Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Biggest Business Mistake


Today I was thinking about my business, Honeybee Alley, and trying to figure out ways to improve it.  I started to think about my abundant use of coupon codes.  I have a problem and it is that I create random sales all of the time, like every other week or even more often.  Tonight I have been reading a bunch of small business related posts that I Pinned and put aside to read someday.  I came across one post in particular that explained why having sales all the time might actually be hurting my business.  The post is about why mainstream marketing tricks aren't good for small businesses.  I felt like giving out coupon codes was a good way to make sure people would keep up with my posts, on Facebook or Google+ or this blog.  I have the tendency to want to give people great deals but my products already are on the lower end of the price spectrum, so not only am I cutting into my profits but am also "giving off the vibe that [I have] a cut-rate brand."  The blogger,, also explains that "if you put things on sale with any kind of regularity, customers will feel like they should never have to pay full price at your shop, and will wait for the sale."  I need to keep in mind that I have set my prices at what they are for a reason.  That is what my time, effort, and supply cost is worth.  If I'm always offering discounts people might think my product isn't worth the full price and maybe it's made with poor quality materials or just not well-made.  So this is me realizing that my prices reflect my work and I need to save sales for special occasions and not make them a weekly thing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where to Shop in Seattle: Valley of Roses Boutique

I have been shopping at Valley of Roses Boutique (located in the University District at 4748A University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105) for a few years now.  The original site of Bruce Lee's first Ju Fan Gu Fu Martial Arts Studio back in 1963, Valley of Roses Boutique carries unique products including new and vintage clothing, vintage books and records, and products (such as jewelry and bath and beauty products) made by local artists.  It's like a super easy treasure hunt and if I am just window shopping it really does take all of my willpower to keep from buying something.  I especially love the vintage hats, canvas bags, and the rocks.  During my previous trip to Valley of Roses Boutique I bought a really cool looking rock which I recently learned is desert rose selenite.  I can rarely resist a pretty rock.  I also bought some cool metal buttons, two of which I'm getting ready to make into a pretty cool necklace.  If I had to choose what the best part of Valley of Roses Boutique is I would have to say it's Mary, the proprietor.  I have never had a bad experience with her.  She is always super sweet and friendly and loves to hear about her customers and what they like.  She is really the nicest lady and I would recommend going to the Boutique just to talk to Mary even if there wasn't a bunch of cool stuff there.  I always leave in a good mood and, more often than not, with some cool purchases.  The second best part of the Boutique is how low the prices are.  Vintage is not cheap and you would expect to pay some high prices for vintage pieces that are clean and in good shape, but not here.  These are some great quality items for way less than you would expect to pay for vintage, usually even lower prices than Goodwill.  If all of my gushing hasn't convinced you that you should go to Valley of Roses Boutique, maybe these pictures will.

those yellow polka dot wedges are going to make someone very very happy

one of the pretty plates of pretty rocks; I love that pyrite and the pink crystal



I am in love with this shot, so dreamy.


some of the hats I love; that brown one in the foreground is perfection

a whole spectrum of plaid


the prettiest chandelier in all the land

So to recap Valley of Roses Boutique is super cool and has a super nice owner named Mary who you should all meet, is full of pretty things everywhere, and has amazing prices, and you should all stop by when you're in the area.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Watching, Playing, Reading #7

Watching, Playing, Reading is a pretty self-explanatory monthly-ish post series here on my blog.

image via
Watching:

on Hulu:

Finding Carter and Chasing Life: These shows are both dramas about girls who have had their lives turned upside-down and how they respond to it.  One finds out her mother is actually her kidnapper and the other learns she has cancer.  These shows are both fairly new so I haven't seen more than one or two episodes but so far I'm entertained and intrigued.

on Netflix:

TV shows:

Bones: Oh how I love this show.  There is a team of (mostly socially awkward) geniuses who work together to solve murders.  They all work at the Jeffersonian and use a variety of forensic techniques to discover the small details that others would miss.  I find it really fascinating for a few reasons: 1. murders/serial killers, 2. the cool and creative scientific processes and investigations, 3. the relationships between the team members, 4. Bones' attempts to understand people from more than just an anthropological viewpoint, 5. the cool necklaces that Bones is always wearing.  This show is intense, gory, and just funny enough to keep it together.

House, M.D.:  N and I have been watching a few episodes of this just about every night and have nearly watched it all now.  House is a genius doctor who solves all of the most difficult medical cases.  He loves puzzles and dislikes patients.  There are many humorous situations but the show is mostly a drama.

Hemlock Grove: The show starts out with a murder and then we learn that there is something supernatural going on.  There are gypsies and werewolves and drama and mystery.  And then in season 2, which I just finished there are some crazy science experiments and the season finale is insane.  I will definitely continue watching once season 3 comes out, because I have no idea what is going on anymore!

movies:

I already told you which ones I didn't like so here are the ones that I enjoyed.

Safe Haven:  Some of the reviews on Netflix are saying this is a typical chick flick.  It is not.  I don't like chick flicks but I liked this.  I could have done without the twist ending, but even with it I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.  I loved the setting (It made me want to live in a small town by the sea).  The story was fairly simple but very well executed.  A woman arrives in a small town and assumes a new identity.  Just when things start working out for her, her past comes back in a frightening way.  There was action, danger, romance, and heartwarming moments, and once again it was not a chick flick.

Of Two Minds:  I would be interested to hear how accurate this movie is from someone who has bipolar disorder.  Of Two Minds explores the lives of different Americans with bipolar disorder.  They discuss the highs and the lows and the problems that they deal with.  I am fairly certain that the people in this documentary all have a pretty severe case of bipolar disorder.  I found it fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking.  It was a very emotional film.

Penelope:  This movie was sweet and family-friendly.  It's a quirky modern fairy tale about a girl cursed with the nose of a pig until she finds love.  I love how quirky it is and I adore Penelope's wardrobe, especially her jackets.  The moral of the story is to love yourself the way you are, so it's great for kids or as lighthearted fare for adults.

Frozen Ground:  On the completely opposite end of the spectrum from Penelope we have Frozen Ground, the story of an Alaska state trooper (played by Nicolas Cage) working with a 17 year old prostitute to catch the serial killer she managed to escape from.  It is fast-paced and very intense and made even sadder by the fact that it is based on actual events.

Playing:

My Singing Monsters: This game is available in the App Store, Google Play, Kindle Fire, and Nook.  I have it on my Android phone.  I just cannot get enough of this game!  You get to raise and breed monsters on an island and they produce coins which you can use to buy them things that will make them happy.  It's like you're a feudal lord for a bunch of monster vassals (if I am going to really geek out).  The monsters all sing a different song and have different things that they like.  You also get rewarded for different tasks, such as hatching a certain number of one kind of monsters or buying a certain item.  If you love monsters and love controlling worlds, you should definitely download this game.  Did I mention that it's free?  Because it is.

Reading:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened* by Jenny Lawson:  This is the book by The Bloggess that every blogger and their grandma has been talking about for ages.  I finally got around to reading it and I can honestly say that it made me laugh out loud like a crazy person in public more than any other book ever has (which is a very good thing in my opinion).  Jenny is the absolute master of telling hilarious stories and having a crazy childhood full of ridiculous stories to tell.  I also love how she can talk humorously about her anxiety and how it affects her.  It makes me feel like I'm not alone, which I know I'm not but it's nice to read about anyway.

77 Shadow Street* by Dean Koontz:  This book is dark and twisted with a capital D and T.  Some people couldn't stomach it and others didn't get it but I kind of loved it in a kind of horrified way.  I really loved the way that the chapters are told through the point of view of the different people in the house.  People fascinate me and these characters were especially fascinating and complex.  The story is of a big fancy house where some rich people live in different apartments.  The house is very secure and has a spooky history of people going crazy and murdering each other and of other people just disappearing.  Something strange is happening in this house and nobody really knows how to deal with it.  There is a time travel part into a somewhat alien and very post-apocalyptic future and the residents of the house have to try to survive the future so they can escape it and prevent it from ever taking place.  This book is not for the easily grossed out, spooked, or the faint of heart, but I think a few of you share at least some of my strange tastes and will really like it.

Frankenstein: Prodigal Son* by Dean Koontz:  I have read this book before and it is just as good the second time around.  It's about a mad scientist creating what he believes are a superior race of human beings through some very high-tech processes.  One of his first and more primitive creations, Deucalion, is trying to find a meaning to existence.  Another creation has developed a taste for violence.  A third creation is trying desperately to escape the autism that his creator purposely caused him and find out how to be happy.  This is a very interesting book which weaves together a few stories involving science, human desires, and the supernatural.

*These are affiliate links that will give me a small commission if you buy the item through Amazon.  I wouldn't link you to anything I don't really like.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Easy DIY Shabby Chic Earring Holder

These earring holders are very inexpensive and quick and easy to make.  They are also very easy to customize.


I had only about a month to get ready for my first jewelry show.  One of the things I needed to do was make jewelry holders.  I wanted them to match, look shabby chic to go with the rest of my display, and (perhaps most importantly) not cost me a lot of money.  I already had lace trim and a large stash of tissue paper.  (I always save tissue paper whenever I get it on anything.  I like to reuse it for shipping orders and it also comes in handy in other situations, such as this one.)  I got my picture frames at Dollar Tree.  They sell a variety of picture frames.  They're not the sturdiest or the best for hanging pictures but they work great for making earring holders.  You can buy matching ones like I did or you can spray paint them whatever color you would like.  For another inexpensive option you can buy picture frames from thrift stores.  For the purposes of this tutorial I am going to say tissue paper, but you could use gift wrap, fabric, or any other pretty paper that you have. 

Once you have figured out what frames you want to use, take out the glass and remove the cardboard.  You don't need the glass anymore but you will use the cardboard.  Take your tissue paper and lay it over the cardboard.  Measure and mark so it will be the same size as the cardboard but with a border on each side to wrap around (I used a 1 inch border and it worked really well.)  After you have measured twice, cut the tissue paper.  Wrap it over the cardboard and attach it somehow.  I used tape but you could use staples or glue if that's what you have handy.  After that get your lace trim (you could also use ribbon or any other trim) and cut it in lengths equal to the width or length of the cardboard, depending on which way you want to hang your earrings, plus two inches extra to attach it.  Then lay the trim over the cardboard however you want it and attach the extra parts to the back using tape, staples, or glue.  If your trim is stretchy make sure you pull it tight before securing it.  As you can see from the picture above the earrings on my left frame were pretty heavy and the lace drooped because I didn't attach it tight enough.  After that just put the cardboard wrapped in tissue paper and trim back in the frame and hang your earrings.  You can stand the frame up or hang it on a wall, and you're all done.

If you make one or more of these I would love to see it!  Please leave me a link to a photo of your version of a picture frame earring holder in the comments.

Sidenote: If you want to buy a pair of earrings in the photo, let me know in the comments.  I made them all myself and they are either $15 or $20 depending on the pair.  I can sell them through Paypal or Etsy.