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Friday, October 25, 2013

Design Inspiration

What does design mean to you?  Design is basically the formation or creation of a plan, of course it can have a variety of meanings in several different areas.  A person that designs is known as a designer but someone that works in the design field is also considered a designer.  Wikipedia says’ “Designing often necessitates considering the aesthetic, functional, economic and socio-political dimensions of both the design object and design process."

Design inspiration for me comes from a variety of places. First I’d say nature, which with it’s vast beauty and diversity never ceases to amaze and inspire me. I can also be inspired by fashion, home decor, people, animals and interesting artwork.  What is it that inspires you?

I‘ve been reading the October issue of Fast Company magazine which is all about design. You can read about many well known companies like Nike, J.Crew, Flipboard and many more. One that stood out for me was an article about the company Samsung. The presidents say they find inspiration in travelling to different places, cities and towns all over the world. They watch and try to understand the different cultures of the people as well as paying close attention to lifestyle and industry trends. So they really understand who they’re customers are and what they want in a product. You have to have a big vision and be a big thinker as a designer, Toon says “ in designing the Bordeaux TV we  drew inspiration from a wineglass.” How cool is that! They sold more than 3 million of those TV’s in the first year! I think they had a hit with their design!

Whatever kind of designer you are you’ve got to keep pushing the envelope, coming up with new and innovative designs and processes. Go out and find your inspiration in your day to day living and always be willing to explore different environments and places as a great design could come from something as simple and classic as a wineglass.

Cozy House with Snowflakes Postage

Stars and Moon Birthday Invitation

Green Wild Flower Tile

Spiral Design With Fluted Edge Gift Wrap


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Networking for Business

What is business networking?  According to Wikipedia “a business network is a type of social network that exists primarily for business  activity.” A business networking site allows its followers or users to build business relationships and share and promote business opportunities. Many users of these type of sites prefer this method of generating business leads as often the cost of promotion is very minimal. Business networking websites have become quite popular over the last several years. They are a great means to promote your own business and grow your business contacts.

If you want to become a successful business networker, it takes some hard work and an abundance of time. Don’t expect overnight results but with persistence and the use of networking tools you can grow your business this way.

Finding a great business platform that you tune into regularly is your first step. Let this be your main channel for building your network. Of course, one can join or be a part of many different sites but I personally like to have one that I check in with every single day. You’ll know it’s the right one for you when you are receiving advice and worthy information from fellow business networkers as well as offering yours.

A healthy mindset of a successful business networker is to be positive and encouraging and give good advice where you can. Building trust and gaining respect from fellow networkers goes a long way in business.

I’ve chosen IBO Toolbox as the business networking platform where I can share and build my business. This platform is ‘free’ to join, no payment required! No hassling or pushing requests in your face to spend money on this platform. Just click on the advertised sponsors every now and then to help keep it free.

It offers amazing tools to help new and mature business owner’s grow. You can advertise your business or opportunity and get your business in front of 300,000 plus visitors a day. IBO Toolbox offers a social networking site as well as the business site so has great potential for connecting. So yes, if you’re looking for a business networking site to join, where you can add value and gain knowledge to grow your business this is a place I recommend.

These fun Yubo lunchboxes are the latest new product to be made available at Zazzle. They come with detachable handles, so that they can be carried horizontally or vertically. Waterproof and tear-proof. Makes a great gift! Come check em’ out! Designs by Shell

Bookworm With a Stack of Books Lunchbox
Bookworm With a Stack of Books Lunchbox
Pink Choo Choo Train Lunch Box
Pink Choo Choo Train Lunch Box
Starfish and Deep Green Ocean Lunchboxes
Starfish and Deep Green Ocean Lunchbox
Types of Chocolate Refrigerator Magnet
Delicious Chocolate Magnet
Pink Stars with Saying Mugs
Pink Stars with Saying Mug
Purple Elephant Baby's First Christmas Ornament
Purple Elephant Baby First Christmas Ornament

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marketing Strategies for the Holiday Season

Don’t miss the window, if you’re just going along and haven’t started getting your marketing strategy for the busy holiday season in motion yet, you just might miss the boat!  I’m sure you know that the stores in the malls are already starting to pull out there seasonal promotional items and set up displays. Costco already has Christmas items out!! Yes, I agree it is way to early for me to see Christmas items in the stores but as an online small business owner I understand that we have to get on board here and be preparing our stores for those early shoppers. People are starting their shopping earlier and earlier it seems. Research shows more and more people are shopping online and this is a trend that surely will only increase with the convenience of it. Who doesn’t want to shop from home in their pajamas!

Have a plan, this is so important here. Take a look at your inventory and assess what you need to bring in to your store.  What are the trends and items that will attract customers to your store front. With millions of online businesses the competition is fierce and just thinking that the customers will come and buy from you without you putting in some big marketing efforts is pretty silly. 

If you had your online store last year, review what items sold well for you and what items didn’t move at all. Decide on what new items to add to your inventory and which ones to promote. Use all available social media platforms that you are active in. Just do it subtly, nobody wants to just see a big push of your items, add something of value when you can. Perhaps offer a sale coupon or a contest.

When using Twitter to market your products remember to include appropriate hash tags, like #holidayspecials, #holidaydeals, #blackfriday, etc. This will help when people are searching for shopping deals. If you use Pinterest regularly be sure to create holiday boards that feature your products. Create unique boards like Christmas decor, holiday t-shirts, Christmas kitchen accessories, you get the idea. Also include prices, Pinterest lets you add this! 

Well I hope this has given you some incentive to get going on your holiday marketing strategy! Don’t leave it too late or you seriously might miss your window of opportunity. The shopper’s will buy elsewhere and you don’t want to miss out on the sales! Happy planning!

I’ve been busy working on some holiday themes for my store Designs by Shell!

Just Chillin' Snowman and Reindeer Tee Shirts

Snowman and Reindeer in the Forest Wrapping Paper

Snowman Weight Lifting with Saying Mug

Coffee Time Sign Magnet

Brown Floral Trifold Wallet

Cozy House Wrist Watches