Sunday, April 30, 2006

Denes Place interview

Take a few minutes and check out Denes Place

1. What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

I always wanted a business of my own but never had the money to start one and couldn't talk myself into giving up a steady paycheck. No guts, I guess. CafePress gave me the chance to give it a try in my spare time without sticking a lot of money into it. No, I was not in a related field. I managed a department in a factory.

2. When did you open your store?

I opened my store in 2003. But only spent a minimum of time at it for the first year.

3. What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

It was actually much easier than I had thought that it would be. It's more fun than work, and (not knowing html) CafePress’s templates really make it easy.

4. What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

I think that what I like best is that my CafePress shop gives me a chance to express myself in my designs, and I get a chance to make money doing something that I enjoy. Never really got a chance to find my "dream job" while trying to make a living.

5. During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

That my tastes are not necessarily the same as everyone else’s, and that your designs improve with practice. I really thought that some of my first designs were great. Looking back, I think that I was the only one who thought so. Some of my original designs may have done more to hurt my shop then help.
Someone just starting their shop should get a few opinions on their designs before jumping in feet first. Family and friends opinions don't count! They always seem to love what you do. At least, that's what they say!

6. Could you share some of the marketing you've tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn't?

I've tried short ads in local papers. (Most people ignore them.) Links from my Pet Heaven site. (Quite a
few sales come through Pet Heaven.) My signature on different forums. (Some forums forbid this.) Started an affiliate blog. (Have had some sales this way.) Still haven't found a real great way to spread the word on my shop, but think business has picked up since CafePress started the affiliate program. I think that some of the better selling shops are doing big ads in magazines or paid ads on popular sites, but this can get pretty expensive.

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?


The Shirt


Nancy’s comment: This site has a little of everything. From items for the socially conscience to maternity t-shirts you are sure to find something that you love.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ursine Logic's interview

Take a look at Ursine Logic’s Store while she share’s her experiences;

1.What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

I've been a free-lance graphic artist/web designer for several years now. One of my clients hired me to fix some of his images so they would work on black t-shirts. I went to look at this site and thought hey, I can do this with my art and photographs. It's better than having them sit on my hard drive all lonely and forgotten.

2.When did you open your store?

February 2006

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

Getting traffic to the site. I usually can manage to get decent traffic to websites I design in about three months. This one is taking forever, although I've done everything and more that I usually do, with a focus on descriptions, keywords, and manually registering with the big search engines plus ones specific to what I offer in my store. I never show up in any of the CafePress marketplace searches even though I do everything I'm supposed to do. That's another mystery. However I am still optimizing my shop for what usually works and not on CafePress marketplace listings.

4.What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

Being able to have complete and total control over the designs and products. It's a great way also to show people who want to hire me for jobs what I do. It's a great portfolio page if nothing else.

5.During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

I think the most important was how to organize my shop. I set it up by product at first and then realized the other shops that were doing well were set up by design. Knowing this without going through all the message board stuff ahead of time would have been good information. I had to redo it.

6.Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

Adwords totally sucked. It is expensive and I only had one sale that came from them. Don't even bother unless you are an adwords expert because that is what it takes to figure it all out. Sure, they have all the help files, but I think for the amount of money it costs, there should be more support when you first start. You're left there to figure it out yourself and by the time you do, your advertising budget has been eaten up with nothing to show for it.

Most of my traffic, little that it is, comes from my blog. I've had that since September and since I love to write, I put up my designs and use them to illustrate what I'm writing about that day. I'm an odd duck in many ways and so I think people come to look out of curiosity.

7.What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

My main blog is:

I am also on MySpace, but I write less in that one. I'm there more for the social aspect of MySpace which I love. I could cut and paste from my main blog for the MySpace one I suppose, but that would seem kind of slimy and dishonest somehow.

Nancy’s comment – Urzine Logic has done a great job with text and descriptions on her site. She mentions in her interview she likes to write and it shows. I especially like her world peace greeting cards, buttons, magnets and stickers and her peace star design.

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Cradlesong interview

Today we are hearing from Pam who’s site is at

1. What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

To tell the truth, it just seemed like the thing to do because that's how everyone shops and looks for things. In a related, motherhood was primary job for the last 14+ years, before that I sold overnight mail and did marketing for a Pizza Hut franchisee.

2.When did you open your store?

August 2004

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

Trying to keep things new and fresh, keep changing the site to keep it interesting for returning customers.

4.What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

Expands my market to world-wide, simple explanation for those who want to see what I do...just refer them to the site and they can see for themselves.

5.During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

How to work with tables!!! As best as I can tell it is the primary way to keep information & images where you want them. Things NEVER look the same on the back-end of the site as the do on the front-end.

6.Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

Marketing started with an initial mailing (approx. 200) of brochures and a cover letter letting friends/acquaintances know what I was doing. To present a professional front although my products are handmade, I had taffeta labels made that have my logo on them (laundering instructions on the reverse). Both "cradlesong" & "cradlesong musical pillows" come up #1 on yahoo, google and msn searches so I consider even the tags as advertisement. Word of mouth, repeat and secondary business (those who receive my products often turn around and order them) are also good sources for additional business.

7.What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any? No other sites or blogs.

Drop ship from one site, and another potential in the works.

Nancy’s comment – I’ve been familiar with Pam’s work since before she set up her site and I have to tell you, the quality and detail are topnotch. These are the type of gifts that really do become heirlooms! She told me once that she gets a lot of traffic from her links (which are highly related) and she has a lot of links! Pam also offers gift certificates and gift-wrapping.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ghost Raven interview

Today’s interview is with Randall, who’s store Ghost Raven Designs is

1. What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

Well, extra money is always good to have. In honesty, I'm not all that fond of my "day job," and am hoping to eventually make it to college so I can get a job I actually like. When I found out about, I'd already been doing a bit of work on the side as a freelance graphic artist, and being able to have my designs printed on items for everyone to see, and not losing ownership of them just seemed very appealing to me.

2. When did you open your store?

I opened up my first free store last September, and my paid store in March, I think.

3. What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

In honesty, I never expected this part to be easy, but marketing my stuff. My best sellers seem to be my political stuff... namely, my anti-Bush stuff. I certainly am not complaining, but I hope to see more sales on my original artwork sometime in the near future.

4. What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

The freedom I have. I can be just about as gutsy as I want to be, do things the way I want to do them, and all that good stuff.

5. During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

Heheh... I'm not sure I've learned anything since then that would've helped me much.

6. Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

I take pretty much any free marketing opportunity I can...,, the classifieds on, and the online classifieds on (a local alternative newspaper). In addition, I will sometimes leave a couple business cards in a strategic location. So far, though my marketing has resulted in increased traffic, it's not resulted in many sales.

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

Well, I have a free account, a account that I don't pay much attention to, and a couple free pages on

Nancy’s comment – I like and relate to Randall’s own comment on his site “I got into this largely because it's an amazing feeling to know that people are willing to pay for my designs... not so much the money itself, but the feeling knowing that someone is wearing or proudly displaying a design I made is indescribable. I think that's the ultimate reward for any artist”
To go beyond just artists I think it’s true with any small business owner. It’s a great feeling when someone supports your business because it’s a tangible sign that they think what you are doing has value.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gethsememerose interview

Today’s interview is with gethsemenerose. He used to be in the navy. Even though my husband went to West Point and Navy beat us this year – I like this site!

1.What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?
Well I was talking to some of the guys in my life group and I mentioned a purity wear line of clothing that had recently made the news. We discussed if we thought the idea had merit I said it did but when I went to the site I found their designs were limited (this was not a CP shop) I found myself thinking "I could do better." It turns out I am a terrible artist but great DESIGNER and IDEA MAN.

2.When did you open your store?
I opened my account last week (April 15th) and quickly built this store with the help of reading all the forums and posting a lot of stupid questions (and getting yelled at by some of the CP Cops) and generally not sleeping for 4 days. All the designs were created this week and one day I might hire a graphics designer to help me with some bigger and more involved projects than these.

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?
The art. I used to love drawing when I was in the Navy. I would spend hours drawing when I was out to sea, but the problem is one drawing took a week or so. The whole exercise was to pass time during long tours under the polar icecap, (I was in submarines) but now I have felt pressure to do 3 sometimes 4 designs a day and drawing with a mouse is not as easy as a pencil and pens. Also JASC Photoshop is not something I have ever used before (I bought my computer a year ago and I had a free 60 day trial version installed. I had never activated it until this week) I may buy an easier program and an art tablet later if this makes any money.

4.What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?
Freedom to do my own thing. The ability to get my message out in a fun way. (Purity is Cool)

5. During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?
Well it is still my first week I do not know anything but I sold something my first day to someone who I do not know.(It came through an affiliate and they got $0.60 and I got $2.40) Kinda wish I had understood price points better because that was 3 shirts sold.

6. Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?
I was in real estate for a year so I understand drip e-mail marketing. I had a decent size list of email addresses (over 150) that I painstakingly entered into the newsletter database then I sent out a newsletter. I advertised a sale immediately. I have also taken that list of 300 sites that have free listings and have been working my way through it about 5 or six a day. (Many are not free anymore but I have been annotating it and when I have finished I will repost it.)

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?
I had never thought of a site before (although I helped my old broker set up her real estate site at ) I have set up a blog this week because I read in the forums it would be good to do but I haven't had time to write in it because I have been making art and setting up the site.

8. The unasked question. Do I think there is a place for a site like this in today’s world? Well I can only hope so. Purity is Cool and it is a possibility. Just try it you might like it.

Nancy’s comment – It’s hard to believe this site is only about 10 days old. He’s a talented guy and obviously working hard at this!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dr Fizzics interview

Lyle is our next shopkeeper interviewee

1.What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?

While I've had other online stores, I came to Café Press because it is a great outlet for my photography.

2.When did you open your store?

I opened my Café Press shop in the fall of 2005.

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?

The parts of this that were harder than I expected revolve around the learning curve; it's taken me longer than I expected to understand how Café Press works and how to promote my shop online. Certainly I learned a lot in my first few months of being a shopkeeper and I'm still learning.

4.What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?

I enjoy being able to finally get my photography out where it can be seen and purchased. Café Press is a great avenue for visual artists to offer their work to a large audience.

5.During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?

I wish I had cable Internet service that first month! It was painfully slow to learn Café Press and upload images over dial-up Internet service. I would also have gone to a premium shop right away, but felt I needed to test the waters with a basic shop first.

6.Could you share some of the marketing you’ve tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn’t?

So far I use word of mouth and email signatures and updates via email and instant message to my friends and relatives. I also submitted my site to various services online, such as I’m branching out with blogs now too.

7.What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any?

I have a blog at, a My Space site at, an online store at

Wildlife and Scenic Photography Framed Prints, Posters, Mugs, Shirts, and More!
Custom Items Also Available Using Your Photographs
Lyle Ford, Photographer

Nancy's comment - Lyle’s photographs are beautiful and his pictures of Monument Valley and sunsets are breathtaking!

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Arielles Gifts interview

I now have 34 shopkeepers waiting in line to share their thoughts. So I have made another command decision. I will post an interview four or five days a week for as long as I have interesting people (and interested people!)

The first questions I got back came from Arielle:

1.What drew you to opening an online store? Were you in a related field?
I've always been an artist of sorts, but I first created t-shirts my senior year of high school. We used screen-printing. It was a lot harder than CafePress because I had to isolate each color and then line up the screens so the t-shirts were printed correctly. I've redone some of the designs I originally used in high school for my CafePress store.

2 When did you open your store?
I played around with the free stores since August, but I opened my premium shop after I made my first sale last month.

3.What is harder about doing this then you thought it would be?
Promoting the site takes up more time than actually designing all of the t-shirts!

4 What do you like best about being an online shopkeeper?
I'm my own boss and I make my own hours.

5.During the very first month, what do you wish you had known then that you do now?
I wish I'd known about By giving my customers the means to use a discount (which comes off of the base price), I am encouraging them to shop in my store.
Also, someone hacked my account and deleted my premium store a few weeks ago. I wish I'd known to back everything up. It wasn't so bad because a lot of the stuff in my premium store was also in free stores (so all I had to do was import the products into the store again), but it was a pain and the neck and very time consuming to rebuild. I still don't have all of the html right.

6. Could you share some of the marketing you've tried so far (on or off line) and what has worked and what hasn't?
Marketing through My Space works. I also gave my best friends some cute t-shirts with the URL to my store printed on the back.

7. What other sites, blogs, etc. do you have if any? - I just started that one because I want to keep my CafePress notes on My Space separate from my personal notes. <- A My Space group used to Promote CafePress stores and trendy designs <- My personal My Space account <- My Xanga Blog

Note from Nancy: Arielle is a college student, but you would never guess that looking at her sharp shop. She’s got lots of selections to appeal to everyone. I wish I had started at her age!

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Invitation to be interviewed

I came up with an idea today which I think will be a lot of fun for me and interesting and helpful for my readers.

A couple times a week I am going to interview online shopkeepers about their experiences starting and running their stores. I posted a request for interested shopkeepers on CafePress’s forum today and already have 15 lined up. If there is anyone reading this who would also like to be featured email me at

Also I already have a list of questions, but if there is anything you would particularly like to know about starting a business online either email me or hit my comment button.

So tomorrow I will have my first interview up.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Mother's Day gifts

I’ve been seeing a lot of Mother’s Day designs already! Some people are really on the ball. This site especially has a lot of great products any mom would love.(I know because I am one!)


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Your Domain product line press release

I practiced with PhotoBucket today putting classifieds on MySpace and also sent some bulletins with pictures to the different groups I belong to there.

Spent a lot of time sending out press releases and ads for my new “your” section. Here’s what I wrote:

Advertising is expensive and people are always looking for effective, cheap and unusual ways to get their business in front of the masses.

Online store, givitup, is set up for people to email them their URLs and they will put them on: hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, hats, buttons, magnets, bumper stickers, license plate holders and even your dog's clothes. The domain address on each item is lettered in blue and underlined so it looks like a live link to your site. Owner Nancy Geiger advises business owners to think outside the box and have some fun in the process. "Most people are proud of their businesses and enjoy having a website. Showing it off is fun for them and a great advertising technique," she said, "Nowadays businesses need to market both on and offline. The general public is saturated with information and it takes a combination of variety and repeated exposure for maximum effectiveness."

Givitup also take custom requests at no extra charge.

And then the usual information I put in about CafePress in general.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Online learning

OK, so now I’ve joined another interesting sounding email “class” on blog traffic. He suggests that I post a comment on 10 other people’s blogs a day ! This would be on top of reading all his information, promoting my store on My Space and Everyone Space, learning about and participating in Great Gear group and Squidoo. Reading/studying, Tag-World and Photo bucket, taking an online web design and an online affiliate course, a half dozen freelance writing sites and courses and oh, yeah….LIFE!

I remember the good old days when I just looked up recipes online!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Current event t-shirts

I’ve been so busy I haven’t read the CafePress forums for three days. So naturally I missed the suggestion to create designs about current events they were going to promote early this week. I did a couple this afternoon, but there were already 84 listed in the marketplace and it takes a day for new ones to show up! Self, let that be a lesson!

Here are my new sections anyway: The first one they wanted either pro or anti immigration. I’m actually only anti illegal immigration so I changed it a little:

The next one they wanted something about what’s going on in Iran:

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Advertise your business for the price of a t-shirt

I created a new section today I am really excited about. I got to thinking about how proud I am of my site and how much I love it and that is mine and something I created! So I came up with

Basically people will email me their domain name and I will put it on t-shirts, baseball caps, license plate holders, mugs, bumper stickers and even baby clothes.

That way they can be a walking advertisement for their business. It’s fun, it’s cool and it’s good business!

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Top 3 myths about internet marketing

I’m lucky to have a husband who is an internet business consultant! I use his tips all the time!

Top 3 Myths About Internet Marketing by John Geiger

Lack of understanding and old thinking has long cost small business owners their competitive edge and despite a steady stream of research proving the effectiveness of Internet marketing, yet again, it has mostly been larger firms taking advantage of this new advertising medium. According to projections by, online ad spending in 2005 grew by more than 30%, surpassing the $10 billion mark for the first time. But many small and medium-size business owners (SMEs) are still wary of introducing Internet marketing to their business plans. If you listen to their reasoning, the Internet might be considered as the fax machine once was: unnecessary, unproven and not cost effective. Well, today ignoring the benefits of an Internet marketing strategy can cost them far more in lost profits than choosing postal mail over faxes. Recently a study was done to determine the top 3 reasons small businesses have been reluctant to fully embrace the increasingly relevant Internet in their marketing plans. The results showed similar misconceptions on both sides of the Atlantic as to what Internet marketing is, and what it can do for their business. Myth #1: "My business doesn't need Internet marketing" Lack of perceived need was the most common reason offered up by the focus group participants, but few successful business owners would ever say that their business doesn't need to advertise. Internet search engine giant Yahoo!, whose advertising network reaches 80% of active Internet users (Nielsen/NetRatings, 2004) has hundreds of business categories in its directory right down to the smallest niche businesses. The reality is that if you have a product or service to sell, prospects are looking for it online, even if the actual purchase is made offline. The objective is that your website (or ad) be found when someone is looking to buy, and today's local search algorithms bring those local searches to you, the local business.
Myth #2: "Internet marketing is too expensive" It's well documented that small business owners are cost sensitive, but it's a misconception that Internet marketing is expensive. In fact, Internet marketing solutions are in many cases considerably less expensive than most traditional advertising media that business owners are more familiar with. For example, a modest display ad in a yellow page phone directory can cost a company thousands of dollars per year while offering virtually no way to target specific customers or track the quality of leads produced (if any). With that kind of budget--or in most cases considerably less--a Pay-for-Performance search engine marketing campaign can deliver precisely targeted (they are interested or they wouldn't click) leads to a business' website, while documenting which ads produce which sales, and even directly tying specific activities such as telephone calls, e-mails, and/or online forms directly to a specific ad for real-time analysis and action. Direct mail and print advertising can be replaced or supplemented with email marketing and online promotions for pennies on the dollar, again offering better customer targeting and performance tracking capability. And because Internet marketing solutions can be deployed far more quickly than other forms of advertising, business owners are better able to respond to changes in the marketplace and adjust on-the-fly.
Myth #3: "I don't know where to start" For those small business owners that do see the value in Internet marketing, not having an Internet marketing strategy comes down to a matter of choice--or too many choices. Unfamiliar with the topic, getting help can be quite daunting. They can't afford to make the wrong decision, so sometimes they play it safe and stay out of the game altogether. But that decision is shortsighted, and limits their potential in today's market. The best advice is to approach the situation the way you would when seeking out help in any other area: Ask around, get referrals from friends or acquaintances; don't make a decision based solely on price, and beware of offers that sound too good to be true. Ask questions about the company and their experience, and read through their own website. Find out how long they've been in business and ask for client testimonials and/or case studies. Also think about whether they are locally based - it is much easier to get help if they are close by and willing to visit your place of business.
As in the past, it's important that business owners become proactive and not let old thinking stifle their growth. The internet has been called the great equalizer, and in many respects epitomizes the very fabric of our free-market society. Companies who continue to ignore Internet marketing opportunities risk being left behind by competitors that have looked past the myths and discovered that sometimes changing the way things are done can be quite a profitable move.
John Geiger, owner of Webmasters ICE, has over five years experience helping small and medium-sized companies and organizations capitalize on the power of the internet through consulting, education, and supporting products and services. His focus and passion is the use of the internet in providing more effective overall marketing strategies and highly measurable levels of marketing success.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Deeksbrats' store

I came across another fun site today you may want to check out:

They have cute things for little kids, but also a tween and teen section. They have lots of stickers, buttons, bibs and clocks along with the usual assortment of clothing. Since it’s the weekend, take a break and shop around.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Squidoo - another new toy!

Well, the PR guy at CafePress talked about a great promotional site which lets you talk about anything, including your business or passions. I got on and surfed around a bit. Got information overload, signed up and wrote a note to myself to study it tomorrow!

Sometimes I feel like I’m back in college and taking too many classes! I read and read and bounce from one topic to the next and always feel behind!

I did send out classifieds again to all states and a bunch of countries. I promoted my “not finished yet” design about how we are all works in progress and growing daily.

Sure is true with me!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

givitup's affiliate program

OK the following gets a little technical, but it’s part of running an online store! Here is a good way to make money online:

Join our free affiliate program and earn money!

Promote our products on your site and earn 20%

Want to earn some extra cash from your website or blog? With our affiliate program, making a few extra bucks is simple. You will earn 20% on all qualifying sales that you drive from your site.

Here's how:

  • get an affiliate id (called a PID) from CafePress who run our affiliate program - make sure you remember to enter 'givitup' in the 'Referral Store ID' field
  • create links to our store, sections of our store or individual products using your affiliate id
  • track your earnings online with affiliate reports

For more information, please refer to the CafePress FAQs and Terms & Conditions.

To create your text links go to

Use our Logo!

We have provided a copy of our eye-catching logo for you to use in creating your affiliate link..

T-shirts,mugs,buttons,magnets from givitup

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cherry Blossom designs

I worked out in my yard a lot today. The grass is so green and thick now; the dogwoods are in bloom and lots of other flowers. We live on a lake and our view is beautiful. I was thinking how fresh spring is and how colorful. We moved to Hickory, NC in April years ago and coming from Chicago I wasn’t used to dogwoods and azaleas. I thought it was a fairyland.

Washington DC is the same way with their cherry blossoms. Not surprisingly, because nothing surprises me about the shop owners at CafePress anymore, many stores have beautiful cherry blossom designs. Do something for your senses and browse around:


Monday, April 10, 2006

Comments welcome

From my statcounter I see a lot of readers coming back daily. (Which really makes me happy.) I would love to have any feedback about what you want me to talk about, what you want me to stop talking about or why you read this blog. I have my comments set up so they come emailed to me first and not directly posting on my blog because I was getting electronic comments. (I know that’s not the term, but I don’t know what else to call it when computers are set to just post random URLs on blogs and forums.) Tomorrow is my 100th day!

Anyway, any comments I get I’ll post, unless you ask me not to.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

So much to read and learn!

I spent all my work time today reading forums, which of course lead me to clicking on people's URLs and getting slightly sidetracked. I always go through the CafePress forums, but after doing that today and posting on one thread, I managed to get to several small business forums that I've wanted to read for a long time. Read a lot about online marketing and affiliates. I'm beginning to think there is very little new information on the web. It's mostly the same thoughts just slightly reworded. However I keep plugging away looking for those rare ah ha moments!

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

"No cancer" products

One of our friends, a guy who is 40 years old and has 4 children went in to get his gallbladder out. When they opened him up he was covered with tumors. So far they can’t figure out what type of cancer it is. He’s a big guy, but in just a couple weeks has lost 50 plus pounds. He is in terrible pain and can’t eat. Please pray for him, for the doctors who are helping him and for people tirelessly working for a cure.
Bob, this one’s for you.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Ways to drive traffic to your website

I read these before I started my store and saved them because they were so helpful.

Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Business Website
By Maria Marsala

1. Build a strong, solid business foundation. Design a business plan, marketing plan, ideal client profile and 30-second elevator speech.
2. Be consistent and “brand” your company. Use the same colors, logo, motto, etc. everywhere on your business web site!
3. Make your business web site trustable.
4. Create policies that build trust: customer service, code of ethics and newsletter privacy policy.
5. Ask your web master to name each of your pages using a keyword you have supplied them with.
6. Offer added values on your business web site that make sense to your business and ideal client. This can include affiliate programs, books, and recommended links to web sites.
7. Add a “favorites or bookmark this site” script to some of your business web site pages.
8. Add a "Recommend This Site" on your site. If someone visits your business Web site and knows someone else who may appreciate it, this feature will e-mail the page's link to a recipient.
9. If you have pages on your business web site that you update monthly (like an articles page or recommended links page) say so on the page.
10. Join a few Web rings. For additional information, visit WebRing and Bravenet.
11. Provide a subscription box, to your e-zine or business announcement list, on your most viewed business web site pages.
12. On large business web sites, create a "What's New Page" or even better, ask your web designer to design a "Site Map" for your visitors.
13. Find easy and secure ways for your clients to pay you. A shopping cart and a secure way to accept checks and/or credit cards work very well.
14. Check your business web site's links regularly to make sure they all work. Use a free link checker such as Xenu's Link Sleuth.
15. Provide monthly chats or bulletin boards (forums) to build relationships and community.
16. Conduct periodic contests and announce the winners on your site.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Artists should be selling on CafePress!

We went to an Art Crawl downtown tonight and all I could think about was, “All these artists could have their stuff on CafePress!” They try so hard to find markets for it and it’s tough to do. I told a couple about it. They’ve already got lots of designs, prints, photographs etc. This would open up the world to them!

I also started reading those cocktail napkins in some of the gift shops. You know, like; “Men are all the same, they just have different heads so you can tell them apart.” And “You never know how many friends you have til you have an open house.” Of course, now I read them and think, “t-shirts!” I’m hopeless!

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CafePress Sale

I don’t really have time to write tonight, but CafePress is having another sale until April 13th. $10.00 off of a $50.00 order if you use the code SPRING10 at check out. So go shopping!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Are you afraid of email?

I wanted to share an article my husband just wrote for a local paper (he does a monthly internet column.)
Online shop owners are, of course, small business owners, and we are always looking for ways to get our information out without spending an arm and a leg. Email is a great tool.

Are You Afraid of Email?

Since the days of telephone party lines, it has been a fact of life that some communicators have tended to cause others of us frustration. Teenagers tying up the family’s only telephone line for hours on end; then the computer tying up the line for hours on end. Our mailboxes have been so over-stuffed with junk that it is truly a joy to find an honest to goodness letter or card amongst the ads, flyers, and other uninvited materials. Countless family dinners have been interrupted by telephone selling campaigns. One by one, technology and/or legislation address the annoyances, or we flee to the next thing, and today we find ourselves with more personal communications choices than ever. Individual mobile phones for voice, text, and video; we have not only cut the phone cord, but in many cases the computer cord as well. More laptops are sold than desktops as of last year, and for businesses the increasingly popular Personal Digital Assistant/Mobile Phone combination devices are becoming a norm.

Unfortunately with all these conveniences and choices have come new opportunities for abuse, arguably the most widely annoying form of which today, is email abuse. Email abuse takes on many forms with common terms such as spam, phishing, and the spreading of viruses all of which decrease the overall efficiency of, confidence in, and perhaps even use of this valuable communications tool. Yet the attractiveness of e-mail as a marketing tool is unshakeable. Quick, reliable, targeted, multi-media-capable, and virtually free, it is hard to dismiss email as a valuable way to communicate, and market your business. So, is it a practical idea to consider email as an effective marketing tool in today’s environment? Consider the following simple guidelines and I think you will agree the answer is a resounding YES!

Comply with the Federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2004. This legislation simply requires sender to: a) provide recipients with an ability to opt-out of receiving more email, b) identify the email as commercial (no misleading subject lines, or e-mail addresses in the “from” field), and c) include sender’s actual physical address in the email. Although as in any Federal Legislation there is a lot of fine print, this is the crux of the requirements and not difficult to comply with. Visit for additional information.
Once you are comfortable with CAN-SPAM compliance, the next step is to make sure your intended recipients can receive your mail. Some users today apply filters, which block incoming mail unless it has been pre-cleared as desirable. This is normally done via an “accepted email list” or using the recipients contact list, so make sure you are on their acceptable address lists. There are many ways to do this off-line, or you can use an opt-in registration through your website for example. Provide something useful to our recipient for adding you to their list and it is a win-win. The idea is that the recipient wants to receive your mail, not that you are forcing it on them.
Build a good list over time, monitor the results and provide relevant and useful content. Coupons, special offers, and probably most important good, information will keep your recipients loyal to your list. Don’t over-send correspondence. Frequency will depend on your objectives and the value to your targeted audience. Solicit and heed feedback.

Due to a rapidly developing market for providers of Email Marketing and Campaign Management, spending on email marketing is expected to reach $1.1 billion in the next 4 years according to Jupiter Research but the good news is you can do it yourself with a minimum of effort and expense. Oh, and one more piece of good news…spam emails are forecasted to decline about 13% per year from an estimated 3,253 per year in 2005 to 1,640 or around half.

When done well, e-mail marketing provides cost-efficient, targeted results and helps reduce the amount of communication annoyance. Don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.

John Geiger, owner of Webmasters ICE, has over five years experience helping small and medium-sized companies and organizations capitalize on the power of the internet through consulting, education, and supporting products and services. His focus and passion is the use of the internet in providing more effective overall marketing strategies and highly measurable levels of marketing success.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

An "up" day!

I did newspaper work today more then my store. I interviewed a really great retiring doctor who was just wonderful to talk to and hear all the history of our town and the hospital here. I had so many notes I rushed home to start writing. Then I played bridge with my monthly group tonight, so it was practically a vacation!

AND, I came home to a sale! A “no sugar” t-shirt from a girl in Illinois! That is always such an upper! AND while I was gone John changed some button links on my storefront, which I’ve wanted him to do, and they look great! Feels like I’ve been redecorating! Definitely an up day!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Learning about affiliates

I just can’t resist Easter designs. They are so fresh and pretty and meaningful!
Here’s another great set I found today from the forums:

I started reading a new (to me) affiliate’s forum today and feel somewhat lost. I thought I sort of understood the affiliate program from the CafePress tutorials and those forums, but this one, which is mostly the affiliates, as apposed to shop owners, is much more advanced. It almost feels like an “us and them” kind of situation. Oh, well, the more I know, the better off I will be!

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Star Trek Merchandise


I just found out today I could sell Star Trek merchandise! How cool is that? So feel free to shop!

I decided to add an Exercise log and a Food Journal to my “no body fat” section. I love to read and study, but after awhile I have to feel like I’m really doing something, so then I start creating or moving things around or promoting. Keeps me balanced!

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