The Importance of Buying American Made

With the growth of business, I have started looking at different suppliers for personalized clothing from Alicia’s Sign Shop. The most important thing to me is to start buying American made, but but to also keep our costs down. I believe that I have finally found just that supplier, and in the next few days I will be going through the process of becoming an authorized retailer for them. The great thing, is they will be opening us up to a lot more products to sell (even dog clothes, gym bags, and bookbags!)!

Now, you may ask what the importance of buying American made is, and I will explain to you why it is important to me. Buying American made means keeping jobs in America. Buying American made means not supporting sweat shops. Buying American made also means it is better for the environment because the clothes won’t be travelling across oceans to get to us.

It’s going to be a few days before I know that we’re approved to start selling these products, but I am so excited to start doing this… I really feel like it’s a step in the right direction!

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Caring For Your Personalized Shirt

monogrammed sweatshirtI get asked, without a doubt, every single time I deliver a shirt to a friend or family member “How do I wash and dry it?” or “Can I put it in the dryer?” The answer varies based on the material, but I have taken a few steps to make this as stress free as possible for everyone, whether you come to my house to pick up a shirt or I have to ship it across the country to you.

I’ve started including a small label attached to each shirt as a reminder, but I think it’s important to post it here as well, because sometimes we ignore those labels. :)

 

T-Shirt Care Instructions:

Item should be washed inside out and on gentle cycle with cold water. Our shirts are not pre-washed, so 100% cotton and 50/50 blend shirts will shrink some when washed.

When drying: Tumble dry on low heat. To avoid possible shrinkage, lay flat or hang to dry. Since the material is heat reactive, there is a chance of shrinkage and tightening when exposed to heat (like in the dryer).

***When you wash and dry, do not exceed temperatures of 180 F.***

 

None of this is to say that I haven’t forgotten the shirts I’ve made for myself were in the laundry and thrown them in the dryer. Some have turned out perfect, while others have turned out not so great. I can tell you for sure from experience that the glitter vinyl doesn’t do well when you accidentally throw it through the dryer for  second time around in the same day (DON’T ASK!!!).

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Something to be Thankful for…

I have always done the 30 days of thankfulness, ever since I joined the magical world of Facebook. Until this year. Somehow November slipped up on me… Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very thankful, and I am going to continue being thankful, but not just for 30 days out of the year.

This year, I am thankful for so much…

You see, I fought a very hard battle with my ex-husband this past year, and I won. I am thankful I have my kids… So very thankful. No matter what hoops I still have to jump through. I am thankful that I get to wake them up every morning and help them get ready for school. I am thankful that I get to help them with their homework every night. I am thankful that I get to kiss their heads every night and tuck them into bed.

I am thankful more than ever for second chances. You see, even by reading this blog, you know I have a way with words that not everyone finds so eloquent. I have, on more than one occasion, told someone that they were a waste of oxygen and not regretted it. I am thankful that some people can see past my words and my actions to see who I really am.

I am thankful for love. I never realized how much you can love someone who is not your blood. I never realized that you can love someone to the core of your being. I never realized it until I lost that person, and had to deal with it every day. I never realized it until I had to wake up every morning, missing him so bad that it hurt in my heart, in my stomach, and in my soul. I am so thankful that next month, he will have been mine again for two whole years. I am thankful that we are stronger now than ever before.

I am thankful that this year, after eating myself into a turkey coma, I won’t have to worry about getting up super early the next morning to go to work. I am thankful that I had the courage to finally start my own business. I am thankful that Alicia’s Sign Shop is finally starting to be a successful (and almost profitable!) business.

Alicia's Sign Shop Cheat Sheet Apron
Speaking of Alicia’s Sign Shop, take a look at my latest creation that I am thankful for, this cheat sheet apron!

So, this year… What are you thankful for?

Did I forget to mention that I am thankful for you? Now seriously, leave me a comment and let me know what you’re thankful for!

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Christmas Card Time!!!

So, while I was searching for unique Christmas cards to send out to my family and friends this year, I found a WONDERFUL website: Minted! They have the most unique and adorable Christmas cards that I have found in a LONG time! Seriously, you can add your photos and choose different shapes for your cards… And the fonts are GREAT! The best part is that the designs are all made by indie designers; people just like me and you, so you will be supporting the single mom down the road, an artist a few hours away, and not some already-rich CEO… which you know makes me VERY happy! :)

Now, while I was playing with the Christmas cards and trying to pick my perfect one, I found a really AWESOME option: Free recipient addressing! My handwriting isn’t horrible, but it isn’t all that great either, plus, it saves me time when my cards come in… I won’t have to sit down and address them all!

Ridiculous Cheer is my favorite design, and here’s a preview of what it will look like :

Christmas Card-AC
This is not my actual Christmas card, of course. ;)

Now, the site has plenty more to offer… I found some awesome business cards while I was there for my sign shop and some really great art to hang on my walls, or if I decide to be less greedy, to give as Christmas gifts.

While I was on their site, I was given the option to complete a survey to receive 10% off when I returned, and you bet that I’ll be doing just that. Of course, right now they have better coupon codes on their site, 15% off orders of $150+ when you enter the code HOLIDAY14, and with the same code, you receive 10% off orders of $100+.

Minted also offers the opportunity to opt out of receiving a digital proof to receive $10 off your order and more expedient shipping (two days faster!!!). Even if you would rather get your FREE digital proof, it still takes less than two weeks to receive your cards from the time you place your order.

Minted.com, you have received a customer for life! I can’t wait to get my Christmas cards in!!! I hope that everyone who reads this decides to at least go check them out, but will also share their thoughts with me here in the comments! :)

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A Letter To The Westville Board

Dear Westville Board,

You say that Stewart county has failed Westville, you say that we didn’t support it while we had it, and you say that it cannot continue to exist in such a rural location. I say that you are wrong. I say that YOU have failed Westville. I also want to say that, with some help, you can turn it around.

As a small business owner, it’s easy to see some very simple mistakes that you have made and that you continue to make as you run Westville into the ground… And, let’s face it; you will continue to make these mistakes wherever you move Westville to. First and foremost, while Westville is a museum, it is also a business and you HAVE to treat it as such.

When you do a search for Westville, not much comes up. You have a website that does not seem to fully represent Westville, and that is pathetic.

More pathetic still, is the complete lack of a social media presence. When you click the Facebook link on your website it leads to a group… It should lead to a business page. When you search for a business page, one does not come up. HOWEVER, if you are lucky enough to be friends with someone who is a friend of Historic Westville on Facebook, your PERSONAL PROFILE does come up as an option to add as a friend. This is not an appropriate way to have a presence on Facebook… It looks like a child is handling your social media.

Sadder even still, when you click the Instagram link, you have set up a profile appropriately, but there are only 36 photos on there. A photo should be posted every day that you are open, there’s no excuse not to. Even worse than not having photos, is the fact that hashtags are not being taken advantage of in order to get you more followers. Speaking of followers, you only have 13 and are only following 4. This is inexcusable.

Now, on Youtube, you do have quite a few videos (BRAVO, I am very proud of you for this!) but still, the amount of views are lacking, which means that you are just uploading them for no reason. You cannot upload videos to Youtube unless you intend to share them. Otherwise, how do you expect them to be seen?

After appropriately taking advantage of social media (FREE ADVERTISING!!!) you have to do one last thing: GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT! You cannot expect people to come out just to walk around and look at a bunch of old buildings and houses… They want to EXPERIENCE it! You have to bring back the volunteers. Bring back the blacksmith. Bring back the potter. Bring back the quilters. Bring back your SKILLED WORKERS. Bring back the gingerbread. Bring back the biscuits. Bring back the lemonade. Bring new things into the gift shop… You’d be surprised at how many people would purchase a decal to go on their car in support of the museum (I should know, I make them for several local businesses and they keep ME in business!).

To gain more support from local businesses, and from law enforcement, make them feel involved again. When you have something special going on, ask the local restaurant (Snooky’s) to cater. Get the local t-shirt shop (Bubba Graphics) to make shirts for the gift shop. If you would like to try the decal idea, by all means, contact me and I’ll give you the first 10 that you order for FREE. If someone breaks down at the village, offer to call a local towing service (Harvey’s Garage) for them. Start cooking again, and once a month (or once a week) invite local law enforcement in for a free breakfast (and you can voice your concern about cleaning up the streets on the way to the village). Ask the county commissioners and the city council for their help and opinions. MAKE YOURSELF A PART OF THE COMMUNITY!!!

Now that I have said all of this, I want to say one last thing: The problem with Westville is the board and the administrative staff: NOT THE LOCATION. Get off your EGOS and run the place like a small business. If you haven’t done that before, many of us locals have, and will be more than willing to give you some ideas that have worked for us!

Sincerely,

Alicia Lee Canington
Alicia’s Sign Shop
Weston, GA 31832
(706)326-9972
aliciacanington@gmail.com

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