Ultimate Entrepreneur Giveaway: Win A New Biz for The New Year

entrepreneur giveaway

Are you ready for the giveaway that could change everything?

Last year after our Handmade Holidays giveaway brought together an amazing group of handmade businesses and led to some beautiful outcomes I started percolating. I decided to turn the tables this year and offer a giveaway to the very creatives who have supported OMHG all year: YOU!

entrepreneur giveaway. new biz for the new year

We know building a business is hard work and most entrepreneurs have to piece their businesses together as they go along. One year the logo, the next the business coaching, then some advertising…bit by bit we work to make our dreams reality, learning along the way. There is much to be said for slogging along doing things the hard way but I know many of us have times when we wish for a little break or at least some elves to give us a hand.  We can’t conjure miracles or house elves but for 3 hard working entrepreneurs we have extra hands and skills to help you along your journey.

If you are already in love with your brand and wouldn’t change a thing be sure to share this giveaway with your network and help us spread the word to entrepreneurs far and wide!

Now for the prizes:

entrepreneur giveaway. new biz for the new year, aeolidia giveawayFor our grand prize winner Aeolida has offered the most generous prize EVER: a complete branding package valued at $2000! Your business will be renewed by the oh so talented fairy godmothers of the Aeolidia team-they have volunteered their time to sprinkle their magic star dust on your dreams. From a new custom designed logo to the pictures and words that will make your business sparkle, right down to how to spread the word, this package will give you wings!

Aeolidia Branding Package

Oh My! Handmade Advertising & Mentorship Package

I couldn’t miss out on all the giveaway fun! I am offering a year of advertising in the OMHG sidebar so you can show off your gorgeous new logo to our 100, 000+ monthly visitors and an editorial feature to share your rebranding and your story. I am also going to be investing a year of my time and love into the winning business. We’ll start with a Skype call so we can get to know each other face to face and talk about what you want 2012 to hold and how you want to spread your wings. For the next year I will be following along in your adventure with monthly emails and encouragement. If you are stuck and need an answer or are struggling with a decision, if you need proofs gone over or a second set of eyes, I’m your girl! Each month you can email me your questions and concerns and I will get back to you with my perspective and support, like a business BFF and accountability partner all in one!

entrepreneur giveaway. new biz for the new year

Ahoy Graphics Logo + 5 Branding Package

Logo + 5 branding suite package, created by skilled designer Kristen Hodges, of Ahoy Graphics. Includes a custom designed logo + choice of 5 items from the Ahoy Graphics ala carte design menu. Great for those looking to start a new biz or rebranding a current one.

Terms: Subject to Kristen’s availability for the start date and valid for 6 months.

Moxie Pear Product Photography Package

Professional, fully edited photographs of 10 products (2 pictures of each=20 pictures total) taken by the talented Lisa of Moxie Pear.

Ink Engage Copywriting Package

Copywriting package by wordsmith Tracey Selingo of Ink Engage and Twisted Pinky. Can include brand/product name and/or positioning or 5 product descriptions or copywriting for 3 web pages. Package valued between $750-$950 depending on services chosen.

Study Hall Business Coaching Session

Business coaching session with the lovely and knowledgeable Allisa Jacobs. Session includes:

  • Initial email conversations getting to know your brand
  • Individualized report outlining impressions and recommendations for branding, copy, cohesiveness, search relevancy, pricing and product development
  • List of specific personalized homework assignments you can apply right away
  • Follow up 45 minute phone conversation to discuss report, assignments, your concerns, and other thoughts to get your shop going
  • Copy of Allisa’s ebook, Rise and Shine, for on-going guidance and inspiration

Oh My! Handmade Advertising Package

3 months of sidebar advertising with Oh My! Handmade to show off your beautiful new Ahoy Graphics branding + ad design if needed.

Give It Away Now eBook

Give It Away Now: The Marketing Tactic that Creates Faithful Customers, a 42 page digital guide to marketing your business through giving by Erin Giles.

 This guide is for you if: 

  • You’re looking to create a buzz for your business online and either don’t have a marketing budget, or your self motivated + smartie pie self loves promoting your biz yourself.
  • You so badly want to start pitching your articles to high traffic blogs to gain exposure and create a buzz about your business, but you are scared even thinking about it.
  • Creating a digital freebie sounds hard but you are ready + ramped up to create one for your customers.

entrepreneur giveaway. new biz for the new year

Aeolidia Custom Logo Design

Custom logo designed by either Sara Jensen or Tracy Bishop  of Aeolidia

Oh My! Handmade Advertising Package

3 months of sidebar advertising with Oh My! Handmade to show off your beautiful new logo design + ad design if needed.

5 Steps to Etsy Shop SEO 

An online program from Meagan Visser the 5 Steps to Etsy Shop SEO & Relevancy is a quick & simple program that will help your shop & your products get found on & off of Etsy. You’ll learn why it’s important to optimize your shop for SEO & relevancy, which areas of your shop need to be optimized & which don’t, how to find strong keywords & how to do it all yourself! This program is full of easy, understandable instructions that will take you from zero to optimized in 5 simple steps. It comes in an easy-to-navigate pdf e-book that will take you through each step one-at-a-time. You’ll also receive access to the 5 Steps Workbook as well which comes with accompanying worksheets that correspond with each step of the program. These are invaluable to helping you work through the process. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have a thorough understanding of SEO & Relevancy & you’ll be confident that your shop is ready to rank!

Write With Moxie Thank You Package

Also from Lisa of Moxie Pear the Write With Moxie Thank You Pack includes a sweet pencil set (5 pc) of Lisa’s gorgeous eco-friendly paper pencils and a Handmade stamp. Perfect for sending little thank you notes to all your new customers!

Cultivate Your Creativity Workbook

With all of this change and excitement you might find yourself needing time to reflect and get creative. This illustrated workbook is sure to get your creativity flowing.

Give It Away Now eBook

Give It Away Now: The Marketing Tactic that Creates Faithful Customers, a 42 page digital guide to marketing your business through giving by Erin Giles.

entrepreneur giveaway

We already believe in you-all you need to do is show us you believe in yourself!  So bust out the glitter, disco balls and noise-makers and throw yourself a word party. Don’t tell us why you can’t achieve your dreams or what is holding you back, we want to know how you are already walking confidently in the direction you need to go and how this giveaway will just give you more momentum. Convince us you’re going to make your vision reality regardless of whether you win or not-that is the spirit we are looking for.


In order to be eligible for this giveaway you need to have an established business that has been operational for at least 6 months and can demonstrate steady improvement and growth. We will be doing our research, checking out your social media pages and seeing how you promote your biz-so make sure you include links to your website or shop, Twitter and Facebook. If you have none at all-this is not the giveaway for you, yet! Winners will be carefully evaluated and chosen based not only on the giveaway entry but their business as a whole + their determination to attain their dreams. This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere who meets this criteria.

There are three ways to enter this giveaway:

1. A 600-800 word essay on who you are/what you do and how you are working towards your dreams. We want to know how you have built your business to where it is now and your plans for the future. Be sure to address how winning this giveaway will help you make 2012 your year to shine. You can include links to 1-4 pictures with your submission to help showcase your work. Include links to your website or Etsy shop, Twitter and Facebook pages.

2. A 5 minute video essay on who you are/what you do, how you are working towards your dreams and how this giveaway will help give you wings. Get creative! Show us your workspace or family, work in progress, make an animated or stop motion video. Above all have fun! Be sure to address how winning this giveaway will help make 2012 your year to shine. Include links to your website or Etsy shop, Twitter and Facebook pages.

3. Be artistic. If your work is highly visual or you are more comfortable expressing yourself artistically you can enter this giveaway by writing a song, sharing a series of paintings, handwriting your entry, telling your story in pictures. Experiment! As long as you make sure your entry fully represents who you are/what you do, how you are building your business and how our giveaway will change everything for you. Include links to your website or Etsy shop, Twitter and Facebook pages.

To submit your entry:

Leave your entry as a comment or include a link to your essay or video (on your blog, public dropbox etc). Your entry can be as beautiful and complex as you want to make it!

Brownie Points: 

Show your commitment to winning by tweeting your entry daily using the hashtag #omhg

Share this giveaway with your network on Facebook & tag Oh My! Handmade

Demonstrate your community building skills by connecting with other entrants and chatting about the giveaway and your entry on Twitter with the hashtag #omhg or here in the comments

Show behind the scenes peeks of your submission in progress by uploading photos to our #omhg flickr group

Help us spread the word-tweet this! 

I’m ready to change everything + win a new biz for the new year with @ohmyhandmade & friends http://j.mp/w2EFs4 #omhg

Submit your story for a chance to win a new biz for the new year from @ohmyhandmade @aeolidia & more! http://j.mp/w2EFs4 #omhg

TY to @aeolidia @ahoygraphics @traceyselingo @MoxieLisa @allisajacobs @erinmgiles @MeaganVisser & @ohmyhandmade for a chance to win #omhg

Since this giveaway is judged based on the quality of your submission not on how many times you enter please feel free to encourage others in the comments and support each other!

This giveaway closes midnight December 28th 2011 with the winners announced midnight January 1st 2012 on Oh My! Handmade.

*Giveaway deadline has been extended until midnight January 1st, winners will be announced Monday January 2nd at the end of the day after all entries have been reviewed.  

The winners MUST contact editor Jessika Hepburn by email on or before January 3rd to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. 

By entering this giveaway you are agreeing to the Oh My! Handmade giveaway policies.

All prizes are subject to terms and conditions set by the individual prize givers.

entrepreneur giveaway

Many thanks to Pugly Pixel for the glitter textures used in this post!


    • Jessika says:

      If anyone has ANY questions about whether they are eligible are not please feel free to ask here, shoot me an email (editor@ohmyhandmade.com) or send me a tweet-I’ll let you know! Good luck friends, I am so excited for you all!

  1. Tania says:

    Holy crap, Jessika, this is amazing! Such a testament to YOUR generosity and community-building awesome-ness that you have people wanting to be such fabulous sponsors, and wanting to give back to the community that helped them grow.

    • Jessika says:

      @Tania Thanks love! I wish I could take more credit here, I opened the door & our generous contributors did the rest-they are incredible! Arianne at Aeolidia put the idea out to her team and the supportive response was just amazing. Feeling so very grateful to our whole team at this time of year:) And I can’t wait to see some entries!!!!

  2. Sapna says:

    SO awesome!!! This is so exciting and inspiring!! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity for so many creative folks who are working towards living their dreams!! All the best to everyone!!

  3. Jill says:

    So awesome! This comes at a very inspiring time for me! I will have to try and keep focused on my handiwork while trying to come up with something creative! Thank you for such a great opprtunity!

  4. Claire says:

    This looks like an amazing giveaway! I don’t meet the criteria but I think I might complete some of the application process just for my own personal development!

    Can’t wait to see the applications and find out who wins!

  5. Cloud9 Fabrics https://cloud9fabrics.com/ is entering our 4th year of business. We are solely run by our 2 person team, myself, Michelle- design and marketing director and Gina- production and sales director. Our first year we launched one organic cotton fabric collection. In our 2nd, three collections. This year we released 6 and have started licensing with some of today’s hot talents. Next year we have plans for at least 1 every month with even more new licensees, including the iconic Ed Emberley. We’ve taken a huge leap this year and are hoping to move into our new home: headquarters office/warehouse in February. So, things are moving along! Business is good, Lots to do every second of the day. More than we can handle at times and as part of our growth, we expect to be hiring in the next year as well.

    This contest opportunity couldn’t come at a more timely moment. As I sat down to do my last brochure I was uninspired by the graphics I had created for our brand years ago. While I identify with the logo for sentimental reasons, it’s not a vision of our future for me at this point. Needs changing up. And I am not the person to do that… I’m just too entrenched – too close to it now. I’d like other people’s eyes and skills to help me see what it should be.

    The packages you offer sound so tantalizing and just made me realize that a simple rebranding is not all that I desire- I want the business to take on a life of its own through consistency of images and words, user-friendliness and clarity. I want to personally be removed from it, freeing me up from the constraints of my own limitations. What a joy it would be to simply follow rules instead of trying to create them- something I’d labor over and never be 100% satisfied with.

    Twice a year we attend trade shows and for that we produce ads and marketing materials. They always seem to suffice, but I’d love for them to shine. Cloud9 Fabrics is wholesome and modern with a young, fresh perspective- I’d like to see it break away from traditional molds and stand out as a the innovative brand it is.

    Aeolidia actually developed our e-commerce site. We could use some more integration between the shop, blog and website. This is something I deliberately held off on at the time because I wasn’t ready to give it the focus it needed. I think if the possibility of making these changes presented itself, I’d be more than ready to take it on now- in fact, I welcome the challenge!

    With all that is going on this year, all of these hopes about refreshing our identity would likely be put on the back burner. There simply isn’t room in the budget. However, should we be fortunate to win, we’d be honored and energized into making dreams a reality.

    Website https://cloud9fabrics.com/
    Blog http://cloud9fabrics.blogspot.com/
    Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloud9-Fabrics/108310919206807
    Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/cloud9fabrics

    Some may feel that we at Cloud9 have already got our act together, and in lots of ways we do. But I’m an avid believer in room for improvement and seizing any and all opportunities that make sense is part of our success. I relish the idea of taking things to the next level. Thanks for the chance!

  6. Jen says:

    Hello there! My name is Jen and I own and operate my own vegan lifestyle shop in Sacramento, CA. I have used Aeolidia over the years as they helped me with my very first website back in spring of 2006! We are Northern CA’s only vegan lifestyle shop that carries quality accessories such as belts and wallets, handmade artisan crafted goods both local and beyond, vegan grocery and hard to find food items, books and more. We recently moved into a new storefront after very first year in business and we have no where to go but UP. We strive to support the vegan artists and crafters who have supported me over the years and more importantly supported the animal-rights movement, changing animals lives for the better every day.

    Here’s the lowdown on Never Felt Better over the years. I first started out with an Etsy shop selling my own handmade vegan accessories and had quite a bit of success! I still have my original Etsy storefront, however it is in permanent vacation mode since my bricks and mortar shop has taken the spotlight (and pretty much every moment of my waking life!). Feeling like i should have an actual website to accompany my Etsy shop, I found Aeolidia and they were instrumental in the founding of my very first and actual website. I LOVE my little website, it served me well (notice the changet to past-tense there…tragedy struck!) until I found out it was hacked and locked me out of my own administrative functions. A bit more on that in a few…

    So, with my website and my Etsy shop I plugged away on the craft show circuit of Portland OR for a few years until we relocated back to our home town of Sacramento, CA. My husband and vegan mentor and I had the opportunity to open a REAL vegan store and I jumped on the chance. I am well versed in retail and store openings…with other people’s money…but the cost of business in CA is high and we chose the height of the economic downturn to open our doors. NONE of that detered me: my heart is into my passion which is veganism, animals, crafting, vintage, business and people.

    For the first year my website was chugging along perfectly and then BAM it was hacked and I found myself at a loss. I had absolutely NO budget for a new site, nor to simply pay someone to devote the time to try and figure it out code line by code line. So a few well-meaning friends helped me start a small, simple WP site that at least customers could visit and find out our address, phone numbers…links to our FB page etc. It’s just not enough–I MISS MY OLD SITE, with the support from the Aeolidia! I love our name, our logo, our fans, our customers, our supporters…there is no way i would do anything else for a living. This is our life. We have grown SO much over the last year in business! But here is much to work on in the upcoming months. We survived a relocation, our first year in business (which is no small feat I have to say!), the ups and downs of the economy! Any help from the prizes you offer would be so wonderful and much appreciated to keep us on the track we are on currently and position us to get back to our e-commerce so we can grow more and more. The generous prize packages would help us get that shot-in-the-arm I have been needing to address some of our social media and marketing issues. Our short term goals include starting a small vegan food coop to serve our vegan friends better, host more outreach events and co-sponser more animal charities we admire. I hope after checking out our, you understand our passion for veganism and our vegan community’s enthusiam for what we do! Thanks for taking the time to check us out, and I am crossing my fingers for some good luck in this contest.

    Jen Fosnight
    Never Felt Better Vegan Shop
    1910 P st. Sacramento, CA 95811


  7. I am loving reading these entries, great job everyone! y’all are motivated!
    Kites & Crows’ entry is progressing at the speed of parenthood…which, I suppose, is a reflection of our creative process too. We are working on integrating our whole family into our handmade business …look for our entry soon!
    cheers! Kites & Crows, indie folk music and upcycled creations

  8. Adriana says:

    Just finished up my video entry 🙂 You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/QIHWph10Um8

    You can also find me on:
    My website (http://adrianawillsie.com/)
    My blog (http://adrianawillsie.com/blog)
    Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/AdrianaWillsie)
    Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/AdrianaWillsieArt)
    Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/adrianawillsie)

    You can see a painting being made here: http://adrianawillsie.com/slideshow-of-poplars

    Again, good luck to everyone! What an opportunity, right?

  9. Bridgett says:

    I am approaching my third year in business as owner and designer of Perideau Designs, a personalized stationery and accessory company. I live in Connecticut with my husband, daughter and little baby boy on the way. Working in the corporate world for nearly 8 years I was dying to have a creative outlet so Perideau Designs was born. It allows me to personalize products to help make parties and events unique and special. After 30 years, I have finally found something I really truly enjoy and want to make a living doing so.
    2011 has been a year of rebranding, renewal and soul searching. I experimented with different marketing tactics, sales, products, etc…and with 2012 on the horizon I have analyzed what worked and what didn’t and have made a plan. I’m embarrassed to admit that in the past 3 years I have yet to do that and stuck with it. This past month I have laid out big holidays and what new products I want to launch and when. The biggest difference is that I’m not stretching myself thin. I’m allowing the proper time to let ideas develop. I also have looked hard at my branding business and decided instead of having it as its own separate business, I’m pulling it under Perideau Designs so the tagline will read stationery, accessory and branding company. I sort of like the ring to that! But I have big big goals that are written down for 2012. But the biggest change I’ve done was I included my husband in my goal making session. What really didn’t work this year was I was a one person team. I needed to include him so he understood what I needed and I can understand what he needs. And it feels as though a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I feel that connection again and that has fueled my desire and passion to make this business my full time gig.
    Now although most people will look at my business and see it as put together, there is still one element I feel like is missing, and that is connecting more with my peers and customers. I do a good job with email marketing and social media but my blog is where I’m lacking. Visually it does not represent me or my business well and I want everything to be cohesive. A place people will visit daily to learn more about myself, my family and the ins and outs of running a business.
    I’ve been through so many obstacles when it came to my blog design from starting off on BlogSpot to move to Word press then was taken advantage of by a designer to designing it myself. But I feel working with Aeolidia will be the icing on the cake. They have done a tremendous job with my website that I only feel comfortable working with them again. They get me and my small business.
    So I’m entering this giveaway to further my business. To bring it to the level I know it will be at, a level to provide for my family and allow me to do what I love, design and make people’s event that much more unique. It took me 30 years to find what I love to do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    2012 is my year. My year to make my dreams a reality. My year to show my daughter and son that hard work and dedication will get you far. My year to show my children that they can do and be whoever they want to be. They need to find what makes them happy and follow it with their hearts, and with a strong business I’m building, I want to be an example for them.
    Thank you for the great opportunity, to meet such great people and expand my circle of friends!

    My website (http://www.perideaudesigns.com)
    My blog (http://www.perideaudesigns.com/blog)

    Thanks again! xo

  10. Hello! My name is Holly Priestley and I am the designer, creator and owner of SillyLittleLady – Holly Priestley Originals. I started my Etsy shop back in 2008 and have been working on building my business slowly but surely every day since then. I’ve been knitting since I was nine years old and am largely self-taught. I started making gifts for close friends in Middle School primarily consisting of my original designs without using a pattern. In High School I started offering my knitting services if customers provided the materials. In College, I registered my business and opened my online shop. Since then, I’ve maintained not only the Etsy storefront, but my Ravelry store, my Facebook fanpage, my Twitter, an older blog and my current blog along with a website that directs customers to all of these spaces. I’ve already set up a newsletter for 2012, this will be a new venture for me but I hope for it to garner repeat business and more of a connection with my followers.

    SillyLittleLady is all about functional fun. My items are colorful, unique, high-quality and cater to the young-at-heart regardless of age. I don’t like to surround myself with clutter or things that don’t serve some sort of purpose and my products reflect that, they’re practical items with a bit of whimsy. I really enjoy working with clients on custom orders, they’re needs and ideas, creativity meshed with my own combined with my knitwear engineering abilities usually equal products that turn out some of my best work. Last year I even made an entire adult-sized set of hooded footie pajamas so that a friend could be Max from Where the Wild Things Are for Halloween.

    2011 was a great year for my business in many ways; I got professional photos taken of my designs to use in my self-published patterns, I started doing the show circuit again (I hadn’t done one in about a year and a half), my store has been steadily gaining international attention from customers, my custom requests and holiday orders are through the roof! All of these improvements are great and I want to keep the momentum going. I know that with knitting one can rarely make a living on one aspect of the business alone which is why I am embracing a variety of them. I want to sell knitted items, knitting patterns, test and sample knitting services as well as teach classes.

    I’ve already declared 2012 to be “My Year.” I’m going to do more than I’ve ever done before to further my business and make it thrive. I am going to submit designs to at least six different magazines. I’m going to self-publish a few patterns that I already have in the works. I’m going to seek out sample knitting and test knitting opportunities from established designers and companies. I’m going to find ways to teach classes at my local yarn stores and look into teaching at the Community College nearby. I’m going to attend more art shows. I’m going to maintain my new Newsletter and send out updates at least once a month to followers who specifically opt into this service.

    I recently found out that I will be laid off from my current full-time job at the end of the year. Although this worries me quite a bit, it also further propels me to follow my yarn-y dreams and make a living working for myself! Winning this giveaway would make it possible for me to develop a unifying element between all of my business particles: my Etsy store, my Facebook page, my blog, my Ravelry store, my Twitter, my website. I have the same online presence across the board, my name is the same, but my branding is sorely lacking. I have thought-out and detailed plans about how I’m going to make 2012 My Year but a small draft beneath my wings from the momentum of outside assistance would be greatly beneficial. Because I run the business by myself, I am not only the face of customer service, the manufacturer, the accountant, the marketing agent, the writer and janitor, I am also Holly Priestley and a single human being who knows that she just can’t do it all (but will try her damnedest to) and needs help every once in a while.

    My Etsy: http://sillylittlelady.etsy.com
    My Blog: http://sillylittlelady.wordpress.com
    My Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sillylittlelady
    My Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sillylittlelady
    My Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/sillylittleladys-shop
    My website: http://www.sillylittlelady.com

  11. Nanako says:

    Just finding out about this via a tweet from @manusmade – with one week to go before the deadline, there is a surge of energy to participate. Winning would be a golden moment, but more than that there is an urge to work with this amazing community + use the available energy to build something great. Even if it’s for our personal growth in the end, it’s a most generous + thoughtful event. Thank you for making this possible!

  12. Hi! Yay I’m so glad I came across your extremely generous giveaway and Im still in TIME to enter it. Here goes…
    My name is Stefanie Nieves and I’m the petite 5 foot 2 force behind this event design business The Petite Soiree. My goal is to change the world one party at a time. I really believe life is all about family and friends. At the end of the day, we all end up home and that’s really what matters in the end of it all. Coming to this realization saved me a life’s worth of searching and being beyond bored with work. I just wish the calling wouldve come a little nicer than it did! I started this small venture unofficially 3 years ago in 2008 when I was expecting my son and lost my marketing job when I had to get an appendectomy done while I was still 5 months pregnant . Yes, I was mortified and in a lot of pain. But mostly mortified for my son’s well being and normality after birth.

    After getting out of the hospital I was put on 3 weeks bedrest and was still in an emotional and physical mess when my employer told me a week after getting out that they couldn’t accommodate my bed rest leave. Although it was a huge blow, and was really down for the first few months – I sought refuge in celebrating my son’s birth and this huge milestone in my life with a baby shower. Problem was no one in my family was going to throw me one, so I took action into my own hands and planned my own. This would be the beginning of everything. Literally “taking action into my own hands” has become a constant mantra and common happening in starting this business. This moment 3 years ago prepared me for everything that was to come. After the shower, I started dabbling in crafts and creating a craft. Be fore this I didn’t have a creative cell in my body I was all logic and science in a psychology career in the marketing field (market research).

    However, after my baby shower – my family and friends loved the décor and quickly asked me to plan their own small parties. For another year I wouldn’t be serious yet and simply enjoyed making things and planning parties for fun. It wouldn’t be until last summer (8/2010) when friends and family saw my Own baby shower that a the hotel staff would say “Hey, are you a planner? We would love for you to plan parties for our guests,” that I started to take it seriously and really believe in myself.

    This past year I’ve doubted myself constantly but have continued to keep moving forward and gather up will where there often times was none. I would love to tell you that my husband and family were or are supportive of this but they still aren’t. They think it’s a total waste of time and no career will ever come out of it. I’m extremely thankful for it. Because of their adversity and the challenges of proving myself day to day I am so much stronger. I work harder, I stay up all night, event if I’m frustrated. I will do this, I have to do this, I AM doing this. I tell myself this day by day no matter what. No matter what businesss obstacle I come across I take it as another “set” to work through. My family has been the greatest source of my non-stop dedication and persistence in more than one way. My family’s negativity has taught me endurance, my children have taught me possibility. Everytime I see my children I know this is worth it.

    This past year has been amazing to see how word about my business and passion has spread to friends, acquaintances and strangers. When I decided to leave graduate school and pursue this more seriously, everyone hit the roof. I started a blog and settled on the name “The Petite Soiree” to honor my son being the reason why I started designing events and going into event business. I created my own website using wix, a blog using blogger and business cards on powerpoint myself because I simply can’t afford to hire a top notch designer.

    Last year, I aggressively started marketing my business online through social media and networking (and let me just clarify to me “marketing” means anything free or more aggressively getting my name out there anyway I can ☺). Out of that casual/informal networking I was picked for a personal makeover by The Salon Guy for a web reality show In The Chai. I’ve invested money in the business through professional photography of my work. All of my earnings continue to go on maintaining my domains/website, gas to meet clients and clothing to look polished at industry events. In the past year my business has grown tremendously. Besides doing children’s celebrations I’ve been blessed to have done my first major conference for the DIY Business Association in the Etsy Labs in NY; doing a corporate function for Head Start, and most recently – while I was still on bedrest from an invasive surgery that I was put on bed rest on for 3 months (this is my 3rd month!) – following the birth of my son (this was my 3rd surgery in the past 2 years) I just could not say “no” to doing the birthday party for the daughter of Carissa Lawson of News 12 NJ! Yes, I’m dedicated, I’m passionate, I’m relentless and not even my physical retraints can slow me down.

    I eat, sleep, breath and AM my business. It never closes, because I never do.
    With the help of my friends I did Carissa Lawson’s party last month and was incredibly blessed to have it air on News 12 NJ in the morning. I would love to tell you that this is all by my own merit but its not. I truly believe that God is behind my business, my strength and my purpose. I even think he brought me to this site at the best timing!

    I live for seeing the face of a child light up when they see their party for the first time and I absolutely revel in seeing a parents joy when their party uniquely speaks to them. I’ve questioned why things have been the way they are because of the challenges I’ve had along they way but in the end I know this will be worth it.
    I continue to try and build my business day by day even if all of my sites and media don’t match. I swear I feel like 1st grade all over again like when my outfit didn’t match! But, I hope with this opportunity I will be able to give my branding a make over and have it reflect the quality of my work and who I am. I’m so incredibly thankful to have seen this amazing opportunity, and hope that you will see my immense desire to continue to grow in 2012. Two weeks ago I announced my plans of launching The Petite Magazine, a Northeast upscale party planning source for hip parents. Together with 5 other amazing northeast planners (NJ, NY, CT) we are planning + styling the first 5 parties with a story book theme. We’re collaborating with vendors and other insanely creative people to hopefully create an in print and digital mag parents will find inspiring and helpful. The goal is to have the mag in pediatrician and OB/GYN offices throughout NJ, NYC and CT. I was inspired to create the magazine to address the need I saw from people not being able to afford planner services or simply not being technological savvy/or inclined to procure the unique parties they yearn to create for their children. I also wanted to promote all of us as event professionals and hopefully develop long lasting relationships.
    In 2012 I would also love to create a polished professional image through a harmonized aesthetic through my website, blog, in print materials. Right now everything is different and very DIY. After my work with Carissa Lawson where I rented many of the party items I had cached away because of my inability to make by handmade objects from scratch (sigh I was confined to the limits of my bed and pc) I became inspired to offer children’s party rentals to local parents. I feel that this would be another way to add value to parents by helping them save money and time in creating a party from scratch. I also feel it will make events a little bit more ecofriendly by re-using items instead of purchasing new ones for an event. Another goal is to expand the blog. I really love writing about the latest party trends , unique themes and things that I find inspiring. I would love to sponsor more giveaways (my first giveaway was sponsored this month for the etsy shop Leading Ladies..) and attend more industry conferences. I’m motivated each day to push my creative limits and inspired to keep moving forward no matter what adversity I may find.

    My very best,

    Me on:
    -The Web: http://www.thepetitesoiree.com
    -The Blog: http://thepetitesoiree.blogspot.com/
    – FB: https://www.facebook.com/thepetitesoiree
    – Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/thepetitesoiree
    – Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/company/1866416

  13. julie S says:

    Hi there. I’m Julie. Nice to meet you. Right about now you’re probably wondering, “Who is this Julie and why is she so freaking awesome? Well, I’m a freelance copywriter by day and a blogger by night. Although sometimes I blog during the day and do my freelance writing at night. It all really depends. One thing is for sure, I’m always pimping out my pencils – my small biz I lovingly call Lead-Based Insults. I’m a mother of two from Atlanta, GA who loves to drink hot coffee in the heat of the summer. My ears aren’t pierced. Well, they were once, but those holes closed a decade ago (unless you count my wedding day when I re-pierced them.) I have a dog, a cat and a roomba. My favorite holiday is Halloween, yet my son has a fear of people in costumes. My dad and I share the same birthday but he always lets me open my presents first. I love surprises, resist change, and don’t tolerate egos. I think my son is the funniest person I’ve ever met. My daughter is almost edible. I met my husband at work. I’m a copywriter and was his intern. It was totally not scandalous. Writing is my passion. I went to Emory University and studied abroad in Oxford, England. Saying that still makes me feel smart. I’m obsessed with yard sales, blogging and of course getting my pencil business off the ground. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. I could care less about watching sports. I completed my first half-marathon two years ago but now I can’t run more than three miles without feeling winded. The best piece of advice I ever received is to walk into a place like you belong and no one will ever question why you’re there. I’m obsessed with spotting famous people. I ran into Parker Posie in New York City and Ron Livingston at my local Starbucks. We totally had a moment and I wish I had offered Ron one of my pencils because In my mind we’re now going steady. It could have been my big break. My closet is never neat. The only time I organize it is the night before my maids come. My closet also happens to be the place that I store my pencils. My husband may file for divorce if I don’t start selling them soon. They’re taking up his half of his space. My favorite flavor of cake is red velvet and I love my gin and tonics. I totally plan to celebrate with both once my pencils go global. Or at least local. I have been known to sell pencils on etsy every now and then.I can still recite the phone numbers of my elementary school friends. I’m good at math and a self-declared nerd. 2012 is going to be the year of Lead-Based Insults. I’m going to advertise on blogs and etsy. I’m going to pimp them out at local art shows. I’d love for your help getting my little business to the next level. Would you like to help me? Check yes, no or maybe. Actually, just check yes. P.S. You’re pretty.

    Know someone getting married? It’s time to tell her the truth – with my pencils. Every girl will love to write (or poke her husband) with these:
    Husbands Don’t Help
    Diamonds Shrink
    Picture Him With a Comb-Over
    Pretend You’re Still a Virgin
    Eat After the Wedding
    Imagine Him Old And Wrinkly

    Have a friend that’s having a baby? It’s time to tell her the truth about motherhood – with pencils.

    Your Sex Life is Over
    Good Moms Pump and Dump
    You’ll Never Sleep Again
    Your Boobs Will Never Look The Same
    Husbands Don’t Help
    You Never Lose The Baby Weight

    Need a good laugh? Looking for a unique present? Give the gift of funny.
    You’re not pencil thin
    Poke your eye out
    Trees died for this pencil
    Write about your failures
    Chewing pencils burns calories
    Don’t drink and write

    Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LeadBasedInsults
    Blog: http://www.etsystalkers.com/ (I not only sell on etsy, I stalk it too)
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/etsystalkers
    Twitter: @etsystalkers

    Links to pictures:

  14. Faith says:

    It’s so wonderful to see more submissions! This is SUCH an amazing giveaway!! I can’t wait to read more of the entries and “meet” more homegrown business owners.

  15. Emily says:

    Hello, my name is Emily Ward. I am the owner of a skate shop in Memphis, TN called Blues City Skates. We cater to all roller sports including speed skating, hockey, artistic skating, quads, and inline but we specialize in roller derby skates, equipment and apparel. We also sell children’s skates, ice skates and accessories and do repairs. In addition to our physical location, we also have an online store (www.BluesCitySkates.com) set up so that those who are not close to us can also buy from us.

    About a year & 1/2 ago, I had just settled in to learning to skate and had just officially joined a roller derby league in Memphis, TN. As new derby girls do, I had to invest a sizable amount of money in equipment. The only caveat was that it was all online. There was nowhere to go in my city or even within 250 miles for me to go look at equipment, be sized or just ogle things I couldn’t afford. Despite being such a niche market, I had seen ladies from other leagues open up skate shops and succeed. I joked about it with friends and mused about how cool and convenient it would be to own a skate shop since Memphis did not have one. While participating in derby, I was simultaneously studying and trying to gain entrance into medical school. After spending quite awhile doing that and coming up empty handed, I decided to give the skate shop a try.

    In February 2011, I started the process of opening my very own skate shop and by June 2011, we had officially started doing business as Blues City Skates. Being derby owned and operated is a huge deal in the roller derby community and my league mates and even the local skate board shop owner came out in droves to offer help and to patronize my new store. I had teammates painting the walls, stenciling the front windows, sharing my links on Facebook and clamoring to buy something from me, even if it was just a 75 cent sticker.

    Almost right away, we were embraced by the skating community, including hockey, skateboarders and of course my beloved derby girls and guys. We were lucky enough to be able to co-sponsor the building of the first ever skate park in Memphis. It gives youth a place to go for physical exertion and making friends. We, along with other local skaters, have also helped collect canned goods for our food bank. There are so many ways that we are finding to give back and also get our name out there. Currently, we don’t officially advertise due to monetary constraints and also being unsure of what would work best. It is amazing the amount of business we get with only word of mouth, Twitter and Facebook advertising us.

    As much fun as owning a skate shop is; I have also learned so much, not only about myself, but also about what I want to do with my life. I may eventually pursue my dreams of being a doctor again but after being a female business owner in a predominantly male field, I have learned that my stamina and ability to do whatever I set my mind on is much stronger than I ever imagined. Another lesson learned was that you can never do anything alone. Getting help, even in unusual forms, from strangers, friends, and family has been pivotal in me being able to achieve this dream of mine. I have learned that I enjoy thinking outside the box, doing things a little different and fighting for what I want my life to be. If I want to skate derby until I physically can’t and run a skate shop, then that is what I will do. I feel that owning this particular business has allowed me to be involved with my community in ways I never thought possible. It has opened my eyes to the importance of local economies and small businesses and how small acts of conscious can change the world slowly. If I were able to win any of the prizes, I believe that it would enable me to compete at a higher level with the other available skate shops who have quite a leg up on me because they have been open longer. 2012 is definitely going to be a bright year for my business. People now know we are here, my e-commerce website is up and running pretty smoothly and we are ready to move beyond what 2011 had in store for us. I would like to increase my revenue and visibility, which would allow me to carry more items in stock, attract new customers and make my business a go-to stop on any skater’s list. As we become more profitable, we augment our ability to sponsor other derby leagues (which are mainly non-profit) and give back to our community in various ways.

    As most small start-up businesses do, we struggle but I have the support of the skating community, my roller derby league, other leagues who are close by and most importantly, my friends and family. See below to check us out.

    My e-commerce website: http://www.BluesCitySkates.com


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/BluesCitySkates

    Picture of my shop: http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/384907_270586799658935_167789119938704_825158_1143131285_n.jpg

    Picture of my shop: http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/310826_254452841272331_167789119938704_777759_1671797920_n.jpg

  16. Hi OMHG people! I’m SOOO excited to submit my entry to this amazing contest! I just tried to enter and it went all wonky, so if it appears and this is redundant, my apologies!

    To see my entry video and read all about my past, present and future, pop over to my blog post here: http://www.christinehaynes.com/blog/?p=848

    Good luck to all of us and thanks to the contributors who are making this happen. All the entries are amazing and deserving!

    Thanks and have a great holiday weekend!

  17. Gabbie Arias says:

    Am Miss evil kitty !

    My real name is Gabriella Arias. Some people would describe me as eclectic who loves fancy things . I been told I have expensive taste . Its not my fault Doves chocolate is better then Hersheys . But enough of the chocolate. Am a dreamer like most people of my generation . We want better things for the next generation even if it means we have to start from the bottom. Many of us have become part time business owners and it can at times be hard but we wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Eight year old me decided that she didn’t want to go to a for year college and get a degree in something I would later hate. See I knew then that I was ahead of my time even to this day people are in awe of how my mind set is. Not many eight year olds well tell you that student loans aren’t worth it. I remember watching “ Empire records” and hearing ‘ damn the man” So that stuck with me it made a light bulb turn on and made me go “ you know what I want to be my own boss“. I got into the mind set that I wanted to work when I wanted and take control of my finances . Eighteen year old me bought her first domain http://missevilkitty.org and started this part of my life’s journey . I Have since then become a certified web and graphic designer and got another domain for miss evil kitty this time around I got http://missevilkitty.com.

    I have learned that even if its on a chain and is vintage inspired its still art in its own way. And here I am at almost 28 with a tiny little etsy shop who for the past year I been working on getting her ( mek) known This time last year I didn’t have any sales I got 3 this month. Which has never happened . This is huge .I got a order on a Friday and the following day I another thing sold. These earrings 

    where $10 few days before .I decided to follow my gut and up the price to $14 and they sold. .I wanted to cry or scream which ever came first. But I didn’t instead I knew that all I have been doing this year was for those three sales this month. That was a early birthday present for me. Am glad someone bought them and will enjoy them .

    If I win. I well take advantage of everything given to me. Mek deserves to make her stamp in the world of jewelry because I believe she is something people need to know and see. I want Mek to not only be my full time job but I want her to grow so that I can get us a new work space and make a trip to NYC . This trip to NYC is to shop for vintage supplies at a warehouse I have read about that sounds like “heaven’ . Its suppose to be four stories high and endless supplies for vintage supplies junkie like me. forget winning the lottery . This trip would add more to my creative mind set to make more awesome things like .These are my goals for the near future. I do know that these goals will be knocking at my door and I cant wait .Just like the Morgan page song “ In the air”says ”I’m feeling it, I’m feeling a change In the air” .

    {Gabriella Arias / Miss evil kitty}

    web site: Missevilkitty.com
    etsy shop> Missevilkitty.etsy.com
    Twitter:http://twitter.com/#!/thekitty and

    Mek’s video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h88a0YeOtRA

  18. Karen Berman says:

    Hey all! I created a Twitter list of many entrants so we can all stay in touch as we continue to build our dream businesses. If you would like to be added, please contact me at @Momentoffocus

    Thanks and good luck!

  19. Karen Berman says:

    Entrants – you are a very talented and inspiring group of creative business owners. I have truly enjoyed reading your entries, watching videos and connecting on Twitter. Here’s to a prosperous, fun year for all of us!

  20. Karen Berman says:

    Thank you to the organizers of this fantastic contest. These prizes provide the exact help that would be invaluable for me now.

    After many revisions, I am finally ready to submit my entry. As a visual person who adores photography, my submission has many pictures. FYI – that means it is a large file and may take awhile to open.

    If you’d like to learn about me and my company, Moment of Focus, read our story at http://bit.ly/upzspg Since we had to use 800 words or less, this is the abridged version of our story. Enjoy!

    Happy New Year!


  21. Sandra says:

    Hello all, my name is Sandra, I live in Portugal.
    First of all I want to thank you for this wonderful giveaway, and to congratulate all who participated and shared your journey:)

    And so I share with you all some of my business and how it has been growing.

    For many years I worked in a museum school (Foundation Ricardo Espirito Santo) of Decorative Arts, where my main job was to restore the old tiles.

    For many years I wanted to start a business of mine, where creativity was in the foreground.
    When my son was born, was the turning point in my life.

    I do not want to lose his growth and be a working 8 hours a day away from home, would cause me to lose the most important moments of his growth.
    I am not a person to be quiet, I like to work, I need to work, and since I can remember, I love creating.
    So I threw myself to my dream.

    I was so afraid, I leave from my job and was jumping into the unknown, with a baby son. But at the same time, I was fighting for what I believed, and the life I wanted for us.
    In difficult times (yes, there’s always difficult moments) I always remember this is for our lives, for our happiness and with commitment and dedication everything is possible.
    I started from nothing, had a table, some brushes, and a clay oven…
    I started my first collection, opened the shop on Etsy and started searching for specific stores, where I believed that my work fit to put my pieces.
    In 2010 I got three stores in Lisbon, IZZO Chiado and Alma Lusa (a name with two stores, one being located at Lisbon airport and has a good influx of customers) and sales on Etsy were starting very slowly.
    In 2011 the range of stores increase for two more, one is in, the National Tile Museum in Lisbon, and the other (original), also in Lisbon.

    The online sales also increased. This year I sold online, twice what I sold last year.
    At this time, despite good sales, income has only been for the studio, materials, equipment,etc..
    all this precursor has been accompanied with full dedication, hard work and commitment.
    If I have been afraid? yes, a lot!
    If I’m happy? yes very, very happy! I love what I do!
    Manage a business alone, and be simultaneously mother and wife, is not easy.
    Everything that comes out of the studio is done by me since the creation and design of the piece until its packaging.
    My goals for the next year are several:)
    I’m try to get to put my work on more two new stores, on the other hand, want to open the door of the studio one day a week to make workshops with groups of adults and another with schools, to provide contact with the clay, glass, and allow freedom of expression and creativity to all.

    And above all invest in sales / release online.
    Portugal is going through a crisis right now quite large and we have a VAT of 23%, which makes it very difficult the commercialization and purchasing power within the country.

    This next year I have to invest more in sales outside the country.

    If I want to win this giveaway? I would love to win:) this is currently the most help I need.

    Participate in this giveaway made me analyze my whole route, see the effort and commitment that I put in this my life’s project, by this, I am very grateful to you.

    Thank you:)

    Below are the links to the shop, blog. ..
    To all who are participating, I wish all the luck and best wishes for the wonderful projects you have.
    You can see a short movie on my blog

    Etsy shop

    Facebook page



  22. Leeana says:

    Here is my submission for the contest!! It has truly been fun sharing and working on it throughout the past month. I have met so many nice people along the way and want to thank everyone that has contributed. I will now sit at the edge of my seat until the winner has been posted.


    •Etsy http://www.loveleesoaps.etsy.com
    •Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/loveleesoaps
    •Twitter http://www.Twitter.com/loveleesoaps
    •Email LoveLeeSoaps@yahoo.com

    Happy new year! Here is to making our dreams and goals come true.

    Leeana Provan

  23. Nanako says:

    When we first read the giveaway description, we felt comforted by your words Jessika – someone really understands what it’s like to be an entrepreneur! We knew we wanted to be a part of not only the giveaway, but the community you’ve created here as well. Thank you to everyone who is generously offering their services to the winners – it’s through supporting one another that we all thrive.

    Thank You So Much!

    ❤ Nanako + Deb


    Here is our submission:


    SHOP :: http://www.pigandfish.etsy.com

    TWITTER :: https://twitter.com/pigandfish

    FACEBOOK :: http://www.facebook.com/pigandfish

    WEBSITE :: http://pigandfish.com

    • Jessika says:

      Hi Nanako & Deb! I loved your submission very nicely designed & great how you pulled design elements from the site for your entry. My favourite part was the mention of Anne Lamott, a big inspiration of mine! Your business story is very interesting-I want a tour of your sweet home! Best of luck, Jessika

  24. Jenn Hardie says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. The timing goes perfectly with the expansion of my shop… and it would be awesome to win! Also, thanks for sharing all of your business tips for those of us without the business background.

    My entry can be found here: http://www.partiesbyhardie.com/2011/12/ultimate-entrepreneur-giveaway-entry.html

    •My shop: http://www.partiesbyhardie.etsy.com
    •Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parties-by-Hardie/118238718206709
    •Samples of my work:

  25. Beatrix*JAR says:

    Re-Submitting this with corrections:

    Hello Oh My Handmade Goodness:

    We are Bianca Pettis and Jacob Roske.
    We go by Beatrix*JAR.
    We came across your contest and felt inspired to apply! What an AMAZING opportunity!

    Thank you so much for the chance to make our entrepreneurial bird and cat dreams come true!

    Bianca and Jacob


    Our Entry can be found here: http://beatrixjar.blogspot.com/2011/12/beatrixjar-ultimate-entrepreneur.html

    New Biz for New Year Video: http://vimeo.com/34276279

    See the Kind Pet Collaboration results here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beatrixjar?section_id=10853834

    Beatrix*JAR BIO: http://beatrixjar.blogspot.com/p/cv.html

    Beatrix*JAR Website: http://beatrixjar.com

    Beatrix*JAR Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beatrixjar

    Beatrix*JAR on Natasha’s Blog: http://natashakozlovaphotography.com/archives/2019

    Beatrix*JAR on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/beatrix.jar

    One of a Kind Art Pets on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BeatrixJAR-Art-Pets/242631339107425

    Natasha Kozlova’s Website: http://natashakozlovaphotography.com

    Our Failed Kickstarter Campaign: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/871513893/beatrix-jar-handmade

  26. lakshmi says:

    I did it ! I pushed myself out of my comfort zone for this giveaway and did a video entry 🙂 I had a lot of fun doing it too !

    Here Is my entry : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9yR2WtELP4

    My shop : http://www.studiolakshmi.com
    My blog : http://www.studiolakshmi.com/blog
    Etsy : http://www.studiolakshmi.etsy.com
    Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/studiolakshmi
    Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/studiolakshmi

    Thank you for this giveaway ! Good luck to everyone in this contest. May all of your dreams come true 🙂 Happy 2012 !

  27. Hi all! WOW what an amazing group of talented people! Thank God for the deadline extension – we are hard at work creating our submission for this incredible opportunity. Just reading thru some of the submissions has been rewarding it and of itself! Stay tuned – we REALLY REALLY would love to win!

  28. Nanako says:

    It’s really fun to check back in to see all the new comments + submissions! A big congratulations to everyone here – it’s a huge accomplishment to get to the point where you hit the button. Not only in preparing your submission, but all the work it’s taken to get your business to this place where you can enter! That’s something to be very proud of. ❤

  29. My submission is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKfM1Y3hJqs

    I’m a wearable sculptor who re-branded to get away from an ex’s last name as I launched my new line of couture wedding gowns.

    This year’s game is having my art support itself with these gowns by May! This contest will provide me with the ability to win my game before May and with much more ease when it comes to learning self-marketing and SEO.

    Holding my proverbial breath until the 1st !!

  30. Hello, my name is Stephanie Doyle, and I am a dream chaser.
    A little less than a year ago I was working in the banking industry. I had a good job that I was grateful for in a bad economy, but I wondered if I would ever have a job that I loved, where I could exercise my passion and creativity.
    There were a lot of things that held me back, but they all came down to one thing: fear. Fear of failure, fear of change, dare I say, even fear of success. Plus, I still wasn’t exactly sure what my dream was.
    I started making jewelry as a hobby when I was pregnant. At first I chalked it up to a phase, something as fleeting as my cravings for strawberry smoothies, but soon I realized that I had stumbled upon something more than that.
    The more I learned about jewelry making the more I wanted to learn. And by June of 2011 I had opened up my first shop on Etsy. In September I took my first Metalsmithing class, and as I stood there melting solder with my blowtorch in hand I knew I had finally found what I was meant to do. I loved it, absolutely lost myself in the work and the joy of creating, but as quickly as I realized I had finally found my passion, the sheer cost of the equipment involved made it seem impossible.
    When I went home, I went over everything I had done so far, my shop, products, etc., then made a very hard decision: I shut it all down.
    Then I got to work. I saturated myself in business and entrepreneurial articles and became active on Facebook and Twitter. I divided my time equally between designing new pieces and the business end of things. I am lucky to have talented friends, and I bartered with them, trading jewelry for everything from graphic design, to modeling to professional photography. I found some talented Etsians and ordered earring cards, packaging materials and a beautiful new Facebook landing page. I worked day and night to build a brand new website and started promoting my launch as best I could with little to no advertising budget.
    In early October, I sent out professional invitations with pictures of my best work and invited friends and family to a launch party celebrating the new website and designs.
    On November 10th, my website went live, and even though it was a dreary, rainy night, my friends showed up to support me. Despite my many worries, the launch party was a success, and the money earned was enough to order the supplies I needed.
    Fast forward to today: I am home, sitting at my computer, writing an entry for a contest, which, if won, could really take my business to the next level! There is a new workbench in the next room; and the tools I never thought I could afford (a rotary tumbler, soldering materials, etc.) will be delivered by “end of day”, thanks to successful sales in December.
    My son is sleeping soundly in the nursery upstairs, and although there are new challenges every day, I try to see them as new opportunities for growth and success.
    I am happy with how far I have come in such a short time, but I am even more excited to see how far I can go in 2012. I’ve started carrying a journal, and every day I jot down new ideas, sketches for jewelry, marketing ideas, whatever pops into my head, so I won’t forget those moments of inspiration. I’ve finally set up an effective workspace, and I am setting small but attainable goals for each month of 2012 which will hopefully add up to incredible growth for my business. Some of these goals include learning and perfecting new Metalsmithing skills. Others are more focused on the business end of things and include increasing website traffic, maximizing SEO, coming up with more and better product pictures and descriptions and of course, marketing. A blog is also in the works. Right now, I am working on a storehouse of entries so that I can feel comfortable promising a weekly post.
    And that brings me back to this wonderful contest. Winning this contest, any of the prizes, could really make my dreams come true in 2012. The branding package, new business cards, letterhead, photography and copy will take what I believe is a decent business and really make it shine. It will take things to a level that I wouldn’t be able to do on my own (at least not as quickly) while also providing me with indispensable mentorship from the amazing Jessika Hepburn!
    I want to thank Jessika at Oh My! Handmade Goodness for putting this amazing package and opportunity together. I am truly blown away at the difference this could make in someone’s life.
    Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!
    Stephanie Doyle
    My jewelry designs can be found at http://www.silverandhoney.com
    My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Silverandhoney
    And to follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/silverandhoney
    Here are a few examples of my work:

  31. Eloise Pare says:

    My name is Eloise Pare, and I am on my way to achievement, accomplishment and fruition.

    When I was just a little girl, I grew up on the family farm near Rimouski in Quebec, Canada, surrounded by artisans, craftspersons and all around creators. Magicians that they were in the art of transformation, they used their hands to create anything out of everything, mixing out styles, materials and techniques, for uncanny, fun and surprising results.

    Quite naturally, this got me inspired. You could almost say that I started expressing myself with my hands before I could get better with my words.

    Because of where I came from, I always felt a strong connection to nature. The very essential mix of respect and awe I felt toward it deeply tinted the essence of my work. As I grew older, this morphed into awareness, prompting me to use as much natural and recycled matter as possible, the most beautiful raw material I could work with, enabling me to create heirloom quality pieces that one could cherish forever.

    The little girl that I was slowly set foot into adulthood, in a big city, so very far away from the green hills of my childhood. I passed my dreaded 30s, and asked myself where I should go and what I should be doing with my talents, my aspirations and my life. It became very clear, very fast that spacing out through years of office drone quasi-existence just wouldn’t cut it.
    Without physically going back to nature, I could at least reach for it, through my creations. Oh, I never really stopped, mind you; for almost 25 years I continued creating things for myself, my friends and my family, but in 2009, I made a pact with myself: From now on, I will be a full blown, full time artisan; my passion will evolve into a career, and define what my life will be about.

    I started off by opening my Etsy shop, while still working full time at what many call their day job.

    In June 2011, as my contract came to an end, I reached and crossed an important milestone. I finally was able to say: “I am Eloise Pare, I am 32, and I reached my first goal: I am now a full time artisan!” Wow, this felt good!

    It was not all easy of course. With this decision, came the very challenging and new reality of entering head-on into the craft fairs business: the very nerve-wrecking experience of going into a room filled with complete strangers, and trying for the first time of your life, to sell them your stuff at a price you must convince yourself is fair and right, regardless of all the conflicting opinions you will hear that tell you otherwise (or not).

    Several months and 16 fairs later, I already learnt a lot: I had very good events and some comically bad ones; sometimes selling for hundreds of dollars, and sometimes not even paying for my enrollment fees.
    For 2012, I am already planning to attend increasingly bigger events.

    I met extraordinary people through the fairs I attended, some of which became friends. By starting off my own Montreal Craft Fairs Facebook group, I created a close network with them, and they started to ask ME for advices as to which fairs they should attend, which really boosted my confidence!

    They also opened my eyes to opportunities I never knew existed; subvention programs to help me start my business, including financial help, classes on market studies, business plan building, sales tips and so on.
    My New Year resolution is to consolidate my dream even more; in January, I am submitting my business plan for review for a government help plan for young entrepreneurs, which, if everything goes according to plan, will place me in front of a selection committee in February.

    If they love me and what I do as much as people who already bought my creations, I will embark on the program in March!
    This will give me a full year of financial support to help me concentrate all my efforts into developing my products and my business. I will also get marketing tips to help me shape up my new brand for which I recently found a name for: The Green Bunny Workshop, which perfectly represents who I am; a very stubborn, but adorable creature that cares about its environment and brings fluff and glee to its world!

    The final step will come when my dreams of self-fulfillment comes full circle without any external help, because there is no way I go back to an office drone non-existence anytime soon!

    My name is Eloise Pare, and I am on my way to success, and if you can help me, this would be beyond magical!

    My Etsy shop:


    My Facebook page:


    Some pieces I really like:

    Very tiny origami earrings:

    http://etsy.me/niAtbN (1/3 inch long cranes)

    Fire key leather pendant: http://etsy.me/uKn0nM
    and some I wear almost every day:
    Steampunk inspired leather necklace: http://etsy.me/vBAucS
    Kanzashi inspired headband: http://etsy.me/n7vLvz

  32. NIcole says:

    As 2011 comes to a close, we would like to thank Oh My! Handmade for sponsoring this contest. While creating our presentation, we had many moments of reflection, moments of excitement and moments of anticipation for a great 2012. Happy New Year to all!


    Nicole & Jen

  33. Hannah // Ruby&Lo says:

    I am truly inspired by the marvelous and very creative entries that other small business owners have submitted.

    Each and every single person has a different story and reasoning’s behind their businesses, and I am loving reading the behind the scenes look at everything.

    Keep up the great work, everyone!

  34. bonnie says:

    I am amazed! I am not an entrant in this amazing contest, but it sure has caught my attention! I opened an Etsy shop just about a month ago, so I am way too ‘young’ to be dipping my toes in this pond, but it is very inspiring to see all the contest entries, read the stories and see such amazing creatives following dreams. Thanks for letting me watch from the shoreline! I can’t wait to see who wins…good luck everyone!

  35. Hi Everyone! happy almost new year!! im blown away at all of the amazing entries and businesses. im so inspired + uplifted! Here is my revised entry. My last one was spur of the moment, as soon as I saw the amazing giveaway, kind of entry – so here’s my final polished entry:


    I hope you enjoy it. I am so excited to hear the results on Jan 2nd!

    My very best,


  36. Karen Berman says:

    Well I decided not to make any changes after all. So here is my entry.

    Thank you again to the organizers of this fantastic contest. I have been dreaming about the prizes since I first read about them. They are exactly what I could use to start the new year with a bang!

    I make jewelry from my nature photographs so you can carry the beauty through your day. If you’d like to learn about me and my company, Moment of Focus, read our (abridged) story at http://momentoffocus.com/blog/the-gift-on-my-list-dec-26-2011. My submission has many pictures so the file is a large and may take awhile to open.

    Have a beautiful new year!


  37. No one else in the world does what I do.

    I am an exquisite image hunter; the Indiana Jones of archivists; the Sherlock Holmes of art sleuthing.

    I travel the across the U.S. with my scanner, camera and family, returning with suitcases and hard drives full of exquisite ephemera. Back home I create vintage and historically inspired artwork that is on more than 10,000 products. For the past five years I have built a business where a wide audience–from hobby crafters to Harrods of London–can find images for all of their design needs.

    Piddix llc has three main departments. The first is digital collage sheets, offered to crafters via etsy and instantcollagesheets.com for $3-$4 each. In the wholesale division I produce printed collage sheets for select high-end bead and collage stores. And finally I also research and design images for use in much larger commercial settings via piddix licensing.

    It all started with a babe and a boob.

    Like many crafty entrepreneurs, I started my business–piddix llc–while on maternity leave with my first son. During the long hours of feeding and napping, I began selling digital collage sheets on etsy. Over 25,000 sales later I’m quite happy to be one of the top 10 handmade sellers on etsy. I have some of the most amazing repeat customers around with whom I keep in contact via a piddix newsletter (1300+ subscribers), twitter (1100+ followers), and my blog.

    Along the way I’ve expanded piddix as needs and opportunities arose. Wholesale sheets I created in response to numerous requests from brick & mortar shops wanting printed products. The process required extensive research into printing, paper, and packaging. Now that the upfront work is completed, the line of nearly 100 printed collage sheets has huge potential for growth via new distribution channels.

    Licensing was something I completely stumbled upon. Several large publishers found me on etsy, looking to use piddix images on products such as greeting cards and calendars. I had no idea what I was doing as far as contracts, payments, and international copyright laws went. So I took a business class and wrote up a business plan, invested in capital improvements, met with copyright, trademark, and contract lawyers, and found some of the best fairy-god-mother-mentors a gal could as for. I travelled 1000 miles to a tradeshow with a manilla folder full of my designs and somehow talked my way into an amazing licensing agent who has placed my work with companies such as Target and Trader Joes.

    And yet while it may seem on the surface that piddix is happily on its way to world domination, I struggle with the same pitfalls that challenge so many one-woman start-ups: a self-designed logo, a half-finished website, the constant re-evaluation of goals and plans while balancing budgets and life. The Ultimate Entrepreneur Giveaway is an eerily perfect fit for the stage in which piddix is at.

    For 2012, my somewhat-ambitious but achievable goal is to essentially double gross profits while only working 20-30 hours per week. I will do this by:

    *Developing and/or maintaining a total of 12 large licenses.
    *Creating and/or maintaining relationships with 12 wholesale printed collage sheet clients.
    *Continuing to sell on etsy (with minimal time investment) as long as it makes financial and strategic sense.

    To meet these goals I will need to stretch my business legs and venture into areas in which I’m not always as comfortable, such as delegation, outsourcing, and approaching new clients. This is also the year I’m determined to address two of my worst paradoxical business fears: fear of failure and fear of success.

    I am incredibly fortunate in that I absolutely love my job. I get to travel. I design art for a living. I literally crawl through dusty shelves and books and rediscover incredible forgotten treasures from centuries past. And even though I was once nearly crushed by an archive’s compact shelving (who says historical research isn’t dangerous?), I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    So here’s to a lovely 2012, with all the hopes, possibilities, and dreams that the new year brings.

    You can find me here:

    Thanks so much,

  38. Lucy McClure says:

    My name is Lucy McClure, and I have a small jewelry business called bel monili by l.marlane. By day, I am a speech-language pathologist at a rural elementary school. I also work part-time doing early intervention home-based speech therapy. By night (…ok., all the time) I am a jewelry designer, artist, and crafter. Since 2010, I have hand-crafted jewelry and accessories using vintage and re-purposed components combined with new materials to make unique, one of a kind items that are fun, funky, and affordable.
    bel monili by l.marlane was born out of a desire to create and express myself in a productive, tangible way. In the summer of 2010, my boyfriend at the time was travelling extensively for work, leaving me with lots of free time. I was going to be turning 30 the following October, so I dubbed summer 2010 “The Summer of Self-Improvement”. Think of it as a crafty bucket list combined with an adult summer school program. Between June and August 2010, I took classes in sewing, quilting, and jewelry-making. By the end of my “coursework”, I had created a pretty sad looking shirt, finished three quilted squares, and a had a growing mountain of beads, findings, parts, and finished jewelry. I found the jewelry design to be exhilarating and exciting; the more I made, the more I loved it. Strangers on the street were complimenting me on my design and color combinations, friends and family started asking me to make things for them, and… gasp!…they PAID me for it!

    In September 2010, I participated in my first show, the I Made It! Market at WYEP’s Rock the Block. It was so successful that I applied for more shows, and was even accepted into a highly coveted Saturday spot at I Made It! For the Holidays, a local indie craft market that is wildly popular and quite well attended. After that, it has seemed to be a one-way road to hand-crafted blissful success. In January 2011, two local boutiques started to carry my items, followed quickly by two more. In April 2011, bel monili was asked to create a one of a kind necklace for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s (NOCC) TEALtini event. The evening’s honorary spokesperson, a drag queen titled Miss U-FAB, wore the piece for the duration of the event and then auctioned it off to benefit the NOCC Pittsburgh chapter. In May 2011, bel monili was invited to be a participant in the giveaway bags at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. 1,000 one of a kind flower pins, all hand-crafted and packaged within 10 days, shipped to Los Angeles on my last day of school. I smiled the whole way home from the post office…I can say that at that moment, I knew that bel monili was on its way to real success. This past fall was filled with seemingly endless festivals, art and craft shows, parties, events, and “special orders” that kept bel monili running at full steam almost around the clock. I also had been given a wonderful opportunity to serve on the inagural board of directors for the I Made It! Market, a position I continue to hold and enjoy.
    On the “business” end of things, I took the leap to make bel monili by l.marlane a real, true, official business (well, business name) in March 2011. As of right now, bel monili is a sole proprietorship registered to sell (and pay taxes!) in Pennsylvania Ohio, and Texas. In November 2011, a group of artists wrote and won a grant for a pop up shop located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s cultural district. I was one of four jewelry artists (12 artists total) to be juried in, and I am now an active partner of the co-op shop aptly named “Burgheoisie”.
    Social media has been an essential part of bel monili’s success. Right now, there are over 100 subscribers to the email list, over 200 followers on Twitter, and over 350 fans on Facebook. I make regular posts and updates to these accounts, and I am expanding my my focus to work on developing my blog and Pinterest pages for bel monili followers and fans. Facebook has served as a wonderful source of business and information sharing for me, and I see and average of 10-20 people per event/show tell me that they found out about the event and attended because of my social media posts.
    So, that brings us pretty much right up to today, where I am staring 2012 in the face and trying to figure out where I go next (and how the heck I get there!). With my second successful holiday show season under my belt, I am taking the plunge and leaving my part time job to pursue new and expanding ventures with my business. Based upon my experiences over the past year, I am planning on taking the bel monili brand further by expanding my presence in two main arenas: the bridal market and custom design home parties. I had a beautiful opportunity to create bridal accessories for my dear childhood friend this past October, and since then have received multiple requests for similar bridal items. Similarly, I have had many requests from friends and loyal customers to have “home parties”. At first, I thought that it would be a cinch…just set up my show table at someone’s house! As the idea developed, though, I uncovered another layer of possibility in custom design. For my first home party, I brought my ready-made items as well as all of my vintage “finds” (earrings, brooches, etc.) for the guests to look through and choose as a focal point for their custom creation). The result was a HUGE success; guests loved looking through all of the gorgeous vintage items, and they got to participate in creating custom pieces of jewelry for a very reasonable price. The feedback I received was incredible; all of the attendees said that they had NEVER beeen to anything like my party before, and three women booked parties of their own right then and there!
    I believe that bel monili by l.marlane has what it takes to be a hugely successful business with the right products (check), the right personality (check) and the right marketing (um…). That’s where this giveaway comes in! I believe that I am right at the edge of major success, and the expertise offered by the donors in this contest would be the perfect piece to complete the bel monili puzzle. I feel that my skill set and drive will help me to be able to really use the gifts offered by the experts and take my business to the next level. bel monili offers beautiful, unique, affordable products, and winning this giveaway will help me to share that with the world!

  39. First of all I want to thank everyone for this amazing opportunity & all of the OMHG tweets for support and motivation! My entry was inspired by my love of doodling- so many of my designs and ideas begin a chicken scratched ideas on a composition lined notebook before coming to life.


  40. Lorrie Brown says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m Lorrie Brown and I own J & L Creations, LLC. Which is located in Harbor Beach, MI
    J & L Creations was founded in my kitchen back in 2003. Being employed full time and having a small child at home I needed a creative outlet to relieve stress. I decided to buy myself a candle making kit. Once I poured my first successful batches of candles I was immediately hooked. I soon had more candles then I knew what to with I was giving them to friends and relatives to try. After a while they were coming back to purchase more of my candles. I quickly learned that my new found hobby was becoming very expensive and I would need to start charging for my candles. Here is a picture of one of them [IMG]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll278/jandlcreations/DSCN0666.jpg[/IMG]
    Not having any business experience I decided to test the waters at one of the local craft shows in the fall of 2004. It was a one day show from 10 am – 4 pm. My take for the day was about $75. Yes, I realize that it wasn’t a huge amount of money but it was a start. As my customer base started to grow so did their demands. They wanted new jars, different scents, and new items.
    In the beginning part of 2005 I decided that I was going to try and make soaps and open a website. I researched the internet and read on all the forums that I was already on and designed my first soap recipe. It was a very basic one oil recipe. I made my first batch and left it uncolored and unscented. I waited 8 weeks for it to cure. Having never showered with a handmade soap I quickly learned that they are far more superior then store bought soaps. I began offering my soaps to my customers in the spring of 2006. They were a hit.[IMG]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll278/jandlcreations/DSCN0707.jpg[/IMG]
    When the economy started to slow down in 2008; I was pregnant with my second child and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go to as many craft shows so I started to work on selling both my soaps and candles wholesale to the local stores and I began to offer candle making supplies through my website.
    While trying to get my products into stores I was told “No” on many an occasion but that didn’t stop me. I kept going and in 2009 I landed my first wholesale store. In the past two years I have added fourteen more wholesale accounts in two states.
    I am hoping in 2012 to be able to add more wholesale accounts for both my candles and soaps and be able to attend my first trade show.
    I know that if I won the Oh My handmade goodness give away it would definitely push my business in to the next level and help me build my brand into my vision. It has taken me a long eight years to get here by taking small baby steps but now I am ready to bund to the next level!
    With another successful and busy holiday season behind me, I can look forward to the future of J & L Creations, LLC.
    I wish everyone good luck and hope you win!

    Lorrie Brown Owner of J & L Creations, LLC

  41. Thank you Jessika and the wonderful Oh My Handmade team for this splendid giveaway.

    You can see my little entry on my blog… http://www.cupcakesforclara.com/cupcakes_for_clara/2012/01/oh-my-handmade-giveaway-entry.html

    I was struggling to write it myself, so it is mostly written by my character, Clara. She is quite grumpy but sometimes lovely. I hope you like her!

    You can also find me here…
    blog: http://cupcakesforclara.com
    shop: http://cupcakesforclara.etsy.com
    twitter: http://twitter.com/cupcakes4clara
    facebook: http://facebook.com/cupcakesforclara

    Thank you!

    • Jessika says:

      EEK! All these entries are so creative and incredible choosing just 3 of you lovelies is going to be PAINFUL. You are all talented and awesome and I have loved being invited into your lives to learn more about who you are and where you are going. Each and every one of you shines! Happy New Year friends!

  42. Jenn Hardie says:

    Parties By Hardie now has a new name — Nickwilljack! This is not a new entry but rather a redirect to my new website that goes alone with my name change (updated below). I am so sorry if this caused too much confusion. I was originally comment #88.

    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. The timing goes perfectly with the expansion of my shop… and it would be awesome to win! Also, thanks for sharing all of your business tips for those of us without the business background.
    My entry can be found here: http://www.nickwilljack.com/2011/12/ultimate-entrepreneur-giveaway-entry.html
    •My shop: http://www.partiesbyhardie.etsy.com
    •Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parties-by-Hardie/118238718206709
    •Samples of my work:

  43. Leeana says:

    I can’t believe the winner will be announced tomorrow! I don’t think I will sleep tonight at all. These entries are absolutely amazing and I am so thankful for all the talented entrepreneurs I have met through this giveaway.

    Happy new year everyone!
    Leeana Provan

  44. Lucy McClure says:

    Thank you Jessika, if nothing else, this giveaway gave us all the motivation we needed to seriously examine out strengths, weaknesses, and goals for our crafty businesses. Thank you, and happy new year!!!

  45. Jill B says:

    My entry: (I hope)


    Shop: http://www.thebowtique.com/store/Default.asp
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thebowtique
    Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/people/thebowtique
    FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp

    Hope i am not too late! This was such a great chance, I justhad to try my luck.
    I am ever-impressed and inspired by fellow small business artisans.

  46. Thank you so much for this opportunity! It will be such a wonderful experience for whoever wins. I know, too, that for all of us that have entered, it has been an experience in itself – finding our voice and our strengths.

    Here is my entry as pdf: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxiTNxEqjzBGMzIwMjZlMDItMDJlYi00NzhlLTkyNWQtNTc0ZjU4ZmJkNGY3

    And there is it as text in case you can’t read my writing 🙂 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RngXtEJsJZw3K2xzj5m0CB4hzpTYmn0f1bCUI0WzeA8/edit

    Now, I’m going to make some tea and read more entries, I can’t wait to get to know you all!

    Tania xoxo

  47. Rachel Low says:

    This is such an amazing give-away and opportunity…I just discovered it today and quickly put together my entry. Nothing like the last minute. All of the entries and comments are so inspiring. Thank you everyone for sharing and thank you Jessika – you and your blog are so awesome!

    This is the link to my entry…file:///Users/rachellow/Dropbox/Public/Ultimate%20Entrepeneur%20Giveaway.pdf

    My website: http://www.pinsandneedlesnyc.com/
    My facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pinsandneedlesny
    My blog: http://www.pinsandneedlesnyc.com/blog/
    My Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/startstitching1045
    My twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/StartStitching
    My pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rachel_low2/

    Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous and magical 2012. What a great way to kick it off!


  48. Mary Craig says:

    I found out about this contest only days ago and just look at my cool video I shot and edited within about 48 hours about my biz ClutchJewels.com and my Fashion & Culture Blog http://www.FashionistaSista.ca!! I had so much fun doing it so I thank you for being the inspiration! Its like I have a Clutch Jewels Commercial! Love it.

    Here’s my link to the entry on my blog:

    Much love friends and fellow handmade entrepreneurs for life!




    Facebook: Clutch Jewels Fanpage
    Twitter: Clutch Jewels

  49. I know, I know…procrastination. How can you avoid it? With two kids, a third on the way, a full time job and two businesses, there is no way anything happens on time in our home anymore.

    I used to follow timings to the tee, after all, my full time job is with the military. That is one of the first lessons we learn in basic training. Lately though, it seems the only timings I make are with military. However, I guess technically I am still on time because it is not officially midnight January 1.

    So here it is, why Re-wood Toys deserves this amazing prize from Oh My Hand Made Goodness:

    O – Outdoors is what inspires us! Jamin grew up in Beautiful British Columbia and has always loved nature and as such it was only natural that he would begin a hobby that included parts of nature – trees, wood, grains.
    H – How could we have succeeded this year without our fabulous Etsy shop found here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Rewoodtoys

    M – Money isn’t everything and in the end we have succeeded so far on very little. After all our wooden toys are made using recycled, reclaimed or otherwise unwanted woods!
    Y – You can find our products in many retails stores across Canada and the US. We have been steadily expanding our wholesale line and retailers LOVE our wooden toys.

    H – Have you seen our actual website? http://www.re-woodtoys.ca. Well, we will admit, it is a work in progress, but hey, what isn’t when you are trying desperately to build your business with little to no business background. You learn as you go and we are learning lots!
    A – And have you found our twitter page? Well, you may have to look hard, because realistically it belongs to our other business Go Green Baby (www.twitter.com/gogreenbabyca). See Natalie, the wife in the business, is the one that does most of the marketing (if you can call it that?), and she has trouble checking in with too many different sources. But if you look deep in this twitter account, you will indeed find her many attempts at promoting Re-wood Toys. Some days I think she forgets about the other business.
    N – New products are what keep us going and keep us interested. We love coming out with new products and are regularly trying to keep customers happy, both local and online. We have had some successes (like our Dog Pull Toy http://www.etsy.com/listing/86473998/pull-toy-for-babies-toddlers-and) and others have failed (like our Penguin teether.http://www.etsy.com/listing/76428018/teething-toy-for-baby-organic-penguin I don’t know if we have even sold one yet!). We recently just added a new Peace Sign Necklace that was inspired by a family member. We hope you love it as much as we do!
    D – Did you know we were featured on Etsy’s Facebook Page early in December? It took us forever to figure out how our views for our Elephant teether went from about 20 to 4000 overnight? Low and behold Etsy loved our elephant as much as we did!

    M – Many of our products are tested on families in our local community. As mentioned earlier, we run another busines and it just happens to be the perfect community for trialing wooden toys – naturally inspired families. Families that visit our retail store are always excited to see and learn about our natural wooden teethers, toys and necklaces.
    A – All our products are made with love, sweat and a few tears. Each one comes from the heart and is created to make babies and children happy, even when they are teething and in pain.
    D – Did you visit our Facebook Page yet? We have quite a few likes. Since opening earlier this year, we have inspired a magnificent 410 individuals and/or families to join our online community! How awesome is that? https://www.facebook.com/rewoodtoys
    E – Enjoying local craft shows and markets is one of the major benefits to running a small handmade business. It brings much joy to our faces to actually see the reactions and gratitude of our customers. Smiling babies and excited children are essential for us and keep us going when times get tough. Online selling has its benefits, but you never truly get to see a customers true appreciation of your product. This past year we have enjoyed being part of the local Waldorf School’s Winter and May Fair, as well as the Military Base Christmas Craft Fair, where we showcased our wooden toys.

    G – Growing is never easy, after all there are growing pains, hurdles and bumps along the way. We truly hope the next year brings us new challenges and new successes. Of course, this will not come without disappointment and defeats. But these will be what makes us stronger. After all, we did make it through the Christmas season, with some sanity left! It can only go up hill from there!
    O – Our workshop has grown over time and we continue to slowly expand our tools, equipment and supplies. We started out in a tiny 1 car garage in the suburbs and have since moved to a large garage (that would fit 2 cars if we actually used it as a garage) with a heater, bathroom and loft! A woodworkers dream. The garage has been a true blessing for our business and has allowed us to grow and expand our product line.
    O – Our tiny family business has been increasing steadily since we opened January 24, 2011. In our first year, we have made close to 300 sales. We are thrilled with how we have grown this year and hope that 2012 will bring us further growth and that our products will be introduced into the lives of many more babies and children.
    D – Dan is the Re-wood Toys granddad (Natalie’s dad). He is a carpenter by trade and has been the one guiding, training and mentoring us along the way. He is filled with knowledge and tips that have been key to our success. He also supplies us with many of our woods. He makes kitchen cabinetry and what happens to all those little pieces that get sawed off? You guessed it! It comes straight to our workshop to be made into beautiful wooden toys.
    N – Necklaces is where it all began. Our handmade wooden necklaces was the beginning of our business. Natalie wanted a natural alternative to the silicone teething necklaces on the market. Granddad had a scroll saw (the one with the tiny blade to cut small items). Put two and two together and now you have a wooden teething necklace. It was destined to become a top seller, and has been since day one. View one here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/68441792/organic-wooden-teething-nursing-necklace
    E – Ending 2011, we want 2012 to be OUR year. We want to continue to inspire families to make conscious choices about the products they are using with their babies and children. We want to invite new families into our community and for babies to be welcomed with solid, handmade items that will last for generations. We want to create amazing toys for babies and children so that they too can be part of a hand made community.
    S – Simply natural. Our family believes that nature provides the best outlet for learning, growing and playing. Our main goal is to create safe, earth friendly and natural toys. This is what guides us and this is why we want to further develop and grow our business. This is why we believe the Oh My Handmade Goodness prize will be beneficial for our business. The more we can promote a natural lifestyle, the more beautiful our earth will be!
    S – Start to Finish, Re-wood Toys is a family business. Jamin does the design and woodworking. Natalie does the packaging, shipping, online design, marketing and paper work for the business. The kids help along the way with product development, product testing and a little hand sanding here and there. We truly believe that as family, we create gorgeous products that will be well loved by others.

  50. Mike Samsel says:

    I’m Mike with StylishHome. We are a web site offering design tools, resources and catalogs to help outfit your home. As part of that effort, we feature Etsy products in each catalog category, maintain an Etsy team called “StylishHome,” and produce a special eCatalog of various themes featuring Etsy items curated by our staff and our team.

    As you are all about handmade, I thought you might enjoy checking out our new eCatalog and perhaps sharing it with your members. Here’s a link to the blog post on StylishHome that contains a link to the PDF version of the catalog. This is our 2nd issue and is on the topic of “Home Makeover.” Our goal is to present some really great products in a “magazine” format for all to enjoy.


    Thanks for having a look. Would love to hear your comments and/or suggestions.


    Mike Samsel


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