Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Holistic Approach to Business

I am currently in the middle of Michael E. Gerber's The E Myth Enterprise. If you are a business owner (or considering becoming one) I implore you to beg borrow or steal a copy. As I have mentioned several times recently, I am on a quest to set up successful procedures and solidify a vision that will carry D&L to the next level. I am only a couple of chapters in but Gerber's view has already influenced the ways in which I want D&L to grow. The following statement may be simple but is too profound not to share:

"A business only exists if people want it to."

This may seem like a given but pause for a minute and let it sink in. "A business only exists if people want it to." Provided this statement is true, business should not only be about the owner (person) or only about the customer (person). Instead, business should be about creating the best case scenario for everyone from owners to employees to suppliers to customers. I instinctively gravitate toward a community oriented business but I've never been able to articulate what that would look like. This statement pulls it all together for me.

For a business to operate at this level, it MUST value people. While sad to say, it's been my experience that an often over looked group in business are employees. This problem has been on my mind a lot lately. I want my employees to feel invaluable. I want to create a place where people love to come to work. A place full of community and creative energy. A place with well designed workspaces that people are inspired to spend time in. I realize I won't be financially able to pay employees their dream salaries at first, however as I work toward that goal, I am excited to explore other ways to honor them.

If you have a good idea of how to value people in the workplace please share it with us by leaving a reply in the "comment" section below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where in the World: England

Katie writes to us from jolly ol' England, where she fashionably sports her purple and gold coffee sleeve. Thanks Katie!

Wanna share all the places you've been green??? Send your snap shot and brief description to

Sunday, July 19, 2009


What a week! I was originally planning on closing down my shop for two weeks but as it turns out I was productive enough last week to justify re-opening this week (Tuesday probably). Yaaay! Here is a list of the many things accomplished last week:

Built up inventory
Started to streamline the fabrication process
Development of an in depth inventory process
Developing tools for sales
Developed branding techniques

While I am grateful that these items are now checked off my list, logistics were not the week's primary focus. I was able to refocus and develop plans for the parts of my business that are currently successful and that I'm hoping to grow.

As it stands right now there are two areas of D&L that are currently experiencing a good deal of success. The first is our custom lampshade service. Our etsy site has done a decent job at generating sales, the majority of which are custom orders. I hope to develop this more over the next few months. We will be visiting local interior design/decorator firms with information regarding our custom shade services. I will also be developing wholesale options for boutiques and specialty home decor shops. We will be stepping back from in stock services for now, however we hope to develop that in the future too!

My second area of focus will be a further development of D&L's line of reusable coffee sleeves. This seems a little random given the primary focus of my business up until now has been home decor items. The success of the product so far and my interest in developing innovative ways to make green living more accessible has prodded me on to explore more in this area.

In addition to these things I also have a secret project! I have never really been good at secrets so keeping my mouth shut on this one will be tricky. More details on this exciting project later this week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Local Flavor: The Nehemian

Over the last year of living in Idaho I have heard a variety of people mention The Nehemian. Located just outside of Buhl, The Nehemian is a barn full of wonderment and fanciful curiosities that you must go see. Owned and managed by local creative, Nancy Tyrrell, you can find anything from antiques & custom frames to beautifully repurposed, handmade and refurbished items. Nancy graciously agreed to show me around and I can't help but to share some of what I saw.

The lovely barn...

The eclectic feel:

A repurposed door...

Hand painted luggage tags:

The most creative use of chain & pully I have ever seen:

Stained glass windows & old vintage bottles:

Nancy's also graciously gave me a tour of her lovely craftsman style home bursting at the seams with her own unique touches. Perhaps next time I'm out for a visit she will let me snap a few photos of her brilliant use of repurposed materials...stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Green Alternative: Straws

For some reason I really like straws. It could that they remind me of my childhood or it could be that I'm too lazy to drink out of a cup like an adult. Regardless of the reason I've totally been on a straw kick lately.

Unfortunately plastic straws aren't eco friendly at all. You can only use them once or twice before they need to be tossed. This leaves me with a dilemma. Do I partake in the cool rush of sipping my summer drink through a straw or do I forgo this pleasure in the name of being green. Thinking that there must be some compromise, I did a little research and found some helpful eco friendly alternatives to your run of the mill plastic straw:

Eco Products has produced a compostable straw made of corn. Go Iowa! You can see their assortment along with other eco friendly paper products here. While I always lean more toward reuse and longevity, this biodegradable option is a definite step in the right direction.

These glass straws may not be very kid friendly but they are definitely reusable and can last a long time if taken care of. Aren't they chic?

Glass straws can be purchased here.

These stainless steel straws from Steel Function seems to have the whole package. Not only are they reusable and durable but they are well suited for kids and adults alike.

Stainless steel straws can be purchased here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Next Couple of Weeks

Some of you may have noticed my shop is now temporarily closed for business. Thanks to some recent strategic planning, I have decided to allow myself the space to step back and reassess where things are headed. While I have plenty of logistics on my plate for the next couple of weeks, my real hope is that this time will be more about defining my vision for D&L and developing strategic ways to implement it.

To say that this last year has been the experimental phase of my business would be a gross understatement. I have tried selling anything and everything that came across my creative doorstep. Earlier this year I realized that I needed a more cohesive approach to my etsy shops and so I purged all vintage items along with other pieces that neglected to reflect my newer more graphic approach. This was a definite turning point for the business, however this move was based more on observation than on a cohesive overall vision for Dot & Line.

I am excited to say that we are headed in a more refined direction. The experimental stage has left us with many well made responsible products that fit within the vision, products we are excited to develop more!!

Please check back over the next couple of weeks for updates regarding the practical ways Dot & Line is upgrading and expanding.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Thankfully I JUST got an order of buttons in. I've been waiting on pins and needles for their arrival. They are lovely and the vendor willingly shipped them immediately per my request. You could even say my experience was flawless...with the exception of one minor faux pas.

Upon opening my package I found a religious tract. That's right folks, not a thank you note or copy of the invoice but an honest to goodness, meet you at the park, religious tract. Really???

Now I wonder if this person had a brick and mortar store if they would be so bold as to sell their customers something and then attempt to convert them. Hmmm...

My guess is the vendor was hoping the tract would be a gesture that shows she cares. Unfortunately the caring part was lost in translation.