Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tip Tuesday #30 /// SHIPPING SUPPLIES



One of the absolutely most frustrating things about owning your own business can be shipping. It isn't something I had to worry much about in the beginning because I was exclusively doing digital, printable invites.

But over the four years I have owned my Etsy shop, I have collected some tips that have made shipping and dealing with the Post Office a lot less stressful {keep in mind, it is still stressful, but hopefully my tips will help!}

CREATE A REALISTIC TURNAROUND TIME
This is both hard and super important. Be realistic with how long it will take you to complete the order, and make sure it is listed EVERYWHERE. Your customers might not read this before they place the order, but it will help you to stand your ground if any issues arise.

CHARGE ENOUGH
I see so many people not charging enough for shipping on Etsy. Read my post on how to calculate your shipping charges here.

PRINT YOUR OWN SHIPPING LABELS
Etsy & most other ecommerce sites, offer the option to print your own shipping lables online. This saves you both time and frustration at the post office, and money because you get discounted bulk rates.

BUY A LABEL PRINTER
The Dymo LabelWriter 4XL is maybe the best thing we have ever bought for the business. No more cutting and taping labels, no more buying the expensive sticker sheets. This thing is fast, and once you get over the sticker shock of how much this little thing is, it is worth it. It uses heat printing, so you never have to worry about ink, and the "knock - off" labels {our favorite is houselabels.com, but we order them from Amazon} work as good if not better than the name brand ones. PS. sometimes, Etsy has a discount code to buy these!


REUSE/RECYCLE WHAT YOU CAN
Lots of the shipments we get, are packed full of kraft paper & bubble wrap KEEP THEM. They are expensive to buy and come in handy when packing fragile things. We have a plastic container in the office full of supplies we can reuse.

BUY YOUR SUPPLIES FROM ULINE 
By far the best bang for your supplies buck is ordering from Uline they have a warehouse in the area, so we can go pick our orders up, within 30 min of placing them, but their shipping is quick too. Plus if your order enough they let you pick from some funny free gifts.

ORDER ANY FLAT RATE BOXES YOU NEED ONLINE
Did you know your mailman can bring you those USPS flat rate boxes? Order them here

SCHEDULE PICKUPS
When I say we HATE going to the post office I mean it. But we have an awesome mail man who always takes care of us. So we asked for some bins, and started scheduling pickups. You can do it too! here

Hope all of this helps! Feel free to leave your shipping questions below!


Monday, February 24, 2014

A CASE OF THE MONDAYS

You know it is almost wedding season, when it is wedding shower season in the shop. We have been so busy keeping up with invite orders that I forgot to blog! Woops, but hey if forgetting to blog is the only thing we forgot in this pile of orders then I am taking that as a win!

So I thought on this Monday {since my brain has about 10 billion things going on} I would just catch you up on a few things! Kind of like a 5 on Monday if you will. 

February's Pen Pal boxes shipped on Saturday YAY don't know what I am talking about? Check out the post here and order March's box here

I am so excited to see how much everyone loves their boxes, I know we will be seeing some blog posts in the near future from some of my favorite girls!

Here is a peek at something my penpals got first before they ever got in the shop



The 'Thanks a Latte' was all hand-drawn by me and I just love that 'Happy Everything' card!

Something awesome happened last week, and I got an order from my Grandmother who lives in New York, it is probably my most proud moment.


And we are off to an awesome start this year already reaching some of our business goals. DBN got it's first wholesale order at an adorable little shop in Downtown Monroe, GA. They open March 1st, and I couldn't be more excited. The owner Lily of Sailor Studio is so awesome!



Hope your Monday is going great, and your brain isn't stressing you out like mine is. The light at the end of my tunnel is that we are getting out of town this weekend to see some of our friends who just moved to Kentucky! What are you pumped for this week?



Monday, February 17, 2014

GLUTEN FREE APPLE PIE PANCAKES

Made these awesome pancakes over the weekend and thought I would share the recipe! I would like to preface this by saying I am not a food blogger! 


What you need:
- Pamela's Gluten Free Pancake Mix 
- Water
- Oil
- Vanilla Extract
- Egg{s}
- Apples
{if you are following the recipe on the back of Pamela's GF Pancake Mix, then you need 2 apples/6 pancake recipe}
- Cinnamon
- Agave Nectar 
- Butter

 Directions:
- Prepare pancake mix according to recipe on package, I use a touch less water, and add a splash of vanilla extract when making my mix - set aside
- Peal and cut 2 apples into little pieces, all relatively uniform size so they take the same amount of time to cook
- In a heated pan {medium heat} add your apples, 2 tbs butter, 1 tbs agave and a pinch of cinnamon 
- Cook until butter melts & agave bubbles on medium heat
- Reduce heat and cook for 5 min on low
- Stir into pancake mix and cook pancakes on a preheated skillet like normal!

Add scrambled eggs & sausage for a complete and yummy breakfast!



Sunday, February 16, 2014

SUNDAY SOCIAL



Joining my first Sunday Social with Neely & Ashley! Spending this Sunday eating way too many Apple Pie pancakes & watching ice dancing! Follow me @nicolinaw on Instagram & @designsnicolina on twitter if you feel like stalking me.

1. What are your favorite things to do on a lazy day?
I love having lazy days with Cameron, we go for a walk if it's nice out, watch old Office episodes and catch up on our shows on Netfilx & Hulu. Scroll through pinterest and find house projects to do.

2. What is your TV guilty pleasure?
I am a sucker for reality tv, pretty much anything. I love Dance Moms, and Keeping up with the Kardashians the most though. If you have hulu, check out The Only Way is Essex, its basically British Kardashians.

3. What is your favorite road trip music?
It totally depends on what mood we are in. If we are going to the beach, it's country Zac Brown Band all the way. We could listen to the Lumineers, Sara Bareilles, Imagine Dragons & Macklemore over and over again so those are our go to's.

4. What are your favorite magazines or books to read by the pool or laying around?
I am a sucker for celeb magazines, so US, and People for sure. As far as fashion mags I think Lucky is my favorite.

5. What is your favorite snack? 
I am loving the white cheddar pirate booty puffs, we recently got a bag that is the size of a small child at Costco. But our go-to is rice chips & hummus.





Friday, February 14, 2014

FIVE ON FRIDAY

Today was totally one of "those days for me" I woke up 2 hours later than I wanted to {I guess I turned OFF my alarm when I only meant to hit snooze} and it kind of got thrown off from there. Email from a customer in panic because of all the post office delays and her party supplies hadn't arrived yet {they did get there finally} and even though it was later than I wanted I convinced myself to go for a run anyway {only to find out the street and sidewalks were way too icy still} Also, I just spilled coffee all over my desk so there's that. Late but still liking up to share my 5 on Friday, even if Friday is mostly over! #isittheweekendyet

ONE
I am pretty proud of myself though, because after lunch I tested the sidewalks again and did get my run in! It was super hard, I am not going to lie. I went slow but I made it. I get so discouraged when I don't see instant progress in myself, but Cam helped me remember that the fact that I am so sore is proof alone that I am making changes for the better.

TWO
You should probably add following me on instagram, if you don't already, on your list of things to do this weekend because I am teaming up with a few great ladies for a giveaway that will launch Monday! {hint: it will be coffee themed}

THREE
I am itching for some new spring dresses, but I am really putting all shopping on hold until I need to buy new clothes. No greater incentive for eating better, working out and going for a run than new clothes! I cannot sew but I am ordering some fabric so my girl Katy can make me this.

FOUR
Because all of this winter weather has delayed a lot of shipments, the DBN pen pal box shipments will be delayed one week. I plan on shipping Feb. 22nd. Which means there is still time to order! Learn more + place an order.

FIVE
You may {or may not} have noticed that the blog got a bit of a facelift. I am totally in love! What do you think?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

MY FAVS ON THURSDAYS /// Lounge Wear

Linking up with Katy & Meghan and sharing some of our favs on this Thursday! Want to join the fun? We would love to have you, just share your blog post {where you share YOUR favs in the comments of one or all of our blogs}



I used to have a job where I had a reason to look cute everyday. I had fun putting together outfits & especially accessorizing. Now I work from home, with the exception of meeting a local customer or one of my friends for coffee I don't really have a reason to get dressed up for work.

This can be an issue because as appealing as working in your PJs sounds, it would throw off my whole day. And I found I would get less done, and not be as motivated as when I put some effort into getting "cute". But, I still wanted to be comfy.

I found the perfect solution...  Lounge Wear. Change out of your PJs, take a shower, and put on your new work at home uniform! You have lots of important people to see! Like your co-workers {husband} and the UPS man.

My absolute FAV yoga pants are from Aerie the Aerie Skinny Yoga Pant, they are a thick like workout pants, but as comfy as leggings, very flattering, true to size and they last. I love the fold over waist, and they can very often be found in the clearance section.


They are a MUST have for all of my work at home ladies! They also have very adorable and comfortable tops like this one



sweaters and make my favorite bras. Because even though you work at home, it is nice to change out of your PJs! If you haven't already go check Aerie out!





Wednesday, February 12, 2014

#ICESTORM

Our house is officially encased in ice as the next round of winter weather that our area isn't used to is upon us. Less than 24 hrs in and cabin fever has already set in. Cameron and I are somewhere between being bored with watching tv and being so bored that we re-organize the kitchen.

No matter where you live I am sure you saw the mess that was Atlanta a little over a week ago when snow hit. {see my previous post here} This is the scene from our Publix Monday around 5pm

No bread. No milk. No eggs. No chips. No coke.
Every checkout counter was open and each one had a long line! Tuesday before the storm started we went out to Dicks Sporting Goods because I needed gloves, and they were completely out of camping stoves, sleeping bags, and most hats, gloves, and thick winter socks. They did however pull out the pool floats to sell as "sleds" haha.

Round one of the storm is over. I took this picture around lunch time ...


I just checked the same area and now we have 3 layers of icicles and these are several inches longer than in the picture. See all that stuff that looks like snow? It's not! It is about an inch of sleet & ice coating everything. Consider us trapped.

Round two is on it's way tonight until tomorrow, more ice and we are expected to get 2-3 inches of snow. Not a big deal for most of our Northern friends, but it's a big deal here. Post offices are closed, and I don't expect we will get mail tomorrow either.

You can check for post office delays here

We are really glad we still have power! Hopefully tonight won't be as bad as they are saying! Stay safe and warm if you are dealing with this!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TIP TUESDAY #29 // How to mix fonts

One of my most favorite things about graphic design is typography, mixing letters and arranging text into an art form.

noun
noun: typography
1.
the style and appearance of printed matter.


I get lots of requests for font & typography tips so here is a great little guide on how to mix fonts. This applies to anything whether typing up something basic, or re-designing your brand. {and as a little designer rule of thumb NEVER use more than three fonts at a time, that's just cray cray}


Fonts used in order starting with "How to": Raleway, Bombshell, Only You Pro in all caps, Thirsty Script, Marquee Solid, Bell Mt, Melany Lane, Outlaw, Luella & Ondise


Monday, February 10, 2014

Charge Extra for Awesome

I love having chats with my fellow Etsy sellers. The topic of pricing comes up a lot, am I charging too much, too little. A lot of times sellers need to change their pricing but they are scared to. So when I was encouraging one of my Etsy girls on making some changes to her shop this thought came to me.
The market on Etsy is flooded with amazing artists. Big shops and small shops.  It is what makes is great to launch your brand, and get a strong following. But it can be hard to stand out from the crowd.

So when you work that hard to come up with something to make you stand out, make people tell all of their friends about you and order from you time and time again, you have done something awesome and once you find that... you can charge extra for awesome.

You earned it!


Friday, February 7, 2014

FIVE ON FRIDAY

Happy Friday loves! Counting down my five and wishing you all a happy weekend!

/// ONE ///
We all know that facebook pages are getting worse and worse for exposure. A few of my posts have been seen by like 4 of my 1,600+ fans!
I did find something that seems to be helping a bit with my interaction thanks to Chelsea of Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles blog. I linked my Instagram account to my Facebook fanpage and it has made a ton of difference! So thanks Chelsea!

http://www.sunnywithachanceofsprinkles.com/search?updated-max=2014-01-24T08:08:00-06:00&max-results=3&start=6&by-date=false


/// TWO ///
The first DBN pen pals box will go out on Feb. 15th, are you signed up? You can learn more about what this is here // and order your own here!

http://designsbynicolina.blogspot.com/2014/01/introducing-dbn-pen-pals.html


/// THREE ///
I blame Cameron for this one... his addiction to backpacks has rubbed off on me. Mine got a hole on our last trip so I have been searching for a new one. I finally found one that will hold my laptop & my iPad plus a whole bunch of other stuff AND the top of my list... it is super cute and lines with polka dots! I got it on sale at REI but it can also be found here



/// FOUR ///
Cameron and I ask ourselves this on a monthly weekly daily basis. We think this is the perfect card for your love. Order by Sunday to get your cards by Feb. 14th


/// FIVE ///
Most of you may not know this but I used to work at a boutique making jewelry and I kinda miss that creative outlet! You might see some DBN jewels popping up soon {because I need more stuff to do right?!}


Thursday, February 6, 2014

MY FAVS ON THURSDAYS

It's Thursday which means tomorrow is Friday which means it is almost the weekend AND it means I am teaming up with my girls Katy & Meghan.


Today I am sharing my FAV new skirts by Shelley Bee Originals 

I found her on Instagram {her account is @shelleybeeoriginals} and her other account she also has some fun instasales on @shelleybeeclearance where I have scored another great print. 

I love these skirts because they are the perfect length right below the knee, they are so comfy and super flattering! They work great with tights but are light enough for spring and summer use as well. I can't wait to order more!

She also has some cute ones for the littles, and some other cute things like scarves & tshirts.

Check her shop out {here} you won't be sorry!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MONOGRAM & MIMOSA BRIDAL SHOWER

I get very attached to things. Cameron it being a hoarder but I call it being sentimental. I get this way about pretty much everything. Dinner receipts, movie ticket stubs, clothing you name it. Especially when it comes to all things DBN. So I struggle when it is time to let a classic design go. I did a lot of this when we redesigned the shop and added DBN Graphics this past summer.

But I am constantly looking at what can be done better, and helping my brand to evolve. I try to ask myself: Do I like this anymore? Is it consistant with my current brand and style? Is everyone else doing it? I am not saying that I am the first one to come up with the idea of a Monogram shower but I was one of the first invite shops on Etsy to offer this style invite. So when the copy-cats started popping up, I changed up my style.

Introducing the cleaner, more modern and preppy Monograms & Mimosas bridal shower invites that are now available in the shop.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/155904134/monograms-mimosas-chevron-style-bridal?ref=shop_home_active_22
Chevron 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/155911571/monograms-mimosas-art-deco-damask-style?ref=shop_home_active_16
Damask

https://www.etsy.com/listing/178151733/monograms-mimosas-polka-dot-style-bridal?ref=shop_home_active_18
and Polka Dot

As always text and colors are customizable. Which is your favorite?



Monday, February 3, 2014

COFFEE & TEA

It's Monday and that means you don't need to feel bad about that extra cup of coffee. Cameron and I consume a lot of coffee and tea, especially now that we are both working at home and trying to cut back on our expences.

The other day I counted we went through about 8 mugs in one 24 hour period. Good thing I am addicted to cute mugs otherwise we would have been in a pickle {like the kind of pickle where I would have to wash mugs!}

So to get this week off right, here's a few of my favorite coffee & tea themed items all via Etsy!




What's your favorite drink to fill your mug with?