Subtitle

A personal look at the trails and triumphs of creating a business from the ground up; of starting a business selling what you create.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Etsy Shop Feature

After looking in on one of my personal favorite Etsy shops, I noticed something I had not seen before. They have a drop down menu so customers can choose among the different sized guest books they were offering. That in and if itself is not new to me. What caught my eyes was the fact that they had different prices listed next to each size and that when you make your choice, the total price you pay for the book changes. Somehow, I missed when this went into affect on Etsy.







When I first opened my shop I knew I would have different sizes for most of the items I would sell, but after checking around I found that while you can have different options (e.g. size, color) under one listing they all to be the same price. Now, that is obviously different. I am annoyed with myself for missing this but definitely happy and ready to take full advantage of this in my own shop.

For those of you who don't know, making just one Etsy listing, even a draft, takes at least 30 minutes. More if you include the time it takes you to get the right pictures, writing out a description and figuring out pricing, which you would do ahead of time, hopefully. Creating three listings, while not three times as long, is still longer. Plus, it seems obvious that customers would like it better if they didn't have to search for another listing of a different size and could just stay on the same page and choose the size they want with one click.
Just one more change I'd like to make to my shop. :-)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Working for the Holiday Season

You all have probably been wondering where I've been. Well around late October I realized that the holiday season would be starting soon and I needed to get my shop ready. That's on top of continuing my new product schedule. I've got several new products ready for unveiling; well in various stages of readiness. Also, tons of new, untested ideas to try my hand at and get others to try out before revealing them to the public.

It also happens to be that time of year personally, when every week is some sort of family gathering or celebration. Most of our birthdays are at this time of year, so they fill in the blanks around the holidays.
I've basically been driving myself crazy for the past 6 weeks or so. 

If you were paying attention, four new items went up in the Etsy shop during this time. That would be the Pumpkin n' Clove Body Scrub, the Pomegranate Body Scrub, the Pumpkin n' Clove Facial Scrub and the Yule Oil. And I have two more almost ready for the big reveal. My very first body butter called Chocolate Mint and a Vanilla n' Honey Body Scrub. I am going to be working on ginger, pine and cinnamon products for later in the winter as well.

In addition to all of this I had my first shop sales using Etsy coupons for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. In preparation and now in hindsight I've learned a lot from that, but I plan to share that in next week's post. I also wanted to try a new type of post; more off-the-cuff. Those will come up randomly. I already have one I wrote this morning that I'll post tomorrow. So see you then.

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Creation Space

Isn't it lovely. I finally have a dedicated space to work on/at. A space with space. A space without a chair, but I'm working on it. Mind you this is taking up roughly 1/3 of my room and most of that was the only remaining free space I had. So alas, no dancing about. But this does mean I can finally, finally roll out the book board and specialty papers can come out of their portfolios. That's right, books can now be made!!

It might seem like nothing but I have wanted to include handmade books for various purposes in my product selection since the beginning of this business. So much so that I considered making a separate Etsy shop just for them but I don't think I'm ready for that yet. This decision also affected my business name.

More on that in another post. My space is my old kitchen table and also a "portable" picnic table (it folds just weighs a ton). In my old kitchen there was no counter and no table so I got this to do both jobs. It of course also served as my main creation space. I plan to continue that tradition by using it to mix and match ingredients, fabric and papers for all my Scarlet Moon Creations. So look forward to future sightings of my creation space here on the blog.

hmm, I may have to make a special Pinterest board for such sightings. What do you think?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New for Winter

I was up in New Paltz this week for work and I got the opportunity to visit The Awareness Shop; Its a great place. I got two items that I had been looking to use in my winter products; pine resin and vanilla bean.

They smell amazing. Both will into my Yule oil and incense mixtures but I definitely want a vanilla only scented product and possibly a pine one as well. I already have other products with cinnamon and peppermint in mind as well. I hope you all are looking forward to the scents of the winter season.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

NaBloWrimo- National Blog Writing Month

I want to do this. Lets see if I can. I am a few days behind but I have already posted three times this month, so those could count towards this endeavor. Or I can start the clock, as it were, now and just finish up in 31 days. The challenge would be towards the end of the month with Halloween/Samhain and my birthday to distract me.

But maybe I can do it with some careful planning. I saw on the website some theme suggestions, which is a good idea. Most of them won't work for this blog but I can make my own to fit.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Great Pumpkin Issue

This title makes me think of the Charlie Brown movie. I decided awhile ago that for the fall I would introduce new body scrubs. New to me and to my shop. I picked three ideas after much research and thought and came up with pumpkin, pomegranate and apple. The initial issue with all three is that there are no natural scents I can add to them so it would be mostly about the ingredients rather then the scent of each. I could add fragrance oils but that's for another post.

Sample pumpkin scrub for testers.
Ingredient-wise pumpkin was/is the easiest or so I thought. There are quite few combinations of pumpkinparts, base oils and exfoliant that I can do  so I am basically having a hard time deciding which mixture to go with. With at least one I am still unsure of its shelf life. I know it will be shorter than any of my other scrubs but I'm not sure by how much. On the other hand that mixture guarantees a pumpkin smell which I'm sure potential buyers will like more, which may in turn make them use it more often. It is also making me consider adding more honey to help as a natural preservative. All of my scrubs with honey last longer.

But this is what I have my testers for. So for the first time they will be getting multiple batches to pick between. Their feedback will hopefully give me a definitive pumpkin scrub by the end of the month. This also means I will be adjusting my fall scrub release schedule. It actually occurred to me while grocery shopping and a worker at Trader Joe's said that all pumpkin items are seasonal and won't be available until around Thanksgiving. So pumpkin will be the last of my fall scrubs to come out this season. Apple and then pomegranate first.
Random thought: hmm, I post wonder how a wine scrub would come out?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pinterest - Scarletmcreates


This post is just to pimp my Pinterest boards. I've had it set up for Scarlet Moon Creations, the Etsy business, for awhile but I recently added more boards. I started it to get more inspiration and ideas for mixes, ingredients and packaging. I would have a new idea for a bath salt or body scrub but was not sure what herbs, flowers or essential oils I wanted to use. This in particular applies to the Sabbat mixes. I say in past tense since that is how I decided to create a Pinterest account, not because I don't still get stumped every once in awhile. Sometimes the ingredients come to me first and other times the overall product idea.
If you visit or follow my page you will see inspiration boards, but also the creation process and of course the finished product with links to my Etsy shop. So  please do stop in and tell me what you think.
http://pinterest.com/scarletmcreates

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blogging Woes

Blogger app on my tablet
 It seems that some of my older posts never got published so there will be a few more posts this week and next. Things that I reference in the posts I am currently writing should have been covered in detail already, weeks ago. How odd that these did not publish. This however leaves me open to posting about posting, lol. First, do not think you will be bombarded there are only two posts that did not get published so this week will have three posts published (including this one) and next week will have two published posts.

All posts listed including some still saving from July
and the first draft date of this post from Sept.4th
But I have been playing with how I write and post and publish posts. I am trying to follow a schedule of publish a post once a week on Saturdays. But publishing these posts is just the last minor detail of getting them out to you.  I try to keep a going list of topics so I am always ahead of schedule. From there I take time while on the way to and from work (1.5 hrs each way at least) to write out my thoughts and research on each topic. I do this on my tablet, using the Blogger app (or now ColorNote).

From there when I get to a desktop computer I can edit and add pictures and set up the publish date. The reason I have to wait for that sort of thing is because my tablet uses a mobile OS which unfortunately means pictures will not be in the right places and I cannot be sure that  cannot be sure that any formatting I make will be saved. Plus, lately, the blogger app I use wont save drafts or update to the latest edits. I cannot tell you how much I hate repeating myself, even in the written word. So when lose stuff I get so upset and don't want to work on it anymore, which is good because all that frustration and anger wouldn't help anyway (for example I've written this post three times now. Its holding up other posts I have written to come after it).

My last post, Posting Update, in ColorNote
Which is why I was so happy to recently discover that my ColorNote app will share with blogger and keep all my formatting. I also found out that this note taking/checklist app will also post to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. It will be much easier to cross-post and cross-promote stuff now. That was a blessed day. But I've found I must make sure that when I switch to the web version of blogger that it has the most updated version from the mobile app on my tablet, otherwise I'll lose even more time.
So there, that is my excuse for missing another month of posting (with drafts just sitting there waiting), my fussing over blogger and its android app, and my singing the praises of my saving grace ColorNote all in one post. Look for more business and product related posts to come this week.

Yay, for moving forward!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Posting Update

So sorry that I haven't posted in awhile. I had writers block as far as blog topics were concerned. That is not the case anymore. I've got about 20 or so topics, so I am back to writing them out ahead of time and just scheduling posting dates for the future. Once a week, every Saturday like before. Here are some post ideas I have been thinking and writing about:

- a spicy package for the fall
- how to think ahead for the seasons
- using honey more in the scrubs and/or having it as a 'required' ingredient
- fragrance oils?
- the pumpkin issue (this will probably be first up since I have been dealing with it for a month already)
- twitter?
- products: idea bubbles, word association, the creation process
- Yule
- winter scrubs and butters
- samples: forms and questionnaires, pics, should I sell them
- random business thoughts; as usual
- books (so many sub topics here its not even funny)
- oils no longer being strictly made to order
- pimping other blogs and shops that I like or are friends
- the zodiac line

I have also joined Instagram. I wasn't sure how to differentiate what I post there from what I post here (picture-wise) and Facebook, but I've decided it will be more personal. So even though it has the business name, expect random personal things to be there as well. Still not sure about posting pics of myself online, but we shall see. I'm not a selca (this is the korean version of selfie. I am a big fan of kpop and selfie just sounds sexual) type of person, but i think some photos of me mixing, shopping and creating might be good so i might drag my family into taking pics of me.

I will also be posting non-original material that relates to both of my businesses just for fun. You know memes and the like. I hope you guys enjoy that.

Other than that I've got my fall scrubs coming but first this week the next two Sabbat oils will be up in the shop. The Mabon Oil is already there

Friday, July 12, 2013

Other Business

Early on in this blog I mentioned that I had plans for another business. A two-pronged event services business. Event planning is where my heart is. Not that I don't love making and selling my own products. This is just another business where the goal, or at least my goal, is to help people and make them happy. Events just have all my loves in one place so to speak.

Event planning has both the creative elements as well as the practical ones. Plus there is the variety, the deadlines, the stress (yes, I love stress), and the almost constant gratification. I could do three events a day and that would give me that high of a job well done and a client being happy three times. Just knowing that I did a good job and everything went well and that the client is happy, makes me happy . Plus event planning has a definitive outcome. You know what your purpose is and can actively work towards it.

So, this business I want to start is an event services business that would cater to mostly personal and business events; meaning personal life events like weddings, vacations, etc and business meetings, lectures, etc. The two-pronged part comes in because I am Pagan. Pagan event planning is an unexplored niche that I'd like to take advantage of. That sounds bad but there are so many people and events in the pagan community that I would like to lend my event planning experience to to help make things easier on the hosts and help build a bigger more successful community. The two parts of this business would be named the Pagan Event Planner and Excelsior Events. And hopefully there will be some overlap in clients since for me its all one and the same. I want to help everyone equally, and get paid for doing what I love. I can even offer some of my products for certain events.

As far as this blog is concerned I will be making event business posts as well as event ideas and interest boards, so please look out for those. Also, for those who may be confused, please remember that this is my business blog and I did mention from the first post that I would include posts about both businesses. There is some overlap but I will keep each clearly marked on this blog with tags. Also there will be no event business posts open the Scarlet Moon Creations Facebook or Etsy pages.

So please lock forward to my event planning posts.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Business Math

After my second sale I finally realized that I was uncomfortable with my somewhat blase attitude toward how much I'm making and how much I'm charging. I tried to sit down and work it all out again but there were some things I just wasn't getting; like how to include labor costs for my time per hour and in what way could I document everything to see how much I need to sell to make a certain amount of profit.

Then I remembered that I have a business consultant. Brenda is awesome and a good friend. Up until recently we had only been meeting and discussing the more abstract portions of my business. But I quickly emailed her late one night asking for more practical assistance. I also sent her the excel sheets I had been working on.

Credit: Ken Teegardin on Flickr
Now I know math. I'm actually good at it, both complex and basic, even though I can't stand it. I have never felt that math was practical. Nothing that involves going on into infinity and has professors lying to you saying this is the rule one year and then telling you rules were made to be broken the next is straightforward. But maybe I'm more annoyed with my teachers then math itself. Anyway, I am also good with excel, which I've mostly taught myself. And business math, especially in excel is mostly basic math. My problem was that I didn't know what information to use, what formulas to plug in and in what way so that I could coherently get and then understand the outcomes I wanted.

Cue Brenda, the good witch, lol. We met and talked and she explained what it was I was looking to make and use in business terms. Which somewhat went over my head. And then, she came back with awesome excel sheets made up just for me. Now I know what cash flow is and how it looks in a chart. That it will help me figure or how much I need to sell to make a certain amount. I can play with it and adjust it for different scenarios.

She also helped me streamline a COGS, costs of goods sold, chart. I had made one but this one is easier on the eyes, plus I know what its called now. I've also got a sales and costs worksheet as well as an income statement. All four together will help me keep track of costs, sales, expenses and income for my business. It was all very helpful and will be for a long time. There's some relief knowing what I'm doing now because its written down in a way I can understand and remember. Thank you Brenda.

~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations

Friday, June 14, 2013

Apology and update

I'd like to take the time to apologize for my long absence. Starting a new job and a new business where in both positions I am the only employee, left me with little time to blog. But I am now trying out a new schedule integrating my personal and work life. I will not reveal my tentative blogging schedule now in case I need to adjust it later, but rest assured new updates should be coming out with some sort of regularity.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Ingredients for New Projects

I bought raw cocoa butter, raw shea butter to practice and use making body butters and bath melts.

I also got some amber jars, both 1 oz. and .5 oz., for oils like the Ostara and Spring oils I've made up that are currently mixing and infusing in darkness.

I also finally got some sewing needles with big enough eyes to run ribbon through for some Japanese stab binding. Its a new binding style I'm trying out for the albums and books I make. I haven't shown those here or on my Etsy site yet because I want to get good pictures of them before I start selling them.

Soon, internet, soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Banners with Paint and PowerPoint

I created two banners to use on my Etsy and Facebook pages. I used Paint to draw that moons and then PowerPoint to add then to the text.

A friend offered to make logos for me but the ones I've seen so far don't quite fit. Plus, I've had the idea of a painted moon, in a sort of Japanese watercolor style, for awhile. So I tried the Microsoft Office 2010 paint program which has regular, oil and watercolor brushes. I think they came out great.


I left the  spaces on the side so that I could add pictures of my products. A look I've seen and liked on several Etsy shop banners. For logos, I'll add the text under the moons for a more square look.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New order means new pictures

Here are some pics of me making and putting together the Romantic Package for my very first buyer on Etsy.
These first five or so are the Bath of Rose bath salts.


Next are two shots of the Romantic Massage n' Bath Oil.



Then there are several of the making of the Orange n' Rose Body Scrub.
And the last shot is of all three items in the Romantic Package together.

Inspiration and Ideas

I'll be honest, I thought that this business of selling items that I make was just going to be a hobby. Something to help get through some really tough times and so I could have a little extra money in my pocket. My ultimate dream has been to have my own event planning business (more details on that and the bc later). It still is, but as I know, I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. I can't go halfsies on anything. I give it my all or nothing.

So, I have researched the hell out of this business and gotten so many professional plans together. I even have a business consultant (bc). Me! Its so weird when I think about it. On the other side, the creative side, I have tons of ideas for new products, packaging, sales, discounts, promotions, etc. Just random thoughts floating through my head, then BOOM, new idea.

Need an example? I'm glad you asked because the idea for this post came after such a time. I'm laying in bed, looking at facebook and I see one of my all time favorite authors post a link to someone else's Etsy shop. This person makes perfumes and has a line dedicated to and inspired by one of the authors series.

I want to do that. I honestly wanted to some how tie in all the parts of my life into these products. I've already got a god and goddess line and a sabbat line to connect with my spirituality. And I've been trying to think of a way to connect with my love of music and books. I had even looked for Etsy teams for inspiration on how to do this.  Et voila!

I'm very happy about this. Not overwhelmed at all even though I still need to make up ingredient lists, find some guinea pigs friends to test stuff on, learn how to make butters, bath bombs, japanese stab bound books (which I only learned about last week), not to mention handle and update the products I already have. Now I shall be combing through my favorite books for ideas too.

Are you excited? I'm excited.



~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Business Consultant

Three weeks ago I met with my business consultant for the first time. She's a friend who has been doing this kind of thing for years, Recently she has started her own consulting business and she took me on as a client. It was our first meeting even though we had been talking about it for awhile. This means I had figured out a few things on my own in the mean time. But my questions for now were how to start off getting clients.

I should say first that she is helping me mainly with starting my event planning business, with the Etsy shop as a bit of a tangent. But here is my homework that is to be done by today, our next meeting:
1) Make an extensive list of anyone you'd contact for work, referrals, references, or people who'd test your product, or coordinate with you on events. Group them into 'types'.
2) Write a little paragraph about what you'd say to each 'type' of person.
3) In the 2nd week, make 3 outreaches - a call or email - to different 'types' of people.
4) Think about the synergies between your past experience (event planning, Wicca/paganism, all past work experience) - your current experiences (scarletmooncreations site, working with Howard, telemarketing, current circle of friends & acquaintances and how they are evolving) -and future experiences (what kind of events do you want to be planning a year from now?)

Other ideas we talked about:
1) Working to create something that you're really excited about talking to people about rather than 'selling' your services.
2) Thinking about writing an events column (for Reny/Stacey's site.. other sites..) as a means of getting your event creativity going.
3) 'Bridge products' like sabbat/esbat packages: a mini-event-planning-ritual, associated oils, candles, etc.

I fell a bit behind during the first week but I'm mostly on track now. More details about my ideas, plans, etc, later.

~Lashette

USPS frustrations

It took my package 7 days to reach my buyer instead of the 2 I was told it would take. It was priority mail too with tracking. Since this was a gift to be given on Valentines Day, I hope it reached him at a convenient time. I also hope that his friend enjoys my products.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

First sale on Etsy

So I made my first sale on Etsy last week, two days after I listed my first items. It was the most expensive item too. The feeling I got when I saw the email notification was amazing. I wanted to laugh, cry and dance around, but I was at work.

I sent out the package yesterday and I hope my buyer, and the friend he bought it for, are happy with the product. I'll be honest and say I am not completely happy with the packaging but that's a post for another day.

I also have a few people favoriting my shop and some items so that's a nice ego/confidence boost. My upcoming plans include linking Etsy mini here and on my personal blog and figuring out how to pull in more sales.

Have a great day everyone,
~Lashette

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Listed my first items on Etsy

On Monday, I listed my very first items on Etsy. I learned a few things; the first being that it list your items as drafts first and then you can publish them later. I had been under the impression that over you list, its published. So I had been waiting for the right time to stay listing when I could have had all the information and pictures up and waiting for when I was ready. But that's good to know for the future.

I've listed most of my bath and body products only for now, since I think they would go best with Valentines Day. I actually listed all the rose scented items first and made a set that I'm calling the Romantic Rose package.

~Lashette

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Business....new blog

Hola y Bienvenidos....
That would be Hello and Welcome, to my new blog.

This one was created after much thought so that I could have a newsletter/update for my business ventures. I had started a new business a few months ago called RedLadyMoon products and these past few weeks I've been upgrading it (its now called Scarlet Moon Creations) and making things more official. Part of that process I've been wanting to write about for awhile. I have another, more personal blog but I thought this separate one would help keep my thoughts business-like since I want this to evolve into a newsletter of sorts.

So again welcome. Posts here will include updates and ideas for new products. Links, pictures, recipes, pinterest, and just my wordy thoughts on creating things for said business. I also hope to give people heads up on sales and when new items are coming out. Possibly, also information about certain ingredients and why I may or may not use them. Scarlet Moon Creations is mostly an online business but I have been to a few fairs and festivals so some of my adventures getting ready for and attending those will most likely be blogged about as well.

Lastly, I have another, two-pronged business I want to start. In event services. That is a much bigger venture and I know I will need to put my thoughts down and get opinions so those will crop up in here to a lesser degree.

Some other things to know is that this blog or some of its posts at least will be connected to Facebook and tangentially to Etsy (the site I mostly sell on). Since, like I said the goal is to become a newsletter like feature, people can follow me directly here to be the first to find out what is going on.

Well, that's it for now. I wish I had started this sooner just so you guys could see what's been going on but I may just make a few posts now (in the near future) to give you a heads up.
I hope what I write is enjoyable for all who decide to follow.

Thank you,
~Lashette