Little Paper Planes is a Bay Area based online store that also serves as a community for artists. They have lots of pretty products and a beautiful blog filled with terrific examples of great art and design. They recently co-launched a video/ multimedia series called Working Title that I’m loving.
“a collaboration between KQED and Little Paper Planes, hosted by Kelly Lynn Jones of LPP and Andrew Martin Scott, co-owner of Needles and Pens. Through this program, which will include videos, interviews, articles, and essays, we will explore how local artist-entrepreneurs are re-inventing the American Dream, creating alternative economies and redefining success in the Bay Area.”
Needles and Pens is a cute little store in The Mission that I’ve stopped into more than once. They have zines there and it’s the kind of place I totally fantasized my own zines in 10+ years ago when I was an indie zine maker. I’m also a fan of the handcrafted jewelry that’s there; I’ve personally bought a few of their feather-decorated hair clips.
I love what Kelly says in the first video when she says, “There’s a subtle movement happening out there; people are choosing more unconventional career paths in order to have greater control of their lives. They’re re-engaging with artisanal craftsmanship … they are once again making things with their own hands and managing to sustain themselves while doing it.” Each episode celebrates one of these people.
The first episode is about Jay Nelson, a self-taught artist who builds tree houses:
The second episode is about Atelier Dion, a husband-and-wife-owned ceramics fabrication business:
I’m looking forward to seeing this program develop over time!
California has about twice as many female entrepreneurs as the next closest states on the list, which are Texas and New York. They are mostly concentrated in Los Angeles.
Although Illinois it not among the top three states when it comes to the number of women entrepreneurs, the city of Chicago is within the top three metro areas in the nation for this.
Women are more likely than men to start with a lower capital investment and not to borrow money as they expand.
Women are interested in health care and social assistance; the largest number of female entrepreneurs are in this sector.
Are you a woman who owns a business? Feel free to share your website link in the comments here. Visit the other women who comment to support each other in our efforts! My main professional page is www.kathrynvercillo.com.
I’ve been given the opportunity to give a review of the website for Midland Display Products, a site that sells tools for people who do trade show displays. For full disclosure, I’m being paid for my review but the review itself is an honest one.
About Midland Display
Midlands Display has been in business for more than two decades selling products to help trade show sellers improve their displays. This is an important job. After all, without a good display, you’re never going to sell your items at trade shows no matter how good the items are. This company offers everything from table top displays to hanging banners. They also offer a free booth design service to help you create your own displays in different sizes.
5 Things I Love About This Site
They offer a “tip of the day”. It’s designed to give you ideas for improving your trade show displays. I think this is smart and helpful and isn’t common on sites like these so I love it.
They include a Pantone color chart on the site. This is a tool that a lot of people use when designing their displays so it’s nice that they offer it on site instead of requiring you to go look for one yourself.
It’s a fast and responsive site. There is a lot of information here about a lot of products and it’s tough to keep a big site like that working quickly so it’s nice that they do a good job here.
They offer a live chat feature through the site. I love the option to ask quick questions via online chat and appreciate that they offer this.
The search feature includes a max price option. It’s good to be able to sort through what’s on the site but is still within your budget.
If I Could Change The Site
I think the site is a good one but there are always things that can be improved on any site. Here’s what I’d change if I was hired to improve the site:
A sort by price feature. The “max price” tool in the search area helps with this but I always like a good Amazon-style sort by high or low price feature.
Pages that show recommended displays for different types of sellers. For example, something that shows the top sellers to craft vendors or the best displays for a consumer electronics business. What would be the best option for me in my niche? I’ll note that on their home page they do indicate this a bit. For example, they say that the Trade Show Truss is “a choice if looking for a modern, techy appearing trade show truss display.” But I’d love a more detailed showing of this.
Some video of displays. I think video is a top feature on sites these days and I’d love to see 360 views of the displays in action.
What Qualifies Me To Do This Review
I thought you might want to know what makes me feel qualified to do this review. It’s a basic website review and I do look at a lot of websites so that’s a start. But honestly I’ve actually done a ton of writing about trade show displays and trade show apps in the past so I’ve looked at many sites like these and that’s why I felt qualified to give my two cents.
What do you think are the most useful tools for a trade show display?
While browsing through freelance writing job ads this morning I came across one on Craigslist that impressed me. So many of the freelance jobs out there are super basic. They are about writing keywords. They are about generating how to guides. These jobs can also be smart and challenging but it just intrigued me that there’s a job out there that really asks you to go above and beyond to do some smart research and smart writing. I’m actually not planning to apply for the job for various reasons but I wanted to share the ad because I loved how smart it was!
“EvolvedEmployer.com is looking at corporate responsibility from a new perspective. It’s not about marketing and it’s not about greenwashing – it’s about attracting and retaining the best workforce possible. We need experienced freelance writers to research and analyze what today’s Fortune 500 companies are doing to keep their best employees happy in an era of dual career households, new technologies, global footprints, and a growing focus on the planet. Are you a great writer with industry contacts? Please send a resume and writing sample. Experience in HR, Diversity, Training, Talent Management, CSR, corporate sustainability, corporate philanthropy is desired but not necessary.”
Do you see many jobs advertised that really ask you to think?
Desperate for cash, the state of California is looking for ways to generate new revenue. One option that is being explored is to monetize license plates by adding digital advertising to them. Is this a smart, forward-thinking move or is it a far-fetched attempt to get funds?
Advertising is certainly a way that a lot of individuals and businesses generate income these days. Heck, Google‘s made a big business off of the money-making properties of advertising. Mobile advertising is one of the hottest new emerging ways to make money. So it’s not too far off to think about the potential for generating revenue through digital ads elsewhere in the world.
But on license plates? Not surprisingly, the idea comes from Los Angeles (having been proposed by Sen. Curren Price), a city where people spend a whole lot of time sitting in traffic. The thinking surely has to be that instead of that time being totally wasted, you can use it to advertise what you want others to buy. It is possible that this would help to generate significant, much-needed income for the state. The new technology used to digitize license plates could also end up saving money for the state in the long-run if it streamlines the process of car registration.
Anticipating the arguments, it has already been established that the advertising would only happen while the car was not in motion. While the car was actually driving, only the license plate number would show. However, there are surely other kinks that would have to be worked out with this technology. After all, if you’re digitizing license plates then you may be opening up a whole new can of hacking worms that we aren’t prepared to deal with.
Still, it’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? Nevertheless, the proposal itself won’t be finalized until early 2011 so it will be a long time before this actually gets realized.
A German marketing company named BUTTER has come together with a medical imaging firm named EIZO to create a very creative marketing campaign. They’re using the popularity of the pin-up girl calendar to showcase the work that they do in x-ray imaging. They’ve taken gorgeous women, added stilettos to them and taken their x-rays for display in a calendar.
Are the images sexy? That’s up to you to decide but they’re definitely alluring in a strange kind of way. The flesh and flirty fun that makes pinups appealing isn’t there but it’s hinted at in the poses of the bodies. Gone are things like pouty lips and Brazilian blowout hairstyles. In their place are perfect bone structure and vacant eye sockets. Creepy, in a way, and yet a super creative approach to marketing what the company does. To my knowledge, it’s not something that’s been done before.
And for some personal information about myself … I actually hate having my X-rays taken. There’s something about the idea that a stranger (albeit a medical professional) can literally see through me that creeps me out. I’m not one to hide things but the fact that they can see things in me that I can’t see or know about myself is eerie to me for some reason. Does anyone else have this problem?
I love to write top ten articles. Coming up with creative ideas for top ten articles guides my research and allows me to focus on interesting aspects of an industry. One industry that I particularly love doing top ten posts about is the cell phone industry. (In fact, you can see a list of my top ten articles in the top ten style for this topic right here.)
The most recent article that I did for this industry in that particular style was an article on 10 Great Jobs for Mobile Phone Lovers. This is a terrific example of a top ten article that’s fun to research. Off the top of my head, I was able to think of a few jobs that fit the bill (testing cell phones, designing handsets, etc.). However, I didn’t know of ten jobs so I got to spend some fun time researching the different positions that might come about that would be mostly cell-phone-focused. I learned about some interesting ones (like answering questions as an expert using text messaging – what a cool at-home job!)
I think that this is the best part of being a freelance writer / blogger if you take your research seriously. You get the opportunity to explore many different topics of interest. You get to research them completely and learn new things. It’s the perfect job for someone who really just wants to be a perpetual student!
My kid brother and I are both entrepreneurs. However, we’re very different in the way that we approach business. A fundamental difference between us is that he wants to start a business with a lot of startup capital from investors so that he can get in at the top level of the business as quickly as possible. In contrast, I prefer to invest as little money as possible in a business while exploring whether or not it’s what I really want to do. Either approach is fine for starting a business as long as you know why you feel the way that you do.
Thinking about this topic has brought up an interesting question for me – does it take money to make money? Ultimately, despite the fact that I approach the initial startup of a business different from my brother, I do believe that it takes money to make money. This doesn’t mean that you can’t start a business with no money but it does mean that I believe you have to re-invest your immediate earnings into the business if you want it to actually get off the ground.
What do you think? Does it take startup capital to make a business work or does a gradual process of starting with what you have and then re-investing regularly in the business work just as well?
I think that one of the most important things that you can do as an employee or business owner is to find a way to make your job unique. You should focus on developing a specific niche, habit or approach that sets you apart from the competition. This may seem impossible in some jobs but if you get creative then you’ll find that you can be unique even if the job that you have is a common one held by many other people.
For example, there are some really cool underwater jobs that would fall into this category. Underwater modeling, underwater photography and underwater welding are all examples of this. After all, there are thousands of people who do modeling, take photos or work as welders. The number of people who do those same jobs underwater is just a fraction of that. Simply by looking at a new location for their work, these employees set themselves apart from the crowd.
Another example might be the person who works as a server in a restaurant. That’s a common job so how would you be unique about it? It might be in the way that you approach your customers – for example, you could have a little song that you sing each time that you approach the table. Or it could be in developing a special talent – you might become known as the person who can juggle full water glasses. Whatever it is, it needs to make you stand out as someone who does the job in a unique and interesting way.
Of course, it’s important that you do your job well. That’s probably more important than being unique about it. But once you’ve mastered the skills of your job position, you should make sure that you go further and create a niche for yourself. This will make you more marketable and more valuable as an employee. And it will probably make your work a lot more interesting to do!
How could you set yourself apart from the crowd? In the comments here, feel free to let us all know what you do and how you could do it in a more special way!