Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My First Brick and Mortar Shop Soft Opening, A Peek Around Our Little Space


I thought I'd pop in to share a few quick peeks around our shop and the funny before/after photos. It's a small space in the growing "bar" district on King St. Walking distance from my apartment, I already feel quite spoiled and cozy here. Our "soft" opening weekend did well and we're excited to work hard and grow here! The orders are rolling on! But first, photos.


The space was originally a very yellow off-white that didn't work for us.

Oh no? We only had one roller? Guess I just have to watch you paint. Can't help. Weak writer's arms. Just kidding, I set the phone down and swiftly started helping.


It's hard to tell in these photos but the result is so clean and bright! We did a glossy white that brightens and visually expands the space.

I was able to fill the whole store using basically everything I already had (and family donations) and only bought three shelves and a lamp for the space new. We want to invest in our ingredients instead, but we'll re-decorate and grow with time. We want it to be a very cozy space where people can relax and browse.

The space has two rooms, the one above is my general retail space. The second room isn't quite ready to show yet. Right now it's basically three shelves and two tables at the moment, minimally arranged, all products awaiting labels but it's going to have a pre-packed tea and bulk buy herb buying area. It's also the space where I'll host classes and allow anyone from the community who has creative classes to teach to bring their supplies in.

Of course there will be more before and after shots as we fully settle in but we're pleased with our progress so far. If you're local come on in, I'm here at 2726 College St.

Having my "work" completely separate from my home in this shop has already improved my sleep. I have to lock it up and leave it behind here and don't go on until 3AM. We're excited to keep expanding and growing here.
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

26 Days Until Christmas, Special Cyber Monday Deal Exclusive for You! $5.00 Gift Set.

Just popping into to share one more good deal for Cyber Monday! I's only 26 days until Christmas, let's get all the shopping out of the way! I have some beautiful healing products that may fit the bill: My inhaler samples, soap samplers, and BRAND new lip balm samplers!

The inhaler sets are a wonderful introduction to aromatherapy and a great way to bring medicinal grade products with you on-the-go. You get one of each: headache, energy, anxiety, sleep, focus, and sinus. You simply inhale these deeply as needed and the essential oils aid what ails.

The soaps include one of each of our current soaps and are also therapeutic grade (which means they have a high enough dosage of essential oils to clinically heal). I have energizing peppermint, anti-anxiety lavender chamomile mix and my prescription oil-controlling black soap.

 The lip balms in my set (vanilla, blueberry raspberry, peppermint, and vanilla) are perfect for winter and keep your lips protected and nourished with high quality oils.

Anywho, they're all on sale today only so check them out on Etsy if you'd like them! The soap samplers are half off and the inhalers and lip balms are at introductory rates.

Use code YAYCHRISTMAS for 15% off!

There's also a deal on there where you can get all three sets for $30.00! (And if you're local, swing on by 2726 College Street if you'd like to pick them up in person :)

And feel free to use the code in the previous post one last time for the holiday season. I'll pack everything up beautifully and send them out today so they arrive in AMPLE time for the holiday. And I can ship directly to the recipient, too!
* * * 
Sales talk aside, it's hard for me to even try to think of marketing with this work I'm doing because it's my passion and mission to help people be healthier. If you're sick or know someone's who sick or just have a health issues you want help with holistically, just e-mail me and I will always give free advice there.

UPDATE: I've extended this until the end of the day today (Tuesday) - I was told the code didn't work earlier, it's fixed now :)

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Store Peek + Small Business Saturday Sale! One-Time Savings on Natural Goodness

My view as I write this from my little store's soft opening, we'll be adding much more of course!

Why Hello There! I set up a whole store in like four days, I'm crazy! I'm so enjoying my time here already and I'll update will all the details soon! In the meantime I thought I'd share our Small Business Saturday Sale on Etsy!

Use code yaychristmas for 15% off you order! I have aromatherapy inhaler sampler kits (they have headache/sinus/focus/anxiety/ and sleep inhalers), gift sets,  soap samplers, Gemstone jewelry ($5 each or three for $12!) and much more! We'll be adding more all the time.

If you're in the US, I hope you're enjoying your Holiday weekends and spending lots of time with family. I'll be back with posts on Monday. :)

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Reader Question: How Do You Stay Focused and Balanced? 10 Weird Artist Productivity Tips


"---I am the most impatient human ever and I have a zillion ideas in my head like little bees. I am starting to put together numbers for a business plan as well as making myself do one thing a day for the vintage business. Discipline is everything I hear. How do you stay focused but balanced? Especially with all that you do?" - Lindsey, VP of Marketing, Would-Be Antique Store Owner
I get similar questions often. How do you stay focused, do it all, or even get started when your brain is busy and you want to do everything!?

I'm not naturally focused, but the following tricks keep me meeting deadlines, networking, getting things sold and all the other essentials for running a successful creative business. These tips are weird because artist-brain is weird, an art-based business relies heavily on a steady stream of inspiration and passion and isn't beholden to "normal" rules for productivity.

These weird busy-bee-brain tips come from the heart. It's something I've studied and worked on for years and I know how frustrating it can be. I hope it helps my fellow makers with similar afflictions!

1) Trap Yourself in Deadlines

Decision paralysis and perfectionism are the enemies of productivity. Creators can get stuck on the details for years! Trapping yourself in a strict deadline forces you to get things done lightning fast. Many makers agree, pressure brings out your best work, too. I sign up for outdoor markets, events, set meetings and keep my schedule busy to stay productive.

2) Embrace The Distracted Mind

Drugs that are abused to heighten user's focus, like adderall, decrease creativity. I think of the extensive study I once read on the topic when I want to punish myself for lapses of focus. That crazy scatter-brain is part of the creative process. It's beautiful. Embrace it. Give yourself timed breaks to walk, surf the web or go wherever your mind desires as needed.

3) Doesn't fit? Want to Make it? Just Do It

I like to make a lot of different things and indulge this desire by keeping my creations unified under one brand name. Don't trap yourself or be too strict, let yourself have fun and explore all the avenues you crave. Indulge the creative whims, when you're happy it shows all over you and your business. When you restrict yourself and take the "fun" out of it, it's really hard to work and focus.

4) Truly Can't Stand it Anymore? Switch Tasks

Sometimes you get yourself into something you can't stand for another second. This could be temporary burn-out, switch tasks for a while or take a longer break. You may come back refreshed and inspired.

5) STILL Truly Can't Work Another Second after Breaks and Switching Weeks or Months later? Quit.

If you simply can't recharge your passion for something maybe you're not meant to do it as a job anymore. Most artists, to the pit of their soul, know when they just can't do something for a living anymore. It may take time for you to save up for a transition to something else but I highly recommend it. There's no point if the passion's not there. Find another way to pay the bills and take the time to find your soul's calling.

6) Let People Help

Many makers have a stubborn I-want-to-do-it-all streak but you can't. You need support. When it's offered, take it. When you need help, ask.

7) Let Perfectionism Go, Don't Micromanage

Your art is your baby, but you have to let it go if you want to stay balanced. Trust your team to do the right thing and don't fuss over details to the point of distraction. Again, perfection is the enemy of productivity.

8) Be Grateful Through the Crazy Times

I'm in the process of moving to our store while still doing outdoor markets, little gigs and various events and it's crazy right now. Like, work until I'm literally dizzy two days in a row crazy. On the 1.5 hour drive back home from a charity event today I re-centered with gratitude. I got to hang out in a gorgeous spa salt room for free and...oh yeah, I'm opening a store! Not everyone gets to live that dream. Not everyone has that passion in their soul to make living from their art a reality...not everyone has that creative spark. But you do. That alone is something to be immensely grateful for. Remember that when you're feeling overwhelmed. It's a good thing to be so busy it hurts! You're not in your growth zone when things are calm and complacent.

9) Listing and Consolidating

Try to keep one consistent notebook as your work diary for listing EVERY SINGLE thing in your head! Every dream you have for the future, every idea, all of your to-dos, get them out of your mind so they stop tormenting you. Then the next day with a clearer mind and some markers or highlighters, go through and see what you can consolidate, delegate, or eliminate. Listing is essential for bee-brains!

10) Always Research

Always research (you're here now, yay) new techniques for keeping balanced and productive as a business owner. Subscribe to trade blogs and magazines, hit the books and test those new techniques ASAP.

As I close this post my apartment is in disarray and my to-do list to consolidate has over 600 items (some of them are just ideas, but still!) I'm not perfectly balanced or 100% focused but I feel like I've improved 1000%, on focus, balance and productivity compared to my confused busy-bee brain state of previous years and I've distilled that improvement into the steps above. I'm confident it will keep getting better with research, time and practice! If you have tips on the subject, please do share! And of course, feel free to send me questions on business anytime.
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Mid Century Modern New Tiki Floridian in St. Augustine, Florida: Nautical 1960s

This post is bought to you by The Curse of the Corn Maze. Last year I wanted to visit the corn maze in nearby St. Augustine Florida but client deadlines and other things kept me away. I had my chance to go this year but they closed the gates early! My friends Jill, Amber and I didn't let it ruin the day and spent some time in downtown St. Augustine where we visited the new and improved Floridan restaurant.

It was such a gorgeous 60s nautical mod treat that I had to share it here!

Up front their glass counter still hosts a large collection of tacky tourist salt and pepper shaker curios. I love them grouped together like this. That alligator ash tray, perfection.

And this whole statement wall with 60s bar, just beautiful. Those two colors, the eye-searingly bright greens and blues, are a couple of my favorites. They're energizing and just make me happy. The palate of green/blue/yellow and wood tones stays consistent throughout the space unifying it beautifully.

I'm looking to collect similar light fixtures (again, I had some I sold) I especially love that first one hanging there.

And just transfer every inch of this to my future dream home or the cafe/bar that exists in my brain too please, thanks. Of course I love the 60s light fixtures.

And what a clever way to display a prized vintage piece that make it a focal pointed with painted waves!? She looks beautiful.

And I enjoy this open shelving on curios too, basically everywhere you look, this place is a gorgeous well-curated kitschy-class goodness.

Even the bathroom wallpaper is beautiful, god damn. Love the high-low of of-the-moment trendy modern wallpaper and old fashioned vintage flower wall hangings.

And of course the food is amazing too. I always get the veggie burger with side salad but they had a pretty big menu for vegans and vegetarians which is always a plus for me.

Stilt walkers in downtown St. Augustine the same day. I love the holidays.

The Floridan is just our kind of vintage-filled beautiful space in my favorite old city.  I'm filed to the brim with inspiration and ideas after every visit.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We're Opening a Shop in Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida: Not a Drill! Coming Shortly!

I'm opening a shop here in Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida! We'll be right next to the popular Kickbacks Gastropub on the corner King St and College St.

Quick cell phone shot of the "mini-shop" I opened in my apartment out of necessity! 

Body&Soul has been doing really well locally at markets and pop-up shops. It felt like every other visitor asked if we had a local shop and we were open to it if the right space popped up. The demand got to where I'd set up my apartment like a mini-store for customers to visit on an appointment-only basis and I was prepared to just live in my "store", ha!

The Body&Soul store and studio will host a wide variety of craft and holistic living classes. We'll teach how to make lotions, balms, salves, skin care products, aromatherapy, herbalism, and much more! We're also interested in giving back to the community so if there are any charities you know of that need help, let us know! Depending on the demand we're thinking of adding some raw vegan desert and cheese making classes to the mix too :) If you'd like to teach anything at the studio hit me up. If you have arts and crafts you sell (local and non-local) PLEASE do e-mail me because I may want to cary it in the shop. You know I live to support creativity and small business.

Loads of deals of Christmas presents will be there, or anytime-presents

We'll follow-up on the grand opening soon but expect some Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday Sales.

For just a little history with me and opening stores, I was going to open one five years ago. I got a check in the mail for $15,000 from a private investor (she's the mom of a friend I met from my old Resident Evil video game fansite from my teenage years, my life is weird!) and assembled a group of friends to open up our cafe/vintage shop but she ran into tax trouble and the check bounced. At the time I had enough money to do it on our own but the shop fizzled out. The rent in the areas I wanted to open in was sky high and I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do at all once I truly tried it on for size.

Now with this little shop I'm opening, it all feels right. I've always felt a strong calling to plants, all of my earliest blog posts were on my gardening trial and errors! And as I've shared in past posts, there's a strong history of herbal healing and gardening in my family, it was passed down from my mom's mom to her and then to me from Old World Mexico.

After studying herbalism and aromatherapy for two years and running a business selling healing products from another I've learned practically everyone is at least tired, stressed, or anxious. Those are the lucky ones. Many others have chronic pain. There's a strong movement towards finding holistic ways to treat these issues and take care of our daily personal care needs that aren't loaded with harmful chemicals. The goal for my shop is for it to be a place where you can learn everything about healing yourself from the inside-out, pick up products to help you do just that, and just unwind after work with fun craft and holistic care classes. If you're in the area, I hope you'll come by, there will have to be a special discount card or something for blog readers ;)

I'm thinkin' there will be a daily free tea of the day in our healing center :)

Our goal is to have our little be one where you can feel comfortable just coming to and having some tea after work, a calm healing respite. I'll share updates as they come, we're excited to get in there and get to work.
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Friday, November 11, 2016

Conscious Festival Yoga Convention: Great Sales and People on a Windy Day

Last weekend I was invited to attend an impromptu (but well organized) yoga convention called One Tribe Conscious Festival at Ormond Beach, Florida.

We were under a covered pavilion and arrived on very little sleep after a 1.5  hour drive, but being in those beautiful surroundings I was immediately energized.

There were guided meditations and during a slow period I was able to escape my booth for one yoga session out of the many good ones they had throughout the day that really kicked my ass (literally, legs and ass) and had me sore into the next day.

Funny aside, ALL vendors agreed this was the windiest market we've ever attended! You see those chain link fences? They are tied to my booth along with pieces of steel and several galloons of water in buckets to keep the tend from going wind born! And it still rattled like crazy! If you squint at the bottom left you see one of the big pieces of metal on top of our normal 20lbs we use to keep the tent from moving in normal circumstances. Our sign is crooked in the back there because we had to tightly tie it to the fence to keep it from blowing away but the wind kept twisting it.

Aside from the wind, this was the best market we've ever attended! The conventions organizers fed us, had classes (I was invited to do one but it was too late-notice), and it was generally such a relaxing, chill environment. We weren't "tethered" to our tent, the rushes came and go so we could leisurely roam and even attend one of the yoga classes.

The bits of decor spread about were perfect and encouraged meditation and relaxation.

We hit our biggest sales numbers yet here, even with it not being the highest traffic show we've ever done. It goes to show how important it is to get in front of the right demographic whenever possible and to take the risk of driving way out of town when necessary.

I did lots of trades, these two pillows had to come home with me.

By the way, if you're a local reader I'll be in front of The Copper Closet in 5 Points again if you want to stop by and say "Hi" with pain balms, deodorant, inhaler sets, soap sets, and many more sets and gifts for Christmas.

And a rough quartz and some beautiful screen printed yoga clothes came with me, too :)

We're excited to do more new age or yoga style markets and conventions. (If you know of any anywhere, do let us know! We'd love to attend!)

With all that shared, time for me to work through my insane to-do and idea list, label things, and work like crazy! How are business and creative things going where you live?
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Monday, November 7, 2016

Easy Idea for Hiding Office or Studio Clutter: A Work from Home Tapestry Solution


The challenge of working from home for me is hiding the business "clutter" and supplies when I'm not working. White board especially make me crazy! They're essential for marketing and creative brainstorming and helping with day-to-day business operations but they look like a mess on the wall. And they're "shouting" at me from the wall, reminding me of all I want to, preventing real rest. (I've actually passed up low-priced ones at the thrift stores until now just because I didn't want to see my ugly scrawling on the wall all day.)

The white board was a $5.00 second hand score, yes! So needed one!

Yesterday I thought up a quick and easy solution for covering up my white and cork boards. (Similar to this solution for my supply shelf.)I used attractive silver binder clips to hang my mandala tapestry on the wall. I screwed a small hook into the connecting wall so I can pull the tapestry back like a curtain when I'm working and easily put it back when I'm done. It's a small change, but it makes my home feel so much more attractive and comfortable while I'm working. The white board was visible from my kitchen and living room so it's a relief to be able to cover it now. I literally feel peace wash over me when I pull the curtain down, it's weird but true! It also adds nice texture my little office corner and makes the whole space feel cozy.

Ignore those distracting Christmas lights there, was just playing with some early decorating. 

My apartment has very tall ceiling so I like the dramatic affect of the tapestry covering nearly the entire wall. If you want a similar solution there are many gorgeous ones for low prices on Amazon. I ordered this one. Do you have any solutions for work at home living or small-space working? I'd love to read them! It's something I'm always trying to balance.
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Day in the Life of an Herbalist / Aromatherapist + Creative Business Life Lately

Isn't it wonderful when things start to really click with something you're learning to do? That's how it's starting to feel for Body&Soul and creative business life lately. It's taken a long while to get to this point and there were times I wasn't sure I was going the right direction, but the path feels so right and clear now. Plants have called on me strongly my entire life and I know being a "healer" is my calling.

That doesn't mean things haven't been chaotic, the early business stress and pains are still here, but much easier to handle! For the curious, I wanted to share some behind-the-scenes on what an herbalist and/or aromatherapist would be doing at any given time.

On top of normal production I accommodate custom orders for any type of herbal/aromatherapeutic natural skin/body/medical/home care you can imagine. This sampler set of my "baby" line above was requested as a gift set for new moms from Mumda and has a nursing mom tea/tincture, baby and mom lotion, baby bath (not pictured), complexion soap and lavender inhalers for calming.

Behold the finished set! I love customizing products for businesses with specialized labels, it satisfies my always hyperactive designer-brain. From product formulation to label creation, it's fun to be in control of the whole process.

At any given time I'm making labels, products, and merchandise. I do outsource the soap creation to my mom (we got certified in herbalism/aromatherapy together) because damn, busy! I help with input on formulation, cut, and wrap it. We're working on more shampoo and soap bars.

Doing outdoor markets is essential right now and I love the face-to-face customer interaction. Above was from a set-up in Orlando. We'll be going to Conscious Festival in Daytona this weekend and as many markets as we can fit in for the next couple of months! We're also set-up in front of the Copper Closet in 5 Points every Saturday, come on by and say "hi!" if you're local.

And between making, labeling, accounting and craziness I'm trying to get our Christmas samplers all online ASAP. The one above is on Etsy and I have more samplers of all of the lines I have available (men's line, personal care, tooth care, chakra line, the aromatherapy inhaler sets, etc.)

And above is a quick snapshot of the mess we made for our product creation class recently. I'm trying to fit in more holistic body care creation and just general holistic and even craft/creative business classes in. We made deodorant, toothpaste, dry shampoo and mouth wash at the last one. I'm thinking cold care/prevent and natural product christmas gift creation next.

Photos from last night's ReThreaded Event

I love when things are crazy busy like this, it brings the best out of your creatively to be on-the-go and always on a strict timeline. I'm going to use the momentum and keep going with it. Hopefully squeezing in more much-needed off time to read/write/and craft for-fun too, I have some ideas for Christmas ornaments to get started on asap...

How's this busy season treating you lately? It's 2:25 AM and I have two markets lasting all day tomorrow, sleep time!
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