Tag: tips

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color> Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, … read more

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color>
Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, as it should be. A good advertising and marketing plan for any business should include a multi-facted approach. Never, ever put all your eggs in one basket. If something happens , you’re screwed. Always , ALWAYS, have a plan B, and C, and D… way to reach potential customers.

I always suggest to all of our new members that they should open an account and have a presence on all of the major social media platforms (for their small business at least) .

Those platforms I suggest are as follows:

Facebook (a page AND a group)

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

MeWe (new)

AllSocial (new)

(I also suggest Redditt and YouTube if you want to be super efficient)

Gypsy Spoonful’s advertising & marketing efforts attempt to cover all of the ways that have potential to reach our market. The reason I believe in a multi-faceted approach is because not everyone is on every social media platform like you.. some might prefer one over the other and if you’re on all of them, you cover all your bases and reach different people on each one.

Here’s a sample of what a good multi-faceted marketing approach looks like:

  • Email campaigns (we do a monthly newsletter plus weekly themed email blasts)
  • Blog Posts, not just to promote our products or shops, though that’s important~ but it’s always important to provide useful content to your blog readers as well)
  • Link exchanges with other bloggers and websites, the more incoming links you have, the greater your rank with SEO
  • Social media (+ boosting some posts) on all platforms
  • Display advertising on niche and specialty blogs
  • Press releases to niche blogs, magazines or newspapers
  • Networking with other small businesses where there may be customer cross-over
  • SEO efforts
  • Paid and non-paid advertising campaigns
  • Submitting articles as guest blogs, or serving as an expert or interview source for other blogs, publications, podcasts etc
  • Google & Bing ad word campaigns (and pay per click ppc programs)

Except for the paid ads and boosting social media posts, the other bullet points is what is considered guerilla marketing, organic marketing, and viral marketing.

There are several books that I have found extremely helpful over the years for organic and viral marketing, and I always suggest them to my fellow small business owners, and to our blog readers, here’s that list:

These are great tools to put in your small business marketing aresenal: (these are NOT affiliate links, so if you buy them we do not make any money)

  1. Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: 100+ Weapons to Grow Your Online Influence, Attract Customers, and Drive Profits
  2. Guerilla Marketing Remix
  3. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you
  4. The No B.S. Guide to Brand-Building by Direct Response: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Plan to Creating and Profiting from a Powerful Brand Without Buying It
  5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Do you have questions? I’d be happy to answer them, drop us a comment and we’ll comment back below. Intersted in becoming part of our handmade community, and having your own handmade small shop? Apply HERE for a shop.

 

Facebook Outage

When Social Media Goes Down, The top 2 things you can do to ensure business as usual

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date. WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected. … read more

Facebook Outage

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected.

Checking DownDetector, we can confirm Instagram seems to be hugely affected…

Instagram outage

And Facebook’s issues loomed even larger with a total black out of 32% among reported problems

Facebook Outage

 

Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout said the outage was due to an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.

“While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis,” he said.

Some users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app. As with nearly every Facebook outage, users headed to Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown quickly becoming the top trending topic in the United States.

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

However, there is a rumor spreading that it is is denial of service (DoS)  malicious attack from an unknown source since so many platforms including youtube, Etsy and the USPS are even affected...this rumor has been denied by facebook and instagram and others.

What is a small shop to do if they sell on a platform that goes down, such as Etsy, or Facebook? Larger platforms such as these would logically seem to be safer because of the funds available to diagnose and prevent these problems, but in the case of the unsubstantiated DoS attack rumor, it may seem the bigger the platform, the bigger the target for those types of attacks. Sometimes bigger is not always better yo! I ALWAYS say never to put all your selling eggs in one proverbial basket. If Etsy suddenly decides to censor you and take out half your products because of your beliefs about vaccination, and that’s your only platform, then what will you do? If a DoS attack takes our your whole Facebook store… then what will you do? It is WISE TO DIVERSIFY… sell on multiple platforms, never sell on only one platform. (Learn more about selling your handmade products on Gypsy Spoonful HERE)

Sooo… What can we, as small shop owners, learn from a situation like this ? So many influencers, marketing and advertising people as well as  small shop owners depend on social media to get the word out about their events, sales, products and other news. I happen to have the blessing of having been in business for 15 years BDSM… that means Before the Dawn of Social Media (get your minds out of the GUTTER , y’all! lol) so what did we do in the days before social media was so prevalent

1. Build an email list… Seriously, I could tell all the small business owners I know 24/7, 365 and some still do NOT have an email list!  The best return on investment is building an email list of contacts, customers, prospects and fans. Sign up for a mailing list on MailChimp Today, don’t wait, do it NOW. Get a free Mail Chimp Account HERE. Email is a measurable business marketing practice that you can’t afford to be without. Marketing and Advertising folks KNOW that if it’s NOT measurable, it’s of no use.

Top reasons to have an email list:

For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood “modern” forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. (and in the cases of social media going down and being virtually useless to your business as it did today, you can’t afford NOT to focus part of your energy on email!)

For small shop owners, email lists can yield dramatic rewards. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US. Can you say that about your social media marketing campaign?

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

  • First, it’s direct, meaning that every person on your list receives an email the same way that they’d receive a piece of mail. It’s much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized.
  • Second, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day.
  • Third, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, and add any bells and whistles that you need to get the job done. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and well documented by email marketing experts.

Sign up for the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list HERE so you don’t miss out on any news about handmade or small shop management.

2. Work on your SEO! Being found in search engine searches is not hampered when a denial of service attack happens, or some other random technical glitch that makes your entire message go down in flames.

Search engine optimization nowadays is way more important than ever and it is necessary for every small shop owner to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business, no matter which platform they sell upon. SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

(written by Sam Hollingsworth of the Search Engine Journal, see the full article HERE)

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a small shops’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These top 5 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Credibility and Trust is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand. We, at Gypsy Spoonful have been effectively establishing trust and credibility since 2016.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success. (Learn what a bounce rate is, the GS site has a 23% bounce rate, anything under 70% is considered very good) .

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction. (Goosie’s suggestion:  If you want to emphasize that customers can #shoplocal, work on local optimizations!

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start. (If you haven’t created a business profile on the Google site, –buy an inexpensive domain at idotz, forward it to your small shop and get on it loves!) 

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

Customers do their research. That’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet from a buyer perspective.

Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, groundbreaking products and/or services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game changer.

It will also undoubtedly impact the buying cycle in a positive way when done right.

Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers, and the businesses providing those answer.

 

 

Who Made Your Clothes?

Who Made YOUR Clothes? Fast Fashion Facts

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?! That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes. The sad fact is that fashion can … read more

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?!

That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes.

The sad fact is that fashion can come with a very high personal cost to the people that create it, and also to the planet.

What can we do about this alarming trend?

Don’t buy it! Mass-produced clothing is not the best quality, nor is it the way to reflect the values YOU hold dear. Society is consuming fashion at a rate like never before. We call this monster: fast fashion.

Fast fashion is the phenomenon we use to describe garments that go from design to store in a quick flash; sometimes within the space of a week! As the price of fashion dives lower, and the accessibility of new trends increases, fast fashion is being put in the spotlight.

Sad Facts about Fast Fashion:

  • Eighty billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally every year.
  • The US spends an estimated $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes every year: worn for one night only.
  • 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years due to the stress of debt they accumulated through buying genetically modified cotton seeds to keep up with demand.
  • The wages of workers in garment factories overseas can be as low as $1-$3  a day.
  • Some overeas clothing factories use forced prison labor to make the clothing
  • Some clothing factories use child labor (sequins and beading can be an indication of this)
  • Fast fashion giants actually make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with the bottom line, so will do anything to make you buy more clothes.
  • Using the restroom during a 10-hour shift in a garment factory can cause a major uproar from managers.
  • Fast fashion brands put out new collections every week or month to make it seem like your wardrobe is all off trend. This is the reason you sit and stare at your full wardrobe thinking you have nothing to wear

The fast fashion industry is shocking. When you look at the facts and figures, it’s hard to swallow.Change isn’t going to happen from walling Just like building a house, avoiding fast fashion is easy when you have the right tools in front of you. Head to the Gypsy Spoonful site, we are completely transparent, and when you buy clothing from one of our small shops you will know EXACTLY who made your clothing and don’t have to worry about the circumstances it was created under.

The 100 Handmade Shops of GypsySpoonful

See our handmade community in action in our Facebook group

Shop GypsySpoonful.com
Join The Conversation and let us know how you feel about Fast Fashion. Was this the first you’ve heard about this?
http://facebook.com/groups/gypsyspoonful

Willow and Sage Magazine: Your source for DIY bath and body product inspiration

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I … read more

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I glanced through it and instantly was drawn to it. This magazine is called Willow & Sage. As stated on their website-

Willow and Sage Magazine

Willow and Sage magazine is filled with more than 70 unique recipes, uses, and beautiful packaging ideas for homemade bath and body products, paired alongside stunning, Somerset-style photography. In addition to showcasing natural bath salts and soaks, soaps, face masks, chemical-free make-up, lotions, sugar scrubs, how to use essential oils, and more, Willow and Sage features refreshing new layout designs that include hand-illustrated tips and educational information, such as eye-catching infographics and the benefits of specific ingredients. Also, if you’re looking for the perfect homemade gift idea, for any occasion, each issue provides DIY inspiration for creative packaging and the most unique gifts or spa bundle

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


The magazine is a quarterly magazine that starts in Feb. It’s an odd start date but when you look at lumping Jan into the winter issue, it makes sense. I totally understand doing the issues to follow the seasons, but it kills me to have to wait so long between publications! I usually go read it within the first two or three days, but definitely within the first week. It’s always interesting to see all the different ideas brought forth by other creators. I also enjoy the packaging ideas, bundle ideas, and ingredient spotlights. It’s a good way to learn about new benefits as well as help me with potential trend ideas. I have definitely used some of their ingredient spotlights to help focus on what ingredients to highlight to my customers.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful magazine with a lot of fun diy ideas I would definitely give Willow & Sage a look. A quick side note is, many of the submitted recipes do not have preservatives in them therefore will not last for more than a few days or so.

Written by GS shop Owner, Rebecca Reynolds of JMaeHandmade ,  Stop on by her shop and take a peek at her awesome handmade bath and body products, and Heart her shop while you’re there!

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues and Conflicts for WordPress Sites: from your friends at GypsySpoonful.com

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and … read more

 Support : Troubleshooting Browser Issues

 Support : Troubleshooting

GypsySpoonful is a wordpress based handmade community, and most, if not all of the troubleshooting tips will apply to this actual site! Some issues that you encounter with your WordPress.com site/blog or account can be solved by changing your browser settings, refreshing the page, or clearing the browser cache and cookies.

Supported Browsers

Some browser issues may be caused by the browser itself. For optimal viewing and security we recommend that you keep your browser up to date. You’ll find a list of the latest browsers at Browse Happy.

We, at GypsySpoonful.com,  recommend that you use any of the latest versions of browsers on Browse Happywith the exception of Google Chrome -for optimal performance with WordPress.com sites such as ours. For whatever reason (and it may be a theme compatibility issue here on our site) Chrome does NOT play nice with GypsySpoonful.com. Chrome causes it to drag and load very slowly.

A note about Internet Explorer: Due to browser incompatibility, some themes are not fully functional in Internet Explorer 10 or earlier. If you are using Internet Explorer 10 or below we recommend upgrading your browser for an optimal experience.

Support : Browser Issues

Force Refresh

A force refresh or reload will cause the browser to re-check with the web server to make sure it has the latest copy of the web page you are viewing. Here are keyboard shortcuts for force refreshing your browser:

  • Windows: Ctrl + F5
  • Mac/Apple: Apple + R or Cmd + R
  • Linux: F5

Clearing Your Browser Cache

If you are experiencing problems displaying WordPress.com pages, clearing the browser cache is a good first step to try to resolve the issue.

Each time you access a web page, your web browser stores a temporary copy of the files needed to display the web page to you. Those temporary files are called the browser cache. If your cache is not updating properly or if it’s stuck, you could be viewing an older version of some of the supporting files that run WordPress.com. If you clear the cache, this will force your browser to fetch all of the files for a website again, so you will see the most recent version of the page.

Instructions for clearing your browser cache will be different for each browser and version.

Note: It is also possible for your Internet Service Provider to create a cache at the network level. This means that instead of viewing the WordPress.com web servers for some files, the ISP has created a cache to store files on their network to try to reduce bandwidth costs and also to make loading some web pages faster. If a network-side cache is causing you trouble, you most likely just need to wait for it to clear out on its own. And in a situation where you can’t reach your WordPress.com website via browser, you can confirm it’s caused by your ISP by checking whether your website is up for the rest of the world.

Clearing WordPress.com Cookies

WordPress.com requires the use of browser cookies in order for our site to work properly. If you have trouble with some sections of your site, you may wish to check to make sure you have cookies enabled.

If you can’t clear out your username/password from showing up in the browser when you try to log in, you may need to clear your WordPress.com-specific cookies. Generally, unless you have privacy concerns, we would not recommend that you clear all browser cookies, as that will affect your experience using other websites.

Check that JavaScript is enabled

The My Sites pages on WordPress.com, including stats, the post and page editors, customizer, checkout, and account setting pages, use a type of code called JavaScript to work. If you have JavaScript disabled, most of what makes WordPress.com work won’t be able to load in your browser. Some theme features, like post sliders and slide-out menus, also use JavaScript.

For the best experience on WordPress.com you need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser. This page will tell you whether you have JavaScript enabled or not, and has instructions how to enable it in the most popular browsers.

Note that some ad-blockers and anti-virus browser extensions can sometimes block JavaScript. Try disabling those extensions and check if the My Site pages work correctly. If so, add an exception for WordPress.com to the browser extension/add-on, and it shouldn’t block our code any more.

Logging out/Preview issues

If you find yourself getting logged out from WordPress.com frequently and are having trouble posting to your blog, or if you’re having difficulty using the Preview option, it’s possible you don’t have third-party cookies enabled in your browser.

More Troubleshooting

If you are still having trouble, here are a few more things you can try:

  • Upgrade your browser and Flash Player to the latest version available.
  • Make sure wordpress.com, wp.com and their subdomains (*.wordpress.com / *.wp.com) are not blocked by your browser. This also applies to your firewall or anti-virus software settings if you have any.
  • Try an alternate browser. If it works, then the issue is with the browser settings. Look for troubleshooting tips on your browser’s support documentation.
  • Try an alternate computer in the same location. If another computer works, then the issue is computer settings on the first one.
  • Try an alternate location that has a different Internet Service Provider. If it works, the issue is with your local network.
  • Try disabling IPv6. If this works, the issue is with your local network, but you don’t need IPv6 so you’re all set!
Theordore Roosevelt The Man In The Arena quote

Motivation Monday Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated: You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the … read more

Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship: A Lesson From Theodore Roosevelt

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated:

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.

Boxing is a good analogy for developing bossbabes because it’s all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, they have to prepare and train to become successful.

One of this country’s greatest leaders was a fan of boxing: President Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, one of his most famous quotes uses  a boxing analogy

Theodore Roosevelt

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
download PDF of complete speech

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

*TR (Teddy Roosevelt’s nickname) was known for regular boxing and judo sessions, challenging horseback rides, and long, strenuous hikes. A French ambassador who visited Roosevelt used to tell about the time that he accompanied the president on a walk through the woods. When the two men came to the banks of a stream that was too deep to cross by foot. TR stripped off his clothes and expected the dignitary to do the same so taht they could swim to the other side. Nothing was an obstacle to Roosevelt.

Of all the leaders this nation has ever had, Roosevelt was one of the toughest-both physically and mentally. But he didn’t start that way. America’s cowboy president was born in Manhattan to a prominent wealthy family. As a child he was puny and very sickly. He had debilitating asthma, possessed very poor eyesight, and was painfully thin. His parents weren’t sure he would survive. When he was twelve, young Roosevelt’s father told him, “You have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must MAKE the body.” and make it , he most certainly did. TR began training every single day physically, building his body as well as his mind, and he did that for the rest of his life.

Roosevelt didn’t become a great leader overnight either. His road to the presidency was one of slow, continual growth. He improved himself and in time, he became a strong leader. Roosevelt’s list of accomplishments is remarkable. Under his leadership, the United States emerged as a world power. He helped the country develop a first-class navy. He was that the Panama Canal was built. He negotiated peace between Russia and China, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.  On January 6, 1919 he died in his sleep. Then vice president Marshall said,

“Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight”

When they removed him from his bed, they found a book under his pillow. Up to the very last, TR was still striving to learn and improve himself.

*Source: Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell

Slow and Steady Wins the Race Quote

What are the takeaways we can learn from Roosevelt that may apply to our lives as Entrepreneurs?

1. Be FIERCE : obstacles will come, it’s how you approach those obstacles. Are you going to say , “It’s too hard, we can’t cross this stream, it’s too deep” and turn back? Or will you strip naked and lead the way? Nothing in life is easy. Entrepreneurship isn’t for sissies. You have to get in there, roll up your sleeves and be FIERCE. Are you stronger than the obstacles in your path?

2. Even a great leader like TR started off small. He wasn’t expected to survive from his own parents! If that’s not a kick in the teeth, then I don’t know what is! Of all people in the world, you want those who love you and you share your life with to believe in you and your dreams, it’s hard when you don’t get the support you’d like. But what did TR do? He set out to prove them wrong. He was CONSISTENT, he worked towards his goal of strengthening his body every.single.day. Consistency wins the prize in owning and operating a small business. Many times it can be isolating, people in our family would rather share a celebrity’s status or meme on social media. Your loved ones may shop at a big box store rather than supporting your small shop.. you can’t control other people, you can only change how you react to them. Seek out OTHER support from friends, or like-minded individuals and other small business owners. The community at Gypsy Spoonful is a great source of strentgh, knowledge and inspiration for me everyday. I am so thankful to have people that cheer me on and totally GET what I am trying to do with my life. Everyone starts off small, it’s up to YOU to seek out ways to grow and learn new things to embolden your entrepreneurial spirit.

” slow, continual growth.”

3. The mind and body combination is important, It was once said by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can or can not, you’re right” . Your mental attitude determines your outcome most of all. TR blazed a trail where no one dared to go before. He traveled all over the world pursuing adventures. Each trip, each adventure prepared him for the next one. He built knowledge upon his experiences. We all fail and fall short, just like the man in the arena~ but do we get up again after we get knocked down? or do we stay down? A product might not sell, a promotion may flop… KEEP LEARNING, learn from your mistakes and build on that. Go forward with the ideas of what went wrong and how to overcome that in your future small shop “adventures”.

If you are looking for a creative community where you can find limitless support from like minded creative folks, and you feel you’ve got a great product to offer the world, Gypsy Spoonful is seeking new shop owners, please go to this page and read what we believe about handmade and how we do things. If you vibe with what we’re doing, please fill out an application. We will be screening and vetting applicants for 2019.  Go HERE

 

 

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season : Tis the Season To Be Smart

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – … read more

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season

This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – and who knows, if you save enough, you can treat yourself to some well deserved handmade goodness, or a gift card to use at a later date.

Treat Yo Self

Here’s our top 6 tips for the shopper who means business!

1. Many sites will offer a welcome coupon to new visitors on their site, search the site map for it. It may not be publicized widely. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful, YAY!!)

2. Many sites will offer a discount on your first purchase if you sign up for their mailing list. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful as well, woohoo!!)

3. Ask for gift cards for a site for your birthday, Christmas, Channukah,  or any other gift giving occasions, and save your gift cards for when there is a sale, if you sign up for the welcome coupon or the first discount/welcome as well (we call that piling on in the shopping world!)~ Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a very cool wishlist feature? You can click and add ANY product on the site to your wishlist, so you can direct your family and friends to the handmade GS products you are admiring.

4. Search the terms “Clearance” , “Close Out” , “Discontinued”, “sale” or “discounted” on the site, or do a search engine (such as google) for sites that are going out of business and you may score big!

Top 6 Tips

5. Find out if the site has a loyalty program or an affiliate program where you can earn points or discounts, or even cash back on purchases people you refer to the site. Some sites offer social cred, if you share their products on your social media channels, you can earn points to redeem for merchandise on the site, or bonus gear not available to the general public. (May be in the near future on Gypsy Spoonful)

6. Become a brand enthusiast/influencer. If you love the products, inquire /search and find out if the site has a brand ambassador program. Sites will often give discounted products in exchange for your peer to peer marketing and promotion (which can be as simple as a selfie wearing their clothing, or holding their product and hashtagging the company)~ if you’re interested in becoming a brand ambassador or enthusiast, please email the head Gypsy HERE

Top 6 Tips

I hope that you find these tips helpful while shopping the awesome handmade marketplace, and independently owned and operated small shops on  GypsySpoonful.com. 

We are the new home of handmade where we are un-apologetically handmade with nothing imported and nothing massproduced. We invite you to shop our marketplace, and be sure to drop us a comment on this blog below if you have additional ideas and tips to help fellow shoppers save money and stretch that holiday shopping budget.

Be Consistent

Consistency is the Money Maker in Small Business

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies. … read more

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies.

You have to market your business. You run ads, offer sales and coupons, restock and reevaluate inventory and share on social media. Anything to keep putting yourself in front of people that will eventually lead to sales, hopefully. If your business is not seen, you don’t have a business and you are not going to succeed and grow.

How you choose to “grow and show” your business depends on the type of business it is and where and how your target market will most likely find you. Your personality is also a factor in your marketing efforts. For example, going live on Facebook is an excellent tool to build relationships with your potential customers. You can answer questions, share your product and interact with people in real time. But, if you are like me and you can’t stand the thought of being on camera and can barely stutter your way through it, this is probably not going to be a technique you use much.

Marketing has a rule called the Rule of 7. It states that a prospect needs to be exposed to your message at least 7 times before they will actually take action. In today’s digital age, I would venture that this number may be increasing. The reality is that it is more difficult now to get your message seen in the overwhelming amount of information available now to the everyday consumer.  You need to leave an impact and you need to show up.

Regardless of how you promote your business, the one thing that I and most other small business owners have found, is that to put and keep your business marketing efforts on the right track, you have to be consistent. Now, that does not mean that you need to be doing it constantly. Just consistently. Regularly. If people are used to seeing you post weekly, post weekly. If you can do daily, even better. Here is what does not work. Binge marketing for 3 hours one day and then doing nothing for the next 3 days. It may seem like you are getting tons of work done but a very limited number of people are going to actually see all that effort.

I have to admit, consistency is my biggest downfall and what I have to work the hardest at myself. A couple of years ago, I thought I had found the perfect answer to staying consistent on my social media when I found one of the scheduling platforms that have started to pop up everywhere. While they are definitely helpful, I found that they are not the perfect solution for me either. First, you still have to set up all the posts. You are still spending the time to craft the text and find the perfect image. Second, you still need to spend time tweaking your posts for the various social media and monitor the posts for engagement. Bottom line to me is yes they are an excellent way to cover certain times but you also need to continue to post in real time so that you stay current, trending and let your personality shine through.

Models Vs Mannequins, the great debate rages on

Guest Blog Post: Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best … read more

Guest Blog Post:
Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years

While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best alternative options are amateur models and mannequins.

When deciding between amateur models and mannequins, you’re largely factoring a risk/reward scenario, ongoing costs, and how much you’re willing to manage people.

Models, even amateurs, are more desirable because a live body helps a customer relate to your product and adds a higher degree of professionalism, but it can also make for an unpredictable process. Mannequins are great because they’re affordable, consistent, and easy to work with.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can create quality DIY product photography with amateur models and then we’ll go over the advantages provided by mannequins.

DIY Product Photography with Amateur Models

If you want to take a professional-looking product photos with amateur models, follow these seven steps:

1. Cast a Model

If you’re going to use an amateur, there are three primary factors to consider: Your comfort level with the model, their long-term availability, and your apparel’s fit. It doesn’t matter how attractive your model is if your dress is dragging on the floor because the model is six inches too short to properly fit it.

models vs mannequins

Image credit: Pixelz

Comfort level: Communication is important and the easier time you have communicating your vision, the more efficient you will be when shooting. Also, the mood in the studio comes through in images: If you and the model are frustrated and unhappy, you’re not going to get good photographs.

Availability: Plan long-term. If you want a consistent look, especially since amateurs introduce more body type variation than professional models, it’s beneficial to use just one or two models throughout your photography. You will also find that later shoots become more efficient as you and the model increase your comfort level and understanding of each other.

Fit: How does your product look when worn by your model? Focus on the product’s appearance and make sure it’s flattering and requires as little adjustment as possible—you don’t want to create wrinkles because you’re pinning excessively to compensate for a poor fit. Sizing is key. Pick one size and use that same size throughout your photography for a consistent appearance and a more intuitive understanding of sizing by customers shopping your site later.

2. Setup Your Studio Space

Select a space that allows your model to move freely when following your instructions, but don’t choose an area so large that your model might wander out of frame. Designate specific backdrop boundaries to help herd the model and aim your camera.

Your exact equipment will vary depending on your needs and budget, but as a starting point a white backdrop like a roll of seamless white paper or a sheet is always a good idea. White backdrops are required by many ecommerce marketplaces, simplify post-production, and are easy to light in session. If you’ve never set up a studio before, here’s a guide to how to build your own photo studio on a bootstrapped budget.

Be sure to use a tripod. Camera stabilization allows for longer exposure times, improves consistency, and saves you time between shots because you don’t have to readjust your camera’s aim. The result is usually a sharper image and more of them.

3. Shape Your Light

Renting or buying lighting equipment is a big decision and a critical step when capturing product images. Lighting equipment is expensive, so take your time and invest wisely. It may not be necessary to buy equipment: If you’re not going to use a piece regularly, consider renting.

The most common product photography setups use 1-3 continuous softbox lights or 1-3 external speedlights and umbrellas. If you’re in the market, here’s a shopping guide for product photography lighting equipment.

When positioning your lights, try to mimic the softness of natural window light. Continuous softboxes do so automatically, but speedlights may be too harsh and direct even with umbrellas. If that’s a problem, angle your speedlights to either side of the model and bounce the light off nearby walls, like in the image above.

Test out your lighting setup and experiment with different options—but do it before the model arrives so you don’t waste valuable photoshoot time.

4. Position Your Model

When your model arrives on set, it’s time to communicate your vision and position them in frame. The simplest way to position them is with a classic “X marks the spot” approach. Tape an X on the floor either directly beneath their feet, or closer to the camera but in line with where they should stand (so they’re not constantly looking down). The X creates a target for the model so you don’t have to constantly ask them to move.

5. Shoot with Wide Framing

Leave space on all sides of your model when capturing the image. If you’re going to be selling your product in multiple marketplaces and channels, they may have different requirements for cropping and sizing. It’s much easier to crop down to someone’s standards than it is to try and scale up.

Even if you intend to crop out faces, arms, and legs, always keep them in frame. Again, it’s much easier to edit something out then to add it back in—if that’s even possible. You don’t want to have to reshoot.

6. Give Direction

Stay positive and build up your model’s confidence. Remember that they’re an amateur and that you want to shoot with them long-term, so help them realize their potential.

Give the model the instruction they need to help you fulfill your vision. Be clear and precise: For example, if you want the model to look in a particular direction, tell them to look at a specific object instead of pointing. Keep poses simple, so that you don’t distract from the product or lead your amateur out of their comfort zone.

7. Post-Production

After you’ve captured your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. You can edit the images yourself with this post-production guide, or you can outsource the labor to free yourself to focus on the creative aspects of your business. At Pixelz, for example, we offer a feature-rich and easy to use interface for creating specifications, uploading images, comparing before-and-after images, and rejecting images that don’t meet your standards.

The goal of image editing is to help you create high quality and consistent imagery. Steps like removing the background will create a professional impression by cutting away your DIY studio and also minimizing file size, speeding up your page loading time. Consider using post-production to make lighting adjustments, touch up skin, remove wrinkles, straighten your product, and perform cropping and resizing.

So that’s how to stage a photoshoot with an amateur model. Now, let’s take a look at mannequins.

The Case for Mannequins

stylecampaign burberry mannequins

Image credit: StyleCampaign

Even for high end fashion brands, mannequins are a budget conscious product photographer’s best friend. You can buy them for anywhere from $60-$600, depending on your needs, and that’s it. There’s no overtime, no rate hikes, and they’re always available for reshoots.

Those are the most obvious differences, but there’s more.

Mannequins Make Product Fit Easy

Whether you’re dealing with a professional or an amateur, you need to spend time when casting a model, have them try on your clothes and see if you like the way it looks. You can improve fit with styling, using pins and clips and other techniques, but you need a good foundation to build on.

Alternatively, with a mannequin, you may only need a few moments of browsing online to find the perfect one. Finding the right fit is simplified when you can click around and see exact measurements. This is especially true if all your samples are the same size and you only need one mannequin.

You’ll have less flexibility with posing, but your mannequin won’t complain about being poked or prodded while you’re styling it.

There are many types of materials mannequins are made from, but none is necessarily superior to another. It’s about a different kind of “fit” here; make sure your mannequin style matches your brand.

Branding Possibilities

Mannequins don’t communicate branding as completely as a fully styled model, but they’re not a blank slate either. We can use Anthropologie as an example; until about two years ago, they used mannequins for most of their ecommerce images. Here’s how they used to look:

anthropologie mannequin

Image credit: Anthropologie

It’s clean, vintage, and subtly decorated by a knob at the top. You don’t want your mannequin to be distracting, but anything that’s being seen by a customer should reinforce your brand positioning. If you’re bohemian, use vintage mannequins. If you’re modern, get something more sleek.

There’s also a 3D technique that’s growing in popularity: the invisible mannequin.

If you want to remove all distractions while still demonstrating fit, you can use the invisible mannequin effect. With a little planning and Photoshop know-how, you can create the effect in post-production yourself. If you don’t have the time or the desire to do it yourself, you can offload post-production to a company like Pixelz.

invisible ghost mannequin

Image credit: Pixelz

An “invisible” or “ghost” mannequin image is basically a combination of two or more images. Your product should be photographed as normal, and then repositioned in such a way that any portion that was originally covered by the mannequin can be photographed. Later, the photos are combined into a single image. For more detail, read this invisible mannequin guide that will walk you from basic principles all the way through post-production.

Which Should You Choose?

Models are essential for projecting a professional standard, while mannequins are cost-effective and consistent.

Many boutiques and brands with limited budgets combine the two with great success. You may want to consider shooting a lookbook with professional models, and using those images throughout your store for branding. You can then use amateur models or mannequins for product images.

A mixed approach will give you the best of both worlds without forcing you to choose between branding and your budget.

What have your experiences been like with models and mannequins? Do you have any tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below!


shopify-author Thomas Kragelund

About The Author

Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years.

Be intentional

Being Intentional: Doing the RIGHT thing vs. the EASY thing.

It’s an add to cart kind of day! The best way to start your day is to be INTENTIONAL. Yes, kiddies, that’s the word of the day.. Intentional… What does that mean exactly? in·ten·tion·al inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ adjective 1. done on purpose; deliberate. 2. done with purpose; intended Let’s take a look at what that means in … read more

Be intentional

It’s an add to cart kind of day! The best way to start your day is to be INTENTIONAL.

Yes, kiddies, that’s the word of the day.. Intentional…

What does that mean exactly?

in·ten·tion·al
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective

1. done on purpose; deliberate.
2. done with purpose; intended

Let’s take a look at what that means in the context of the “support handmade” and “shop small” movements.

The easy thing to do when you need to buy a gift is to run to your local retailer and pick up a gift card for another retailer, most likely a chain store, or corporately owned restaurant chain… Everyone likes gift cards, don’t they?

The easy thing to do when you need an outfit or accessory for a special occasion is to go to the mall, and look around until something “speaks to you”… or go to the closest big box store and find something there, right?

Well, I am here to tell you that the easy thing is not always the RIGHT thing to do.

doing the right thing

Being intentional in this context is about doing the RIGHT thing, not the easiest thing. Every single dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you want to live in. Do you really want to line the pockets of CEO’s of fortune 500 companies? Do you want to give that CEO that extra vacation … OR would you rather know that your money is giving a little boy little league, or a little girl dance lessons? Would you rather see a small family be able to go out and see a movie together? or would you rather give that big box store’s corporate management team a big fat bonus when they’re already raking in the cash… or would you like to know that your purchase MEANT something to ONE work at home mom or dad?  I’d sleep a lot better at night if I was MORE intentional with my shopping dollars. Sure, it might make some forethought and planning out to buy a birthday gift for someone from the Gypsy Spoonful marketplace, and it may just be easier to grab that gift card from your local pharmacy store.

Gypsy Spoonful has 165 independently owned & operated small shops~ each one representing a very hard working mom or dad, or a student working their way through college, a person who has a disability and may not be able to hold a traditional job, a homeschooling parent who wants to be home with their children and teach them while also working and adding to the family income. EVERY single sale matters in the life of a VERY REAL person. It makes a difference in their household.

Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it is ALWAYS the right thing to do.

Shop the Gypsy Spoonful Marketplace Now

Check out what we believe about handmade, and small American business, if you vibe with what we’re doing, and you’re a maker/artist/crafter… apply to open a shop HERE . 

Want to see our community of makers in action, and get to know the person who owns a shop? Join our Facebook Group. You can also request a custom item on the wall in the group!

Social Listening

8 Social Media Tools to Protect Your Reputation and Influence Conversations

Social Listening The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you. It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them? Social listening is … read more

Social Listening

Social Listening

The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you.

It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them?

Social listening is a technique for monitoring social media conversations to uncover new opportunities for your business.

With social listening, your business can identify these key moments to engage with users directly and sway their conversations in your favor.

To help you monitor conversations about your brand and transform them into new opportunities for your business, we’ve put together a collection of the top tactics and tools for social listening and media monitoring.

What Is Social Listening?

Social media is a sea of information. Content often dominates feeds, but human interaction is at its heart.

With social listening, you can track existing conversations to find opportunities for your brand to jump in and engage with prospects and existing customers. These organic relationships are the backbone of sustainable, ongoing social media growth and building a dedicated fanbase for your business.

Discovering the opportunities to build these relationships with your customers goes beyond the messages that show up in your business’ Twitter notifications. Social listening is a way for your business to monitor digital conversations at scale, saving you the massive amounts of time and effort that would be required to sort through the noise manually.

Social listening tools track posts based on keywords and phrases relevant to your business to help you find conversations that you aren’t a part of, but should be.

Why Is Social Listening Important?

Social listening is a key tactic for creating a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. It gives you an up-close-and-personal look at your customers and reveals new ways for you to connect with them and build content that reflects their values.

These raw and unfiltered conversations can provide you with a wide variety of insights about your audience. Here are the primary benefits of using social listening for your online store:

Address Indirect Complaints

In the heat of the moment, when customers are most frustrated, it’s understandable that they might not tag your brand while typing up a passionate complaint, especially since only 30% of tweets about brands actually tag their official usernames.

Unfortunately, without using a social listening tools to monitor social media feeds, these complaints would normally go unnoticed—unnoticed by you, that is.

The risk here is twofold: First, your customers will not get their issues resolved. If you can’t see their complaints, you can’t address them and help them have a successful, positive experience with your products.

Second, an unchecked complaint can spiral out of control online, fostering negative sentiment towards your brand. Not monitoring social conversations can leave your business in a vulnerable position and without the appropriate tools to protect itself. Whereas a proactive, social listening-powered approach will help you transform complaints into lifelong customers.

The key to delivering a stellar customer service experience with social listening is to go above and beyond in your response. Your customers don’t necessarily expect a resolution to their complaint since they haven’t tagged your business or product, so you need to go the extra mile to surprise, delight, and win them back

Uncover Unique Opportunities

On the other hand, social listening can also present new opportunities for your brand to create custom social media content and build relationships with your audience. By tracking keywords that are relevant to your brand, you can reach out to new customers in their moments of highest intent.

Here are the different kinds of keywords that your business should be paying attention to:

  • Brand Keywords: Words that are specifically associated with your business, including your company name and any common variations or misspellings. For instance, if your company is called Waterfall Skincare, you’ll want to track “Waterfall Skincare”, “Waterfall Skin Care”, “Water Fall Cosmetics”, etc.
  • Industry Keywords: Words that describe the kind of products or services that your store sells. For instance, a t-shirt store would track words like “clothing”, “t-shirts”, and “apparel”.
  • Location-Specific Keywords: If your business has a physical store or targets specific locations, be sure to track hashtags and keywords that are popular within the city, state, or country that you’re focusing on. For instance, a company selling Chicago souvenirs would want to track the most popular keywords within the Chicagoland area.
  • Negative Keywords: These keywords are ones that you don’t want included in your tracking. If your industry or brand name is commonly associated with non-relevant conversation topics, you’ll want to filter those out. For instance, if you sell dog toys, you’ll want to add “children”, “kids”, “babies”, etc. as negative keywords, so that you aren’t tracking conversations about children’s toys as well.

With social listening, seemingly unrelated conversations can suddenly become chances to impress new customers and engage with your current fans.

spotify twitter social listening

Image credit: Spotify on Twitter

Spotify, for example, was able to jump on this tweet despite the fact that it didn’t actually tag their Twitter account. Their response was simple and witty, humanizing their brand and making a personal connection with a loyal customer.

hilton suggests social listening

Image credit: HiltonSuggests on Twitter

Hilton has dedicated an entire Twitter account to social listening with Hilton Suggests. The account monitors keywords around the names of cities with Hilton hotels to respond to questions about dining and entertainment recommendations with suggestions for local hot spots.

Finding these moments is a three-step process, involving the collection and monitoring of conversations, followed by the analysis of these conversations to determine the intention of the speakers, and then, finally, outreach.

Intention is determined by context and context shapes the way that you should engage with the speakers.

  • What is the emotional sentiment of the conversation?
  • Will the speakers be receptive to your interaction?
  • Is this a relevant opportunity for your brand?

These questions will help you narrow down the context of the conversation and determine how your business should engage, whether that means joining in on a joke or suggesting your product as a solution to a problem.

Get Unfiltered Feedback

Want to know how your customers really feel about your products? From their biggest pain points to their favorite features, social listening gives you direct access to real, honest feedback.

The information that you pull from these interactions is highly valuable for designing better products in the future and improving your current catalogue. Pay attention to what your customers like and don’t like about your products. Try to understand their frustrations and the challenges that they run into.

Remember that negative reviews and comments aren’t personal attacks, they’re opportunities for your business to get better.

If you’ve just launched a new product, you can discover any shortcomings early on by monitoring social conversations. This can get you in front of negative reviews before they start rolling in and help you improve your current products for future customers.  Source Kevin Donnelly, Shopify Blog

If you’re looking for a place to sell your handmade products, check out this page, and to see our community in action, and how we suppport each other in our handmade community, join our Facebook Group.

Taking Better Product Photos : Guest Blogger Heidi from Stuff N’ Junk By Heidi

Taking Better Product Photos</font color> Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi! I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing … read more

Taking Better Product Photos</font color>

Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi!
I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing the photos into memory albums, but with the invention of digital cameras (and camera phones) and thanks to a busy life in general, I stopped taking as many photos. I never really learned all of the ins and outs when it came to lighting and camera functions, so when it came time to open my first online shop, my photos were dark, fuzzy and down right horrible! Over the years I have picked up some tips and tricks when it comes to product photos, so today I wanted to share some of the tools and tricks I use and how my photos have “developed” over the years.
Taking Better Product Photos

one of my first “product photos”

Before I had an online shop, I made diaper bags and baby blankets for family and friends. After many years of encouragement, I opened my first shop and my photos were far from appealing. I knew that I needed them to be “light and bright” but I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I didn’t have the extra funds to purchase high-end photography gear and I didn’t know enough about photography to know what a good value would be. My photos were dark, rough and many times blurry.
After very little research, I began mimicking what I thought looked good in other online shops. I started seeing this trend of photos on wood backgrounds. With no understanding of how it all worked, I purchased some scrapbook paper and started taking product photos. Still dark, still out of focus, I was getting frustrated.
Taking Better Product Photos

A first attempt at indirect light. The background is white cotton fabric.

Taking better product photos

Another “early days” photo, background is scrapbook paper.
There are lots of classes and free videos to coach you through photography and editing, but I got lucky and had a little one-on-one help from someone I met on Facebook. With her help, I ordered some vinyl backdrops and got a light kit, I upgraded my cell phone and my photos started getting better.
Taking Better Product Photos

Lights, Camera, Backdrops!

Taking Better Product Photos

Getting ready to take photos with my phone (Galaxy 8 plus)

When it comes to the actual photos, I found that you don’t need an expensive, high-end camera! Most new cell phones today have cameras that are more than capable of getting a good product photo. A few tips I learned along the way:
  1. Take the case off of your phone when taking photos. Many times the case will cause a shadow around your camera lens, causing the photos to be darker than they should
  2.  Clean the lens before and during your photo shoot. The smallest smudge may not be visible when looking at the phone display, but when you go to edit your photos, they will be blurry.
  3. Take lots of photos! The great thing about digital photos is that you can take a lot of photos of the same thing and simply delete the ones that don’t cut it!
Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my camera (Canon, Rebel T6)

Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my phone

Let’s talk photo backgrounds…

There are a lot of opinions about photo backgrounds. Some people will always recommend a solid white background. Some will tell you to use mockups. Lifestyle photos versus flatlays are also something to think about.
So here’s my two cents:
  1. Your photo background should compliment your business aesthetic. Is your logo blue and green? Don’t use a black backdrop… Do you sell wall/home decor? Photographing your products outside on the grass is probably not going to help your customer imagine that piece in their home. No matter how much you sew, a cutting board is not a good backdrop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on photo backdrops! Vinyl backdrops are a number one choice as they are specifically designed for taking photos. There are many shops now that offer a variety of sizes and styles to give you plenty of options. I have also used contact paper (dollar tree) and scrapbook paper. The downside to the contact paper is that some are glossy and will give a lot of shine behind your product, with scrapbook paper you are a bit limited with regards to size. If you are looking to use a plain white background, poster board can be a great budget-friendly option!
Taking Better Product Photos

My chevron background is 2’x2′ and matches my branding. Vinyl backdrops can come in so many patterns and sizes! The roll is contact paper I picked up from the dollar store.

2) Mock-ups and props. You always want your product to be the main focus of the photo. If you are using props, be sure they complement your product but they really should be a back seat item, never the focus. If you do mockups, be sure that you are clear in your description of what is included with purchase. If I go to a shop filled with digital mockups and no finished products, I generally don’t make the purchase.
3) Lifestyle photos. These can be great to help sell your online items. Since your customer can’t touch or try on your product while shopping, seeing your product in use helps customers imagine that item in their home. I myself and still working on getting lifestyle photos, so be sure to check back for more on this topic!

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting…

I struggle with lighting. I have always struggled with lighting. I feel like no matter what I do, my lighting is just never “right”. How in the world do we get “indirect light”? Although I am still working on getting that perfect lighting down, I do have tools that help!
1) Lightbox! These can be purchased or you can make one yourself. We’ll be doing a lightbox tutorial soon, so be sure to subscribe to the email list! Although I own a lightbox, I don’t use mine much as my backgrounds and products tend to be too large. Whether you are using indirect light or electric lighting, a lightbox helps filter and soften the lighting when taking your photos.
2) Stand lights. I have the light set listed below and I just can’t live without them! My lights have covers, as shown, which helps filter the light coming through so I’m not getting a bright glare on my product and background.
3) Sunlight. I struggled with good old Mother Nature for quite some time. I tried early morning, different afternoon hours, in the shade, outside, inside, nothing seemed to be working! After doing a little research I finally figured out that I needed to be at my living room window between 10 am and noon (your time and place will vary) to get the best indirect lighting for my photos. Even with that, I still use my stand lights to help with angled lighting.
Taking better product photos

I use a combination of indirect sunlight and two light stands.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to product photography is that you want it to represent your business and give your customer the impression they would get if they were standing in your brick and mortar shop.
Thanks so much for visiting the Gypsy Spoonful Blog : “Gypsy Blogful: A Journey In American Handmade”  and feel free to drop a comment or question!

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color> Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered … read more

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color>

Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered her an expert in her field for a long time now, she’s shown that she knows the proven ways to succeed in this rough market. Just the other day in our member’s only group, we were discussing this very topic! Great timing huh? Don’t waste any time wondering how to succeed at this like a champ!


Sarah Asks,

Are you afraid to call boutique buyers? I was too when I was first starting out.

Sarah has prepared this special guide to share her time-tested formula so you can get your products into the stores of your dreams.

  • You are going to get:
  • 6 ways to find the perfect buyers who already want your product!
  • The “My friend saw your store” copy and paste email script
  • Her “Perfect Follow Up” phone script so you can close the deal
  • And more…..

I know you’re absolutely going to LOVE what she’s sharing with you. There’s no time to waste, so shake a leg sister!

To get started right away and access her free PDF guide, click this link to access your guide

 

Hustle: Do you have it? What does Hustling Mean To You?

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means. We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses. #1- … read more

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means.

We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses.

#1- Powering through the hard parts

Thanks to Jake Jorgovan, Lead Cookie!It’s not about working nights and weekends forever, that just leads to burnout. Instead hustle is about working those nights and weekends when it’s necessary to get over that next hump. Too many people confuse hustle with being a workaholic. You simply can’t stay in hustle mode for your entire life. There are seasons for hustle, and there are seasons to focus on your personal life. It’s important to understand that balance.

 #2- GSD’ing

Thanks to Spencer Chambers Hustle to me is summed up in what I like to call GSD’ing. What is GSD’ing you may ask? In appropriate language, this means Get “Stuff” Done. Work hard, never take no for an answer, make things happen, etc. It’s a really simple concept, but it takes hustle to truly execute and get stuff done on a daily basis.

#3- Simple

Thanks to Taran Ghatrora, Ellebox!Hustle to me is having a clear vision and an unbeatable work ethic to get there. You can’t get stuck in the planning phase or in overthinking.

#4- Executing things

Hustle is the ability to execute steps forward on ideas using discipline to motivate you, instead of inspiration or whim. Your idea is pretty much shit, unless you actually execute on it and do the thing.

Thanks to Ben Woods, Weathered Coalition!

#5- A number of things

Hustling is pursuing your passion when others aren’t. Hustling is saying no to happy hour to work on your business. Hustling is waking up every day at 5 a.m. to write a new company blog post, answer emails or listen to motivational videos. Hustling is spending most of your days alone because you are fervently working to grow your business.

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#6-Having grit

Hustle means having grit. Sticking to it and getting things done while thinking strategically and being engaged. Hustling is about being effective and following through. It’s about the process — start to finish. Be strategic, savvy, and execute. It’s a go-go-go, get it done mentality.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#7- Performance and productivity

For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, hustle in its most literal sense means that you have to perform and be productive at a high level each and every day. If not, your competitors are likely to get a leg up on you. In a more subjective sense, hustle is a term used regarding a side hustle, which is how many of us get started. If you can find something to do in your spare time which generates income for you, there’s nothing to say that it can’t eventually turn into a full-time position and career for you.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#8- Motivation and persistence

Thanks to Tom Szaky, TerraCycle!To me, hustle is motivation and persistence. It is being motivated by the word “no,” or the desire to do something others think is not possible. It is thinking big and not settling for anything less than great. Mediocre will not suffice. When TerraCycle first started about 15 years ago, we sold organic worm poop fertilizer. Selling to mom n’ pop stores would’ve been easy, but I wanted more. I wanted to see it on shelves in big box stores so I called relentlessly, no matter how many times they didn’t respond. Finally, we got a meeting and a short time later our fertilizer was on store shelves. Today, we no longer make the fertilizer and TerraCycle is known for recycling difficult to recycle materials. We operate in 21 countries and were just qualified by the SEC for a Regulation A offering which enables any level investor to purchase shares of the company. The capital raise will be used to acquire businesses, allowing us to continue to innovate ways to solve some of the world’s biggest waste problems. Thinking big and persevering despite the no’s in life is my definition of hustle.

#9- Making things happen

It takes drive, creativity, energy, passion, chutzpah, and resilience. As the founder and CEO I know there are going to be times when doors close or I have to pivot to turn my vision into reality. If it were easy someone would have thought of it and done it before. If you are committed to making your dream come true you have to hustle. No one else wakes up every day thinking about your business. It is on you to hustle. If you want it more then you just have to work harder and hustle to make it happen.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

 #10- Solving problems

Hustle is a term that gets thrown around a lot by entrepreneurs, we say with pride that we worked 14 hours a day for the last week. I’m working on being more conscious of framing my relationship to the word hustle, I now relate it to resourcefulness. When you’re running your own business, a lot of different things come down the pipe, and you’ve got to be able to dig deep and have a high capacity for problem-solving.

Thanks to Justin Shaw, One & Zero!

#11- Hard work

Hustle is working day in and day out even when the results aren’t showing. It’s doing all of the work when you don’t feel like it or you’re stressed. Hustle means not complaining and putting in the hours no matter what because you’re dedicated. In business, it takes a long time for the fruits of your labor to show their effects. I believe you have to be willing to work very hard now for rewards later. That’s what hustle means to me.

Thanks to Carmine M, Pierro Shoes!

#12- It’s everything

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!Business and hustle go hand in hand when being an entrepreneur and it can be fantastic, but also really challenging at the same time. What is “hustle”, you may ask? It’s everything. To me it is breathing, living and feeling the pulse of the business. It’s about making constant growth sustainable. Hustle is about a constant state of peak performance and ability to find the positive in every situation. It is also used to remind one that good things don’t come to those who wait – it comes to those who work hard, sleep and breathe work, and deliver. No matter what type of problem is thrown at you, you have to keep hustling!

#13- To keep moving

Hustle to me means rolling with the punches and never giving up. When your business or your professional career there are going to be low times, failures and even lull’s. You need to make sure to keep working through these times. This is where most people give up and try something new. Have faith and believe in yourself. Hustle your way through these hard times.

Thanks to Garrett Smith, Pitch + Pivot!

#14- Several things

Being the Executive Director of a very small nonprofit, hustle means something very different to me than how the average CEO probably sees it. For me, making as many connections as possible and going to as many networking events as possible are critical. I also need to be fearless when it comes to asking people, companies, and organizations for support and resources for our organization whenever we need it. Hustle also means having my elevator pitch down to a science, so I can easily and efficiently sell our organization to potential new supporters and partners on the spot. For me, hustling also means keeping in touch with connections even if you can’t work with them right away, because you never know if they might be able to help you later on, or who else they might know who might be able to help you, too. Additionally, being ready with a list of things you need assistance with – and being ready to vocalize that list of needs when opportunities arise – is definitely critical to hustling, as is working all channels available to you (like using social media for instance) to crowd-source resources and connections that can benefit us as well.

Thanks to Melissa Norden, Bottomless Closet!

#15- When you say, enough talking – it’s time to do something

Your business began with a dream, that dream morphed into a vision which then becomes a goal. The world is full of dreamers. You have to do more than dream and believe; you have to have a shared goal and hustle to reach it! We teach our team in our EntreLeadership classes to clearly define dreams, visions and goals, share them and share them with their teams. Hustle happens when the team fights and claws together to get there.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#16- Making it work

“Detroit Hustle” is a known state of mind in the Motor City, where my outdoor advertising agency is headquartered. To me, hustle means always making it work and never giving up. I’ve worked essentially 24/7 since starting Brooklyn Outdoor 5 years ago and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My days are jam-packed with meetings, conference calls, and tight deadlines. I think the most important part of the hustle is being invigorated by hard work instead of feeling drained.

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

What does hustle mean to you? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join

(courtesty of CEO Blog Nation)

Zuckerberg Announces BIG Changes for Business Pages on Facebook. Coming Soon in 2018. Small Business Apocalypse.

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!! straight from the horse’s mouth: Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this … read more

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!!

straight from the horse’s mouth:

Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this will make for a more enjoyable social experience on Facebook, one of the drawbacks of this change is that many of the businesses, brands or media that users want to follow will not be visible as often. For instance, if you follow a business page and enjoy seeing their posts, this new change will hide most of their updates.

Zuckerberg Announces Big Changes for Facebook Pages in 2018

As if the algorithms and the pay to play post “boosting” didn’t do enough damage to our small businesses, now he’s coming right out and saying that businesses and brands will be buried and hidden even more!!

Those of us who managed to dodge paying to boost posts just to reach a 1/10 of the people who actually follow our pages, will suffer even more. Small businesses who don’t have an advertising budget will all but be obliterated in the new Zuckerberg Facebook 2018 plan…

For those of you that have trusted my advice and suggestions in the past as far as social media go, I want you to know I am working on an ebook to explain these changes and I’m brainstorming workarounds for this “new era” for businesses coming SOON on facebook. I”ve been quoted in several publications (blogs, newspapers, magazines etc) as well as being quoted in two books as a small business and social media expert. If there’s a will there’s a way, and Goosie is on the case…

Please comment and let me know if you’d be interested in my ebook, and what you think of these new changes Zuckerberg thinks will be so awesome


Collaborators on Pinterest

HOW and WHY to add collaborators to Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business. Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, … read more

Collaborators on Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business.
Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, but the visual nature of Pinterest makes it ideal in many respects.

How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?

But how can you maximize your Pinterest activities without spending a ton of time on it? Well, along with scheduling your pins, one of the most effective but underutilized strategies to get more exposure from Pinterest is by using group boards.

Now, if you’re new to Pinterest, you may only know of regular boards that only you can pin to. You may have never have heard of group boards. Or maybe you have but you don’t know how to use them or don’t think they apply to you.

I’ve been dabbling with group boards over the past few months and have seen a dramatic increase in followers since I strategically introduced them to my Pinterest marketing.

So in this post I am going to demystify group boards, explain the advantages of using them and outline a few ways you can get started straightaway with this strategy.

What Are Pinterest Group Boards?

A group board works like a regular Pinterest board. The only difference is that along with the board creator, other people are also allowed to pin.

Group boards go under many different names – shared boards, contributor boards, community boards and collaborative boards. Regardless the term, they are all exactly the same thing.

There is currently no directory of Pinterest group boards. In order to distinguish a group board from a regular one you need to look out for the group icon at the top of a board when you are browsing someone’s page.

Key Benefits of Using Group Boards

Group boards are not only a great way to organize ideas and bring people together, but they can also have real tangible benefits for your brand and business.

#1. Dramatically boost your followers

If users select to “follow all” of any contributor’s boards, then they will be added as followers to a group board you are part of. The increased exposure and visibility you get through group boards will increase your follower growth at a faster rate.

#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins

The more followers you have the more likely they (and their followers) are to see your content, repin your pins and click through to your website. This means more traffic to your site and potentially more subscribers, customers and clients.

#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot

Implement this strategy correctly and you could get other people creating content for.

Certainly at the start, Pinterest can be time-consuming but managed well, you could soon have a team of people perpetuating your content for you across their networks.

#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors

Your customers may already be liking, commenting and sharing your content with their followers on Pinterest. But inviting them to pin to your brand’s group board will get them more engaged and involved in your online conversation.

It will also elevate them to the role of brand ambassadors, who their followers are more likely to take note of.

Let’s take a look now at some ways you can harness the power of group boards in your business.

How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?

  • Collaboration – are you working with other people, employees or co-workers on a specific project? Use group boards to share industry-specific tips, training materials and resources. Make the board “secret” if you want to keep the information under wraps.
  • Planning – are you a wedding planner, interior designer or in charge of an event that requires input from others? Invite the stakeholders to join you on a group board where you can collect and share design ideas, compare menus, color schemes, flower arrangements, room layouts, fabric samples and so on.
  • Promotion– thinking of running a contest, raising funding for your big idea or promoting a worthy cause? Group boards are perfect for engaging your audience, getting customers to interact with your brand as well as sharing data, statistics, success stories etc. to raise awareness about your brand or a particular issue.
  • Networking – why not invite other pinners to pin about a common topic and expand your network at the same time? Bloggers especially can benefit from group boards by using them to connect with other bloggers and actively re-pinning each other’s content as part of a blogging network.
  • Authority – are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area? Create a themed group board and contribute regularly to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader to the board’s followers.

How To Create A Contributor Board

Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the Add + tab at the top of the page.

Collaborators on Pinterest

 

Then select the option to Create a Board.

Create a Pinterest board

Next choose a name for your new board, select a category and whether you want to make it a private (secret) board or a public one. The final sCollaborators on Pinteresttep is to decide who you want to add as a contributor.

 

How To Add Contributors
Today I’m going to share three different ways to collaborate on Pinterest:  Secret Boards, Group Boards, and reaching out to others.

Collaborators on Pinterest

Reaching Out To Others
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when I talk with other business people and clients, I’ve realized that many people don’t take this step.  Reaching out to other people in your industry who are already on Pinterest is a vital step to building business relationships.

This starts in your comments.  I’m still amazed at people who don’t respond to comments someone has left for them on a pin.  Pinterest isn’t the most social of the social networks, so when someone does this it really stands out. Comment back!  Don’t just say “Thank You.”  Continue the conversation and say things like, “What did you like about that pin?”  or “When you read that article, what was the most helpful piece of advice?”  Building on the conversation is key.

Once you’ve built up a history with each other, and they express interest in using Pinterest for marketing, start asking each other for advice or work together.

My Pinterest marketing skills have grown because I’ve been able to build relationships with .  Now, if I’m struggling on an image or what exactly to pin, I can turn to my friends for advice and they can do the same with me. Having colleagues who can give helpful criticism and support is crucial when trying to take your Pinterest marketing to the next level.

Group Boards
One of the most significant benefits of joining group boards on Pinterest is the exposure of your own content.  This is vital when you are first starting out.  For example, if you join or get invited to a group board that has 1000 followers and you’ve just gotten your Pinterest account up to 100 followers, that extra 1000 can make a big difference on how many people see your content. Finding high quality group boards relevant to your industry used to be a chore, but with sites like pingroupie.com,  finding group boards for your industry is much easier. Group boards can also help grow your Pinterest account more quickly.  If you are providing great pins that are relative to a Pinterest group board and that audience, more people will become interested in your profile, and in many instances start following some of your boards.

Creating your own group board is a great way for you to curate great content for your audience.  For example, I had a board called Instant Instagram Tips which is ranked on Google Search.  I mentioned this board to Peg Fitzpatrick, and she became a contributor. I then turned that board into a group board for the two of us to pin to.  Having just one other person who pins great content makes it a lot easier to make that board a place where people can go to for resources on Instagram.

Secret Boards
Secret boards are a powerful tool on Pinterest.  We’ll go more in-depth on some power tips for secret boards in a later article.   Secret boards are just that, secret.  The public on Pinterest can’t see them.  You can pin recipes, gift ideas for your spouse, what the competition is doing, or  article ideas for your blog…you get the picture.
You can, however, share your secret boards with users you select.  This can be used quite effectively in business.   I’ve created and shared secret boards with logo designers where I share logos I like, and they pin concepts that they have created.  It’s a really fast way to drill down to a design quickly.

 

How to add collaborators to Pinterest

Do you have a Pinterest board that you would like allow friends, workmates or colleagues to pin images to?  It’s easy – add them as a collaborator!  Here’s how:
Log into your Pinterest account and navigate to your boards
Click ‘Edit’ on the board you wish to add a collaborator to
In the ‘Who can add pins?’ text box, start typing the name of your new collaborator, and select their name from the drop down box when it appears (Note:  They will need to be following your board before you can add them) and click ‘Invite’
Click ‘Save Settings’
Your chosen collaborator will now receive an invitation to which they will need to accept and then they’ll be able to start pinning to your board!

Turn Around Bright Eyes…. Eclipse 2017 Info, Viewing Tips, Fun Activities and Viewing Schedules

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy … read more

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy Spoonful outshines the competition when it comes to supporting small handmade makers! Don’t be left in the dark and accidentally buy mass produced items masquerading as handmade, shop Gypsy Spoonful and there’s never a chance of that happening.The biggest celestial event of 2017 will take place on TODAY!!  Monday, Aug. 21, but you may miss it if you do not know precisely when to look.

Moon and Sun Cuffed Etched Bracelet click HERE to see it LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

The moon’s shadow will travel from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States with only a narrow zone, called the path of totality, experiencing a total solar eclipse.

In this path, the moon will block out the sun completely for less than three minutes, so being in the path at the correct time is extremely important.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Western US

The first people in the country to see the eclipse will be along the coast of Oregon where the moon will start to block out the sun around 9:04 a.m. PDT and will completely cover the sun by 10:17 a.m. PDT.

Portland and Eugene, Oregon, sit just outside of the path of totality, so people looking to the sky in these cities will experience a partial solar eclipse with the sun blocking out 99 percent of the sun.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Rocky Mountains

The shadow of the moon will make its way eastward as the day progresses.

The eclipse will begin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, at 10:16 a.m. MDT, with the moon blocking out the sun completely by 11:36 a.m. MDT.

The neighboring Yellowstone National Park will not experience a total solar eclipse. During the height of the eclipse, spectators in Yellowstone will still see a small sliver of the sun as the moon blocks out 98 percent of the sun’s light.

Casper, Wyoming, is one of the bigger cities in this part of the country that will experience a total solar eclipse around 11:43 a.m. MDT.

Central US

As the moon’s shadow tracks across the heartland of the U.S., it will pass over several cities, including Lincoln, Nebraska, Kansas City and St. Louis.

People in these cities will need to plan accordingly as each city is right on the edge of the path of totality. This means that part of the cities will experience a total solar eclipse, while other portions will not.

Carbondale, Illinois, is also situated in this part of the country and will be a popular location on Aug. 21, as it will experience totality for a little over 2 minutes and 40 seconds, longer than anywhere else in the country.

Eastern US

The southeastern U.S. will be one of the most popular areas in the country for viewing the eclipse on Aug. 21. It is the closest place for the millions of people along the East Coast to experience the total solar eclipse.

The eclipse will occur early in the afternoon across this region, but spectators should arrive at their viewing location in the morning due to the volume of people traveling to see the celestial event.

Traffic is expected to be more congested than usual, including along portions of Interstates 20, 26, 40, 59, 85 and 95.

AAA is reminding drivers not to stop along the highway to watch the event and not to wear eclipse glasses while driving.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Coastal areas of South Carolina will be the final place in the United States to experience the total solar eclipse, with the peak eclipse occurring around 2:47 p.m. EDT and the shadow of the moon moving offshore shortly after 4 p.m. EDT.

This will not be the end of the eclipse, as the shadow of the moon continues over the Atlantic Ocean.

A select few aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise will be some of the final people in the world to view the eclipse as the ship sails through the path of totality. For the exact times that the eclipse will be visible across the world, check out NASA’s interactive eclipse map.

Isn’t this love you to the moon and back bracelet fantastic? what a wonderful way to remember this day by…

Click here to see it LIVE

Love you to the moon and back bracelet

 

Got Pets?

The big total solar eclipse is set to hit North America today (August 21st), and if you’re like me, you’ve been scrambling to find a pair of viewing glasses for the big event. In all the hurry to see the eclipse, it’s easy to forget about the little guys in your family: your pets. Animals, even tame ones, have behavior that’s heavily tied to the sun and night cycle.

The big issue is, there’s not a lot of awareness of how eclipses affect animals. Some Cleveland pet owners interviewed by TV News thought their pets might want to hide, others were concerned about their dogs and cats staring into the sun and hurting their eyes. It’s a valid concern, of course, but the danger isn’t as clear and present as it might seem.

Dr. Evan Morse of Warrensville Animal Hospital thinks most animals will simply act like they do when the sun goes down normally. It’s likely they furry friends will believe that it’s nighttime and will go about their routine. Morse says dogs and cats don’t tend to look at the sun anyway, so they’re not going to be suddenly interested in it just because of the eclipse.

But if you’re outside walking around with your canine or feline friends you might want to make sure they don’t keep staring up at the sky or anything like that when they notice something changing around them. This shouldn’t be too big of a concern, but just in case you might want to shelter your pet until the eclipse has passed.If you notice your animal getting nervous or restless, chances are it’s because they’re picking up on your excitement about the eclipse. The best way to make sure that your pet makes it through the eclipse unscathed is to simply be aware and make sure they’re just as safe as they normally are.

Aren’t these sun hair bows from Bows and More By T Adorable? Here’s a link to see them LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

Make a viewer this morning while you still have time!!

 

If’ you’re a slacker and didn’t pick up any of the viewing glasses made specifically for the eclipse ,HURRY and make an eclipse viewing box!  Here’s some instructions on how to make one from a cereal box , directly from Nasa so you know it’s gotta be safe! Click here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/EclipseCerealBoxViewer.pdf

Take a peek at these adorable star bubble shorts on Gypsy Spoonful click here to see them today LIVE

Further Fun & Suggested Reading:

25 facts you should know about viewing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse from Astronomy Magazine

Click on the pic to get a cool craft for kids to do today!

Eclipse Craft For Kids