Archive | January, 2011

Press Kit

22 Jan

Press Kit

Been a long day of housework and fun work. I have put together 10 press kits so far. A lot of trial and error, but I am very pleased with the almost finished result. The press kit consists of a beautiful red recycled paper folder, the two press releases we have so far, business card (front in the slot, back glued to the pocket), postcard, website flyer, photo sheet, and statement card. I’m also going to include a general introduction letter, but I still have to write that one.

And I am very pleased with the idea to put a modified blanket tag on the front. I wanted to put a sample of one on the inside but was discouraged at the idea of the tie getting smashed inside the folder. Then it occurred to me to just attach it to the front – and use that as an company identifier and intro to what we do. I think they turned out great!

Gotta love free java!

22 Jan

Filled up my gas tank today and was surprised with a free 24oz pepperminty chocolate coffee. I think today is my day!

I have all sorts of disjointed thoughts roaming around in my head today. And I can’t tell you how many times this week I’ve opened up the blog to write only to shut it back down. Everything I’d like to report on the blog is so tenuous right now. Shifting sand everywhere, nothing concrete to report. So I’ve put off writing. Figuring I would when I had something of substance to say.

But since I don’t know when that will be I will just put in a little update today. Being Saturday I am kid free for the time being. Girl at play rehearsal and boy at the girlfriend’s house. A perfect time to drink my free coffee and put life into perspective and get a few projects accomplished too.

This week brought my supply of eco-friendly packing materials. Kraft paper bags (big enough for local delivery of one or two blankets), kraft tissue paper, and several types of ribbons I’m experimenting with to tie the “Statement Cards” on the blankets with. Photos of the ribbons can be found on the Facebook page. Take a look and let me know which one (or ones) you like best. I see advantages to all three, and all three are wonderfully eco friendly.

I also received my sample run of business cards and post cards. I got them through Vista Print kind of on a lark. Figured I would try them and see how they turned out, and really not bad for the investment. Got 250 double sided recycled paper business cards and 100 mailable postcards. I even went with a standard design for the postcards rather than designing my own and they look pretty good.

And this week a suggestion was made for me to put a label on the blankets themselves. Which, I have to admit, I did consider early on, but gave up the idea due to cost. But I am revisiting it this week as I found some articles online about making eco-friendly cloth tags. Today my custom eco-green stamper came in the mail and I plan on trying it out on some organic muslin. I’m also planning to use the stamper on my Kraft bags too. So dual purpose purchase. Yea me.

Yesterday the girl and I stopped in at the local library and I came out with an armful of business and marketing books. I even filled the girls arms too. I am mainly looking to broaden our horizons. I think we are off to a great start, but now word of mouth really needs to take off. As well as advertising. I think it is time to branch out a little more.

The last couple days I also sent out our launch press release to several sources – mainly local ones like the Daily Herald, News Sun, Grayslake Review, Antioch Review, Libertyville Review, Trib local for McHenry and Lake counties. I’ve also joined a few more “Women in Business” groups and some “Green Forums.” I’m still waiting to hear back from the publications though. That is a little disappointing.

And on the suggestion of a new Flickr friend, I posted some of my photos on Flickr. Just some random photos I’ve taken over the years, some blanket shots, and a slew of self-portraits from the last 5 years or so. I’m not a big fan of having my photo taken – I’ve very self critical of how I look, but I’m going with the thought that putting myself out there is going to benefit not only me and my sef esteem, but this business too, since I need to be able to visible to people. I do a great job being the anonymous online personality. I need to work on being a real person.

Just a note on those self portraits though, I noticed in looking at the dates on them and in my own critical self reflection that I was really sad these last five years. Maybe just looking at them from where I am now – in my own place, on my own, without all the stress – it is really clear to me. I was kind of a mess! But that person is an integral part in this company. It was that person who searched for a shelter on several occasions. Just in case. Just because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

I am thankful for where I am today.

Highs and lows

15 Jan

 

Massive headache today! I think I spent too long under the blanket last night!

Yesterday, dear friends, was, as my daughter would say, an epic day. I received an email in the afternoon that Blanket Statements would be included in a national press release touting women owned businesses that support charitable causes. We were second on the list of about 15 companies listed. That was quite a delightful surprise! I filled out a survey a few weeks ago which basically just described that business, and the charitable cause part is a pretty central aspect to the business. If not for the donation to the shelter, I really wouldn’t be in business. I mean, I love blankets and all, but there are so many other places to get blankets. I understand that. My intention isn’t really to sell blankets. It is to share. To promote kindness. To bolster someone’s spirits who really needs just a simple act of kindness. That kindness just manifests itself in a blanket.

My goals this weekend are quite lofty. I am working up a page for Valentine themed blankets, which means photos, graphics, shopping cart buttons, et al. I am also struggling with writing up press releases. Although yesterday’s shot in the arm is a big boost to my ego. I’ve been struggling with writing lately, for no good reason. I can usually whip out a post daily at least…sometimes I have to sit on my hands to shut myself up. In examining this writer’s block, I think I may have pinpointed it to the fact that I am a little leary of self promotion. I think that is my lack of self esteem rearing it’s ugly head.

To those who don’t know me, I am an extremely shy person. I am not one to “toot my own horn.” I suddenly realized I’m not the “behind the scenes” girl on this one. I’m going to have to get out there and put a face on this company. My face. I’m going to have to meet people. And write to people. About why we are a great company. About why I started this company. About what I’m trying to accomplish. Me. Accomplish. And that’s hard for me because I am struggling with my own self esteem and trying to build up who I am as I’m going along. I just realized that I’m going to have to accelerate that process. The healing process is just going to have to pick up some speed!

There are days I have no doubt what-so-ever that this company is going to be phenomenal. But there are some days I just don’t have the same confidence in myself. I’m positive that Blanket Statements is a great business. It is a great cause. It is everything I stand for. I think it will be a success in spite of my short comings. Perhaps because of them. Because it is an idea that I need too.

Remember: spread the word. And share the warmth. Someone out there would love a warm, comforting blanket.

Cats really dig blankets

12 Jan

I did some perusing Flickr today for some more awesome photos of people and blankets. And I discovered that there are many more photos of cats and blankets than people and blankets. Some dogs, some other pets, but a lot of cats. And a lot of photos of blankets of snow. Sent out ten more requests, hope to hear back from them soon.

I am also working up some Valentine’s Day specials. Watch for that on the website and on Facebook. Which, by the way, did you see the neat-o page on Facebook? I learned a new trick!

The story

7 Jan

I seem to have a bit of writer’s block lately. Too many late nights researching aspects of this new venture, I think. I get home from my day job and veg out in front of the TV with my laptop and not very much productive stuff happens until the wee hours.

That being said, and since this is the first post of the new year I thought I would post a bit of how this idea – Blanket Statements – came to be. Why I created this company. Why am I doing this? Personally, I am going through a divorce. It is a process. A long process, so far. And as I wrote on the website, blankets are a special comfort to me. They always have been. When the world starts closing in on me, I look for a blankie.

But check out this post I wrote back in November. November 6th at 7:29PM to be exact. I keep a personal journal and I am so glad I did write this all down. I read it again for the first time today, and quite frankly, it brought a tear to my eye. I have a feeling this is a good thing. A great thing. For the shelter women and for me. Maybe you, the reader, too. We all need some warmth and comfort. And love.

November 6, 2010

So this thought has been in the making for a LONG time. Perhaps close to a decade even! Maybe a lifetime! How is that for buildup??

So here are the lead-ups to today’s epic story. Way back when I worked in corporate and thought I might be a lifer I wished for something more. Something better. Something that had meaning. To me and to other people. Supporting stockholder profits for electrical devices just wasn’t doing it for me. I thought perhaps I could work for a non-profit agency designing flyers or something. Something that had some meaning to someone.

Fast-forward to the recent events of the last couple days. I received an email from admin about neatly pressed jeans really set me off. As small, meaningless things do sometimes. I blamed my anger at it on a combination of other factors. But now I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t presented as a wake up call. Perhaps, rather than irritate me in my present state, I created this drama to spur me onto what the next greatest creation of me will be.

So that email has been churning around in my brain for the last 24 hours now. And at lunch today, sitting in the parking lot of the Goodwill store and listening to the progressive station on the radio, I was again reminded of how my heart seems to be pulling me to do something for the betterment of people. There has to be something that little low self-esteem me can do to not only bring myself up, but bring others up with me. I can feel it. It’s out there.

When I got back to the office, I read a post from a friend about how she saw a homeless man on the corner. She gave him $5 and he asked her if she had any extra blankets at home. Conversation followed about needy people and food, money, etc. But the story stuck with me. Something about him asking her for a blanket. A blanket. Probably because he was cold even though they are in Texas. Or perhaps he just wanted something comforting. Like I do. Like why I like blankets so much. Why they always seem to find a way into my shopping carts. Why I have about 8 blankets per person in my home. There is something hopeful about being warm. Comfortable. Comforted.

Took my girl to dinner and discussed the day. And politics, and “the email”, and that story. And while she was out of the room the whole plan came together. One piece right after the other. It all suddenly made sense. Now my wonder is, is someone else already doing it? And even if they are, I still think it is a fabulous idea that I would like to pursue. At least to see if it is feasible. This idea seems to have a pretty straight forward concept that could be easily developed into a business plan. That might also be attractive for financing. I think this idea could work.

I’m thinking of selling USA-made, organic, eco-friendly blankets. With the caveat that with each blanket sold, one will be donated to a women’s shelter or homeless shelter. The idea works for me on several levels. USA-made means jobs for workers. Organic materials means better for the environment. Donation to a shelter to help someone who needs comfort. And warmth. And good will.

Blankets. Once of my most favorite things. A “thing.” I was told as a child that I was too attached to “things.” And that made me selfish. Here is a “thing” that while it may not change the world on a grand scale, it may change the world for someone who doesn’t have one. It is a little piece of my heart that maybe I can share with someone who needs comfort.

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