Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Lavender Pets is born!

We have three cats, they are 15 months old and are sisters. They're all spayed. They all got along well, until their mum, our beloved Phoebe died tragically in August. Since then they have been hostile, aggressive, fighting & squabbling with each other. And, spraying all over the house, desperately trying to find their own hierarchy. After much research, and looking into buying synthetic pheremones sprays or diffusers, I realised that surely I can create my own spray to help, it would be cheaper, more effective, and, 100% natural. Animals are much more receptive crystals & oils than we are, because they go on instinct, with none of the reservations or doubts that we have. I've used crystals on animals before, and they respond brilliantly. So I have blended Kitty Calm, to balance energies between bickering cats, promote restful sleep and generally calm and soothe. As with all my sprays, simply spritz onto the cats bedding, or into the room before they enter. Do NOT spray on or at the cat. They hate it! My Doggie Destress spray is fab for calming hyper, over excited, anxious dogs, helping to calm, soothe & ground them. Same directions apply as with the cat spray. So now, every member if your household, including the pets can chill out! I can put their name on the label too! 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Patience is a virtue

I have no patience whatsoever. I want everything yesterday, and my goals to be reached moments after I set them. Obviously, this is not the way life works, and most things do take time. It's something over a year since the seed of Lavender Garden was planted, and, considering I took three months off everything in that time, when my lavender baby was born, I actually think it's going pretty well. Trouble is, I look at facebook, and twitter, and see thousands of likes and follows, and instantly want the same. But, I have become more and more aware of exactly how much time that takes, constant plugging away on FB, joining in all the promotional nights, and constant tweeting, and being part of all the many relevant (and not so relevant) promotional #hours to gain as much visibility as possible. It does pay off though, and I just have to be patient, no matter how hard it may be. FB likes and twitter follows are steadily increasing, which is resulting in a slow but steady increase of sales. I just have to stick with it and find the time to devote to social media!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sow and you shall reap & deliver

I have made two important collaborations recently with Lavender Babies, in particular with Louisa Brown Soaps of Ormskirk. This partnership has been nurtured and brought to fruition completely through Twitter. Louisa makes the most exquisite handmade soaps, and has just won the coveted #sbs with Theo Paphitis so I am thrilled that we have teamed up to create two fabulous hampers - Blissful Bedtime and Blissful Baby Bedtime. They look amazing and are being well received!  We've just had our first wholesale order which is very exciting, despite a little stressful and confusing trying to source the best delivery method & price of my sprays to Louisa. Which brings me to my current self employed, small business gripe - postage. Royal Mail have horrific costs, and they do not seem fair or make sense. One spray costs £3 1st class, as a small parcel, as do three sprays! And to send a dozen to America costs similar per bottle than to send within the UK! I do use my Hermes for wholesale delivery of my sprays, but they take 3-5 working days and Yodel are good, offering 24 or 48 hr services. My last batch of 42 sprays cost just over £16 with them, Royal Mail wanted £29!! 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Little Lavender baby's 1st Birthday

The little soul who inspired Lavender Babies and all that has followed from it, my beautiful baby boy Kai, is one this Saturday! I keep rewinding to this time last year, when I was actually in hospital, waiting for my weak, irregular contractions to suddenly erupt into the ones that mean business. But my little lavender baby was not ready to meet us yet. He hung on for almost another 48 hours! I was sent home the next morning, frustrated and very cross with myself! It was my fourth baby, how could I not know that I wasn't yet in proper labour! Because, this was totally different from all my other ones. In every way. One midwife told me to come back when I had proper tightenings across my tummy accompanied by a strong pain. Well, I didn't experience one of them in the whole of my labour & birth! I had strong painful cramps deep inside, like nothing I'd felt before. But, that was my labour, confirmed thank goodness by the next midwife I met upon my return the night Kai was born. Armed with my relaxation CD from the hypnobirthing set I'd bought, my deep breathing and my Chillax Mumma spray, I launched myself into my labour and birth with a calm, controlled manner and experienced the best out of the four. My biggest baby at 8lb 7.5 oz and the least blood loss & stitches! Amazing. I can't believe it's almost a year ago. He has changed my life totally, and continues to inspire all that I do. 

Monday, 7 October 2013

The next steps

I launched Lavender Babies on twitter in May I think it was, this year. Starting tentatively, not really sure what I was doing, I jumped at the chance of attending a local small business social media workshop, where, amongst a colourful mix of businesses ranging from artists to oap guest house owners, I learnt the basics of twitter. I was the only one with a twitter account! And the only one who actually maintained and updated their facebook pages! I have stumbled through twitter, marvelling at how much time can be seriously lost in twitterville, and at the amount of time some other people have to tweet! I had the most amazing first summer with our new baby Kai, and really reduced my twitter time dramatically, before having to relaunch myself again really.  I have taught myself everything that I know to date - which isn't very much! But I learnt the #'s to include to gain more exposure, who to tweet to, to retweet (RT) mine, and the all important promotional tweeters who pick you, if you're lucky, to promote for a whole day. And you gain a cute badge as well. In one week, in September I was #womaninbiz #gossipgirls and #queenof business of the day! I've also been chosen as a #fpsbs business and I am tweeting Theo Paphitis every week to try and catch his eye for a coveted #sbs title! I am at around 1200 followers, in awe of those with many more, and striving to gain as many as I can. If only I could afford a social media PA! 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Let's start at the very beginning

My name is Karen and I'm a mum of four. I am a holistic & crystal therapist with my own practice of private clients, which I have had for eight years and I also hold various groups, workshops and courses. I was blessed to fall pregnant last year and in October, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, my second son. My life has changed dramatically since then (for the better) and he has inspired everything I now do today. I was keen, when pregnant, to use completely natural products, eat healthily, drink more water, etc etc and practised natal hypnotherapy relaxation before and during the labour and birth. I knew the benefits of essential oils and crystals and was inspired to put them, and my knowledge, together, into something that was natural, safe, and easy to use. I wanted to create a spray - a spritz that is sprayed into the room air, or on bedding or babies comforters. Lavender Babies was born in August 2012. I had a small stall in the September when I was very heavily pregnant, at a local playgroup fund raising evening and the interest in the sprays was very positive. A friend of mine who teaches various therapies at her dedicated centre at her home offered to sell them for me, and put them on display. I used the Chillax Mumma™ Spray in late pregnancy and throughout my labour. Along with the relaxation CD of natal hypnotherapy and the breathing technique I'd learnt, I had the best, most positive, fully connected in control labour and birth out of my four. During my pregnancy I also created Sleepy Baby™ and Uplifting New Mum™ (Now called Uplifting™) both I used for myself and Kai. I put all work aside for three months following Kai's arrival, starting slowly again in January. Lavender Moon was born to offer a range of sprays for adults away from the pregnant, new mum and new baby range of Lavender Babies. I started with So to Sleep™ Chillax™ and Lift Me Up™. I developed Facebook pages for each range, and although knew I could market them together, I wanted each to have a separate identity. Saying that, I wanted an overall 'umbrella' business name and identity for both, and Lavender Garden seemed perfect. I bought the domain name, and set up the website for free through a company I have used for years. I opened an Etsy shop, which powers my Facebook shop with the sprays available on both pages, and the website offers ecommerce via PayPal. I spent hours promoting through FB and various pages that feature your page if you're lucky enough to get noticed / picked, and have had some success. I haven't been able to attend local fairs and markets because my time with Kai and the others is precious, and I want to promote and sell online as much as I can. I have had a couple of local ladies buy small quantities off me to resell, and sales through my friend are steady. A local shop was interested in stocking them, offering to buy 50, but, the wholesale price they wanted was ridiculous. I approached my local chemist, the owner of which I know well, and he was happy to stock and sell them on a commission basis. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Better late than never

Having not blogged before, and, if I am honest, deliberately avoiding it until now, I have decided that I should give it a go. I was the same with Twitter. I first attended a social media workshop about five years ago learning (or not) about Twitter and Facebook. I didn't, couldn't and wouldn't see the benefits or need for them. I have embraced them now, for my businesses anyway, albeit with regard to Twitter, only this year. So, here I go, about to launch into the unknown world of blogging. Please be gentle with me........