Thursday, September 29, 2016

We Who Love Furballs


I never refer to our (shhhh "dog") as a (shhhh "dog').  He doesn't know he is one. He is a furry little person and much more kind than half of the humans I know :+) If you love a pet, you know exactly what I mean.  They don't judge us.  Their love is unconditional.  They are part of our families, completely and totally.

Losing a pet is losing part of ourselves.  We had a 19 year old poodle we had to have put to sleep and it nearly killed both of us.  He could no longer see, he could no longer run, he could no longer walk without pain. So out of our deep love for him we let him go.  The following year, our 15 year old Bichon was in heart failure when we made that dreaded trip to the veterinarian's office. We swore, "never again".  It hurt too much.

Our veterinarian is in a small town outside of Lincoln ... about a 10 minute drive.  When we left her office, my husband said "never again" and I said "yes, never again".  We drove to the highway (about two minutes away) and hubby said "well, maybe someday".  About five minutes down the highway I said "yes maybe someday".  When we got home we walked into a very empty house. It's amazing how much life a little white furball gave the house ... just by his "being".  We were both in tears of course.

About ten minutes after being in the oh so quiet and empty house my husband said, "Did you see the pictures of the Bichons at the rescue center?"  I told him yes I had .... and "maybe someday".  He said, "you know they get adopted quickly".  And so I picked up the phone and called them.  Within two weeks Beacon had joined our family.  WE are like everyone who loves their pets ... we love them so much that the idea of being without them is impossible.

Our two who left us a year apart (Spooky and Spunky) are in their little boxes on our dressers but I kept a few ashes for myself and wear them on a bracelet.  That is also when I began selling "pet urn" jewelry.   I put a few ashes from their cremains into these and got a bracelet for them.  it is amazing how much comfort I get from this. People who don't love pets probably think I'm crazy but I'd rather be a crazy dog (or cat) lady than not have a heart big enough to love animals!

 Always in My Heart Paw Prints

Now this is the little guy who runs our house ... Beacon, whom I mentioned before.  And the look on his face?  This is the first furball I've met who despises having his picture taken :+)


Beacon (you can call me SIR) :+)




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SANDY EXPLAINS PARTNERSHIP AND FRIENDSHIP


SANDY CLEARS THE AIR
I was asked “why did I go into a partnership with another vendor instead of just keeping my own shop”?
I guess that I could have just given a curt answer of “because I wanted to”, but that is petty and unprofessional, and it really doesn’t answer the question intelligently.
Ann and I have a very special relationship.  Until a few years ago we never knew that each other existed.  We believe that the Good Lord put us together.  I live in Georgia and she lives in Nebraska.  I am truly a Southerner and she is truly a Mid-Western Yankee.  I am African and Irish, and she is German.  She is a fast-pace-adventurous-fearless little lady, and I am more the take-time-think-about-it lady, and I haven’t been tiny in 27 years.  How many opposites do you need in this list?
If you have ever heard the old saying that opposites attract, well I guess we are living proof.  We are exactly alike, yet nothing alike . . . get it?  So now you are really scratching your head and wondering where this is going.
We both have the same goals and are on the same page with each other and with our shop.  Ann is heavy into antiques, vintage, and art.  I am totally handmade in fabric and paper.  Together Ann and I have sold 5,365 items from our inventory just on Etsy.  We have both sold on Ebay, and I have numerous local sales.  
The glue that holds us together as friends and as business partners is respect for our differences and honestly with the good, bad, and ugly.  We have a special kind of love for each other.  We feel like sisters and sometimes we fuss at each other like sisters.  We don’t always agree on how to do something, but we never fail to get it done in a manner that pleases and benefits both of us.

I couldn’t ask for a better person coming into my life.  She is the first person that I talk to each morning (after the cats) and I am the last person she says goodnight to every night.  (If you are saying no, it’s her husband, it is not; he is already asleep) . . . AND . . . we have never met each other face to face.  
A note from Ann.  I had NO idea Sandy was writing this unti lit arrived in my email box this morning.  I am so humbled by her sharing our friendship with everyone, a friendship I thank God for each day of my life!  Thank you, my dear friend, for writing this, for being my friend, and yes yes yes for being my business partner!!!!  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

IT'S A GAME .... ANNNNDDDD All of YOU are "It"


OKAY, Sandy and I were talking today about how much you, our followers, mean to us. We have made so many friends through this blog ... we are definitely blessed.

THEN we were talking about the shop and how we want people to visit us there and BINGO we came up with a game!  We hope you'll all "play" (many times)!!!

Three steps ... first go to our shop and create an account.  https://twobroadsandashop.com  (AND while you're there you can -- but are not required to -- look around :+)

Second: After you have signed up, refer your friends, your relatives, your co-workers -- anyone -- to our shop.  And be SURE to email us each time you refer someone ... giving us their name (just their name, no email needed).  Send the referrals to us at twobroadsandashop@gmail.com.

Third:  IF your referrals come to see our shop AND sign in (create an account) you get a point.   And be sure to tell those you refer that if THEY refer THEIR friends, they should do the same thing ... email us with names.

The rest is easy --- whomever gets the most points wins and we will make sure your efforts are rewarded with a nice "prize".  Have FUN with this ... and I bet you'll be surprised at how many people you know!  OH and share this post on google plus so everyone can play!   1-2-3 GO!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

THE ADVANTAGES OF DEPARTMENT STORES BY OUR RESIDENT HERMIT!


Ann here -- and yes our resident hermit wants to share Two Broads And A Shop with you .... so here it is, from Sandy!!

Do you enjoy SHOPPING?  Shopping, as in going to a department store to see “what's new”, or going to a store to buy something in particular and then find yourself wandering from department to department looking at all the merchandise?  I will run to Target for just a birthday card and then roam
around the departments with all the kitchen stuff, toys, and craft supplies. Then I usually come home with something I'd forgotten I needed or with a great Christmas gift for someone on my list.

Gordman's is next to heaven for my granddaughter and me.  We first go in for the clothes she must have and then we end up spending an hour or two looking at all the neat things for the house and for her bedroom in the Home Department. AND if, time permitting, we go to Nordstrom's or Dillard's for clothes, we MUST stop by the Bridal Shop so she can dream (and I can dream with her).

Shopping is a hobby, shopping is a treasure hunt ... and shopping is what you will find at Two Broads and A Shop.  You may come in looking for a picture for your daughter's room and leave with it, but along with a gift for your cousin's wedding!  You might decide to get some vintage hankies for framing and find a counted cross stitch kit that you know you can finish in time for giving as a Christmas gift.

Perhaps you also have a granddaughter who loves to look at wedding accessories while you look at antiques. That's where Two Broads and a Shop comes in. We have a variety of departments ... which are being filled with more merchandise daily,  growing larger every day.  Our Art Department offers an almost endless supply of prints to cover any topic you can imagine, including the perfect print that reminds you of someone, or brings back a precious memory of days gone by, or is a silly print for a silly, adorable friend.

We also carry a great selection of fabric gift wrap bags in our Handmade Department to make your gift become “a gift wrapped in a gift”. You might find a handmade gift in Handmade that is absolutely PERFECT and while you're there, get a handmade gift bag for it.

Two Broads and A Shop is a great place to start your day, browsing while you're having that first cup of coffee -- and it's  just as great a place to relax and wind down at the end of the day. I'm sure no employers are reading this (wink), so I can also say it's a fun place to go on break
wile you're at work ... unless your employer has extra eyes on you and your computer!

We also have a NO Department . . . no traffic, no parking, no stop and get some gas, no closed hours, no muggers, and no taxes. Nope you don't have to fight traffic, and you can shop at night without having to put your life at risk finding your car in the parking lot!

Visit us at:

https://twobroadsandashop.com and we’ll leave the lights on.

Our Customers Create The Most Beautiful Things!


What a wonderful way to start my day .... with an email from one of my shoppers showing me what she did with two of the art prints she purchased from our shop!  Linda Bennett has got to be one of the most creative people I've had the pleasure of meeting.  Take a look at her wall space here .... it makes me want to go start on my walls, but I doubt she'd make the trip to Nebraska to help me :+)



Linda is a woman of my own heart!  Not many people think of putting prints in their baths -- I think just Linda and I  :+)  Isn't this wonderful??? She purchased the upper right hand and lower left hand prints from my shop ... and then added three other wonderful (and so appropriate) prints with them and THEN used the old metal and wood to set everything off.  It's just stunning and genius!  THANK you, Linda, for sharing!!!

https://twobroadsandashop.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A NEW SLIDE SHOW at "Two Broads"

Grab a cup of coffee (or whatever) and come see how new slide show ... parts of it you've seen in the past, and much of it is new ... introducing "Two Broads and A Shop"  :+)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

TIPS FOR ONLINE BUYERS



TIPS NOW FOR ON-LINE BUYERS

I've now written a couple of articles to help sellers SELL ... now it's time to write one to help buyers BUY. AND buy SAFELY. 


For every 50 honest sellers, you are going to run into a scam artist.  They are usually easy to spot, but if you shop on line a lot (and more and more people ARE shopping on line more often, each day), don't become complacent.  Enjoy shopping and browsing, but be alert. 

One of the first things to look for are shops that are selling items WAY below what you expect to pay.  A deal?  Not usually.  It is very easy for someone to set up a shop, steal pictures and descriptions from anyplace on line, from magazines ... nothing is off limits to them. THEN they shout out to everyone "GREAT SAVINGS", "MARKED DOWN", "SAVE HERE" ... and draw in those looking for a bargain.  And they can stay in business for quite some time ... you will receive answers to your queries of "when will my item arrive" with very nice emails telling you they are sorry "but it's back ordered and we expect it no later than two weeks".  (That's them buying time).  They can put you off until you ask for your money back and then tell you they will gladly refund the money and they are sorry they weren't able to help you.  After you've written several times, threatened at least twice --- well by that time they have changed the name of their shop.  You can no longer find them.  Neither can your credit card company. 

SOOO how do you stay away from these places?  One of THE best ways to know you are shopping on a legitimate site (but it's still not a guarantee) is if the URL (address) to their shop is NOT http but rather https.  The "s" stands for security and that shop holds a security certificate --- like our shop (oh good I get to get some advertising in right here!! :+)  https://twobroadsandashop.com .  If you see http without the "s" (which stands for secured) -- that does not MEAN the merchant is not honest, but https is a much better 'part of town' :+).  Those merchants have built their site with a host that is protected.  It's nearly impossible for a hacker to get into a secured site and grab your information AND most not so honest shop owners don't bother with the cost of the security. 

NOW if you find a site where everything is VERY inexpensive (cheap) compared to other shops, pay attention to the writing. Are there misspellings?  Is the grammar very poor?  The shop can have an address that SAYS it's from the good old USA or Canada or the UK --- but that doesn't mean that's where they are.  SO if the grammar is terrible, find the "About Us" page. If there isn't one, that's another red flag. AND if there IS one, again, what's the grammar and spelling like??  It could be that you are in a 'one night stand' (well six  months stand) shop OR it could mean you are dealing with a counterfeiter especially if the spelling of the items they sell is incorrect.

Another thing you will sometimes find with "cheap" sellers is that they are undercutting others who sell the same thing. A good merchant cannot stay in business long using this method. Your chances of possibly being the last buyer ever in that store are pretty high (especially if they aren't advertising a sale or going out of business sale). So you may or may not receive your item, and if you need to return it, they won't be there. 

If you really really want to buy from a shop after you've noticed it just doesn't seem to "look good", the grammar is really really bad, and the pictures aren't the greatest either, WRITE to them. A good and honest shop owner will be glad to answer "where are you from?", "how long have you sold on line" and other questions along those lines.  AND you should be able to find those answers in their "about me" section of their shop.  Even then, you can still write them and ask those questions just to be sure you DO feel at ease buying from them.  AND if you make a purchase, use a credit card that offers liability if you order something which you never receive, or use Pay Pal which is also safe and looks out for its users.

One other warning:  Don't EVER shop from public computers .. the library, a study center at a college ... shop only from your own computer.  Information can remain on public computers (like credit card numbers, phone numbers etc). 

The VAST majority of on line sellers are honest.  I encourage friends who have never shopped on line to DO it.  AND I have purchased from two shops which I was a bit leery about, after writing them first, and they were wonderful.   So use common sense and, as my son likes to say, "listen to your gut".

TIME TO SHOW OFF A LITTLE!!



OKAY ... we want to show you a few of the new items in our Two Broads and a Shop -- AND we have also redesigned the front page with a new menu ... AND the hardest thing to do on blogspot is position photos --- so they may not look neatly placed but they are NEAT items!



 

 Linda makes the bows, Sandy makes the tags, and Ann (that's me) just spends lots of times at estate sales :+)


Thursday, September 1, 2016


YOU CAN ONLY TRUST YOURSELF

OK another tip. If you're with Etsy or some other "shop hosting" entity, they might SAY they submit your shop to Google. Hmmm with shops numbering in the millions, ya THINK??? No doubt it is submitted but by a robot ... it is a LOT more certain the google bots will find you if you put your OWN URL into their site.  It's quite easy. Just go here.  Takes all of one minute.  

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url

AND a PS .. we would appreciate you looking BELOW our posts and clicking on "like" if you like and can use the information we are sharing. Otherwise, as I used to say to Sandy when we were kids, "I won't play with you anymore"   :+) 


BASIC RULES FOR LISTING ITEMS IN YOUR SHOP


Well hello from our new shop, Two Broads and A Shop.  FIRST I want to tell you that Sandy and I have maintained a small presence on Etsy ... annswhimsey is still open with all of the art prints I've always sold and Craft Stuff Depot will soon be open with crafting supplies.  Other than that, we are gone, and we invite you to come visit us at Two Broads (link above).

NOW FOR THE THINGS WE'VE LEARNED ... and this should help all sellers who own their own shops outside of Etsy AND I think all of this can be implemented on Etsy as well.  And a big thank you to Marsha Muller who gave us this information to work with .. she markets our shop for us (and she does this for many Etsy shops as well).  Here are some guidelines to get into google.

1.  TITLES: Your titles must be NO LONGER than 70 characters.  I know Etsy allows only "x" amount of characters but if it is MORE than 70, STOP at 70. (I can't remember what they have their's set for). Titles that are too long can be blacklisted by boots/spiders crawling sites and will not show up in search engines queries.  Titles MUST be rich in keywords.  Luckily in our new shop we are allowed as many as we want, BUT, I put the most important at the beginning (and remember, in Etsy you have to do it backwards since you want the most important one to be FIRST) 

2. TITLE PUNCTUATION: Do not use punctuation. Some punctuation marks are actually code for other things and your title will be ignored. The title may look a little dumb without quotes around a title or commas where needed but you aren't writing your title for the customer, but rather for the search engines. 

3. DESCRIPTIONS: Spiders crawl descriptions BUT they only pick up the first 115 characters of your description.  Google suggests you REPEAT the title as the first sentence of your description (just copy and paste it as the first sentence). Again, you are not writing for the shopper, but for the SEARCH ENGINES.  From there you CAN write for the shopper -- going into more detail about the item you are selling. 

4.  TAGS/KEYWORDS: Think like a shopper. If YOU were looking for something you sell, what would be the first word you would put into a search?  An example: You are selling a silk scarf.  Maybe a buyer thinks "I want to find a neat scarf".  START your keywords with scarf. THEN silk scarf. Then women's accessory. Then if it's a well known name brand put the name of the brand ending with scarf. Put women's scarf. Handmade scarf if it is.  Vintage scarf if it is.   Pattern as in "paisley scarf" if it is. And continue till you've hit your limit. (I love not having a limit but you MUST prioritize them in the order you think a potential buyer would search). 

If you want to find Marsha just google "My Texas Treasures + Bonanza".  She comes up right at the top! AND to visit us just click on the name of our shop in paragraph one.  I hope this helps you on-line sellers!