Thursday, March 28, 2019

My 25th Stitch Fix

You read that right, I've received 25 curated, mystery, surprise boxes from Stitch Fix! That means I've received 125 items. It all started back in December of 2014 just one month after the birth of my 4th and final child. There I was in my mid 30s thinking "Am I ever going to wear clothes I love again?" And I did, thanks to Stitch Fix.

Life has certainly changed since then. I quit my job, I worked for Stitch Fix, and now I'm a jewelry merchandiser! The kids are a little older, I have time to shop and my body seems to have stopped changing. I thought I'd be over Stitch Fix by now, but there are still a few reasons I keep doing it.

1. There isn't a better place for jeans. Having seen their inventory, you'd be amazed how many sizes, shapes, colors, brands, and styles of jeans they have. If you are having a hard time finding the right fit, try it for yourself and see!

2. I still love getting happy mail. I'm a low risk type of gal and really, $20 isn't the end of the world for finding high quality jeans and other things.

Let's get real, if I can carve out an hour for myself these days, I'd rather spend it wandering Trader Joe's or an antique store than the drudgery of shopping for jeans in a store. And I ALWAYS come up empty handed. Add to that, gas money spent + the purchase of other things I don't need from Marshall's and Stitch Fix actually saves me money. 

Keep in mind, the $20 fee goes towards a purchase if you keep anything.

So here's what my $25 Stitch Fix included:







Stitch Fix sends these fun style cards and notes to help you get the most out of your Fix.


I'm sure you're wondering about the prices. I selected "The cheaper the better" when filling out my style profile. I think some of the tops are overpriced but the prices of Stitch Fix jeans, pants, accessories, dresses, sweaters and jackets are comparable to department store prices.


While I find the prices reasonable, moreso with the buy it all discount, I'm a stickler for fit and excitement and decided not to keep anything this time around. I kind of regret not keeping the sweater as the fit was there. I think it was very flattering and feminine, but the color just wasn't me. The burgundy Henley was just a tad short and as usual, the dolman fit lacked the structure I need. The black top was an exact replica of a shirt that hung in my closet for ages, unworn. I think I never wore it because it didn't cover my chest enough.

The jeans were a total win, except on size. The Mavi were a size too big (these run large) and the Studio Blue were several inches too short (which might have worked if they were tapered). I was overall excited that the jeans were so close to perfect and immediately scheduled my next Fix!

If you'd like to try Stitch Fix for yourself I'd appreciate it if you used my referral link: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/melanierhoades?sod=w&som=c

Love my jewelry? You can find the Blooms of Kyoto necklace here in ivory, red or black, and so much more: https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/melanierhoades

Happy Spring! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

I'm Still Here

I know, it's been awhile. Every once in awhile one of my friends will randomly message me and say, "Look, I saw you on Pinterest!" I just laugh. Yes, I "used to" blog about subscription boxes. I was so obsessed, I landed a job as a Stitch Fix stylist!


But hey seriously, where did that me go?

Friday, Orange County was flooded with butterflies (painted ladies) and we had one of the hottest winter weekends I've ever seen. Friday Night Lights was a bit less chilly, and Saturday I was so hot waiting for a drumline competition to start that I drank a whole Coke. Spring was in the air!

Coincidentally, when I got home my mailbox was full of gorgeous new pieces from C+I's new spring line "Kyoto" and the mood struck. I was me all over again! I mean, who wouldn't be inspired by a sky full of butterflies followed by a new collection of butterfly jewelry, and the capture of a ladybug at the most opportune time?!

I pulled out some old favorite Stitch Fix pieces and paired them with my new, fabulous Chloe + Isabel Spring 2019 collection, Kyoto.















Dress up turned out to be the best pick me up. I was so inspired I ordered Stitch Fix, which I haven't done in ages!

If you need a little dress up in your life, give Stitch Fix a try! Click here to check it out: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/melanierhoades?sod=w&som=c

If you love my Chloe + Isabel jewelry, you can click on the picture of the piece that caught your eye to see it in my online boutique, or see the whole collection here: https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/melanierhoades

Stay tuned for another round of dress up!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Etsy Bill Changes Make Payments Easier Than Ever

Starting October 2018 Etsy rolled out a new bill pay system and I like it! I've never been a big fan of autopay when it comes to bill pay so every weekend I would make a payment to my bill for current fees straight from my payment account (funds available before deposit). However, often times I'd forget and either have to wait until more funds were available or pay with my credit card. The old system made no sense to me. Why pay me first then take fees later? I was so happy to see listing fees, taxes, transaction fees and shipping fees withdrawn prior to deposit.

I love the new layout, too! It's easier than ever to see what it costs me to list and sell my items on Etsy.


The happiness continues with new articles for sellers on holiday trends and getting found in search. These type of articles have inspired some of my best selling items of all time! Here are my latest inventions post research.





As you can see, Etsy continues to be a steady source of income for my family. If you're interested in learning more about Etsy success, join me in my networking group "Modern Marketing" on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ModernMarketingPage/

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When your Creative Outlet Becomes a Source of Income

Raise your hand if you're a bit of a nerd. Most people don't realize I'm a dietitian! I worked in healthcare for over 10 years, but you won't find it on my resume. In fact, you won't find my resume. When baby #4 came along, I left the traditional working world. 

Since, I've done several gigs trying to find the perfect balance between caring for and providing for my family. Initially I panicked and took a position at Stitch Fix working as a stylist from home. Sounds like a dream, right? One step forward, two steps back. I was still letting someone else spend my time.

Now I'm running my own Etsy shop and calling all the shots. Before I left my medical career, I'd created Modern Typography as a creative outlet. I was casually listing items for sale, and really never thought it would become anything. When I quit my job I was able to devote more time to developing it. I'm happy to say it's become a constant stream of income for my family.

This reminds me of something I recently heard at a conference.


"There is no downside to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security." Forbes.

The number one objection I hear when I suggest Etsy as a source of income is "I'm not creative". First of all, I believe everyone has creative talent, some haven't developed it, others haven't pursued it. Second, not all work on Etsy is creative! Folks sell supplies, antiques, party supplies (store bought items with slight modifications) and much more. There's unlimited potential on Amazon handmade, as well.

The second objection I hear is "Etsy charges fees". It's 20 cents to list an item folks, 5 for a dollar. If you need a spot, I've got you. Etsy takes 5% IF your item sells and the customer pays shipping. Normally I would say you have to spend money to make money but that's hardly the case here. You can fill an Etsy shop with 100 listings (the same items listed several times) for $20. If you sell a blanket for $30 that cost you $5 to make, you've started to turn a profit.

In addition to running my Etsy business, I also contract myself out to Chloe + Isabel and Discovery Toys. Yes, yes, these are network marketing companies, you caught me! But technology has made it possible for me to use my skills to share links, pictures, promotional materials and incentives online and meet new friends and customers. I use my blog, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook accounts to share the products I love with people who have similar interests. I provide reviews, insight into how to get  the most out of your purchase, customer service, and my customers appreciate me and I them. 

I have to add, I've made more meaningful friendships in just two years doing this than I have in all my years of working anywhere else. It's so much more than a source of income.


Maybe you're reading this and wondering if it's time for a change. I posted this the other day, maybe it will resonate with you. The world needs more women like you. You are uniquely talented and brilliant by God's design and have something wonderful to offer.

Are you giving the best of yourself, your talents, your skills to something or someone that doesn't serve you or your family? Maybe it's time to make a change.

I'll leave you with this. I once went job hunting. Hired myself. Never looked back. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Where to Shop Toys this Christmas Now that the Big Giraffe is Gone

It suddenly hit me the other day, the biggest toy store in town is out of business. No more big toy catalog for kids to circle with their Christmas wants. What is this world coming to? Where will we shop for toys?!

Okay really, I'm not serious. I'm not worried about a Toypocalypse. And I'm definitely not worried about where my kids will get ideas for their Christmas list. In fact, I'm kind of happy to see less suggestive advertising and persuasive displays.


Will people turn to small businesses this Christmas? I hope so. I think deep down we are all a bit Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail. I mean sure, we're still going to order the "oops I forgot"s on Amazon Prime December 22nd. But I bet we'll see more people in those adorable mom & pop toy stores come the holidays. Admit it, one just popped up in your mind and you thought about how much you love that store.

It's also an opportunity to support friends with home based businesses. Grab a "Buddy" from your Scentsy buddy, some bath bombs from your Perfectly Posh girl, a little Tupperware Mini Pitcher Set from your neighbor, some cute little Matilda Jane accessories from your friend of a friend.


I'm thinking this Christmas for my own kids I'll do "Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read!"

Something all kids need is kid-powered toys. Not that junk they'll play with on Christmas day and forget about the next day, next summer's garage sale stuff (Had a Toy Story moment there). Real toys. Maybe a toy that'll teach them a thing or two.

I can't say enough good things about Discovery Toys. In fact, I love them so much I joined them. I got to looking around my house and realized I have 15+ DT toys, games, books and puzzles, most of which I've had over 8 years! This toys were built to last. They've got something for every type of learner, every age and stage.

Have a youngin? Start with the Measure Up Cups. There are endless ways to use these from color sorting to play doh pressing.


    

From there you're going to need Playful Patterns. These are like puzzles on steroids. Sure, you can buy your kids the traditional rack of wooden puzzles and those have their place. But if you want to save some space and get the most for your money, this thoughtfully made toy will grow with your child and provide layers of learning.




This little guy started playing with Playful Patterns at 2, and big brother who's 7 still enjoys it.

These two also enjoy Motor Works, a set of 4 vehicles you can build and take apart with a power tool! Don't worry mom & dad, they aren't real tools.

Marbleworks is another great toy that's great for big families across all ages. We even games for old folks like you and me! Check out my website for the full line up: http://www.discoverytoys.com/ModernToys

Want to see more? We're going to share lots of videos as we grow our collection. You can follow us on Youtube here. Check out George's first video demonstration, how to play Word Flip solo.




If you're not quite ready to shop for Christmas but you want to be able to find my shop again, please like my Facebook Page Discovery Toys with Melanie. You can click the "Shop Now" button anytime to view and purchase toys on my website.

I also have toy catalogs if your kids love to get mail. Send me an email if you'd like one at moderntypography@aol.com

Christmas isn't looking so bleak after all!

Friday, June 1, 2018

The $1 Kit is Back!

Can ya'll believe it's June? A new month means a fresh new start. Summer? Yes, please!

For Chloe + Isabel, a new month means new sales and promotions, new opportunities, and new perks! This month we are offering our starter kit for just $1. That's less than the cost of your morning latte.

 

Another great perk for joining this month is a free ticket SOAR! This is our annual convention. This year it's being held in Las Vegas in July. This will be my first one and I'm really excited about it. I had the pleasure of meeting a ton of other C+I merchies in Montreal and Paris on incentives trips and you won't find an opportunity like this anywhere else. Our jewelry is more beautiful than ever, our community is growing, and the future is bright!

Of course, there were a few requirements for both the $1 kit and the free SOAR ticket but I think they are kind of laughable. We seriously have THE most ridiculously easy qualifications for everything. You simply have to earn $250 in sales by June 30th. I mean, that's like selling 3 of these rings!



Let me share a few more quick math facts while we are on the subject of money:

For just $1 you get over $700 worth of free jewelry in your starter kit.  Click here to see it.

On average, merchandisers get 1 sale for every 30 emails sent. We charge $0 for the use of our website. A typical online boutique order is $75. Most merchandisers reach $1000 in sales when they hold their first Pop-Up.

We offer a minimum of 25% commission on sales, bumped up to 30% when you reach $800 PLUS $50 in jewelry credit for every $500 in sales! Did I mention the initial 50% discount? 30% everyday? 

So lets say you join today. You spend $1 (plus shipping). You whip up some deviled eggs on some convenient day for you. You send out email/facebook invites. Next thing you know you've made $350 PLUS a free SOAR ticket PLUS $700 worth of jewelry to play with PLUS additional jewelry credit for whatever you want. All for giving it a shot, $1, and the price of a dozen eggs.


I mean, maybe deviled eggs aren't your thing. Or free stuff, I don't know. But if they are, and you do, why not give it a try?

If you're anything like me, it's going to take a lot more than math and pretty pictures. Need more info? Browse the blog starting with the OG post, or better yet, join this information group I've created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheChloeandIsabelOpportunity/

Disclaimer: This is a brand new group so bear with me if you're stumbling on this blog post before I get to organizing it. I hope to include all the facts you'll need to help you decide if this opportunity is right for you. 

If you've been mulling it over for awhile and waiting for the perfect financial opportunity to join, click here to join today!

I can't wait to get to know you, find out your "why", and share my love for this company and all it's done for me and my family with you. Better yet, I can't wait to meet you in Vegas! I'll probably be wearing this.


Until then, have a splendid day!

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Simple Beach Themed Display + Sand Dollar Cookie Recipe

This past weekend I popped up at the Rossmoor Community festival, what a blast! The weather was gorgeous so I decided on a beach theme. I thought I'd share a few pictures, shopping links for decorations, some die cut files and the super easy recipe I used for sand dollar cookies.

I had just a week to throw it together since I'd just gotten back from a company incentive trip to Paris. If you find yourself in a bind to put together a last minute vendor event display, I've got you covered!


First, you can't have a beach party without some seashells. My go to for last minute supplies is Amazon Prime. I was excited to find a big assortment of nautical items to pick from, even better, with a one day shipping option.


The Chloe + Isabel summer collection Côte D'Azur is all about starfish, mermaids, shells and pearls so that was my inspiration. Versatility is key. First thing I grabbed was a set of four 4 inch baking shells. I may or may not ever bake with these, but how cute are they with the grey pearl shimmer sixlets I found for just a dollar at Walmart?! Later on I'll likely use them for stud earrings or rings.

Let's talk just a second about those little grey pearls though. This was the perfect conversation starter. People did not believe me when I said they were chocolate, I felt like I was bean boozling them! A simple treat can go along way in breaking the ice.

The grey was a perfect contrast to the white shells, but they come in a ton of colors if you need something else.



I saw the phrase "Mermaid Kisses and Starfish Wishes" all over Pinterest when I started planning and was just so happy to find a stand up sign for my table display with this quote. It's 12 x 6 inches, perfect for a table top. The turquoise color sealed the deal for me, it's our signature jewelry color!

I also ordered the Darice 6 foot natural clam shell garland. I honestly thought all these shells would arrive with a little damage and was pleasantly surprised by how sturdy they were. I hung the garland down the side of my pop up canopy tent (secured with an alligator clip, a must have for these events) and the length was perfect.



I'm sure you could use it to drape across the front of a table or top of the tent. I just liked the way it looked hanging and thought it was a good balance since my second, smaller table was on the other side of the tent.

I try to keep costs at a minimum when doing a vendor event as they traditionally aren't great for same day sales, so I decided to make cookies from scratch instead of giving away goody bags. I had all of the ingredients on hand to make this sand dollar cookie recipe except almonds and cinnamon. I found cinnamon at Walmart for $1, as well as a lace table cloth I needed last second.



I picked up the honey roasted almonds from Trader Joes. If you ever need nuts, you'll find the best variety there. I could eat these by the handful, so good!

Here's the recipe I used

Sand Dollar Cookies

Yield 15 - 3 inch cookies (I made 2 batches). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Beat wet ingredients in a medium bowl until whipped:
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

Mix in blendedm dry ingredients until a shortbread type dough forms:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Use a pampered chef cookie scoop (buy one here) and drop the batter on a parchment lined cookie sheet with 3 inches between. Press the dough down with a mason jar and use your fingers to press down any sections that aren't even in the center. Leave the raw edges as is for the look you see in the pictures.



Sprinkle the tops of the pressed cookies with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. I went easy on the cinnamon for a more natural color, and because I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon. 

Finish by pressing 5 honey roasted almond slivers in center of the cookie, forming a star. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browning. Cool on a cookie rack. Fini! 


When we had down time I handed cookies out to my fellow vendors. They were a hit!

I added last minute touches to the table with some simple die cuts using my Silhouette Cameo and some shimmer and kraft paper I had on hand. I've uploaded the files for the shells here and the starfish border here.

     

If you just so happen to need a fabulous mermaid bib necklace to wear, look no further! You can find this whimsical must-have for summer here:
https://www.chloeandisabel.com/products/N131G/layered-scales-metal-bib-necklace?m=melanierhoades



If you need something a little more subtle, or saw something else in this post you can't live without, view the entire under the sea collection here:
https://www.chloeandisabel.com/boutique/melanierhoades/shop/collection/105732/new-arrivals-d4123df1-5072-4cf8-a4ce-e04313a3901b

If you'd like to Pin the recipe, die cut files or shopping links, here's a link to my Pinterest profile: https://www.pinterest.com/moderntypo/

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your beach party is a blast. "Sea" you again soon.