The Indie Business Experience
March 8, 2010
A Publication of The Indie Business Network
ISSN 1530-9630 | Volume 11, Issue 8
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Indie Business Roll Call!: Unbelievable!! Over 72 Indies checked in for this week's Small Business Roll Call! If you haven't reported for duty yet, you still can check in at our FaceBook Page! Join us! The more, the merrier!
WorkOut Wednesday: That's right! Today's the day -- so join other health-minded Indies at the FaceBook Page to share what are you doing to keep your body fit while you also grow your business?! Tell us, and let's encourage each other on our health and fitness journeys!
1. "How To" Monday: How to Invite People to
Submit Guest Posts for Your Blog
2. Meet Our New and Renewing IBN Members
3. This Week's Indie Business Radio Show: David Russo on Attracting and Retaining Good Talent
4. Featured Article: Valerie Rice :: Piper Tate :: California
5. Indie and Small Business Resources: Encouragement, Inspiration and More!
6. About dM, the Chief Executive Indie: How Can I Help You??!
One of the best things about maintaining a blog is that it is a built-in training vehicle. When I blog, I always learn something new from the comments people leave on my posts. For example, I didn't know that my blog had "no follow" tags in it until a commenter at my blog told me. A "no follow" tag is an instruction at your blog that instructs search engines not to give SEO credit to a particular link. This meant that, when you commented at my blog and left your blog link in the comment. I'm not a search engine expert, but I do know that I want you to receive a boost for commenting at my blog and leaving your website address. Once I knew that my blog had "no follow" tags, I had them removed using the Do Follow WordPress plugin. I am happy that the people who comment at my blog get an SEO boost for doing so.
That's just one example of how blogging is a built in training tool. I learn something every time someone leaves a comment! It is a great way to naturally create opportunities for Indies to help each other. I like knowing that people receive a cumulative benefit for sharing your thoughts at my blog. Another way I like to create opportunities is by inviting people to submit guest posts at my blog.
One of my recent posts is actually an invitation for you and anyone else who may wish to do so to submit a guest blog post for my blog. I hope you will read it and consider submitting a post. You can also feel free to use my example to ask for people to submit guests posts to your own blog. Feel free to cut and paste from the invitation to make it easier on yourself. I only ask that you link back to the post in your invitation.
HOT This Week At Indie Business Blog:
Exper-preneurship: The Cure for a Flabby Body and a Flabby Business
2. An Invitation to Write for My Blog
3. 5 Ways to Gain Control of Your Work Flow
4. [Video] 3 Reasons Why You Need a Video Set
5. Small Business Owners: Embrace Your Legislative Power
6. Pursuing Fitness, One Small Victory at a Time
Thanks for allowing me into your email boxes and have a great week!!
Here is a listing of the new and renewing IBN members! Website links are included where appropriate. You can see an entire official membership directory at our flagship website. You can also meet members who are active in our social networking site here!
Meadowlake Farm Honeybee Products | Sally Leachko | Ohio
IBN Member Since January 2007
Created by nature and delivered to your skin in as close to their natural state as possible - that's our pledge to you. A wealth of new research has rediscovered what ancient man knew; that the miracles of the hive for healing. Our skin therapies are composed of up to one half raw unprocessed honey, beeswax cappings and propolis harvested from our apiary. Our unique formulas combine them with the finest therapeutic grade botanicals available to create salves and creams that deliver their living enzymes, antibacterial elements and plant hormones to your skin unaltered.
Green Springs Body Works | Jo Cullumbine | Oregon
IBN Member Since March 2008
Welcome to the Green Springs. We use the finest organic and wild-crafted ingredients in our products, pure therapeutic quality essentials oils and never use parabens or fragrance oils. Our organic oils are infused with herbs, fragrant rose petals and love.
Xingu Amazonia Natural Cosmetics | Sala Al-ayube | California
IBN Member Since February 2009
Xingu pronounced shing-goo Amazonia is an Ultra-hydrating, All-natural, Certified Organic Spa Quality, Cosmeceuticals skin care line, that enhance the userâ€™s natural beauty while decreases signs of aging and notably improves your skinâ€™s suppleness and elasticity. Named for the region near the Xingu River in Brazil where the unique and potent medicinal plant and nut oils are wild harvested. Our products give you a visibly smoothed and revitalized complexion, without harmful chemicals, unnatural preservatives or additives.
Monastery Scents | Sister Catherine Timberlake | Missouri
IBN Member Since February 2009.
Our life of prayer bears fruit in joy-filled creativity. We write books, record music and make soap, candles, lotions and salves, so that as St. Benedict said, in all things God may be glorified.
| Tiffany Kolbe | Nevada
IBN Member Since February 2007
We offer high-end soy candles and bath & body products. Our premium candles offer some amazing fragrances with incredible depth with top, middle and bottom notes to arouse your senses. Our bath & body line contains ingredients such as shea & cocoa butters, soybean oil, aloe and Japanese green tea. Bring life back to dry hands with our Restorative Hand Cream. Slough off dry skin with our fabulous sugar scrub, or take soak with our bath bombs or salts. Relax and enjoy!
Brighter Morn | Alice McGrath| Iowa
IBN Member Since March 2007
â€śBrighter Mornâ€ť products are made in small batches in my kitchen. My products are handcrafted from items found in nature and are without petroleum and synthetic ingredients. I manufacture balms and whipped butters, soy candles, cleaning supplies, bath salts, body powder, mists, and bug repellant.
White Picket Scents | Amanda Brown | Utah
IBN Member Since March 2009
Candles and bath and body products.
Olive Natural Skin Care | Brigitte | Brown |
At Brown Olive Natural Skin Care, We offer the discerning consumer a natural alternative that feature Himalayan crystal salt, olive oil, olive butter, olive leaf extract and essential oils. It is an online retail of artisan-handcrafted bath and body products: body jelly, massage oils, body wash, lotion, lip balm, aromatherapy glycerin soap, bath bombs, bath salts, home spa collections and body scrubs.
Dragonfly Dew | Kathleen Green | Colorado
The Dragonfly Dew line of Botanicals and Blends are handmade with the utmost care, using only purely good for your skin ingredients. We create all natural, mostly organic products for your body from butters, waxes, oils and other botanical ingredients. Everything we make is free of artificial colors, fragrances, flavors, Petrolatum, mineral oil, SLS, and Parabens. Our goal is to give you great products that are good for you and the earth.
MJ's Herbals | Maryjoy Moscowtiz | New York
Organic beauty and healing balms for your skin and within. Economical, Portable, Recyclable... Lovable! You will love our fresh & silky skincare.
Embellished Bath and Body | Benita Russell | New Jersey
Scentsational Soaps | Toushonta Hogan | California
IBN Member Since July 2010
Scentsational Soaps handmakes soap using the cold process method. Other products include bath bombs, bath teas, bath melts and body butters. We use the finest ingredients to make all of our products: pure olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, soybean oil and palm oil. (100% vegetable based) Because our customers best interest is our number one priority, we make sure that each soap batch is carefully poured, stirred, cut and packaged to ensure quality and satisfaction!
Choices Bath and Body | Helga Soave | Michigan
Create a Scent from our collection of essential oils and fragrance to add to our natural, chemical free Bases. Let us help you select actives to suit your skin.
Dale's De-Lights | Dale Purington | Texas
Dale's De-Lights prouldy offering 100% SOY/ECO Friendly container candles and votives. Also offer aroma beads in a beautiful organza sachet bag in the same fragrances as candles. I make each candle myself exactely to your order, and guarentee your satisfaction.
Endika Naturals | Veritas Bennett | Indiana
Endika Naturals is your one stop place for natural beauty and health solutions. We provide a variety of natural products to improve and enhance your everyday living. We specialize in mineral makeup, skincare and body products. Stop by our studio, schedule a spa party or attend a class to experience our products and learn how they will improve and enhance your lifestyle naturally!
The Country Soaper | Elin Criswell | Texas
I am a fourth-generation soapmaker of Swedish descent. Our soap business, The Country Soaper, was began in 2003. We sell our soap through wholesale accounts throughout the great state of Texas and I always enjoy sharing the soapmaking craft with others. Our goal is to offer our customers good, quality products at affordable prices. Try our soap â€¦ feel the difference, and you may never go back to store-bought again!
Seeds For The Soul | Diana Nalley | Texas
Candles, body butters, lip balms, bath salts, sugar scrubs and bath bombs. All products are available in full and favor size. Each has a scripture or prayer to refresh your soul and natural ingredients to pamper your body. Personalization for showers, birthdays, weddings, business logo's, etc. also available.
Peterman Brook Herb Farm | Debra Doubek | Wisconsin
We are a small herb farm located in Porterfield, WI. Our herb farm is a 3rd generation family farm located alongside the Peterman Brook. We handcraft herbal skincare products in our kitchen and sell fresh cut culinary herbs when they are in season.
Soy Spacasso | Maria Luttrell-Murphy | Iowa
Premium, healthy and appealing soy skin care products that we promise will rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit....naturally. Bringing about a transformation in the beauty and skin care industry through the use of natural soy based skin care, candles and fragrance products, our unisex line provides an environmentally friendly alternative to the lanolin and mineral oil skin care products that clog pores which are commonly used. We only use natural soybean lipids and shea oil along with natural ingredients to create a completely botanic and antioxidant rich product line to enhance your skin, health and well being.
Sweet & Woodsy Aromatherapy | Melinda MacLaren | New York
Sweet & Woodsy Aromatherapy is a home-based business offering consultations, custom-blending, and educational classes. I am trained in all manner of essential oil use with an interest in pregnancy and baby care.
SkinDeep Naturals | Jessica Anderson | Michigan
SkinDeep Naturals provides clean, effective skin care products at normal people prices. We put a high value on quality ingredients direct from nature as well as sustainable packaging. You will never find synthetic ingredients emulsifying waxes, parabens, etc. in any of our products. This makes creating products more challenging, but the end result is pure and natural and something you and I can feel good about feeding our skin.
Bodhichitta Botanicals | Ernest Gudel | California
Bodhichitta Botanicals is a line of wild-crafted, energizing skin care products that bring healing and restoration to the mind, body and spirit alliance. Through our unique blends of personal skin care products, we strive to restore your relationship with Nature's primal qualities, enhance your daily life experiences, and allow you to revel in the magical, wonderful and powerful spirit that makes you, you.
< --- Featured photo: This week's radio show guest! Human resources expert David Russo.
David Russo has been in the human resources field for decades and has earned national recognition and awards as an innovator in providing quality work environments. He is known as a champion of driving business value through human resource management. He shared fantastic tips for how small business owners can make the most of not only employees, but also virtual assistants, as we build our businesses.
I'm bummed that I did not get this newsletter to you before yesterday's show! The audio will be read in a few days. Meanwhile, visit the Indie Business Radio Show 2010 Archives to enjoy all of this year's informative, business building shows. Click the "Older Archives" to enjoy hundreds of other fantastic shows -- all free, all for you, all the time!us for today's show!!
Indie Business Radio airs live on Mondays at 1:00pm New York Time. There are two ways to join the live show:
Listen Only: Click here at 1:00pm New York Time and follow the instructions to choose your audio player.
Listen and Chat: Once you activate your audio player (above), you can join us for the accompanying live chat on Savorchat at 1:00pm New York Time. Just click the link, sign in using your Twitter or FaceBook account, and you can join us live!
What's your niche?
Valerie: Our niche is being an eco-friendly, family run business, providing luxe, natural body care collections and gifts for families. We share our customersâ€™ desire for handcrafted body care thatâ€™s pretty enough to keep on your counter.
Being an eco-friendly business, weâ€™re committed to making greener, smarter choices everyday in how we run our business. We love that our web hosting company (HostGator) is 100% wind powered. We chose a socially conscious and green Merchant Service provider (dharmams.com) through whom we donate 10% of our profits to Divabetic.org and Free The Children. Our goal for Piper Tate is to be authentic, give back and create a meaningful experience for our family and our customers.
dM: How do you market your products?
Valerie: I try to do a number of craft and trunk shows during the year, so Iâ€™m able to listen to and get feedback from our customers. Etsy has been a phenomenal resource for Piper Tate, in terms of marketing and acquiring wholesale accounts. Weâ€™re currently carried by a number of online retailers, as well as having our own online e-commerce site. Iâ€™m now looking into sales reps, to help me market our products. This would enable me to focus on PR and marketing as well as developing new products.
dM: What's your most popular product?
Valerie: Our Orchid-Infused Body Butter is our most popular product. When Bill began formulating our butter, his culinary background inspired him to create a rich, velvety moisturizer that would soften dry, overworked hands without being greasy. We have a fabulous customer base who swear by our butter for keeping them soft and supple, even with sensitive skin. Weâ€™re finding that our customers appreciate that we donâ€™t use synthetic fragrance or color in our products, only essential oils.
dM: How do you use social media in your business?
Valerie: I enjoy using both Twitter and Facebook. One of my goals for 2010 is to become more fluent and prolific in both mediums. I love the immediacy of social media as well as the constant flow of ideas and resources.
dM: Who helps your business be successful?
Valerie: Our business thrives because of the talented community of people that support Piper Tate. It definitely takes a village to get it all together. As our business grows, so does our support system. Our friends have been there since day one, cheering us on, helping tie ribbons, giving feedback on designs, products and photography.
dM: What are the best things about being a small and independent business owner?
Valerie: In the early 90â€™s, Bill and I founded and ran a catering business, Reel Foods, for film & television. We were living our dream; cooking, styling and working together and being part of a tight- knit creative community. Piper Tate has that same feel, in that weâ€™re building lasting relationships with other creative artisans.
dM: How did you discover IBN, and what do you think of your membership?
Valerie: I was thrilled to discover the Indie Beauty Network, it really changed my business world. I had felt a bit alone in the first years of growing Piper Tate. I was sure there had to be others in my shoes, but I didnâ€™t know where to find them. To me, Donna Maria Johnson is our industryâ€™s Oracle. Sheâ€™s run a successful skincare company and now sustains and nurtures the Indie Business community so that we may network and thrive. I also keep abreast of all the latest legislative news through the Indie Business Network.
dM: What tips can you offer other small business owners to help them be successful?
Valerie: My first tip would be to find your people, whoever they may be, and create your support system. After joining The Indie Business Network, I learned of the upcoming Handcrafted Soapmakerâ€™s Guild Conference in Palm Springs. It was an action-packed four days networking with other indie biz owners and learning about trademarks, social media and soap making. It was phenomenal to find my people.
Secondly, read blogs that speak to you and enhance your professional
life. Design*Sponge is a daily inspiration,
specifically because of their Biz Ladies series. These articles feature
different women with design-based businesses, giving advice on PR,
marketing, legal concerns, business/financial decisions and wholesaling.
Fascinating and always helpful!
My last, and most important tip is to remember to ask for help. So often we think itâ€™s easier to just do it ourselves, but then end up burning out and not being available to our loved ones. I began this business so that I could be there for my family, but I noticed as Piper Tate grew that I needed help. Itâ€™s so refreshing to focus on the core agenda that will help me grow and be able to create a bit more breathing space.
dM: What is a favorite business book, and why do you recommend it?
Valerie: For anyone yearning to take his or her passion to the next level and start a business, run, donâ€™t walk, to buy Meg Mateo Ilascoâ€™s Craft Inc. She lays out every vital detail, interviews indie artisans and cheers you on as you go. Sheâ€™s just come out with a new book, Craft Inc. Business Planner, which provides even more practical business wisdom, including templates, timelines and resources. I had the good fortune to meet her at the Renegade Fair in San Francisco and was thrilled to tell her what an inspiration her books have been to me.
dM: How has owning a business enhanced your life? Any regrets?
Valerie: Owning a business has enhanced my life and brought a sense of adventure into my world. I never anticipated that this is what Iâ€™d be doing in my 40â€™s, but I wouldnâ€™t change a thing.
dM: What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a small business owners, and how did you overcome it?
Valerie: My biggest challenge thus far has been increasing my revenue in this economy. One thing that I am doing is offering my products in smaller sizes which helps the customer who loves my products but cannot afford to buy a larger size. I am also offering more deals and sales, as incentives to purchase.
dM: How, if at all, is your business being affected by the current economy?
Valerie: Thankfully, 2009 was a good year for
us. The holiday season was one of our strongest yet. So far 2010 is looking
positive too. Weâ€™re experiencing more gift orders, not just product orders.
During the hardest hit time, our gift orders stopped in their tracks, so
itâ€™s refreshing to see that open up again.
I do think that this can be a good time to start or expand an existing business. My three closest friends from college have all reinvented themselves by creating new passion-driven businesses (jewelry design, interior design and reflexology). Itâ€™s inspiring to witness and be part of the process. Weâ€™ll trade insights into social networking, pros/cons of shows and sales techniques. All three are beginning to thriving, even in this economy.
dM: What's new and exciting with your business these days?
Valerie: Our Baby Tate line is now featured on two fabulous online retail sites, Laro Baby and Bella Floria. Laro Baby is a lavish, new baby retailer offering a diverse, stylish selection of baby products. Bella Floria is a gorgeous site dedicated to pure and organic products. Weâ€™re thrilled to have an exclusive gift offering with both sites.
dM: What are you doing when you're not working in your business?
Valerie: When Iâ€™m not working, Iâ€™m
either carpooling to practices or preferably playing board games with my
kids. Whatever activity one of us does, the whole family generally jumps in
too. Right now my son plays baseball, my husband coaches, Giannaâ€™s the
official scorekeeper and Piper (our dachshund) and I cheer from the
sidelines. For my own enrichment and inspiration, I scour vintage stores
(often with Gianna and a pack of her friends), antique/flea markets and any
art exhibits in the hidden corners of San Francisco.
What are your sales like?
Valerie: In 2009, our annual sales grew by 40%. Weâ€™re hoping that this year, even with this economy, to keep our sales growing.
How to connect with Valerie:
I would love to speak at your next women's group or conference gathering??
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, the Chief Executive Indie, helps small and independent businesses owners, combine smart sales and marketing strategies with integrated, branded digital media tools to create relationships, expand their sphere of influence and increase sales. Through her blogs and weekly radio show, dM delivers helpful and entertaining content that inspires, encourages and informs small business owners worldwide.
Known for her innovative yet friendly style, dM's expertise has been showcased in Entrepreneur, Global Cosmetics Industry, Working Mother, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, ABC World News This Morning, WUSA-TV9 (CBS Washington, DC affiliate), Ebony and a host of other regional and national media outlets.
Whether the topic is integrating career and family, leadership, small business ownership or new technologies, dM has a life-changing presentation for you and your audience. Contact dM today at donnamaria @ indiebeautynetwork.com to discover how she can contribute to your unforgettable conference or gathering event.
If this issue of The Indie Experience has been useful to you, please feel free to hit the Forward key and share it with a friend!!
See you next week! In the meantime,
Enjoy your life, build your business and have your way!
Editor, The Indie Experience Newsletter
Copyright (c) 2000 - 2009 by IBN and Donna Maria. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or reproduction is prohibited. IBN does not necessarily endorse any product, event or ideology featured in this newsletter or on IBN's website. All information is provided on an "as is" basis and no express or implied warranties are given. Any use of the information contained in this newsletter or on IBN's web site, including recipes, is solely at your own risk. IBN and Donna Maria disclaim any liability in connection with the use of all recipes, products reviewed and other information. Except for sponsorships, this newsletter refuses compensation from companies to feature or mention their names or products. Opinions expressed in any Product Review are personally those of the reviewer and do not represent the views of IBN, Donna Maria (unless she is the reviewer) or any other person or company.