3 In Store Marketing Ideas from a Coffee Shop Owner | Coffee & Cards Conversations | #blogboost

In Store Marketing Ideas I Learned from Conroe Coffee

Leo Harris owns Conroe Coffee in historic downtown Conroe, Texas.  I have watched Leo build her reputation locally since she opened her doors a little over a year ago.

Leo Harris, owner of Conroe Coffee, has a fun, quirky personality that is evident throughout her store, even when she is not there.

Leo Harris, owner of Conroe Coffee, has a fun, quirky personality that is evident throughout her store, even when she is not there.

We filmed the above video in December of 2013. In the ten months since, Conroe Coffee has thrived. Leo has gained a loyal following of clients and her coffee shop has a constant flow of customers coming through the doors.

It’s time to revisit this video, it’s lessons and what I’ve learned by watching Leo grow her business.

I picked up at least three valuable in store marketing ideas from Leo and Conroe Coffee that will help drive sales in any type of store:

1. Sometimes a little twist can make a huge difference.

Clients often offer the best advice, so listen to them. When Leo followed the advise of one of her customers by changing the name of her Sweet Potato Oatmeal muffin to Oatmeal Sweet Potato, they started flying out the door.  Always promote the more appealing features of a product.

2. KISS Your Clients.

KISS is an acronym for Keep it Simple Stupid, but really, it should be Keep it Simple and Special. Create an atmosphere in your store that makes your clients feel like they are the most important people in the world to you, because really, they are! Without clients, you’d be out of business!

3. Let Your Unique Personality Shine.

If you took the time to watch the video, you know that Leo has a very fun, quirky personality. She is one of the reasons her coffee shop has become so popular.  Even when she is not physically in the store, her personality shines through in every detail.

Do you own a retail store? What are some in store marketing ideas you have successfully used to promote a product? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Photo Calendar Creator | #BlogBoost

Photo Calendar Creator

Photo calendars make great gifts! You can “Grow Your Business with Gratitude” by creating custom photo calendars for your clients. SendOutCards has a dynamic photo calendar creator that allows you to add photos to the cover, the month and each day of the month. You can even include text! Creating a custom photo calendar for your business is easy with drag and drop technology.


Calendar Details

  • 11″x8.5″ landscape
  • 12 month calendar (start on any month)
  • Personalize any date with photos and text
  • Full color, printed on premium paper
  • Saddle-stitched binding
  • $12.99/each plus shipping

Fundraising with Photo Calendars

Here’s a novel idea, why not use your photo calendars to raise funds and awareness for your favorite cause?

The calendar featured in the video was created by Lone Star Animal Welfare League for just that reason.  Here is how they did it:

  • The cover and 12 month photos spots featured dogs that had been rescued by LSAWL.
  • The “day” photos were sold to dog owners who provided a photo of their dog.
  • The finished calendars were sold at a mark up.

Of course, anyone who purchased a spot in the calendar wanted to also purchase a calendar, and a few extras to give as gifts!  It was a huge success.

What about you?   What are some ideas you have for creating photo calendars?

PS – Thank you to Tanya Lavoie for hanging out with me while we filmed the video.

Why You Need a Chemo Port | Battling Bertha 15 | #BlogBoost

A chemo port is a device that is inserted under the skin and connects to a vein via catheter. They are usually installed in the chest below the collar bone.

Installation of a chemo port is an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour performed by a Intervention Radiologist on an X-Ray table.

In this video, I show you my chemo port and give a brief overview of the surgery and infusion process.


Why a Chemo Port?

I received my port in June and it has made chemotherapy so much more bearable.  Before the port was installed, the infusions were done in my hand. This is very painful and limits mobility.  Three of my first 5 chemo treatments lasted 10 hours each.  Yes, TEN hours.  Sitting with my hand still for 10 hours, for a person like me, is not easy!  It is uncomfortable and if you move your arm the wrong way, you might inhibit the flow of the IV drip.

Before a chemo port, the infusion needle is inserted in your hand or arm.

Before a chemo port, the infusion needle is inserted into your hand or arm and you must sit still during the infusion.

I basically demanded a port after the first session.  The surgery was scheduled for after my second session.  If you have been following my blog, you know that I had an allergic reaction to Taxotere during my second session and I had to receive an additional infusion of Herceptin the following Monday.  So, I actually had 3 sessions of chemo without the port.

Let me tell you, I love my port.

After a chemo port is inserted, you have full use of both hands during infusions.

After a chemo port is inserted, you have full use of both hands during infusions.


With a port installed, you have full use of both hands.  I can type, crochet or read a book during infusion and not have to worry about discomfort or loss of flow.

You definitely want a chemo port!

Radiation Relief Cream Reviews | Battling Bertha 13 | #blogboost

Today, I completed my 9th of 36 session of  “radiation therapy.”  Seriously.  They call it therapy.  I have 27 treatments to go.  Treatment.  Also not the right word.

In the realm of too-much-information, here are some intimate details about my boob.  Radiation is not a boobs’ friend.  My nipple and areola are swollen, red, hot and sore.   I have tried several remedies for relief and in today’s video I give a candid review of three radiation relief creams.  You will be quite surprised when you see which is my favorite.



CAUTION: Do not use any product on your breast or armpit in the three hours prior to your radiation therapy. The radiation could react with the cream and that’s not good. Also, you should not shave your armpits until you have completed all your treatments.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin Review

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin

Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin

When she saw my bright red swollen breast, Shanta, one of my radiation techs suggested I use Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin and gave me a few samples. Aquaphor is very thick, with a petroleum jelly consistency. It leaves a layer of “grease” on your skin so you can only use it at night.

Although several women in my online breast cancer support group swear by Aquaphor, I personally did not like it for use on my breast.

Plus, I did a little research and discovered that Aquaphor is 41% petrolatum.  Petrolatum is petroleum jelly, which comes from petroleum, you know, crude oil, the black sticky stuff that comes out of the ground and is then turned into gasoline and water bottles.

I wouldn’t put gasoline or water bottles on my skin, so why would I want to put petrolatum on the area of my breast that was designed (or evolved, either way you look at it, the point is the same) to feed babies? Oh crap, here I go, better put that darn soap box in the attic or I might get myself into trouble. My days of a being a militant breastfeeding mom are long over. Boobs will be boobs.

Now that that’s settled.  Let’s try something else!

Miaderm Radiation Relief Review

Miaderm Radiation Relief Cream

Miaderm Radiation Relief Cream

The radiation oncology nurse suggested I try Miaderm Radiation Relief and again gave me some samples with instructions to use it three times per day.  The cream is absorbed by your skin very quickly and it is not at all greasy.  I liked it, so I went ahead and purchased a tube and have been using it every day.  Miaderm is pricey, about $25 per tube.

According to the literature the pharmacy provided, Miaderm was developed by radiation oncologists specifically for patients undergoing radiation therapy.   It contains aloe, calendula and lanolin plus a host of ingredients I can’t pronounce.  I am not a big fan of putting stuff in or on my body that I can’t pronounce.

I have been researching Calendula, and chatting with Kelly, my favorite aromatherapist, about creating a custom blend with Calendula essential oil.  Calendula oil has anti-inflamatory and wound-healing properties.  If we come up with something, I’ll be sure to let the world know.

While Miaderm is good, it does not provide relief from the sunburn type pain that I feel on my nipple.  So, I put 2 and 2 together and tried:

H-E-B Solutions Aftersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera Review

HEB Solutions Afersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera

HEB Solutions Afersun Aloe Vera Gel with Pure Aloe Vera

Aftersun Aloe Vera Gel was designed to soothe and cool sun burn, so YES, it cools and soothes my red, swollen breast! Gloriously, I might add.

H-E-B is a Texas based chain of grocery stores. I am sure that any Aloe Vera Gel brand will provide the same relief as this one.

Aloe Vera is actually the 7th ingredient in this formula. While it contains WAY fewer hard to pronounce ingredients than the Miaderm, the first ingredient is alcohol – which probably accounts for the cooling effect, but isn’t very good for the skin. It is also a very unnatural shade of green.

My search for the PERFECT radiation relief cream is far from over.  Expect a second, or even third, video review in the near future.

If you have personal experience with radiation creams and would like to share your favorite, leave a comment below. If I end up using your suggestion in a video, I’ll give you a shout out and send you a free gift, if you are into that sort of thing.

Chemo Head Wrap Instructions | Battling Bertha 12 | #blogboost

When I lost my hair, I went to YouTube and searched for a great tutorial on how to wrap a head scarf. I watched many and found that Ester Grabow’s “How to tie a headscarf tips” is by far the best.

Yesterday I alluded to my secret head scarf technique. It’s not really a secret. It’s a t-shirt. It’s very hot in Texas and the t-shirt head wrap I learned from Ester has been my go to look for the past several months. The t-shirt soaks up the sweat! Plus, it’s easy. Take a t-shirt, cut it across the body just below the sleeves and voila! You have a chemo head wrap.

Watch the tutorial to see how Ester inspired me:

PS – Thank you to Gail at G & W Photography for the featured image!

Ultimate Blog Challenge | October Recognition Holidays | Battling Bertha 11 | #BlogBoost

Keep Calm and Fight Like a Girl

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Click the card to send a card to someone fighting Breast Cancer today. It’s free (on me).

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of my Ultimate Blog Challenge! It is my intention to blog every day for the entire month of October, and even throw in a few videos and podcasts!

I plan to share some intimate details about my boobs and my breast cancer journey, including some funny, or not so funny, stories about chemo, surgery and radiation therapy. I’ll even take you wig shopping!

Don’t worry, I also have marketing and business tips to share! So, there will be a little something for everyone this month.

National Make a Mistake Day and other October Recognition Holidays

You have 22 fantabulous reasons to send a greeting card and gift in October and here they are:

  • October is, of course, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
  • It is also Pharmacist Month.
  • October 1 in National Make a Mistake Day.  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be nice!
  • October 2 is National Custodial Worker Day.
  • October 3 is Techie’s Day.
  • October 4 is World Smile Day.
  • October 5 is Do Something Nice Day.
  • October 5 is also World Teacher’s Day.
  • Emergency Nurses Week is October 5 – 11.
  • Customer Service Week is October 6 – 10.
  • National Physician Assistant’s Week is October 6 – 12.
  • October 6 is Physician Assistant’s Day.
Time to Get Healthy

Celebrate physician’s assistants, emergency nurses and medical assistants this month with a thank you card. Click the card to send one FREE today (on me).

  • October 8 is Emergency Nurses Day.
  • October 11 is World Plumbers Day.
Let a Plumber Fix It

World Plumbers Day is October 11. Send a card to your favorite plumber for FREE (on me) by clicking the image.

  • October 12 is Farmer’s Day.
  • October 13 is Clergy Appreciation Day.
  • October 14 is Columbus Day.
  • October 16 is National Boss Day.
  • Medical Assistants Recognition Week is October 20 – 24.
  • October 22 is Medical Assistants Recognition Day.
  • October 23 is TV Talk Show Host Day.
  • October 24 is United Nations Day.
  • October 31 is Halloween.
On Halloween You Can Be Anything You Want

October 31 is Halloween. Click the image to send a Halloween Card for Free (on me).

Any day is a great day to send a real paper greeting card.  Your first card is FREE, on me!

7 Apps and Websites For Your Small Business

This week AmericanExpress OPEN and MSNBC shared the favorite apps and websites used by seven small business owners to increase productivity, or just make business easier.


7 Apps and Websites for Your Small Business

Proprompter is an app for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch that works like a teleprompter.  If you are making videos for your business and having trouble memorizing your script, Proprompter may be a good solution for you.

Flipagram is an app compatible with iPhone and Android that you can use to create short videos set to music with images that are stored on your phone.  You can share the videos via text, email, and social media.

Eventbrite is a website I use frequently.   You can create a landing page for your event and collect RSVPs and even payments by attendees.  It’s a great solution for any size event.

SendOutCards is near and dear to my heart.  Face it, people just don’t open e-mail anymore.  If you want to make an impression, you have to do something different.  SendOutCards is old-school: real paper greeting cards that are delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.  You create your own personalized custom greeting cards that you can send to one person or 1,000 in a few mouse clicks.  You can even include gifts!  SendOutCards is an easy to use automated marketing system that allows you to personalize each card so that you are reaching your “clients in a high touch way.”

I use SendOutCards to appreciate my Custom Furniture clients.  I like it so much, I added it as another income stream.  I’d be happy to show you how the system works!

ContactSync lets you sync your Google contacts with your smart phone.  I could not find a website for this specific app but a Google search for ContactSync did result in several possible matches.  I have an Android phone and my Google contacts are automatically synced.

AppointmentCore for InfusionSoft integrates with GoToMeeting, Google calendar and Free Conference Calling so you don’t have to manually update your calendar.

Mobit takes text messaging to the next level.  We all know that email marketing just doesn’t work anymore.  Mobit helps you connect with your clients with images, videos and responsive websites all via their smartphone.  A word of caution, be sure you have your clients’ permission before you text your marketing messages!

I am sure you’ll find at least one useful app or website from this list of 7 shared by AmericanExpress OPEN and MSNBC. Be sure to leave a comment below with YOUR favorite app or website.

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