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, August 24, 2015

How I Got Started: Allergies

Today we start a new series. This one is all about what led me to starting Scarlet Moon Creations. It will be 4 parts so look out for the other posts in the upcoming weeks. Today we'll talk about my allergies.

Image By Evan-Amos via Wikipedia Facial Tissue
 I am a walking allergic reaction waiting to happen, or at least I feel that way. I grew up always having allergies to what seems like everything. Luckily, I've only found one thing to be deadly and its been easily avoidable since that very close call. However, if you watch allergy medication commercials they'll have you thinking that people only get allergies during certain seasons or that you can only have one category of allergies. For me that has never been the case. I have indoor allergies, outdoor allergies, allergies during pollen season, allergies during weed season, even allergies during the summer and winter. I have a couple of food allergies and I'm allergic to dogs, cats, dust, mold, some insects, many cleaning supplies, and synthetic fragrances which are in our soaps, shampoos, lotions, deodorants and cosmetics. Add to that my nose is very sensitive so things like cigarette smoke and too much perfume in an enclosed space set me off as well. Even just walking past Sephora is overwhelming.

The outcomes of all this is usually sneezing, running eyes and nose but can lead to a sore throat, headache, dizziness and the absolute worst is a sinus infection which has flue-like symptoms. I get allergies 10 times more often than I've ever gotten a cold. The trade off for these mostly mild, yet annoying (and often gross), symptoms is I hardly ever get really sick. I think I get the flu once every couple of years or so and that's about it.

Which is good, but try heading to a job interview sniffling and dripping all over the place because you stood upwind from someone too liberal with their cologne on the way there? Or failing a finals test because everyone wanted the windows open to let in some "fresh air"? Or having people wonder why you have a bag full of restaurant napkins and tissues because YOU NEVER KNOW? Or being unable to breathe because you tried that glass of wine? Or taking a shower to clean up and coming out covered in hives (sneezing in the shower is not fun by the way)? Or almost dying because your event host forgot to tell you that "oops, we put walnuts in the brownies"? Or questions people's food before you eat it because you don't want to die? Or how about not remember a good time with family and friends because you were too busy blowing your brains out? Yeah, its not fun. 

A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to learn about herbs and oils (I'll go into more details about that in another post). I had up until this point just tried my best to avoid the things I could and just carried allergy medication and a ton of tissues for those I couldn't (hard to avoid the air outside when you still need to breathe). But after this one class on herbalism I talked to a few people and started doing some research on certain herbs online and that led me to finding out about all natural movement online and the fact that I can make a lot of the stuff I use at home with natural products myself. 

The internet is a rabbit hole but in this instance it was very beneficial. I had up to this point never gone to a spa for fear of having a reaction that would embarrass me and them. I had only bought one set of skin care products for my face which I only used twice, shame on me since I broke out both times using it. But now I could try making a "fancy" bath soak or a moisturizing body scrub using decadent scents that might not annoy me. I did tons of research down in that rabbit hole. I bought a few basic ingredients that I could use for other things as well if they didn't get along with my skin or nose. 

Image By NIAID via Flickr
Essential oils turned out to be a godsend. I love scent and this is something that my allergies have taken from me up until this point. But now I can use them to clean and/or scent a room as well as care for my skin and even help relieve my allergic reactions. I cannot tell you how many times I have run home to sniff some tea tree oil since I discovered its existence.

And herbs, spices, roots and resins; these items that come from trees and other plants, I have in my kitchen as well as my work room. They add great color, scent and flavor to my meals as well as my homemade bath and body products. They help heal as well as reduce inflammation. A good chamomile compress relaxes my sinus headaches while other herbs reduce the look of the dark circles I get from rubbing my eyes. What I also love is that the scents never get overwhelming like a lot of chemical fragrances. No headaches or dizziness. 

How could I not share this with others? I couldn't, so I didn't. Read more about this in next weeks post; How I Got Started: Gifts.


Monday, August 17, 2015

NYC Small Business Initiatives Part III - NYC Business Solutions.

Hey ho! I am back. I seem to have lost the month of July somewhere. I'll probably find it behind the bed someday when I m no longer looking for it.

Today's post is in continuation of NYC Small Business Initiatives series. This series is about my personal experiences with several of the Federal, State, City and local initiatives and programs for the small business owner and for those who want to be a small business owner in NYC. So this is Part III and it can be read alone.Click to read parts I and II.

Today, I am going to talk about NYC Business Solutions. So far, I have had the best experience with this initiative run by the city. But again that is my personal experience. NYC Business Solutions is an initiative that offers free assistance with starting your business, growing your business and running your business. They offer free online and in-person business courses on topics ranging from Business Plan Basics to Selling to the Government. Their other services include recruitment assistance, management and mentorship, Financial and legal assistance, M/WBE certification and much more.

I myself have taken quite a few classes to help me get a more concrete picture of what my goals are as far as my businesses are concerned. Thanks to NYC Business Solutions I have been able to write a great business plan and meet so many new friends and contacts. Everyone I have met at the various locations are knowledgeable, professional and friendly. I have shared my dreams with no better people than those that have worked for NYC Business Solutions. They have given me practical yet positive advice and solutions. These people know what they are doing and I, for one, am grateful for NYC Business Solutions. I plan to work with them more in the future to help grow my business and become a successful M/WBE certified Event Planner.

At this point, I am not sure what other government-run business initiatives I will work with. This is NYC so there are plenty more but there are also so many non-government initiatives and programs out there that I would like to try working with. This is not just for the sake of sampling but to learn and grow as a business woman. I do know that I will be keeping tabs on WE to see how that can benefit me in the future. So expect an update on them as well. But I think I will turn to writing about more private organizations soon.