Posts tagged small business
Your Checklist for Opening a Shop (with free printable)
Do you think you might be ready to open your own shop? Grab this free printable checklist from Pars Caeli.

Do you think you might be ready to open your own shop? Grab this free printable checklist from Pars Caeli.

A dream came true for me this summer. Well, maybe two dreams (I did even imagine number two! More details on that tomorrow).

I opened my very own shop!!

I know that I've been posting on all of my social networks about it so this is not a surprise to many of you. Shop Pars Caeli is open and excited to welcome you through the doors (for reals, go click over). It has been my little girl dream brought to life through my own little girl and brought to the worldwide webs. My eldest daughter is my inspiration and muse and dictator (in the most loving way), and we discuss what would sell well, and what we love. 

In the shop you'll find letterpress greeting cards and prints as well as children's and women's tees all focused on putting a little more fun and a whole lot more goodness into your life. The shop is a direct extension of my art, my sense of humor, and my 3 years of projects and conversations here on the blog. As a graphic designer, I wanted to letterpress prints and cards on the best paper and finest inks, and I simply couldn't resist a little foiling on t-shirts, too.

And our DO GOOD shirts and prints do real good in the world, too! A portion of the profits from every sale support The Sweet Pea Foundation, a non-profit to help children and families in local hospitals.

I've been so amazed to see the reaction the shop has received in just the first two months!!

Thank you, thank you to all of you who've been buying and loving on social media. And I'm so glad that I finally did it - I planned it out, budgeted, and through and through our customers have been delighted with what they receive!!

But, behind the scenes here, I've also had a few missteps, listened way too long to my inner critic, and still have a whole world of people I want to reach. Opening an online shop is both incredibly easy (e.g.: just press activate the link if you're on Squarespace) and simultaneously complicated with branding and shipping and taxes and inventory and tigers and bears. Oh my.

If you're thinking about opening a shop, selling a product, or know someone who is, I want to help!

Because there's just no sense in us both making the same mistakes, I put together this checklist of things I've done and added in things I should have done so that you get the full spectrum of helpfulness.

Pin this one now and use it as a checklist to get your online shop started!

Pin this one now and use it as a checklist to get your online shop started!

Above is a super quick checklist to think through as you're considering operating and selling a shop. It's a little deceiving since every step requires research, creation, and a real commitment to your passion! But, you can do it - I did!

I've also created an extended printable for you to keep right on your desk (or shoved into your notebook of ideas). Print the checklist here.

Tomorrow I'll be sharing with you that second dream that came true - my very own product with a company I love, The Land of Nod!! The story behind Lunchtime LOL Notes and ideas for you on taking your idea from notebook to reality.

Emoji and checklists to help you open the most fabulous online shop! Grab the free printable, too.

Emoji and checklists to help you open the most fabulous online shop! Grab the free printable, too.

Have you ever thought of opening a shop or done it already? What would you add to help the dreamers?

xoxo, MJ

Turn your vision statements into business cards

And now a word about branding.

Lots of great marketers and communicators have lots to say about branding. I have a great deal of thoughts about it myself, and I continue to learn more about best practices for my new small business.

In order to move forward the brand of Pars Caeli, in addition to logos and colors and fonts, I thought through mission and purpose.

As a loose exercise, I started by writing key statements that summed up my purpose and vision. And phrases like Yearn to Create resonated.

Amazing are You.

You are a Piece of Heaven.

Soak in the Goodness.

The amazing company, Minted, gave me the opportunity to create these sharp triple thick two-inch business cards/vision statements. The solidity of the cards feels like the right reflection of where I want to go - strong, positive, and thoughtful.

I'm spending today and tomorrow in Utah to assist with Alt Summit. It's my third conference from Alt, and I learn a ton from the creatives I meet. I'll be showing off great business cards (they are a big deal at Alt), tweeting out great tidbits of expertise on social media/branding/small business, and capturing images of the fanciful and imaginative parties and collaborations that only happen at Alt. I'd love to have you join in the fun via #parscaeli_ALT on Twitter and Instagram.

I'll be back next week to share all that I can!! Until then have a great weekend, friends. Don't forget to check in tomorrow to see what hits The Top!

xoxo, MJ

And now a word on Entrepreneurial inspirations

**Warning: This is a long post. I've been in and out of the blogging world, and I've missed you. It's a story that's been in me for a while.**

It's been quiet around here. So much so that it felt stiff to log on to the blog when it's typically such a subconscious, frequent pattern. I promise that I've been away building a fabulous goodie basket. Wonderful things have been happening.

A big bucket list life item as a matter of fact.

I'm still happily employed and working hard (hi day-job friends). And I'm now a small (very small, teeny tiny) business owner. I've always wanted to own my own (lots of owning there) business, and now I'm delighted to say there's a new storefront on the block:


Knocking this big one off my list has been surreal. At various points in my life I have fallen in and out of love with the notion of owning a business. I've waffled between a dreamy, independent adventure and a disaster of a responsibility. And now it feels right. I have plans and real opportunities. And I have something, maybe a lot of things, to say.

Life steps like these make me look at myself in a larger  I'm paving my own path and looking for bright lights and gracious mentors to follow. I come from a strong family who has always supported my adventures, though most have made different choices in their own journeys. Except for people like this...

Ellen Margaret Mary.

I always loved how her name rolled off my tongue. Of course, she never used that name nor most other nicknames or terms of endearment like "Mom" or "Mommy." My paternal grandmother had everyone - save her grandchildren - call her Nellie, even her two dear sons. I knew her in the last 16 years of her life when she would often tell me that, "Growing old was not for sissys."

A sharp wit and a strong will were the backbone of her large personality stacked on a five foot frame. She was the most well-read woman or person I've ever met and had in her small, humble home a library full of anthologies that she'd read and re-read. She completed a handful of crossword puzzles every day, hosted a strong bridge club, and had her own home office (she shared with her hubby but it was still definitely hers).

To be fair, as storytelling of those who have passed can sometimes lend itself, my relationship with my grandmother was separate, not so much distant, but more of one of observance on both of our parts. I was her youngest grandchild by far, and she one of my two surviving grandparents. And in my mind's eye, the definition of grandmother was someone who baked and cooked and rejoiced when you came to visit. I suppose that childhood image was more of a Mrs. Claus than a real human experience, but Grandma was not a baker, or chef, or, at least at this point in her life, a bearer of sunshine and compliments and anything that she viewed as frivolity.

She was an old soul, and she raised her siblings after her parents died. She married my grandfather, who went on to serve in the Navy during wartime, and she was left, as so many veteran wives are, to handle the childrearing and financial supporting on her own.

In the 1940's and 1950's, she was-out of necessity and out of pure will-living as a modern-day entrepreneur. She had her own drapery business in the small Western Pennsylvania town where she lived. And she, with her small frame, would lug around massive amounts of fabric and embellishments for her creations out of her home, on the worktables in her unfinished basement. And by the time I came into the world, she had my mom working with her to grow the business and to utilize my mother's creative talents and expertise. And she wrote for the local newspaper, out of that home office, on a typewriter that I can still feel beneath my fingers.

She introduced me to pattern and texture, creating toile curtains for her guestroom where I stayed on visits. She embroidered and handstitched her own artwork that adorned her home. And she impressed me even as a young girl with her sense of fashion (often her own designs) and color and boldness. She was not a lady to be passed over when she walked down the street or into the store.

She was remarkable and strong, living out the last 25 years of her life in that same home, alone.

I may be taking a different path by welcoming a full-time job and my own business and my children and my husband. But I'm certainly not the first, not in my family. And, God help me, if I were to complain about all that lies ahead... pretty sure that Grandam would come after me with that look, right down from Heaven.

Here's to those who paved the paths for us, even if we misunderstood their attempts at first.

And here's to you, Grandma, Ellen Margaret Mary.

xoxo, MJ