Thursday, February 28, 2008

March Flavor of the Month




The Flavor of the Month for March is on-the-SHAM-rocks! A pistachio cream flavored balm, it's here just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Got green?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bridal Showers

Is this a big time of year for bridal shower planning or what? We started making our Bridal Shower fragrance products a little more than a year ago, including a whole line of gift sets in a range of sizes and prices. We created this custom bouquet fragrance of roses, stephanotis, jasmine and gardenia especially for brides and bridal shower gifts, and we include fun lip balm flavors like pink champagne and blushing bride. Check out all of the options on our Bridal Shower page.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blarney


I love March, because even though we have at least another month (or more) of snow and ice here in Maine, I start to think green. St. Patrick's Day helps and makes me feel that spring must really be on the way!

One of our most popular St. Patrick's Day products is our Irish cream flavored lip balm. Imagine smoothing it on...you smack your lips and when you open your mouth to talk, suddenly you’re the most charming person in the room. You have the “gift of gab!”

Sound like blarney? That’s why we call it Blarney Balm! Of course we can’t guarantee that everyone will be sweet talking, but we’re pretty sure the shea and cocoa butters in our Blarney Balm will leave your lips so smooth and soft you’ll be confident enough to say, “Kiss me! I’m Irish!”

Find out how to get a free Blarney Balm this month by joining our newsletter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Save on Web Design

For years I worked as a graphic and web designer for clients who were mostly small businesses. At one time or another, almost all of my clients asked me how they could keep their design costs down. My business has always been small, too, so I understood their concerns and I put together some tips for how to work with a designer to save on both web design and print design. I am always amazed by how many people have their own businesses, even part-time businesses, and so many are thinking of getting a web site. Today I'm going to share some of my web design saving tips, and I'll follow up with the print design tips at a later date.

How to Save on Web Site Design

1. Decide what you need

There are lots of things that need to come together to get a web site up and running. Thinking about your project details before you meet with your designer will help them to come up with the best solution to fit your company’s needs. Consider what kind of site you want--how many pages, the type of content, whether you will require photography or artwork, if you want ecommerce capability, if you want to maintain your site or parts of your site yourself, if you'll need hosting, what kind of search engine optimization you'll want, and whether you'd like a blog, newsletter, or other features. The estimate a web designer prepares for you will be based on the details you present during your first meeting or meetings; the more specific you can be, the closer that estimate will be.

2. Decide what you like

It’s also important to consider what design style or styles appeal to you. What colors do you like? What navigation methods do you prefer? Are there any other web sites that you like? What is it that you like about them? The “I’ll know it when I see it” method is fine with many designers, but probably the most expensive choice for you. Most web designers will be happy to provide multiple options for your consideration—just be aware of the expense involved with that!

3. Prepare your own content

While design firms may offer photography and writing services, these content development services are generally not included with your site design, but are additional expenses. Developing your own text from your existing promotional materials—brochures and flyers, for example—will save time and money. A good digital camera is an absolute must for most business owners today, and will pay for itself very quickly.

4. Provide content in digital form

Do you want your designer doing word processing, data entry or photo scanning for you? To save some of these costs, provide your content in digital form (Word or text files for your written content, jpeg or gif files for your photos and logos). Be sure that you’re providing only your final drafts of materials; editing clients’ revisions and rewrites to text after web page layout has begun can be very time-consuming (and thus, expensive).

5. Make changes you can afford

Once a proposal has been submitted and agreed to, and designers have started your site design, you may want to add in a new feature or an additional page. This is usually not a problem—most designers will accommodate your changes. Please realize that items not included in your original proposal will take additional time that may affect your project’s schedule and will most certainly affect your budget. When you request changes, ask for a modified agreement or an estimate for the proposed changes so you will not find any “surprises” on your final invoice.

6. Remember that more bells and whistles will mean more expense

So you want special animation and forms? No problem! Most designers can provide customized programming and features to make your site unique. These solutions can often be time-consuming, so be sure to mention them so they are figured into your estimate.

7. Consider doing your project in "phases"

One of my former clients used to say he had "champagne taste and a beer budget"! If you find yourself in the same bind, consider breaking up your project into phases, making sure your designer is open to the idea. Perhaps you can start with the basic site, adding a newsletter, blog, or mailing list over time. MySpace or other social networking pages can also be developed once your main project is addressed. Sometimes it's easier to budget for these additional features if they are spread out over time.

In general, the more planning and preparation you can do as a business owner--thinking through your project, finalizing your graphics, photos, and text, and providing them in digital format--the more you can save. And that's always good for business!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Varietals

We've had several requests in the past few months for wine-related balms, and finally added to our sangria and champagne- and- strawberries flavors. These four new Varietal flavors combine "notes" of fruits and chocolate to create flavors like berry cabernet and chocolate zin.

Think of bridal showers or bachelorette party favors for the Napa bride...or a vineyard theme event, too. While lots of people like to present the real thing as favors, not everyone drinks, so this is a unique alternative!

Check out the balms with standard labels, custom labels, special tags, or the whole custom package!

Last Fling in Vegas, Anyone?


So MSN has this article about the possibilities for a bachelorette's last fling in Vegas. From spa treatments to shopping trips, in-room parties to day trips or even museum tours, there's something for every bride's last fling.

We know that everything that happens in Vegas stays there, but maybe you want to give your girlfriends a little gift that they can bring home! Did you know we make bachelorette favors for Vegas parties? We have all kinds of designs to choose from, and girls' night flavors like cosmo and lemon drop lip balms. We even have cosmo, appletini, and lemon drop lotions and sugar scrubs in our Sweetini Spa line. Talk with us about customizing favors for your fling!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter Hands

They say the best thing you can do to stay healthy in the winter is to wash your hands, but add multiple washings to the effects of dry, cold weather and your hands can really take a beating! What can you do to survive the winter with all your extremities intact? Here are a few tips!

1. Switch your soap. The majority of liquid hand soaps sold now are antibacterial, containing the main ingredient triclosan. Studies have shown that plain soaps are just as effective at removing bacteria and preventing illness, without the irritation that triclosan can cause. Try Castile soap, or visit your local farmer's market or health food store for local handmade soap. (Or do a search for handmade soaps at Indie Beauty Network--there are so many cool kinds of soap to choose from! Your skin will thank you.)

2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. After you wash your hands, blot gently on a towel and apply a lotion or hand cream with skin-friendly ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, and aloe vera. If you have sensitive skin, find a good unscented version. (We have aloe vera lotion and silk protein hand cream, both paraben-free, non-greasy formulations available in a range of fragrances--and unscented, too.)

3. Heal the Chap. If your hands are still chapped despite your best efforts, they'll need deeper healing. Try rubbing on a bit of our Bare Balm at night, then covering with a pair of gloves before you go to bed. Almond oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil work to soften, condition, and smooth the skin, and their natural vitamins are believed to rejuvenate as well as protect. Shea butter is another great moisturizer, and cocoa butter and beeswax help to hold all these conditioners and moisturizers to the skin. Our Bare Balm contains all of these ingredients, plus extra Vitamin E, in a handy roll-up tube.

The good news is that even if the groundhog was right, spring is still just around the corner. Follow our tips and you'll have banished "Winter Hands" long before the warm, green days we're all longing for!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New Packaging

This is the new tottle bottle look for our hand cream containers. As soon as our old jars are gone, this will be the new packaging. We started the year with some new goals for our packaging, and one of them was to move to recycled or recyclable items wherever possible. The jars we're currently using are polypropylene--also called PP or for the purposes of recycling, #5 plastic. It can be recycled, but often it isn't (my local recycling spot won't take it, and I think this is the case all over).

These new bottles are great for so many reasons: easy to use, much more sanitary than dipping in fingers. Best of all, they're #2 plastic (HDPE or High Density Polyethylene), which are like milk jug plastics--just about everyone recycles these!

We try to use mostly #2 and #1 (PETE) plastic containers, since they are most frequently recyclable. We'll be looking at transitioning some of our other packaging in the near future, so keep an eye on the blog to see what's changing! Please feel free to ask us what we're doing to make your products a little "greener"!



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