Message from CT...

The key to success is the knowledge one gathers from the relationships we make and the experiences of others. If you have just discovered CT Jewelry Design, I encourage you to subscribe and follow along. Feedback is always welcomed! - CT

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Green Tip: Share The Love

Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated on the14th of February. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending cards and gifts.

Did you know that the sending of “Valentines” goes as far back as the nineteenth-century in Great Britain? Also, in 1847, a woman by the name of Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. They also estimate that 85% of women make the purchase valentine cards.

Today the rise of the Internet e-cards are very popular, millions of people now use digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages. This is a great green way to say, I Love You! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and share the love this season. And if you do buy a card...show how much you care by making it a handmade one! - CT

Monday, January 19, 2009

Green Tip: Dry Cleaning Only...Think Twice

Did you know that the solvent perchloroethylene or "perc" used in dry cleaning is known to cause a host of health problems and is labeled as a probable human carcinogen?! It is also a suspected endocrine disrupter, meaning it is a chemical that may confuse the body into thinking it is estrogen! Well I didn't know until now so I'll be handwash my many items labeled "Dry Clean Only" from now on. There are many item that you can hand wash even silk and wool by searching for the instruction on the web. I found a host of many wonderful green sites with safe tips for hand washing "Dry Clean Only" garments. There are also "Wet cleaner" or "CO2 dry cleaners" that do not use perc. To find a list of green cleaners nationwide go to EPA Cleanguide. - CT

Friday, January 16, 2009

On line Branding Identity

Branding creates value by promoting your product and making your company name visible on line. It builds awareness of your product and forms a positive association with your customer over time. Effective branding is all about letting your customer know who you are, what you do and how you do it.

When potential customers visit your web site let them know who you are and let them see what you're all about. Communicate the message right off the bat. View your web site through the eyes of the visitor. What does the text say about you and your products? Does it define and describe your products? Web sites can often get caught up in flashy graphics and fancy fonts without telling the customer what the company is actually all about. Get to the point quickly so your reader stays on your web site and doesn't bounce off. Keep them interested.

Another branding tip is adding a personal element to make sure that your web site is connecting with your customers. Include your photo, name and a personal message on your “About” page for your customers to relate to. Add your business phone number and address to your “Contact” page and add an appealing design logo your customers can associate with. These item will go a long way in building consumer trust and loyalty in you and your brand.

Use your web site URL on all stationary, business cards, newsletters, blogs, forums and marketing materials. Repetition is the key to a good branding strategy. Keep the look and feel consistent throughout all of your materials. The Internet has many opportunities to brand your product or service. Remember that everything that you do and say on line sends a message so be very careful and be professional at all times with that message. Use these tips to create your own branding identity to promote your image on line and attract your customers. - CT

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Green Tip - A Better Mug

Resolve to never drink out of a paper or plastic cup again. Already have a reusable travel mug? Buy several more so that you'll always have one clean and available. It will come in handy for taking your drink from home to work (or running those daily errands) and you can refill it on the way back with your favorite drink. - CT

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your Reputation

Your reputation is all about perceptions. It's what you are known for and it's what other people perceive about you. It's all about your character, values, personality and skills that people base their opinions on and what they experienced and see.

When it comes to reputation it can takes years to build it and it can take just seconds to ruin it. Many doors can open if you have a good reputation but a poor reputation despite great skills can close and alienate your customers.

There are many people out there that are very good at being negative. You know the ones who let us know how bad their day has been or how bad a product is, etc. Although it may be very therapeutic for them, and others may respond and be supportive, it's not what their business should be about. Negative issues will typically result in negative responses. So you must stay positive and give positive feedback.

You need to be viewed as someone that people look to as a contributor. Involvement in a conversation means giving as much constructive feedback as possible. Giving people your input and helping them be better at what they do will build your relationships and make your reputation shine over your competition and have loyal followers and in turn loyal buyers.

Oh and don't forget to manage your reputation. Know who is talking about you, who's ranking you and why. There are many sites to help you with this but I find Google Alerts a great way to monitor and keep tabs. Google Alerts are emails which are automatically sent to you when there are new Google results on search terms. Give it a try and see if your reputation measures up. - CT

Monday, January 5, 2009

Managing Changing Times

Things are changing and change is stressful. It's a different ballgame now and odds are you are expecting to get the same or better results in your company this year as you did last year. But will you? If you try to manage change the same way you've always managed change before, you're in for real problems. In times of transition it's time to make changes which will provide you with opportunities for success.

Success in changing times requires flexibility and adaptability on your part. The secret is not to brace yourself for change, but rather to loosen up and roll with the flow. Flexibility is one of the keys to being successful. Your attitude will also be a major factor in determining your success. Attitude is really one of the few things that you have control over, so keep it upbeat and positive. Change can be aggravating and confusing. It will test your emotional resilience. Anyone can be happy when thing are going well, but the question is what your attitude will be when things get rocky? Can you measure up and continue to perform and seek out those opportunities that change presents?

Focus on your short-range objectives to get the best mileage out of your products or services you provide to your customers. Listen to what your customer wants and keep a tight pulse on those short term goal and accomplishment you have set, don't stray from them. Prioritize and carefully organizes the essential projects you have. You simply may not have enough time or energy to handle everything that comes along so don't be afraid to say “no” so you can take care of those things or customers that count the most.

During the months ahead you need to pay close attention to how your business is functioning. Go looking for bad news. Part of your job as a business owner is to find and then face up to any problems that occur during these changing times. Careful monitoring is essential in order for you to nip any problems head on. Studies have shown that it cost five to six times more to develop a new customer as it costs to keep your current customer base. Make customer satisfaction the top priority. Things may be changing but the need for satisfied customer never changes. So protect the quality of your product or service and make sure your customers are satisfied. - CT

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Fashion Forecast

Experts predict that 2009 will be a dynamic and exciting year, one that calls for some powerful fashion statements. Jewel encrusted clothing will be the new fashion trend for 2009, with semi-precious stones, crystals and glass embellishment on clothing this year.

Everything from every day dresses, jackets and accessories will find a little bit of bling attached to it. It’s not the first time we’ve seen jewels on clothing, but this year it will be brighter, bolder and more elegant than before. The look will be sexy and exotic but classic at the same time.

Butterfly motif are also hot this year as it symbolizes hope of resurrection. Keep it delicate, elegant and sophisticated, not too girly. Remember make a statement with each piece of jewelry you wear and keep quality high on the list when it comes to detailing your look.

Plan to be wearing monocrome outfits. Put your blues together and your greens with lots of layers. Buy a one single shouldered dress for daytime and one for evening wear with a fabulous pair of killer heels to show off those legs this year. And last but not least cluster your jewelry with bold (huge) necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Pile up the silver and gold. - CT

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Featured Today on Autonomous Artisans

Imagine my surprise this evening when I saw another one of my designs featured on Autonomous Artisans. This time my thanks go out to writers Lynne D, Jon K, Rose P and Michelle C's, "journal ignores mass made goods in favour of the lovingly hand crafted products made by the independent artisans of the world." Their blog was just recently awarded the blog butterfly award by Rebecca Crabtree of Fired Silver. If you get an opportunity visit Autonomous Artisans . I can assure you you won't be disappointed. - CT
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