piper’s dream report: week nineteen

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It’s official…I’m working for myself full time now!!  Long story short, due to some happenings at work that reminded me yet again why I wanted to leave Corporate America, my last day moved up a week.  So as of this Monday, I’ve been working from home.  And I have to admit – it’s pretty darn awesome!! Although I have to say, it’s definitely going to take some time to get into a routine.  Not to mention staying focused and not distracted by all the things I could be doing at home!  A friend of mine had the best question for me on my first day of working from home…”are you still in your pajamas?”  Since I’m new to this and convinced that by staying in my pj’s I’ll start a descent into complete and utter laziness (think laying on the couch watching bad TV all day), I have managed to get dressed every day. The nicest thing so far about working from home?  Playing music and as loud as I want.  Now that’s fun (and gets the creative juices flowing!) My new co-workers (aka “the dogs”) have been little to no help keeping me focused on all the work I need to do.  When I ask them for their opinion, they just stare at me with these eyes that seem to say “If you’re going to be home, why aren’t you playing with us and giving us attention?”

Another thing that’s official?  I’m in complete and utter “OMG, how am I going to get all this done?” mode.  Ok, so maybe I’ve never left this mode but I swear, I’m at the point now where EVERYTHING is priority and time is ticking down to the store opening.  Granted, the store opening date is my own date – I can push it back. But I feel like it’s important to be up and running weeks before the holidays and I’ve also been talking up the store opening being around October 18th – so I don’t want to let folks down.  My web designers have this great calendar that shows all the milestones related to my website.  When we first started, they had my “go live” date as October 7th based on all the to-do items being completed on time.  Perfect, right?  Gave me plenty of cushion.  Well, this date has already changed…twice.  Gulp.  It’s now moved to October 21st so pressure’s definitely on to keep on task. Especially since starting next week, I won’t have the luxury of a paycheck – if I start thinking about that too much, I’d start panicking even more than I am!  The good news is that I finally decided on the web design after 5 rounds…I can’t wait to show you guys but that’ll have to wait for the grand opening!

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So basically it’s crunch time.  Lots to do in a short period of time.  And I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Not easy for a perfectionist…I keep thinking that the first impression of my store is going to make or break it.  Which is making me want to procrastinate on just about everything!  Not something I have the time to do!!  The biggie – writing the content for the site – feels like Mount Everest right now.  It’s due to the web designer by the end of September…any chance we can extend this month??

At the same time, the fun part is happening – products are starting to roll in!!  Each box that comes in gets me more and more excited for the opening.  I just got in these beautiful decals by Shanna Murray (shown above).   They’re so pretty in person – I want to hang them everywhere! If only running a store could just be about buying products.  This is the part that makes me want the store to open right now and feels like 3-4 weeks away is just too long!!  My to-do list for the next week or so is packed with deciding on shipping options, packaging, ordering products, learning how to use my shopping cart system…and yes, writing content.  Think I can get away with having a store website that just has pictures, no words?  Just think, it could be the very first one of it’s kind (grin).  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and/or advice – any tips for working from home?  As a consumer or a biz person – anything you like (or don’t like!) about receiving packages? I have some ideas for how to make it more personal such as a little note in each package and/or getting a stamp with my logo to stamp on the box.  Would love to know your thoughts!

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  1. lou

    I so envy you, Piper for doing this. It motivates me so much on doing the same and I promise to myself that I will. One day I will.
    My thoughts on packaging – you can check out moo.com and get some mini cards done. You can upload your own design or you can choose from their designs and on the back you can write whatever you want. The steps are very easy and I found them adorable as tags for products. Customized stamps rock, too! There are very nice ones available at Etsy – I like the handwritten versions best because they give a very nice touch to each packaging. For my little shop I plan to wrap things in plain craft paper and seal them with bakers twine or something similar, with a nice little tag. I like it simple. And when I receive packagings I love it when I see that the person put some thoughts in it instead of just putting the items in the box and send it away. As long as the biz is small enough and doesn’t have to deal with millions of packagings this should be doable. We’re not Amazon, right? Ah, what I LOVE as well is wrapping tissue (I had to look this word up in the dictionary… I mean this very very thin paper where you can almost look through. Comes in adorable colors) Fabric things look fabulous wrapped in this kind of paper. Ah there are so many things you can do. I would trust your personal taste. I would wrap the items the way I love to receive them and then you can’t go wrong. That’s my thought.
    I’m so looking forward to read more about your new career and keep my fingers crossed for you!
    Xo, Lou

  2. Karen

    I feel that I probably don’t need to tell you this in terms of your packaging but I will just to let you know from a customer perspective how important I feel this is.

    I order a lot online from a firm for supplies for my own solopreneurship that I am starting. I pay in full at the time of order with no discount. With my package (which is always on the late side) I receive a several page list of the items that I have ordered. No where on this list is a THANK YOU. I mean not even a pre printed THANK YOU. Naturally, I know that you will be most generous with your “thank you’s!”

    I feel that it is the best way to communicate with your customer that you want to have a relationship, not just a one time order.

    Keep up the good work! I am interested in your progress with your business!

  3. Natalie

    First of all, congratulations on being officially self-employed! I know how amazing it must have felt to move your leaving date up a week =) I felt the same way at the end of my job, one less day.. one less hour would have been a dream come true! Haha.

    I also find that sticking to a schedule of productivity is the most difficult part of working from home for me. For me, it’s probably because I am trying to live as a Renaissance Soul, and so far my goals are not very well-defined and my to-do list is kind of all over the place and not very concrete. It sounds like your excitement for your store opening will help drive you through your somewhat overwhelming to-do list =)

    Also, my thoughts on packaging are kind of contradicting.. I love to see personal touches in packaging, I’ve noticed Jess does that with her products and also Modcloth (wrapped in cute tissue paper with a sticker to close). At the same time, the eco-guilt in me hates getting anything superfluous with my package. Most packaging is impossible enough to recycle in the first place, sometimes figuring out what to do with a pretty card, flier, advertisement, or other item can be a pain. On the other hand, finding that my item came wrapped loosely in a beautiful color of tissue paper (no tape or stickers), or a pretty piece or ribbon or twine is a joy, because I know I can re-use it for a gift or something later on.

    So I guess I would lean towards the route of a customized invoice with your company branding and maybe a hand-stamped thank-you message (since an invoice on white printer paper is pretty easy to recycle), along with pretty but re-usable extra packaging to give that personal touch, and avoid things like cardboard inserts, business cards, or extra advertising or notes that will just have to be thrown away or recycled.

  4. cailen

    i work from home (and it’s the best)! it is hard (sometimes) to remain focused when there are so many things you could/should be doing…laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping… but it’s totally worth it!

    congrats on leaving the corporate world. that’s awesome.

  5. I am so excited for you! You are a rock star. I had to go back and read last week’s post too cause I missed it somehow and love the design! You’ve come so far!

    I would consider your branding when making packaging decisions. Selling a lot of “green” products means your packaging should reflect that. Since part of your mission or elevator speech was making everyday special, I’d consider that. I love little touches on the outside of the box – like a pretty address label. Pretty tissue is nice, but you also want packing materials that are really going to protect your items. I do like a layer of “vanity tissue” though right around the object. Love things wrapped like a little gift. I actually love getting business cards, postcards that I could send to a friend (even with the business name, if it’s pretty, I’ll send it), or little sweet (but not necessarily expensive) gifts. Sometimes I see a coupon code for a next purchase, which is always nice but I don’t think I’ve ever used it. I might be more inclined to a free shipping coupon on a next purchase. And I agree that a handwritten “Thank you” is a easy but appreciated touch.

    I love that decal and am trying to figure out where I’d put it!

  6. It’s been such a treat to watch your progress over the months and to see you so close to making your dreams come true. SO excited to see what you have created! 🙂

  7. Julia

    Maggie Rose has a great point! Your ethics and values should definitely carry through everything you do, right down to the packaging. With the vast amount of eco-friendly options out there, I’m sure you can find something. However, I’m sure that it will be a little more pricey. But, most of your readers will probably know that, and then respect you all the more for it!

    And on top of all of THAT to think about, I agree with what Natalie said. The personal touches are really smart! Her packaging was so cute, I held on to it. Then people would come into my apartment and ask what it was from. Maybe what you can do is create some very simple embellishments on your packaging so that your shoppers will be able to easily reuse it or even decorate with it, and include a note on recycled paper, even something kitschy like old newspaper, reminding people to be conscious and REUSE!

  8. Jenny

    Yay, congratulations! I worked from home for 2+ years and it was certainly an adjustment. Stick to a schedule, get up and get dressed like you were going into work – which you are :o), and don’t feel guilty if you want to throw in a load of laundry, etc throughout the day. I used to say I don’t take smoke breaks, I take laundry breaks. I allowed myself to watch TV during my lunch hour otherwise I plugged away on the computers with music on. It’s great, enjoy!!

  9. Hazel

    I’ve been reading your dream report since Week 1 and it has really inspired me how you have accomplished so much despite feeling overwhelmed at times. Thanks for sharing with such honesty and passion! 🙂

  10. alana

    Congrats on taking the big leap – and form a consumer’s point of view, a little touch like a note or stamped card makes all the difference and really adds fun to opening a package!

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