied about me and my business to make me look bad. So trivial really, and childish to waste my time and energy when it could be better utilized in my business and my writing. Oh, I've been stressed that I haven't been writing, too. lol
But last night, my friend was up all night with her 18 year old dog, watching helplessly as he had seizures, and then finally, early this morning he died.
Yes, it was a dog, and not a child or a parent, but living with a dog for 18 years, he may as well be a child or a parent, because he's there for everything. I cried this morning, for my friend, for the dog, and for myself, knowing what a tough night that must have been, and how I will have to face the same situation soon with my animals.
And I realized that this is what matters, I have a roof over my head, a healthy happy family, a husband who is my best friend and business partner, animals who make the world right, and friends who make me laugh.
I choose not to let the negative things and people get to me, because I'm thrilled to be doing what I love and making a living at it. I love my customers, and my family and friends, and most of all I'm happy. I wish happiness to everyone who is negative and unhappy, because the later must be an aweful way to go through life. When I look back, I want to be able to say, "Oh, that was small stuff, and I learned not to sweat it."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Make Beads

I make beads. I've been making beads for more than 9 years. In the beginning I made only beads and sold them on eBay, as singles and sets. Then I integrated my designer beads into jewelry and sold pieces right off my wrist or neck. My best first customers were the ladies at the bank. They'd gather around to see my newest designs. What a blast.

But I really enjoyed the beads and went on to start a web site for selling bead sets. And sell I did, from my site, and also from several gem and bead shows across the USA.

I just had to incorporate my bead sets into jewelry once again and I started selling at juried art shows. These shows were hit and miss. Mostly hit, but not convenient for my full-time job of running a restaurant I own with my husband.

On a whim, I decided to try wholesale, and I've never looked back. The designs I sell to catalogs and stores are vastly different from my original designs. I get really excited about the line I sell now, and I can't wait to add new pieces to the current line.

For 2010 we will continue in the same direction, and add a new line for pet lovers. Stay tuned for photos of new pieces, and our schedule of trade shows for 2010.

May inspiration come in many colors.