Your Online Business

Most businesses are shifting to an online business model. It seems like brick and mortar storefronts are on the decline more and more in every town. People enjoy searching for a product at home, filtering through thousands of options, reading reviews, and then making a final decision all while they are sitting on their couch at home. This means marketing has also started to shift. More and more advertisements for online stores are popping up all over social media. Influencers are even being sponsored by these online businesses to show off their products.

One thing that most of these influencers have hit on is the packaging of their products they are receiving. Plain, cardboard boxes seem to be a thing of the past when it comes to these popular millennial and Gen Z websites. Almost any box is colorful or has a cute little logo from the company. It may just seem like novelty, but it really seems to get the attention of buyers.

Aesthetic has really seemed to be the word of the decade. Everyone is focused on how something looks and if it matches their personality or their style. Cardboard boxes are just another way companies can appeal to consumers. If there are cute ads of a model holding their beautifully decorated box, then more people are likely to check out that website. Amazon uses this with their “smile” packages. Everyone associates these boxes with Amazon, which is just a marketing scheme for them. Some companies even change up their design depending on the season or the holiday. So the boxes then become sort of a collectors item, and people are more inclined to buy at certain times of the year.

Even the size of the box is something companies have to consider. Are they just going to have one medium size box that every item(s) gets shipped in. Or will they have multiple sizes with multiple different designs? These are things to think about when thinking of marketing or branding.

Next, companies need to decide how these are going to get stuffed. They could look into fun, colored shredded paper. Or they could choose packing peanuts or maybe even inflatable fillers. Maybe each item could be wrapped in pretty tissue paper. The same amount of thought that goes into the outside of the package should go on the inside. Companies should always consider adding extra inside the boxes. A little friend referral of 10% off your next purchase really keeps the customer coming back to their site.


Holiday Candy Sales

I absolutely love sales, and we all know there are no sales like after Christmas Day sales. As much as I love sales, I equally hate marketing ploys that increase prices only to mark them down, so the true mark down price is not actually as good as one might think. When shopping for sales don’t forget those online sales too. Two years ago I was searching online sales and found some really nice evergreen wreaths for nearly free! The original price was over $50 a piece and I got six wreaths for $48. Needless to say I was ecstatic when the arrived and they were quite nice in quality. This experience helps me to remember to check online sales every year.

Now think about the savings I made on candy boxes! It was immeasurable how much joy I got out of the candy that I found for extremely cheap.

And guess what? I was able to put all that candy to use by making specific holiday wreaths for my friends and family and inserting their favorite candy boxes into the garland. Talk about everyone being pleased! The latest projects coming from the Wreath Shoppe are two wreaths, one is being donated to a fund raiser for a small Christian School called Miss Holly’s House and the second is a wreath for a friend who’s young daughter passed away, leaving a husband and three small children. And what’s cool is that everyone wins when it comes to this sort of stuff, because it cost me next to nothing to buy and produce.

It only takes looking on the bright side of things, letting your hands do the work when crafting, and trying to spread good cheer to everyone in your life. Without positivity and love, where would we be? Absolutely in a darker place than even some seem to think we’re currently in. Whether your hobby is wreaths like mine or you enjoy making other things with your hands (or brain!), try to incorporate it into your holiday experiences. You’ll be surprised at what you find you can do for yourself and for others.

So to you and your post-holiday shopping, I say “good luck and Merry Christmas.” May you enjoy all aspects of your Christmas shopping, both before and after! And may you welcome others into your home with open arms and most importantly may you find the holidays spiritually exciting and grounding.

The Year of Fifty Boxes

Every year my mom has nine Christmas trees up before December even comes around. I guess you could say Christmas is her absolute favorite holiday. Each tree is a different size, shape, color, theme, and even position. That’s right. She has an upside-down Christmas tree. Well, actually, that one is just a year around a tree that is displayed all year long. The decorations just change according to the holiday: Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, etc.

It brings her unrivaled joy to decorate her entire house. And seeing her with that joy plastered on her face brings me unrivaled joy. I’ve learned from her to feel for others’ emotions more than I ever have before in life. And because of that, I can experience her joy with absolutely no effort at all.

But I digress (and often!). With all of those trees come along cardboard boxes to store all of the ornaments. Oftentimes, people don’t think about the effort needed in putting up amazing holiday decor. Not only do you have to dedicate time to put it up (and when I say time, I mean like at least two weekends for my mom)–you have to dedicate just as much time to take it all down once January rolls around!

There are some hobbies out there that I just can’t get into, but for whatever reason, decorating for the holidays isn’t one of them. Perhaps it’s because my mom instilled a love in me for the holidays. Or maybe I see her work so hard during the winter to make her house look pretty, and it just inspires me to put forth effort in my own life. I’m not really sure what to make of it, but it’s one of those qualities you find in yourself (of your parents) that you end up loving more than you’d ever realize. Why would anyone want to truly spend their time working on their house in their free time in the freezing cold?

Because they want to, of course! Whether it’s the gorgeous and shiny ornaments you think of when you hear the word “Christmas” or all the cardboard boxes associated with storage, there’s something beautiful about people finding exactly what it is they love to do and going hard at it. You can’t fault anyone in life for pursuing a passion of theirs. Because no matter how they got there or why they love something, the fact of the matter is that they love it.

Halloween Handout Alternatives

As society moves forward, we’re beginning to learn more and more about different diets, food allergies, and other dietary restrictions in kids, adults, and seniors. This means that restaurants have a heightened awareness of food labels and labeling their own menus, and it also means taking specific orders very seriously and to the exact point. Any single mess up could mean the business is sued or worse: a patron could become severely ill or even die from mishandled food.

A lot of people have taken up arms in this new era, considering some of these dietary restrictions as needless or extra, and they’re quick to point the finger at political correctness. Whatever it is, being PC has caused scores of people to get offended by having to be more careful about what they say and how they say it. I’m guessing it’s because everyone seems to hate change, and having to change up the way they speak for the sake of others (oh the horror!) has caused them some sort of distress.

Nonetheless, back to dietary restrictions. With Halloween here, I told my partner that it would be great to offer some sort of alternative to handouts given on Halloween night. Since so many different candy boxes are full of too much sugar or have dairy products or even tree nuts in them, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hand out little crafts or stickers instead. Since nonfood items can still be enjoyed, there’s no worrying about what kids may have certain allergies to certain foods.

So, instead of handing out jawbreakers and milk chocolate bars and an assortment of candy boxes, I think we’re going to be content buying a hodge podge of little stickers online off Etsy, and we may even knit our own little spooky ghost figures or bats. I know a lot of kids look forward to the sweets they get on October 31st, but considering they’ll get plenty of candy from other neighbors, I feel better knowing I didn’t cause some unwanted food reaction while also handing out something memorable to the kids.

See, being aware of food allergens and dietary restrictions isn’t hard at all. All it takes is some thoughtfulness and willingness to switch up the norms to accommodate others. I don’t see why this is such a big deal to so many people, but I have a sneaking suspicion it all rides on having to go out of your way to help out another person. And that, for some reason, is too hard to do.

Reusing Your Cardboard

I’ve always been a huge fan of holding on to things (especially supplies and materials) that you think you no longer need. This is especially so for anything that’s often regarded as trash or mere packaging. For example, think of all the cardboard boxes you’ve ever had in your life. Now try to imagine the percentage of those you could’ve broken down and stored away for future use but are instead somewhere in a landfill, taking up space for no reason?

For as versatile and eco-friendly as cardboard is, we have a habit of throwing it straight in the trash instead of using it around the house for storage, recycling it, or even using it for mulch or composting. Why is it that we are always so obsessed with throwing things away?

The short answer is because we’re lazy. The long answer? Because the landfill system has made gathering trash and tossing it in a hole in the ground far easier than alternative methods. So, with a system made for us to be lazy, we’re all going to be lazy and choose the laziest option. Why would it have turned out any other way?

I try to do my part, though, in holding onto cardboard from packaging instead of tossing it straight in the trash. In fact, the last option I choose is recycling it. And I only resort to that if I don’t have use for it, don’t end up burning it, or can’t use it in organic matter, such as mulch and composting. (Yes, you can do both of these if you take the time to learn the process and do it on your own.)

Ultimately, we have to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions, and that includes everyday actions like tossing things in the trash.

If you happen to think of it, refuse to throw your cardboard boxes away the next time you get something in the mail from online. Heck, even if you got it from the store and it’s packaged in cardboard, make the conscious effort to break it down and store it away. And if you already have a huge amount of cardboard because you’ve been doing this, choose to recycle instead of trash it! It cannot be understated how much reducing your trash and reusing things from packaging helps to benefit the environmental state of the world. If only everyone would take the time to recycle one piece of cardboard once a week, things wouldn’t look so bleak.