Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oso Grande Holiday Boutique

Nancy wanted me to let you all know that they have chosen a date for the Oso Grande Boutique.  This is the Elementary School that both Nancy and my kids go to, and last year's boutique was great!  {Remember, most of our school zone is in Covenant Hills.}

The boutique is going to be on December 1st from 12:30pm to 4:30pm.

This year they will be running the kids' shopping event {you know... where they get to spend three bucks on a piece of junk necklace that you will have to wear for the next six months until it turns your neck green} at the same time as the boutique, so kids and moms can shop together!

The forms are going up on the Oso Grande PTA website tomorrow morning {Thursday 10/21}, and this boutique will fill up FAST, so if you are interested, I suggest getting your application in Thursday.  If you have any other questions, please email Nancy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Spiffin up your blog

Hi Everyone,

Happy Monday. I just wanted to share I site I found recently that I love. It's called LeeLou Blogs and her site offers so many free ways to jazz up your blog without paying someone to do it. This has been a great temporary option for me because I've been able to test out different options so that when I do have my blog site designed soon I have a good idea of what I want. 

Here's the website if you're interested in using it. If you don't have a blog, but want to start one she also has great tutorials under free stuff on her blog. In fact I think I'm going to go check out her new tutorials now. Happy blogging friends!

P.S If you need any help getting a blogger blog set up, you are more than welcome to email me and I'll help you get started.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Upcoming Fall Boutiques

We had a great night last night at our third quarter Band of Boutiquers meeting!

For those of you that could not make it, I wanted to pass along information about upcoming Fall Boutiques.

We decided not to have a BOB-sponsored Boutique this fall.  We all thought it would be best not to over-expose {and I don't mean in a flasher kind of a way} ourselves this season.  Instead we decided to discuss it again, perhaps in the spring.

These are the boutiques that all or some of us are considering for the fall:

October 9th
Ladera Ranch Dance Academy
Ladera Ranch, CA
For information contact Karen Ord

October 28th and 29th
Coast Hills MOPS
Aliso Viejo, CA
For information and applications contact Kelly Colvin

November 8th and 9th
Crossline Church
Laguna Hills, CA
For information and applications contact me... Emmy Blakely!

November 12th and 13th
The Queen Bee Market
Del Mar Hilton, Del Mar, CA
They will be accepting new applicants from August 15th through September 15th on their website.

Date TBD, but most likely the first week of December
Oso Grande Elementary School
Ladera Ranch, CA 92694
For information contact Nancy Yuhas.

If you have information on any additional boutiques, please post about them!

Also, our next meeting will be held on Monday, November 1st.
Location TBD.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Helpful Blogger Links

Hello, Gals!

It was great meeting you all tonight and finally putting faces with names and products. We have a very talented group of women and it's an honor to be part!

One day, I hope to pay a big name to do a professional branding of my business. In the meantime, I've worked within Blogger and have created one myself. Most of these tutorials do rely on a basic working knowledge of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, but will walk you through exactly what to do if you are able to obtain the software. Regardless, these tutorials proved helpful as I built my blog, but they are specific to

How to Build a Three Column Layout
How to Capture a Screen Shot (this is helpful when posting about giveaway results)
How to Add a Blog Button with a Code Box Underneath
How to Use Fancy Blog Fonts
How to Make Custom Blog Buttons
How to Make an Animated Blinkie Button 
How to Make a Custom Blog Header
How to Make a Custom Background

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yes, there is still a Band of Boutiquers

Between Adoption paperwork, preparing for boutique season, and being on summer vacation... there has been little time for BOB Blog updating.  Sorry friends.

I wanted to remind you all that our next meeting is this upcoming Monday, August 2nd at 8:00pm at the Covenant Hills Clubhouse.

Please let me know {by commenting here} if you are planning to attend.

We have lots of boutique info to talk about!

Hope to see you Monday!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How to Effectively Brand Your Business Without Spending a Fortune!

The importance of branding your product can't be overstated. You don't need me to tell you how companies spend millions and millions of dollars to develop a brand and market it effectively. When I worked at Liberty Mutual's Corporate Headquarters in Boston, a 30-person department was dedicated entirely to branding and advertising Liberty's different products and services.

That said, most start-up businesses are bound my monetary constraints. It's important to develop a brand and packaging that won't cost a fortune and that have the ability to grow as you do.

When I started my jewelry business, Ruby Red Studio, I had very little to invest. Obviously, I was trying to maximize every dollar. And now, I honestly receive as many compliments on my packaging as I do on my jewelry!

Here are a few things that helped me as I worked to develop the look of Ruby Red Studio:

1. Note Trends, but Opt for Classics
Build the basics of your brand like you would your wardrobe - with classic, basic items. Then, spruce them up with some cool "accessories" (more on this below). There is absolutely nothing worse than having 500 yards of lime green ribbon leftover when you decide to change your packaging. Choosing classic color schemes and supplies that have timeless appeal is paramount to developing a good, solid brand and saving money. Ultimately, people should know what they're getting based on the way it's wrapped. Tiffany & Co., anyone?

2. Make It Match
A good brand gives a cohesive, professional image. It's best if all products - from item packaging, to bags, to note and business cards - match. This means, colors, fonts, and papers should be uniform in appearance. Even if you aren't doing $100K sales per year, you can look as though you do! In this case, you are what people think you are!

3. Go Local
I'm all about buying things in bulk online and saving a few pennies. But this is an area where it might be good to spend an extra dollar or two and start with packaging materials that can be found at your local craft store. I'll admit it, I'm juggling 3 kids and other responsibilities and, at times, am not as organized as I want to be. In the beginning of a business, orders may be sporadic and/or seasonal. Keeping deadlines builds business. Actually, it makes or breaks a business. It has been helpful to have the ability to run down to Michael's, pick-up a few supplies, and ensure my orders ship on time.

4. Say It With Stamps
One of the single-most expensive aspects of building a brand is custom printing. When I started out, I wanted custom-looking products without the price-tag. Enter Etsy. I scoured all Etsy sellers for a calligrapher that made stamps. That's when I found Letter Girl. For around $60, I had stamps that could be used for business cards and invoices and to stamp ribbon, bags, notecards, gift cards - WHATEVER. Stamps also allow me to duplicate the look indefinitely for the cost of supplies and an ink pad. No re-printing items once they run out!
I also thought of a trademark for my business, ruby red slippers, and found Cupcake Tree. She created a custom, red slipper stamp for me to use. These two things alone distinguish Ruby Red Studio from my competitors on Etsy and at boutiques.
Next came Paper Source. I *big puffy heart* Paper Source. Their store is full of plain, basic items of all sizes you can use to build a line. I use their note cards, business cards and envelopes for everything. I can get 100 business cards for $8.00 and, after pairing them with white ink and my stamp, have cards that look much more custom than they are.

5. Spice It Up!
As Emmy articulated so well in this post, a little bit of glitter, a label, a sticker...inexpensive, special touches go a long way to customize your product. People liked my packaging, but now, since adding red glitter to the slippers on my boxes, they really love it and comment on it regularly. I also added customized enclosure cards inside the boxes, something that was not done by my competitors when I started my business. Anything you can do to personalize an item for your client will result in your product having an edge in the marketplace.

Hope this helps! Here's to many years of successful business and branding!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Etsy Shop Title

My friend Megan sent me some great advice today about Etsy that I wanted to share with you all:

"I wanted to mention something I recently learned on one of those newsletters Etsy sends out. A girl wrote an article about several things she did that really increased traffic on her shop page. One of them I had no idea about. When you go to Shop Appearance, the first field there says "Shop Title" and it defaults to your shop name if you don't put anything there. Anyway, she said to change it to something that describes your shop and also uses great search engine keywords. Apparently, Google uses that field to find you because it's technically the first text on your page and that's what it searches."

This is great info... thanks for sharing Megan!  I already changed my title.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hey Band of Boutiquers...I'm so excited to tell everyone that I'm about to embark on a new business idea. It's still just an idea at the moment, but I intend on making it a reality very soon!!! Emmy, I may be calling you for some help =) As soon as I have a few pieces done I'll post some pictures.
Wish me luck!

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Location for the Meeting on the 17th!

Great news!  We were approved as a "club" on Ladera Life, which means that we can now use the clubhouses at no charge.  In light of that... our next meeting (on Monday, May 17th) will be at the Avendale Clubhouse, still at 8pm.

See you there!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Meeting Rescheduled!

We have rescheduled this quarter's meeting for Monday, May 17th at 8 o'clock.  It will still be at my home.  Please let me know if you will be able to attend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Meeting - Tomorrow Night!

Tomorrow night, May 3rd, is our next meeting.  Same time, same place as the last one... 8:00pm at 81 Wildflower Place in Ladera Ranch.  I hope you can make it!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2nd Quarter Meeting

I'm so sorry that I haven't sent out a roster yet.  I promise that I will have that done before our next meeting.

Speaking of which... our second meeting will be held on
Monday, May 3rd at 8 o'clock in the evening.

I am planning on having the meeting at my house again, unless we will have too many people to fit in my little place.  So please let me know if you are planning on attending by commenting on this post or emailing me at

Looking forward to another great night!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Welcome to BOB!

Thank you for visiting the Band of Boutiquers brand new blog!  I am so excited to form this group, and am really looking forward to what I think will be an awesome collaboration!  

To give you a little background... I started my business, Much Ado About You, in November of 2007 after four successful years with a Direct Sales company.  In those six+ years I have learned, mostly by trial and error, some really important lessons about running a home-based business.  

This year I decided to really hit the Holiday Boutique circut, and realized that my favorite thing about doing boutiques, and probably the most valuable part, is networking with other business owners.  I love to encourage other women, share ideas, and hopefully spare someone else from making some of the same mistakes I have over the years.  

Thus the idea for this Band of Boutiquers was born!  I would love for us to meet quarterly in order to share business tips, plan events and workshops, and encourage one another.  I also thought it would be great for all of us to get together and talk about which boutiques we found to be very successful, which ones to maybe avoid next year, and perhaps plan a few of our own! 

Please join us for our inaugural meeting, Monday, February 1st at 8:00pm at 81 Wildflower Place in Ladera Ranch.

Any owner or employee of a home-grown business which is not associated with a Direct Sales Company and that produces a tangible, handmade product is invited to attend.  Please bring a dessert to share and samples or pictures of your products.  

I look forward to seeing you all on the 1st!
Emmy Blakely