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Leading up to the Fourth of July, I wanted to share my favorite American made products. Did you know that all Happy Cactus Designs products and their components (envelopes, sleeves, boxes, labels) are printed and assembled in the United States?
I try to purchase American made goods whenever possible. I will happily pay more for something made here at home knowing that I am supporting our economy and putting dollars into the hands of other American makers. Here's some of my personal favorites.
Frye Harness Boot - I've had my pair for nearly 10 years and they are beyond durable and comfortable.
Pendleton Woolen Mills Glacier National Park Blanket - This blanket was one of the best gifts I've ever received. We end up using it year round and it provides so much warmth!
Everlane The Cotton V - I love a good t-shirt and Everlane's tees are some of the best I've come across. They don't get holes in them like some of their better known competitors (I'm looking at you, J. Crew and Loft). I especially appreciate Everlane's radical transparency and how they disclose where their factories are located and the faces behind the products.
Flythrough Copper Bird Feeder - I gave this awesome bird feeder to my parents last year. Probably one of the cooler feeders out there handmade out of copper! I purchased it at Kaufmann Mercantile, one of my favorite shops that supports a number of amazing American designers.
Heath Ceramics Vegetable Bowl in Aqua Turquoise - I can't say enough good things about Heath Ceramics and I love the collection of dinnerware I have. This bowl is a personal favorite - you cannot beat the deep turquoise color.
As we approach the Fourth of July, I wanted to share a round-up of some of my favorite red and blue striped products. Open my closet doors and you will see an abundance of simple striped outfits. There is something so timeless about the classic striped look!
I thought I’d share a rundown of the online apps, software, and systems that I find essential to running my business these days. I’ve shared something similar in the past, but wanted to provide an updated post on what I’m using day-to-day to keep my business running smoothly and efficiently.
Online Shop: Shopify with a custom template
I’ve been really pleased with Shopify over the past few years and am about to renew my account for another year. I've found ways to enhance my shop with minor customizations and customers always compliment my shop for its clean design and ease of use.
Inventory Management: Stitch
I still love using Stitch for managing inventory. It integrates seamlessly with my Shopify shop and they have made a lot of improvements with the site’s speed over the past year.
I have used both platforms for sending invoices and find both equally reliable. Two things I look for in an invoicing software: 1) low transaction rates and 2) how easy it is for customers how to figure out how to pay their bills. Both Square and Stitch fit the bill, although I've found that customers find Square the easiest to use on their end.
Over the past year I have spent more time focusing on analytics, creating reports on product sales or site visits, looking for trends, and making choices based on where site traffic is coming from and what visitors are doing on my site. For my website, I use a combination of Google Analytics and Shopify's reports. For Instagram, I've been playing around with Iconosquare. I'm hoping to spend more time with Pinterest's analytics to see what people are pinning and doing with my pins. I track my stats using a Google Docs spreadsheet.
Yes, I have a fax line! You’d be surprised by the number of wholesale orders that still arrive via fax. I always debate giving it up, but for now I’m okay with keeping it. Metrofax is simple, easy, and cheap.
I’ve played around with a number of online shipping platforms and have found stamps.com to be really easy and simple and meets the criteria for the volume of shipping I’m doing. They've updated the interface from its earlier clunkier version and the new update seems more intuitive.
Creative: Adobe Creative Suite
Wish it was cheaper, but can't live without it! More on using Adobe Creative Suite here.
I had been using GoDaddy Accounting (formerly Outright), but ran into some major issues with double transactions showing up that their customer service could not resolve, so I made the switch to Wave. Wave is pretty solid and I appreciate the ability to quickly create P&L statements, expense reports, and other accounting documents. That said, I usually find myself having to manually categorize transactions and double check everything two or three times for accuracy.
I've used MailChimp since the early days of my business and have never had a bad experience with it. They have excellent online help guides and creating a monthly newsletter is a seamless experience. (Sign up for my newsletter here!)
Do you have a favorite app or system? Share it in the comments below.
As much as I love color, I can't resist classic black and white. Throughout the Happy Cactus Designs stationery collection, you can find black and white in geometric designs and brush floral patterns. Here's a few favorites. You can shop all black and white favorites in the shop here.
I had such a great time guest blogging over at Oh So Beautiful Paper last week. I shared a mix of my own work and some more business and industry related thoughts. Here's a recap with links to the individual posts - check them out!
One of my favorite products that I recently released is the "What's Cooking" notepad. It's perfect for jotting down a grocery list or noting a recipe. It's long and skinny (3.5" x 8.5") and features hand-illustrated kitchen motifs.
I think it makes a great hostess gift or pop it in a gift basket for your favorite home cook along with a cookbook or your favorite culinary items! Find it in the shop here.