Time. Timeless. Timelessness…

Pull up a Chair. Set the scene. Tell me a story without saying a word. I want Time. Timeless. Give me Timelessness anyway you can.

I found the value of using a Chair for the first time, when  I set a bowl of cobbler on a black wicker chair- the appearance improved. The chair told a background story like no other prop I had. A stack of books on a simple chair might say-

  • Book Club to some,
  • A quaint bookstore to others or
  • Read the Classics‘ to another,

And what about a wedding bouquet on an upholstered chair- set it outside? A chair in an unexpected place… Well, let me tell you- that’s Timelessness with a twist!

You may think a Hat on a Chair is…old hat?  Yet, it’s still one of the most effective setups that stylists use. Picnics are timeless activities that evoke all kinds of emotions- a picnic basket under an old apple tree, with a book- tells the story of relaxation or taking a well earned break. And while a picnic basket is not strictly a chair- it serves the same timeless purpose, and evokes similar emotions. As does an old garden bench with bedding plants-holding the promise of Spring, is the story it tells.

When you’re gathering images for your business, for your blog- do it with the purpose of creating nostalgia, ease- express calm and timeless comfort. How?

  • Use a chair, not as an afterthought.
  • Use a chair to anchor your work, a story or even specialty items, you’ll send messages all year round.
  • Use an elevated but timeless prop- a basket, a garden bench.
  • A cozy throw, a stack of books, a warm cup of coffee- you get a picture of the story I’m going to tell.
  • Or, let me take you on a sentimental journey with an old book, a classic chair, even scattered dry rose petals.

While you’re photographing Chairs, create a few different scenes- a book, a throw, a vintage napkin and a piece of cake. Why? It’s more efficient to change the props, while you have good light. And! Remember, you’ll  use these images over and over again, they’re timeless, tell a story without words… The photos you create are your treasure chest- filter lightly to create different moods. Give your readers or clients the impression of Timelessness and you leave the impression of stability. It takes very little of your time to add something pretty with your product, or timeless inspiration, perhaps a a short note- perched on a chair seat- you’ll have an image which will remain relevant years from now.

Trust me on this amazing Element of Design, Time. Be sure Time is on your side. Pull up a chair and tell me a timeless story. You know I’d love to hear it.

Love y’all, Brenda

P.S. I’m working on a List of My favorite Props just for you! Okay for anyone who wants it, too! I’ll let you know when it’s ready, just know A Chair will make it to the Top of the List!

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!

Add in some Merry Missions…

Whether you’re a shopper or a seller, this is the time when retailers back off large discounts, or if they are offering them, watch out for exclusions to that discount. As sellers you have a choice to do discounts or exclusions as well. I recommend it, because guaranteed holiday delivery is ending shortly and the big sales happen later. So, What Now? How to keep your customers coming back, checking into your site?

Several of my favorites have begun adding ‘merry missions’ or ‘holiday happiness’ in their online advertising. What are Merry Missions and how can they help with your holiday marketing efforts? These are amusing, easy and fun things that aren’t sales-y (which all of us are tired of by now!) Merry Missions make opening your notices fun! Alternate your site with activities that are sure to keep them coming back. Here’s a few I’ve come up with …

  1. What Christmas Ornament brings you the best holiday memories?
  2. Add extra marshmallows to your Hot Cocoa- just today! You deserve it!
  3. Wrap your packages by twinkle lights, it makes the task so much nicer..
  4. Name and sing your favorite holiday song or Christmas Carol. Sing as loud as you like! No one’s listening…
  5. Enjoy a candy cane while you write and mail a few love letters. If there ever was a year for it, this is it!
  6. Do a ‘hunt and gather’ walk, work your found treasures into your holiday decorating!
  7. Read your favorite Children’s Book- Velveteen Rabbit, Secret Garden or ‘Twas the night before Christmas…’  Children’s books are a sure way to amuse and charm.
  8. Make, bake and decorate a batch of cookies, even if they aren’t made from scratch or even perfect. Psst: Displayed by candlelight, no one will notice anyway!
  9. Get all Dolled Up even if you don’t have any place to go… watch a sweet holiday movie, it will make it seem like date night!
  10. Write your holiday wishes and tie them to the tree or better yet? Fulfill a few wishes!

Adding fun and Joy to your holiday advertising or even with your friends and family is sure to be a hit, especially this year. And! I’m sure you can come up with even better ones than I did to dole out one at a time…

And who knows? You might start a new tradition that will continue through the years… Merry Missions are way to build your audience and if it’s working for the big companies? Then I’m sure your customers will love you for it.. You’ll have to trust me on this!

Love y’all, Brenda

I’m wishing you much success! And PS Merry Missions work for product or service based businesses!

It’s Time to Pull Out all the Stops…

Festive Red Car
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