Boutique Karma

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Shop Update June 2, 2011

Filed under: Biz Works — boutiquekarma @ 9:06 pm
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Sadly my friends I have placed both my Etsy & Artfire shops on vacation mode. Canada Post appears to be striking for an unforseen amount of time.

When postal service is back up and running Boutique Karma will be holding a special customer appreciation salewith cool daily deals for a week. 

Tara xoxo

 

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Crafty Poll – Oooops? What now? May 9, 2010

Filed under: Biz Works,Sales & Promo — boutiquekarma @ 6:00 am
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Hey Crafty Ladies & Gents – I have a little poll for you. What do you do with your seconds? By seconds I mean stuff you aren’t excited about, stuff that doesn’t meet your high level of standard?

Working with material sometimes I run into an issue where the fabric placement doesn’t excite me on the final product or my corners didn’t turn nicely and appear to rounded. Often because of the repeat on the fabric my characters might appear upside down right smack in the center of a coffee sleeve or not at all.

This is the case today for one of my new Mug Huggers – which I thought I would giveaway here on my blog. It is still super cute, it just wasn’t perfect, it was missing the major character of Alice. The only sign of our heroine is her upside down feet in the second picture. The mug hugger is all black with black stitching, the small pictures are white with a small touch of gold shimmer. It really is a whimsical beauty, perfect for any child at heart or fan of the original classic.

So here’s the deal, no crazy hoops to jump through.  Just leave a comment & email address and you’ll be up to win a cute Mug Hugger of your own. If in your comment you suggest another venue or idea for my ‘ooops’ I’ll be eternally grateful.

Tara xoxo

Mug Hugger - Tea Party

 

Biz Works – Determining my Core Values April 22, 2010

Last week I missed my 3rd installment of my Lounge of Commerce 7 days to Awesome weekly feature – did you miss it? Did you notice I was MIA? Well over the past week since I missed my feature I’ve been thinking about it and feeling bad that I dropped the ball. I work on each post for BK on the day it is to be posted, which is not how it should be done – most bloggers are days ahead if not weeks. I’ll be a procrastinator probably to the end.. this is my Achilles heel.

So here we are on determining my core values – Beth of the Lounge warns not to be phony and to be true to. She gave a huge list of different values and asked to circle the ones we hold true to our own values. Here are the one’s that I felt reflected me (in no particular order):

Accessibility, Community, Honesty, Loyalty, Nurturing, Pleasure, Personal Growth, Beauty, Pride, Variety, Earth friendly,  Simplicity, Sincerity, Support, Tradition,

Now I’m going to use these words (or some of them) in a series of statements that reflect the intrinsic values of Boutique Karma:

1. I believe in offering a variety or items of beauty, while nurturing a customer base through accessibility, honesty and support.

2. I believe in Personal Growth while continuing in family traditions of sewing and quilting.

3. I believe in taking pleasure and pride in my work.

Words left out: community, earth friendly.

I believe in a sense of community on many levels: I shop local whenever possible, and over the past year my local has grown to a world wide market of some fabulous sellers. My twitter group has also become very much a part of my virtual community. It is very important to me, and I just couldn’t fit it in.

Earth friendly – this is also a very important core value of mine. However, I could have put it in my core values, but I honestly feel that sporting a reusable sleeve may be eco friendly, but purchasing that coffee in a disposable cup daily is not very friendly. It goes against the same value I would be touting. I love them because they are cute, fashionable, eye-catching and as a side note better than the cardboard or double cupping.

I feel that I am running my business in line with these values: I am striving to improve my knowledge of my craft, I push myself personally to better myself, I feel that I communicate and try to cultivate a connection with other artisans and my customers. I offer a simplistic line of items with a huge variety of beautiful fabrics to choose from. I hope my ideal customer would appreciate and identify with my core values.

Are you a small biz? Have you checked out the Lounge of Commerce yet? Head over there and settle in and let me know what you’ve learned!

 

Biz Works – Week 2 – My Ideal Customer April 8, 2010

So my week 2 (or your day 2) of the Lounge of Commerce’s “7 days to Awesome”  has me looking inwards to find my ‘ideal’ customer. The people I see myself reaching for with my products. For the sake of this exercise I’m looking mainly at my Cafe brand of the Boutique Karma line, although I’m sure I could stretch most of it to my Spa line as well.

Who is it that I see buying my stuff? Why does it matter? Why not just put myself out there to everyone? Someone has to bite right?? Ummm… not really. If I spread myself to thin I may never be able to make a connection with the people looking for my mug huggers, coasters or reusable coffee cuffs.

So with Beth from the Lounge of Commerce and her fabulous list of questions I ended up with the following notes about my ideal customer:

She is between 20-35 years old, of any marital status. She lives in the suburbs with a 25-45 minute commute she makes a modest income with a little bit of wiggle room for some perks for herself. She probably spends 30 -45 minutes online in the evening checking her email, Facebook, digg and gossip websites. For fun, she enjoys going out with the girls for coffee or dinners – to catch up or escape the kids for some ‘me’ time.

Why would she want my product? She likes having a little slice of personal heaven – Her morning cup of coffee is hers, to sit and enjoy it in the morning with a fun Mug Hugger is another way of showing that there are certain things in life that are still all about her. By stopping through the drive through for her regular double-double she slips her cup through her coffee sleeve, she keeps her fingers cool while driving with that hot, hot coffee and when she gets to the office it serves as a fun accessory setting her apart from others. Yes, there is the eco-friendly issue of the coffee sleeve (she likes to brag about that), but if truth were told it serves more a style thing, let’s be honest, if it were all about saving the earth she would pour her coffee in a thermal tumbler instead of burning the gas in the drive through and wasting paper product daily on the takeout cup.

What excites her? Well, she enjoys taking time to herself, it could  be going for a walk, sitting on the balcony with her feet up reading a book, bubble baths, massages.. if she’s a mother these moments are few and far between, so she takes it very seriously. What scares her? She hates how as she gets older her responsibilities change and she finds it much more difficulty to find that time for herself.  This is why the moments when sipping her coffee or driving in the car are so precious to her.

Aside for online here are 10 places she may enjoy shopping:

gift shop
at a small coffee shop boutique
health food shop
farmer’s market
small indie shops
chapters indigo
the center kiosks of the mall
garage sales – you never know when you’ll find that gem
consignment shops

oh should I add she may be a compulsive shopper for low ticket items, my cafe line of products falls right into her fun budget of $10 or less (in fact even with the shipping included)

Aqua Reuseable Coffee Cuff in Wishing Flower

 

Biz Works – Week 1 – My Brand Personality April 1, 2010

Looking over the past year that I’ve been with Etsy (yes this year has FLOWN) I’ve changed, updated and worked on branding, but only to my tastes and with very little thought to fashioning a ‘brand.’ Just making cutesy icons and banners that I liked the style of. Reading over the ‘Taking Stock’ section of the ‘7 Days to Awesome‘ ebook I’ve realized the following things:

– my blog color scheme is cold, it does not reflect my personality or the feel of my products. My products are homey, cozy, feel good products and the blog works against that energy

– I need to work on getting some sewn in labels for my goods for a few reasons: brand identity, professionalism, and to allow customers to later find me again

– I have no cohesive branding: I am a coffee cup, a lone tree, a crayon roll up – I have to get it together.

– I want to ditch the tree banner & avatar (having problems with that one – my coding is for the coffee cup but the tree is haunting me on my blog)

– My packaging has to change: I want to use PLA Eco friendly flap bags, if I want to promote many of my products as eco-friendly, they should be packaged as such

– My shop is becoming to diverse in products, I want to separate my cafe line from my spa eye pillows into two different shops

… and all of that just from reading the first part of the chapter!

Now I suggest you head over to the lounge to play along for the next section: Homework! Beth put it all together in a really fun Glamour magazine style ‘who are you’ kind of questionnaire to get you thinking of your branding. So fun.. here’s what I’ve found out:

I love the color green, and most of my favorite places, vacations, and hobbies involve escape/comforts, and my favorite shopping place is fabric shops. How do those things come into my branding? Well – on my business cards my Boutique Karma title text is all in green and it should be as well in my banner. My products are all comfort/escape products. What better than the comfort of a cup of coffee in the morning or escaping a rough day with the relaxation brought upon by an aromatherapy eye pillow? The fabric shopper in me chooses the fabulous fabrics you see everyday in my shop – beautiful, trendy, gorgeous fabric. All of which I wish to keep.

The actual homework section of the chapter involves giving your company a distinct personality –

I am at a loss on how to describe what follows, I just urge you to check it out. I’m a little shy to share with your my scribblings and brainstorming. Maybe I’ll take a photo. All I can say is that I’m seeing my brand clearer than ever and if I were to describe it as a place it would be:  Central Perk Coffee shop – comfort amongst ‘friends’.

 

Biz Works – Lounge of Commerce March 31, 2010

Filed under: Biz Works — boutiquekarma @ 4:37 pm

Hi guys – I’m not sure if many of you are Canadian Indie business owners, but if you are you may be familiar with Beth Smith of Indie North. Daily she showcases shops from across our beautiful country, I’m pretty sure many of us know her. Late last year she started working on her passion project ‘the Lounge of Commerce‘ to help us shop owners become more successful by sharing tips & tutorials. I urge you to check out her site, which just launched this week and sign up for her newsletter – upon doing so you’ll receive this awesome ebook ‘7 Days to Awesome: Put Your Quirk to Work & Fashion Your Ideal Brand.’ I’ve read over the entire Ebook and just love it. What sets Beth apart from many others out there is her personality – she’s quirky, creative and fun, so reading this ebook isn’t like your average text-book style ‘build your business’ stuff out there, it is fresh and unique. Check it out – you have nothing to lose.

Over the next weeks I’m going to go through her 7 days and be personal and let you in on what I’ve realized about my business from reading this ebook. Let me be honest here – there is a lot that I’ve been doing wrong – there is a lot of areas where I’m losing out from lack of focus. I’ve realized just through skimming through this ebook that I’ve been trying to be everything for everyone which is exhausting. I’ll be posting this feature on my Thursday editions, this will also give you a chance to head over to the Lounge NOW and play along with me, it’ll be fun and we can compare notes.

See you tomorrow when I look and take stock of my ‘Brand Personality’ and we can find the little holes and try to patch them up.  (IE… what is that tree doing in my avatar – does it really say anything about my biz??! – NOPE)

Tara xoxo

here’s the link: http://loungeofcommerce.com/