Sunday, June 11, 2017

Setting Up My New Online Store

My new store, independent from Zazzle, is now underway. It's a huge job but I work on it in pieces. Every day more is accomplished, as I peck away at it. Being a "Type A" personality and a perfectionist, it has to be done right.

My new store is going to carry items not available at my Zazzle stores and will be mostly clothing for now. As time goes by, other new items will be added, as it's a work in progress.

So, I'm taking knowledge from my past in retail to construct this business. From a boyfriend from long ago, who was my mentor and ran a large business. He died a few years ago, so his memory is in my heart as I work. He taught me how to do most aspects of business from marketing and trade shows to the mail room. As a young woman, still a teen and into my twenties I had side jobs in big retail stores, from clerk to accounting. I ran my freelance business too, traveling interstate to do shows.

In the last twenty years, I moved my business online. My Zazzle stores are running OK as usual, but I want to expand and grow more.

My businesses are my "babies", so behind each store is my passion, stress, frustrations and excitement. I love what I do..and the fact that my cats sleep around me while my marathons are going on. Big pot of coffee by my side and TV on in the background (it calms my easily frayed nerves).

So, stop by my new store at https://www.twopurringcatsstudio.com
and take a look around. It's full of my own colorful designs on high quality clothes and more! Bring your friends, too. Welcome and enjoy!  :)

Thursday, June 01, 2017

No Pain, No Gain

With the start of any new business venture comes growing pains but also excitement. It's business as usual at my existing stores. I'm adding a new, independent retail  venue. Gulp.

Planning a new store takes time. What I wouldn't give to hire an uber tech savvy guru to do it for me, but without the budget for that, I'm doing it myself. I'm doing everything on my own, as always

Over twenty years ago, I learned how to use computers. I was really enthusiastic about it, taking courses and data entry temp jobs to aquire knowledge and experience. Being a self-employed artist, I did my artwork when I wasn't working on the computer.
In time, I learned to write code, construct websites and more.

Each time I learned tough new tasks, it stressed me to the moon and back. Being nervous to the max and having little emotional support, I went at it head-on. It drove me nuts for awhile until it became easier and more fun with practise.

So now, I'm learning newer, better ways to run my business. Ways to make it run more efficiently and be completely automated. I have my previous knowledge as a solid foundation, but there is much more to learn. It's all about keeping up with the times, staying competitive and growing my brand among the big boys...large and small retailers who have bigger budgets and staff to help them. My staff, so to speak, are three sleepy white cats.

So, once again, I throw myself, kicking and (virtually) screaming, into my work. Tackling one issue at a time. My businesses are my "babies". They take nurturing, growing and coddling. When times change, for example when the economy is struggling, it takes more work. But when all is well, I just concentrate on the fun part (drawing new artwork) and let my stores run themselves.

So, despite a low budget, bundle of nerves deep down and cats as "staff", all is fine. I've done this growth thing before and I'm doing it again. Things worth doing don't come easy, but are worth the hard work in the end. I got this.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Vacation!

Vacation time is near, time to prepare! It's a great time to leave Northeastern Ohio and get some sun. There's so much to do and as usual, my stress is through the roof but I'm handling it all one task at a time.

First of all, five tourists (rest in peace!) were killed by a mentally ill man a few days ago at the airport I'm going to. Luckily, he's in custody but those poor people! Tragedy and fear in a place that they expected to have fun. Life goes on. Life is a risk. I refuse to be discouraged, and will carry on as usual.

It will be wonderful to go exploring, snorkeling and taking photos of everything. Travel recharges the soul, and mine needs recharging! Being among nature makes me feel happy and excited, alive! I will dicker in the Caribbean markets for handmade crafts, have a few parasol drinks and lattes. Heaven.

First, I have to clean the house, in preparation for my house/pet sitters. Then, there's the packing. I am notorious for overpacking so I'm going to make sure whatever's going meets the airline and TSA requirements. So far, so good!

It will be great fun once there. I will be able to speak Spanish with those who speak it, eat Caribbean food and swim in crystal blue water, checking out some stunning coral reefs. My friend Angie is going too so we'll see as many sites as we can. We worked together long ago and she lives in another state, so it's great to have a "girls' trip" and catch up on what's been going on in our lives. Her kids are now grown men, when I last saw them they were young boys.. time flies!

So, here I am, drawing artwork right now. My business will hold its own while I'm away from it for the few days I'm gone. It's hard to rip myself away from routine and my cats but all is well. The cats will be fine. They won't be alone and will be in good hands. I expect to enjoy the view from the airplane window seat, forget normalcy and really let loose! Coming home with a nice tan will be a bonus!

So here we come, Caribbean islands! Get those Pina Coladas, fried plantains and sandy beaches ready, here come two "sisters from other mothers"!  We work hard..and play even harder. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Very Blustery Fall

As the maple trees' leaves turn brilliant gold and red colors here in Northeastern Ohio, it's been my mission to enjoy this beautiful Fall season while working hard to get everything important done in my stores. This is the retail holiday season now, when everyone is looking to buy and / or sell just about anything. It's time to hustle!

Stir into this, of course, the unhinged Presidential Election hype. I'm not going into my choice but will say that this fight has been stressful, entertaining and disturbing all at the same time. It all unfolds on the TV here in my office as I work. I liken the whole thing to Roman gladiator fighting. This has been the most vicious, knock down-drag out battle I've ever seen for the next leader of the free world. All I can hope for is that my candidate wins, and the other one slithers back under the rock from whence they came. Seriously.

My brain is a bit fried from mental overload. I get an occasional  nervous twitch in my eye at stressful times, telling me that I need to slow down. The best thing to do is to turn off the news, take a nap or walk outside in the yard and then start afresh. Seems to work pretty well. A new coffee shop opened up a few miles away, so that helps, too.

In addition to everything else, I found out recently that my faithful car is nearing the end of its car life. Seven fine years of little repair bills and no car payments has made it very trusty to me. But, the mechanic says the computer in it needs repair, one set of brakes replaced, along with the exhaust system, and a newly found oil leak. Time to get another car. I have a bad habit of keeping cars I really like too long past their safety limits, so this time, I'm listening. The car goes up for sale.

After my vacation, I'll continue my hunt for the right car. I'm picky and so it takes looking..lots of it. Considering the fact that a brand new car depreciates a large percentage when driven off of the dealer's lot, I like quality used cars. I might get an SUV this time around, because I hope to do some shows once I've got means to haul merchandise, etc. It's hard to break myself of the full-size luxury sedan tradition so I'm still hanging loose on what style to get. What matters most is how well it runs and how well it's been maintained. At this stage of my life, I'm going for what is most practical and comfortable.

There is tranquility in my house at all times. The cats are doing fine, spoiled as ever. Friends are doing well, I'm tired but ok. The business is doing fine. I've got a cup of cider next to me, as I sit ouside on my porch. Pretty soon it will be too cold to do that. With my highly wired Type-A personality, I need the peace of this beautiful countryside I live in. It brings me back to nature and keeps me grounded. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's Try Peace, Not Killing

Rest in Peace to all victims of the tragedies in Florida. First there was the savage shooting of a young singer named Christina Grimm was killed by some crazed fan, and now, people in a nightclub. Senselessly gunned down by a terrorist. Young people with their whole lives in front of them, gone in the blink of an eye.
There's too much anger and hate in this world! And, there are too many guns, especially automatic assault weapons.

As I sit here watching CNN, as they talk about Orlando's tragedy, I think of the families of all the dead. They all have a long road of healing ahead, but no one can bring back their loved ones.

Life is fragile, and with crazed freaks out in the world, we all need to be vigilant of people around us when  in crowds. It's not the world I remember as a kid. Back then there were no fears of being hurt while in public. The government needs to do something and get this insanity to stop. Let's try peace and tolerance of people different from us to start.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Getting Ready to Garden

It feels SO good to be gardening again!  It's almost safe enough to plant tender flowers (annuals), but not quite. But I am into perennials mostly, like my mom. Last weekend we all went to our favorite greenhouse, Lowe's in Bainbridge. We were like kids in a candy store!

There was a decent plant sale going on, "Buy two, get one free". So, I got purple primroses  that look like roses,  alpine poppies and some cornflower blue and white columbine. Mom and dad got a bunch of gorgeous perennials, from a variegated euphoria to a large pink penstemon, and topsoil. We walked around, just enjoying the colors and textures of the leaves and flowers. Greenhouses are so relaxing to me. I'm glad dad went with us, he loves it, too, even if he doesn't garden anymore.

So now, mom is busy in her gardens, which are already colorful. I have been weeding and planting, along with some spring cleaning in the house. It feels good to see the yard alive with birds returning from warmer climates, an occasional butterfly or bees, and other signs of life. Well, except the rat who I found digging in one of my gardens. A few sprinkles of cayenne pepper powder around the plants he was digging up, and he hasn't been back since. Hehe. I'm sure he's long gone elsewhere by now.

The cats are plastered to the windows, excitedly watching all birds. Sometimes I hear a "hiss" or two, and I know they are getting annoyed with whoever got the best birdwatching spot. Beau loves the rainbows cast off by a faceted crystal sphere I have hanging in a window. I touch it, making the little rainbows dance all over,  and he dances, hops and pounces on them Not bad for a fourteen year old cat :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Has Sprung Again

Spring is here, and my daffodils are blooming! This is my favorite time of year.


Life is wonderful, despite being bedridden due to sciatica pain and the medications I've had to take for it that made me dizzy. I'm healing up and though not 100% yet, I'm getting out and even did a little gardening (weeding).

My stores are busy and I'm adding new products on a near daily basis. I work from my laptop from bed, cats piled around me, TV on in the background (oddly, it helps me work to have noise on in the background).  I've got new products galore so stop by my main store, Two Purring Cats Clothing & Gifts at:  http://www.zazzle.com/twopurringcats


The cats have been enjoying themselves, watching birds and TV (yes, they really watch it). I work so that they can live royal lives! :)


Pretty soon I'm going back to the drawing board, literally, to do more artwork in my office. Over the early winter I made my office more efficient, with shelves and other items to make working in there easier. It looks good, but there's always work to be done in there (more shelves and places to put stuff!!)
It, like me, is a work in progress. Anyways, life is peaceful, mom and dad are doing fine, and everyone is happy that the weather is warming up.
That's all for now, later!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's December but Feels Like April

The holiday season is here and my garden flowers are blooming. The weather is unseasonably warm and my irises sent up buds, one rose bush has a bud on it, and the perennial bachelor's buttons are flowering! This weather is great.

Yesterday I got a call from a producer for America's Funniest Videos. They liked the video I sent them, of Farrah messing with the mini Christmas tree, and it will air on their show this Sunday evening! And, they're sending me a tshirt. So, I told friends and family, and will record it on my phone this weekend. Pretty cool.

As for me, I've been self studying skills for growing my business. It's complicated but I get it, and feel pretty confident as I go along. And my office is becoming more efficient, as I move furniture and make the space more comfortable. I practically live in it so it needs to be relaxing and easy to find things (more storage is the answer to most of its issues).

Mom and dad are enjoying their holidays, between shopping, making sure dad's health is on track (it is) and caring for their cats. They love their house and property, it is gorgeous and big! We see turkeys in the big meadow from time to time. Their friends call their property "The McFann Metroparks"..perfect for this nature loving family!

<a href="http://www.zazzle.com/christmas+gifts?rf=238441954547012598&CMPN=ban_holiday_gifts_2015" rel="nofollow"><img src="//asset.zcache.com/assets/graphics/z4/uniquePages/banners/Christmas_Plus_Gifts/Z_Christmas_Gifts_300x250.jpg" alt="Holiday Gifts" /></a>

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Late Summer

It's late Summer and I'm busy doing artwork for my stores, working in  gardens and trying to keep my lawn watered since it gets crispy without much rain!

Mom and dad have settled into their new house, and mom is busy with her gardens. With all its acres of land, she - and I - can garden as much as we want. I spread my gardening between my home and theirs. My garden at their house is huge, in the middle of a giant meadow, and is covered from four years' worth of rampant weed growth. It reminds me of the book, "The Secret Garden". Once the tall weeds are out, it will will be necessary to hire someone to rototill it. I plan to grow many kinds of perennials, and bring it back to the grand Victorian garden it once was.

There are fruit tree groves and big raspberry and black raspberry patches on the property. How wonderful that is for us! Raspberry season was amazing. Endless berries, free of pesticides, better than any that can be bought. And good for us, too! Mom made her berry recipes, I made mine, until we were too tired to do any more. Apple season is here now, so we'll be using every apple recipe imaginable for that. We love this wholesome, country life, surrounded by this private park or arboretum that they have.

My parents' cats love their barn, where they can freely come and go as they please. I got them a large cat tree, dad and I put it together and they use it.

The cats love to follow us around or snooze under bushes or hidden in the gardens. They pop out quickly when dad comes to feed them, so cute!

Mom, dad and I are getting along much better now, which is a relief to me. Mom has an Amish cleaning lady now, so she isn't focused on controlling me now. Thank God. I am so glad. All I've ever wanted was a harmonious family. So far, so good.

My business is doing just fine. I draw some but spend more and more time learning to grow it..and it is growing. The bigger it gets, the more there is to do. It's a passion so that doesn't bother me at all. Christmas season is approaching, so I'm getting myself ready for it.






Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

It's Spring! I am getting over the flu and learning how to use this smartphone. My old flip phone died on me so I got this phone for myself, and I'm so glad that I did. It amazes me how much can be done with such a small phone. Gone are the days of those old, black rotary dial phones! Those of us old enough to remember them find modern technology just amazing. I keep this phone, in it's own pretty case, by my side all the time nowadays. Addictive.

The daffodils I planted in the Fall are poking out of the ground, and I see iris leaves looking green, too. It will be so great to be able to garden again, in a couple more weeks. There are still mountains of snow here, but the temperatures are above freezing, so they'll be gone soon.

This morning I went to breakfast with a friend at Bob Evans, and they have WiFi! Both of us were comparing apps we have, as we drank our cappuccinos. Both of us are never far from our Internet-enabled devices. Ashley helps me learn this phone, since she's got the same kind as mine and is really good at it. Such a big help! My confidence grows the more I work with it. Just learned how to buy songs at the app store. Fun.

Now I'm back home, doing some artwork here in bed. The flu makes me tire easily, so I work/rest/work/rest. Ashley and her child are battling the flu, too. We are all healing, it just takes a long time to get rid of it.

All in all, things are OK. I am living a drama-free, peaceful life now. My parents and I are estranged, due to my not tolerating anymore tantrums, being ordered around, and endlessly criticized. I put up boundaries, they refused to respect them, so I will only talk to them in public here and there. Life is too short to deal with endless drama and toxicity. Peace feels good. They are healthy and have what they need. They can take care of themselves, since anything I did to help was never enough. Life goes on, my business takes precedence in my life, with the cats and friends.