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Stephanie Drapeau Looking Fab in Rotem LE Tee

Actress Stephanie Drapeau (Castle, Medium) tweeted this photo of herself wearing a deep green heather Rotem LE agapanthus tee!

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Lights, Camera, Agapanthus!

There’s our Agapanthus Flutter Top on camera!

The beautiful and talented Tara Darough Rex of Taradara has been working with Sew It All/Sew News on a DVD sewing series. She also had a tutorial featured in the Sew it All magazine and participated in the PBS hosted Sew It All TV series last year.

I’m so honored that for the DVD taping she chose to wear a RotemLE top! I didn’t even know until I saw the photo on FaceBook; she was waiting for me to notice. The big tease! But it’s OK because it totally made my day.

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Photo: Tara Darough Rex

 

 

Why Not Pop In to Our Pop-Up?

Our first event of the year! Rotem LE  will be joining this very special event when the SoCal Etsy Guild hosts a “Mom & Pop-Up” Shop, in conjunction with CRAFTED at the Port, on Saturday, April 27, from 11am -6 pm.

CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles is a weekly craft show that takes place in renovated WWII waterside warehouses in San Pedro. In addition to handmade artisans and artists of every genre, there are demos, live music and DJs, food trucks, giveaways and free kids activities. But on this special occasion, a bevy of additional vendors (like me!) will be joining the fun, but just for one day!

Admission is free. Come and browse, enjoy the fun, breathe the ocean air and support local, handmade businesses. 🙂
To see the line-up of vendors visit the event facebook page.

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The Undercover Meerkat

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The Rotem LE One-Love Pre-Oscars Giveaway

It’s my Valentine to you! A lucky person will get a coupon for 50% off anything in the Rotem LE shop! And with the Oscars coming up, I thought I’d throw in a little red carpet.
“And the winner is… ?”

World Around Me

When I walk I nearly always have my camera with me. Some of these photos become the graphics I put on my designs. Not sure if this one will be transformed, but I do like the silhouette.

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Take Stock of Your Business Cards

OK, I’ll admit it. I’ll come clean. I’ll come right out and say it.

I am a paper snob.

I found this out about me back when I took over the printed newsletter of the UCLA International Institute years ago. Responsible for design, editing and publishing, I started from the ground up and immediately set up an appointment with our printing company rep to go over books and books of paper stock — not only what would print well, what color would be best, whether glossy or matte, but also the weight and FEEL of the stock. I choose an uncoated white matte that was both bright and soft — it didn’t create any glare when you read the articles and it had a certain nice soft, velvety feel between the fingers. Yes, velvety.

Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would notice but I figured that even subconsciously it would have an effect. But I was wrong; people did actually notice and commented to me  that it felt good in their hands, classy, high-end. And really, all it was white paper, but oh, such a nice white paper.

I did this paper “recon” subsequently for various brochures and other collateral materials I created for our department, and for some those I added an aqueous finish — a barely visible gloss that also gave a really nice posh feel to the stock.

I think the quality of the paper stock your business card is printed on is perhaps as important as its design. So, when I am handed a business card by someone, I don’t only look at the information on it and the visual design, I look at the entire feeling of what that card says to me about your business.

I know it sounds harsh, but thin, cheap business cards make your business look cheap.

And you do not want to look cheap. You’ve put a lot into your business and the two of you deserve a nicely designed card on heavy card stock. Yes, your customers do notice.

I am constantly amazed at how many people selling expensive items from homes to jewelry will skimp on this (often) first impression of their business.

If you are using a discount printer who does not give you a stock choice, stop and find one who does. There are many reasonable online printers who offer a range of lovely paper stock options and will also send you a sample kit so you can see and feel what they are. My personal current favorites are GotPrint.com, DigitalLizard.com, and I’ve also had success using 48HourPrint.com for a client who preferred their particular FSC certified recycled stock. I’ve used Moo when I wanted the different graphic options they offer; they do not offer a choice of paper weights (but do offer matte, glossy and FSC certified green options) but since their default is a nice hefty 16 pt it’s all good, and I can attest to the fact that their matte has a wonderful tactile feel to it.

Can your business card bend like the one on the right? If so, re-think it! Believe it or not, I got it from someone selling wonderful jewelry starting at $100. The one on the left is one of mine. VistaPrint’s tend to be somewhere in the middle.

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I bet you thought I was going to talk about the design of business cards, didn’t you? Fooled you! But that will come too. 😉

 

 

Small Business Tip: GoogleVoice

I’m starting a new category here on the blog — business tips. I find I am so often sharing apps, ideas, websites and more with friends and colleagues, so why not blog them?

So here’s my first… GoogleVoice.

I started using GoogleVoice back when it was still under the name of its developers, GrandCentral, before Google bought it up. Let me first tell you what it was intended for back then.

Since most of us have multiple phone numbers — home, cell, work, maybe a work cell as well, GrandCentral provided you with an online telephone number that you could easily program to forward to all or any of your phone numbers. No need for anyone to track you down, dialing each number. No need for mom or hubs to freak out. You could program one unified voicemail, and you could call back using the GC number. For free.

There was also a not terribly attractive widget you could put on your website, and people could call you for free as well (if they dial the number from their phone it is not free. The free part comes from being online.) I choose to publish the actual number instead of using the not terribly attractive widget.  In case I am not available to take the call, I can choose that calls go to voicemail, as well as to email with a transcript (which, like many transcripts, is often hilariously funny. “Hi, this is dollar calling from total voids…”  “Hi Jean, My name is dark of night. Nada..”)

Now, Google’s own website says: Google Voice isn’t a phone service, but it lets you manage all of your phones. Google Voice works with mobile phones, desk phones, work phones, and VoIP lines. There’s nothing to download, upload, or install, and you don’t have to make or take calls using a computer. (Like with Skype.)

But my point is you can, so why not?  GoogleVoice is perfect for free business calls within the US.  Here’s what I do: from my browser, I input a telephone number I want to call. GoogleVoice calls me back on the phone of my choice — landline, cell, or both — and when I answer, GV will connect me to the party I’m calling. Nowadays there is a mobile app for GV so you are not limited to your computer browser to make the calls. 🙂

From my GoogleVoice webpage it looks like this:

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Now there is a Chrome browser toolbar shortcut which I use more often:

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There is also a third party Mac desktop widget but it stopped working for me so that’s when I switched to the browser shortcut.

The “call me free’ widget still exists but I don’t use it to reduce the chance of getting unwanted calls.

And here’s another cool thing: You can set the hours your GoogleVoice number will forward to ring you so that you needn’t get business phone calls from London Calling while you’re sleeping or on weekends, if you choose not to. I once got a call from Turkey at 4 am, and there are sometimes people who  think that freelance means available 24/7 and that 10 pm is a perfectly fine time to call (luckily, it’s rare, but still!) Part of the beauty is that only your GV number shows on their Caller ID, and I consider that a plus from a privacy point of view.

Now that Google owns the software, more is happening. You can GV people in GooglePlus Circles and your Google /GMail contacts can be easily accessed from your GV. You can integrate GoogleChat. Here’s a nice little video that makes it clear. 🙂

Start here to set up GoogleVoice.

Just another little thing… if you use Gmail you can also dial a phone number from here. I haven’t quite figured out if this is separate from GV in the technical sense (I think it is, although it probably uses a similar technology) but it’s certainly handy! The main difference is that it does not give you that business phone number you might be wanting, nor any of the nice features that come with it.

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Questions I’ve gotten:

1. Why not use Skype?
If I wanted to video I might. But you need a computer for Skype and if you want to call a phone you have to pay. For a phone-to-phone use, GV is perfect. I don’t have to be tethered to a computer with GoogleVoice because it’s connected me on an actual phone.

2. Why don’t you just use your cell phone?
I do use it, but I prefer my landline so long at it’s right here, because the sound quality is clearer, set is easier to hold, it never gets warm, no minutes to be concerned about, and there’s less battery worry. Also, as I stated above, the number the other party sees on their Caller ID is the GoogleVoice number, which has business hours set. Again, no worries about cell calls in the middle of the night, and my privacy is protected as well.

Questions? I don’t fancy myself a super-expert but I’ve been happily using GoogleVoice for a few years now and I will be happy to answer about what works for me!

Start here to set up GoogleVoice.

 

 

 

Examiner Examines Golden Globes Gift Lounges (and Rotem LE)

I am thrilled to have been mentioned among the awesome luxury gifts given to celebs and press at the GBK 2013 Golden Globes gift lounge.

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Read the entire article by writer/photographer Rachel Weil here.

Stamp Act

One of the awesome things about what I do is getting to work on projects I’ve never before envisioned.  I had the privilege recently to create a design for a client for a purpose that was new for me — a soap stamp!  If you are not sure what that is, it’s the imprint of a logo or other design into that bar of artisan soap you might be using. I discussed with the soapmaker, the lovely Tricia of Scentability, how she envisions her brand and then I set about designing something that reflects her fun, fresh vibe. She then sent the image file to a fellow in the UK who made her a laser cut stamp.  Take a look!

soap stamp on soap

It’s wonderful seeing how this looks in its real application. The funny part? I had no idea she had a mini tub in the same shape as the one I put in the stamp design! Check out Scentability’s full line at her website!

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