Friday, September 14, 2012

Review of Farm Hussy Scents Part II

Continued from the first post, here's five more new scents I've reviewed.  Like I said in my previous post, keep in mind not all sniffers are the same. :)

A Kiss Goodnight - Vanilla Amber, White Amber and Ginger, GingerFig
My review: Smells very similar to Bath & Body Works' White Tea & Ginger, except it smells a little more... sophisticated.  Hard to label what I'm thinking.  I see B&BW's scent as a good aromatherapy one, but Farm Hussy's is more of the perfume variety.  It doesn't have the sharp note of the tea and isn't overwhelmed with ginger.  But I'm not a big fan of ginger so perhaps I'm a little bit biased.  While it takes a few minutes for the warmth of your body to work its magic, the ambers take center stage and kick it up a notch.  I've always felt the ambers to be sophisticated, demure scents.

40 Winks - Satsuma, Sweet Orange, Vanilla Lace, Neroli
My review: Smells exactly like an orange creamsicle, stronger on the orange side than the cream.  If you love the smell of orange creamsicles, then you're definitely going to have to buy this scent.  This is for you.

Sugar Cyclone Waffle Cone: This impending storm of sugars, created with swirling notes of Waffle Cone, cake batter, maple syrup, marshmallow and a blast of buttercream will turn you into a real life Storm Chaser!
My review: In the bottle, the marshmallow and buttercream are very prominent notes.  Can smell a hint of cake batter.  Smells very similar to the Pink Sugar fragrance.  On me, the maple sugar note shines more.  While I normally like bakery scents, this one is too sweet for me.  I'm not a fan of the Pink Sugar scent, which this reminds me of, so I guess no surprise.  If you do like scents of the same sweet marshmallow variety, get this one.

Essence of Hussy: Vanilla Sandalwood, Satsuma, Honey Patchouli, and Tea Rose
My review: I was leery of this scent at first as I am usually not a big fan of satsuma or patchouli.  In the bottle, the satsuma and tea rose are very strong notes.  Once the scent had a chance to settle into my skin, the scent started to grow on me as the notes blended and complemented each other.  It reminds me of the late afternoon/early evening - around 6 - when I would be done with soccer practice in the fall, when the sun is starting to go down and the bugs are starting to come out and there's this orangish glow and scent in the air mixing with the musty linger of the leaves falling.

Gilded Lilies and Lilac - This isn't your typical Hillbilly hymn, this amazing floral melody brings together the best notes of lilac, ylang ylang sang with a chorus of jasmine, rose, lavender with a musk and chamomille crescendo.
My review: This is a custom blend inspired by a request I had so I was very excited to try this.  If you love flowery floral scents, this one is the ticket.  I thought it smelled more like star jasmine at first, but once it settled in, it didn't so much.  My nose picked up one note more so than the other - for some reason they weren't blending for my nose.  This one is definitely purely floral.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BKD Signature to Contribute to Exclusive Celebrity Gift Bag for Genevieve Gorder

Brianne Durkin, founder and owner of BKD Signature, in association with The Artisan Group, was recently selected to gift her premium handcrafted products in an exclusive collaborative gift bag prepared for celebrity TV designer Genevieve Gorder.  Ms. Durkin specially made Ms. Gorder one-of-a-kind pieces: a heart pendant necklace and a pair of rectangle earrings, assembled by Durkin using handmade glass tiles and beautiful Asian Chiyogami paper.

Durkin has been a huge fan of Gorder’s for many years.  “I first saw Ms. Gorder when I was twelve, while watching the first season of Trading Spaces in 2000,” explains Durkin.  “Over the next eight years, I crossed my fingers before each episode hoping that Ms. Gorder would be one of the featured designers.  I love her design style, and think she has an amazing personality.  I dreamt that one day I would have the opportunity of meeting her or somehow connect with her.  I am absolutely ecstatic that my dream has come true twelve years later.”  Gorder will be receiving a heart shaped glass tile pendant necklace featuring the Whimsical Bubbly Flowers in Red and Gray Chiyogami paper and a pair of rectangle earrings featuring the Blue Bamboo Shoots Chiyogami paper.  Ms. Durkin feels the bold and colorful palette in these papers beautifully reflects the vibrant and soulful personality of Ms. Gorder.

Through The Artisan Group, Ms. Durkin gifted actress Kaley Cuoco an one-of-a-kind Chiyogami heart pendant and a Blue Winter pendant from her famous Love in Bloom Collection in July 2012.  In April 2012, she gifted celebrity chef Rachael Ray her Love in Bloom Collection, Kitties in Love pendant, and a Birthday Cake soy candle.

To learn more about BKD Signature’s glass tile jewelry and eco-friendly soy candles, or her participation in The Artisan Group's celebrity gifting initiatives, visit her Etsy shop at, her Facebook Fan Page at, or email bkdsignature[at]gmail[dot]com.

Brianne Durkin, BKD Signature's sole proprietor, is a resident of Sacramento, CA, but is currently spending her time in Chico, CA while attending graduate school at California State University, Chico.  She established BKD Signature in February 2009, but has been crafting her whole life.  Her work can be found on Etsy at and Craft CafĂ© at
For press inquiries regarding The Artisan Group, please visit or email

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review of New Farm Hussy Scents

I was recently asked to review some newly released and yet-to-be-released scents over at Farm Hussy.  Now, if you've been following my blog and Facebook, you'd know how much I LOVE to gush over her products.  They are simply the best lotions and lip balms I've ever tried.  I've got several boxes full to make up my stockpile.  I am always eager to share her good products, and have gained several new customers for her.  I don't have to do much talking because these products speak for themselves!  Therefore, obviously, I was ecstatic to leap at the opportunity to test out some new scents.

It is important to note several things when reading reviews about scents, especially in handmade items.  First off, my sniffer may be very different than your sniffer.  The notes that your sniffer detects may be different than mine.  It may detect some notes more strongly than others, which may be different than mine.  Secondly, my body chemistry is certainly different than yours.  It will most likely change the affect the scent in a different manner than yours does.  Thirdly, these are simply my opinions, just a little something to keep in mind when purchasing.  There are several notes I do not like (patchouli, for example) that may in fact be your faves.  Feel free to take what you want from my reviews - they're for informational purposed only.  The bigger goal is to achieve happy sniffing! :)

Flower Child - Lovin' everyone under the sun is your motto.  Fresh cut lavender infused with patchouli, sandalwood, ylang, amber, violets and powdery tonka notes create your themed summer scent you'll remember forever.
My review: This is a new fave of mine (add this to Cherry Cow Chip and Gift Hog).  This smells like sandalwood and baby powder/floral to me.  Sandalwood is one of my fave notes - it's actually a scent memory trigger for me.  Ages ago, my family and I went on vacation to Seaside, CA and stayed at Seascape Resort.  I absolutely loved that vacay.  Not only are all the bath and body products in the resort scented sandalwood, but the beachside cliffs are full of it.  Now, I always associate the beach with the scent of sandalwood.  Added to that, I don't know why, but to me, hotels smell like cleaning and sandalwood.  That's what this scent reminds me of and I love it.

Chevre Noir (Black Sheep) - This delicate fragrance stands apart from the herd, with its lime/citrus top notes blended together with lavender, rose, wisteria and hyacinth and a soft dry down of powder and green apple.
My review: This is definitely one of my new faves, too!  This evokes scent memory for me so of course I gravitate towards it.  This smells like that favorite grandma or aunt you love seeing at the family gatherings.  A gently classic scent that stands the test of time.  I normally don't like citrus notes, but in this case they are balanced beautifully with the floral notes.  No one note outshines the other, but they complement each other nicely, sharing the stage in a wonderful symphony.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Jasmine*Fresh type Pink Jasmine Precious pink petals sparkle with romantic notes of sweet blood red orange, floral blends of white lilac, magnolias (not steel ones), peony, freesia and tiare flowers kissed with peaches and marshmallow.
My review: There is actually a Star Jasmine plant at my house so I know what the flower smells like and it can be very pungent.  In the jar, this has some very strong floral notes and I wasn't so sure about it knowing what the plant is like.  But I knew I needed to try it before my final verdict as body chemistry has influence.  The scent ended up settling in much more softly on my skin, not overwhelming like I thought it'd be.  I very true smelling Star Jasmine scent without the pungent-ness (yes, made up that word).

A Pocketful of Posy's - This soft rose scent is brought to full bloom with petals of lily, ylang, gardenias and a hint of sandalwood and musk to create the perfect posy for your nosey!
My review: In the jar, this smells like sunscreen to me.  For some reason, when gardenia and ylang-ylang are blended together, that's the scent my nose picks up.  I have no idea why.  It smelled much nicer on my skin as the sandalwood and lily took more prominent roles.  I can attest this lives up to its name, a nice powdery floral scent, but this isn't much of a fave for my sniffer.  If your sniffer is a fan of wildflowers, this is a good one for you.

Butterfly Garden - A summer flutter of fragrance, dusted with magic wings of cherries and strawberries, sprinkled of lavender and roses, hyacinth and violets floating on a cloud of soft musk.
My review: I was really excited by the name and had high expectations.  Unfortunately, my sniffer didn't find this scent to be what it wanted.  The hyacinth and violet take center stage with the lavender and roses trying to squeeze in.  I can't smell the cherries or strawberries, which kind of saddens me because I think those notes would add a nicely sweet twist to it to make it perfect for my nose.  My sniffer is not really a fan of this one either, but perhaps your sniffer will be.

{{I still have more scents to review, but wanted to publish what I had so far.}}

Discloser: The opinions in this post are completely my own.  I received the product mentioned above so I could try it out and share an honest opinion with you.  The best way to find out if these scents work for you is to buy some samples and try them out yourself! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Christmas in July Sale! Buy Two Get One FREE

Christmas in July Sale 07/15-07/31: BUY TWO GET ONE FREE: Buy any two Chiyogami pendant necklaces, get a FREE square Chiyogami pendant packaged with your order. Buy four, get two free; buy six, get three free; etc. Stock up and get your holiday shopping done early! No coupon code needed, your order will automatically arrive with your freebies. :)

SOY CANDLE CLEARANCE SALE:  35 soy candle scents are on sale at a low price I've never done before!  Normally $7 each, they're on sale for an AMAZING$4.50 EACH!  Stock up now - I ship flat rate to save you even more!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gifting Rachael Ray!

The past couple months have been a whirlwind for me. Between taking five grad school classes and ramping up my business, I've certainly had my hands full. In the midst of this stress came the EXCITING NEWS that I had been chosen for an exclusive celebrity gifting opportunity. I had the unbelievable honor of sending my products to Rachael Ray! Crazy heart pounding when you get that special e-mail with the exciting news!

So then the big question becomes: what do you choose to send for such an opportunity? Not only do you want the celebrity to like your stuff, but you also hope this opens the door to bigger and better things. I wrestled big time with what to send adorable little Rachael Ray - I didn't want to screw up the biggest opportunity that's happened for my business.

Sending her my famous Love in Bloom Collection seemed like a no brainer. It's become almost a signature look for my business, a second form of branding in a way, and is my most popular product by far. It appeals to all ages. I also remembered that she is a big advocate for animal rights and a supporter of animal shelters: she has her own line of dog food, her own foundation that supports animals, and is a spokesperson for the ASPCA. My Kitties in Love pendant was perfect. (I had almost forgotten that I carry this - I had neglected to place it in its own listing in addition to its inclusion in the Charity listing. Major booboo on my part seeing as it was a huge seller in the larger size). But I also didn't want to forget the home fragrance/decor aspect of my business. A 2 oz soy candle would still fit within the maximum size requirements and make an elegant gift. What scent? Birthday Cake, of course! One of my best sellers and makes perfect sense to give a chef. Even then, I hummed and hawwed about whether I made the right decision. I didn't think I'd second guess myself so much! I am just so honored and thankful to have the opportunity.

The gift is on its way to New York right now to her rep; it should arrive on Friday! I am so stoked. Friday the 13th - I embrace superstitions, I think they're good luck, so maybe this is a good omen for me! If anything, it's crazy exciting to think a celeb will soon own my stuff!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My 3rd Etsyversary Celebration!!!

So my 3rd year Etsyversary is coming up on February 19th and I wanted to celebrate it BIG.  3 years seems to be a milestone in the Etsy world, usually because it signals that you've survived the nuances of owning a small handmade business in a big commercialized retail world and, hopefully, have reached several milestones to becoming a well-established shop.  Just this morning I reached sale number 5-0-0, a HUGE milestone, and I couldn't be more excited.  So I am fortunate enough to start celebrating several things today. :)

To thank my loyal fans, I have decided to host three GIGANTIC giveaways.  Below is one of the giveaways (due to glitches with it on FB) and the other is a tab on my BKD Signature FB fan page.  You have many opportunities to get entries so take advantage of them all!  {{Due to the recent problems with USPS and shipping internationally, these contests are only open to USA residents.}}

Giveaway #1 through Blog:
- Love in Bloom Collection
- 5 assorted graphic pendants
- Two 6 oz soy candles; one in Downy Fresh and one in Beach Daisies
- 3 pairs of cabochon earrings; one pair chrysanthemum, one pair hibiscus, one pair rose
Above in post

Giveaway #2 through Facebook Page:
- Love in Bloom Collection
- 1 pair rose cabochon earrings

Giveaway #2 Surprise Package to Unlock through Facebook Page:

{{To clarify, the "purchase" entry refers to new ones while the giveaway is open.  Purchase 5 items to get all 95 entries.}}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sampler Village Box Arrival

My January Sampler Village box arrived today!  It's always so exciting when this comes!  You know it's a good box when you can smell it in the mailbox. :)  Can't wait to review these products for you - there's bunches of great samples!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday's Sales Sheet

Naughty & Nice Lingerie:  The New Year, Valentine's Day and a sale at Naughty and Nice Lingerie!  15% off sale in the eBay store; use coupon code vday12 in Bonanza booth "nnnlingerie".  New Dreamgirl Lingerie $25 and under with free shipping within the USA.

Natural Mountain Body Care: 75% off ALL soap at use code SOAP75 at checkout. DISCOUNT APPLIES TO SOAP ONLY!

Briar MuseAll discontinued fragrances now 50% Off!

Suzy's Scent Shop: Whole store is on sale!

La Fuffie's Boutique: Use code FreeShip on and

Aqua BlossomI have 20% off everything in my Luulla shop only :) No coupon necessary.

Rustic Rainbow20 perent off sale

The Realist MermaidBuy two get one free on all items, mix and match

Sampler Village boxes are on sale!  These go quick so get yours now!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Freebie Friday's Review Roundup

Another round of quickie reviews about some great products that I found in last month's Sampler Village box!  ((This month's box just got shipped to me today - they go on sale tomorrow!))  Next week I've got some samples from Facebook contests to try. :)

Cathy's Candy Huggers (picture and website not found)
Item: Mini candy bar wrapped as fleece snowman
My Review:  OMG, this thing is SO SO SO cute!!!  I am never going to eat the candy in it - I can't bear to unwrap this adorable snowman!  I think he was made using fleece fabric.  These would make awesome decorations or party favors.  Mine hangs out in my kitchen now as a decoration. :)

Jelly Beads Designs
Etsy and Facebook
Item: Polymer Clay Holiday Ornament
My Review:  These are probably the cutest polymer clay ornaments I have ever seen.  I got a blue one and love love love it.  It is adorable, durable, and well made.  I have it permanently hung up on my wall.  From looking at the shop's feedback, it looks like it can take a while to get your order.  Handmade can take a while, and definitely polymer clay takes time -consuming and tricky - and for a shop in high demand, a long TAT is to be expected.  All her stuff looks whimsically adorable and round, just love it.

Girl Nature
Facebook and Website
Item: Cranberry Spice Lotion
My Review: This sample wasn't labeled so I had to conclude myself that it is lotion.  However, the ingredients were listed so I appreciate that. :)  The scent is Cranberry Spice - there was a lot of Cranberry-scented items in the Nov/Dec box, obviously a big scent for this season.  Totally LOVING this one.  It's unique, nothing like I've smelled before.  I usually don't like spice, but this one is very subtle, and the cranberry is a nice combo of sweet and tart.  This is one of my new favorite scents.  The lotion is also luxuriously thick and feels really good on my dry crafter's hands, very moisturizing.

{{Each Friday I do a multitude of short reviews to sum up my experiences with free product I used since the last posting.  I am not compensated for my reviews other than the fact that I did not pay for the product.  However, this product was earned through Facebook contests, other free contest means, or somehow free, through my own efforts.  The shops are not notified of the review until posted.}}

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another successful animal charity auction in the works!

Since my fans asked, I'm delivering! I am running another animal charity auction in time for Valentine gifts, Jan 25th to Feb 1st!  Please see the photo album from the last time for rules. If you'd like to contribute items, please e-mail bkdsignature[at]; let me know your items, pictures, links, and if you want to waive your portion/shipping fees.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Spread the word!

Auction will run Jan 25th, 12 am PST to Feb 1st, 11:59 pm PST.


1. You must first "LIKE" the Giveaway's Host Fan Page (link is provided).
2. You may post a comment on the host's page. This is NOT required but is HIGHLY recommended. It is nice to be thanked and loved for their wonderful offering. :) Let them know who sent you so they know their donation is appreciated – we’re all here to support a wonderful cause.
3. To bid, simply leave a comment with your bid price and your e-mail address to which an invoice can be sent. [Please note some items include shipping while others have it as an extra.]
4. Only serious bids, please! If you are a winning bid, please remit payment within 48 hours of receiving your invoice in your inbox. Invoices will be coming from BKD Signature via PayPal – please do not pay before receiving an invoice or from anyone other than BKD Signature. Your invoice will reflect your winning bid AND shipping charges.
5. Responsibility for shipping and receiving of said items will be between vendor and bidder (vendor will be shipping direct to you, I do not have the items). BKD Signature assumes no responsibility for the products being offered. In the event that the vendor does not uphold their end of the agreement, the bidder will have up to 30 days after payment is received to contact me to advise me you have not received your item.
6. Ending date is posted, entries after date will not be accepted.
7. It is expected of everyone to respect each other. We are all here to support a worthy cause that deserves our support. BKD Signature reserves the right to ban anyone acting disrespectful during the auction.
8. Because I ardently believe in supporting handmade, a portion (25%) of the winning bids will be sent to the vendors to help pay for their cost of goods and to graciously thank them for donating to such a wonderful cause. As a small handmade business owner myself, I passionately believe in supporting handmade businesses and charities alike.

{{VENDORS}}: it is expected that you ship ready-to-ship items within 7 business days of payment. Made-to-order items are to be shipped within 14 days of payment unless otherwise arranged with the bidder.

This opportunity is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered, or associated with Facebook. You are providing your information to BKD Signature and not to Facebook.

You must be 18 or over to participate

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday's Sales Sheet

Here's this week's roundup of sales going on in BKD Signature approved shops. :)  Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

‎The Realist Mermaid: 20% off, no coupon required, at my etsy store and take another 10% off with code GFGOODIES!  {{PLEASE NOTE: Tonight's SNS is 40% off}}

Polished Two: Use coupon code MOMMO25 at Etsy checkout for 25% off this weekend

Sapeterapi: code "NEW10" for 10% off all orders

Up On The Roof Farm: Some jar candles are on sale and enter MAPLE for 10% off all soap bars

Natural Mountain Body Care:  75% off ALL soaps EXCEPT Custom & volume orders such as party or wedding favors

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freebie Friday's Review Roundup

Today's reviews are again about some lovely ladies from the Sampler Village Team. :)  I can't get enough of these amazing and talented shops in the box!

The Realist Mermaid
Facebook and Etsy
Item: Vegan Marshmallows in various flavors
My Review:  Through a promo/coupon the shop owner was running, I was able to procure a box full of marshmallows for free, I only had to pay shipping.  Totally worth it.  I cannot tell you how much AWESOMER (yep, just made that up) handmade marshmallows are.  SO fluffy, SO creamy, SO flavorful, SO YUMMY.  Since they're handmade, they need to be consumed within 10 days, or refrigerated/freezed (ok, made up another word) until you're ready to eat.  I just immediately put them into my tupperware to pop in the fridge, no problemo.  I got a good variety and I was really surprised at which ones I liked the most: Irish Coffee and Lemon Meringue.  I'm not a big coffee or lemon flavored person... but I think that's a big testament to the ingredients.  They're all-natural, organic, kosher, gluten free - I don't usually specifically seek out these attributes, but I feel pretty darn good when I eat that way. :)  Any way to trick my mind into thinking marshies are healthy, I'm cool with!!!  You can clearly tell the ingredients are fresh, and I was so amazed by her creativity with the flavors.  (P.S. She's running a sale right now!)

Farm Hussy
Item: Lip Balm flavored in An Ornery Lil' Custard
My Review:  I can't get enough of Farm Hussy and I'm not ashamed to keep plugging this business!  I haven't used silkier lip balm ever before!  The texture is unlike others, but that's a good thing.  Feels so good to use on my lips.  And, of course, like always, the scent is so yummy.  (After trying my first handmade lip balm about three years ago, I've kissed commercial ones goodbye.)

My Lip Candy
Item: Banana Coconut lip balm
My Review:  OMG, this has got to be my most FAVORITE scent I have ever gotten in a lip balm!  I'm totally loving it!  Banana is my favorite flavor/scent, and I love a good coconut scent as well.  I would never have guessed these smell so good together!  It doesn't smell like Pina Colada or something tropical like you would think; which to me is such a refreshing change of pace since that's usually the route these scents are taken.  You can smell each note separately and strongly, which I really appreciate, but they blend so well together.  This is a beeswax lip balm, which I'm not usually a fan of, but it's actually silky and slides on nicely.  I usually find beeswax to be stiff and sticky, but this balm truly isn't.

Piccolo Paradiso
Item: Snowball shaped soap
My Review:  Enclosed in the box, this sample is HUGE.  Almost too big to handle, although I could probably cut it in half.  But I'm not complaining about a big sample. :)  Lather is nice, I really can get some suds going, and my hands don't feel dried out after but soft (drying soap is a pet peeve of mine).  However, I can't smell what scent it is, and I can't tell from the packaging, unless it's unscented.  I thought the snowball was a cute idea for the winter months. :) 

{{Each Friday I do a multitude of short reviews to sum up my experiences with free product I used since the last posting.  I am not compensated for my reviews other than the fact that I did not pay for the product.  However, this product was earned through Facebook contests, other free contest means, or somehow free, through my own efforts.  The shops are not notified of the review until posted.}}

The Big Waste: Follow-Up

Yesterday I ran my errands, including the grocery store.  I was so proud of myself: I walked the walk to back up my talk.  They had just refilled the bananas, all of which were green. Which is fine, just means I gotta wait a couple days for them to ripen (which is what I prefer anyways).  Lo and behold, I found a double banana!  Looks like two fused together while growing.  This banana is huge (the whole crop was) and I wasn't sure if anyone would take this "freak" of nature.  But I actually think this sucker looks pretty cool. :)  Banana smoothie here I come!  When it came to picking out my other produce, I was very careful NOT to rummage through any - I shopped with my eyes.  I needed a small bell pepper and picked up one with a slightly wrinkly skin.  I could tell it was still good, it just had some funny skin.  Considering it's going into the Crockpot, I knew it was ok to take this "reject".  Or what I assumed probably would be.

I'm pretty darn proud of myself - I love putting knowledge to good use. :)  So... did you put your Big Waste knowledge to work this week?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Blues: The Big Waste

When I saw the commercial last week for Food Network's premier of The Big Waste, I could not be more ecstatic that a big time TV station was running a powerful and poignant educational program on such an earth (un)friendly issue.  I have always been an advocate of more earth friendly practices: recycling, reducing electricity usage, etc.  I hate that so many Americans blindly and ignorantly perform such eco-unfriendly practices each day.  Now, I'm not saying we should all be the next Alicia Silverstone or anything, but we all could certainly learn a thing or two about how to be more eco-friendly in our daily practices.  Or insist that all cities institute recycling programs.  I knew I would not be surprised by what I watched, but, at the same time, I knew that could be a false hope.

I hate food waste.  I really do.  If I don't eat all the food on my plate, it becomes leftovers without question. With millions of people starving in the world, I am not about to be someone who wasted food that was lucky enough to have it. when so much of the world could gratefully use a fraction of glutton.  So yes, my panties do get in a bunch when I see what a "normal" portion size has become in America's food industry.  I pass by people every day that would do anything for a hot meal, anything to eat; all while corporations just keep stacking patties to see who can come up with the next colossal big burger.  And we wonder why obesity is an epidemic.

I watched the special tonight while having dinner.  I am not gonna lie: I was giddy with excitement while watching it.  Not because I wanted to see food wasted, but, rather, that top chefs were having their perspectives re-calibrated with countless other Americans watching the show.  I have to give my top props to the Freegan that was featured in the show.  I wish I had the guts to go dumpster diving like he does because I think he has a brilliant idea of utilizing the "wasted" food.  Not only is he practicing eco-friendliness, but he is saving a lot of money on food.  There really shouldn't be any shame in dumpster diving; it's unfortunate that there's a stigma attached to it.  People from all walks of life could benefit from it for multiple reasons, as evidence by this show.

And I did learn some new things.  I learned what practices I could be utilizing to help cut down on the waste.  I could be less perfectionistic when it comes to my food.  I could pick up a pick of produce that has a healthy blemish on it.  I learned that just because it might look slightly sad on the outside, doesn't mean the inside is the same, too.  I learned I could look more closely at a piece of food to see if it is "bad" sitting there on the shelf.  And to be more careful when rummaging through produce (I'm usually trying to find the smallest one for lil ole me).  Can that cliche "It's what's on the inside that counts" really apply to food as well?  *Gasp* By golly, I think we might have got it!

I really hope this special has opened people's eyes and brings about change in the world.  Everyone who has a TV should watch it.  And everyone who doesn't have a TV... well... it may be possible that those are the people that could use the good "scraps" and we should do something about that.

{{Did you watch this special?  If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  If you haven't, check out for more show times.}}

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Utilizing Sampler Boxes as Advertising Part 1: What do you want?

With the start of a new year, handmade artisans are evaluating their small businesses and revamping their processes and practices.  With this analyzing comes the idea of trying new ways to advertise their businesses to customers not keen on spending extra money on items deemed as "wants".

One of the most unique ways of advertising that has been picking up steam over the past couple years is the sampler box.  While sales are not guaranteed from a sampler box, it is an easy and, hopefully, effective way to reach many customers that are specifically looking to sample products from artists that they hope to be repeat customers of in the future.  I myself am a big fan of sampler boxes because I love getting a big box of samples that'll help me decide what businesses I would like to try next or that may be of an even higher quality than products I am currently using.  There are several handmade shops that I am a repeat customer of now because I found their products in a sampler box (see Freebie Friday Reviews posts for some examples).

When considering whether joining a sampler box is right for you and your business, there are several aspects to keep in mind when choosing a box and when submitting your samples.  This three part series will cover the whole picture of what it means to be in a sampler box.

Choosing a company:  Not only are you working for the sampler box, but the owner of the sampler box is working for you.  To begin the process, Google or Facebook search "sampler box" or "sampler".  On Google, the most active ones will appear at the top; on Facebook, look at the number of fans the page has.  It is important to see how many visitors/customers the box is exposed to because a higher number likely means a more "successful" box or lots of interaction from the fans.  The greater the fans, the more potential customers for you.  It's also important to observe and evaluate the amount of advertising the sampler box owner does on the behalf of the shop participants: does the owner post a whole bunch on the fan page; are there lots of links daily advertising the individual shops; are there highly enticing offers, such as contests, on the page regularly; do they have a comprehensive website catering to both sellers and buyers; etc.  While it is true that you are not "paying" the owner in money, the sales of the boxes do; and the boxes would not exist if it weren't for the participation of the shops and customers alike.  You are putting a lot of money, time, and effort into your samples, and you want to feel like the sampler box is doing the same for you in advertising.  Since no box can guarantee sales, and it's unfair to expect that, what you are "paying" for is the sampler box to advertise on your behalf adequately.  And you want to make sure the "payment" is worth it.

How do I know that it was worth it?  It's also important for you to decide before you submit your info to a box what you want out of the box.  Of course, the obvious answer would be "SALES".  But are sales the only thing to gain from a sampler box?  Some sampler boxes have a whole community or network among all of the sellers, an aspect that can set some boxes apart and, some might argue, above the rest.  Even those that have never gotten a sale from a box argue that the support they've gotten from networking among the community of sellers is more valuable because the love, support, camaraderie, and advice have helped their shops far greater than they could have imagined.  Sometimes, this advice has helped improve the shop immensely or change the seller's perspective, causing the owner to earn more sales even if none of them were gained from purchasing the original sample.  While it is easy to think about the direct impact of the box on your sales, don't forget to think about the INDIRECT impact the box can have not only on your shop, but on YOU as well.  Think about the whole not just the parts!

Part 2: Packaging Your Samples

{{As many of you know, I am a part of Sampler Village and am therefore biased when I wholeheartedly vouch for it and encourage you to join the box.  Part 3 of this series will be analyzing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sampler Village to give you an in-depth look of what it's like to be a participating shop.  For many reasons, mostly time- and monetary-based, I have not joined other boxes... yet.  However, besides Sampler Village, I believe The Little Black Box and The Tantalizing Sampler are two other great places to start.  I know the owners personally and can vouch for their credibility; I've also observed their businesses, processes, and efforts and believe them to be among some of the most "successful" boxes in terms of how much work they do on behalf of their sellers.  Of course, if you do join one of these three, please mention that BKD Signature sent you - businesses do a lot of advertising, but are left wondering where their customers come from.  It's always polite, and beneficial, to the business to let them know how you found them. <3 }}