It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

The 2015 Girl Scout cookie season is underway across the country. Earlier today, my daughter and I tallied her sales and emailed them to our cookie manager. This year, my fourth grader approached many customers herself, went knocking on neighbors’ doors and called relatives. She wrote down the orders herself, gave totals, and is currently planning her thank you notes for delivery. Watching her take a vested interest in this annual project adds even more value to this experience. Read More It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time! It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

Six Ways to Survive Snow Days with Kids

Well friends, it looks like the Polar Vortex is back again this year. My school age kids have had a whopping four hours of school this week, which means they’re basically on their third week of winter break.

A little planned time off is fun. A day of unplanned time off is okay. But two snow days in a row can make for a bad case of cabin fever. Add to it a malfunctioning furnace that forced us into one room of our house, huddled around the space heater, and the kids weren’t the ones climbing the walls. Read More Six Ways to Survive Snow Days with Kids

Kickstartable: Nerdy Words Valentines

While most people may be focusing on holiday shopping right now, there’s a Kickstarter campaign asking you to think about Valentine’s Day. Nerdy Words caught my eye this week, and I’m excited to share it with you. If you like science, love, and puns, these cards will be right you your alley. Read More Kickstartable: Nerdy Words Valentines

One Reason Recordings Promote Good Music and Good Causes

This week, I’m spotlighting a worthy project that may also help you with your holiday shopping. One Reason Recordings (ORR) is dedicated to spotlighting one cause each year and raising funds for it. ORR takes submissions from artists, creates a unique album, and the profits from the album benefit a specific cause. Read More One Reason Recordings Promote Good Music and Good Causes

Kickstartable: Element Botanicals Project Make. More. Grow.

This week’s Kickstartable spoke to me because HELLO WINTER. As soon as the air turns cold, my skin turns dry and cracked. I am always looking for quality skin products that can up my moisture retention rate. Element Botanicals seems to have products that will fit that bill. Their Project Make. More. Grow. will help get their products onto more skin that needs it.

I was able to ask Amber Haase*, of Element Botanicals a few questions about the project. It struck me as different because they are already producing products and selling them in stores. See what she has to say:

Your business is established, so what made you choose crowdsourcing over pursuing individual investors?

Crowdsourcing gives us the opportunity to reach a wider audience in addition to raising funds. Our current marketing strategy consists mainly of social media, retail shows, and word of mouth, so combining an interactive platform like Kickstarter with a fundraising goal feels like a great idea. We also see it as a chance to give a bit of a background story to our business; I think a growing number of people prefer a more direct connection with their products. It’s nice to know exactly where the stuff you buy is coming from. We aren’t a faceless factory making endless amounts of the same junk; we’re a small family making honest products. Everything we make comes from our workshop, and if your label is on slightly crooked, you can blame it on my husband because that’s his job! So, basically, we are ready to give Kickstarter a go because we see it as a great opportunity to grow our business. Why not?

Your goal is to be able to make bulk purchases. What’s your production like now/how will bulk
purchasing change this?

Our products are totally handmade. We keep as much stock on hand as we can, but with our current situation, our batch sizes are pretty limited. We order a few things in larger amounts, but many of our supplies come in bags of several dozen or so, which don’t last very long! We have run into situations where we have to wait on supplies to arrive. It’s funny when people say: “It’s a good problem to have…” that we can’t keep up with demand. It’s not a good thing when you are waiting for deliveries. If we had more of our key supplies in large quantities, it would make things much more efficient. We wouldn’t be dealing with backorders or waiting on a handful of containers to arrive before we can ship out a wholesale order. It would make a huge difference to us to be able to smooth out the production end of our business so we could focus on more important things like developing new, innovative skin treatments, harvesting more wild ingredients, and growing our business.

What was the most challenging part of getting this Kickstarter off the ground?

The video was the only real challenge we faced. We put it off. We got everything else ready first until we had to do it. We did a lot of research, and the one resounding bit of advice was always: “Make a video, make sure it’s catchy and awesome, your campaign depends on it!” No pressure.

My husband and business partner, Hardy, and I have always incorporated our (ahem) unique sense of humor into our company in product names and promotional material, so we decided to go with that. We made this quirky, silly video using some of our vintage toys and rather than allow us the chance to change our minds, we launched as soon as it was done. No going back now! And whaddaya know, people seem to really like it! We were chosen as a Staff Pick and New+Notable by Kickstarter the first day we launched, so I guess it worked out!

What’s been the most pleasant surprise?

We were absolutely blown away by the immediate support, gratitude and kind words we received from our loving fans, friends, and family. When you put so much into a business (and subsequently a project like this), it’s easy to get caught up in the millions of details that can sometimes overshadow the big picture. Our main objective is to make beautiful, natural skin care products that are accessible to everyone and to keep customer service top priority. When we launched our campaign worrying about all the tiny details, it was incredibly touching to get all this unexpected, positive feedback to remind us that people really do appreciate what we do.

*Amber Haase is the founder of Element Botanicals hand made skin care based out of British Columbia,Canada. Element Botanicals uses botanical extracts, essential oils, and natural ingredients to create unique, effective, and affordable skin care.

Element Botanicals: Project Grow. Make. More is available for funding through December 10, 2015.

Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.

Kickstartable: POCKETT Boutique

Readers who love functional fashion, take a closer look at this week’s Kickstartable. Leah Williams, founder & creative director of the POCKETT Boutique, is working to bring her vision of beautiful clothing with pockets to fruition. She took time out of her busy schedule (filled with a full-time job, family commitments, and starting POCKETT) to answer a few questions.  Read More Kickstartable: POCKETT Boutique

Kickstartable: The Nancy Drew Board Game

Dear Readers, if you ever read Nancy Drew books under your covers with a flashlight because you couldn’t wait to see how it ended, you are not alone. You will also love today’s Kickstartable. Created by 16-year-old Quincy MacShane, this game will appeal to Nancy Drew fans of all ages. Read More Kickstartable: The Nancy Drew Board Game