How Is Your Journey Going? #coaching

Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. Sometimes we get lost; take a different path or decide halfway down the one that we are on that it's no longer for us.


For all of those sometimes remember not to listen to the outsider voices. Your journey and path are exactly that...yours. Noone can decide for you what is right, only you know in your heart.

When I opened Sweet Stella's in 2010, it was a crafty little outlet for me to get back to my roots and help me navigate the waters of postpartum depression. Did I ever think that I would be speaking at conferences, hosting parties with a great friend at BlogHer, freelancing for other companies and coaching small business owners? Nope!

But that's what I find beautiful about my journey. It has changed. It has grown. I have changed...I have grown.

Remember that your journey is yours and you need no permission from anyone else to change it, stop it, move it, follow it.

Do what is right for you, not them.
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Preparing for Baby: Your Business #pregnancy #newborn #mompreneur

While I have definitely prepared my blog for the arrival of Little Bear (post to come next month!), it is definitely not as easy to prepare my business for his arrival.


As any mom knows, adding a babe into your world gets your days and nights mixed up, your ups and down reversed. It can definitely be an overwhelming thought to be running a business with a newborn (and in my case, a preschooler as well!) but I have faith in myself and my abilities that it can be done.

In the case of my business, authenticity, transparency, and communication are going to be key. I have been posting about my pregnancy little by little, to the point that my clients know when he is expected and when they can expect that I will be taking a little time off. If we are having a great day once he is here, I will post that! If we need a little space, I will post to that effect.

Will I put my studio on vacation notice? No. For an artist on Etsy, this is like shooting your promotion in the foot. If you put your shop on vacation, that means people can't find you, or your products.

Shipping of products will likely be once a week...and will involve a detour to Starbucks where I can sit, sketch, and take a few minutes of breathing room.

In terms of coaching, that is the area of my business that I am not sure of right now. I think I will likely take the four to six weeks off following his birth, but then get back into consultations and whatnot. Ideally, I like to give my clients my 100% undivided attention and we all know that with sleep deprivation and adjusting to life with a 4 year old and new baby will mean my attention is in a few places at once when it is brand new.

So...right now I am just going to play it by ear. Life will change, sure, but that doesn't mean that I have to close up shop for a certain period of time. My art studio is something that is just for me, a place where I can breathe and create pretty things. So long as my heart is happy, it will stay open even with a newborn in tow. (hello babywearing!!)

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BlogHer Sponsor Love: EKSIT Strategies...Mompreneur Tips

 

When talking with Colin and Trevor from EKSIT Strategies about mompreneurs {and entrepreneurs} who are just starting out, their number one tip was

Know what you know, and know what you don't know

I couldn't agree more, and thought that it was a really great topic for their sponsor post this month. I am a firm believer in excelling in a few, rather than being mediocre at alot, and Colin spoke volumes to that.

He said that there are alot of specialists out there, like those who specialize in legal services, tax strategies and things like that, and alot of new businesses could find themselves in tough spots if they haven't gotten the proper advice from those people; thereby admitting what it is that they don't know, which for women in general {sorry to say...} is difficult.

When I think about what it is that I know as a mompreneur, I know how to structure my time wisely, how to create some gorgeous pieces of art and how to network throughout the proper social media channels to engage with other bloggers and like minded individuals.

What I don't know is how to stay on top of my Quickbooks, how to increase my sales naturally, or how to get the most bang for my advertising buck.

I know that I know, and I know what I don't know...it's the perfect time to implement a business strategy with the guys at EKSIT Strategies.

Mompreneur Monday: Luxe by Lisa Vogel

I am so excited about this mompeneur today!!

I met Lisa on our monday evening #mombizmondays chat on Twitter a few weeks ago, and after taking a look at her shop, all I can say is that you're all about to fall in love with an incredible woman and swimwear designer.

Lisa is lovely, sweet, genuine and real. Purely amazing!


What do you do?

Creative Director LUXE by Lisa Vogel swimwear, Co-President of RAJ Manufacturing (USA's largest domestic swimwear manufacturer), blogger, philanthropist, mom.



How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

A strong support system and organization are the two key ingredients. If I didn't have an amazing supportive husband, I don't know how I would do what I do. He is very involved with
the children and always patient when I have to work late or travel! I also send him all of the children's appointments, sports schedules, and school related activities on his blackberry so we can be on the same page.

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?



Balancing family with work. The truth is that balance does not exist. I just try to do the best I can.


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?


Find something that you love and follow your passion. If you are motivated by passion, as opposed to making money, you will succeed.



Is there anything additional you'd like to share?

Please visit www.swimspot.com and enter the code "stella" for a 15% discount for your readers. This code expires 5/1/12.

Wow!! Thank you Lisa!!

Enjoy your 15% off coupon, everyone!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: EKSIT Strategies


If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have tonnes and tonnes of questions swirling around your head.

What sets my business apart from others like me?

What phase of business am I in?

Do I want to grow it?

Am I looking to sell it in a year…5 years…10 years?

How do I get to where I want to be?

How do I reach my business goals?

This is when working with a business consultant would be extremely beneficial.

Managing Director with EKSIT Strategies, Colin Szemenyei, says that their company is approaching business owners in a more practical and relatable way.

“A lot of the time, the problem that business owners have in working with a consultant is that they don’t really understand what they’re getting into, what the process will be like, what it’s going to cost and what they’re going to get out of it,” he says.

So, what is the process like in working with a business consultant to help shape your company and ensure you achieve your goals?

Colin says that the process should be very collaborative and focused on providing value. When he says that they approach things differently, he means that they lay out a detailed plan, explain the value that your company will gain in working with EKSIT Strategies, and provide an upfront cost so you know what you’re getting into, rather than being handed a huge bill at the end of the process like most business consultant firms.

So, consider what your business goals are. Are they strictly monetary? Are you looking to pass your company down through the generations? Are you looking to sell it outright and retire? Whatever the case, working with EKSIT Strategies will make those goals clear and will pave the way for the next phase of your life…whatever that may be.

Special Post: BlogHer Sponsor Introductions

Have you heard? I’m going to BlogHer, and I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to the amazing companies and brands that are helping me get there!

EKSIT Strategies facilitates ownership transitions for businesses and their owners. They provide a range of services, all aimed at – quite simply – helping their clients realize their ideal future, whatever that may be. Whether a sale to a third party, transition to a family member, acquiring another business, or otherwise is appropriate, EKSIT will help identify the appropriate path to reaching that goal. They are experts in outlining potential outcomes to their clients to allow them to achieve success, however they define it.

Tina Dean Allen is the designer and artisan behind Tina Dean Designs. She handcrafts the very finest eco-chic handbags and accessories from non bio-degradable materials, ensuring that each piece is eco-friendly and carries the message of saving our environment. Tina’s stunning work has been featured in the GBK Gifting Suites at the Primetime Emmy Awards and Academy Awards and has been prized by eco-conscious celebs in the USA.

Laina Hanlon is a local lifestyle, wedding, engagement and style photographer in the South-Western Ontario region. She uses her rustic style to create inspired photo shoots that bring out the natural beauty in her clients and subjects. With a new focus on product photography and styled shoots, Laina offers her services to handmade artisans to ensure that their products are ones that customers take notice of. At the root of who she is, Laina is a beautiful person full of inspired vision.

Paired perfectly with a white tee and pair of skinny jeans for an edgy look, or to dress up your little black dress and pumps for a night out on the town, you will find your style at Amber Bryce - Luxe Bohemian Jewelry. With a focus on .925 fine silver and gorgeous gemstones, Amber believes in recycling precious metals and reducing her carbon footprint. She even donates $1.00 from each item purchased to Carbonfund.org to have a tree planted! Gorgeous jewelry, with a purpose to do-good.

Baxtalo Designs is an up and coming mama and papa jewellery shop created by Joshua and Stephanie, which will be launching March 20th, 2012! Their designs are all handmade, with a focus on carved wooden pendants, mini carved wooden buttons and woven leather materials. They’re boho, they’re chic and they’re sure to become a staple in your wardrobe!

Bellaroma Boutique creates the most luxurious natural skincare out there. Whatever your skincare concern, Diana {creator} will work with you to ensure the perfect solution is found in Bellaroma. Her line features whipped crèmes and body scrubs, a full facial line featuring cleansers, lotions, scrubs and masks, and even aroma mists and bathhouse body butters. Natural, elegant skincare couture.

Mompreneur Monday: Rebecca Nash Photography

I am so excited for today's mompreneur....someone that I actually know in real life, have had the chance to sit down and have coffee with (more than once!) and have gotten to know as a person, a mama, and a mompreneur.

I'd like to introduce you to Rebecca Nash, fine art photographer located in Southwestern Ontario. She has an eye for colour and beauty, and even has her work off to a
very special place...that she'll reveal at the end of the post!

1) What do you do?

I am the owner and photographer for Rebecca Nash Photography. I specialize in Wedding, Portrait and Fine Art photography. I love heading out to work with someone new to create beautiful images that I know will be cherished for years to come. The fine art photography also challenges me but in a completely different way. Instead of building a relationship with my subject in order to create a great portrait or wedding image, I have to create an image that shows or provokes an emotion within viewer through the subject and setting. It’s a completely different challenge and I thrive on this opportunity to change it up.


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2) How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?


Prioritize, schedule, and be ready for anything! Finding the balance is always a challenge for me. I make sure to plan out my tasks, have a to do list to keep me on track, and try not to get worked up about schedule changes that seem to always pop up. By having my own dedicated space for my business within our home I’m able to really get focussed on what I’m doing with minimal distractions. I also capitalize on time after my daughter has gone to bed when I’m sitting in front of the TV to go over schedules, to-do lists, and work on blog entries. Blogging at night allows me to get all my ideas out and still have a chance for a quick reread in the morning but also helps empty out my brain a bit before bed.


3) What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?


For me it’s always about finding the balance. I love my family and my daughter dearly and some days I’d rather stay home and just be a mom and homemaker but in the same breath I am a creative type and I love my photography. It is sometimes the only thing that keeps me sane. Unfortunately I have a habit of swinging from completely family focused to completely immersed in my business without any middle ground. This year my goal is to schedule time for both every week and stick to my schedule!


4) What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?


Link

Research, plan, build your support system, and then go for it! It will be a bit of a roller coaster so make sure you set boundaries and talk to your family about what you’re doing so everyone’s on the same page.


So where is your work off to now?


I’m thrilled to be having the opportunity to participate in the MTV Movie Awards Celebrity Gifting Suite and Swag Bags for the upcoming awards show in early June. In honour of this event I’m in the process of designing and creating a line of new products which the celebrities will receive and you can get too! Watch my blog for all the info on the design process and the product launch!

Mompreneur Monday: CoachInU

Good morning everyone!

What a sweet week we have in store; a new Mompreneur today, and Valentine's day tomorrow!!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Nuria Lencina - a life coach and mentor who coaches specifically expectant and new mothers on how to deal with the expectations of their new role as a mama. Man...how I wish I had of met Nuria 20months ago! Her advice is nothing short of inspirational!

What do you do?

My name is Nuria Lencina and I am a mother of two, a Psychologist and a Certified Professional Coach. I empower expectant and new moms to embrace their motherhood by supporting them with their daily struggles.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

I do have my own struggles but I am now working on a TimeMap to support my progress and keep me on task. Not having structure makes me procrastinate and also not value the things that I do. By having a system in place that holds me accountable for my own actions I feel supported and it gives me sense of direction.


What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

I think that time management is the most challenging aspect of having my own business, especially since I have small children. In my case I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. They are still very attached to me and I consider them my full time job. Running my business has to come in second place and it is difficult to let go of your work commitments in order to care for your family. Setting up the boundaries, and not neglecting my job or my mom priorities, is very difficult.


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

I would say to them that the key for success, apart from a great business idea, is a really good support system and a lot of patience. If you believe in your product, and you are committed enough to start a business, there are a lot of chances that you will get what you want. But it is important to establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely) goals and objectives and surround yourself with a good support system to help you accomplish them. Having all that in place it is a question of time, and it can take a while, but PATIENCE has to be present in your goals too.


Is there anything additional you'd like to share?

I would like to share with you that it is never late to ask for help. If you feel like giving up find someone to talk to. Get into a networking group, join some kind of group of moms who talk about what you love, call your best friend, do something, but don't give up just yet. It is really hard to have your own business, take care of your family, run the household, and on top of that remember to wash your face in the morning. But you are not alone, there are so many of us doing it everyday. Let it out.

I would like to offer EXCLUSIVELY to the SweetStellas readers a 50% discount (ONLY $45) on their first coaching session with me, if they are willing to explore what coaching can do for them, or how I can help them get a better daily structure, how to improve their communication with their partner, how to find ME time, how to cope with the emotional rollercoaster, or how to increase the confidence and self-esteem.

Also, if you decide to sign up for the ‘’Foundation Package’’ (4 x coaching sessions – $359) and you refer a friend that signs up for another ‘’Foundation Package’’, you will immediately receive a 50% discount on your purchase, or on your next purchase. This offer allows you to one discount only and cannot be combined with any other offers.

Talk-To-Me Tuesday: Getting Launched

I am so over-the-moon excited to announce that I've been launched by the amazing ladies over at launchHER.

When Tracy contacted me about a month ago, I could hardly keep my excitement in. Was I ready for this?

For those of you who don't know, launchHER is pretty huge within the women entrepreneur community. They are a supportive group of women who promote and love other women owned businesses, and they chose me. Me. {queue fainting}

I jumped at the chance, and feel so incredibly blessed to have been chosen. Huge huge thank you to Tracy for taking notice of my shop, and for loving why I started it {what feels like years ago now...a whole other lifetime}

Head on over and give it a read!

WAHM Wednesday: Coffee Break

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a local William Coffee Shop {I highly recommend their cinnamon scones for breakfast...so sinfully delightful!} and meeting up with some local tweeps.

@RNashPhoto
@ListedPhotog
@downshiftingPOS

and the ever inspirational @TimeOutMom

Things have been a crazy whirlwind over here lately, between us selling our home much faster than we anticipated to looking for our new house to considering building...all with two toddlers. Our son is 1 {and a half} and Sweet Stella's just turned one. Both have so much promise and amazing things going for them, and I have so many visions of hope for them both.

Though, I've been feeling...tired...exhausted...overwhelmed...defeated. Am I doing enough for both of my babies...being a good mom and a great mompreneur? So many questions...

Then, I went to this coffee date and had my socks knocked off. Rebecca, Melissa, Heidi and Margarita were fantastic to meet up with, and filled my sails with so much positivity. They talked about their busy lives as moms, photographers, entrepreneurs, organizers, social media strategists...women.

It was so very empowering, and have me a great deal of focus.

So starts a new series for Wednesday blogposts...about me being a WAHM. How I do it, what inspires me, what keeps me going...and how I keep it real, bring focus to myself and stay level with a busy toddler.

If you're a WAHM (working-at-home-mama) I encourage you to reach out into your community and connect. You never know where likeminded women are hiding. They might be people that you connect with daily on Twitter, or people that stumble across your business page on Facebook. Make it a habit to meet with them, be it one-on-one or in a group setting, and really get down to the nitty gritty. Who are you as a WAHM? What makes you who you are?

Ladies, thank you so very much for our Coffee Break. I look forward to many more!

MOMpreneur Monday: Cherry Tree Soaps

Just in case your weekend was a little ho-hum, I have someone very cheerful, lovely and sunshine-y to introduce you to today; Kristine Bessell from Cherry Tree Soaps! Kristine is kicking off the last series of MOMpreneur Monday posts for the year.

Each week, you'll meet a new mama who is crazy creative, juggles a busy family with a busy business, and get some advice from these incredible women about how you too could be a MOMpreneur in the making!

Kristine runs a lovely shop called Cherry Tree Soaps, and quite honestly...from the first look at her sugar cube scrubs, I was in eye-candy-heaven! She's fun, flirty, but oh-so-real and she comes from such a wonderful and honest place...it's hard not to fall in love with her!



What do you do? I create fun, fresh, natural and gentle soaps, as well as other bath and body products that are good for your skin. All of my items are handcrafted with care, using only the finest natural ingredients available. You won’t find any harmful chemicals or harsh detergents in any of my products. And I have tons of fun dreaming up colorful, unique, and deliciously-scented soaps – the wheels are always turning, and you never know what I will come up with next!

How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?
It
’s definitely a challenge! I have two very active little boys, ages 3 and 1 ½, who keep me on my toes all day long. I have learned to sneak in working time while they are playing nicely and quietly together (which is rare, LOL!) but mostly I work while they are napping or are in bed at night. I also have the absolute best parents in the world, who help watch the boys for me during very busy times with the business. I can’t yet say that my days flow perfectly with everything on my plate, but I continue to work hard at finding just that right balance between my family and my small business.

Dipped Candy Apple soap gift set

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur? Most moms will agree that once you become a mother, your own needs fall to the wayside as you strive to provide for and take care of everyone and everything else around you. With two little boys at home and a husband who has a very demanding job, I am no different than these mothers I’ve described. Add a self-run small business to the mix, and it magnifies the issue. My biggest challenge right now is finding time for myself, and trying to take care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, so that I can function at the top of my ability for my family and for the business. An overwhelmed, exhausted, and malnourished mom/business woman is not good for anyone, so I need to constantly remind myself that I need to be taken care of once in a while, too!


Ginger Orange Bar Soap

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business? Start slow. There’s always room and time to grow, and you want to make sure you do this right. The biggest mistake I’ve probably made is to jump in with too much, too quickly. From the beginning, I’ve had people all around me making requests to see this product or that in the online store, and in an effort to try and please everyone and accommodate every request, I quickly became overwhelmed. Trying to do everything all at once soon made me realize that I needed to take a step back, evaluate what my very best products were, scale-down a bit, and re-focus. I now have a much more clear vision of my brand, and where I would like my company to go.


Amarette Egg Nog Sugar Cube Scrubs

Is there anything additional you'd like to tell our readers?
Cherry Tree Soaps is currently having a giveaway! To enter, visit my blog and follow the directions posted there. You could be the lucky winner of TWO huge 15 ounce jars of our brand new Bath Salts in the scent of your choice!

MOMpreneur Monday: iBakery

MOMpreneur Monday has a very very special mama to blog about today, Jackie Long from iBakery!

What makes Jackie so special? Well, she creates the most delicious and gorgeous sugar cookies, including ones with printable designs (so very cool)! She's also the mama of twins and just welcomed new little baby boy to their family a couple of weeks ago!

1) what do you do
I make custom decorated sugar cookies, cakes, printables and treats of all kinds. I can match cookies to a theme, and even help set up a complete food table. Cookies can be hand-piped or your image can be printed directly onto the cookie - the possibilities are endless!

2) why do you love it
I have always loved to bake. I love to eat sweets, so that is one motivator, but I also love the smile that a homemade treat puts on someone's face. I am a stay at home Mom to 3 year old twins with another little one on the way. The iBakery has allowed me to combine my love of baking with generating some income - a win-win for sure.

3) what advice do you have for other MOMpreneurs?
If you have an idea, figure out who to approach to get some samples out there. It takes some patience as building your business via word of mouth takes some time, but it is well worth it in the end. Most importantly, reserve time that is specifically for you and your business, so that it doesn't interfere with the time you want to spend with your family. It can be quite stressful to try and put out an order when your kids are playing, as they can't understand why Mommy can't play right then. You may pull some late nights, but I find these nights fun and worth it.




Check out iBakery's website and Like Jackie's work on Facebook! Your sweet tooth will be happy that you did!

MOMpreneur Monday: Activate Encourage WAHM Showcase

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend! It's back to the grindstone for me this week, working on custom birthday orders, wrapping up things for the Emmy's and creating some gorgeous journals for my Etsy shop!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Melissa, crafty mama behind Serafina and Stella, and mastermind behind Activate-Encourage WAHM Business Showcase!


I started the WAHM business showcase mainly because I feel like, at times, mothers that balance work and family don't get the recognition they deserve. I wanted to provide a thriving environment that allowed optimum exposure with minimal investment.

Alot of moms I had spoken with relied solely on Facebook and Twitter networking for their success, and never considered looking at other ways to promote their business.
When they is not alot of extra income set aside for advertising, it becomes a struggle to take it your business to the next step.

Every month we offer 15 bags, filled with items that our WAHM vendors have chosen to contribute. Each month has a specific theme and the contents of the bags reflect that!
We charge a fee of $5 per month for our Monthly Sample Bag contribution. That's less than 0.40$ per bag for exposure!

Each bag is posted on the 21st to be available for purchase. We require your goods/marketing material to be delivered or dropped off the 15th of each month.

Upcoming Themes

July-Summer Colours
August- Back To School
September-Halloween
October-Thanksgiving
November-Christmas

We are also having a Limited Edition Wedding bag for the month of October!

Also, each month, one member is chosen from that month's contributing vendors to receive a sample bag for free!

We are now filling for August Back To School bags but still looking for a few interested vendors for the July bags! We also provide vendor bags to different events in and around our community. We provide this service free of charge. We recruit vendors on an ongoing basis to fill these bags.

What's great about their feature vendor bags is that you can participate as often as you'd like! Sweet Stella's will be contributing to the September Halloween, November Christmas and October Wedding bags! It's such a great way to test out some new products, get feedback from your target market that you might not have been able to reach out to previously, and build your network.

Interested in collaborating with Melissa? Flip her a quick email at activate.encourage.showcase@gmail.com or stop by her facebook page and link up your own fanpage!

Mama Blogger Monday: Goober Monkey

Welcome to the first installment of Mama Blogger Monday, where a new blogger will be featured every Monday (except the first Monday of the month...still reserved for MOMpreneurs!)

I'd like to introduce you to Steph from The Adventures of Goober Grape and Monkey Man. She is a fantastic writer, an inspiring Mama who's on the go...you know, doing what mom's do...running marathons, losing weight, going to BlogHer'11...being amazing!



I’m Steph, the owner/creator of The Adventures of Goober Grape and Monkey Man, a blog following my family, our daily adventures and our jerk cat, Jack. I’m a full time working, lots of weight losing, wife and mother to two very energetic kids who is always on the run here in Orlando, FL. I write about most anything and everything, but a lot of it is just the craziness that is my family. We spend entirely too much time at Disney, and honestly if we could just live in the parks…we would!

Steph hosts all sorts of link-ups on her blog from Take-It-Off Monday for weight loss and MediFast and Wordful-Wordless Wednesdays to a Friday Blog Hop!

What I love most about Steph is that she is real. There are no bones about it, whether she's struggling with bedtime with her son (a must read!) or gushing about her husband (she's an incredibly supportive wife! Seriously!) or she's talking about other kiddo related topics (travel, potty training, feeding, theme parks etc.). She is real...to the core.

Stop by and have a read! I guarantee you'll love her as much as I do!


MOMpreneur Monday: Blanket Statements

Good morning everyone!

Today I would like to you meet, and admire the work of, Leslie from Blanket Statements. These lovely blankets are definitely the snuggliest that I have seen in a long time, and I hope you love them as much as I do!!

Blanket Statements was founded with this goal in mind: to provide physical warmth, spiritual comfort and love by means of sharing a blanket. For each snuggly, warm throw blanket purchased an additional identical blanket is donated to a women's shelter. Each donated blanket also includes a personal note, or uplifting statement for the woman in need. It is a simple premise - get a blanket, give a blanket.

I started this business at the end of 2010. The idea came forth because I am going through a divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. I was researching shelters in anticipation of needing one, but felt guilty thinking I would take the place of someone who was in an even worse situation than I was. After moving out on my own I started Blanket Statements with the little extra money I was able to scrape together. I am a mom of two teenagers...my daughter is 16, and my son is 14. This journey has been a learning experience for all of us and I feel is making us all better people.

Blanket Statements is an eco-friendly company utilizing as many recycled or renewable sources as -possible. Our packaging, shipping and several blankets are eco-friendly and/or carbon neutral. I also strive to find easy-care products that are made in the USA.

Blanket Statements is a small family-run endeavor. My labor of love.

You can find Blanket Statements online at www.blanketstatements.org, on Facebook (BlanketStatements), and Twitter (@BStatements).

MOMpreneur Monday: Nikki Hart

Happy Memorial Day to my American fans!

This morning, I want to introduce you to a fabulous MOMpreneur, whose designs I positively LOVE! Here's Nikki Hart from Sweetharts!


What do you do?

First and foremost I am a mommy and when I am not busy being a super-carpooling-errand running-jake of all trades mom, I'm busy building and promoting my business "Sweetharts". Sweetharts is my shoppe where its all hand crafted from start to finish. Like most moms on the go, our styles and need for accessories change daily for us as well as our kids. I dabble in a little bit of this and that when it comes to accessories. Hair accessories from clips to headbands in all styles for mom and her girls. Clutches, Camera Strap Covers and jewelry.


Why do you love it?

I love it cause I am a creative person, I love to create and make beautiful things. I feel like I am showing my kids they can do whatever they want to do be as successful as they want. We should all be able to do what we love and if you can make a business out of it, whats better then that?



What advice do you have for other MOMpreneurs

Don't ever give up, find something that you are passionate about and run with it. It might not be easy and it takes alot of work but if you love it, it will be worth it in the end cause you will be doing something you love.



Absolutely wonderful, and such gorgeous work! Seriously!! How could you not want to wear your hair all pretty with one of her awesome headbands...daily!?

You can check out Sweetharts shop here, on Facebook, and follow along on her blog.

MOMpreneur Monday: Ariel Hayes

Hello everyone! I've finally found a spare minute on this lovely Victoria Day Monday to sit and write about a lovely MOMpreneur, find out why she does what she does so well, and share some of her secrets.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Ariel Hayes of Deco Courture. I've had the pleasure of chatting back and forth with Ariel for a few weeks now, as she is also a member of The Artisan Group and will be providing her amazing line of jewellery to celebs at GBK Productions Gifting Lounges.

Here's Ariel's take on what she does, and why she loves it so much...

I make handmade affordable fashion jewelry for women. I love my job because it allows me to be a stay at home mother and teach my three year old to follow her dreams. Ever since I was little I had a passion for fashion and jewelry. My advice for MOMpreneurs is to always follow your dream. Starting out is the hardest part, you have to build a fan base, products people want to buy, promote your business anywhere and everywhere and manage the household duties and raise your kids all at the same time!


Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DecoCouture
Twitter:
www.twitter.com/DecoCouture
Etsy:
www.decocouture.etsy.com

Take a minute to look at Ariel's amazing creations; I assure you, you will not be disappointed!

MOMpreneur Monday: Aromatic Health Shop

Good morning everyone! We've been down and out with colds around here, so I hope you all had a much better weekend than we did!

Another Monday, another MOMpreneur to feature!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Michelle Reynolds from Aromatic Health Shop. Here's her story about what she does and why she loves it.

I practice clinical aromatherapy and make a number of products for health and wellness. Many are focused on pre and postpartum healing, as I was making these for myself with my first child.

I love to educate people about essential oils and that there are alternatives to conventional treatments. Natural ingredients work without the side effects.
Balance. I know, easier said than done. There has to be business time and family time. Try to schedule out a few hours each evening, or what ever time of day works for you and your family.

Wonderful words, and it's true what she says! Finding balance really is easier said than done, but clearly...it can be done! Oh, and did I mention that Michelle is a member of The Artisan Group and will be gifting her great aromatherapy products to celebrities? No? Well, she is!

You can check out Michelle's full line of products on her website, follow her beautiful advice on her blog, become a fan on Facebook and chat along with her on Twitter.

MOMpreneur Monday: The Lucky Elephant

I recently have become slightly obsessed with the MOMpreneur for today. If you haven't stumbled across The Lucky Elephant, you really should take some time to admire her work.

Jutta is a spectacular woman, who creates absolutely stunning pieces all with a very lucky theme. I just ordered my first of likely many Lucky Elephant pieces the other day, and couldn't be happier with my selection.

Here's her story...

I was born in Germany and currently live in Chicago with my husband and three children. I have always loved anything & everything creative as well as (good luck) elephants - my sweet spot...

The launch of the lucky elephant was one of those things that, in hindsight, feels like it was meant to be. I had just started making jewelry again, was playing around with wrap bracelets and accidentally stumbled upon a cute elephant button one day. I bought the little silver friend, brought him home with me and "the lucky elephant" was born the very next day...

For a few years, I have been involved with Urban Initiatives (www.urbaninitiatives.org), a Chicago based nonprofit organization that runs a health and education soccer program in public schools in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. Very early on I decided that I wanted to continue to support their tremendous work with my business too. 10% of all my proceeds go to Urban Initiatives.


A few links of my favorites:

1. my absolute No.1 favorite is the Mega-Wrap!
2. an amazing piece when going out - (sparkles like a Christmas tree...)
3. Great spring color
4. If I were to get married again, definitely wearing this one


My advice for fellow mompreneurs? Try to find balance. Define your work hours and "leave the office" (your desk, your studio, ...) when your work hours are over. Don't let family life and business get all mixed up. I think that's one of the greatest challenges when working from home: being able to step back, to "forget" about the work that might be piled up on your desk, and making sure that family time is really just family time...

You can admire more of Jutta's work in her Etsy shop, follow her on Twitter, read her blog (she hosts frequent contests to win your very own Lucky Elephant!) and catch up with her on Facebook.

Oh and to any guys, fiances, husbands, dads, grandfathers...anyone with a special woman if their life; put these works of art at the top of your gift-giving list. Make a mental note; jot it on a piece of paper; put it in your blackberry as a bookmark. You can thank me later when she's all smiles!

Thankful Thursday: Picnik

I know that it's still Wednesday, but I'm really hopeful that the weather will cooperate tomorrow and I'll be able to get out on our favourite trail for a nice 10km walk in the morning, followed by a lengthy banner-creation session when Mr. O has a nap in the afternoon *fingers crossed*

Recently, I've been incredibly thankful for Picnik.com

I don't necessarily use to to edit product photos or things like that, but I do use it to design lovely things like...Photo collages for promotional listings, silent auction donations and charity events







New business cards for the Emmy's







front








back


I really enjoy the soften feature, where I upload my logo and soften the entire picture, then write on the top on it in black font for a custom listing






The versatility of the program is outstanding. In addition to the soften feature, you can put your pictures into black and white, sepia, tone up or down certain colours, concentrate on one colour or another...the possibilities are endless!

For a MOMpreneur who needs to keep overhead down, it's a great program and has really simplified graphic design for me! And...keeping processes simple is something I am incredibly thankful for!