Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Giveaway - $15.00 Gift Certificate

This month's Theresa Rose Designs giveaway is for a $15.00 gift certificate to my store - Theresa Rose Designs.

The contest begins today and will run through Friday, April 4th.

Please read the following before entering:

1.  This contest is open to U.S. entries only.

2.  Only one gift certificate will be awarded and is only valid at I do not take any responsibility for lost or misused codes. Once the certificate is redeemed, no other certificates will be re-issued.

3. Invalid entries will be deleted. I will check all entries before picking a random winner. Make sure you fill  in the correct information required for your points. Otherwise, your entries will be invalid for the drawing.

4. Winners will be notified via e-mail with certificate code.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 28 - Theresa Rose Design's Referral Program

Theresa Rose Designs Referral Program

I'm so excited to announce my new referral program! I must also thank Lisa, one of my Facebook Fans for giving me the idea to begin with. I hadn't thought about instituting a referral program but after researching it (gotta love Google!), I realized that it's a great way to reward my loyal customers.

Here's how it works:
  1. Send me an e-mail at and ask for your unique referral code.
  2. I will send you the code for you to share with your friends. This code, when used in my Etsy shop, will give your friends a 10% off discount on their entire order.
  3. When they make their purchase, I will send you a coupon code for 20% off your next order.
  4. Receive a 30% off coupon for every 5th referral!
There is no limit to how many referrals you send. You will receive a 20% off coupon for each referral and a 30% off coupon for each 5th referral.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How To Prevent Sterling Silver From Tarnishing

Unique Affordable Handmade Jewelry - San Diego, CA


Preventing Sterling Silver from Tarnish

Preventing sterling silver from tarnishing is a question I often receive as a jewelry designer. It's so disappointing to go into your jewelry case for that beautiful piece of silver jewelry that you may not have worn for a while and see it darkened from tarnish. You wonder how it happened and can easily assume it's the fault of the material. However, you may be surprised how many different ways your prized pieces can tarnish.

Sterling silver is comprised of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. The other metals, while comprising a small part of the component, is what makes sterling silver tarnish. All sterling silver contains copper and it reacts to moisture and sulfur in the air. Silver tarnishes faster in high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals such as perfume, lotions, hairspray, etc. also contribute to the tarnishing process.

Here are some simple tips for preventing tarnish:
  • Minimize sterling silver’s contact to chemicals. For example, if you are wearing a sterling silver necklace, don't spray perfume on your neck, spray on your arms instead. The same goes for body lotion. 
  • Jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you remove. Spray your perfume and hairspray before putting on your jewelry. As soon as you get home, take off your jewelry. This will prevent you from accidentally exposing it to household cleaners.
  • After taking off silver jewelry, clean it with a dry soft cloth before putting it away.
  • Store clean, dry sterling silver in a dry airtight container, like a ziploc bag and store it away from sunlight such as a drawer or jewelry case. Sunlight will speed up the tarnishing process. If you want to take an extra step, purchase anti-tarnish strips and place those in the ziploc bag for extra protection. They are inexpensive and can be found at most jewelry supply stores.
  • Don’t leave silver jewelry in the bathroom or by the kitchen sink - any area that is regularly exposed to moisture. Do not wear it the shower, swimming pool or hot tub. Remember that humidity is not your friend!
  • Do not use rubber bands to bundle jewelry because when rubber bands age, they release sulfur that causes tarnishing.
 I hope this list helps!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 27 - 3 Great Podcasts for Solopreneurs

You can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

One of the benefits of running an on-line handmade jewelry shop is that I spend a good portion of my day sitting in my studio making jewelry. Since my husband is at work during the day, it's just me and the dog at home. It's quiet and I love it. I used to listen to music or surf YouTube for random videos, but I've recently discovered podcasts, and I'm hooked! Talk about multi-tasking. I'm able to make my jewelry while learning all about running a business. I can honestly say it's been a big game changer for me.

While there are no shortage of business related podcasts out there, I'm listing my top 3 that I've found so far. I'm looking forward to discovering even more out there, so if you have any suggestions, please post them.

Michael O'Neal - The Solopreneur Hour
This is currently my favorite podcast and I've been listening to Michael O'Neal daily as I catch up on all 80+ of his episodes. He just started last year in August and broadcasts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Plus, he's located in my hometown - San Diego!

His audio podcast, Solopreneur Hour, features conversations with top-notch solopreneurs from all industries and backgrounds, including network marketing, internet marketing, art, music, fitness, actors, etc. These guests (or as Michael more aptly refers to them 'co-hosts') are true entrepeneurs who have acheived great success - not through magic, but hard work, endurance, and innovation.

As Michael states on his website - "Our mission is to take you through their journey, give you actionable steps and actions to help you with your ventures, and inspire you to take massive action.   Hopefully we’ll have a few laughs along the way. We share practical steps and tools, including books, smartphone apps, websites, training courses, strategies and stories that will support you every step of the way."

I wish I could list the best podcasts, but they are all so seriously fantastic that every single podcast is my favorite after I've listened to it. Ones that I found especially relevant to where I'm at right now in my business growth have been:
Convince And Convert - Social Pros Podcast
Social Pros specialize in social media marketing. Their tag line is Real People Doing Real Work in Social Media. Since I've decided to concentrate a lot of my efforts this year on social media, these podcasts have been right up my alley - chocked full of great information on this ever-expanding area on the internet.

Each 30-60 minute episode includes:

  1. Interview with a leading social media strategist, manager, director of community, or similar working for a corporation or organization.
  2. Social Media Stat of the Week, discussed and ratified or debunked by Jay and Jeff Rohrs of ExactTarget.
  3. Holy Social, an amazing social media case study
  4. Two Big Questions, where our weekly guest shares the answers to four questions asked by the hosts based on their experiences.
A few of their podcasts have included:
A lot of their content is geared towards bigger companies but can be scaled down to make it relevant to solopreneurs, such as myself.

Rick Mulready - Inside Social Media Podcast
Rick interviews people that are heads of social media from successful companies. 

From his 'About' page, he states:
"Because so many small businesses find social media overwhelming and confusing.  They dabble and thus find it ineffective in growing their business. Big brands, though, tend to know what works and what doesn’t. They have the budget, resources and brand name behind them and are at the forefront of social media strategy. We can look at the fundamental social media principles these brands are successfully using and model and adapt them for our own businesses. The idea is to break down the principles that are working and simply and easily apply them to our own businesses, with little to no budget."

I love this! This guy is totally speaking to me and I've learned so much already from the few of his podcasts I've been able to listen to.

I hope this list gets you pumped up to start listening to podcasts too. I personally have found them to be so inspiring.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 26 - Running My First Successful Facebook Contest

Last week I decided to run my first Facebook contest. I've run contests in the past, but they've always been posted on my blog. I'll promote it on Facebook and through other channels, but the idea was to get people coming to the blog and build my Facebook Fan base, newsletter base, etc. This time, I ran the contest directly through my Facebook Page and didn't advertise it anywhere else. So, the only place you could find out about it was to be on Facebook and see my posting.

It was a great success! In fact, I was completely overwhelmed with the reaction. Since I had just under 800 fans at the time, I expected maybe 30 - 50 entries. I think I received 30 entries in the first 5 minutes!

I had 2 reasons for wanting to run a contest exclusively on Facebook
  1. I wanted to do something special for Facebook fans by giving them a chance to win a piece of my jewelry without competing with other people. The blog contests I run are always popular because I advertise them on Etsy Giveaways and a lot of people view them and share the information. However, most people that go to Etsy Giveaways are specifically looking for contests and not likely to convert to future customers. This was a way to have a contest just for fans that are already engaged with me and my products. 
  2. Since my Facebook posts will disappear from my fan's view if they do not interact with my posts, this was a good opportunity to get some engagement and ensure that I will show up in their future news feeds.
Facebook Contest Rules
Before running the contest, I did a pretty thorough search to make sure I wasn't breaking any rules that could get my post deleted, or worse, my page removed from Facebook. It turns out that Facebook likes to change their rules often, but the latest changes are more in our favor and after reading them, I felt confident that my contest was well within their guidelines.

Here are their promotion guidelines:
What is considered a promotion on Facebook?
Promotions typically include:
  •  Entry/registration
  •  Element of chance
  •  Giveaway or prize
What’s changing?
We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps
Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:
  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.
Accurate tagging is required in promotions
In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:
  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

My Contest
A few days before I ran the contest, I put out a little teaser letting everyone know that a contest would be posted by the end of the week. That post alone was seen by over 350 people (usually my posts are seen by 150 - 250 people). 

Thursday afternoon I posted the contest. The rules were simple - I was giving away a sterling silver birthstone bangle. To enter, you just had to comment on the post with the color birthstone you would want if you won. No other requirements. 

Contest Post 

The Results
Like I mentioned before, I thought maybe 30 - 50 people would enter. I didn't expect 344 entries! As it turns out, quite a few people seeing the post shared it on their timeline, so I received a huge boost in views - 7600+ instead of my usual 150 - 250. For a small business like mine, that was viral. :-)

Another added bonus, and one I didn't expect, were all the new people who 'liked' my page by the time the contest was completed. I started off with 798 fans - 24 hours later I had 835 fans. I also received sales from new customers who had never seen my jewelry before.

It was great to see all the interaction and comments. I loved that people shared the post and I gained new fans. For the cost of making the bracelet and shipping, I received a lot more attention than when I spent significantly more money on a Facebook ad.

Overall, it was a resounding success and I plan on running many more contests in the future.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 25 - The Number One Way to Lose Business

I've thought about writing this topic for a while and have resisted since I didn't want this 100 Day Series to be about me preaching how I think other people should run their businesses. My intention for this series is to share my experiences of what I'm doing to grow my own business and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

The number one way to lose business is to not communicate with your customer.

Why is the most simple and easiest aspect of running a business done so poorly, so often?

While too much communication can be a problem, today I'll talk about too little communication.

I've found that a lack of communication can be categorized 3 ways -  assumptions, non-reponsiveness, and deceitfulness.

Assuming You Know What Your Customer Wants
I read a thread on the Etsy message board a few weeks back that was started by a confused buyer. She had purchased a product from a seller and noticed that it hadn't been shipped after a few days. She sent a message to the seller just asking for an update on the order. Shortly afterwards, her order was cancelled and the seller sent her a message letting her know that the recent winter storm had delayed her ability to ship items so she apologized to the buyer and cancelled the order!

The buyer didn't want the order cancelled and was really surprised the seller would make that assumption without even asking her. Had the seller just simply sent her a message explaining the weather issue and asking if waiting a few more days would be acceptable, the buyer would have happily agreed. Better yet, the seller should have sent the message as soon as she knew shipments would be delayed and asking for patience until the storm had passed.

Instead, the seller has lost a sale (a sale she already had) and the buyer will obviously never return to her store.

Never assume you know what your customer is thinking! If an issue comes up, quickly send a message to your customer explaining the problem and, if possible, give a few options for the customer to choose from to rectify the situation. By giving your customer options, you are showing your flexibility and giving the customer the ability to solve it in their best interest.

Not Responding to Questions (Pre-Sale)
This is such a common communication issue and we've all encountered it many times. You are interested in a product or service but need additional information so you either call and leave a message or send an e-mail with your inquiry - and you never hear back.

As a seller, I know it can be frustrating to constantly respond to questions that don't lead to sales, but that's part of the job! Just because someone asks a question doesn't mean they will always purchase. But I can guarantee one thing - If you don't respond, it will definitely mean they won't purchase.

Why not take the few minutes to answer? You never know what it can lead to. Think of it this way - Maybe that person is a staff member for the Oprah magazine and they want to feature one of your products in their next issue but needed to ask one small question to see if it fit into the theme of their article. If you knew that, wouldn't you answer in a heartbeat! Think of every inquiry as the potential to something big.

Not Responding to Questions or Concerns (Post-Sale) 
In my opinion, this is the worst type of communication gaffe you can make. If a customer has an issue or a question about a product already purchased and they are ignored, that is really bad business! No two ways about it.

Not responding to a customer problem can potentially lead to big losses in future business. With the internet at their fingertips, an angry customer can wreak havoc on your reputation, whether you feel the complaint is warranted or not. By not responding, you can turn a simple misunderstanding into really bad customer service, and no business wants that reputation.

In fact, responding to a customer issue can actually improve your business. In their book, Turned On, Roger Dow and Susan Cook conducted research with Marriott guests to identify which guests intended to stay at the Marriott again. They divided guest stays into 3 groups A, B, and C.
  • A = Nothing bad happened during their stay.
  • B = Something bad happened, but Marriott fixed the problem.
  • C = Something bad happened, but Marriott did not fix the problem.
The percentage of these three groups that said they would return to stay at the Marriott were as follows:
  • A = 89%
  • B = 94%
  • C = 69%
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!

Dishonest Communication
While not responding to customer inquiries or issues can sometimes be inadvertent, dishonesty is always on purpose. And guess what - your customers will know it! If you make a mistake, admit it - don't lie. People will forgive you almost anything if you are honest and stay in communication with them. Honesty will always be rewarded in the long run. It may be embarrassing to admit that you've made a mistake, but you are human and people appreciate it when you tell the truth.

I had a situation a few years back when I had a project that was being worked on by an individual in another department (this was back in my corporate days). The deadline for delivery was Monday at close of business. By 4:30, I hadn't heard from him so I tried calling several times to get an update but received no response. Since his office was in another building, I asked a colleague in that same building to try to locate him. He was sitting at his desk and when I called again (this time with my friend standing by), he ignored the ringing phone. I ended up going home without my delivery and worse, no status on when it would be received. The next day, I located him and asked about the project. He told me that he had been pulled away from the office on a 'personal emergency' earlier that day and in his rush, neglected to contact me. Had he just told me that he was unable to finish the project within the time frame given, it would have been no big deal. He ended up finishing it the following day and we were able to make all our deadlines, even with the delay. But, his dishonesty changed everything. He lost all credibility with me and I specifically requested that he not be allowed to work on any of my future projects. To this day, I remember that incident.

Being dishonest will ruin your reputation instantly. And once gone, you can rarely get it back.

Communication is really so simple -
  • Give updates often, even if it's bad news.
  • Apologize for your mistakes.
  • Make it right.
What do you think? Do you have any experiences to share?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day 24 - February Social Media Results

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. 

In February I concentrated most of my marketing efforts in the Social Media arena. A few reasons for this include:
  • I like Social Media. I'm already on Facebook and Pinterest so they are a natural fit for me. I enjoy being on these two platforms on a personal level, so expanding it to my business made sense. 
  • It's cheap! I'm a small business owner and advertising is not an expense I can justify at this point. These two sites allow me to showcase my products, interact with potential customers, and market my brand for free.
  • My products (jewelry) are very visual, so Facebook and Pinterest are good fits for me. There are limits on how I can show my jewelry on Etsy, so this allows me to show my jewelry in a variety of ways I'm not able to on Etsy.
  • I noticed from January's data that Pinterest seems to be working for me so I wanted to continue growing that market.

February Social Media Campaigns
I tried a few new strategies for raising my followers and referrals.
  • Monthly Giveaway Contest - I started my monthly giveaway contests again. Different ways to enter included following me on Facebook and Pinterest. I gained a lot of new followers during the contest time frame. I expect some of those will unfollow in the days to come, but the main goal was to increase my brand awareness.
  • Hosted a special sale just for Facebook Fans and Newsletter subscribers - I advertised a sale just on Facebook and in my newsletter. Quite a few people took advantage of this sale and I plan on doing this more often.
  • Re-organizing my Pinterest boards - I am starting (slowly) to reorganize my boards so they are categorized by specific product lines. I also have started adding hashtags and pinning on a more regular basis.

Social Media Followers for 2014
Tracking my follower data is so valuable. It lets me know if I'm on the right track. While Facebook and Pinterest are my two main sites, I'm also on Twitter but haven't delved into it much yet. I'm including it in my monthly follower graph because it could become a bigger player later.

While my numbers are still fairly small in the scheme of things, I'm starting to see a lot of movement and expansion. I've increased my Facebook by 26% in two months and increased my Pinterest following by 354%!

Social Media Referral Data 2014
Determining how many visits came from these two sites is a little more tricky since my Google Analytics data is vastly different from the Etsy Stats data. I've decided to use the Etsy data because each data point is a direct link - each number represents a direct referral to my shop, not the Etsy site in general (which Google Analytics includes).

As you can see, my Pinterest referrals have grown substantially, while my Facebook referrals have stayed flat.

Overall, I'm happy with the growth I'm starting to see with Pinterest. Facebook is not seeing the increase in numbers that I was hoping for at this point. While I'm gaining followers, it's not necessarily translating into direct visits to my site.

I look forward to continuing my efforts in March - I'll share those results at the end of the month.