Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Features - April Showers

I can't believe the first quarter is almost behind us and April is just around the corner. Easter will be here before we know it too! As the old adage goes...April Showers bring May Flowers. And while I'm no fan of rain, we could actually use some here in the Midwest right now. So I found some fun and creative rainy finds for today. Enjoy :)
Clockwise from top left:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Back In Stock!

After a long hiatus (due to a poor supplier) my Wooden Recipe Boxes are finally back in stock! I was so excited to find a new supplier who handles their shipping with care.

I've already sold 2 of these since relisting them over the weekend! And I hope to add new designs to the mix now that I have a reliable source.

 What do you do when you have issues with a supplier? Have you ever had to discontinue an item due to a poor supplier? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Signs of Spring

I was so excited to venture outside this weekend to see that my tulips are starting to come up! A true sign that Spring is here! Though we had snow flurries yesterday, signs of Spring are starting to pop up.

It may not be much, but the grass is slowly starting to turn green.

And I've seen several baby calves already and the farmers are starting to get in the fields. Around here...that means SPRING!

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Wedding Invitations

Wedding season is upon us! Well, to be honest, I'm not sure there is a true wedding season as it seems weddings happen every month of the year. But with the weather getting warmer and the flowers starting to bloom, it makes planning a wedding a little more fun :)
My wedding section is the largest category in my shop and I plan to continue to grow that section all year long. I've been working hard on new invitation designs so there is something for everyone.


And I've been working on a few custom orders recently too. As soon as the weddings have passed, I'll be adding those designs to my shop as well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Features - Hello Spring!

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited Spring is here! After a long, cold winter...I'm ready for warmer temps are prettier colors. I've seen a couple blades of green grass and I'm patiently waiting for my tulips to bloom! As I await, I browsed Etsy to find some pretty tulip finds for today...Enjoy :)

Clockwise from top left:

Which is your favorite?
Are you as ready for Spring as I am?!?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recent Name Albums

I recently finished a set of 3 Custom Name Albums. I always love seeing what colors and themes my buyers will choose!

The nautical theme is very popular right now. I have several anchor items in my shop, but have never made a nautical album. I love the red and navy together!

This album is a nickname for Grandma Lovey...MaLovey. Grandma chose a beachy theme for her album...the colors are so great together!

And Alexandra's album is in pretty pastels perfect for a new baby girl :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Advertising is something I've always struggled with. I just never know what will work and what is worth the money and what isn't. Small ads don't seem to bring in any traffic, while large ads can be rather pricey.

I recently decided to try a rather pricey ad. After advertising on The Knot for the last year with little to no results, I decided it was time to invest that money elsewhere. I was contacted by Bliss Quarterly, a local magazine, to advertise to local brides. The package included a 1/2 page ad, email marketing, a list of brides who attended the two spring shows as well as advertising on their site.

The magazine was handed out to each bride who attended the two spring shows and is available at some local stores in the area as well. The second show was last weekend, so I'm still waiting to see how this pans out. Once I have the bride list, I will be able to contact the brides directly.

Time will tell whether I do this ad in the fall, but I will say that I am very happy with the company so far. They were great to work with in creating my ad and I feel you really get a lot for your advertising dollars. This whole package was $350.

Have you done any advertising lately? What have you found that does/doesn't work?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Considering Self-Employment?

Last week's post about becoming incorporated got a lot of discussion going with other bloggers and business owners. We got to talking about some very important parts of being self-employed and I thought I'd discuss those today.
While quitting your full-time job and working for yourself sounds awesome (which it really is!), there are some things to consider when leaving your full-time job. Your employer may offer you a lot of benefits that being self-employed will not.
Medical Insurance
Medical insurance can be very costly. Chances are, your employer is able to offer you medical insurance at a fairly low rate. Insurance for self-employed individuals can cost about $300 per month.

Life Insurance
I don't know if this is a common benefit for employers, but my old employer offered free life insurance up to the amount of my base pay. I could also double or triple this amount for a nominal fee every month. Individual life insurance plans will depend on the amount of coverage you want, your age and your past health.
Disability Insurance
Most full-time employees are offered disability insurance in the situation where you are unable to work for a period of time (surgery, car accident, etc). This may be full pay or partial pay depending on your employer and how long you have worked there. As a self-employed individual, have you thought about what you would do if you couldn't work. For a month? For six months? Definitely something to think about. Again, rates will depend on your age, the amount you want to collect each month, etc.

My old employer offered a retirement plan where they matched a portion of my contribution. And they made it easy to participate as the money came (pre-taxed) out of my check each week. Now that I'm self-employed, that entire amount is dependent on me.
When you work for a company, your taxes are paid each pay period before you receive your paycheck. This makes it easy to pay your taxes because you don't have to think about it and it's all taken care of for you. When you are self-employed you will need to pay estimated taxes each quarter. It really isn't hard to do, but you must budget for them. Not all crafty business owners are good at the business side of things. (left-brain vs right-brained). So this may be something you need to pay a profession to help you with. If so, you will want to budget for it.

While I don't want to discourage anyone from quitting their job and living their dream, I just wanted to point out some things that aren't always thought about when running numbers. I know I hadn't considered disability insurance until the other day. Just a little food for thought :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Almost Wordless Wednesday - One Step at a Time

It seems like work on my new studio has come to a screeching halt! We only have a few more pieces of trim left, but it's taking forever to get everything finished. We did get my new computer desk put together though :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Recipe Books

Back in January I talked about my biggest goal for 2014 being Growth. One way I'm growing my business is by looking at items that sell well and expanding on their lines. As I showed last week, I listed several new button designs with still more in the works. I'm also working on new recipe book designs. I've listed three new designs in the last week and have seen a great response from them!

This tree design came as a custom request after seeing my carved tree guest book. I think it makes a great gift for newlyweds :)
And these next two are designs I've had in my head for a while now and finally got them made. Everyone has favorite recipes that Grandma and Mom used to make. These books are a great place to keep all those recipes.

In the coming weeks, I'm hoping to introduce new cuff link designs and wedding invitation designs. I better get back to work!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Features - Welcome March

March is here and that means Spring is just around the corner! March also brings the aquamarine birthstone into action. Aquamarine is such a soft, beautiful color. I hope you'll enjoy today's jewelry finds... whether you're a March baby or not :)

Clockwise from top left:

Which is your favorite?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Edi Royer, Inc

With each year that I run my business, I learn something new. Lots of new somethings usually. Last year I learned how much I hate to pay taxes! I know it's a necessary evil, but actually having to write a check to the IRS every quarter just plain sucks. So this year, I've been looking for better, smarter ways to run my business without giving my profits to the government. One change I recently made was to become an S Corp. As of February 26th, I'm officially incorporated! Hello Edi Royer, Inc!

I thought I'd share a few things I've learned about becoming incorporated and whether it is right for you. (Tax pros, please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this!)

The first thing I recommend is doing a pros and cons list. Looking at your numbers and seeing if this option is right for you. While there are tax cuts and you can save money, you also have to look at the cost of becoming incorporated. I will be paying roughly $1,000 per year for my monthly statements, quarterly statements and end of year return. As a sole proprietor, I only paid $100 for my personal return/Schedule C at the end of the year. So you need to know that your savings will outweigh your costs.

Your savings come in the form of less taxes. As a sole proprietor, you pay roughly 30% of your profit to taxes. This will depend on your tax bracket, but this is where I fell.
As an S Corp I will still pay 30% on my payroll earnings, but I can make this wage fairly small as long as it's a living wage. I still have to pay taxes on my businesses profits, but only roughly 15%. That change can make a big difference if you're looking at a healthy profit.
I advise sitting down with a tax professional and having them run your numbers to see if this change will save you money.

The biggest challenge for me will be learning a new software program and making sure all my numbers balance. Many people already use Quick Books, but it will be new to me. I'm still learning and just hoping that my numbers balance at the end of the month...fingers crossed! This means stricter book keeping on my part!

Something else to consider if you do choose to become incorporated is your corporation's name. My financial adviser through the name Edi, Inc out there and I just liked how it sounded. When we went to register the name, it was already taken...bummer. So I went with Edi Royer, Inc. You should choose a name that can be used for another business if your current one happens to close. I will still be Doing Business As (DBA) Memories for Life, but my corporation is Edi Royer, Inc. This way if I ever own a flower shop or a Radio Shack, I can keep the same corporation and just DBA a different entity.

If you stuck with me though this whole post, I hope it was informative and helped you with your business :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Break Time

Apparently my new assistant thinks it's time for a break!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars

The other day I was in the search of a healthy snack at the grocery store. I've been eating some "warm cereal" kind of like oatmeal...but better. I found some loose granola that looked really tasty. I'd munched on a handful here and there when I got the idea to make it into granola bars. I just happened to have a 1/2 bag of marshmallows left over from another recipe, so these came together very quickly.

I can't even claim this as an actual "recipe", but maybe it's something you hadn't thought of and would like to give it a try. This "recipe" consists of 3 whole ingredients...the granola, marshmallows and a little butter. I microwaved the marshmallows and butter until melted and gooey. Poured in the granola. Patted it into a pan. And done!

 The next time I make them I'll be sure to buy 2 bags of granola and use a whole bag of marshmallows to make the recipe go a little further. And I'll admit, by the time you add butter and sugar (marshmallows) to's not quite as healthy...but it sure was tasty :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wooden Buttons

Last summer, I made my first wooden buttons. I planned on making several more and getting them listed. But you know how it goes...they got pushed by the wayside and I never returned to them. This weekend, I finally got most of them photographed and listed. (Still about 3 more styles to go.)

I also need to thank LeAnn of Pasque Flower and Duni of Peridot by Duni for using my buttons on their designs in exchange for photos of their finished work. I've gotten the Maple Leaf Buttons and Heart Buttons listed now along with their photos. Thanks ladies!!!

Anchors continue to be a popular graphic in my shop for several items, so I knew adding them to buttons was a logical step.

I hope to keep plugging away at these and get the rest listed this week as well. Wish me luck :)
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