Monday, September 15, 2014

Designing Prints

When I first started Bubele, I created my own print files using Photoshop and 2 simple patterns: polka dots & stripes. I taught myself how to use Photoshop by searching for tutorials online for what my needs were. When you are designing prints for clothing, you need to make sure you 1. Create a seamless pattern 2. Figure out what size you want the print to repeat. I would always start with a 5 x 5 inch square in Photoshop with a resolution of 350 pixels/inch. You need your prints to be in high resolution for the company printing your fabric! You can always save in a lower resolution after if you need it for your website.

After a couple seasons, I knew I needed a wider variety of prints so I started purchasing prints from sites like istock Photo. Some of my most popular selling prints came from here, like this Floral pattern or these Animal Prints. If you don't like the colors in the print file, you can change them in photoshop, but I suggest using Adobe Illustrator where it is easier (more on that later).

There are many sites now where you can buy stock patterns (just make sure they are seamless). I have several hundred print files saved that I have not even used yet! I wait until a stock photo site has a deal and gives away free credits and download my favorites! Tip: start organizing your prints in files now because it is easy to lose track! Most sites allow you to go into your download history if you do lose track- see below :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


This is a very expensive mistake I have seen many people make! I did not have thousands to pay someone to create a website for me so I taught myself what was needed to do it myself. Back when I started, there were not very many options for free websites and built in templates. I taught myself HTML, CSS, MySQL, and learned how to use Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Now, you can build a website for free without any knowledge how it all works, but I think it's still important to know the basics so that you can tweak your template how you want (more on that later).

When I first started, I used Zen Cart which is totally free and has free templates. This is where html and CSS came in handy because I did not like the look and feel of the free templates. There are also premium templates that you can pay for and install. 

If you only have 1 or 2 products, you may consider using Wordpress. You can create a free website easily and there are quite a few free templates to get you started. Don't worry how "simple" your site will look at first! A nice clean design will attract your customers :) One feature I do like about Wordpress is the built in SEO right out of the box. 

Domains: You can find domains super cheaper (as low as $2.99 I have found) but be warned, you pay for what you get! Many of these companies that offer those super low prices make it very difficult for you to direct your domain to where you want to host it (if you chose to host at another company). I use Dreamhost both for domain registration and hosting. It's only $8.95 a month to host as many domains as you want! I have used other companies to register a domain but did not like their hosting plans and would have to wait several weeks for them to transfer my domain so I only now use Dreamhost for my registrations and hosting. It's $11.95 a year for a domain but I find it is well worth it! Even if you don't use them for hosting, it's very simple to transfer to another host without any hassles :) 

I have become a pretty loyal customer of Dreamhost mainly because their customer service is awesome! You wouldn't believe how many times I screwed up a line of code and contacted them for help :D 

If you are ready to register your domain, I have a promo code for a Free Registration of a domain! Just enter this promo code: FREEREG14

Shopping Cart: I mentioned Zen Cart earlier which is totally free to create a website and have a shopping cart which is what you will need to sell products. I used it for a few years before I felt I needed more features and support. Like most entrepreneurs, I wear many hats and keeping up with the demands of a website that you have to keep tweaking and updating to make it work for your needs was becoming difficult. 

I researched many shopping cart, tried many free trials and ultimately ended up choosing 3dCart which has many built in templates and features that I needed. It was also the most cost efficient. I needed a cart that had the ability to easily track inventory, customers, order and the ability to have wholesale customers which is a big bulk of my business! Since switching to 3dCart, many more cool features have been added that I love. 

Payment Processing:  At first, I only accepted Paypal because it was FREE, duh!! With the basic free Paypal account you can accept paypal payments and credit cards. I eventually signed up for Paypal Payments Pro which includes their virtual terminal to process credit cards manually. I only needed the virtual terminal for wholesale transactions that were made over the phone, by email, fax or by sales reps. The cost for the Pro is $30, but they do have a cheaper plan if you just want to accept credit cards directly on your site. 

I eventually changed my credit processing over to Chase Paymentech because their fees are lower and there was not a set up fee (which most major processors charge). I even switched my business account over to Chase Bank so my payments get directly deposited into that account very quickly.

There is so much that goes into creating a website so I will be following up with additional posts :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014


What is a trademark and do I need one? A trademark is a brand name.  A trademark or service mark 

includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and 

distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of 

the goods/services.  Although federal registration of a mark is not mandatory, it has several advantages, 

including notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark, legal presumption of 

ownership nationwide, and exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed 

in the registration.

Once you think of an amazing name for your company, you should trademark the name. 
Why? Because, as you grow you do not want others using the same name and confusing your customers! Don't waste money by using a service or a lawyer to do this for you! It's quite easy to do and I will walk you through the steps now:

  • Before you trademark, you need to do a search for similar marks:
  • You will need to decide how you want your mark format.  1. Standard character format (If you are trademarking your brand name, this is the one you should choose.) 2. Stylized mark format (This is if you have a design or logo to protect but you still would trademark using standard format your brand name separately to be protected). 
  • Know your classification of good you intent on (or already are) selling. 
  • What is the difference between a "TM" or ® symbol? You can use "TM" without filing for trademark to make people aware you are claiming rights to that mark, although it does not give you all the rights that a federal registration mark would. A ® can be used only after the USPS actually registers your mark. You can only use the mark for the goods you registered with. 
  • Ready? You can file online here for $275 (per class of goods- $50 extra if you want to add another class of goods):
And there you have it! The online form is pretty self explanatory and very easy to do yourself :) 

Friday, June 6, 2014

DIY Business Tools

I have been in business for several years and the first thing I learned is to keep your ideas to yourself! Every entrepreneur is afraid of someone using their ideas and we tend not to be very helpful to other start ups when they have questions.  Why? Because we learned our lessons the hard way, kid so go fend for yourself! Ridiculous, right? Why not help someone if you have some insight? Well.... many of us do, at first! Then, it becomes a real issue of having enough time to help others. Many of us learn many hard lessons by being "burned" by others and start having a "dog eat dog" mentality. I am so guilty of doing this and I hope by creating these posts of DIY Business Tools, I can help others just starting out!

What makes someone want to start a business? For me, it was wanting to help support my family while able to spend time with them. I did not have the funds to hire people to do things like creating a website, sourcing productions, mock ups, graphics, etc., etc. So what does any good entrepreneur do? Do it yourself! Seriously, with the vast amounts of info online, you can teach yourself to do just about anything and for free! You heard that right... FREE! Don't pay for something you can get for free, EVER! Unless you have an endless supply of money.. then go for it ;)

Stay tuned for free tools to get your started (or to keep you going)!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Back to blogging!

A lot has changed since the last time I blogged, both in my personal life and business. I found myself saying to myself "I should blog about this" but usually would either forget or as things kept getting busier and busier, it was difficult to stay on top of everything ALL of the time! :)

Last year has been a crazy ride, I have learned so much in business and have had to make several changes to fit my life better. My youngest son was not doing well in Kindergarten (despite being told by the school he was doing fine). We had a bit of a struggle getting him evaluated at a developmental disabilities institute (the only one in the area with a long wait list).

Towards the end of the school year, we started looking for a new house in a different school district. We compared our options and settled on an area that we fell in love with with a house that had a basement to move my office back into the house- I needed way more space than what I started with (more on that later). It was a difficult decision to  take my 2 boys out of a school that I first loved but after receiving little support for my kindergartner, I saw the writing on the wall and KNEW we had to not only make a change, but make it quickly!

I am happy to say that after a full year in the new school, I am floored at the difference of support provided for kids (and parents). Both kids, now 11 and 7, have adjusted not only well to the new school but to the community and I couldn't be more relieved that we did it!

And now that summer is approaching, I will be planning on keeping the kids busy and making it a great summer for them! And, now that I have them in a school with no worries, I can focus more on growing my business in new ways :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I was dead 5 years ago today....

This was me 5 years ago when I went into the hospital to give birth to Evan.

We didn't want to hold off any longer getting pregnant with a little brother or sister for Dylan and even though the thought had crossed our minds to take a break from trying so I wouldn't deliver in May, I decided that  if I did end up giving birth close to Anthony's birthday, it would be okay. I was at peace with it. Anthony, my first son, was born on May 17 and passed away on May 18 from a rare genetic disorder, Trisomy 18.

So, when I started having contractions a couple weeks early with Evan, I was okay with it. It was May 20th. My sis came to pick up Dylan and everything was going as planned (as planned as possible anyways). My husband walked my family out and when he came back, I complained I couldn't breathe and then I was out. Of course I don't remember any of this, but Adam refused to leave my side as they called the code, started compressions, started pumping me with blood, all while delivering Evan. He was resuscitated and brought to the NICU. The continued chest compressions on me for about 45 minutes until I was stable enough for the ICU. I was in a coma.

The first night was hell for my family as they were told I most likely would probably not make it through the night and that Adam should start making funeral arrangements. Well, I survived the first night and the prognosis changed to "may not walk or talk." It turned out, that I suffered an "Amniotic Fluid Embolism." A rare condition that has a mortality rate of 80% in women who suffer from it.

The nurse would attempt to wake me everyday to see where I was at. My brain and body was just resting! I woke up almost 2 weeks later able to talk to doctors but could not remember being pregnant, or the last year for that matter. When my sister brought Dylan in to see me, I thought he was huge because to me he was a year younger! =)

After some time in physical therapy, I begged to go home.  When I finally got home, I remember feeling so lost and confused. I had this newborn and everything seemed so difficult! Talking even seemed difficult! Because of the loss of oxygen to my brain I was diagnosed with "Anoxic Brain Damage." I looked and sounded somewhat I normal I guess but my brain takes longer to process certain information. For example, I knew that a fork was used to eat with, but could not think of the simple word "FORK!"

I started to learn how to live with new little quirks and soon after returning home, I began designing things for my newborn that made life a little more easy. That is when Bubele was born!

Today is the anniversary of my new life. 5 years ago, I was dead. I like to think of it as a second chance and to remember the small, important things in life. As frustrating as my memory can be sometimes... I do have a difficult time recognizing faces which makes social situations a little awkward but it's better than the alternative!

Honestly, this last week has been an extremely difficult one for me. I'm not sure why. It could be the emotional roller-coaster ride of mourning Anthony while planning a birthday party for Evan. But today, I surprisingly feel okay and calm.... as today is the day that I do remember that I am grateful for getting the opportunity to see Dylan and Evan grow up and that I have a purpose. Whether it is do do something great with my little company or to just nurture my boys and raise them to be great men, it is a purpose that I am grateful for having!