Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Cards, Invites, that is.

Just don't send them. EVER. And I don't mean just not to me. Not to ANYBODY.

E-cards are fast, convenient, and IMPERSONAL. And seriously, I'm not saying this just because I am a card maker (OK, part of me isn't). ecards lack thought, compassion, and consideration.

And don't get me started on e-invites. I knew couple once that e-invited everyone to their wedding. Really? You couldn't get to a store and find some printables, print yourself up some labels,and send something out? Really, were you THAT busy? Are they THAT expensive? I always think about how someone can't lick a stamp and put it on an envelope and, wait, you don't even have to lick them anymore, and how they will stand in line for hours on end for a cell phone that will be obsolete in 6 months. And you don't have time to send a real, paper, printed, embossed, hand written WHATEVER card or invite to someone. Really.

It all comes down to priorities. How important is that event you are hosting to you? How important is the person you invited to you? Did you take the time out to browse through books, look online and pick the right paper communication for your event? Did you make sure the wording was right, the address correct, the rsvp number included? Did you make sure all the enclosures and information were included to make sure your guests knew where to go? Or did you find some home photo you and your bestest took together in a booth or worse yet, a canned photo online point and click and wipe your hands of the whole "their invited" part of your important event (wedding, home warming, products party) and call it a day?

Really, invitations, cards, thank you cards, real physical cards ARE important. They DO set the tone, they DO show people how much you care. They do let the people you invite know that your event means something more to them than a canned message with the TO: line full of 65 email addresses to other people( and no that heffa did NOT click my email address last!). It really does make a difference! Custom cards are not necessary (and I bite my tongue) but taking the time to address a card or invitation, putting a real stamp on it, walking it down to the mailbox and flipping the flag up DOES mean something. It means, YO, I really care enough about you and my event and the success of my event depends on you coming to my shindig. So do yourself a favor and pick up a box of blank cards for your next event, tie a pretty bow or bone or whatever on the front and mail it to somebody next time you want to invite someone to an event.

Remember that e-wedding? Well, I e-didn't go. I didn't feel like the bride and groom cared really all that much who came to their wedding,and when I heard about it after wards, I was glad I didn't go ( a keg, bbq brisket and beer bong really couldn't justify my putting on a fly dress, 4 inch heels and an expensive wig to attend). OH and guess what? That e-invite got E forwarded to E-everybody and it turned into a 400-person house party. GAWD

Also, consider this. I was e-invited to a home party, where the host and two of her other friends were going to show off their hand made goods, and chit chat with each other about whatever. I didn't attend this event, either. Why? Because if one is going to have a party showcasing hand crafted pieces of art, they should have taken the time to mail out invites to each and every guest. Call me a snob if you want, but my time to me is just as precious as my money is to you.

So, that's all for today. Just think about it next time! I mean, I'm not saying to run out and have engraved invites done for your next dinner party, but you could have some custom made and printed for you, or you could print something simple at home and do it yourself. Really, something that easy really does show you are going all out and it makes your guests wonder what special thing you have in store for them.

And remember, always remember- Thank you cards are NOT an option. Order them when you order your invites.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feline Herpes and Stomatitis Gingivitis

First, let me just post this disclaimer right away. I am not a vet, a herbalist, or a shaman. I just happen to be the steward of a very special cat that has some special needs in her older years. I say this is what is working for her, but it may not work for every cat. So, do your own research as I did, and make your best decision when it comes to your own feline with a similar problem.

This is Francesca, or affectionately called Fran Fran

About a year and a half ago, we noticed that miss Francesca was drooling a lot, not eating, and thin as a rail. She's usually always thin during the hot summer months when her coat is shed and it's blistering hot, but this was November. And she wasn't looking great. Since she was an outside cat at the time, we decided to bring her in and try to get her in better shape. We tried
everything, she would not eat,and the drooling persisted. It was so sad, she was so hungry but when we would put food down, she'd take a few bites then run like she was on fire. Well, technically, her mouth was.After a trip to the emergency vet at midnight then a trip to our regular vet the following morning, we were informed that our girl had feline stomacitis gingivitis. Stomacitis gingivitis is gum disease in cats and is believed to be caused by improper diet (insufficient chewing of raw meat in bones) feline herpes, or from a viral infection. Personally , I believe ours to be probably a little of all three. Almost all cats have feline herpes. I tweakens the immune system and can create a host of problems such as runny eyes, wheezing, and upper respiratory infections . Cats with this condition can also develop gum problems as my sugar did. After many attempts at giving antibiotics, steroid shots and changing her diet we decided the only two options we had were pulling all of her teeth or putting her down.

I wasn't ready to let her go.

Extracting the teeth went fairly OK, and the vet tech gave us some powdered stuff to put in her food as a nutritional supplement. We did have to go back about a week later because there was actually a shard of tooth still in her gums and she was just ripping herself up. Poor thing. Once that was done, we were in the clear.

Or so we thought.

Within a few weeks of the surgery, her gums started to swell again! I was devastated! The vet did tell us that a small percentage of cats do not respond to the tooth extractions. She happened to be one of those cats. She said she could have constant flare ups or periodical flare ups and the best we could do for her at this stage was managed care in the form of steroid shots. We opted for the shots, but I knew that long term use of the steroids would only create other problems. This went on for MONTHS like clockwork. Almost 30 days to the day the shot would wear off and once again Franke (pronounced Frankie) was in pain. Sometimes the swelling would be so bad that she could not meow because her throat was swollen so badly.

I started thinking about the powder stuff the vet tech had handed my husband the day we had all her teeth extracted. I pulled it from the shelf. I googled the name of the supplement and literally kicked myself in the ass. We had not been giving it to her because we really didn't think she needed it and we thought it was just "if we wanted to use it" Well let me tell you this stuff has been instrumental in helping my kitty get stronger.

It's called viralys. Viralys is A Lysine supplement in a palatable flavor powder for cats. Viralys is recommended as an aid in the treatment of Feline Herpes Virus and its associated respiratory and ocular symptoms. It's helps strengthen the immune system.

I personally felt that my kitties immune system was weakened. We've never been told she has feline herpes but after reading up on the l-lysine and feline herpes, I believed a weakened immune system was the root of my kitties problem. We immediately started adding viralys to her food twice a day. The first three month on it, we still had to do a steroid shot around 30 days apart from each other, but as time went on, the days turned into weeks, and now into months. We are happy to say that Francesca has not had to go back for steroid shots in three months and counting and she's gained a whole pound. We have been able to stave off a any severe swelling with occasional prednisone, but I'll take it.

Right now she's having another little flare-up, and we will know in the next few days if the oral prednisone will help. If not, back to the vet for a shot. But we are OK with that, since it's been three months since her last steroid injection.

I just wanted to share this with any of you who have cats with runny eyes, upper respiratories, or any recurring thing you just cannot seem to get rid of. Try adding viralys to their diets twice a day. You may see some marked improvement. I recommend it just for immune system maintenance. I buy my pet products at Drs. Foster and Smith and have been very satisfied with not only their products, but their shipping time as well. Plus, any medication purchased through their site gets automatic free shipping. You can't beat that. You can get it through your vet, but at my vet it costs $23 for the same bottle that I get at Drs. Foster for $13.

I know this post was long! Thank you for taking the time to read it. I just wanted to help anyone out with a kitty that has those mysterious ailments that just keep flaring back up. I'd go for a natural supplement any day over another prescription from the vet.

If you guys have any additional info or would like to share a similar story, by all means please do.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Just be nice to people! It's really not that hard.

I think the one thing that we as humans need to brush up on is a little common courtesy. I think we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we don't stop and consider a smile or two. When was the last time you looked at someone in the eye in the grocery store and smiled? Better yet, when was the last time you looked at someone in the eye in the grocery store, smiled AND said hello? Oh my gosh, what a concept.

You do not have to be Chatty Kathy like I am (my husband says the one thing he loves about me is how I make friends in the bread section) and engage in a long drawn out conversation with someone. JUST.SMILE.AND.SAY.HELLO. and keep on stepping. I mean, you probably burn about 5 calories and work some facial muscles that need to feel the burn. And you have to admit that when you do smile and it is genuine, you do feel the burn, and it's nice.

Don't expect anything in return, and if you are uncomfortable, find older people to smile or speak to. There are so many of our aging people who live alone and have no human interaction other than going to the doctor or the grocery store (and my personal opinion? I think that's why our elderly spend so much time at the doctor or in the grocery store, just to have someone SPEAK to them). Really, look at how few items they have in their baskets, or look at how long they hold something and read it and kinda look around hoping someone will stop and say "hey, that's a good product, how do you like it?" in hopes of striking up a conversation. It's nice to have pets and all to talk to, but sometimes it would mean so much more if someone could actually engage an elderly person's mind. They have so much to share, and since Ruthie is gone (almost 14 years now), I appreciate the time I can spend with someone of age over a bag of rice or a loaf of bread. I mean, it's just a few minutes of your life, and they will treasure it. And so will you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cause you never know

I was working on an order this morning that I need to get out, and while I was, it occurred to me that when I first made this card, I really didn't think anyone would like it. Turns out, it's my best selling card.

I've always liked weddings, so much so that at one time I was an event planner. There's something about whites, pearls and sparkles that appeal to me. I like romantic girlie things. What can I say. I'm a a hopeless romantic.

I wanted to post this because you have to be consistent with what you do. If you make something over many years, make it the same, make it beautiful and make it right.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Zibbet anyone?

I'm trying to eventually move my Etsy items over to Zibbet to try and save on monthly costs. I love you Etsy, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

I am offering 15% off to my first buyer at Zibbet on any item (before shipping).

Thanks for browsing!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In the Weeds

I ordered a custom item to use for my cards from a seller about a month ago, and before I could review and approve a proof the order was processed and sent to me. And it was wrong. I immediately contacted the seller and let them know that my order was wrong, asked what to do with the order I received, and when I could get a corrected order sent to me.

I got a response three days later apologizing and letting me know that I could keep the incorrect order (it's not unusable, just not made according to my specifications) and that a new order would be shipped to me.

That was almost two weeks ago.

Now, I've ordered before from this seller, and she's always been nice and her products ARE superior to any that I have found in her category. So in all honesty, I am not worried that I won't get my order, and I'm pretty patient, most of the time.

I have looked at this seller's feedback and have noticed the same thing happening with some other buyers- incorrect orders, late orders, late to respond to notifications of incorrect orders.

Look, when you make so many sales that the negatives and neutrals don't affect your 100% feedback, you really can't get so careless to think that word of mouth can't ruin your business. Before my situation I referred this seller to many others who needed her products, and you know what they've told me? "I contacted them over a week ago for a custom order and I still haven't heard back from them". Not.Good. I'm hesitant to make any more referrals.

When you are so busy that you are making mistakes on orders, slow to respond to requests, slow to getting items shipped out in a timely manner or slow to respond to a customer telling you their item is incorrect, you are in the WEEDS. If you cannot fulfill the demand, you need to take action and do some positive things before you implode and totally ruin your 1000 plus sales and your "100%" feedback. And your shop as you know it.

1.) Hire help- really, if you are doing this well, you should be able to hire someone to help you part time to answer emails, print out orders and get you organized.
2). Quit selling at so many venues- Seriously, if you can't keep up with orders from your main shop, you can't keep up with selling on Face Book, Art Fire, Zibbet, or wherever else you may be selling. I'm ALL for selling where ever you can to increase your sales, but if you can't keep up, you are in the WEEDS.
3). STOP PRODUCTION until you can catch up! The world will not come to an end of you shut your shop down for a few days to catch up. Your customers will understand, and respect you for it.
4). RESPOND to your customers! I don't care how busy you are. Three days to get back to me is two days too long.

And don't think that just because you make lots of sales and do well that you will continue to do so. There are LOTS of shops that did well and are no longer selling because they couldn't keep up with the work load. They were in the WEEDS and they let it affect their reputation as a seller.
Don't let that happen to you.

Don't be a WEED BAG.

OK, I'm done with this post. I think.

I'll keep you guys updated on this one, as well.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

If you mess it up, fix it.

I have a couple of these customer service issues going on at this moment but lets just focus on the one I followed up on today. I ordered some eye shadows, 120 to be exact, from a place called Sedona Lace online. I found out about them thru another Etsy seller who was following a blogger who was doing a give away of the eye shadows. I hate contests and giveaways (only because I never win., scowl). So I just order things outright instead of being mad and jealous because someone else got what I wanted. Well, I ordered my 120 color palette on May 19th and still have not received my order.

BTW, I have a coupon code if anyone is interested in the eyeshadows, or anything else on the site for $4 off. renren. If it doesn't work, let me know and I'll find you a good code.

I looked up Sedona Lace's phone number on the PayPal receipt and gave it a ring. The phone was answered by a guy named Jason. I told Jason my reason for calling and he was very apologetic for my not receiving my order. He explained that they were supposed to pull those as out of stock but didn't get to it in time and some orders went through. He went on to offer me the 120 Series 2 palette of 120 and I declined, explaining to him I really wanted the Series 1 colors. I don't plan on wearing them, I plan on using them as chalks for some cards like my triple blossom card in the future. But I digress. He said he expected them to come in by mid month and if I was willing to wait, he'd waive not only shipping but he'd waive the purchase price. Now I was not expecting him to waive the entire fee (it's only $25) but I appreciated his offer and told him I would be patient and wait it out and call him back if the order isn't filled by the 20th of June. I'll keep you guys posted.

Service at it's best

Hubs and I went out for a late night bite to eat at Jim's Restaurant at 1604 and Nacogdoches in San Antonio this evening. Now for those of you who don't know what a Jim's is, it's your basic diner, serving home style breakfasts, sandwiches and dinner, all for under a sawbuck a person. So I gotta give kudos to the waitress that helped us out tonight. Her name was AJ. Always courteous, friendly, and never gets my order wrong. The best part is, she always looks me in the eye when I talk to her and she doesn't ask me "how's everything?" every time I take a bite. Good table service involves not only keeping my coffee cup full, but staying out of my way so I can grub down in peace. I waited tables for eight years, and it's hard work. You are basically contract labor hustling for the best buck. Don't ever look at waitstaff as people who don't work hard. Shoot, the only service industry professional that works harder for a dollar is a stripper. Now, imagine if "Heather" (I knew a stripper by that name) gave bad service. I'd think quarters and dimes in a t-back get pretty uncomfortable after a while.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Never cut off your nose to spite your face

Nastiness online can cost you a sale. I don't care what anyone thinks. You cannot go into a public forum, be it a blog, forum, or chat and act an ass and expect to get sales. It just does not work that way. Go into a local shop and let the owner treat you like crap and you tell me you stayed and gave him your money. I guarantee you , you left.

I had an encounter with an Etsy seller just recently who decided to be rude to me in open forum. Not only did I notice it, but other sellers noticed it as well, and it was unwarranted. I looked in her shop and she had some really lovely things, very talented at what she does, uses them tiny tiny crochet and knitting hooks and does fabulous work. But she's salty as a cow lick. Just so happen I click on the shop next to her, and she sold knitting things as well. This second seller is always nice, never makes waves, and is always gracious and friendly in chat. Well, guess who's shop I spent my money in. Let's just say too much salt is not good for your health. Or your business.

It always amazes me how people with low sales don't stop and think that their attitude and the way they treat others really affects their selling power. It's not only attitude, it's the what you talk about in chat, in the forums. People who are chatting with you are BUYERS as well as sellers. Maybe next time you open your pie hole you take that into consideration. Your buyers are the people you chat with on a daily basis. I don't think anyone in the Apple store actually told someone to screw themselves (and kept their job no doubt) while someone had their wallet open to spend a little coin.

Have a clue, sellers.
Other shops buy from you.
Etsy is a HUGE network of networks.
Word gets out.
Even people who are buyers only have a network. And they chat, and they blog, and they let other buyers know how you behave online. Word of mouth applies online, too.

Online selling does not give one free reign to act any way they please. Treat your online shop like a brick and mortar, and act like your mama and papa raised you to have some sense. Really.