Posts Tagged ‘business’

My First Vlog: How I Started My Business & What’s New

Hey y’allll, I made my first ever vlog!

Just thought I’d make a little video to introduce myself so you could to get to know the face behind The Petite Package. I also talk about how I started my business and what’s been new recently.

If you have any feedback or suggestions on what to post next, please comment! I’d love to make videos on stuff you’d actually be interested in.

Happy Saturday!

-Monica

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Introducing Allie!

I’d like to give a very warm welcome to the newest member of The Petite Package team, Allie! She will be working one-on-one with our customers as Administrative Director, as well as collaborating on new product lines as Graphic Designer! She couldn’t be a better fit for the job, and I couldn’t be more excited to have her!

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Hi there! I’m Allie 🙂

I’m 24, married to my husband Matthew for 3 years, and we have a beautiful daughter, Andee, a dog named Lilli, and we live in Union City, TN. I love spending time with my family, online shopping, doodling, laughing, playing board games, NETFLIX, and Mario Kart. Haha.

I have a BFA in graphic design, and I’m currently studying and taking online courses towards my masters in web design. My work experience ranges from designing web and press advertisements for my local newspaper, where and made sure everything was perfect within newspapers and tabloids before they were sent to print on the press. I’ve designed party/wedding invites for an invitation boutique, freelanced design for logos, branding, websites, postcards, posters, and the list goes on and on. I have done a little bit of everything!

Most artists do some sort of art all of their life. I wasn’t like that. I didn’t know that I could even draw until my Senior year of high school. I was having to draw something for this county fair program to help kids make some extra summer money. Once I realized that I could draw and how much I loved it, I decided to take Art as an elective in high school. I ended up loving it even more than I thought I would. I realized how much I loved logos and CD covers, so decided I would go into Graphic Design. Plus, I’m kind of a font snob. My husband makes fun of me for it. My art teacher actually told me that I wouldn’t make it into an art college because I didn’t have enough background in art. It really pissed me off, so I decided to prove her wrong. I worked my butt off getting a portfolio ready and ended up getting into the 7th best art school in the nation. I also received a Raw Talent Scholarship to attend. 🙂

Why I love graphic design: Graphic design is literally EVERYWHERE. It It has such an impact on our world, whether people realize it or not.  And I like the idea of helping people create something beautiful. That’s actually my “motto”: Let me help you create something beautiful.

Why I love designing wedding stuff: I love to help make people’s big day special. If I can help make one aspect of a couple’s wedding perfect, I have done my job. EVERYTHING in my wedding was DIY. I had a vintage wedding and we handmade everything. I had handmade toppers, cake stands, button bouquets, jewelry, favors, table numbers, center pieces, place cards, register book… literally everything. I even hand painted a painting of the Cabaret sign for it. I will give details about my bouquets, though. They were my favorite. My bouquets were made out of beads. I went to every thrift shop looking for vintage beads and pearls. Every single one was hand glued and they took me a month to do all of them! Then, my mom sewed fabric around them and used lace and doilies where the “stem” would go. They were beautiful and all of my bridesmaids (and me) still have theirs out on display in their houses! I Below is a picture of them. Also, my wedding dress was grey, but that’s an entirely  different story! 🙂268973_10150712044000548_1073003_nI am still having a hard time believing that a job so perfect for me actually exists! It’s not everyday that an offer comes up for me to make money doing the things that I love to do.

<3

 

The Petite Package is hiring!

The Petite Package is hiring!

Etsy Administrator/Virtual Assistant Wanted

Info:

  • 15 hours/week with opportunity for growth
  • Hourly wage negotiable
  • Hours are flexible, but must be available to respond to customer inquiries in a prompt manner
  • Benefit of working remotely as a virtual assistant
  • Great learning experience for those interested in ecommerce and small business.

Expectations:

  • Perform Etsy shop administration duties such as responding to customer inquiries daily and provide status updates on existing orders. Mark and filter messages that require owner response. Must be able to resolve customer complaints and/or problems with kindness, finesse, and professionalism.
  • Review Etsy orders to see if they require follow-up. If so, contact the customer in order to collect the info needed to complete the order.
  • Friendliness, positivity, profesionalism, and high standards of customer service required.
  • Provide proofs for custom orders (modifications based on existing templates) using Maestro Label Designer (will provide training).
  • Must be able to think creatively and learn quickly.
  • Responsible for researching and staying up to date on what is popular and on trend in the craft, DIY, and wedding niches.
  • Must own and have basic knowledge of Photoshop CS3.
  • Schedule and post creative content on our blog and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  • Background in blogging, photojournalism, graphic design, or marketing is a huge plus!
  • Clear and prompt communication is required for this position as you will be working closely with the owner.

How To Apply:

  • Visit the ‘Shop’ page to get a good feel for our brand and see if you think you’d be a good fit.
  • Submit your resume / work experience.
  • Please include a brief paragraph about why you’d like to work for The Petite Package as well as an example of what you would bring to the table as a member of the team. (This can be a tip/improvement that you would implement or a strength that you possess that could benefit the business.)

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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‘Busy’: A 4-Letter Word

BUSY: A 4 LETTER WORD. HOW TO STAY PRODUCTIVE IN A BUSY WORLD

It’s amazing how much your outlook, inspiration, and productivity can change by a single conversation or by reading a book. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that have the greatest impact. This has happened to me over the past couple of weeks, and I’d like to share with you my recent epiphany.

 

About a month ago, I started to believe that I “needed” to hire someone to help with my Etsy store, because I was just too “busy” to get it all done myself. “Busy”. Such a common term, and I cringe at the term now. We’re all guilty of using it. It’s so easy to fall back on the reason, “I’d like to do that, but I’m just so busy.” It’s just an excuse in the form of a word, but here I was, guilty as charged. So, I convinced myself that my solution was to hire someone. That would solve all of my “busy-ness” problems. But when I started thinking about what actions I needed to take in order to actually move towards the direction of hiring an employee, I put it off. I was drowning under a pile of other ‘priorities’ that were competing for my attention. Yes, I was spending 8-10 hours a day in my office, but when I actually made a conscious effort to start logging how I was spending my time, I realized that half of it was checking facebook notifications, emails, responding to text messages and phone calls, reading other successful businesses’ blogs, brainstorming of all of the tasks I wanted to get done, scheduling lunch dates with friends, watching Netflix, cooking, working out. Since I had a flexible schedule, I would overbook my days with commitments under the assumption that I could fit it in and ‘work late’. My automatic response to everything was yes. I had a million ideas and self-diagnosed myself as having “too many interests”, since I wanted to do it all, really well. My phone would ring, and I would answer. My email would ping, and I would check it. A thought would come to mind, and I would act on it. I was constantly in a state of reaction, which meant that anything that I was trying to get done for work would be interrupted and not completed beginning to end as intended. And then when the last 2 hours of the day rolled around from 10pm-midnight, I would get into crunch mode and bust out all of the orders that HAD to be done to ship out the next day. You know those people who have weeks to finish a task, and procrastinate to the night before, and BAM! They get it done? Yup, that was me.

On one of those ‘busy’ days, I went into my gym and ended up sitting down with the owner, Luka, for a chat. It started off as a conversation about a workout, but it led into talking about business, and I started to tell him about my Etsy store.  I told him about how I needed to hire someone, but I just didn’t know how. Then he asked me the pivotal question, “How are you spending your time?” What do you mean? I thought. I responded, “Well, I’m just so busy! I always have outstanding orders, and I barely even have time to think about HOW to hire someone. It feels like my mind is going a million miles a minute, all the time.” I proceeded to tell him my vision for my business, my financial goals, and that I wanted to have it all accomplished by the time I was 30. He looked at me and said, “You could accomplish all of that by next year.” I looked at him blankly. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think he was crazy. ‘Yeah,’ I thought… ‘Okay…’ But I looked at him, and I thought about his business, his story, and all that he had accomplished at such a young age. Here is someone who is constantly walking around with books in his hand, who is available to others while still remaining productive and scheduled throughout his day, who has created his own “success” (which could be defined by most people’s standards), and seemed to have it all figured out. So I thought, ‘Well, obviously this is someone who has proven to know what he’s talking about. Not just by words, but by actions.’

'Busy': The 4-Letter Word. How To Be Productive In A Busy World.

I went home with our conversation playing over in my mind, and decided to download one of the books that I saw lying around in his office, The Productivity Ninja by Graham Alcott. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, now with the added task of figuring out how to get my life in order, on top of everything else that I had going on. Mind you, I haven’t actually taken the time to sit down and read a book in over a year. I USED to love reading. Remember those times before we were adults and life happened? Where you actually had time to do what you loved and the world wasn’t spinning around you at a rapid pace? Yeah, that Monica loved to read. I couldn’t put the damn book down. Here it was, on a page in a book, my life described to a T. The book describes today’s life: A world where we are constantly reacting to inputs at a rapid pace, where our attention is bouncing around from one task to the next, casually committing to plans in the future because we don’t have a reason to say no, trying to accomplish as much as possible while pleasing as many people as possible, not being able to relax because you’re worrying that there is something else you should be doing, but most of all, living a life of mediocrity because we don’t take the time we need to tap into our true potential and cultivate greatness. If you never take the time to practice a skill, you never become great. You may have learned to play an instrument you were younger,  so you know how to play – but if you do not practice on a consistent basis, there is no way you will become a concert pianist. Same goes with creating a great life – if you do not practice productive habits that allow time for you to work on your goals, you will never reach them! You may tinker along and get by ‘keeping busy’ and accomplish a goal that society deems ‘a success’, but is that really the goal that you dreamed for yourself? Is that what you imagined for your life as a kid, young adult, or even now? On your death bed, when people are reminiscing about your life, how do you want people to remember you? Whatever that dream or goal is, it is not impossible. Life is not ‘too busy’, there are just many opportunities to distract you. Your choice in how to respond to those distractions is the key, not that the actual presence of the distraction. Successful people are not touched by good luck. It’s all about rearranging your mindset, making trade-offs, choosing to make decisions so others won’t make them for you, taking control of your actions and attention, all things that may be against society’s norm. In order to be extraordinary, you cannot be normal. The book had an action plan laid out clear as day – everything that I needed to implement right away in order to start living a more productive, less ‘busy’ life.

 

In a matter of 24 hours, I felt an overwhelming sense of clarity. The constant worries and reminders that buzzed around in my head were silenced, rooted by the simple task of writing them down. Today, my inbox at zero (from 10,000 previously) with all of the important ones filed appropriately in their folders. I no longer use the excuse of ‘needing’ to hire someone, but instead have organized my days with structure. I have time to read, take on new work projects (like getting this website up and running), and write (Exhibit A: this blog post!). My scribbles on note-pads and random thoughts are now functionally organized in one place with structure and priority. I know what I need and what to get accomplished each day, and when I finish those tasks, I can relax with clarity instead of worrying that there’s something else I should be doing. I have daily, weekly, and yearly goals set in place and projects with actions to accomplish them. I no longer react, but plan. If a distraction presents itself, I jot down the thought  to come back to it later. I choose which plans I commit to, instead of casually agreeing and setting my work back as a result. My days have been transformed from being ‘busy’ to productive. The choice to evaluate and question the decisions I was making was the best thing I could have done.

I highly recommend you read the book, but if you simply can’t wait to know what’s in store, here are some of my key take-aways:

1. Start writing stuff down. If you’re going to start doing one thing today, start writing down every single thought that pops into your head. If you’re working on something, and you remember you have to call someone back, re-order your contacts, or pick up a prescription – write it down and come back to it later. Nothing is more productive than completing something start to finish without interruption. This will also eliminate those nags once your pen hits the paper, bringing a quiet peace to your mind.

2. Don’t say yes for the sake of saying yes. This is one of the most common challenges we are faced with every day. We are constantly invited to social events, dinners, meetings, and various other outings. Before saying yes, ask yourself if this is the best use of your time in relationship to your goals. Perhaps you are ‘free’ on Friday night, but you could also spend that time checking off a big to-do on your list. Of course, we all need time to kindle friendships and unwind. But you don’t have to say yes every single time.

3. Make a daily checklist and stick to a schedule. Know what you want to accomplish ahead of time, whether it’s preparing a to-do list the night before or in the morning over a cup of coffee. Note when your attention is at it’s peak and work on the most complicated tasks then. It will feel so good at the end of the day when you have everything checked off your list. You will have given yourself permission to relax, instead of worrying what else needs to be done.

Now go out and go free those thoughts in a journal so you can stop being busy and start being productive!

-Monica

Intro To Selling On Etsy

Intro To Selling on Etsy

Hello, lovely darlings.

Well, I’ve had a couple of friends ask me about how to start-up on Etsy. It made me think back to when I first had a dream about selling handmade stuff, and how exciting, but daunting it was at the same time. I still think it is mind-blowing and so cool that there is a platform for creative people to turn their hobbies into ca$h money. I mean seriously, what is better than that?! But it comes with a lot of hard work, research, and hours wanting to rip your hair out by the follicle. Just keepin’ it real….

There’s gotta be like millions of tutorials and how-to articles that you can google about this subject, but I thought I would put in my 2 cents about what I’ve learned in the past few years, what’s worked, and what didn’t.

#1: What is your ultimate goal?

I ask you this so you can really ponder and answer truthfully. Are you that person that has endless amounts of free time to spend making elaborate projects for those who go “ooohhh” and “ahhhh” every time you post a picture on Instagram? Do you find joy in the process of creation, and think, eh, why not make a few extra bucks making something you love? You’re making it anyway! You are looking for a way to get rid of the abundance of crafty things you have made over the years, and continue to make, for fun.

OR,

Are you looking for a way to make a consistent source of income as efficiently and effectively as possible, with the perk of having a creative outlet sprinkled on top? Do you love being crafty, but are interested in leaving your day job someday and still need to support a family while doing it?

If your answer was the first response, great! Selling your creations on Etsy, or to your friends on the side is a great way to make some side cash. Just be careful, Etsy shops with only a few listed items are generally not very successful. If you are just directing your friends & family to purchase your items, that’s fine. Beware, Etsy does charge a listing fee, and a sold item fee. You may be better off just asking for cash. If you are trying to market to the masses, and internationally,prepare to amp up your production, and spend some time learning about online traffic if you really want to turn your hobby into a side income.

If your answer is the second response, I have good and not-so-shiny news for you. The good is you are smart! Yay! You have an entrepreneurial drive, and are dedicated to doing what it takes to be successful.The not-so-shiny news is that this option also comes with some sacrifice. What? Huh? Keep reading…

#2 Find a niche.

So, you want to make money. Great!

Your next step, without going to Joann’s and Michaels and spending your entire paycheck buying supplies to make candle holders is to brainstorm. You may be really damn good making those candleholders, and they also may be the prettiest, chicest candle holders anyone has ever seen, but is that really a niche that is in high-demand and profitable?

I will give you an example (I like examples – and this one is actually my own).

Let’s say you work a normal 40 hour a week job. On the weekends you love to knit. In fact, you love it so much that your entire house is full of yarn and thread to make fingerless gloves (guilty). You get so excited about every project you finish, you of course have to post an Instagram pic for the world to see. They are so cool that all of your friends and family are commenting, “Wow! So awesome, I would totally pay you to make some for me!” You wear your gloves to work, and your coworkers want a pair, too. You think, hey why not? You love knitting, so you might as well make some extra money pleasing your friends at the same time. So you charge $40/pair of gloves. Pretty reasonable, considering you are making them by hand, even though they could easily pick up a pair at Target for $18. So you get to work. The first pair takes you 8 hours to make (because they are the fancy, intricate ones everyone likes, not the basic chunky knits). After the first pair, you need a break. You put on some Grey’s Anatomy. Eh, you’re tired. One pair down. Nine to go. Soon you find your weekends piling up with allllll of this knitting for everyone who has paid you to make these gloves. At one pair a day, you are making a measly $5.00/hour ($40/8 hours = $5.00 + cost of materials = less than $5/hour) with no spare time on your hands. Plus, you have now sacrificed your glorious two free weekend days, plus you are beginning to lose your sanity!!! Your days have turned into the following: Work at the day job, come home, knit a little, eat dinner, go to bed. On the weekends you gotta catch up, so you knit knit knit – and go to bed. Happy hour after work? Can’t, gotta knit. Date night? Can’t, gotta knit. Wine tasting on Sunday? Awww man…. I REALLY need a glass of wine. But I can’t, gotta knit.

Don’t be that person.

Your life is valuable. So is your free time. Try to stop thinking in terms of what you love, and what is fun for you, and instead direct your attention to what sells, and what items are profitable.

A good way of figuring out whether or not an item will be profitable is calculating the amount of  time it will take you to make that item, and subtracting the cost of supplies to make it. 

So, let’s say you want to sell screen-printed T-shirts. It takes you 30 minutes to make one t-shirt, and the cost of supplies to make just one (because you buy the supplies in bulk) is roughly $5.00. Let’s say you’ve decided that it’s only worth selling if you are making $15/hour. A good way to figure out how much to charge is to mark up either the price for your time, or adding more onto the cost for supplies, or both.

We already know you’ve spent $5 on supplies. $30-5 = $25 gross profit. Then subtract whatever you are paying yourself for labor ($15/hour = $7.50/30 minutes to make the t-shirt). That is $17.50 gross profit to reinvest in your business, after you’ve paid yourself the $7.50 for 30 minutes worth of work. Not bad. You are still making your goal of $15/hr plus extra. And your price point isn’t bad either. Your customer (probably) won’t mind paying $30 for a custom-made T-shirt.

So that’s not exactly the most scientific formula, but I like to think in more overall terms.

When you are brainstorming, ask yourself the following:

How long will it take me to make this item?

How much are the costs of supplies to make this item?

Can I get a bulk discount if I order a large quantity of supplies?

How much will people pay for this item?

Can I make multiples of the same item at once, to be more efficient? (Think factory line) Or are they custom-made and personalized to order? (Pre-making items can keep you prepared and takes less time; Making each time to order is going to take you more time.)

Does my item appeal to a mass market? Or is the customer more specific? (Finding something with a large audience = buko bucks vs appealing to a smaller one… well, you get it.)

#3 Don’t Get Ahead Of Yourself

I totally get it. You have an idea, and you go off running for the hills, and soon your brain starts to fill with a million things you want to do, and need to get done. Start with baby steps. Stop wasting your time clicking on the home page of Etsy and reading all of the amazing descriptions and photographs and wondering how the heck to even use Photoshop. Those shops are great for inspiration, but wondering what color scheme to use for your shop banner isn’t a really effective use of time when you should be researching different suppliers for the best deals, or heck – what you’re even going to sell!

You will get there eventually.

If it helps, write out your ideas. If you can’t stay away from all of the tangents, create a ‘random thoughts’ page or folder on your browser to reference back to those links when you need them. But for now, find an item. And once you find that item, stick to it and diversify it. You want your shop to have 50+ items within the same theme, whether it varies by color choices, design choices, add-on items, related items, etc. If you’re going to sell coffee cups, consider tea cups, coasters, coffee cozies, etc.

To Re-Cap…

Selling on Etsy can be a great place for you to make money, as long as you approach it smartly. You may have to sacrifice the idea of spending all of your time doing what you love, in exchange for higher profits. Don’t worry, if you choose this approach you should have extra time eventually to continue to indulge in what you love! That is the whole point after all 🙂 Opening an Etsy shop takes a lot of hard work and preparation. Think about your plan and strategy before you register and start listing items. Put as much research and dedication into your Etsy shop as you do in other areas of your life. Yes, this can be fun, but it is not only for fun. This is your business, your reputation, and your brand.

What else would you like to read about?

Welp, hopefully I didn’t scare you off. I’m no entrepreneurial expert or anything, just putting my two cents into the conversation. You can give me the finger if you want and do your own thing. I would love your feedback in regards to whether you found this information useful, and what else you would be interested in reading about here on my blog.

Some ideas for future Etsy-related posts:

How-To Take Quality Photographs & Use Photoshop for Etsy Listings

Shipping 101

How-To Write Professional Listing Descriptions & Shipping/Policy Guidelines

Separating Your Business & Personal Finances

Re-selling 101: How To Buy Cheap, And Sell High

 

Anywho… Thanks for reading! Stay posted as I think I’m now addicted to blogging, and more will be coming soon! 🙂

– Monica

Intro To Selling on Etsy

 

My Etsy Shop

Visit my Etsy Shop: The Petite Package – Weddings & Crafts