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.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reflection, Thanks and a Gift

Wow, it has been awhile hasn't it. It hasn't been for lack of topics or want that has kept me away but busyness and discoveries and derailments. That's a somewhat poetic way of saying I kept forgetting to post when it was convenient and conveniently remembering when it wasn't.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Product Focus - Self Care

Image by Beth Hurlin via 
Juhan Sonin on Flickr
When I started Scarlet Moon Creations my goal was to make more money doing something I thought would be simple. How wrong I was and how far I have come with some knowledge. Honestly, even if it had been super simple I would have complicated it by always trying to improve. 

However I did not research beyond product packaging, ingredients, basic shipping, bookkeeping and how to use Etsy. I had this image in my head of selling spa quality all natural products to the every woman. Which is not bad but not specific enough. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people doing the same and that's just on Etsy. Then there's the other products I decided to add. My handmade books (journals and photo albums) as well my pagan products. Tons of people doing those as well.

Last year after joining the Pagan Business Network and finding out how to do much more research I realized the "if you build it they will come" idiom is deceiving. I had a lot more work to do. One of the things I've realized that I needed to do was decide on a product focus and target market.

After a lot of thought and research I decided that self care would be my product focus. What is self care? I have seen several definitions but the one I am focusing on is "intentional actions to take care of yourself." Having dealt with anxiety and depression I know that bathing and grooming are big parts of self care. As is talking and writing things down. Being aware of what you are putting on as well as in your body is mindful self care. So this ties into the natural movement and the herbal and aromatherapy communities. I also see self care being a major facet of practicing witchcraft and other types of paganism. Improving oneself, sacred bathing, ritual baths, journaling, Book of Shadows and Grimoires, astral traveling, anointing, cleansing and so much more.

Self care as my product focus leaves the door open for future products that I have been considering as well. With all of this in mind earlier this year I changed my Facebook pages focus to posts promoting self care and inspirational messages as well as my products. I have started organizing my Pinterest page to do the same there. Next will be Instagram and Google+. When I finally have an email list my newsletter will highlight self care as well.

Don't get me wrong self care is different for everyone and it includes emotional, spiritual, and mental activities as well as physical ones like using your favorite scented body scrub to scrub the day away. But I want my products to help you help yourself. For those people that do see an at home spa experience as helpful to their well being I am your gal. However, I also think the acts of scrubbing or washing away and putting or smoothing on to be symbolic. And I plan to make more products that tap into that symbolism to help those in need take away the unwanted and put on those good feelings. 

If nothing else, helping people feel good and take care of themselves helps me feel good, so why not?
~Lashette
  Scarlet Moon Creations

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Logo Design

I apologize for my absence. I've been working hard to get Excelsior Events, my event business, off the ground. You know, that other creative business. I've been focusing mostly on building my brand, logo and website. People when I tell you to get help with these things, get help. I designed my own logo and it took forever. There are too many options and I went way off the image I wanted to have (well not totally). Now I'm wondering if I should start over. I wound up editing my slogan to better explain my logo but then I didn't feel like it fit my business name. So I shortened it. The full version and explanation are in my business plan of course but I was recently reminded that too much information confuses people. 

That aside, I did a pretty good job. Its not completely original art but its distinctive enough. I used Gimp, a program I didn't have much familiarity with but I found its similar enough to photoshop, with its many features, and its free. It moves slowly on my old computer but that's the price I pay. With some instruction reading and lots of youtube video watching I got what I wanted.

My hesitation in changing the logo is because I don't think my other idea will translate well for more serious and sober business events clientele. Also my website launch date has long passed. Thinking about keeping it at this point doesn't feel like settling. More like a good business decision. Maybe one day I will have a pro update it. For now, I am quite proud of my creation. And I am happy with its versatility.

It is easily blown up or downsized. I have a black and white version for when necessary. 3 colors can get expensive when printing but not beyond what I am willing to pay. I also think it looks pretty enough for potential wedding clients as well as meeting clients.

Check it it below. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Spells and magic - Glamour

By Glamour [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I think one of the ways my products can be used magically is with glamour magic. This is actually a practice I only got into recently since I associated glamour magic with wanting to look more attractive or to feel good about your physical appearance. I, personally, don't really think about my looks once I'm dressed for the day and didn't see the need for using glamour. Having learned a bit more about it it looks like I've unintentionally done it before. The first thing that comes to mind is when getting ready to go clubbing. I love dancing and dressing in a way I wouldn't normally. Sexy and fun is the name of the game when I prepare to go to a club. (And comfort, because its not fun or sexy when your clothes don't fit right or are not warm enough.) So I have a whole ritual I do that involves sexy, dance music, the right clothes, hair and sometimes makeup. Its like putting on another Lashette. Or taking her out rather. I know if certain things don't go right I won't have as much or any fun. See comfort above.

Another thing I do is wear yellow when I want to be happy or keep the happy feeling I already have. I also tend to wear girlier clothing during those times as well. But just doing these acts and wearing these clothes is not the magic. Its the intent and will behind it all. These are not things I do unconsciously. I know what works for me so I do it and believe in it. However, I never thought of these mini rituals as magic let alone as glamour magic.

When I started Scarlet Moon Creations I had to start incorporating using body scrubs and bath salts and body butters into my daily life. (I would never sell something I haven't tried on myself first.) Doing this changed my outlook on these types of items from seeing them as luxuries to seeing them as essential to self care and body care. Your skin is your body's biggest organ and it comes into contact with a lot of things during the day. It protects your much more delicate insides from a lot if harsh stuff but it can still be damaged and that protection takes its toll over the years. So you have to "love the skin you're in" to use Olay's slogan. And anything worth doing is worth doing well.

As the world often shows, your skin has more than one purpose. We as a people often see and use skin as a way of identifying ourselves and others. Whether it be by the color, feel, scent, taste or look of our own or others skin. We see people with rough hands are hard workers while people with soft hands as privileged, for example. In America, we tend to see those who show more skin as confident (or overconfident) while those who perpetually cover up and shy. That's not including the things we use to cover our skin, clothes, makeup, jewelry, tattoos, glasses, etc. Certain clothes show ones profession while others show we're out for a good time (my clubbing clothes). So due to public perception and how it has influenced us we take care of our skin and the things that cover it by projecting a certain persona that we know others will recognize both consciously and unconsciously. We want others to think of us in a certain way but we also want to think of ourselves in a certain way.

This is where glamour magic comes in. Its something we all do a bit anyway but glamour magic takes it that extra willful step by us making a conscious choice to put our energy and will behind our skin and coverings to project a certain aspect of ourselves louder than usual. To go back to one of my examples. When I want to be happy I throw on my yellow sundress and tell myself I am going to have a happy sunshine day. And when I smooth on lemon body butter, I tell myself that my skin will be smooth, moisturized and warm throughout the day but also that I will be upbeat and awake today. I associate lemons with happiness as well.

So I think that my bath and body products would make a good addition to any glamour magic, spell or ritual.

~Lashette
  Scarlet Moon Creations

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pagan Business Network

I have been neglectful in talking about the Pagan Business Network. Its amazing how much this group has done for me and I have done for them in the short time that I have been a member. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write about this great group.

The Pagan Business Network (PBN) is exactly what its called. Created by Charissa Iskiwitch in the fall of 2014, PBN is all about networking and creating resources for pagan business owners and pagan-friendly businesses. I found out about the Pagan Business Network through an article on Patheos Pagan about it last year.

In the spirit of collaboration and cooperation PBN offers many benefits depending on your needs. For me the most useful part of PBN is the Facebook group. There you find many people in the same or similar position to you. Whether you are pre-startup or are in your 10th year of business; doing ecommerce or a brick and mortar store; offering a supply or a service; a pagan or just pagan-friendly, as long as you are there are people and businesses willing to help you and do business with you. I love that it is a judgement free zone. And I have learned a lot and improved my business thanks to the many knowledgeable and helpful people within the group.

But the group is not all. The website, PaganBusinessNetwork.com, offers tons of more official resources. Such as paid membership, the blog roll, a list of wholesalers and other suppliers, upcoming events of interest for those who are vendors, business spotlights (an interview of your business), free swag bags for event organizers, a chance to have your business products and/or literature in those swag bags, PBN radio, reviews, many advertising opportunities and much more. Then there is the Pagan Marketplace by PBN a free place to advertise your business, products, services, and events.

And of course I can't forget the various social media channels where PBN has accounts set up to spread the word about its most active members and other important information. For example, The official Facebook page offers pagan and business news and advice from around the web as well as sharing ladders to help get your business, products and services out there. There is also an Etsy Team created to help those with shop on the Etsy marketplace take advantage of all Etsy has to offer. Look for PBN on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ as well with more to come soon.

Being an admin gives me the privilege to know what is going on behind the scenes, because I'm nosy. And let me tell you there is so much more to come. PBN is only going to get bigger and brighter from here. So go if you consider yourself pagan and have a business or run a pagan-friendly business you should definitely check out the Pagan Business Network (PBN).

Now I am off to do some more work. Have a great day and see you next week,
~Lashette

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy New Year

New Year, New Me? Ha! I don't think so. That only works for me on my birthday. Its just the continuation of my story. That being said, I am just continuing my story here from a few weeks ago. I had planned to have blog posts in January but doing stuff took priority over writing about it. January is National Creativity Month and Get Organized Month. Oddly, without knowing this I proceeded to do both. Maybe its symbol of art imitating life.

We had the first of four mercury retrogrades in January. Everybody I know was preparing for and/or cursing it. I ignored it as usual but I now have to wonder if my mindset of continuing what I had already started last year rather than thinking of it as the start of something new was worked. I don't normally have any issues during mercury retrograde so I can't be sure. Whatever works though.

The plan for January was to focus on Excelsior Events but in the beginning that was hard. I don't actually think I accomplished that fully. In December I received a critique on my product photos for Scarlet Moon Creations and asked for more advice from others. Since then my brain had been worried about improving so that I can get more sales. I also came up with a posting plan for SMC on Facebook so I've been trying that out. I've also been renewing listings and the gods know what else.

Meanwhile, for Excelsior Events I have finally typed up my business plan and have been designing a logo like crazy. All in between trying to get hired as a wedding officiant. I added my business listing to yellow pages and have been outlining my marketing plan. Next is to do the same with my financial plan. Put it all together and go up to the business solutions center for help with the next step.

Personally, I've been looking for a job to help me pay for all the things I want to do with my businesses. I also started doing the Grimoire Challenge on tumblr. Its been very helpful personally and professionally. Thanks to this challenge I discovered One Note which I now love. I also finally finished reading the Mabinogi and two other books. I've also found myself taking on more responsibilities with PBN. Oh, I have to make a post about PBN. They are amazing. I took an ad out with them in a pagan magazine last month. I'll be trying again this month too.

As for what happened to the blog, well I didn't have the urge to blog with all that other stuff going on. I actually wrote this post on the 31st. Now I have ideas for new topics and the need to get those I've already written out there. So expect more blogging this month. Topics such as analytics, logo design, business plan writing, bath magic, hair magic, PBN, photography and more to come.

Happy New Year and thanks for staying for more,
~Lashette
Scarlet Moon Creations