Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Design Process

Hard to believe today is the first day of April. I sure don’t know how those last few months went by so fast, but they did! I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of Spring where you live! Spring time is one of my favourite seasons right up there with Fall. We have hung the bird feeders in our backyard and the little birds are beginning to return to it once again. The last couple of mornings I’ve been waking to the sounds of their chirping. There are lots of buds opening up on the plants and shrubs and some little flowers beginning to bloom! Such a beautiful time of year!  

Zazzle has been putting out new products, several over the past few months. It is a challenge as well as exciting to be able to create designs and ideas for these new items. They include items for the home, office, apparel and gift products. When you’re designing item by item it takes quite some time to keep the new products coming out quickly. Challenging to get to them all!  One day at a time, one step at a time!

Some of you may be wondering exactly what is involved in designing a new product so I thought I’d share the steps I go through here.

1. Design process begins with choosing one of the products to design. Say I choose to work on a ‘wedding favor box’, first I choose the style of box as there are several choices for this. Then I begin playing with drawing designs or patterns and choosing colors on my tablet until I am happy with one of them.

2. Next I upload the design to the ‘wedding favor box’ and proceed to post for sale. At this point I will add a descriptive title and then describe the product so that customers can find it.

3. I then choose one or two market categories that the product is suited for, like ‘special occasions’ and ‘weddings’. Finally I choose one of my store categories that is is best suited for. I have a ‘wedding’ category!

4. Next comes the important task of tagging the product, this is choosing the keywords that allow the product to be found in searches.  You want to choose words that people would think of related directly to the product that you’ve designed so that it will be found on the internet. This can be tricky sometimes!

5. When I am satisfied with my keywords I am ready to set my royalty rate on the product and go ahead and post it! This means it will soon show up in the Zazzle market place and in my store.  This process is done for each product, one at a time! That’s pretty much it! 

Here are some of my recent designs! Thanks for visiting Designs by Shell! There are always new items to browse!

Black Ribbon Pink Flower Wedding Favor Box
Black Ribbon Pink Flower Wedding Favor Box
 
Green Tiger Fur Pattern Party Favor Box
Green Tiger Fur Pattern Party Favor Box
 
Aqua Diamond Pattern and Purple Floral Night Light
Aqua Diamond Pattern and Purple Floral Night Light
 
Black Handbag with Coral Flowers Purse Hanger Hook
Black Handbag with Coral Flowers Purse Hanger Hook
 
Zebra Pattern with Flower Birthday Invitation
Zebra Pattern with Flower Birthday Invitation
 
Diamonds and Bright Flowers Tshirt
Diamonds and Bright Flowers T-shirt
 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Getting the Results You Want

Well this week I decided to give a spare room a paint makeover. I love the end result of a freshly painted room but actually doing the painting is not really my thing. However, I went to the store and chose a paint color called Fencepost, (off-white) I wanted something fresh and light in this room. The room was previously a soft medium green.

I bought a new tray liner, roller sleeve and painters tape as I had all of the other supplies. So the day before I was going to start painting I prepared the room by removing light switch covers and outlet covers, taped the baseboards and around closets and the door. If you are not a professional painter or tend to be a little aggressive with a paint brush I definitely recommend doing this step. Got some old sheets that worked for a drop cloth and then waited for Monday morning so I could get going on the painting.

I began by cutting in all of the ceiling edges, around the doorway and closet. Step one done! Then it was time to get rolling, stirred up the paint and filled the paint tray. The rolling began. Oh, did I say be sure that your biceps are in good shape before you start, ha! If they are not, they will be after your done! So I rolled and waiting for the coat to dry, then rolled a second coat and waited again, the coverage was not as I wanted so then came a third coat of paint. I waited over night this time to see the finished results and I could still see a hint of green showing through in some areas. I knew I would not be happy walking by that room and seeing that so as I had used almost the entire gallon of paint  off I went back to the store to buy more.

My arms and shoulders were extremely tired and heavy by this time but I was determined to get this done and done right. So on went the fourth coat of paint, (guess I should have used a primer but I thought that the paint would cover better) Awe… finished it and there it was the result I wanted. Looks beautiful and I am so happy I did it right. One of my sons commented wow, you could be a professional painter! I laughed thanks but no thanks I will leave that for someone else! I like my home office job! 

I think the take home here is no matter what you do prepare well for it and spend the necessary time and effort that it takes to do it right! This applies to lots of areas in our lives from relationships to business.

I have been busy working on some new designs as you can see in my store, Designs by Shell. Stop by for a snoop around!

Elegant Blossoms Wedding Invitation
Elegant Blossoms Wedding Invitation
   
Blossom Teacher Saying Magnets
Blossom Teacher Saying Magnet
   
Delicate Blossom Wedding Stamp
Delicate Blossom Wedding Stamp
   
Baby Blue Ribbon Boutique Business Card Templates
Blue Ribbon Boutique Business Card
   
Pink Hydrangea Wedding Invitation
Pink Hydrangea Wedding Invitation
   
Coffee Cup with Quote Stickers
Coffee Cup with Quote
   

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Do the Same Thing, Get the Same Results

Whether it’s something you do in your daily work schedule or your business, your fitness routine, your housework list or anything that you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time it tends to get you the same results.  Now sometimes this is not a bad thing but if there are things you’re not happy with or you seem to be stuck in a rut it might be time to look at how and why you’re doing things a certain way. 

I came across this quote by Albert Einstein “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I don’t think the quote is to be taken literally but it definitely makes you  think! I believe that this thought could actually make you take a look at the way you are doing things and encourage you to try new ways or experiment with different methods of doing things.  

For the past 7 years or so I’ve been going to a local gym to workout and stay physically fit. Every week usually 3 days a week I would get there and my routine became just that pretty routine. Each time I would start with 15 minutes of frees weights maybe use a few weight machines and then jump on the stair climber, treadmill or the eliptical machine for 30 to 45 minutes depending how I felt that day.

This past January I was really struggling with motivation to head back to the gym after a  bit of a break over Christmas.  Okay, I think I actually took all of December off! Yikes! So anyways, I decided it was time for a change, I looked into the fitness classes which actually come with my gym membership but I had never before participated in. There were some classes that looked interesting to me so the beginning of January I made the change and started a Body Class twice a week, one class is an hour the other 75 minutes. They include low impact weight routines, the step and exercises using the stability ball.

What a difference this has made to my overall fitness. The first class I went to I thought I was almost going to be sick, the workout was far more intense than any routine I’d been doing on my own in the gym. It really challenged my fitness level. The instructors are fabulous and tell you to go at your own pace and rest when you need too! There are all ages in these classes and it’s also a great place to meet like minded people who want to improve their health and fitness by working out regularly too!  My fitness level and strength wouldn’t have grown without this change! Clearly I wasn’t working out hard enough on my own!

So you see how by changing the way you do something can bring new and good results. This can happen in many areas of your life if you just take the time to  think about some small changes especially if you are not getting the results that you want.  I like to apply this to my business as well as there are always things that need improving and there are new ways to get things done! I hope this challenges you in whatever area of your life needs a little change, remember doing the same thing the same way will get you the same results every time!

Elegant Purple Hydrangea Wedding Invitation
Elegant Purple Hydrangea Wedding Invitation
 
Hydrangea RSVP Reply Card
Hydrangea RSVP Reply Card
 
Ski Goggles T Shirts
Ski Goggles T Shirt
 
Ski Goggles Stickers
Ski Goggles Stickers
 
Fun Coral Stripes Gift Wrap
Coral Stripes Gift Wrap
 
Hockey Keychains
Hockey Keychains
 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Needle in a Haystack

When you’re running an on-line business and trying to get it in front of eyes on the internet it can often seem like your business is  a needle in a haystack.  With millions of businesses, services, products and ads being pushed at us daily it’s a wonder how a small on-line business can be visible and make a go of it these days. 

Think  for a minute of wondering down a popular street in your city. Now think of all of the little mom and pop shops along that street. How many do you venture into? Something has really got to catch your eye or you have to be shopping for a specific item to draw you into that store, right! If it is such a challenge for brick and mortar stores to attract customers you are probably well aware of how much harder it is to gain the attention of potential customers in a over flowing market of shops on the internet.  So how do we deal with these challenges we face? Well I hope to shed a little light on that with a few tips to help in this area!

1) Create a brand for your business, a brand that promotes itself and gives the shopper a unique experience. I know this can be tricky if you don’t have a particular niche but it can be done!

2) Encourage others to bookmark your store. Perhaps they’ll think of your business when a need arises for them.

3) Promote your business in as many places as you can. Social media sites, twitter, FB, Google, IBO Toolbox, LinkedIn. These are all free to post to and can get your business in front of millions of eyes.

4) Connect with others, especially on business platforms, in forums and through sharing content. This will help you gain recognition and build solid business relationships that may turn into customers for your store.

5) Be a big picture thinker, come up with fresh ideas and ways to attract people to your business. Think out of the box, here! Why would you be attracted to shop at your store, do you have something unique to offer?

6) Write a blog that showcases your business. Write creative titles that entice people to click and read. Images can help, show your best products or something that is in season. Let the tone of your blog be conversational and your words be easy to understand.

Well I hope that gives you some ideas on how to get your Business in front of the masses. Don’t give up just keep promoting.

Thanks for stopping by my shop, Designs by Shell. I’m constantly adding new designs and Zazzle is consistently adding new products, so lots to choose from. 

Black and White Animal Fur Pattern
Black and White Bath Set
 
Starfish and Ocean Save the Date Refrigerator Magnet
Starfish and Ocean Save the Date
 
Starfish and Ocean Save the Date Postcards
Starfish and Ocean Save the Date Postcards
 
Soft Radiant Orchid Wedding Postage Stamps
Soft Radiant Orchid Wedding Postage
 
Pink Whimsical Cupcakes Gift Wrap Paper
Pink Cupcakes Gift Wrap Paper
 
Pink Hearts for Valentines Day Stickers
Pink Hearts Valentines Day Stickers
 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Explosion of Print on Demand

There is lots of talk about Print-on-Demand (POD) in the world of business these days! Many companies are looking for ways to cut costs and make their business run more efficiently.  A business that utilizes (POD) can add a lot of value to their company. 

Print-on-demand can help your business become more cost efficient. Offering customizing and personalization is one way. Reducing the load of inventory that is necessary thus freeing up space in your store or warehouse and saving  you money. Cutting down on stocking out of date product or products that aren’t selling.

Zazzle is a (POD) company that is utilizing this technology to the fullest. Zazzle is on top of it with unique hardware and manufacturing systems in place allowing for the use of the latest and greatest software  creations. The products Zazzle offers are of the highest quality materials that can be printed on. They are consistently adding new products and expanding their offerings to attract a broader range of customers.  It’s always exciting when new products come out and designers like myself can explore ideas and ways to design them.  Zazzle first began in 2005 and is growing exponentially! 

Below I’ll show you some of the latest products that Zazzle has released. There are some new office products, ipad cases, a classy wall coat rack and more. I’ve been busy coming up with creative ideas to design them. Thanks for stopping by my store, Designs by Shell!

Modern Purple Floral with Initials Pencil Holder
Modern Purple Floral Initials Pencil Holder
 
Trio of Sweet Milkshakes Hoodies
Sweet Milkshakes Hoodie
 
Light Blue Ladybugs Gift Wrap Paper
Blue Ladybugs Gift Wrap Paper
 
Nautical Anchors with Saying Coat Racks
Nautical Anchors Coat Rack
 
Modern Brown Floral Wallets
Modern Brown Floral Wallet
 
Pastel Ladybugs Coat Racks
Pastel Ladybugs Coat or Hat Rack
 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Renewal

January 2014, a new year has begun! Happy New Year to all my readers. The beginning of a new year is a time for renewal and setting of new goals for most  people. Time for many to head back to work perhaps to a job outside home or perhaps you are one of those who are able to work from the comfort of your own place.

Goals can be set for all areas of your life not just work. Think of where you want to be in relation to your health and fitness, financial, relationships and spiritual areas in your life.  Take note of the things you want to work on as you begin 2014.

This is a good time to review your goals from last year and see how much you’ve accomplished and where you need to improve. Ask yourself what it is you want and come up with a plan on how to work toward it. Come up with some new and creative ideas on how to maximize your time and work more efficiently.

Personally I need to get myself back in the groove of designing and coming up with creative ideas to use on products for my store. This can be challenging sometimes and can take some effort when you’ve had a break like I’ve had over Christmas!  Zazzle has given us several new products to design over the last month. Some of these include light switch covers, door hangers, glass cutting boards, flasks, new ornament styles and a few other products. There is no lack of items to design for I just have to begin and let the ideas flow. 

My husband wrote a blog called ‘Focus’ I think it’s worth reading, especially if you are having trouble getting yourself back on track and need some inspiration. You can check it out here.

Thanks to all those of you who purchased from my shop through December, it was a great month!

Choo Choo Train with Stars and Moon Desk Lamp
Choo Choo Train Desk Lamp
Zazzle.com
  
Choo Choo Train Baby Shower Custom Announcements
Choo Choo Train Baby Shower Invitations
  
Blue Stripes and Stars Save the Date Refrigerator Magnets
Blue Stripes and Stars Save the Date Magnets
  
Dental Appointment Reminder Business Card Templates
Dental Appointment Reminder Business Cards
  
Nature Path Switch Plate CoverNature Light Switch Cover

  
Black Paw Print Pet Tag
Black Paw Print Pet Tag
  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Points of Encouragement

Well we are fast approaching Christmas and the end of December and for many folks this can be a challenging time. I’ve recently talked with several people who are not looking forward to some of their Christmas get-to-gethers and family functions as they should because of discord between relatives, unacceptable behaviours and sad events that some are dealing with. It can be a stressful and anxious time for many.  I want to take this time to wish all my blog readers joy and peace this Christmas season and I trust 2014 will be a year of blessings and fresh beginnings for all.

If you’ve been working hard on your business this past year, putting tons of time and effort into it and need a little encouragement this is for you. Or maybe you’re thinking of starting a new business or starting a blog post this year.

If you find yourself in this position here is some encouragement and a few tips to help you.

Use your creativity and follow your dreams

You can start a company at any age

Continue to do your research, it pays off in the end

Write down your ideas and explore them in detail

Find a business mentor

Read and learn from other business blogger’s

Pay attention to other business’s in the same field

Set Smart Goals

Take notes on a notepad or iPad as things inspire you

Follow others on-line that inspire and motivate you

Stay passionate, it shows in your business

Success doesn’t happen over night but it does happen!

This will likely be my last blog post until the new year, so Merry Christmas and blessings to all!  Thank you for your visits, readership and purchases from my store Designs by Shell. I appreciate it!

Snow Dusted Branches and Lights Postage Stamps
Snow Dusted Branches and Lights Postage
 
Choo Choo Trains Switch Plate Covers
Choo Choo Trains Switch Plate Cover
 
Ocean and Starfish
Ocean and Starfish Cutting Board
 
Birds 2014 calendars
Amazing Birds 2014 Calendar
 
Dog Paw Prints Pillow
Dog Paw Prints Pillow
 
Cartoon Owl on a Branch Flasks
Cartoon Owl on a Branch Flask