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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A look back and a glance ahead

As 2015 is coming to a close we all naturally look back at the year we've had as well as look forward to the new year ahead. This year for me was very hyper-focused on moving ahead and moving on. I did something very scary and huge which was quit my job. I didn't have another job lined up and neither did I immediately go out looking for one.

My goal was to work on my businesses and myself. And I did. My family was very supportive in that and I found various new friends to support me online as well. This I am grateful for because after taking this plunge I was able to research and finally write a business plan for Excelsior Events. I was also able to drastically increase my sales for Scarlet Moon Creations. Not only those tangible changes occurred but I was able to improve my mindset and emotional state. So I am good and I have a positive outlook for my future.

With 2016 about to start I am nervous and excited to see what the future holds but I have a plan so that it is not completely unknown. More importantly I believe this plan is doable by none other than myself. For Scarlet Moon Creations, that plan is to continue promoting my products with a consistent social media schedule. Product-wise, I will first be bringing back some older products with better photos. I will try to work in some outdoor photos as well as more dynamic photos of my products in use. This will happen over time since I now have 70 products. Then, I plan to start pushing more gift sets for various purposes and to hopefully get two new product lines out there. The first being the long awaited handmade books. The second being Bath Magic, a line of intentional and mood altering bath and body products.

Meanwhile, my main focus next year is to launch my successful event services business, Excelsior Events. I've already been working on draft #2 of my business plan and cementing the image I want this business to have. I'll be buying the business license very soon maybe even before the year is out. From there its designing the logo, finishing the website and creating all the forms I will need. Then marketing myself and my business. I hope to have at least 8 clients next year.

That's a lot but I know now that I can do it. This will be my last post of the year. I figured I would give us all a break next week and come back with new stuff on the 4th. For me the holidays started already but no matter what your beliefs I wish you and yours a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations

Monday, December 14, 2015

2016 Planathon

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in an online event for entrepreneurs called 2016 Planathon. All of us who joined got great tips, tricks and challenges for how to plan for our businesses in 2016. This morning I took some time to plan out the next few weeks for how I am going to implement some of what I learned so I can hit the ground running with a plan in 2016. I'll share my thoughts and my plans in a blog post soon so look out for that. 

Anyway, Planathon basically consisted of 25 videos created by various professionals with small businesses sharing their insights for ten minutes or less. Each video ended with a challenge. All of this took place over a period of five days in a facebook group set up specifically to host this event. The hostess of the planathon, Amber McCue, explained the overall concept and how the first days videos built the framework and from their we could pick and choose which videos we wanted to watch depending on our goals for the next year. 

The first five videos taught how to pick your focus for the next year and then your goals for the first 90 days. For me, my areas to focus on are image, systems, marketing and sales. I had planned to open Excelsior Events this year but had no plan for how to achieve that goal. Now I've moved it back to March 21st, 2016. Since that's roughly 90 days into 2016, I'll keep that date as my official launch date. 

A lot of the videos were focused on topics for people already in business. And I'll keep those in mind for my etsy business but I think I've got a good momentum going for that already. So I focused on what could help me launch a brand new business. Remember this entire event was set up to help one plan out their next year. One video was Plan to Launch by Farideh who happens to be a musician. Who knows better about launches? The most important thing to do for a launch, she said, was to schedule it and then talk about it. Tell people about it over and over. Have blogs and other sites talking about it and leading potential customers to you and whatever it is you are launching. So I'll be doing that for the next few months as well as actually getting ready to launch.

Another great video for me was How to Sell Your Products and Services by Yasmine Khater. It had three important points: 1. Understand what your clients want, 2. Price your solution to hit your income targets, and 3. Make sure to be in front of enough people to get leads. For me, I think it was the last two days that held the most helpful videos. With tips like tracking my time, creating written systems for how I do things, figuring out why I am doing this business, getting clear on my identity, image and voice and having that always in front of me. Also, how to take confident actions and make confident decisions.

All of these videos are fairly short; no longer then 15 minutes, and they are very straightforward. No one is giving you THE solution to all your problem but key tools to help you help yourself. And of course they are just enough that you might sign up for more with any or all of the experts involved. Which I can't fault them for, this is a perfect example for lead generation. 

These videos come at a great time for me while writing my 2nd business plan draft. At this time, I have been tracking how much time it takes me to do regular tasks so that I can schedule things better. I have also been doing some of challenges from the Take Confident Action by Rachel Luna and Grow Your Business and Life by Katie Den Ouden videos where it comes to scheduling my plan. Doing weekly check-ins and my top 3 daily priorities for each goal I have. I plan to next work on my vision board for my life and Excelsior Events. 

Taking things one day at a time rather than thinking about a 5 year or even 1 year plan is better for me. Its less overwhelming and therefore less anxiety and disappointment. And also less procrastination. 

If anyone is interested in learning more about the 2016 Planathon. Feel free to join the Facebook group here. All the videos and ongoing conversations will be available for a year the hostess assures us. 

Happy planning,

~Lashette

Monday, December 7, 2015

Winter is Coming

Woohoo! Welcome to December!! I don't know why I'm so excited. I hate the cold. But it is the holiday season and I love to spend it with my family and have a good time. So, I guess that is what I am excited for.

Anyway, December 21st is coming soon and since that is not only the Winter Solstice or Yule, but also the first day of winter, my Etsy shop is all prepped and ready for the winter season and the slow return of longer days. I figured I'd give you guys a glimpse of what is coming up since the Fall Favorites post was so popular. So without further ado, here is what's coming up during the coldest season of the year.

The Yule Incense and Oil are already available as individual items and in a Ritual Kit so order them quickly for the holiday. Then later this season, get a jump on the Imbolc Incense and Oil as well for your Pagan holiday and/or ritual needs.

I've already got some body butters out to help everyone combat that dry winter skin but I'll be introducing even more new ones: Cinnamon, Clove and Peppermint. All scents we love. Cinnamon and Clove to warm you up and Peppermint to cool you down. You might not think that's necessary but who else gets overheated in all their layers? I know I do.

I cannot forget about the Zodiac Bath Soaks that will be renewed this season. Capricorn, Pisces and Aquarius bath soaks are coming back. To be honest, all twelve bath soaks are available all year round because they make great gifts.


Last year around this time I introduced the Vanilla n' Honey Facial Scrub which became very popular so I'm bringing that back. Some more items to help you cool down will be the Eucalyptus n' Spearmint Body Scrub and the Bath of Wintergreen. Both of these items are part of my original product lines but I haven't been able to update them in awhile so I am happy to be bringing them back. Both have great, refreshing scents that will keep you from feeling those winter blues. One other original item to help lift your spirits that is coming back is the Uplifting Scrub. It will be like a happy reunion in the shop with these items.

Next, I'll be introducing some more gift sets. The Chamomile, Lavender and Lemon gifts sets are waiting patiently to debut. But don't wait for me if you've got something in mind. I always take custom orders and you know I've got that gift wrap available in the shop. Don't you love how my business colors work so well with holiday colors? Or any season for that matter.

If you want to know exactly what is coming out when, hit the Subscribe to Newsletter button on your top right for up to the minute details.

~Lashette

Scarlet Moon Creations




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gift Wrap and Gift Sets

So it turns out that picking out gift wrapping for bath and body products is hard. Who knew?! Seriously though, if you don't have those handy plastic molds that will help your product(s) fit into a nice box, gift wrapping becomes a process. And googling spa gift wrapping or bath and body gift wrapping or any similar searches will just bring you basic homemade gift tags and tissue paper in a gift bag. Not the kind of thing I want when I need to mail most of my products out to people.

This meant I had to experiment. For shipping purposes I mostly use white boxes and red tissue paper since they go with my Scarlet Moon Creations image though sometimes I will use black or white tissue paper as well. I also include a handwritten note on specialty paper and my business card. Of course I include either bubble wrap or packing peanuts to keep each order safe in the box. I thought about gift wrapping the boxes but was told that ribbons or wrapping paper can get caught in the sorting machines so that's a no go. Gift bags were still on the table but stuffing them into a shipping box seems unprofessional.

What's funny is that back in September when I was first starting to think about this a friend, and former co-worker, asked me for a custom order which including mailing a gift wrapped 4oz bath soak to a separate address. So I got to try one experiment which was a gift box in the shipping box. It worked really well but so far I've only found inexpensive gift boxes up to a certain size. Which is to say that none are big enough for more than one product, like a gift set.

Gift sets are the other product line I've been working towards offering more of this year. They may one day become the focal point of my business, but more on that another day. I have more than enough products now and quite a few with similar scents that can be easily offered as a set. So, I looked around to see what other Etsy businesses were doing as far as packaging gift sets, but it looks like they all just send the set in the shipping box arranged nicely. No gift wrapping at all. Now, this is fine for those who order for themselves or for someone else and plan to then gift wrap the item themselves and bring it to the person. But what if they want the gift/gift set sent directly to the recipient like my friend did?

 For him, I added the gift wrap price to the order then put the jar of bath soak into a white gift box and tied it with a red and white ribbon and a white tag with a personalized message. The recipient loved it. So that is what I will do for individual orders of 4oz or bigger. For the oils and sample sized gifts, I decided that wrapping them in red or white tissue paper enclosed with matching washi tape and a red or white organza bag works beautifully. These can be used as stocking stuffers too. The tissue paper keeps the item a surprise and the organza bag keeps the tissue paper from easily tearing.

To be honest, I still don't know how to work in gift wrapping for a larger gift set. For a sample set I can wrap them the same as I would individually and just display them nicely in the shipping box. But the bigger jars are just too much for the tissue paper so I think this year I will forgo gift wrapping for larger gift sets and just add a special message card option.

If anyone out there has any suggestions let me know. Tata for now

~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations