Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So you think you want to sell on line?

I read an article about another selling site by a large corporation that is coming soon.It seems everyone is getting into the web mall business. Cool... there is room for everyone. My problem with the big companies getting into to the scene is that it will lose the personal touch where real relationships are built.

The office of Joyce Lucas at Pink Inc.

My first on line store was at Make Mine Pink. I read an article about women in business who were being honored for their excellence and found Joyce Lucas the owner of Make Mine Pink. She was receiving a special award for her web mall and contribution to helping women get started in business on line.

I went to check out the web mall (I didn't even know what a web mall was at the time) . I found this sweet mall of lady shop owners selling vintage, handmade, and some well selected mass produced items in mini web sites called Little Pink Boutiques.So darling and filled with eye candy.
Front page Shops at Make Mine Pink
Then I found the forums and met the other women. It was full of shop owners and customers chatting away like girl friends over coffee. The subjects ranged from what art project they were working on, recipe exchanges to spiritual beliefs and the power of our intentions. The lost art of conversation was going on in these forums. The women generously shared what they had learned with only the expectation of you doing the same.

The women in the forums are from all over the world. Most from the US but one of my best friends on the site lives in China and makes miniatures.(Mind blowing amazing ones I might add.)

I was immediately engaged. I felt welcome and started learning how I could participate as a shop owner. No one sold me the idea. No one pressured me with a sales pitch. No one made promises about how much business I would do. I was encouraged  to really think about it and jump in when I was ready. I love soft sell when a product sells it's self because of  it's excellence.

I opened a boutique. Lilli Blue's Vintage Rescues. Most businesses take a couple years to break even. I can honestly say I lost no money on my first venture on Make Mine Pink and I was there under a year. I even made a small profit. When the economic crisis hit my day job was greatly affected. I had to go back to working full time for someone else and it was just too hard to honor both projects. Joyce Lucas did everything in her power to help me save my store but I had to close. She encouraged me to take care of my personal situation and said I would be welcome back at anytime.

 While I was at Make Mine Pink I became a business woman. It was the coming of age of my professional life in the ultimate all girl (except Tomas the tech guy) business world. I hit some bumps and had some rugged experiences. Misunderstandings and  trying to do too much all at once. I learned that stuff happens and you talk it out and work through it. It is business and when it is your "baby" keeping your emotions in perspective is important.

The rough spots were minimal. The amount I learned and the way I grew priceless. It was a lesson in business that changed my life in a good way forever. One of the most valuable things I developed were my writing skills. I had written some in the past but  blogging and writing articles for the news letter really helped me find my voice.

As I go back into business with my new venture "The Velvet Princess......Vintage and Previously enjoyed Fashion with Passion", I have been thinking much about my time at Make Mine Pink. I have come to really understand how much they taught me. People say "Where did you learn how to do that?" Make Mine Pink comes up many many times as the answer.

Being a sole proprietor who works on line from home can be hard and lonely. It doesn't have to be when you have a forum of ladies just like you . Women helping women. The encouragement and humor will keep you going.

I have looked at maaaaaaany web malls. Hours and hours of research. I reccomend Make Mine Pink.
Here is why.

1- The site is easy to navigate. If I don't understand something someone gets back to me in a timely fashion. It is not someone hired to do the job , it is another business woman who sincerely wants to help me succeed.

2- I am a visual person and the look of Make Mine Pink is easy to my eye. The actual site is very well laid out. The pictures of the products by the individual owners are framed in a beautiful setting that enhances the product instead of distracting. Not a picture frame that is so ornate that the frame distracts from the picture. The images are clean and composition is excellent.

3-I believe that business is an exchange of energy. The energy exchange gets overwhelmed for me when there is just too much of everything. I have never bought anything at Etsy or Ebay. I just get to overwhelmed looking through all the stuff. That's just me.

Open a store of your own at

4- I have however bought things from Make Mine Pink. I have also had gifts sent from shop owners at Make Mine Pink. The presentation is amazing...really. Everything comes with beautiful tissue and personal touches from the shop owner. I could almost bet in 90% of the cases she packaged it herself. Often I have gotten a sweet little give away included with my purchase. Love this. I want to be a part of a community where excellence is the norm.

5- The friendships. The great women who light the path and lend a hand. A place where I can put out my hand to another. They keep saying in the media that we are hungry for community. Make Mine Pink is a place where I come to commune with other business women.

Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you. Looking forward to may more good times ahead.
If you have interest in selling on line or love to shop (whoo hoo) or just want to have coffee and chat check out
There is much to enjoy! blessings, Lilli.

COMING SOON.........