Peggy Vincent | 30 Women Who Mean Business Series

Peggy Vincent is the founder of Comfy Cozy, Inc. in East Fallowfield, Pennsylvania.

Describe your business (work, passion) in 3 to 5 sentences.
I create designs that are whimsical and inspirational which are printed on Pillowcases. In addition, I work with clients to create exclusive, custom designs for events, business, personal, teams, etc. My passion is taking an idea, theme or image and designing fun & functional products that serve as keepsakes or marketing materials.

How did you get started in your business?
My first Glow in the Dark pillowcases were created in 1989 as Christmas Gifts for my nieces and nephews. The idea came to me as a fun gift that they would use over and over again. From there, after requests to hand paint more pillowcases for friends and family members I decided the idea was worthy of developing and starting a business.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
There wasn’t just one “biggest hurdle”. Initially finding funding to start the business. Once we had gotten started, marketing was always the biggest obstacle to growing the business. Another was maintaining confidence in the product and myself.

How has this hurdle made you better?
Finding funding helped create a solid mission statement and objectives for starting the business. In addition to being fiscally responsible. Finding inexpensive and cost effective marketing options helped me step out of my comfort zone and try new techniques. Maintaining confidence still is somewhat of a hurdle, but facing it every day helps remind me of who i was when I decided to start a business and keep working.

Top books for personal and business growth?

What does gratitude mean to you?
Gratitude means understanding and appreciating the value in people, words and actions. Being thankful for the big and mostly the little things that happen in my life, accepting that life isn’t always perfect but more often than not, what we think is important really isn’t at all.

Who do you appreciate? Why?
My family – immediate, extended, distant and deceased, for giving me life, love and a beautiful sense of belonging. My friends – those that truly know me, guide me and hold me up. My dog – for the undeniable sense that all that I am is all that he needs.

Anything else you’d like to add or include?
An important aspect of starting a business that I had never considered was the possibility of ending or changing a business. I’ve learned that facing that question BEFORE I reached that point would have been a very wise thing to have done. Setting some goals and guidelines beforehand allows you to make a decision with some clarity and maybe, a little less emotion. Allowing yourself to change your product, your customer base, your overall business isn’t a sign of failure but a sign of growth. That’s difficult to do when you’re standing mid stream and don’t know if you should turn back to what you know or push to the other side to follow a new path.

Follow Peggy Vincent

Peggy Vincent | Comfy Cozy inc.

Peggy Vincent | Comfy Cozy inc.

Francine Clouden | 30 Women Who Mean Business Series

Francine Clouden, founder of Callaloo Soup, lives in Privas, France.

Note:  This interview occurred several weeks before the bombings in Paris. Ms. Clouden is safe.

Describe your business (work, passion) in 3 to 5 sentences.
My mission is to inspire and help busy and creative women to craft a simply beautiful life & create projects that truly reflect their values through the use of simple ideas and products like printables. On the flip side I encourage women to notice and capture the beautiful everyday moments, and to find a way to document them simply. My mantra is creative simplicity, and I emphasize slow and simple living.

How did you get started in your business?
It all started with my love for scrapbooking, which then morphed into a love for all things crafty. Due to a combination of budget restraints, plus unavailability of many crafting supplies in my area (France), I started making lots of my own home decor items, and creating my own paper craft supplies. Once I noticed that many creative women like me were tired of being overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s out there, I started offering my printables for sale.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
Lack of self-confidence. It was hard to put myself out there, especially trying to compete against the big names, and the mainstream way of doing things.

How has this hurdle made you better?
I’ve learned that women out there do appreciate what I have to offer, and this has made me more willing to take risks and try new things.

Top 3 books for personal and business growth?
Oh you’re speaking my language now! I’m a huge book nerd. Only three though?……

I talk about even more books like these in this blog post.

What does gratitude mean to you?
It means being aware, and taking the time to stop and notice the good things, even in the midst of the busiest day.

Who do you appreciate? Why?
My parents for instilling in me the love of learning. My husband for doing most of the cooking. And my son for his bright-eyed approach to living life.

Anything else you’d like to add or include?
I love connecting with other creative women who crave a simple life. My favourite way to do this is on Instagram and in my Creative Simplicity group on Facebook.

Follow Francine Clouden

francineclouden1

What to Expect During a Lung Biopsy | Battling Bertha

When I announced that chemo did not work, a few weeks ago, I hinted that I intended to create a video describing my personal lung biopsy experience.  I wasn’t ready to talk about it until now.

I didn’t really know what to expect during a lung biopsy.  I know now that it is not pleasant.

Who am I kidding?  Cancer sucks.  Tests sucks.  Treatment sucks.

To be honest, when Dr. Ellent walked into the room and blurted out “I’m going to send you for a lung biopsy,” I didn’t want to have it done.  It took some convincing by my chemo nurses.

Even though I do not like the results, nor the prognosis, I am now happy that I did it.

What to Expect During a Lung Biopsy

Here’s my story…

 

If you are facing a lung biopsy, I hope this video helps you understand what to expect.

All is well,

Kandas

PS – For the record, my hospital chart has EPIC stamped on it.  #epic

Matthew McConaughey Got It Right | How to Get More Testimonials and Happy Clients

If you are a long time follower of this blog, you know that my husband and I own a custom furniture business called ShaKa Studios.

We launched our website in 1998 and sell high-end niche furniture.

We do NOT have a SHOWROOM. NOR can our clients EVEN SEE the furniture before they buy!

You are probably asking yourself how that is possible.

The answer is simple. I ask for testimonials.

A Simple Way to Get More Testimonials

I use SendOutCards to send every client a thank you card and in it I simply write, “we’d love to see a photo of your new furniture in your home.”  I attach sea salt caramels and click send.  About 40% of our clients will email or text photos to us after they receive their card and caramels.

sea-salt-caramels

Sea Salt Caramels from SendOutCards

At this point you are probably wondering what Matthew McConaughey has to do with customer testimonials?  I’ll get to that in a minute.

This past summer,  I received a series of photos of a white cannonball bed in a home on Long Island, Bahamas with a note that simply said:

“And thank you for the awesome caramels…they’re gone now!!!!”

Here is one of the bed photos:

1830 Cannonball Bed by ShaKa Studios

1830 Cannonball Bed by ShaKa Studios

The caramels cost about $10 with shipping and now I have gorgeous photos of one of our handmade beds in a beach house on Long Island Bahamas. I can use these photos on our website, blog, and print advertisement. I’d say my return on investment is AWESOME!

The Magic is in the Cookies

I send a thank you card and gift using SendOutCards to each of our Shaka Studios clients. I do it because we truly appreciate our clients and want them to know so.

2 Dozen Cookies from SendOutCards

2 Dozen Cookies from SendOutCards

Received a note the other morning from a world-renowned interior design firm in Boston.  They ordered two custom red cannonball beds, so I sent them 2 dozen cookies:

Hi Shane and Kandas,

Thank you so much for the cookies and the sweet thank you card. It was a very nice surprise this morning. Hope you had a wonderful 4th and your summer is magical.
Thanks again,
Sarah and the W&S team

Sea Salt Caramel Tweet

Not only did Jamie Deaton leave a rave review about her custom bed, she also tweeted about her card and gift:

Speaking of Etsy

Here is an Etsy message from Mark, who ordered a custom TV console.  Notice his PS.

mark-90-inch-girtz-etsy-conv

Brownie Points

SendOutCards works for all sorts of businesses. I showed Bryan, a member of my Tuesday networking group, how to send cards and gifts to his insurance clients. He posted this to my Facebook wall:

bryan-testimonial

Gratitude Reciprocates

I promised I’d get to it…  In his Oscar acceptance speech, Matthew McConaughey said it best:

"It's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates." - Matthew McConaughey

“It’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” – Matthew McConaughey

Appreciate your customers and they will appreciate you back with more testimonials, repeat business and referrals.

Rhonda Dallas | 30 Women Who Mean Business Series

Rhonda Dallas is the founder of R2EWD:  Reaching To Empower Women Daily, in Houston, Texas.

Describe your business (work, passion) in 3 to 5 sentences.
R2EWD is a non-profit organization whose mission is to mentor women who are facing everyday challenges through coaching, and consulting. I also mentor children in combating obesity. I coach, teach, and train people to turn their dreams into reality

How did you get started in your business?
I started by building partnerships within my community and seeing there was a need for small women business owners to brand and grow themselves and or their business so I started hosting coaching classes.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
Myself and not being fearful but being faithful.

How has this hurdle made you better?
I am a stronger and more confident woman.

Top 3 books for personal and business growth?

What does gratitude mean to you?
Being Thankful to God for where I am and how far He has brought me. Having a healthy family, friends, and ministry.

Who do you appreciate? Why?
My mom for life and support, my husband for unwavering love and support, my children for their love and support and my friends who tell me the truth.

Anything else you’d like to add or include?
I am a certified Life Coach, A certified nutritional counselor.

Follow Rhonda Dallas

  • Website:  rhondadallascoaching.com
  • Facebook: facebook.com/dallasjrus
Rhonda Dallas

Rhonda Dallas

 

Pink Ribbon T-Shirt Fundraiser | Battling Bertha

It’s funny how inspiration works.  One thing leads to another which leads to another and pretty soon you’ve landed on a fantastic idea.

My chemo bills are starting to stack up.  I have good insurance but I do need to pay my share of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment I’ve received over the past 18 months.  Luckily, the cancer clinic has been very gracious about the financial burden the bills have placed on my family.

Shane and I have brainstormed additional ways to make money.  It’s just what entrepreneurs do.  If we need money, we figure out a way to make it.  That is how we’ve managed to stay in business for 17 years, surviving 2 recessions.

How to Design a Pink Ribbon T-Shirt

The seed for our latest inspiration was planted when I saw this sign on the bulletin board at my yoga for breast cancer survivors class:

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Then my friend Leo, owner of Conroe Coffee, visited me during chemo…

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…and took this picture of me dancing with my IV pole:

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Which inspired me to create this meme:

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Which inspired my husband, Shane, to design these pink ribbon t-shirts:

"I am in charge of how I feel and today I choose happiness" Pink Ribbon IV Pole Dancer t-shirt

“I am in charge of how I feel and today I choose happiness” Pink Ribbon IV Pole Dancer t-shirt

You can order your very own “I am in Charge Pink Ribbon IV Pole Dancer” t-shirt from Teespring. We’d very much appreciate your support.

Shane & Kandas

Sales Trainer Tom Hopkins Explains Why He Sends Thanksgiving Cards

Tom Hopkins is a world-renowned sales trainer. He built his real estate business by sending 6 hand written greeting cards per year to his clients, and potential clients.  By doing so, he became the top producing real estate agent in the state of California.

Today, Mr. Hopkins uses SendOutCards to automate his greeting card system with the same personal touch as a handwritten card.

The Power of a Thanksgiving Card

In the following video, Tom Hopkins explains why he sends Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas cards:

 

In case you don’t want to watch the video the short answer is:  Everyone else is sending Christmas cards.

Here is the simple message he included in his cards:

“During the season of Thanksgiving, let me thank you for being a valued client.  I look forward to serving you for many years.”

Simple message. Powerful results.

Those who keep in touch will never have to prospect. - Tom Hopkins Click To Tweet
Click to Send Thanksgiving Cards

Click to Send Thanksgiving Cards