Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I can see why she wrote on the walls: they key to unlocking your creativity & productivity

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Photo by KROMKRATHOG- freedigitalphotos.net
Several years ago, I had a manic boss. Definition: showing wild and apparently deranged excitement and energy (reference: Google).

Once she even stood behind me as I was typing a memo she was reciting and went so far as to tell me where every comma should go and when to backspace when I made the occasional and unfortunate typ-o.

In a word, she was crazy. One donut short of a dozen. She got a lot done, but wildly. It's the kind of person that makes you tired after 5 seconds of being around them.

One morning as we were planning an upcoming large event, she began a group brainstorming session. Since we didn't have any white boards up in our new office building yet, we all had notepads at the ready to compile our lists.

As the ideas began to flow, I could see her wild eyes looking frantically for a place to write. IT HAD TO BE UP! IT HAD TO BE BIG! IT HAD TO BE VISIBLE! And with the lack of white boards, all at once she threw the chairs back and began writing on the walls. ON THE BRAND NEW OFFICE BUILDING WHITE PAINTED WALLS. With a pencil, but still. You could hear a quiet, but audible gasp in the room, and then all at once, we resumed working because it was, after all, our manic boss. We should expect nothing less.

Since that day, I can't deny, that I've had an unrelenting itch to write on the walls. I'll admit, as a creative type, I have my own kind of mania. Ideas that pop into my head at all hours. Notebooks filled with ideas of what I want to do, what I should do, and what I could do. To-do lists, priority lists, and one-day-I-will-do lists.

If I don't see these ideas, I forget them, and then they clutter my mind and I have to start a new list in a new notebook, so I can forget about those too.  If I don't see it, I forget it. If I don't read it every day, I sometimes forget what's motivating me. So I have this strange urge to write it BIG and BOLD and make it VISIBLE so I don't forget it.

I scaled down my crazy and bought a medium sized white board. And although I've written a few things on it, it still hasn't totally tamed the urge to write BIGGER so I can SEE IT ALL.

So what's the key to unlocking your creativity & productivity? 

Maybe C.S. (a.k.a. my manic boss) was on to something. Unclutter your mind by writing it all down and keep it in sight. Instead of blocking creativity and thought process, let it flow... All of it. The house to-do lists, the business to-do lists, the creative to-do lists, the children to-do lists, the husband honey-do lists, trips-you-want-to-take lists. Every last little thing until all your dirty laundry's out there like a bad reality show.

And while actually writing on the walls does qualify you for the definition of manic, you can at least write it all down on paper. Keep separate lists and tape them up around your house (in closets, behind cupboard doors, so people don't think you're too cray cray) so you can take a glance and remember what you're working toward. And for the love of Pete, cross off items as you do them! That's a whole other level of satisfaction.

Too much in your head stops productivity and keeps you in a vicious cycle of feeling unfocused and overwhelmed. As you write everything down that is bogging you down & leave it out where you can see it, the ideas will begin to flow and you won't have only saved your sanity, you won't have to repaint your walls.



shannon sorensen maker of fairface washcloths, best beauty cloths for faces
Shannon Sorensen is a blogger and creative type who occasionally fights the urge to write on the walls. Besides her creative outlets, she is also the Founder and CEO Shannon Sorensen Designs, maker of Fairface™ Washcloths, the best skin care washcloths for soothing and calming even the most sensitive skin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top 5 Best Entrepreneur + Small Business TV Shows you can actually learn from

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Living the small biz dream © Shannon Sorensen Designs
I think I always knew some day I'd be running my own business. It's in my genes.

I watched my dad work tirelessly operating his own thriving dental practice. He carried both the burden and blessing of being in charge. From a young age, he instilled in me the desire to make something of my own, like he did.

I wanted to be like him. Working for a PURPOSE instead of just a person. 

This is the decade of Entrepreneurship. The empowering age of Small Business. If you can dream it up, you can build it up.

I love to learn from strong people who have gone before me, or who are standing right beside me as we blaze our trails.

I thrive on learning all I can about running a small business and have found a few tv shows that focus on Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses. If you share my passion for running your own business, you've got to check these out!

Top 5 Picks for Small Business & Entrepreneur TV Shows in 2016

 

The Profit

This has to be one of my all time favorite tv shows for start-ups and small businesses. Marcus Lemonis is a savvy businesses guy who partners with struggling businesses to help give them direction and funding. He can be hard core, but speaks the truth. I actually learn something from this show, which is what I love most about it. I take notes. You're able to see how real businesses talk about profit margins, percentages, distribution, manufacturing, packaging, co-packing, etc. It's seriously awesome. You can watch the last season on demand or purchase previous seasons on Amazon. I can't wait for the new season in August!!! Word has it, Lemonis is also going to be in a new show called The Partner, which I'm dying to see when it's released.


Quit your Day Job

If you're crazy about entrepreneurship, you'll love this show. It's a little quirky, but I love what I can learn from it. It features a team of 3 investors (Randi Zuckerberg - yes, it's his sister, Sarah Prevette and Ido Leffler) who choose which of 3 entrepreneurs to invest in and help them grown their business. This show is about people like you and me who are trying to get your product out there. It feels very relate-able on many levels.


Follow the Leader

CNBC is rocking it with all their small business/entrepreneur tv shows! I really like this show because you get a day-in-the-life experience with some of the most influential and successful people out there who grew their businesses from small to boom. I take notes when I watch this too (nerd alert). A few of my favorite people they've followed are: Katia Beauchamp (co-founder of Birch Box), John Paul DeJoria (the name behind the Paul Mitchell brand), and Gary Vaynerchuck (social media guru).


Beyond the Tank 

Is it just me or do you want to get to the real meat of what goes on behind closed doors after a deal with Shark Tank?! I still like watching Shark Tank, but I really like what happens next. I want to know how these businesses grew, what they did to manage this new growth, and how they got or will get to that next level after they walk away with a deal. Sorry, Shark Tank, but this nudges you out of my top 5.


Billion Dollar Buyer

Enter Tilman Fertitta. He's a rich man who wants to help small businesses by giving them a chance at selling or offering their products in his many hotels and casinos. What's interesting to me about this, is watching how these small businesses are launched into a world of BIG quantities. If they're going to make a deal with Tilman, they'll have to figure out how to scale production while keeping a cost that works for them both. If a deal is made, it could be just the break these small businesses have been looking for...if after all that work he even makes the deal. P.S. The board room makes me uncomfortable.
 

Other Small Business and Entrepreneur TV Shows to check out

Although these shows didn't make it to my top 5, I still like them (unless noted, ha!) and they still have something to offer the entrepreneur / small business / start-up minded.

Shark Tank   

Although After the Tank pushed this out of my top 5, I still like watching every day people like you and me, pitch their good ideas to investors. I learn from them. I share their anxiety as I imagine myself up there in front of the sharks and hope never to hear Kevin's words, "You're dead to me."

Blue Collar Millionaires

This was very close to being in my top 5 because who doesn't love a good success story? It's inspiring to see how these hard working people created very successful businesses for themselves with their passion, blood, sweat and tears.


Make Me A Millionaire Inventor

Not as compelling as some, but I still love seeing what people have come up with, how they try to perfect their product, and what happens when they pitch to an investor.

West Texas Investors Club

I dare say, this should have been called the West Texas Hillbilly Club. This is another product-pitch-investor-show and if you can stand country bumpkin talk, you might like this. While I love me some hunky southern twang, I had to turn it off because they sound too much like hillbillies and it drove me nuts.

Undercover Boss

I have a love-hate for this show. Not only does it make me cringe, because I don't like people trying to trick other people into thinking they're someone they're not (that hurts my feelings), but the wigs and disguises are so ridiculous that it physically hurts a little. It usually ends with a feel-good story and money gifts at the end, which are heart felt, and it is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at some well-known companies like Yankee Candle, 7-Eleven, Cinnabon and my recent favorite Stella and Dot.

How It’s Made

Interesting show if you like to take a look behind the scenes at how every day products are manufactured.

All-American Makers

I haven't watched this show yet, but I plan to. I think it's based more on higher end and tech ideas than the every day maker, but it's still on my list.

What NOT to do in business...

American Greed

Sometimes a juicy story about how someone did it oh-so-wrong can be a good watch. I like this one.



Have I missed something? Let me know because I'm all about binge-watching good tv.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Selling your poducts on etsy and beyond: my story

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Tips for selling online through etsy and website shops
I am often asked what it's like to be an Etsy seller, how I decided what to sell and what happened after I opened my shop doors.

I'm pretty much an open book, so in an effort to address many of those questions, I thought I'd share my perspective on what it's like to sell on Etsy and what has happened since I launched my first shop.

***At the end of this post I also share a load of helpful tips and points to consider when selling your handmade goods on Etsy (or another online venue).



Finding the Right Product to Sell in your Etsy Shop

It's an interesting thing, that game of trying to find the "it" product. My husband and I often smack our heads and say, "why didn't I come up with THAT?!" We're still wishing we had been the ones to invent the post-it note.

But if you're looking to be, or already are an Etsy seller, you know that Etsy is about standing out. It's about being unique. It's about bringing your creativity, your uniqueness and your passion and hoping people like it and if they do, you've found "it".

 

Choosing what to Sell on Etsy can be a Process

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It was January 2011 when I first opened my Etsy shop doors: Shannon Sorensen Designs. It was a bit of a whirlwind as I look back on it. A time full of excitement and motivation. It was at that time I began this blog to document all my sewing adventures.

Choosing what I wanted to sell came easily. I was bursting with creativity. I was sewing and selling pillow covers, baby bibs and burp cloth sets, blankets, nursery and home decor, all with love and passion. I even tried my hand at Ink Blot T-shirts and Ink Blot Onesies, which was crazy fun. (Watch some of my surprising ink blot designs come to life)

But at one point, I wanted to introduce another product to my shop, and since I was still fairly new to Etsy and hadn't settled on a definite direction, I figured, why not include home decor pillows and skin care washcloths in the same shop?  Such a branding faux-pas as I look back, but what did I know? If they sold, they sold. So I decided to try it.

My Etsy "It" Product

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Creative business can be a tricky thing because you never really know what will sell. It's coming from your heart and head so no matter what trends you follow, in the end you have to go with your gut. 

When something really speaks to you, like this new product did to me, you bring it with all you've got and if there was one thing I really cared about, it was my skin care washcloth line because it meant a lot to me personally.

Sensitive skin issues had hit me hard and in an effort to calm my skin down, I had begun making my own soft washcloths to use for gentle cleansing. The difference in my skin, when switching from regular washcloths to these soft cloths, was almost immediate. Instead of turning red and irritated after I washed my face, it was finally calm for the first time in a long time.  I knew that I was onto something and if I could help bring relief to other people suffering from sensitive skin irritation, it was my job to get it to them.

This decision to introduce my soft, sensitive skin washcloth line was one of those moments when you know deep down it's something big.  My husband wasn't totally convinced this would be a big seller, but in the end, I knew I wanted to share this skin care godsend with the word, and all at once, the first Fairface™ Washcloths were introduced into the market place. (If you look at my sold items, you'll see how quickly they took off.)

Make and Sell What Inspires You And The Rest Will Follow 

I started in one place and ended up in another. That's what happens a lot in my life. And what I've learned, is that if you never start anything, you will never get where you are meant to go.

Over the course of these 5 years, my ambitions have shifted, and while pillow cases, baby bibs and nursery blankets are someone else's passion, mine has become evident to me: Fairface™ Washcloths

One year ago in September, I phased Fairface™ Washcloths out of my first etsy shop (which I recently closed) and opened a 2nd Etsy shop specifically for Fairface™ Washcloths. In addition, I launched my own website: FairfaceWashcloths.com. Specific branding goes a long way and the growth and opportunities that have come as a result of those decisions are amazing and I feel incredibly blessed. I also feel very fulfilled and happy to share these washcloths that mean so much to me, with others who can benefit from them.

The Passion behind Fairface™ Washcloths

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Fairface™ Washcloths: products that help people
Put simply, I care about skin care products that help people. 

I care about providing a product that can help eliminate someone's suffering and help their skin feel and look better.

Fairface™ Washcloths, to me, are about helping people feel comfortable, accepting and beautiful in their own skin. And every time I hear back from a happy customer about how Fairface™ Washcloths have helped their sensitive skin, it reaffirms that deep down feeling from all those years ago, that this was the right decision.

xo ~Shannon



Shannon, of Shannon Sorensen Designs is the Founder and CEO of Fairface™ Washcloths, a line of specialty skin care washcloths and face cloths, soft and soothing for sensitive skin.

 

Want to open your own Etsy shop? First ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • What is your unique spin on it, i.e. how can you give an ordinary pillow cover your unique touch? Make it look different? Use materials and designs different than other sellers?
  • Do you love making it?
  • Do you enjoy just the design process, the making process, or both?
  • Would you be happy making hundreds of them?
  • Not sure what to make? Don't panic! Try a few things and see what happens. It's a process. 
  • Don't be afraid to share yourself and your talents with the world. If you never try, you'll never know what could have been.

Tips for Selling on Etsy or other online shop:

  • Make sure you have the correct business licenses (check with your city and state)
  • Understand how and when to collect and pay state sales taxes, if applicable
  • Read and follow the Etsy or other online shop guidelines
  • Learn about the labeling requirements to sell your products (for textile products, see FTC textile label requirements)
  • Don't purchase too many things up front (labels, packaging, etc.). See what works, what doesn't, what you love and what you don't. After you decide what you like, you can begin purchasing larger quantities and get better pricing.
  • Have questions? Consult Etsy forums, other sellers, and even your local small business administration. It's not as complicated as it feels. Take it step by step. 
  • Learn about branding. It's key to a focused marketing strategy.
  • Market yourself!! I can't emphasize this enough. Don't wait for Etsy to bring buyers to you, or you'll be very disappointed. In order to be successful online, you must market your own products! Launch a blog and social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.) highlighting your products and behind the scenes. Drive traffic to your shop!!

Final advice for selling on etsy or your website:

  • Do what you love.
  • Do what brings you joy.
  • Do what feels fulfilling.
  • Focus, focus, focus. Often, you can stretch yourself thin on time and money by chasing too many ideas at once. Focus on 1 thing at a time and do it really well. The outcome of your efforts will drive your next move.
  • Experience is Golden. Reach out to other etsy / online sellers and bloggers. In my experience, many people are very willing to help and offer advice! 
  • Try different venues. There's nothing wrong with having more than one place to sell your online goods. Being a seller on Etsy doesn't mean you can't sell elsewhere too.
  • Don't get bogged down by negativity. Some people just don't get it, but stick with your intuition!
  • Take it step-by-step. It might feel overwhelming because you don't know everything right now, but all of the greats got started somewhere just like you.
  • This is yours. If you don't like something, change it. Follow where your inspiration leads.

Wishing you much success and happiness!
xo - Shannon

More questions I didn't cover? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Do you have an etsy or other online shop? I'd love to hear your experiences and tips as well! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Gifts for 80% off! Last chance sale! Ends May 4th

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Black & White Chevron zippered pillow covers 75% off! Only $7.98 each!
I don't know why I forgot to post about my HUGE CLEARANCE SALE, but here we go! Everything in my shop, Shannon Sorensen Designs, is priced to sell!

*GREAT BABY GIFTS UNDER $5!

*INK BLOT T-SHIRTS UNDER $7.00 EACH! 

*CHEVRON PILLOW COVERS UNDER $8.00 EACH!


I will not be re-listing any items - STORE CLOSES May 4th!

Huge savings of up to 80% off on the remaining merchandise. Grab it while you still can!


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One of a kind Ink Blot T-shirts 80% off! Only $6.98! (see additional t-shirt styles in shop)

 
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Ink Blot Baby Onesie 80% off! Only $4.98!


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Cherries baby bib and burp cloth 80% off! Only $4.98!



>>>SHOP THE CLEARANCE SALE HERE!<<< 


Why am I closing up shop?? To focus on my flourishing business Fairface Washcloths, the softest Washcloths and Facecloths for sensitive skin.

I'll be posting soon about the changes and exciting times ahead! xo

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Perfect gift for him - son, husband, dad, brother and more!


great gift idea for a counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor, high school teacher, college professor - Ink Blot T-shirts from SSorensenDesigns.etsy.com
Ink blot T-shirts are trending again and make the perfect gift for the men in your life! If you're looking for a holiday gift for him (husband, boyfriend, son, or father...) I've got a great one for you!

Catch our CYBER MONDAY DEAL ON INK BLOT T-SHIRTS! 
USE CODE
inkblotholiday30 
at check out for 30% off any 
Ink Blot T-shirt! 
*offer also good on ink blot onesies
Offer valid now 
through 11/30/15, 11:59pm ET. Only at SSorensenDesigns.etsy.com

Trust me, no one will have a t-shirt just like yours (they're made as originals, one-by-one) and you'll get the award for the most clever gift!

These ink blot t-shirts are even more loved by those who can appreciate them. They make the perfect gift for a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, college professor, high school teacher, or doctor.

Last Christmas we were told by our customers how fun it was for them to watch the recipients open their t-shirts and have everyone sharing what they saw in the ink blot. Wouldn't Freud by proud? Ha!

We only have few left in the shop, so hop on over to our Etsy Shop and take a look! Remember, the Cyber Monday Deal only lasts through Monday night at 11:59pm!

Happy Holidays! xo

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Free Skin care face cloths Giveaway! From Fairface Washcloths!

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Don't miss out on this awesome skin care giveaway now through December 12th, 2015!

 

I'm hosting a rare giveaway for my skin care washcloth line Fairface Washcloths™.

Win a free Fairface Washcloths Bundle of 4, including 4 of our luxury cloths!


Our luxury skin care face cloths (and washcloths) Bundle of 4 includes:
2 Fairface Originals: Super soft flannel front and absorbent terry cloth back for that extra scrub when needed.
2 Fairface Delicates: Super soft flannel front and back for the ultimate in softness for sensitive skin 
All of our washcloths and face cloths are made with 100% cotton imported fabrics, in a lovely little suburb of Seattle, WA, USA.

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Pair Fairface Washcloths with your favorite cleanser and wash and reuse over and over again. Much friendlier to the environment. There's nothing to throw away.

Although made super soft for those with sensitive skin, they are a luxury face cloth loved by many with all skin types!

You don't pay shipping. You don't pay anything. I'm feeling festive and want to give a gift to some nice, deserving person! They make a great gift for the upcoming holidays too! Good luck and Happy Holidays! xo


HOW TO ENTER:
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1. Follow us on Instagram @FairfaceWashcloths
2. Like our contest photo >>>>>
3. *Post a selfie tagged #Fairfaceselfie
*Instagram account must be public in order to share the hashtag and be counted.

That's it!
The winner will be announced 12/12/15.

Disclosure: Per Instagram rules, this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram's term of use.


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Go to FairfaceWashcloths.com to learn more about our luxury skin care cloths!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

SPRING SALE! COUPON CODE!

SPRING SALE!
20% OFF EVERYTHING IN THE SHOP 
(even sale items!)

USE COUPON CODE:
HAPPYSPRING20
at check out and receive 20% off your purchase!
Now through 5/31/15


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