Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coffee Shop Talk .... Let the Organizing for your Season Begin

So it's September! How is everyone doing? I know that the end of the summer can be hetic with finishing up summer activities with friends family and loved ones, and getting kids back into school. I know I have had one heck of a summer, in a very good way & I hope you all have too!

I wanted to share how staying positive and productive during this summer has helped me grow into my business a little more comfortably.

I have had a very busy summer, with heath issues at the beginning, company during the month of July, having my 33rd birthday, and having a fabulous last of the summer karaoke party with family and friends. I still worked every day regardless, maybe it be an hour a day or 16 hrs. a day but I worked every day.

So let’s grab a cup of coffee and re-wind….

Last year at this time I was moving into a brand new house with my boyfriend and had just graduated 4 months. I was ready to dive into business. But I had to un-pack my warehouse, 2 storage units, and move from my moms. Time just seemed to not exist. Shortly life happened and my boyfriend took a dive off some scaffolding at work and broke his shoulder in December of last year.

I knew then weather this house, family and I would like it or not, I had to start working. At this point I was far behind. I was struggling maintaining my inventory. It was here and there, at moms still, in the office, not in the office. EVERYWHERE!

I knew once he started to feel better this last June it was time to focus on the organization of this house. Not just this house but my business.
  • Step 1 – I found all and any available bins, baskets, bottles, trinket boxes I could.
  • Step 2 – Got the label maker out.
  • Step 3- Started with the small little boxes, everything not listed.
  • Step 4- Sorting, I took lots of extra time going over every garment and item to list.
  • Step 5- Donating the items I could not sale to families & non- profits. This created a few extra boxes to give me for more storage space.
  • Step 6- Making sure all goes in the labeled box or bin.
  • Step 7- Color, and Pattern code. This helps you finds things much easier! 

Repeat! Repeat! And I am still Repeating! I will continue til I am one season ahead. Which I am already working on next spring boxes.

Now, you maybe thinking not all can go into bins and boxes so what next….

  • I took my old dresser from moms that I had painted, my boyfriends old dress and created even more space freeing up more bins for organization by labeling drawers for the smaller stuff.
  • I took my Grandfathers old encyclopedia book case and started to use that for my books and magazines.
  • My old landlords from a former business, which was a Deli for 3 years while in college. They called up this past month to say they are moving to Texas so I ended up inheriting some amours.
  • Now creating even more space, So I did this with little spending money, instead I focused on materials needed to have a successful shipping season. Stocked up on ink, paper and packing supplies when I can, I do recycle what I can and I have had friends look out for bubble warp and boxes that are good for shipping.
  • This is something that is never ending, but where do I store this stuff! Well I made a trip to the dollar store they have great little plastic bins. I now can store a good amount of wrapping and bubble wrap right in my office and some stored away, great for all kinds of storage.
Color and Pattern code. 

I ended up with 2 of these for free, talk about space savers, I will miss my old friends but so happy they contacted me 1st before throwing these away.

The Old Dresses being used. Label Label Label! 

I even worked on my Etsy shop's supplies as I was cleaning I am depleting my supplies. 

This all resulting into a great summer and summer success for myself and business.  I thank you all, family, friends, and network!

So here we are the in the presence of Fall.....

Holiday season, it is time to get to the grind. This may for some a night-mare for sellers, it was for me last year not being this organized.  Here are some tips I have done to prepare myself for the holidays. I hope everyone that can use these, see’s the results that I am currently.

  • Step  1- Focus on your monthly goals. Set a few small ones for each week. Mine this week is 20 drafts in eBay drafts ready to go with all finale details done.  (Everything is now in it’s place.)
  • Step 2 – Prepare by the month. This is the best time to start listing your Halloween items. People are already starting to purchase. So if you need to pre-write your items while waiting for the next big promotion. I encourage you to do so. I have a goal of 200 pre-writes before the week is up. To have a final total of 1,350 listings with sales, mind you I do all this on my own.  ( Everything now has a home, YAY)
  • Step 3 – Work every day but don’t wear yourself out. It is important to try to work every day. This even includes answering messages, working on your social media aspect of marketing. It all ties in hand and hand.  You do need time for yourself. I still struggle with this time for you thing, but I am managing to work it in. Seeing better productive work days when working all day

I do thank you all for your support in my shop, my life and dream. You really have to love what you do; I have to say I do!

With just a few last words to being said, just a few things I repeat to myself frequently so I don’t get discouraged when a curve ball gets in my way. 
  • Don’t give up, don’t let the small stuff discourage you
  • have the communication with your buyers that you would want to have with a merchant your purchasing from.  
  • Small shop, large shop you work hard!
  • Don’t compare yourself to other shops or judge others.
  • Focus! 

Thank you for stopping in and sharing time with me and my shop. Happy Fall!

Stop by and see what's new! Always adding daily. MY SHOP 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In reply and Agreement with Michele on the USPS Post

Ok so I read the article on USPS that was posted in the thread and I would have to dis-agree with it as well. I decided I didn't want to take up a bunch of space in the thread to so I would post my thoughts and feelings on this topic here.

My Personal Feelings 

As most of you know I sell on eBay and on Etsy, I have had over nearly 3,500 sales on websites over the last almost 5 years of working online, I have used Paypal for every shipping label. Including off sites off of eBay. I am down to just being a seller on both Etsy and eBay, and I have had 1 total package that has been "Lost".

It's not even lost, what happened was I made the mistake and double printed label and sent a already paid label out with the item to a customer, because of this it was sent to the fraud department here in Seattle. The postal office works with me every week calling and taking the time out of their day to see it come back to me. But due to Union pay cuts, our local fraud department is down to 2 people in that office, from 30. So with that said, it's located in Seattle, it really isn't lost, making that 0 for me for lost packages.

One of my Best friends just quit the postal service of 15 years, I have been lucky to have had her on my route, she catered to my every need, she taught me how to do the correct shipping, I asked her tons of questions. As I have grown into more sales and everything is able to be shipped differently I was asking a-lot more questions. So that said, I have a 0 record of lost shipments.

It is my responsibility as a seller online, to make sure I am working directly from the source and learn the correct way. I seriously did not know much about shipping at all until I started asking questions. I was afraid of lost packages, and having to refund money.

I do not print my shipping labels from Etsy when I make sales, I go directly to paypal and do it from there, then up-load the tracking by hand, for some reason it's easier for me to do so. Being that I am a seller on both sites it is important from what Chip says, make sure to have fresh ink, if it starts to fade it is not easy for them to scan, some sellers put tape over the full PayPal shipping label, I have seen a package recently from Etsy and a postal worker wrote on the box and said "Would not scan tape on label."

Now I am sure because they did do their job, they punched it in, but that is a given because it got to me, but think about if they didn't do their job, maybe I would not have gotten my package from the amazing Etsy shop. It is all about how you as the seller ship & how you work with the postal office if there is a issue.

We are all human, sellers & postal workers, we all make mistakes, as Michele stated.

The Student Side of Me Speaks

In business management you are very drilled about eCommerce, in almost every text book I have studied, it rarely talks about Brick n Mortar. Online business is taking over rapidly and most business's online have something to do with shipping, the number of company's that have been merging into the retail world online, such as GoodWill, Target, Walmart and other big box chains, increase the shipping demand. The demand for shipping is up more than ever before, USPS yes has seen a de-crease in revenue, but they are not the only ones, hence the retailers like big box offices heading towards this direction. They will never be in the spot where they will have to dis-appear, that would never happen.

Being a business owner at a young age I have learned a=lot about Brick-N-Mortar vrs, the online world, having owning a deli at the age of 18 til I was 21 and than re-opening the same deli at the age of 26-31, I knew I wanted to be a business owner online after closing down the deli for the second time, I also new with the amount of items I'd be shipping, I would have to get my shipping methods down.

The Book "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson is an excellent read about the future of business, the economics of Culture and Commerce. This also talks about the supply and demand of online business, and touches the topic of shipping.

In conclusion I agree with Michele, and as you can tell this is a subject I am very passionate about, with out them I would be so lost, I thank the postal worker's everyday for their help. I even give them holiday gifts, I love seeing their face when I leave goodies in the mail box during the Christmas season.

It is important for us small business owners to be responsible for our shipping, our responsibility as a seller and business owner, is to provide good packing, fresh ink in your printer, not putting tape on the whole shipping label, as well as knowing how to work with the postal office. It is not entirely their fault of lost packages.

I have alot of respect for the USPS, they has never failed me, I have had a few grumpy interactions with some counter people, but all I do is kill them with a smile and kindness. Normally that works and lifts their spirits.

~ Lornajane ~

Sneak Peek of the Kitchen

September of 2013 we bought a fixer up house, we decided on this house frankly because we had been looking for 3 months this was the most move in ready and the one with the most potential out of about 15 houses or so we looked at.

I am sure most ladies out there would agree that the kitchen has to be a good one because it is where everyone gathers, for family and friend events. Not to mention, if you love to cook and prep foods this is a important part. But lets face it, mine was covered in horrible wall paper and rooster trim. Not exactly my style, I have always had a love for vintage kitchens, and that is what I was hoping to create with this kitchen.

Here is a preview of our recent work, we decided to start in the dinning area, that is where the rooster trim was.

This was day 1 when we got the keys in September, notice all the wood and the one window painted and rooster trim. 

Notice the gross wall paper! Sigh... This whole house is wall paper! The process of taking it down was interesting because I personally have never done it before, some warm water in a spray bottle and some scrapping tools, plus a couple glasses of wine, it was down in now time.

Almost there! Just wait and to see the complete done deal. 
The Almost done ... I have to spray the lighting fixture Red and add some black trim. I am happy with the results

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Meet Tucker AKA Goof Ball

On 5-4-2014 my boyfriend and I lost our golden doodle companion dog. He has been a new addition to my life of the past one and half years. That is how long my other half and I have been together. My boyfriend has had this goofy dog for 10 long years. He was purchased for his boys that absolutely loved him. One being off to college on the East Coast, came home during the holiday this past Christmas and spent a-lot of time with Tucker before he went back to college. He was deeply saddened when he found out late east coast time about 1 am in the morning we had to make a decision to put Tucker to rest.

A few weeks ago I noticed Tucker wasn't eating his food, unlike my own dogs that live with my mother, they eat their food with in a minute of pouring it into their bowls. Tucker was a grazer a type of dog that you could leave the food bag next to his bowl and he would never get into it. He wasn't a cuddle dog either, he didn't like for you to be to close to his face, upon noticing his food habits changing I noticed he became more lovable, and very clingy.

Tucker wasn't allowed inside my office for that is where I handle the packaging of goods for my online business. I have a non pet rule for my items and keep them stored in a warehouse away from pets. So when he would go with me he would always stop at the door sit and wait for me to come out. He would follow me to my office and lay on the line. He knew once I pointed if he crossed he had to test me and lay right there on the line with his paw crossing.

Working from home Tucker always was with me. No matter what room of the house it was, if I got up he got up, if I turned the corner he turned the corner. He was my shadow, my bed side night dog. He protected me daily and made sure he was always around. He was so goofy, the spastic kind of goofy, running into walls, knocking his head on counters and crashing into doorways. He always got excited when company came over, he would knock anyone down if you were in his way to get to the door to see who was there. He was a gentle giant dog.

The night we made our choice to lay him to rest happened so fast, for he started to eat normal again that week, have lots of energy and was playing like he always did with my boyfriend every evening he took the time to give him special attention. But when we came home that day, Tucker refused to move, he went potty where he was laying and his tummy was making horrible movements and only to be described as some sort of contraction going on. It was visible that something was seriously wrong. Being a Sunday evening I facebook'ed for an emergency vet, with in 5 mins someone responded with a number and the vet met with us like lighting at her office. We spent 4 hours testing and discussing what to do. She knew by looking at his gums there was some serious blood problems going on.

I was trying to be strong for my boyfriend for he was loosing one of his best friends. Thinking considering this dog has only been in my life for a year and a half I can handle this. But once I saw him break down and make the choice that seemed to me was the best. I could not take it, leaving the room and headed outside to make some phone calls for some support.

Some may say it's just a dog, yes he was just a dog, but he was our family, I personally don't have kids and I love my dogs whom I gave to my mom when I made the choice to move in with this handsome man I fell in love with. Knowing I could not take them away from my mom she loved them too and I knew she be alone. Tucker had became my dog too. I miss him being next to me at night knowing I would have to find a strategic way out of bed to get around him. I miss bumping into him because he is right behind me all the time. I miss the comfort of him laying at the back door watching over me when I am doing a photo shoot to make sure I am safe.

We made the right choice I believe he was really sick and we didn't know it, he was strong and did'nt let us see it until the last day. It was pouring rain when it happened and it was late at night, we took him with us and didn't know what to do with him, we sat in the car in our driveway for a hour discussing where to lay him to rest in the middle of the night. We decided to lay him to rest on my mom's property where he would be surrounded with lovely flowers and gardens. We said our last goodbye at 5 am in the morning. He is at rest and I will miss him.

RIP Tucker 5-4-2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It All Started With a Binder and a Storage Bin

What does it take to run a shop similar to mine? Why do I love eBay so much? What kind of income do I make? 

❥ #1 I am fully licensed to run as retailer and run a small business out of my home. 

❥ #2 I started with a binder, a clear plastic bin, and 5 bags of my mother's old clothing.

❥ #3 ALL of my used items are washed, stored in hanging closets that are located in a heated warehouse built just for me. I still can't believe I started with just one storage container and now I have a full shop, plus a office of my own. 

❥ #4 My first month of selling on eBay was enough to pay my power bill and some on my water bill.  

❥ #5 I photo every single day for a minimum 3 hrs, sometimes more depends on eBay's promotion. 

❥ #6 I offer consignment for people in my community as much as I can, I have 21 clients that are either in need during tough times, struggling as a single parent, but my favorite type of client, would happened to be students. I know first hand what it is like to live on a certain income amount while going to school. 

❥ #7 eBay supported my income (as far as bills go) for the last 1 1/2 of my 3 years of schooling. Which is no different now, for I am saving for my next adventure in school. Returning for my BAS in business. 

❥ #8 Depending on eBay promotions, I work on average 8-10 hrs a day from home off and on. If there is a promotion those hours are sometimes doubled 12-16 hrs a day. 

❥ #9 I pay my own taxes, required by Washington state law. 

❥ #10 After taxes I roughly can clear all my bills and than some, but mostly that goes back into inventory if I am low on donations, or packing materials, ink, paper for print outs which anyone that sells online knows can be expensive in the long run. 

❥ #11 My overall love for eBay is hard to explain, other than it provides me a job, I can proudly tell people I work for myself. I have no one in management to answer to, I am my own boss, I design my own hours. I only get back in return as much as I put in. It isn't easy, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I love my job!!

I hope whom ever takes the time to read this, that it may help someone realize they can do anything as long as they put the hard work into it. Not to long ago I was told I would never be fully able to work, due to a injury to my left arm. This allows me to work my own hours, if I am in pain from typing, hanging clothing, or what ever it maybe I can simply step aside and take a break in my living room. 

  Please feel free to click on any of these images and check out what is listed today! 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read up on what my shop is all about and how I manage my time, and the effort put into my store.