Archive for November, 2011

Sales Update

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

With my first Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind me I’m happy to report that November sales are shaping up to be back to normal after my horrible October.  Yesterday I had my best day since launch with five bags sold and most taking advantaging of my free wrapping paper offer.  I usually average one bag sold a day, so this rush was certainly fun to see!  (No pepper spray needed.)

Besides the holiday hoopla, I’ve also found a way to take international orders.  The credit card companies take a little more because they consider it a “riskier” purchase, but I think it’s worth it to get the bags to places like Australia and Singapore.

The international shipping rates with FedEx are expensive – about $150 per bag.  I’ve had clients use international package forwarders like http://www.myus.com and http://www.bongous.com with much success.  These services will send your international packages for a cheaper rate because they are sending large shipments.  The client simply orders from my site and has it sent to the forwarder in the US.  Then the forwarding company send the bag to the end client.  Nice!

Thank you to everyone who had put the Alesya Bag on their wish list and of course, to those clients who have already purchased a bag.  I can’t wait to see all those gold and pink boxes go out!

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Free Gift Wrap!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Happy Cyber Monday!  As discussed last week, I WILL be offering free gift wrap starting today.

Just click on the free gift wrap box at checkout and your bag will come gift wrapped in the signature Alesya Bags gift box, dust bag and tissue PLUS gold wrapping paper and a fabric dark pink ribbon.  (You voted for gold paper and you got it.)

This is what the Alesya Bags packaging looks like – photos courtesy of Stitch Design Co.:

Alesya Bag Box

Best of luck shopping today!  I hope you make a huge dent in your holiday list.

 

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Cyber Monday

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Cyber Monday is just under a week away.  It’s the Monday after Black Friday when people get back to their desks and start holiday shopping online.  According to RetailCustomerExperience.com 78.4% of online retailers will have a special promotion to celebrate the occasion.

I’d hate to miss out on the hoopla.  I live for the hoopla.

But I’m a new business.  I can’t slash prices on my one product.  The business isn’t ready to handle that.  But I would like to do something.

Since June, about 1 in 4 bag purchases have been gifts.  Mainly from men to women.  I’m guessing that ratio will go up for the holidays.  And what do guys want?   Well, besides a cold beer?  To avoid gift wrapping all together.

I’m considering giving free gift wrapping with every bag purchase this holiday season.  What do you think?  A good idea?  Here are some of the wrapping paper choices:

Gold – This is craft paper on one side (brown) and gold on the other.  Festive and also coordinates with the gold accents on the bag.

Eggplant – Once again this is a craft paper on one side and purple on the other.  The whole thing would be very Alesya Bags brand inspired.

Magenta – Girls like pink, but is this too much?  Or is it just the right amount of too much?

Each box will come with the signature Alesya “Rubine Red” (aka dark pink) ribbon.  Which paper do you like the best?

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Maribelle’s Christmas Ornaments

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Four days before Thanksgiving and we’ve started our Christmas preparation.  My daughter has a small tree of her own.  Now that she’s at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 I wanted to let her help decorate this year.

She picked out these painted ornaments in the December 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living.  Mostly because she is obsessed with paint.

The Martha Stewart Living iPad app (Which I must say is excellent and beautifully done – seriously, even if you’re not the Martha type, you should check out to see what can be done with the medium.) had a helpful How To video.

There was also a fun animated cover –

While Maribelle napped I set up the project.  We went the Michael’s earlier in the day and she picked out the paint colors.

 

With a 2-year-old we used plastic ornaments rather than glass.   It was a must.

I tried the first three paint jobs on my own.  The most surprising thing was the direction say “tap” on the ornaments to get the paint to disperse.  Um…I’d say “slap” or “pound” would be more accurate.

When Maribelle came downstairs she was very excited to get started.  This is her “thinking” face.  She takes painting quite seriously.

Her favorite part was squeezing the paint into the ornament.

My husband Josh even painted a few. We ended up with a several splattered and solid ornaments in sort of an Easter egg pallet.

We even had one “all-splatter” ornament thanks to Maribelle.

The ornaments need to dry overnight before we can use them.  Once the her tree is done, I’ll share it with you.  It’s certainly going to show more of her personality this year.

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Does Social Media Really Work?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Don’t you hate when people ask you that?

As a marketer, it seems like you get this question a LOT.  “I know we’re supposed to have a social media plan, but does it actually lead to sales or revenue?”  Couldn’t you just pull your hair out?

The month of October was my worst month of sales to date.  During that time I wasn’t doing any social media – no Facebook, Twitter, blogging – not even a Pin.  And guess what happened?  I had HALF the sales I normally do.  HALF.

Even on days when you don’t feel like it, keep up your Internet presence.  I’m proof that it’s worth it.

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Where Have I Been?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

ginger ale and peppermintI have a lot to tell you.  But let’s start with the big news – I’m pregnant!

The 12 week ultrasound was on Friday and the baby looked great.  Good heart rate, measured three days ahead of schedule and I even saw fingers and toes.  I still find the technology kind of amazing considering the baby is only 2 inches long.

My due date is May 25th.  After having a c-section, I need another one and it will be scheduled at week 39.  (Week 40 is considered your due date for any pregnancy newbies.)  In fact, my doctor said she could schedule the delivery date as soon as my next appointment in four weeks.  After being two weeks late the first time around, this is a revelation.

We won’t find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  For me it’s one of life’s great surprises.  Although I REALLY wanted a girl the first time around, now I can honestly say I’d be happy either way.  The second time around, I also know how important it is to have a healthy baby and that will be my biggest concern.

And now for the not so fun news.

I’ve been sick.  Really, really, debilitating, head in the toilet, can’t look, smell, think, touch or see food sick.  I’d love to tell you “Oh, it hasn’t been that bad!” or “I ate a cracker and then I felt fine!” but frankly, it’s sucked.

I was hospitalized with my daughter because I couldn’t keep water down – or anything else – for 48 hours.  This time I tried to get in front of it and started taking Zofran at the first onset of nausea at 5 weeks.  I was still so sick I thought the medication wasn’t working and at one point stop taking it.  After becoming violently ill again, I went back on the drugs.

For five weeks I didn’t eat any meals.  I survived on saltines, cereal, toast, ginger ale, peppermints, water and Flintstone’s vitamins.  I didn’t go grocery shopping, cook, go out to eat or look at the Internet.  (There is a LOT of food on the Internet.)

Eventually, my doctor added Phenergan to my regiment.  It’s a stronger drug but the side effects aren’t ideal.  You can’t drive on it and it pretty much puts me to sleep every time I take it.

My work suffered.  I haven’t been blogging, tweeting or posting on Facebook.  Behind the scenes I did what was necessary – answering client questions, paying the bills and keeping up with the manufacturing process.  I never was in my office and conducted business from my couch and at times, my bed.

To tell you it was a frustrating time would be an understatement.  I love working.  And to be so ill, for so long and have it keep me from all the things I love to do was depressing.  My family was very concerned, but there was little that could be done other than wait it out.

Thankfully, I’m starting to turn the corner.  The color has returned to my face.  I’m only feeling sick about half the time.  Last night I had a piece of pizza at our local pizza joint – smells and all.  I can’t tell you how nice it feels to return to the land of living.  Amazing!

Now on to make the hard push for the holiday season.  For most retailers it’s do or die time and I’m no exception.  Can’t wait to go through my first official gift season with all of you.  Thank you for your fantastic support.  You have really got me through some rough moments!

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