Dare to be Simple…

‘Something to keep our Words afloat’… there’s nothing like a story and more to do just that! See that blue in the opening image? That color is very close to The Brand Color- so easily recognizable that it’s become known as- Tiffany Blue! The jeweler so famous that just a tiny Tiffany Blue box tied with white satin ribbon- portends an engagement ring! I worked for the fragrance division of @tiffanyandco – I often had to wear a suit of that same color with a Tiffany scarf and the rules were strict. Only white ribbon was to be used to adorn their packages with the exception of red ribbon during the holidays! Well, I once had a customer who bought the fragrance, I duly wrapped it per protocol- then he asked me if I would mind wrapping that package with a plain brown wrapper and twine because he wanted it to be a surprise!

Here’s the point, unless you have strong brand colors- famous in fact- natural wraps are your friend. I love natural wraps, they save time and money (you can use them all year round!) Yet, here’s the main reason- Natural wraps create nostalgia and we all know creating good memories of a simpler time is one of the best things you can do!

Think twine, muslin, brown paper bags and tags (stamped with a logo?) that’s a good starting point. I also love crisp cello wrap for almost anything. And honestly old fashioned wax paper uplevels even the simplest fare. That chocolate pecan pie? I wrapped it in parchment tied with natural twine. Somehow the pie seemed more homemade and more delightful!

Newsprint, paper doilies, shredded and tissue paper, butcher’s wrap and rolls of plain brown make a wonderful base or fillers. Spend your money on very nice ribbon- the contrast is often the perfect thing! As is a  well designed logo or label. A garden shop I worked for, very often wrapped plants or used folded down paper bags lined with a plastic bag to wrap everything from Forget Me Not’s to Orchids!

Create nostalgia. In fact, creativity and nostalgia are new tools. Yet now, when having an online presence is a necessity- these tools have become even more important! Remember that creativity has been called the newest and best business hack with nostalgia running a close second!

Natural wraps not only save you money, are sustainable and best of all? They’re something to keep your words, your brand and your products afloat in these uncertain times. Be courageous- Dare to be Simple, instead of overdone.

Love y’all, Brenda

*Some of these suggestions are in my free February planning guide (send me an email at- brenda@camelliascottage.com to get yours! And! So exciting! I’m working on a ‘Supplies List’ coming soon!

Color Trends for Spring/Summer 2021

The range of colors is astounding this season- from a Gray which is reliable, stable and reassuring to Browns as earthy as garden soil or golden sands, a veritable rainbow of vibrant, fragrant and fresh as a palette of hollyhocks, zinnias or marigolds. There’s an astonishing array of Pinks, glamorous and soft, vibrantly alive. A range of Greens which are happy, responsible yet fresh. The Blues are still around, yet project optimism- they blend over into Aqua and Turquoise sea tones. There’s a mix of Pastels as playful as flower sprigged dresses, lavender fields, violets or birthday cakes.

The base notes in the spring/summer season are as pale and soft as Buttercream, a Black which is more like blackberries, the ultimate Grays, Silvers, Bronzes, Rusty patinas I love, bread crusts and shortbread hearts. and what is described as Fortuny gold, a pale rich woven color which Shutterstock described ‘as those happy coincidences found in life.’ Overall, the upcoming season moves from a reassuring stable gray to hard working classics on toward vibrancy and playfulness. The palette I show here is what it looks like going into Spring and becomes more vibrant toward Summer

So why should Color matter? It matters to your brand, to what you stock your shelves with, to how you design your photographs and social media grids. Color speaks before you even speak or write a word of content. The images you project will look up to date, stand out in a literal sea of other folks waiting to be noticed and more important? There’s something for everyone in these color choices so you can ‘stay true to brand’ yet make color combinations which speak volumes to your readers. And don’t forget Color is one of my 9 Principles of Design…ever important and ever inspiring color.

I’m thrilled to offer a free gift- a Tip Sheet for January! it’s a 3 page download, our first! I was so anxious to get out to you- it’s not overly styled! Yet, if you’ll send me a message, I get it to you right away!

I hope this Color Story for Spring and Summer is as uplifting as the New Year, here’s wishing you all your heart has dreamed of and much success attracting the good things of life your way!

Love y’all, Brenda

Here’s the January’s Free Tip Sheet for you ! Watch for February’s tips coming soon! 

What now? What now?

A little bird stopped by and chirped- ‘What now? What now?’ I knew he wanted me to answer the question- because that’s what a lot of business folks have been asking now that the holidays are over. I whispered to him a few things that could help you with your year end and new year businesses. New Year’s brings so many thoughts, plans, resolutions and concerns. There’s no time like Now- to coach folks through- whether it’s lifestyle changes, journal prompts, even dreams of adding on a service or two. Help your audience see that Time is their friend in this unique season. Here a few tips and at the end of this post, be sure and see my gift to you!

  • For product or gift card sellers- send messages- ‘Now’s the time to treat yourself’ – this is for gift givers who forgot to gift themselves. Large businesses are offering through the weekend of the first week of January discount gift cards…every type of business under the sun is doing this- even favorite restaurants, coaches and product based businesses!
  • Creating a short list of ‘5 Things Under $50’ is irresistible to a whole lot of buyers. For Your business? It’s moving out low or slow products post- holiday or pre-inventory. A good thing on both sides.
  • Some folks are setting goals to organize. An amazing organizer business is offering deep discounts now on one room or closet. Yet, they know lots of folks are DIY so they’ve created a low cost subscription plan to send out daily alerts or weekly prompts to get things sorted. Now? honestly I think this same idea could apply to several types of businesses.
  • Other folks want to see this new year in a new light- a fresh start for them could mean a deep soak in the tub- your bath salts could be a great first step. I hope you’re getting the idea- help them with their goals and plans with your suggestions or products.
  • If part of your stock includes one of a kind items- offer a post holiday, limited time offer on a very few uniquities- this will make room for all of your new fines in 2021. *Please resist the temptation to reveal new creations, acquisitions or new lines until after inventory. You can send out hints just remember if you sell your new stock now,  you won’t have fresh stock for upcoming events later!
  • If you do none of these things, at least do this- send out Thank You’s, you never know what will happen! @fredgretsch Twitter he told a fascinating story of a time when his wife Dina sent a young musician a thank you note in the late 1980’s for using one of their Gretsch guitars on the musician’s Cloud Nine album cover- George Harrison became a friend, famous and a faithful customer! Oh yes, never doubt the power of a Thank You Note!

Sometimes it’s the simplest idea, especially when time is running short that often turn into a magical moment for you And now, a first for us- a Free Download of some of our favorite tips for selling during January- it’s a pdf that you can download or print out. It’s loaded with information, three pages in fact!

Love y’all, Brenda

How to get it? Send me an email at brenda@camelliascottage.com and we will send it your way! Please note- this is an original tip sheet and should not be reproduced or shared without permission. We’d love for you to have your own personal ‘tip sheet’ to give you an edge on your competition!

It’s Time to Pull Out all the Stops…

Behind the Scenes

With just mere weeks to go, it’s time to pull out all the stops for your holiday products. Behind the scenes, large retailers are sending out offers, telling you- ‘Our Stylist Recommends’, reminding you of this season’s color combinations and offering their Loyal Customers – ‘Secret Sales’. Using their wonderful words to draw shoppers in. No matter what size or type your business is- you can use those same well worded and well timed techniques. If they seem ho-hum, remember they’ve stood the test of time. Marketers do it because it works!’

shades of winter whites and graysRight now, shades of Winter Whites and Gray are easy on the eyes, it’s cozy and frankly folks love it. This year, soft comfort, natural materials and the classics are high on shoppers’ lists. Buyers also love seeing how shades of One Color can help the shop their closer while adding or accessorizing with just a few things. We all know this year will be different. It’s time to make the adjustments.

It’s a fact that humans respond to lists- Update your Gift Guides to 5, 10 or 15 Things ‘We are Loving Right Now.’ 5 Hostess Gifts, 10 items you need this winter, 15 things for the folks who have ‘everything’. As a business person, it will be helpful for you to zero in on your most profitable products or services, then pull out all the stops to offer those products, now. Offer a ‘Our Top Picks’ guide. Changing up your gift guides isn’t a gimmick- it’s a helpful tool when shoppers are feeling overwhelmed.

shades of redHelp your customers budget by offering ‘Under $50, Under $20’ for stocking stuffers. This will not only help them- it will also help you sell slow stock- in fact, slow stock is where you need to discount your items – Now! Make your offering delectable- if you’re talking about Shades of Red clothing- show a berry pie- perhaps even offer a recipe alongside.

shades of green and mercury glassWe all love Shades of Green, show them how beautiful green looks with gray mercury glass. A new combination is always welcome- looks fresh and new too! And while you’re pulling out all the stops- don’t forget a bit of whimsy, an easy truffle recipe for ‘Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse’ found in Camellia’s Christmas Sweets… or a festive Red Car.

'not a creature was stirring...'Brighten their day and lift the spirits too! This is the time to pull out all the stops and make your products the merriest they can be! All the best, I know you can do this!

Love y’all, Brenda

And a Big PS…don’t forget reminders for when the last date for Standard Shipping is and when the last date for Guaranteed Delivery before Christmas! Don’t miss the last sleigh! Your customers will love you for it!Festive Red Car

The Little Black Dress of Marketing…

A thank you note is the ‘Little Black Dress’ of the marketing world. Every one needs one and you can personalize it anyway you want to and it will always look good! There are so many ways to say ‘Thank You’ to your customers – I’ve chosen 8 of my favorites!

  1. Find a way to personalize- maybe it’s a hand painted touch, a bookmark, a snippet of evergreen or a package of seeds… depending on your business, the options are practically endless.
  2. As a way to say thank you- offer free or reduced shipping on an item purchased after the New Year.
  3. A Gift for You. I know this may seem humdrum- yet when used a $10 off your next purchase, this is a powerful sales tool and keeps the momentum going into the next few months. And, by the way- A ‘$ amount off’ is far better than a discount that every one’s offering! Other ‘gifts’ you may offer is a consultation, a small swatch of a cleaning cloth or even samples of other products you carry.
  4. That old standby Free Gift Wrapping has been around for a reason- it works! For everyone it means far more than you realize. Wrapping can be fancy or all natural- just make sure it’s unique, even unexpected.
  5. If you sell any types of containers or coffee mugs, you’d be surprised how delightful a little gift tucked inside is- even cello wrapped coffee beans, a tea bag, a cute baked cookie. For garden centers, adding a bit of moss or a few pine cones in a container is low cost, yet is festive and welcome. It’s the little touches that say- Thank You!
  6. There’s something so charming about an unexpected blank seasonal card or gift tag tucked in, even a length of twine or ribbon is a welcome sight and guess what? You can use up extras because these little touches don’t have to match every time!
  7. If you work as a team in your business, it takes no time at all- snap a photo and print it out on card stock- Put a little bit of the personal in and folks love it. When I worked in retail I always had preprinted cards- I signed my name and a Thank You for companies I worked for- large and small. I’ve even been known to scrawl ‘Thank you!’ on the receipt!
  8. And here’s a great thing- sit down, write a stack of generic Thank You notes, then as each item sells, personalize it before packaging, then insert- especially for Loyal Customers! *I have received several packages in the last few months- from large companies and small boutiques, several of them had either pre-printed or handwritten thank you notes in them. Do what the best product based companies are doing and you can’t go wrong.

I’ll say it again, a Thank You Note is the Little Black Dress of Marketing. You can coordinate it anyway you choose and it’s always right!  Please remember, these days folks are looking for a more personal shopping experience- give them one from start to finish! And while I’m at it- thank you all for stopping by so often, it means the world to me!

Love y’all, Brenda