Tuesday, September 29, 2009


-something you do while you sleep-
-far removed from reality-
-seems unattainable yet within reach-
-owning my own business-
-no acne-
-lighter than air-
-the ultimate-
-no homework-
-in the clouds somewhere-
-more time-

What does "dream" mean to you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Step Back in Time

On our way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we stopped for a day at the colonial capital of America-Williamsburg, Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg is a town dedicated to the way life was before and during the Revolutionary War. Most of the buildings are reconstructed, but a few original buildings can be found up and down Duke of Gloucester Street. Along with all the original buildings like the post office, the blacksmith, and the printing shop, actors dressed in traditional colonial clothing walk around the town and talk with visitors as if it were the 1700’s.

We were fortunate to see a military reenactment scene at the center of town. The fife and drummers marched down the center street of town to meet the militia men awaiting the appearance of the Commander-in Chief— George Washington. Mr. Washington, as the townspeople call him, came riding on horseback into the center and then gave a thrilling patriotic speech to the men about the importance of the Revolutionary War. After the speech, the militia practiced a military drill firing their muskets and cannons. It was really neat!

For dinner, we ate at Christiana Campbell’s. This restaurant dates back to the colonial period. What is really cool is that George Washington ate at this very restaurant! All the food is inspired by traditional colonial recipes…yummy slaw, spoonbread, and seafood! The d├ęcor is exactly how it would have been back in those days. Dinner was even enjoyed by candlelight.

Being the American government geek I am, Williamsburg is one of my favorite cities! I just love the history of this great country, and being in Williamsburg takes me right back to that time of true patriotism. Everyone was united for one purpose…freedom!

This thought now takes me to the present. Now it’s democrats versus republicans. Now everyone is at each other’s throats. Now everyone is serving their own cause. We Americans have lost sight of the vision that started this great country in the first place.

Take a step back in time and remember all that was sacrificed, all that was fought for, and all that was passionately debated so we can enjoy the privileges we do today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Sunday Thought

"Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ;
let us regard it as the source of all our hopes,
and the foundation of all our peace.
Ignorance and unbelief may see nothing
in the sufferings of Calvary
but the cruel martyrdom of an innocent man:
faith will see in the death of Jesus
the payment of man's enormous debt to God,
and the complete salvation of all who believe."
-J.C. Ryle [1816-1900] Pastor and Author

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Seller Tips: Analyze the Situation

In my Entrepreneurship class, we do this analysis exercise at least twice a week for various products and businesses. It finally clicked: This can be applied to my Etsy shop!

Analyzing your situation is key to running a successful business. Doing this exercise will get you stop and deeply think about your business. Write all your thoughts down. You may even discover something new about your business!

1. Description of your product- What exactly do you sell? What makes your product different than what’s already on the market? Do you use different materials? Do you have a different technique? Be as specific and detailed as possible—Get down to the nitty-gritty if you will.

2. Who is your market?- Who purchases your products? “I sell to everyone!” Well, not exactly. Be realistic. Think about demographics: gender, age, geographic location, income. Knowing who your target market is will make you more efficient in the type of products you offer and how you promote—saving time and money!

3. Who is your completion?- Who else sells the same things as you? List company names and Etsy shops. Keep in mind your competition is not only other Etsy shops, but also mainstream businesses off Etsy as well. (For example, one of the products I sell is greeting cards. I compete with other card shops on Etsy AND big name companies like Hallmark and American Greetings—no pressure by the way!) Once you know who your competition is, take a look at their business-products, prices, marketing. Anticipate their next move so you can be ahead of them!

4. How will you dominate the market?- How will you get the word out there about your products? Ads on websites-blog-interesting photographs-posting flyers around town-craft shows-packaging the products in an eye catching way? This should be answered in light of your market.

This may be a little deep for some Etsy shops, but it is just to get you thinking about your business. I believe it is beneficial! Hope you learn something new about your business!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Entertaining Tip: Recipe Book Favors

Everyone is always looking to improve their entertaining skills. As fall comes upon us, gatherings like Thanksgiving will be taking place.

From my experience as a guest, I always love receiving a little "party favor" from the host. The favor says to me that the host went the extra mile to make the time special. Most times gatherings happen around a table of great food! Every time my family has a gathering, someone wants at least one of the recipes of what we served!

My idea is to make the time special by giving each family a recipe book filled with the recipes from the meal. That way they will always have the recipes, and they will have something that makes them feel special. The recipe book can be especially appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas...preserving recipes that have been in the family.

The possibilities are endless with what to use the recipe books for. Penguin Palooza now offers one of a kind recipe books that are sure to wow any guest and look great on any table setting. Custom orders can also be done too! Visit www.penguinpalooza.etsy.com for more information!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seller Tips: Arousing an Eager Desire

In my business communications class, we are reading How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was weary when I first heard the title...yikes, winning friends? Apparently this book is the world's best seller behind the Bible of course. As I was reading the assigned chapters, I was struck by what Carnegie was saying and amazed that it can apply to all facets of life...including business.

Chapter 3 can apply to those who have a business. Henry Ford, one of the greatest, most successful business men the world has ever known, said this:

"If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own."

So many times we as humans focus on our wants and what would make us happy. In our shops, of course we want to have sales everyday. But how often do we take a step back and think about the customers we are serving? What would they want to see in the shop? What product would blow their mind away? Customers know you want sales. Customers want the seller to focus on them and fulfill their desires. They ask, "What's in it for me?"

"Customers like to feel that they are buying--not being sold."

Think always in terms of the customer's point of view , and make the customer desire your product in a way that does not manipulate them.

"The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve other has an enormous advantage. He has little competition."

As the time comes to start preparing for the busy Christmas buying season, I am guilty of seeing dollar signs. Let's make an effort to see things from our customers point of view, and at the same time try to arouse their desires for our great products--not try to only fulfill our desires!

(Quotes in green are from Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Be Still...

Whew! What a whirlwind this past week and a half has been! I just started my junior year at Lake Erie College last Monday. I am majoring in Legal Studies with hopes to have the courage to attend law school some day! LEC is a small, private liberal arts college in Painesville, OH. It's a wonderful school...nice small class sizes, great academic programs, and the professors know your name and talk to you in the hallways!

Anyways, I already have been bogged down with three papers and one presentation already! I am also singing in the Lake Erie College Community Chorus and am a leader for one of the Christian groups on campus…not to mention a leader for the college group at church too! Between those groups, schoolwork, and work, I am pretty busy these days!

I regret to say I haven't spent as much time as I would like to on my Etsy shop! I have so much desire for it to take off, and I am determined to do so! My goal is for my Etsy shop to be my main source of income by the end of this school year…way in May 2010. Right now, I work in the food service industry that is not fulfilling at all! I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and my current class in entrepreneurship is fueling that desire more each day!

As you can see, my life can be overwhelming and sometimes seems unfulfilling. When life throws you into this mess, God states in the Bible to “Be still, and know I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) To “Be still” literally translates to “stop striving.” Stop trying so hard to figure life out on your own. Stop thinking you’re the answer to everything. Stop worrying about tomorrow. Almighty God is in control, and He will not give you a life that is not the PERFECT one for you. He can and will give you the peace and grace you need to make it through every passing day!

Be still…