Getting a Business Started, Part 1: Getting in the Door

Posted by admin     Category: Brick and Mortar, Business Talk, Promotion, Starting Up


I’ve been asked about how to start up a crafty, arty, retail-flavored business so much that I’ve decided to write a series of posts about it.

Today’s topic is “how to get started”. By this, I do not mean “how to find your calling in life”. If I had the answer to that, I’d sell it for a zillion dollars, and I would be my first customer.

Actually, today’s topic is “how not to get kicked out the door by a shop owner”. We will proceed to the actual Getting Started bit in the next post. I actually didn’t intend to write this one today, but it happens with such frequency that this post more or less wrote itself.

Let’s assume that you are the typical person I’m chatting with on my sales floor. You have come in with a ziplock bag full of handmade sparkly stuff, no price list, no business cards. What you have, in spades, is a drive to Make Stuff. You are an artisan crafter, but you need to destash, sell, or consign some of your pretties so that, mostly, you can buy more beads, silver, or other supplies. Alternately, you have fallen heir to someone else’s stuff and just want to get rid of it. That’s a different matter, but some of the following advice still applies.

You probably did not call me for an appointment but instead just walked in, pulled the bag out of your purse, and started detangling your finished projects from the wire and pliers and laying them on the counter. Probably in front of actual customers (“civilians”).  Or perhaps you sent me an email or PM to ask if you could come over, got all excited, didn’t wait for a reply and just came on in.

Just for the record, this is never cool. At the very least you should call the shop and ask for an appointment. If you were to call me, assuming I were in the mood and/or budget to buy stuff this week, I would say, “text or email me your website and let me get back with you later.”

I’m a pretty easy-going, open-minded individual, but when I am at the shop, if I do not have customers, I am working. I, like most independent retailers (“mom-and-pop stores”) have a hundred thousand things on my to-do list at any given time. Writing blog posts, for example. Making lists of things I need to restock. Thinking ahead to the next major holiday or change of season, and it’s probably just around the corner. Planning promotional ads or flyers for the psychic fair coming up this weekend.

So to just come in and try to sell us stuff is really inconsiderate to a lot of shopkeepers simply because we have to drop anything we were planning on attempting to achieve that day and deal with you right then and there. As awesome as your wares surely are, it is highly unlikely that they couldn’t wait for an appointment.

Generally speaking I will stop you before you get your stuff out of the ziplock and ask if you have a website or Etsy shop. If your answer is “no”, you will get no further, because I will know you are not serious about selling your stuff. You might drop by this one time, but if I bought your things and they sold well, I would not be able to get in touch with you again to restock. Maybe I don’t have money today because I just went to a trade show and spent it all, but in a couple weeks I might like to pick up some more stuff, maybe yours. Do you really want to make it hard for me to buy from you?

If your answer is “well, I’m working on it….” you are going to want to read all the rest of my blog posts in this topic. I am writing these for you who mean well, maybe have even purchased a domain, but the big world of computers and websites and blogs are, you feel, over your head.

Trust me. They are not and we will get you through this. It’s not hard and can be quite a lot of fun!

So then I will ask, “Flickr page? Anything? Paper brochure with some pictures and a price list? Business card?” and if your answer is still no, I’m going to send you packing, unless what you have is something you inherited or a one-time sale of basically estate wares, in which case I will request to see you after hours, away from the prying eyes of civilians.

So that’s what you can expect if you just show up at a shop. You might not even get to speak to the owner, in which case you’ll certainly wish you had a card and at least a Flickr page for your items, so they can take a look and get back with you. If we happen to be bored AND flush at the same time, you might get a look-see, but it’s still very inconvenient, because we will have to stop and deal with customers. Sometimes customers can stand around and talk an ear off, or we may get a four-hour rush. In either case most shop owners don’t want someone they don’t know hanging around in their office unattended.

So the take-away for today’s lesson:

1) Phone ahead and get an appointment – no cold calls ever. You can also drop in and make an appointment, but do not pull out your stuff unless you are asked to do so. You want to avoid stressing out the shop owner.

2) Have some way to get in contact with you. A business card is best.

3) Be able to leave behind some way for the buyer/owner to peruse your things when they are not in the middle of running their store – website, brochure, even a color flyer with a few photos and price guide.

If you make a lot of the same kind of stuff, such as soap, it’s okay to phone ahead, ask the shop owner if they have a moment to speak with you (a customer might be standing right there so maybe they don’t). If no, ask when you can call back – after hours? Before opening? Or would you prefer that I email you?

If they are able to talk right then, introduce yourself and ask if you can send a sample. Try to get their mailing address and confirm it rather than asking them what it is or assuming that they receive mail at their shop (we don’t). But oh my god please be brief.

“Hi, my name is Ande Spenser and I have a soap-making company, Magickk Suds. I was wondering if I could send you a free sample of our castille soap and a one-page brochure.” [Shop owner says sure, hey free soap, awesome.] “We also do private labelling with your shop name and logo, would you be interested in that information as well?”

Please note – we little guys love private labelling, so if it’s possible, try to offer that!


What Keeps You Motivated?

Posted by admin     Category: Brick and Mortar, Motivation, Prosperity in All Its Forms

I was just hanging around in the forums, and submitted the following reply to a post, “What keeps you motivated?” I would love to hear what others have to say!

We decided you needed posters for it.

Read more…

Rowan- House Psychic Cleansing

Posted by talogwitch     Category: Energy Work, Magick and Mojo, Spirits and Energy

So you feel you have unwanted visitors, things go bump in the night. The feeling of negativity and unease follows you as if watching or prying, it is not pleasant. It wears at you, troubles your sleep, even physically harasses. If this is so, you need to take charge of YOUR space. This negativity, whatever it is and wherever it has come from needs to be evicted. It will not just go on its own when it is bored as time to the spirit world does not exist. It will stay until you make it go. You will first need your own positivity and inner self knowledge, for then you must go through the ritual of owning your habit.

winter rowan tree

Cleaning your home can be done in many ways but this is how we do it in Wales; probably because we have plenty of Rowan* and it has been done this way since the Druids.  Usually, about 9 Rowan sticks is sufficient for most houses or shops as you will need one for each room. You will also need a candle that can be carried safely, sea salt and water.

Preparation- take a teaspoon of sea salt and stir it into a small bowl of water- you will be using this brine solution to sprinkle or flick around the room into each corner. Put your candle in a tidy holder that can be safely moved without falling or going out. If you can, enlist the help of two people as it makes this easier, but you can manage solo. It just takes longer.

rowan wood

Rowan wood available for purchase through my shop

First, when all is ready, candle lit and bowl prepared, cast a circle around yourself.
Face East , breath deeply, filling your lungs with air and think of all that Air means to you. Then say “Air I salute you”
Turn a quarter to the South, look into the flame, feel the heat and think of all that Fire means to you. Then say “Fire I salute you”
Next, turn to face West, dip your finger in the bowl, feel the water and think of all that Water means to you. Say “Water I salute you”
Last, face North, feel the floor beneath your feet, know and own being human, a child of creation and say “Earth I salute you”

Then go to the top of the house, starting with the attic if you can.  Walk into the furthest room, going to each and every corner, every nook and cranny.  As you sprinkle the brine and bring firelight say,

“I cleanse this room of all negativity, be gone all unwanted visitors and do not return.”

As you walk out of the door place a Rowan stick in the doorway.  Repeat this in every room driving the negativity before you.  When you reach the last room or hallway, have the exterior door open and exit the premises so that the final Rowan is in the exterior doorway.  Then (because you are now outside) turn and say,

“Be gone all unwanted and uninvited energies; DO NOT RETURN.
By Druid wood, henceforth let only the Good enter herein. ”

Step over the Rowan, go inside and close the door.  The job is done.  Now you can place or hang the rowan sticks over each door to make sure the situation remains secure.

raven and rowan

Word of warning- if the unwanted entity has attached itself to you or one of your household members you will also need to self cleanse or group cleanse in conjunction to this ritual. Otherwise, it is like scrubbing clean the house yet walking in with your wellies still full inside with pond water!

A simple way to do this solitary or together is to stand in a circle and call and salute the elements in turn starting with the East. Then, turning clockwise or deosil, South, then West and last, North.
Light a Sage smudge stick and pass it from one to another clockwise; as you hold it say, “Let all negativity be gone from me, may I walk only in the light”. Blow on the smudge stick making it glow and smoke and inhale three times before passing it on. Each person does this. Repeat the rotation and procedure three times around the circle.
Finally, thank the elements in turn to close the circle again. Start in the North and go anti- clockwise, or widdershins, saying, “North and Earth, thanks and farewell”, “West and Water, thanks and farewell”, then as before for South and Fire and East and Air.

You may need to periodically repeat both these rituals if your visitor is strong and determined- but be strong and confident and you will succeed. Also, placing hematite, amethyst and rose quartz in your home will help, as will fresh flowers, healthy plants, and crystals that bring in the sunlight.

Blessings, Talogwitch

*Rowan is also known to some as Mountain Ash and to the Celts it was called Druid Wood for it was the wood burned and the fumes inhaled by the Druids to induce trance.   The Celts saw that Rowan, unlike all other wood, does not readily burn thus, appearing to defy nature, as if protected by the spirits. Hence, they saw within it the virtue of psychic protection. To make Rowan burn one needs a very hot bed of embers. The Druids placed it within red hot oak embers and then inhaled the smoke to enhance their shamanic journeying.