Checking out the competition…

From time to time we check out our competitors and I was shocked at how a particular store made and displayed their soaps. The shop was dirty! The soaps were dirty! Continue reading

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Getting The Word Out

 

Every business has a hard time getting the word out. In this day and age, word of mouth is not the only or best way to let the world know about your products.

With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and countless blogs, there are thousands of ways to stake your claim to your real estate in the social media world.

It is also so much more cheaper than, buying print, radio or television advertising. However, it can be more work. My dad used to say that you have to get out there and “pound the pavement!” He was right. You can sit behind a computer all day, but eventually, you have to make your mark on the real world.

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Making The Big Decisions

Recently, I have asked myself some really tough questions about my business, my life and where I wanted to be in five years. It is always difficult to weed out good vs. bad advice and ultimately what will make you a better person and be able to attain your goals. Continue reading

6 Tips for Sparking Creativity!

Sometimes February can be a long month even though it is the shortest. It has been a while since the last big holiday rush and Spring seems ever so far away. I am reminded of a favorite childhood book of mine ‘The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. Where in a part of the story a little boy named Milo is diving in a toy car through the mythical place called the Doldrums.  That is my idea of February!

When you own your own business, there is no downtime for being creative. Everything around you should be an inspiration and if it’s not, move away from where you are!

Another one of my favorite books is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She inspires me on a daily basis and I found some of her tips to be essential when driving myself out of the doldrums!

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Shopping Season in America

Okay, I know I should be pushing my own company at this time of year, but there are so many great options for this shopping season, I just had to let everyone know.

True, the bones of the turkey are barely simmering in the pot for tomorrow’s soup, but the big box stores will be opening up at 10pm and midnight tonight to get a jump on Black Friday. I have nothing against the big box stores, but I am a believer in small businesses (because I am one) and in things Made in USA (because that is what I do).

This is not a rant against everything non-USA, but our economy is on life support, the folks we elected can’t get along and there are people here that are living paycheck to paycheck.

There are many hard working people in this country that are making wonderful items for you to buy as gifts this holiday season.  Beautiful handmade products that you can not only buy to help out the economy of a family right here in the great ol’ USA, but in turn this family may go and buy products from the business that you own or work at.

One of the great places to look for people that sell their crafts and pieces of artwork are at Etsy.com. Everything from jewelry, photography, paintings, metal crafts and more. Do yourself a favor and just click on the link to see amazing products from people that just want a make a living doing things that they love! Please remember that while you are out waiting in line for hours at the big box stores, small businesses are in line waiting for you!

Some of my favorites are The Quilting Diva, she make the most amazing quilts and fabric items that you have ever seen… SpoonFudge, enough said, you will thank me later and Boxnmor, amazing crafts with wood!

American Express is having a Small Business Saturday for November 26th. If you spend $25 dollars or more at a Small Business, AE will give you a $25 credit! How amazing is that. They are paying you to shop at a small business. It is a win/win for everyone. Go to the link above and register now to take advantage of this great offer!

And when you take a break from all these great shopping ideas, try going to a non-chain restaurant for lunch or dinner. Yes, I enjoy Outback and Applebee’s too, but we need to broaden our dining palate every once in a while. One of my favorite apps on my iPhone (I am sure it is on other platforms too) is Yelp! Whenever we are thinking of a new place to try, we pull out the app and look for a place that we have never been before. We are more times than not surprised the great food in our very neighborhood that we have never tried before.

So there you go… My ten cents worth of advice how we can not only help our economy, but help our friends, neighbors and even ourselves this holiday season. Use the information or not, but if you see me having dinner at Wood Fired Pizza in Tampa, or Café Cibo in St. Petersburg, be sure to say, “Hello!”

And by the way, I hope you don’t mind a little pushing of Tracy’s Soaps as well!

Happy Shopping and helping America!

Tracy Knauer

An Introduction…of sorts.

Hi there! My name is Tracy and I make handmade soaps. (Hi Tracy…) I know, it sounds like I am in a 12 step program right? But this is my first attempt at a blog…they still call them that right? The first thing that “they” tell you to do is get a website. Then you have to get a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Also don’t forget to get a blog so you can write about having a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. It all seems endless.

But nonetheless here I am, with a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and now finally a blog.

My background is really in Marketing and Promotions. After years of marketing several radio stations in Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida and working for someone else, I got burned out. I wanted the American Dream of being my own boss and being in a positive atmosphere rather than the rat race I was in.

Three years ago I started my own business making hand-made soaps and embroidered items. I say started, but in many ways, it feels like I am just beginning now. The prep work of finding the right recipes for soaps that I would use to figuring out a logo that I was proud of took all of that time and finally seems like it is all coming together. It has been a long process, but it has been fun to learn new skills and ways to improve myself.

In the coming entries, I will try my best to make this a fun place to visit and keep you up to date with all the accomplishments of a small business owner in a less than perfect economy.

I thank-you for stopping by!

 

Tracy Knauer

TracysSoaps.com