Friday, December 30, 2011

40% Off Select Holiday Molds

It's that time of year. We are closing out select holiday molds at a 40% savings. This is the time to stock up for next year. Below is a link for the discounted molds. This savings runs through January 31, 2012. No back-orders. Limited to in stock quantities.

Check out the 40% holiday molds here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Reflections on 2011

Perhaps it's my age or the hectic pace of running a business but this year passed in record time. As snow is falling outside my office window, I'm reminded of the four season cycle. In Michigan, we experience all four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. This week marked the end to the longest day of the year. Days will begin to be longer and nights shorter. More daylight and sunshine is welcomed in the Midwest. As I celebrate this change in Winter Solstice, I reflect on how the 2011 seasons applied to my life.

Spring was a reflection on growth and a renewal of hope, a reminder that planted roots can grow and mature to accomplish set goals. The yield received is based on how well the soil is cultivated for growth.

Summer was a time to face challenge. Whatever did not grow in the Spring was assessed and changed to promote future growth. Some of my ideas did not survive. That's OK, because Fall was a time of reflection. I consider it the "Golden Season". It's a time when ideas are ready to harvest and I reflect on whether business or personal goals were achieved.

And then along comes Winter. For me, it's a time of death. A time to let go of those things that did not work, resurrect ideas and reinvent a new business plan.

As 2012 approaches, I am re-evaluating both business and personal goals. I hope you do the same. It's impossible to grow if not reflecting on where you are and where you want to be. Life is full of change. But change often brings growth.

My New Year wish for those reading this post: Be true to yourself; don't compare yourself to others in the business.

As you work to grow your business and see others succeed in the upcoming year (while you are not)... HANG IN THERE! Understand the dynamics of the Cycle of the Seasons. It takes time to develop a business. Heck, it takes time to evolve into the person we hope to become. It's about pointing yourself in the right direction, surrounding yourself with good mentors and focusing your sights on desired goals. It may not be easy, but success is never easy. It's a work in progress.

I hope 2012 brings that "Ah-Ha" moment to you. The moment when you say, "Yes, all that hard work paid off".

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Family Quilts: A Christmas to Remember

It was a wonderful Christmas. The time and energy put into making it joyous for those I love was fulfilled. Pictured above is my 81-year old mother with a quilt. Before my grandma passed away, she gifted me with many quilt tops assembled throughout her lifetime. I promised her I would one day have them made into quilts. This was the year!

I gifted a quilt to my sister, daughter, mom and myself.

My mom reading my letter about the gifted quilt.

My Daddy passed away from cancer 3 years ago. My Mom misses the love of her life (56 years of marriage). This Christmas I wanted to give Mom something from my Dad. He loved eagles and collected all things pertaining to them. I gifted my Mom with an eagle lap quilt to cuddle under. It's a reminder my Dad is always near even though he is no longer with us.

The poem in the card my Mom is reading (above) was written as though in first person from my Dad. My iPhone played a song he dearly loved. The tears in my Mom's eyes were the best gift ever. She slept with the eagle quilt last night. I hope it brings her some measure of comfort as she snuggles beneath it next year.

My Mom and me, Christmas 2011.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day Nine: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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Last night the elves spent time coloring in oversize coloring books they left for the grand kids. There were also special magnetic alphabet letters. Each elf left a personal message for the kids using the letters. Carson's read: "Rock on Carson". There was also, " I love U" and "Are U being nice?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Packaging for under 30 cents!

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Ok... it might be a bit more if you don't have the rubber stamps, but once purchased, they can be used over and over again.

My daughter stopped by this morning on her way to work (for her usual morning coffee). She plopped a box of gooey putty containers on the counter and asked if I would wrap each one for my grand daughter's kindergarten Christmas party. How could I say no?

I struggled with how to wrap 25 containers. I didn't want to labor over something that cost so little, but wanted my grand daughter to be proud of the presentation. And then, like a vision in the night, it came to me (I just had to say that!) I remembered the white tissue paper in the warehouse. Small gift tags had just arrived (which we will be selling soon at GoPlanet), cotton twine and a drawer full of rubber stamps. It was everything needed to package a 50 cent gift.

I printed clear labels: From: Olivia and applied to each small  gift tag (the label was angled to fit the tag). White tissue paper sheets were cut into thirds. Holiday word stamps were used in red and green colors (FYI: GoPlanet's liquid gel colors can be used to ink rubber stamp pads).

Each gift was wrapped in tissue and tied with cotton twine (gift tag attached). To add color, a snippet of grosgrain ribbon was used. A recycled Kraft bag was stamped with Christmas merriment to cart the goods to the classroom.

As I looked at this simplistic packaging, I realized how this could be used to wrap soap for gifting. Of course, if using melt and pour soap, you will need to wrap the soap in shrink or stretch wrap before encasing in the tissue paper. What an inexpensive way to present your holiday soaps. 

I suggest cutting and stamping the tissue sheets beforehand if doing craft shows. Wrap purchased soap in tissue and dress with ribbon and gift tag.

Day Nine: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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My, my, my... Olivia's elf, Giggles, decided to shower and put on make-up during the night. Fischer's elf decided to read A Redneck Christmas story to all of his toy friends. Take note the celebrity Buzz Lightyear showed up for the reading.

Carson's elf, Dimples, thought skateboarding in the house was a great idea. Not so sure what mommy thought about that. A nutcracker friend also joined in on the play time. Take note of the skateboard in the nutcracker's hand.

These elf events were not on the calendar I prepared for my daughter. They were her ideas and pretty clever. As a full-time working mommy of three, she counts on her own mommy to help her with elf ideas :)). I'm glad she had a moment to be creative with the elves.

The kids each received a light up snow globe from their elves (purchased at Kohl's on sale).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day Eight: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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Another night of mischief. The elves crept out of bed (even though the kids swear they were holding the elves tightly) and decided to play a few rounds of poker. They needed a fourth partner so solicited the help of one of NeeNee's nutcrackers.

The elves got into NeeNee's special glassware that are only reserved for the grand kids special sparkling juice. My 3-year old grandson was upset that the elves had not asked permission to use them (because the kids can only use them with permission).  The drummer nutcracker decided to help himself to some eggnog from the fridge and used the cup Miss O had been gifted at our family party.

Thank goodness those elves went home with the grand kids last night. I told them I might have to lock them up in a closet the next time they come to visit NeeNee and Poppy. The kids would have no part of that!

Cheese Tower Christmas Tree

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Cheese Tower Christmas Tree

Love, love, love this! This was the cheese appetizer my daughter brought to our family Christmas yesterday. Everyone was in awe and snapping photos. She used four different cheese chunks (purchased pre-cut from Costco), parsley springs for the green, raspberries and sliced strawberries for the red.

What made this even more awesome was the cutting board used. My husband (the wine guy) received this from one of the wineries he represents. The grooved edge was ideal for arranging a border of cheese chunks.

I thought some of you might this idea useful over the holidays!

Coming Soon: Updates to Shopping Cart

In January, look for some shopping cart upgrades. I believe you will like the change as you will be able to sign-in to our web site and create an account. Once signed in you will be able to:

  • Update billing/shipping profile
  • View order details
  • Manage recurring order details
  • Print past invoices
  • View previously abandoned carts
As with any change, it will take time to adjust. In the end, I am convinced you will find it an added benefit when shopping with GoPlanet.




Sunday, December 18, 2011

$25 Holiday Giveaway

This is the holiday scene Kimberly B. is seeing this Christmas (photo by Kevin & She is the winner of the "My Family Christmas Holiday Tradition" contest which offered a $25 gift certificate to GoPlanetEarth. A trip to NYC at Christmas time is on my bucket list. Congratulations, Kimberly and happy holidays to you and your family from GoPlanet. Here is the winning submission:

"... my mom, three younger sisters and I start our holiday season by putting up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving. The family hangs out from early in the day playing games and watching holiday specials. Then, after eating and resting,we trim the tree and reminisce about years past.

Our tree has been around as long as I, 37 years, and we've both seen better times but continue to do our best each year. This starts the season with twinkling lights and positive intentions for what's to come.

Since we are all grown up and aren't swimming in a roomful of toys and clothes, we have started going out for holiday fun and giving mom a rest from the kitchen. We take in the traditional holiday sights NYC has to offer, like parades, department store window displays, Broadway shows and strolling the city streets just enjoying our time together. It has become just a spectacular as holiday sesons gone by with the knowledge that though gifts are nice, the real joy is spending time with my family."

Day Six: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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The elves had an early morning breakfast but not without a few mishaps. It seems they spilled some milk and also made a mess pouring their cereal into the new cereal bowls left for the kids. Not only did the kids awake to new bowls, but also a Christmas cup and countdown to Christmas place mat.

Miss Olivia's elf, Giggles, helped herself to a snicker doodle cookie.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day Five: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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Well, Elf Freckles had some shower fun last night. Fischer (my 3 year old grandson) stayed the night with NeeNee and Poppy. When he awoke this morning to use the bathroom, this is what he found. As usual, he explained to us how his elf did this. I have a video clip link below of his conversation with Poppy.

According to Fischer, the elf climbed up the toilet paper to get to the top of the shower head. He is the perfect age for the Magic Christmas Elf. It's such a joy to watch the enthusiasm he conveys when finding his elf. When the grand kids stay over, they awaken extra early so they can discover what their elves did overnight. Sometimes they leave a gift, other times they just do mischief. You never know what those silly elves are going to do.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Day Four: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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Those elves were up to something last night. It appears they found rolls of red and green crepe and decided to do some decorating.  It was quite a display. There were jingle bells everywhere (which BTW, the grand kids loved!). They went around picking them up and collecting piles. The polar bears stopped by to get in on the fun. As you can see, they brought some North Pole snow with them.

Miss O was all about the snow. Carson was still half asleep and Fischer was talking non-stop telling me how the elves took the jingle bells off all the reindeer. He also had his take on how his elf got on top of the TV and proceeded to demonstrate how his elf moved furniture and then jumped really, really high to get up to the TV. That's Fish below explaining his elf philosophy.

Here is a portion of Fish's conversation about the jingle bells and his magic elf.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Here's my Countdown To Christmas...Bah Humbug!!

10 days of high dose antibiotics and other meds to clear up a sinus infection. Not sure if I can keep track of what I'm suppose to be taking and when. I'm on seven different medications. So.... if I seem a little loopy over the next 10 days, and make a lot of k$adfioap[h sodrn (sorry, that was keying errors). You will know why.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day Three: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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Last night was somewhat tough. The idea was to slip tags over each elves head that read, "Look in your elf mailbox". Unfortunately, Carson and Fischer were clutching their elves so tightly while sleeping that my daughter couldn't get the tag over the elves's head. She decided to just place the tag on the elf's belly.

Well, that wasn't such a great plan because the boys toss and turn so much in their sleep the tags got lost under the covers. Thankfully, Miss O's elf, Giggles, had a tag and the boys started throwing back covers to find their own.

The kids ran to the elf mailboxes and found a message that told them where to look for a special gift. Carson received a small Lego set and the other two received holiday puzzles (courtesy of Target's dollar section).

I wish I could be there every morning to witness the grand kids excitement when finding messages, mischief or gifts from the elves. Anxious to hear what the elves did on the eve of day Four. My daughter is stopping by for her Blimpy Girl lunch this morning and she'll share the details (which I'll pass on to you elf followers).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day Two: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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On Day Two, the elves left each child a felt advent calendar. A stick of gum was inserted into each date pocket. As you can see, Dimples stacked pillows and hung the advent calendar from a light fixture.

My oldest grandson Carson, age eight, was concerned the elves had taken gum from NeeNee and Poppy's special cupboard when they stayed with us the night prior. We keep packets of gum in a cupboard above the fridge and Carson was right on; the elves had slipped gum in a back pack to fill the advent pockets.

Carson easily bought into this scenario but was concerned whether Poppy would be upset about the missing gum. I'll be leaving an apology note to Poppy from the elves. It will let Poppy know the heartfelt remorse the elves have for sneaking into Poppy's gum cupboard.

Miss O's elf, Giggles, was sitting on the kitchen counter surrounded by Pez candy and gum wrappers with a pink boa around her neck. My daughter calls me on her daily drive into work. There are no words to express the excitement she described when the kids awoke to find their elves this morning.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Business Paperwork Struggles: Are you With Me?

As we approach the end of our company's fiscal tax year, we are in a time crunch to make sure all our ducks are in a row for Uncle Sam. Are you feeling the same way?

With the current economic trend, every one is stretched to find ways to cut corners without sacrificing customer service and product prices. Smaller businesses don't have the advantage of  large volume inventory purchasing or the profit & loss margins to help them survive this next year.

In surveying my office this morning, I realized that there is plenty of paperwork needing attention before closing out year end with my accounting firm. I'm guessing many of you feel the same.

We have great accounting software and employee help; but, the paperwork is never ending. Customer credits, refunds, receipts and credit card processing all instigate a paper flow thread that seems never ending. The concept of a paperless company seems far-fetched. 99% of GPE customers still expect a packing list or receipt in every order.

Social media folk can talk all they want about new apps, programs and software that can promote greater revenue. I agree in part. BUT, there are a good number of customers that still have dial-up for Internet connection, do not have smart phones, can't afford the many Internet bells and whistles. Heck, most small businesses have little time to learn all the new programs while manufacturing their product. Let's be realistic here. We are in the midst of an ugly economy and those who have been online for years are clueless to the hardships and start up costs facing newer, smaller companies. There is pressure to be everything to everyone via social media, blog posts, face books, Pinterest and twitter. New social medias venues are added on a regular basis.

As I dive into this year's mountain of postponed paperwork, I consider those small businesses unable to employ accounting staff to help process paperwork. Many of those small businesses are my customers. Just trying to focus on order processing is a daily accomplishment, especially during this busy holiday season.

Here's my opinion. Find your niche! Work and develop that niche to a perfection. Don't sweat bullets about those bigger soap companies promoting the host of  behind the scene workers. Do what you do and do it well. You'll succeed if you stay focused on your vision.

As for the paperwork: Find a bookkeeper that is willing to track and record your invoices, receipts and inventory paperwork. Then, on a monthly basis, send that info to a CPA accounting firm to make sure that all your tax deductions are accountable and deductible.

There are plenty of companies out there in our industry selling a marketing pitch. You should thoroughly investigate if their monthly or annual fees are justified. There are many in the soaping industry that seem to be your advocate. However, make sure you do your homework. Spend your marketing dollars wisely. Quite honestly, I would rather spend my dollars on good help than those that profess to promote my company online.

$25 Holiday Giveaway: Enter to Win

FB Holiday $25 ONLINE GIFT CERTIFICATE GIVEAWAY starts today at 6:30 AM (EST) until December 16, 2011 6:30 PM (EST). Here's how to enter: Send an email about your favorite Christmas holiday tradition. I don't want any "made up" stuff, make it real. I want to know how you, or your family celebrate the season.

My workers will pick winner. Our mail addy is: Include full name when sending entry. Winner will be announced Sat, December 17, 2011 via email and agrees I can post their entry on my blog. Good Luck!

NOTE: You must LIKE our face book page to be eligible.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day One: 2011 Magic Elf Countdown

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We weren't expecting to have the grand kids last night, but they arrived at our house with elves in hand. My oldest grand son (eight years old) even brought a bed for his elf made from a folded quilt wrapped in a blanket.

Those darn elves had quite a bit of mischief up their sleeves last night. Giggles and Dimples snuck downstairs and got into all the Wii equipment including my work out stuff. They opened a bottle of sparkling juice, found candy suckers, got into the snack cupboard, opened Cheez-its and put reindeer ears on Mr. Gingerbread Boy.

Freckles (who is the twin to Dimples and belongs to my 3 year old grand son) was the most mischievous. I folded clothes earlier in the evening and left them on the kitchen island upstairs. Can you believe that Freckles unfolded underwear and put bras on various nutcrackers? My six foot nutcracker was wearing NeeNee's bra with Poppy's underwear as a hat. Crazy!

So, what kind of Wii game were the elves playing? It appeared to be a sword fighting game. Of course, the kids wanted to play the game this morning before heading off to church.