Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Businesses & Facebook Professionalism

This is your public image
I have noticed a growing trend in my Facebook newsfeed. The statuses from business pages are increasingly irrelevant to the product or business and even worse, they're ranting and angry. I promptly "unlike" these pages if it's a trend, but I find myself wanting to point out their unprofessional faux pas just on the off chance that they really are unaware of how they're coming off to potential customers. Then, I started to wonder why this is such a widespread issue?

When I 'like" a business Facebook page, I'm "liking" it to read about your products or services, about your business and if it's a boutique business, I definitely want to hear some about you as the person behind the business. I want to feel like I "know" you so I feel like I"m shopping in my neighborhood boutique when I browse your wares online. I don't, however, want to know about what your daughter ate for breakfast, who ticked you off this week or how the product you just bought from Wal-mart failed you again and if you have to return it one more time, you"ll _______.. If you wouldn't tell me this upon first seeing me in your boutique as a customer, don't post it on Facebook - or do, but on your personal page. By using your Facebook business page as your sounding board or your coffee circle, you're alienating your potential customers and detracting from your business.

If you're a small town organization, I want to "know" the people behind the organization, I want to feel like you're part of my community, I want to care about your organization's purpose. Posting angry rant after angry rant over the very people you're there to serve or benefit will only alienate your entire market and tarnish your brand and purpose. You could lose important community partnerships, potential customers or vendors and lose your reputation in your field. Please take a good look at your timeline and ask yourself "Is this my brand and purpose? Is this how I would describe my organization to someone new?"

This is your business
For my boutique page, I want my audience to know that I"m a real person, with a real passion, with a real family. I handcraft my items and they are a reflection of my styles and skills. I name my items after the customers and friends who inspire them and I love that level of relationship with my customers. I am my boutique, but I am still a professional and I operate just the same way I would in a brick and mortar neighborhood boutique.

So, please, absolutely gear your posts toward personalization for your customers, get to know your customers, get to know what we care about, but imagine your audience of one standing right in front of you in your store or office and ask yourself "Would I say this to a first time customer or someone I just met?" If the answer is "no" or "maybe not," then rethink your words before clicking "post." Your audience will thank you for it and you and your business will prosper for it.

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 26, 2013

CIFCA Wisconsin - Community Initiative for Fox Cities Artisans

I have some very exciting news! I have co-founded a nonprofit. CIFCA, the Community Initiative for Fox Cities Artisans is an organization establishing, promoting and sustaining the value of handcrafting Artisans in the Fox Cities region of NE Wisconsin.

My co-founder, Carol Toepke, and I have decided to create and fuel this organization to bring a cohesive Artisan community to the Fox Cities area. We are currently seeking official nonprofit status as a 501(c)(6) organization and we currently in the process of drafting our charter and by-laws as well as acquiring board members.

We have big plans for CIFCA in the coming year and even more beyond that!

If you are an Artisan in the Fox Cities area of Northeast Wisconsin feel free to join us and help shape the organization for your community!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CIFCAwisconsin

Website: http://www.cifcawisconsin.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cifcawisconsin

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

OPERATION: Create Your Own Path Part 2

30 days, 30 small businesses
30 ways to create your own path!
Welcome to Day 21 of OPERATION: Create Your Own Path, a 30 day event featuring 30 military spouse businesses across the globe. Our spouses serve our country while we take the opportunity to ignite and foster our entrepreneurial spirit! If you're just joining the operation, check out OPERATION: Create Your Own Path Part 1 or My Interview by Sandra Sawyer, Esq as well as the the 18 other businesses and spouses featured so far on Red, White & Blue Pages or Military Spouse Business Association.

For today's post, I interviewed Leti Riggle of Sport Diva Bands. Leti is a veteran spouse, whose husband has served 23 years in the United States Air Force; she has been part of that Air Force journey for the last 20 years. Sports Band Diva sells various colors and styles of hair bands for use while exercising. Leti started her business while stationed in Scott AFB, IL after finding that the products available on the market were overpriced and lacked the quality she can deliver.
"...I knew I didn’t want to buy [the products currently on the market] since all the ones I’d bought before would fall out. I felt like I’d be throwing my money away. So, I decided to research and put my sewing skills to practice to create a band that: 1. would stay put, 2. was versatile with different outfits or activities, 3. would not break my hair, and 4. wasn’t as pricey."
For Leti, starting a business has been very easy. She works full time and is able to grow her business in her spare time, spending about 5 hours a week on it. She was able to research other products and her supplies online and has focused on making one product. She uses StoreEnvy.com as her storefront which is an online marketplace featuring one-of-a-kind business and allows buyers to purchase directly from the crafters using Paypal.

Every business needs support to find success. Leti has found a lot of support for military spouse business from the military community itself and the civilian community who love to support the endeavors of military spouses. Most of all, she draws her inspiration from her daughters, "being able to show them when you gain skills, you can make a hobby grow into a small business" is a huge perk for her.

Gaining the skills and knowledge along the way has been instrumental to Leti's start up efforts. She has made use of the internet and social networking as well as formal education. She is pursuing a degree in Information Systems Technology and Business Administration and has found the courses offered at her university to be an invaluable resource for her business. She also urges prospective business owners to use the internet's endless knowledge to their advantage,
"I did all the research and since there is a plethora of info on the Internet, It was pretty easy to look up and find what I searched for."
Sometimes starting your business is really just that easy. Doing your research beforehand and focusing your efforts on one product for one purpose is a great way to start a business without overextending yourself and using an online marketplace further minimizes your financial risk. Leti suggests that prospective owners spend time researching their target market, inventory needs, and educate themselves on the dynamics of supply and demand systems before diving in.

You can always start small and end up big. Leti's education and resources will allow her to grow and develop her business after her husband's retirement. She plans to open a brick and mortar store and plans to hire employees for labor and sales when she's able to make that transition. She offers this advice for other spouses looking to start out:
"Have confidence and don’t believe those voices that tell you [you] can’t."
You heard her! Don't let naysayers stand as roadblocks to your success, have confidence in yourself, get out there and make it happen!

For more information about Leti or Sports Diva Bands, contact her through her website, blog or e-mail her at sportdivah[at]gmail.com.

If you'd like more fantastic advice and resources for starting your own business, check out tomorrow's blog post by Lizanne Carlson of The Blawg, Y'all!, she'll be interviewing Suzanne Patterson of Paint and Powder Cosmetics

OPERATION: Create Your Own Path is sponsored and brought to you by Military Spouse Business Association and Red, White & Blue Pages. They are great resources for any military spouse entrepreneur.

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Busy Week - All New Listings!

New Listings in my Etsy Shop!

I've been a very busy bee lately and I have a ton of new pieces in my shop this week!

Do you see something you love? Take a moment to "favorite" it on Etsy and tell me what you think!

Do you have a suggestion or idea? Your name could be featured on my next item! Just submit your idea below and I'll add it to the design board!

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In Case You Missed It!

Last week, I was interviewed by Sandra Sawyer, Esq at Networking at Its Finest! We had a fantastic chat about what it's like to start a business as a military spouse and how important support networks are to the success of that business.

Operation: Create Your Own Path by MSBA and Red, White & Blue Pages is still going strong with daily interviews and advice for small business! If you missed the blog post on Networking at Its Finest, you can listen to the audio file here!

Audio File © Networking at Its Finest with Sandra Sawyer, Esq

Jenny Theuerkauf, is a stay at home wife and mother, a native of California and now resident of Wisconsin. Jenny is the founder of Little Bean, a new and challenging creative endeavor. The boutique shares a name with Jenny’s daughter, who – in true “like mother, like daughter” fashion – is already using her creativity to help select fabric and notions for use in future creations.

Little Bean offers hair accessories, jewelry, and other items that draw on the glamour of the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, the youthful energy of the ‘50s, and the bold spirit of the ‘60s. Jenny updates these classic styles to suit today’s modern, fashionable customer, and Jenny’s designs make Little Bean “a sophisticated boutique for dames of all ages.”

© Little Bean. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 19, 2013

OPERATION: Create Your Own Path

As military spouses, we often face unique challenges and one of those challenges concerns our careers: How do we establish our own careers with steady second income to support our families while the military moves us all over the globe?

We have all been there, "permanent" isn't really in our vocabulary anymore and our résumés are probably a little spotty or maybe include a huge gap or three. That doesn't have to stop you from pursuing your own career on your own terms and it doesn't have to prevent you from being successful. Home based businesses are just one of the ways military spouses have conquered that challenge!

As part of OPERATION: Create Your Own Path by Red, White & Blue Pages and Military Spouse Business Association, I spoke with Michelle SchrockIndependent Scentsy Family SuperStar Director, about her decision to start her own business while living as a military spouse:

Michelle Schrock is a vivacious and goofy but no-nonsense mother of two; she is the quintessential military spouse and very dedicated to her United States Marine Corps husband, their family and her Scentsy business. She is the ideal entrepreneur for the Scentsy line of wickless candles and it's very clear within minutes of speaking to her that she really stands behind her business and its products.

When asked why she decided to go into business for herself, she replied quite frankly, "...I like to do things my own way.  In my professional life before this I was fired 6 times in a 9 year period.  I don’t like to be told how to do things.  I much prefer to be given and objective and left to my own devices to get it completed.  Bosses don’t like that, [but] micromanagement crushes inspiration."

Four years ago, she was a stay-at-home mom while her family was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. "My life was cooking, cleaning, the gym, toddlers, and more diapers than should be legal. I had two small children, a constantly absent husband, and a life that felt really small. I knew I needed to do something more, that I had more to offer, but had no clue what and how."

From there, she found Scentsy, a direct sales company that offers its consultants a flexible business model that can include one, two or all of its incorporated brands while simultaneously building a thriving sales team. "I chose to join this company because to me it made logical sense to me. The start up cost was low. It was an affordable renewable product that people loved and I would buy myself. No one I knew had ever heard of it and the company was only 5 years old."
She feels that one of the things that has helped her most in this business model to be a "subject matter expert." "
I need to know the how, what, and why behind everything so that I can effectively and honestly share that with my customers. I also need to understand thoroughly so that I can teach my team better ways to share our products to develop their businesses."

The key to her success, though, is having a fantastic mentor who brought her into the Scentsy family. "I was very fortunate to join the company under an amazing woman, Karen Fettes. From day one she understood me and completely 'got' how my mind works…and trust me, there is nothing more empowering than feeling 'gotten.' I have been inspired by her accomplishments and my own. Having a strong mentor has been the number one key to my success. She builds me up, she reigns me in, she challenges me to grow, and she has taught me how to own who I am and what I have to offer."

Her best advice for others starting out is about branding: "Branding yourself is key. My business is not what I do, it is who I am. Start branding and sharing immediately, especially when you are new, because your enthusiasm is contagious and it will never be at a higher point than when you are just starting out." 

She has a great plan for implementing her own advice: "I introduce myself to people and let them know I am a USMC wife, mother of two, and I run a candle business out of my home. Then they start asking me questions. I also tell people that I am new here and I own my own candle business and ask if they would mind helping me get my name out by sharing my catalog. [Also], donations; I love to give product away to help others. [The Organization] makes money and I get my product and name in front of a new customer."

While any PCS1 spurs challenges on its own, spouses stationed overseas face even greater challenges like Michelle did when she first started. "They run into a lot of problems doing business on base, especially with the post office ... The regulations are not clear overall, nor [are they] easy to find, and [they] vary from post office to post office at the whim of the current reigning postmaster"  She calls for much-needed additional support for entrepreneurial spouses stationed overseas, "I would like to see clear and beneficial communication regarding operating a home business OCONUS2, [communication] that specifically outlines the rules of what NOT to do as clearly as what we CAN do. This [would ideally be] a single sheet document that could easily be included in the 'Welcome Aboard' brief that is mandatory when you arrive."

Michelle is part of a growing trend of spouses who have decided to make their mark and carve out their careers on their own terms. They've not only overcome the challenges of military life, but they've used those challenges to establish a unique market and a flexible business model. Want to create your own path, but don't know where to start? Comment below, contact Michelle or find a mentor at your base or post and start asking questions. Be sure to visit 
Red, White & Blue Pages and Military Spouse Business Association for resources specifically designed for military spouses.

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your experience with us! Be sure to check out tomorrow's blog featuring Lareece Long of Life Within, interviewed by Heather Wagner at Everyday Patriotism!

Acronym Translations: 1. PCS - Permanent Change of Station, moving; 2. OCONUS - Outside the continental United States

Links & Resources:

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Telling My Daughter She's Fat

© Dorothy Dean

Projects like "Bodies" by Dorothy Dean have given me the perspective I need to embrace the stretch marks and pouch of my post-partum body. Projects like this give us all a raw look at what it's like to be human in true human form without airbrushing, at what the average tummy really looks like and help us face the reality of the unfair standards we hold ourselves against. Thanks to images like this, I now embrace and respect my motherhood badges of honor and, for once, I feel comfortable in my own skin. Motherhood has changed my body forever and I'm not only okay with that, I'm proud of it. Somehow, though, that still doesn't translate to entirely loving myself.

Something needs to change. I have struggled with weight and self-criticism my entire life, I remember calling myself fat as early as 8 years old. I know I learned my inner voice from those around me. I know my body image was perpetuated by adults who commented on my "chunkiness" or remarked, "Now you're too skinny" when I lost weight. My body image has been such a constant struggle, that it has somehow formed part of my identity. Shaming myself comes just as easily and automatically as looking in the mirror before I leave the house.

Body image, inner voice, body shaming, losing weight, weight, issues, woman
Not a good way to treat yourself
I catch myself constantly remarking on how fat I look, or that I'm a cow or how terrible my clothes look on me right now. I find myself harshly critiquing every video or photo of myself. The things I tell myself in my own head are far worse than what I utter out loud or what I could post here; I am so harsh and cruel to myself that if I said these things to any other woman I'm sure she'd break down in torrential tears.

Today, I weigh in at 227 lbs, which is obese by any standard. More than just the number, I don't have the energy I need and I can feel the toll it's taking on my bones, my health and my emotions. It's not a healthy body weight for me, physically or emotionally and almost anyone would agree that the healthy choice is to lose the weight through lifestyle changes that will be permanent.

I'm once again working on losing weight; 13 months post partum and I'm about half way back to pre-baby weight and size, but I plan on taking it a little further to get back to my comfortable weight of 165 lbs. At 5'6" with a large bone structure, 165 looks pretty good on me and I still feel like "me" with all my curves. I want to be healthy and I am taking the steps to achieve that goal. That doesn't mean I have to shame myself about it. I can work on my health while still viewing my body in a positive light, right? 

Especially now that Little Bean is mimicking everything I do and say, I have grown more conscious of how I treat myself and talk about myself around her. I now have to consciously work to reverse that horribly critical voice in my head so Little Bean doesn't pick up the same voice in her head. I want my daughter to grow up healthy, with a love for physical activity and a lifestyle that keeps her healthy and leads to enjoyed longevity, but I don't want her to feel shame and disdain for her own body as motivation to achieve that.
This should never turn into...

The final turning point came this morning, when I realized that every single morning, Little Bean has been stepping on the scale (like I do), she even gets upset when we skip that step. No 13 month old should be habitually stepping on the scale like that (sure, she doesn't know she's checking her weight, but the habit is there). It doesn't help that health professionals, family, friends and perfect strangers have frequently commented on her low weight her entire life, she has been repeatedly weighed and had her weight tied to praise on many occasions. She's in 
the 3rd percentile for height and weight, which is 
actually normal for babies in our family.

I don't want my daughter to grow up with the same body image issues I have nor do I want her to grow up with issues about being too small; I don't want her to have body image issues at all. I don't want her to have to be convinced she looks great by multiple people (I have suffered from slight body dysmorphia in the past and it took therapy and being faced with picture after picture to convince me that I wasn't the fat cow I saw in the mirror). I certainly don't want her to seek validation in others for her self worth. I am guilty of all of those and so 
much more; it's reasonable to assume that if I continue 
my behavior, she will learn it. 

Lesson Learned
So the change? Telling myself "Good morning, beautiful!" the same way I greet her (which alternates between "beautiful," "smarty," "adventurer," and several other positive traits she already embodies). If I want my daughter to see herself the way I see her, I'm going to have to start casting myself in the same light. My daughter will take her cues from me and I better make sure they're positive ones. Also, the scale is going under the sink for weekly weigh-ins, solely to mark my progress instead of daily weight-shaming.

My daughter deserves better and I have to give myself better in order to give her what she deserves.

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact littlebeanorders@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mom & Tot Double-Dating

I'm happily married and have a 13 month old darling daughter, so why does it feel like I'm dating again? Well, because I just moved back to a new area and I can count the number of local, non-related people I know on exactly 3 fingers. One has kids but lives in BFE, the other two haven't yet spawned (not with each other). Note: I'm not saying we can't hang out with my non-spawning friends, it's just their lives don't usually mesh well with naptimes, toddler fits, and the like and I still have to give Little Bean 100% of my attention since she doesn't have a playmate, which leaves very little time and attention for the person visiting if he/she is non-spawning. So non-spawners: great for ladies night out, not so great for toddler play dates.

mommy wars
...and you're not one of them!
The mommy groups in Madison seem especially hostile to new blood and seem to have ridiculous and convoluted requirements for joining. One group requires you to live on the third block of the fifth street west of the belt-line and another wants you to confirm that you're requesting to be added, which calendar month you would like to see, what your blood type is, and where you live or plan to live and full rights to your first born's first born before even allowing you to try out an event before you join. I understand personal security, these are our children we're talking about, but come on! (Yes, I'm exaggerating just a bit, but over half of what I stated are true requirements). What ever happened to a casual coffee date with local moms and their tots? What ever happened to seeing a new mom move into the neighborhood and inviting her over for coffee? Or does that only happen in the military and not out here in civilian life?

Super Mom
Ta da! I'm a genius!
So, I had an idea, I'll just invite my own awesome group over for coffee and play time to give us all some rest from the onslaught of toddler demands and allow ourselves some recharge time so we can better appreciate the onslaught of toddler awesomeness that I'm sure a lot of us are using to survive the demands (poorly surviving, I might add).

The problem? Where do I find the moms? Do I pick them up at the grocery store? The toy store? The splash pad? Do I post an online "MwT (Mom with Tot) seeking MwT" ad? (Yeah, that last one doesn't sound creepy at all).

I ran into a mom with a toddler the same age as Little Bean while shopping at Tar-jay; her toddler toddled right up and hugged me while my own Little Bean decided she didn't want to share me. Our kids were playing very nicely until my husband called me away to help with an issue at the register. Did I get the mom's name and number? No, and I'm still kicking myself. It feels like that awkward "Oh-why-did-I-chicken-out-and-not-get-the-hottie's-number" after effect from dating all over again. Maybe it will work out the same way and I'll only kick myself until the next mom and tot come along?

© 2013 Little Bean. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact littlebeanorders@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the Road Again

On Tuesday, we left Wichita Falls. This is bittersweet for me. While I am beyond excited to be living with my husband again after 9.5 months apart, I'm saddened to leave my community and my new family here. I'm anxious about breaking into another market with the boutique, but I am excited at new opportunity and the prospect of being closer to my in-laws again!

Wichita Falls is the third place that has felt almost like home to me (Ukiah and Sacramento are the others, Madison briefly made the list, but it faded quickly). Truthfully (and genuinely), "home" is with my husband, but if he has to be away, Wichita Falls was the best place the original Little Bean and I could have been. We will miss our Sheppard AFB community.

We will miss our little Air Force family in general (the base in Wisconsin isn't as close), but we will have so many new adventures ahead of us!

My first show of the summer in Wisconsin will be Waunafest 2013 in Waunakee, WI!

Join me on July 27th at Centennial Park (901 Holiday Drive) in Waunakee from 9am-5pm!

All attendees who stop by my booth will receive a special coupon!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Falls Gift & Trade Show

Today was my first trade show for Little Bean! I have done shows in the past, but for real estate and community service organizations. This was first trade show for my new boutique!

It was a blast!

I also picked up the marketing duties along the way and co-promoted the show with Latrice Brookins of Passion Parties! What a fantastically lovely lady to work with!

I think I found a niche in marketing that I had forgotten (it has been many years since I worked in marketing).

Summer Rascoll from Texoma's Home Page stopped by for an interview with yours truly and while I was very nervous, I'm extremely pleased with the coverage and the support she showed for the event! She was extremely easy to talk to and made it feel like a conversation rather than an interview.

Carmen Rentz of CR Photography graciously snapped photos of the event and our booths for us! I will post pictures as soon as they are available.

This was the event's first year and we hope to make it a thriving annual event for Sheppard AFB Spouses and the surround Wichita Falls community! The plans for next year include doubling the show size, cross promoting with local media and repeating some of the features that worked well for us this year! I may not be in Wichita Falls for the Second Annual Falls Gift & Trade Show, but I will certainly be invested in its continued success!

Today was a very exciting day for me and for Little Bean!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Updates, Exciting News & More!

Thank you to everyone who has stayed with me, encouraged me and supported me while I heal. My thumb is back to 70% function but may have permanent sensory damage. It's definitely usable again, though!

Today is my daughter's 1st Birthday party! I can't believe how quickly the past year has flown by! At 18 pounds, she's still my Little Bean, but she has grown and changed so very much. She is walking entirely on her own (although reverts to baby gazelle status every time she hits a growth spurt), she's starting to talk with words like "wah-er" (water) and "Dah-ee" (Daddy), she has learned to stack her toys to climb on the sofa or out of her pack and play, she picks up our new kitten and carries him around the room, she brings me things when I ask her to. It's so exciting and slightly scary!

Her first birthday isn't until Thursday, but we're celebrating a little early to avoid the conflict with Memorial Day weekend! I look forward to good food, good company and giving my amazing baby girl a fantastic day!


It's been an interesting ride being a full time Mommy, a stand-in Daddy, a Boutique Owner and Event Promoter for the past month, but it's fantastically rewarding. I couldn't do it without my incredible Air Force family! Thank you!

I am very excited about participating in The Falls Gift & Trade Show on June 15th! I just received my orders for earring stands, gift boxes, new earring cards, my logo stamp to personalize my packaging materials and I picked up some fantastic vintage style fabric for my table skirt as well as a perfectly matched metal tower with a bird on top for displaying my hair accessories. Once I finish hemming and gathering the material for the skirt and painting and antiquing the display pieces, I will assemble my table and post pictures!

 Hope you can join me on June 15th for door prizes, vendor raffles (including my own), and free goodie bags for the first 50 shoppers!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Grand Opening Winners!

Congratulations to Erin A. of Wichita Falls, TX
You are the grand prize winner of $25 to spend at Little Bean!

The second place winners are:
Cortney S. for the $10 Gift Certificate
Erin R. for a free hair accessory
Nicole S. for a free pair of earrings

Please check your e-mails for details and official notice! Be sure to post pictures of your Little Bean loot when you receive it!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, you have a special "Thank you" in your e-mail, too!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

All Thumbs

On opening day (Thursday, 4/4), I dislocated my right thumb, tearing tendons and ligaments. It requires a splint for 2-4 weeks and will take 3-6 weeks to heal.

How did it happen, you ask? It wasn't anything fun or exciting like diving after a volley ball or hang gliding off a cliff. I slammed my own thumb in the rear car door while hurrying into a restaurant on our quickie anniversary date. Yep, slammed my own thumb... in a car door.

What was supposed to be a prelude to our big weekend anniversary plans, was instead a very painful trip to the ER while trying to keep any outbursts of pain silenced for Little Bean's sake. No baby wants to see her Mommy in pain. I relocated the thumb myself and I admit I cried... a lot... but I kept as cool as possible while my husband stared with disbelief and worry and Little Bean seemed utterly confused.

My first coherent thought was "How in the world am I going to create for my boutique now???" I'll have some help from my husband for another week, but after that, I'm mostly on my own. Things will be moving very slowly for the next 3-6 weeks, but I hope you will all stick with me. Together, we can help Little Bean Designs accomplish big things! Thank you fhor your continued support and encouragement!

On a brighter note, Little Bean will be participating in its very first Trade show!!! On June 15th, Little Bean will participate in The Falls Gift & Trade Show at the MPEC in Wichita Falls, TX. If you're local to the area, come see all of Little Bean's treasures in person and browse at least a dozen other vendors, all local businesses, in one location! RSVP to the Facebook Event page for more information and up-to-date vendor listing!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grand Opening!

Today is the day!!!

After a month of preparation, creating, burned fingers, late nights, early mornings, all the continued encouragement from family and friends, after all the hard work and incredibly fun crafting, today is THE day!!! Little Bean is officially open for business!

Items are available for purchase on Etsy and through Soldsie on Facebook. Both options use Paypal for purchasing, so your information is secure. In honor of our grand opening, all orders over $15 will have free shipping or free local delivery.

There's more (I promise, I'm not an infomercial)! As promised, here is our Grand Opening Giveaway (below)! Four lucky winners will win one of four prizes - 1) One $25 credit to spend at Little Bean, 2) $10 to credit to spend at Little Bean, 3) One free pair of earrings, or 4) One free hair accessory! Enter through the widget below!

Air Force Spouses Page (a support page for US Air Force wives) is partnering with this contest to help Little Bean Grow! Help them out by liking their page through the widget below!

Thank you for helping Little Bean grow! I'm so happy to be sharing this with all of you!

Be sure to comment here to let me know what your favorite products are and what you'd like to see more of in the near future! I love hearing from you and usually create new pieces from your suggestions! 

Grand Opening Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Military Appreciation Winner!

Congratulations to Claire B., an Air Force Wife!

Claire B., an Air Force Wife won our Military Appreciation Giveaway! Her style request in her bonus entry included "soft greys with a splash of turquoise and yellow for summer" so I'll start designing right away! Thank you and your family for your service to the United States! Check your e-mail for prize details and be sure to post pictures of your loot on our Facebook page when you receive it!

Thank you to each and every person who entered! As a special token of my appreciation, I have e-mailed you each a special code worth 10% off your purchase from Little Bean valid 4/4 through 4/11.

If you didn't win this time, don't fret! I have more contests and giveaways in the works for our grand opening! In fact, you can enter that contest in just an hour!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Photo Shoot!

We had an excellent photo shoot with Janice Photography yesterday! Little Bean and Baby G showed off pieces from the Katherine Collection, Dorothy Collection, California Collection, Georgia Collection and more! Here are a few sneak peeks from the day! All of the bows and flowers shown here will be available on April 4th at 4pm at Little Bean and on Etsy and can be attached to crochet headbands as shown, alligator clips, hard headbands, barrettes or hair ties. I can also attach them to pins if you'd rather use them on a dress or as a brooch.

Check back on the Little Bean page to order them April 4th! These are available in limited quantities.

Satin pink rose from the Georgia Collection (left) and Satin white rosettes from the Katherine Collection (right)

"Kate" ribbon rosette in turquoise
Satin pink rose, Georgia Collection
Mod Flowers from the Dorothy Collection in Sherbet (Left) and Dreamsicle (Right)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Military Appreciation!

Military Appreciation Giveaway!

I decided to open the giveaway a day early! I am hosting a special, three day giveaway as a huge "Thank you" to the military community for supporting Little Bean and supporting my family in our new military life. It's a very simple entry, just use the widget below, "like" Little Bean on Facebook and "Sound Off" with your military branch and a link to your Facebook profile (in the widget ONLY, not publicly, and only to verify your military affiliation if you win - I won't use it or access it otherwise).

Be sure to comment below and share this with all your military friends and family to spread the love!

Thank you to all of the military spouses and military personnel who have been so extremely supportive of me, my family and my boutique! I can't wait to see who the winner is!

***You must be affiliated with the United States Military in order to be eligible to win. For this contest, "affiliated" is limited to current service members, former service members (including veterans and retired), or their immediate families (including fiance(e)s, spouses, dependents, parents, or siblings; DoD ID eligibility is not required for "spouse" status for this giveaway, meaning same sex spouses qualify, too!). If a winner is selected who is ineligible, another winner will be selected until one is found to be eligible.***

Military Appreciation Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner of the Dorothy Dean & Little Bean Giveway!


Congratulations to Rachel T. of Seattle, Wa. on winning an entire coordinating set from the Katherine collection and a free mini session from Dorothy Dean Photography! I can't wait to see the pictures!

For all other entrants, to show our appreciation for your support and interest in Dorothy Dean and Little Bean, Dorothy will be sending out a special thank you code to use! For Little Bean orders, you will receive 10% off your purchase 4/4-4/11 by using the code!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Didn't win this contest? Don't worry, this is grand opening month and there will be many contests to come! 

Monday will be the start of the Military Appreciation contest I mentioned the week before last. This contest is ONLY for individuals associated with the military. I'm giving away a surprise pair of earrings to show my appreciation for all of the support my family and I have received since being at Sheppard AFB in Texas and to say a huge thank you to those Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Guardsmen who serve our country and their families who give them the support they need to do their jobs!

Check back tomorrow morning for all the details and to enter the Military Appreciation Contest!

Now, it's back to the design room for me! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Time!

It's time for our first major contest! My dear friend, Dorothy of Dorothy Dean Photography in Tacoma, Washington is partnering with Little Bean to offer a fantastic prize package for one lucky winner! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter for a chance to win an entire coordinating set from Little Bean and a free mini session from Dorothy!

Be sure to share the contest with your friends so everyone has a chance to win! Good luck and I can't wait to see who wins!

Photo courtesy of "Janice Photography" in Wichita Falls, TX.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Friendship is huge and I cherish my friends dearly. A good portion of my friends have even become family. Friendship in the military is an entirely different relationship, it's almost instant, and it seems like family from the beginning - it is family in so many ways and that's true of the ones I've known for 7+ years and the ones I've met at Sheppard the past few months. I owe the creation and (hopefully) success of Little Bean to the set of friends who belong in this "just add water and a PCS" category. Without their inspiration, I might not have thought about it at all. Without their continued support, input and their shameless plugging of Little Bean amongst themselves, their friends and their families, Little Bean wouldn't be growing the way it is! So, thank you!

As a token of my appreciation and a nod to their positive influence, the majority of my original seven collections are named after some of these incredible (and cherished) friends; the only exception is the "California" collection which is named so because the colors and styles remind me of where I met my husband and he is my biggest supporter of all!

In the spirit of giving back, I've decided to run a special contest for military only! I will post the details next week!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little Bean Beginnings

I never pictured myself starting a work from home boutique. I always pictured myself in a courtroom, in my suit, attaché in hand, ready for my case. I was a court appointed legal advocate before getting married and having the original Little Bean (LB). I knew I'd stay home to raise her and eventually get back to a career when she and her future siblings were all in school. But, you just never know what will inspire you!

Little Bean the boutique came from an outpouring of inspiration and support and a few serrendipitous events! It started with the need to be crafty after moving 4 states south of "home" and being thrown in head first to a brand new military life. I had LB and yes, she is enough, but I had an increasingly strong need for something independent of her, something just for me, even if it was trivial, even better if it was trivial. I taught myself how to make quilted ornaments using various tutorials. Another Air Force wife I know used to make and sell them and I always meant to buy them, but unfortunately never got around to it before she closed up shop. I went all out in my endeavor. I stocked up on materials and grossly overestimated my free time allowed by the original Little Bean! "You want to spend minutes of your day not paying me 100% of your attention, Mommy?!?!? Bahahahahahahaha, we'll see about that!" (She's gushingly sweet, but I just know she has a secret menacing side). I did manage to finish one ABU ornament and 90% finish about 6 others. Then Christmas came and went, the motivation to work on holiday decorations left with it. I went back to being project-less and direction-less.

But what's this??? My amazingly insightful and thoughtful husband bought me a jewelry making kit for Christmas! (Don't tell him I said that about him, he won't be able to fit his head through the doorway). I created my very first pair with the supplies from the kit; they were simple, but I was quite proud of myself and extremely surprised by how much I enjoyed making them. I decided to make a pair for one of my new friends for her birthday and made them grey and purple to match her style (this eventually became known as the Claire collection). The original pair I made just so happened to be PERFECT for another new friend and I thought she deserved something special (that pair is chocolate and gold toned, which became the Jaime Collection). I gave them each their earrings at a "Mommy's Night In," purely for convenience (or laziness). Another Mommy commented on how much she liked them and asked where I sold them and whether or not I had a web page. I didn't, yet, but the bean (tee-hee, get it?) was planted!

At that same "Mommy's Night In" event, I was told about a bow exchange happening locally. My interest was piqued and I jumped at the chance to try something new, but really I was in it for the grown up, non high-pitched, multi-syllabic conversation that would undoubtedly be sought by every other mommy in attendance. But, I took the bow making very seriously, too. I knew I wanted something satin and sophisticated/sweet and I wanted it to be something beautiful. I found a tutorial for a ruffled satin ribbon rosette and fell in love!!! I created the first "Kaitlyn" bow and exchanged 11 out of 12 at the event. One, the very first one, came home with me and my LB wears it all the time.

My husband was so impressed by the "Kaitlyn" that he suggested I sell the bows. Really, the conversation went more like this "What do you think, honey?" "That's great! You could sell those!" (I'm sure he thought it would mean I'd use up all the extra ribbon I bought and then I'm certain he mentally *facepalmed* when he figured out that actually meant I would spend more money).

I took about a week to really think about it, weighed the pros and cons, gathered input on
a shop name and logo, then spent another month or so building and revising my business plan, tracking down supplies (spending lots - my husband now urges me not to tell him the running total), developing designs and generating interest and here we are!!!

Little Bean is just starting out (I avoided a "sprout" pun there for your sake), but it's growing strong thanks to all the support and inspiration I find in all of you!

Pictured: LB wearing the very first bow I made.