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.

Dealing with Stress

This past summer I was feeling extremely stressed, overwhelmed, and generally hating on my job. I wondered if remodeling my office would help? So I pondered the idea and decided to give it a try.

I first started by sketching out different floor layouts of the items in my office, a desk five filing cabinets, two sets of drawers, and tons of computer components. Considering there are two entry doors and one wall of floor to ceiling windows the options were quite limited, But I did manage to come up with a couple of new options. So with those options I began measuring things to see if the options would really work. Of the two only one was truly feasible when it came to the computer components and not having to reroute Internet wire (and dig through my supply of cardboard boxes hoping to find more supplies that would help out).

Once I had the layout chosen and was sure it would work I began decluttering. I boxed up files that were potential purge items and move them to the storage room to deal with later. I went through filing cabinets and purged many things that I could with minimal effort, in other words I could toss at one glance. Then I had to unload some of the filing cabinets and a three-tier shelving unit so that they could easily be moved around to the new location. Unfortunately, my desk is a metal desk from the 1950s that weighs approximately 500 pounds so it had to be moved into the center of the room and left until it was time to relocate it to a new wall.

Next on the agenda was new window blinds. I couldn’t afford to get new blinds so I opted to buy paper shades and hoped they might work. Unfortunately they did not last and had to be replaced with the old existing blinds. I wouldn’t have minded so much for the money I was out if I had invested so much time installing the paper shades that faded within three months. I will chalk that one up to lesson learned.

Once everything was moved to its new location, the floors cleaned, the personal touches of family photos, cardboard boxes put away in storage, grand dog photos, mottos and core beliefs displayed I truly felt accomplished. I do feel it gave me a new hope for a brighter future, ad I do feel it relieved a little bit of stress. Truly, I do feel it helped me to move on to a new season leading to retirement very soon. So I say to you, if you are feeling the blues and longing for spring a little more than you should, maybe you need an office makeover? Happy remodeling at the job 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.

Doing Holidays Differently

It’s always weird for me to say that I’m looking forward to a holiday such as Valentine’s Day, but this year has got me stoked for it. And no, it’s not for the reasons you would really think about (i.e., “love” or “dating”). Rather, I’m stoked because one of my favorite musical artists is dropping their 4th full length album. And it’s been 4 or 5 years since his last record, so it’s sort of a big deal for my partner and I.

We’ll be celebrating by hosting a small listening party on our record player in our apartment. Not many of our friends like his music, but that’s what is going to make it so much fun (and so special). Those that are there will absolutely love it, because it will be the first time we all listen to his stuff.

What’s fun is that we own one or two records of his on vinyl already, so we’ll be adding this to the collection that we have stored in some old cardboard boxes underneath our home entertainment system. In fact, I think it’s about time to upgrade our storage system from those very cardboard boxes. They’ve served us well over time, but I think it’s about time we get something more fitting for our collection that is growing (and becoming filled with rarer records worth more).

So yeah, Valentine’s Day will be quite special for us this year, if only because we’re doing something we never have before with a handful of close friends. I think that it’s these sorts of experiences that define how you handle life. Rather than buying into the entire idea of Valentine’s Day as a holiday where you’ve got to buy all sorts of candies, all sorts of chocolates, some cards, some stuffed bears, and some sort of nice “fancy” dinner for the person you like . . . why not do something more in line with your tastes and interests? I just feel like too many people let others (companies or people) decide for them what they’ll be doing on any given day. Holidays are especially bad about this, because people feel like there’s only one way to celebrate a special occasion.

Perhaps I’m getting off on a rant about this sort of stuff that doesn’t really matter though. In reality, everyone is going to be doing the same old thing they always do on Valentine’s Day, no matter how compelling my argument may come off to them. So, for what it’s worth, I hope this resonated with you more than the next average lemming!

A Valentine’s Surprise

People all across the United States are already making reservations for February 14. They are buying little gifts, pre-ordering flowers, and purchasing new outfits for their little date night. It does not matter if this is your 2nd date or your 20th year of marriage, most people really get excited for Valentine’s Day and what it means to them.

Valentine’s Day is not an important holiday for my partner and me. We value showing our love every day rather than picking a few days a year to show our love to each other. Little things matter more to us than anything else. My partner shows me love by doing the dishes even when it is not their turn. Taking the dog out alone when I do not want to bundle up and join. He does my laundry when he knows I am running low on work clothes for the week.

Big, fancy dinners do not excited us. Actually, we would rather prepare our own meals at home because we really enjoy cooking together. Food is a big part of our lives together. We have completely changed our diets to better fit our ideals and beliefs. One surprise I have considered for Valentine’s Day is candy boxes of chocolate. We really enjoy chocolate, but have to hunt to find chocolate we can actually eat. So loading up on candy boxes for a few months would definitely be worth it.

But the best plan we have come up with is waiting until AFTER Valentine’s Day to purchase our candy. Fifty percent off candy for getting it one day later? Absolutely. It really helps that Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year. The candy will go on sale on the weekend! Just in time for our weekly trip to the grocery store. We just have to be sure to be quick because I’m sure everyone else has the same idea we do.

There are so many different ways to show someone you love them. Do not get sucked into society’s way of thinking that only specific days are for showing love. Little trinkets or meaningful notes are nice on Valentine’s Day, but they are more appreciated on a random Wednesday in May. We should value our time together no matter what time of year it is. I say get the discounted candy the weekend after, order some take-out (or cook your own meal), and just enjoy your time together.