Unique Things Newsletter Vol January 2018

BEING DIFFERENT IS OKAY

A fact is that people are unique, and it is okay. Would you really want to be like the person in the next cubicle, or sitting across from you on the bus? I think not, because there would be no intrigue or mystique to you. A fact is that we are afraid of what’s different, because that means we have to take the time to invest in knowing someone who is different or unique. A fact is that bullying is being of afraid of what’s unique or different. It is easy to go along with the status quo because it means everything is the same, no effort required.

Nick

My middle grandson likes purple socks, and lots of colors. I called him strange  and he told me “I like what I like, and I don’t care what people think.” Wow, he told me. He is so right, because being unique is special, and it is just who you are. It’s not that you said “ I want to be unique.” Nope, doesn’t work like that, we are just who we are, and each of us has a certain uniqueness. It is not up to the person that recognizes he/her uniqueness to change, it’s the people that are to lazy to get to know that uniqueness who has to change. That change doesn’t just mean getting to know the unique person, but also embracing their own uniqueness. We at Unique Things embrace our gifts as being different, and we would like you to gift one of our gifts, to say to someone “ I know you are unique and I want to take the time to get to know your uniqueness.” Our gifts will not be seen everywhere, or understood for its uniqueness, but by giving a Unique Things gift you are saying so much to that unique person. Go to uniquesthingsonline.com to see our unique things. Thank you.

Some of our Unique Things.

One wheel skateboard

Charger

Message Shirts

Fake A Ling – Same As Fingerling

Moves, Squeals. We sell the playground also

Security-intercom-light-Music lightbulb.

Be sure to checkout Unique Things newsletter next month

Unique Things A New Year

I am back to blogging for Unique Things. My mother passed away just before Christmas, and it’s been a difficult road for my family. I’m trying to use blogging as therapy to help me get through this difficult time.

I left off with flea market selling and was supposed to blog about our second experience at flea market selling. I’ll do that in the next blog, but this time, I want to go in depth about some of our products. The products we sell are not your conventional gifts. These are, for the most part, products that aren’t on the market. You might see them on Amazon from a third-party vendor in China because that is where most of these ‘new era’ products are being made. These startups are working with limited funds, therefore they go where they can stretch their money – usually China. There are many times when a Chinese entrepreneur will copy the product and have it on Amazon before the startup can even get it to retail. What I want you to understand is that a Chinese copy is usually made from cheaper materials and at a cheaper price. I prefer products of good quality that will last, as opposed to a product you have to keep buying over and over because it’s cheap.

A little story. I have met plenty of people who never wash clothes. They just go out and buy what they need at a cheap price. What’s your take on good quality as opposed to cheap price? Hit me up and let me hear from you.

Anyway, back to Unique Things products. I am not only  going to let you see the product, but tell you how it works. WooHoo! You bet. I want to put the two together – visual plus instruction. I know you are going to see something that you want, but Christmas has just passed and your pockets are full of lint. Do not worry. I’m thinking of doing some kind of layaway program, so our products can be obtained by all people.

The first product I’m going to tell you about and show you is called The Story Lamp. The way it works is you download an app, and connect the cord that comes with it to a usb outlet. I’ve used the USB port on my Surface, or plugged the usb cord into a usb wall outlet and the other end goes in the lamp. Now, you have the app download and cord connected, you go into the app so it can find your WiFi. That’s it; now you can change the colors or create scenes. You can turn a glass upside down onto the ring and the colors will come through the glass. The lights can flash, strobe and fade, which are only some of the things you can do. You can also get Alexa with it or put it on a timer. The coolest thing about The Story Lamp is that it looks like a book. Your friends will be amazed when you take it down from your book case and turn the light on.

The scooter to get around on those summer days when you can’t be late for a date. It’s small enough to get through traffic and stick in your trunk. Once you take it out, you just spread the wheels apart, put in the key and you’re off. Don’t laugh, summer will be here before you know it!

The electric foldable bike. I gave one to my grandson, and he loved it, so I bought some for Unique Things. When he gets tired of peddling, he just changes to electric by the handle. It’s goes 22 miles on a single charge. It can be folded and stowed away in your trunk. It’s not overly heavy. I’m not going to front, I did take it to a bike shop to have it put together, though I’ve been told by people that purchased the bike that it’s not overly complicated to put together.

A New Year with a resolution to lose weight? We here at Unique Things want to help you. We have water bottles with a storage compartment, so you won’t lose your key on your run. We even went one step further by having a water bottle that you can put your phone in, so it’s one less item to keep up with. Wait, yes, we also have a jump rope that will count those jumps and tell you how many calories you burned. Unique people, you know you want to look good this summer, so go to our website so you can get started!

The next item I anticipate getting is a typewriter. I love this product. I know some of you might not remember typewriters, but for those of you who miss the click sound of the keys, this is for you. There is a slot that you put your phone or tablet into, which connects to the typewriter, and off you go typing. It even has a nice case to carry the typewriter in with your phone, cords, tablets, and other items you need on the go. If you think I should invest and you want to buy, then hit me up. I’m telling you, this is great!

That was just some of the products, old and new, that we have for you to give to that unique person in your life. The next blog will continue the story of how Unique Things got its start. Be safe out there.

Flea Market Selling

Hello Unique People 

You have your products, and you are ready to make that money. The problem is, where are the people who are supposed to be spending their money? The last blog, I talked about advertising and more advertising. You can never do too much advertising. Advertising is an ongoing part of selling that you will have to keep spending money on. There are so many ways to advertise. One of the things we did was go to a flea market.
 I had done flea market selling years ago in the Poconos, and it was very fruitful in terms of making money. Here in New Jersey, the way this flea market worked was there’s a line up time, where people would try to get there at that time, so they can get the space and area they wanted. The lineup time for Saturday was 6:30am for the outdoor area. We had packed the car the night before, so all we had to do was get up at 5:00am, get ready, and walk the dogs. This was our first time, so we didn’t know anything about areas or spaces. We got there about 7:30 and the weather was cold, cloudy, and windy. There wasn’t any line, and a lot of spaces were already taken. We finally found two spaces that weren’t far from the indoor part of the flea market. This particular market has outdoor and indoor selling. You pay more for indoor, and usually the owners of the flea market wants a year commitment. The next thing is the fun part, unpacking all of your merchandise, and setting up so people will get the best views from across a table. The setting up part can take from 30-60 minutes, depending on how fast you unload your car and whether you know how you want to display your items. We unpacked and sat, waiting for customers. It was cold out, so I went indoors to get warm, and discovered that was where all the customers were. The indoor sellers were making a killing, and all of the outdoor sellers were just cold. There were a few stragglers that did come and look, on their way into the indoor market. We might have made 2 sales, before we got tired of things blowing all over the place and the lack of foot traffic. Then, the next fun thing happens, which is packing up all of your merchandise and fitting it all back into the car. This was a lesson learned, on many levels; check the weather and get to the flea market early to get a prime spot. The next blog, I’ll talk about our second trip to the flea market. Have a safe week.

Advertise. Let Me Say It Again, Advertise.

No pockets no worries put your key and ID in the secret compartment of this water bottle. Uniquethingsonline.com

Let me say it again, advertising is how you bring money into your business. If you don’t spend money on advertising, you might as well close the doors to your business right now. I am adamant that you need to use a portion of your money for advertising. If you have been following my blogs, you know that my spouse and I have had many of those turn-your-back-to-me nights, and I-don’t-want-to-talk-or-look-at-you because of advertising. It may seem crazy to you but I can be very strong willed when I believe in something. I believe in advertising. She seemed to think that all our money should go into buying more products. I screamed at her one day, saying “Buy more products when we haven’t sold the products we have!” – it was like that, really. We had limited funds, and buying more products was insane to me. Let me tell you right now that advertising by flyers, postcards, ads, or whatever you choose will let people know your business exists. When you have a nice website and you got awesome products, how are you going to get people to go see that nice website and awesome products? Please tell me if you know some other means than advertising. She finally started to advertise by putting the Unique Things website on Groupon, Ebay, and Facebook. I will tell you that there are places that will promote your website for free. You just have to take the time to look for those websites. I will also say that there is no guarantee that you will sell more, what I do guarantee is that people will know you are an option to buy from. We did get some sales from Groupon and Ebay, but no, we didn’t get a lot. Our advertising didn’t stop there. We had UPS send out postcards, which I was excited about. However, there is no way to gauge if it’s successful unless you can ask buyers how did they found out about your business. It didn’t generate any sales for us, but I think I’d like for us to send out postcards again around the holidays. The other thing about advertising with limited funds is timing. You should think of the times when people do a lot of shopping, like Christmas or Easter. When you have limited funds you can’t afford to throw away money so use holidays to spend on advertising. We have started to practice the idea of holiday advertising. I’ll let you know if it works for us. I recently put Unique Things on Instagram and Google Plus as a means to get our name out there. The other thing about advertising besides timing is repetition. You can’t advertise one time and, because you don’t get a sale, you say “That’s it”. It takes time for you to be a familiar brand that people will recognize and trust. Here is my question to you. Is it better to advertise at one place repeatedly, or should you advertise one time at many places? I’m looking for your opinion to see if you are like me, or my spouse who believes that advertising at many places at least once and, if it doesn’t at least generate views, you should move on. Yes, advertising takes away from buying more products, but if you don’t allocate funds for advertising then you will have products sitting around with nowhere to go. I hope you take the time to look at different ways to advertise. Remember, with limited funds timing is very important. You can’t time shoppers no more than you can time the stock market, but you know that your best chances of a sale are big holidays. With the stock market investing in companies with a proven track record, this is your best bet. The point is selling or stock market you have to take a chance but you can limit your loses by going with something you know like Christmas. In the next blog, I will show you some upcoming products for the holidays. I hope you got a little knowledge about advertising from this blog.

Buying a Website Versus Just Doing it Yourself Part 2

Listen to music and look cool uniquethingsonline.com

In the last blog, I discussed building a website yourself. This time, I’ll talk to you about paying someone to create your website. Having someone else create the website of your dreams seems like the perfect idea. Here I bring you the “but”… The but is that you must work just as hard, as if you’re creating the website yourself, and you may also lose vital control over making changes or editing the backend of your site. The one thing that you should want, besides a reasonable price, is a detailed list of what they will do. The other thing is knowing whether they are creating the site from a template, or building it from your ideas. A template, to me, is just filling in the blanks with content, and tweaking it as much as possible to your specifications. When this can’t be done to exactly your specifications, then comes a conversation where the web designer tries to gently persuade you that his/her idea is better. I feel that you should pay more for a website being built from the ground up, than when a template is used. It’s like getting a house built from nothing, versus a prefab where they just snap the pieces into place. You’re paying for what you get; so you need to decide what kind of website you want. You need to get estimates, because the prices run from sane to insane amounts. You should get them to show you previous websites that they built, and when possible, contact the person that bought the website. I feel that there should be, not good, but great, communication between you and the web designer, because if there is not, you’ll end up with a website that just pisses you off whenever you look at it. “Money back.” You’ll ask, and the web designer will quickly tell you about, all of the work that was done. The web designer will also point out that you should have said something sooner. Your blood pressure will go through the roof, and you’ll just want to be done with that person.

Unique Things Web Builder

Now that I’ve gone over a few things to look out for when getting your website created, this is what happened to us. My spouse was getting frustrated that we weren’t getting any customers, and thought that hiring a web designer was the answer. She never believed in what she did. I told her over and over that it was good, and what we needed was advertising. It did no good. She checked online, and got some recommendations from Facebook. She decided to use a web designer she found online for $1000. What they offered was that you could get your money back within 30 days if you didn’t like what they did. There was to be a working website within 7 days, and they would also drive traffic to the new website. She paid the initial fee of $500, with the remainder due when the website was done. My spouse did look at other websites the company had done, and thought they were okay before she paid the initial money. The problems started as soon as the initial money was paid.

There was poor communication between the two of them immediately, but at that point she was hoping things would get better. The beginning issue was about creating a website from the ground up, which is what my spouse wanted, not a prefab website. There were days when the web designer was supposed to call and never did. They had to take down the website she created, which meant no business. The web designer created a new website, but it had a new name. But, what my spouse really hated, was that she could not make any tweaks to the newly-created website. I knew then that she didn’t want to give up the hard work she had done. The more she tried to explain what she wanted done, the more they tried to tell her what they felt was best. The next time they missed a telephone call that was it for her. She didn’t care about the $500. She wanted her website back and to be in charge. They didn’t care that they made money on a nonexistent website. I was happy that she got rid of that web designer. I felt that they were more frustrating than creating the website she wanted herself.

I hope you got a little knowledge from this blog about your business website. I’m not going to say that all web designers are bad, but just be careful. In the next blog we’ll look at some more products and advertising. Be safe out there.

Buying A Website Versus Just Doing It Yourself. Part 1

Sound Hero – coming to Uniquethingsonline.com for Christmas

A website is an integral part of your business, since online buying is such a boom. You have to have a website to grow your business and reach customers. There’s no way around it. The question is: should you pay someone to build you a website or should you roll up your sleeves and attempt it yourself? There are pluses and minuses to both. We tried, or attempted, to do both. Let me explain:

My spouse has no computer experience, but she would stay up late (I mean until 2 and 3am) working on building our website. There was frustration, and I just stayed far away. In other words, that was not my lane and I wasn’t getting involved. I said very little except, “You need to rest.” It went on for days, and I could tell that it was catching up with her. Again, everyone had an opinion, and she chased every one of them. I want to say this right now: listen, but don’t feel that you have to try each and every suggestion that someone shares. This, in itself, will drive you crazy. I understand that people want to be of help, but I feel that, if their idea was so good, why aren’t they using it? That may sound harsh, but watching her go from one thing to another and not saying anything was rough. I will say that you should make your own decisions and stick to them. See your ideas out, because we sometimes dump an idea before it’s had time to mature. Give your gut feelings a chance. It’s not that what she was doing was bad, but she just wasn’t satisfied. We weren’t getting any customers, and she’d change it the next night. This was involved. Even though there are templates that you use, there is still size, style, format, descriptions and it goes on and on… She was taking classes and then using what she’d learned that same night. She would ask my opinion, and most times, I’d say it was good. I was always honest in my reply, because it was my business too, and I wanted it to do well.

My spouse is someone whose attention span is very short. I don’t mean that in a bad way, because it’s not in some things in our lives. When I saw how much time she spent on this, I knew how much this meant to her. It’s not just the money that was spent, but also she felt, and still feels, that we were building something to pass down to the younger members of our family; a legacy. I couldn’t be mad that the website was taking up a lot of her waking hours. I just couldn’t. When you do a website yourself, there are still expenses for domain name, hosting, and support and each company has their own add-ons that you can spend money on. It is cheaper than having someone else do it, but don’t put the checkbook away! You can still go deep in the pocket doing it yourself. She really didn’t ask for any help with the cost of the website, but if she did, I would have given it to her, because I saw a commitment from her that is now always there.

My next blog will be about paying for someone to build you a website. I want to close by saying, if you are thinking about building a website yourself, you should prepare for a lot of patience and time. You should not have any distractions around you, so clear the calendar. You should have a very understanding family, because there won’t be any family time. You should trust yourself, and see your ideas through, before giving up. That’s all I have for this blog. Be safe out there.

Done!!!

Electric Foldable Scooter Uniquethingsonline.com

 

Hello Unique People 

I hope you understand from my previous blog that I was done with Unique Things. It was no longer a company built to make a little extra income for retirement, but had turned into her company. She listened to every person with an idea and shot down my one request, which was to advertise. This was bad enough, but everything revolved around the company; our life had stopped. She was staying up until 3 and 4am researching and self-teaching herself the business. I know some would wonder, what was bad about that? But I just felt that we needed a break, a movie on Netflix at this point would have been okay.
What I do want people to understand is that, when you start a business with your spouse, it should be 50-50. There will be times when one partner puts in more money or work than the other, but as long as both of you are contributing in some fashion, then the business can progress along. When one person starts to feel some kind of way, then it’s time to backup and take a look at what’s going. It’s time to reevaluate the business. The business can’t be your relationship. It should not be that you come in the door and you’re not eating, just so you can get on the computer. It’s not fair to the other person or yourself. You need space to unwind and think about the direction you’re going in. I would think a relationship would be more important than a business that might get of the ground, there are no guarantees of success today in business. There are a lot of variables today, such as people holding onto their cash and unexplained violence in all corners of the world. You have to keep your priorities straight.

CEO-Anita Powell

Well, as you can tell from the paragraph title I am now CEO of Unique Things. How? I showed no interest whatsoever in the business. I was not involved, so why would I want to have a conversation about a business I was no longer a part of? The kicker came by way of a Facebook group she joined on starting a business. They looked at the website and told her what I said about some of the products on the website. There were items that she was putting on the website because they were cheap, such as an emoji purse for a 5-year-old. I mean, really? How does that factor into what Unique Things is all about. She was crushed, and then she wanted to listen to me.
Again, I pushed for advertisement, but she still seemed reluctant. I did feel bad, because I know how much work she had put into learning how to create and monitor a website. I was not putting as much money as before into the business. I wanted to see some advertisement. She then learned how to get advertising on Groupon, Ebay, and Facebook. You don’t know how time consuming those things are. Anyway, before all of the advertising, and after she got her feelings hurt, we sat down and had a talk. I said I would only come back to Unique Things if I was CEO. Okay, I know it’s only the 2 of us, but it was more symbolic to me.

Unique Things Website

The Unique Things website was running and she made some sales on her job. She was still buying, but at least now she asked my opinion before she bought, not after. Our money was low and our dogs weren’t eating steak anymore; they had to eat chicken breast. We did find time for a Netflix movie and a few laughs. The computer wasn’t being turned on as soon as she walked through the door. The times it was subtle like, “Let me show you something,” she’d say. Then she would just start whatever she needed to do. She changed the website; every other night it looked different. I, as the CEO, had to put a stop to that. I told her consumers like familiarity in online stores, which they couldn’t have if she was changing it so often.
In the next blog, we will take a look at some more of our products and I’ll talk more about the website.
Have a great weekend!