Planning a Fabulous Killer Event

Planning any event takes time, precision, planning, logistics, help and execution.  Usually, guests just don’t see the details of how an event gets put together.

All the energy it takes to make it a memorable, flawless event is absolutely exhausting but totally worthwhile when you see your guests enjoying themselves and hearing about the rave reviews afterwards.  But how to you get there?  Where do you start?  What is your budget?  What are you celebrating?

I’ve have a few tips on what you need to get your creative juices flowing.

  1. Start with a theme.  Sit down, buffet, picnic style, casual?
  2. I’ve already mention this, but what are you celebrating?
  3. Recruit help that you trust … you just need 1 or 2.  The more the merrier.
  4. Color scheme – very important.  It will be the foundation of how you decorate the create the atmosphere.
  5. Food – another important item.  Keep it simple though.  Potlucks typically don’t work.  Bring an overall food theme to the party.  pasta, Mexican food, seafood … you get the picture.
  6. Location location location
  7. Guests guests guests
  8. Number number number
  9. Think of your party flow from start to finish.  Write the details down and run it through your mind.
  10. Put all this on paper.  Chances are you’ll miss something and you’ll chance it when it’s on paper.

Happy planning!

Fabulous Ideas for Closing Gifts

Nothing builds a relationship with a client than a gift.  It bring out a smile and most times a warm hug.  If you are realtor, a closing gift is part of your branding.  A marketing piece that will leave your legacy.  Yup!  Sounds corny, but it’s so true.

Consider the following gifts when you’re out there shopping for ideas:

  1. Gift cards to Home Depot – you can never go wrong.  It’s all about the house and how to stock or decorate it.
  2. Personalized – this can be a huge plethora of options like a doormat, custom pillows, custom wall frame with their names, custom stamp with their new address and list the goes on.  Consider the room that it will go in and how often your clients will be in that room.  Right?
  3. Gift cards to nearby grocery store.  I know I would want one especially if I’m moving to a brand new neighborhood and don’t know the lay of the land.

I think you get the picture.  Building a relationship with your vendor is just as important.  Your vendor will always know what closing gift to make especially if it is customized each and every time you close escrow.  A phone call or an email is all you need.  Trust.  Goes both ways.

How Do We Make our Cutting Boards

We love it when people come up to us and ask “how do we make our cutting boards?”.  Sometimes we get comments like “I use to make these in high school during woodshop.” or “My dad used to be a woodworker, love your work!”.  All comments are welcome!  It validates our work and we love it.  But we thought we would write down the fundamentals of how we make our products.  Simple.

  1. We start with our raw materials – unused scrap hardwoods.
  2. Cut the scrap hardwoods evenly – because they are scrap woods, they come in all different sizes.  As long as it is unused, untreated and hardwood we will work with it.  Each cut is different depending upon the size of the board we are making.
  3. Plane the cuts so it’s easier to glue together.
  4. Glue the cuts together and clamp them with high pressure clamps.  Wipe off excess glue.
  5. Let dry overnight.
  6. Release clamps and plane down the glued board.  This may take a few passes in order to have an even surface to work with.
  7. Once even, sanding begins.  The board goes through a double sanding machine then hand sanded to get even more of a smoother surface.
  8. Round off the edges.
  9. You’re DONE!

BBQ Season is Just Around the Corner

Get ready!  Just look around the stores, bbq grills are out, patio furnitures are on sale and the whole community is getting ready for the summer.  Of course, we would need to get over the awful weather the country has been having and bring out the sun in order to celebrate the BBQ season properly.

But … nothing says barbecue than a great piece of yummy BBQ meat, grilled to perfection and a cutting board to slice and serve on.  Yup!  I said cutting board.  After all, when you BBQ, you’re not just barbecuing for yourself, it’s for the whole gang (that and beer completes it)!

Now finding the right BBQ cutting board may be a challenge.  Not too many plastic ones out there to choose from especially one that has juice grooves.  But you can narrow the choices down by shopping online doing your research in checking out what’s out there.  Here’s a great article on the essential tools you’ll need as a barbecue master.  My vote?  Consider a wood cutting board.  It’s sturdy, it’s gorgeous and it look like it belongs right next to your BBQ grill.  Juices will continue to flow out as your guests help themselves to the slices of wonderment you are serving.  That’s where the gravy channel comes in handy.  Au jus galore!  Enjoy!

Mac Cutting Boards at SobeWFF

Two years ago this month, our small company went to Miami, Florida to be in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival SOBEWFF.  What an experience!  We were completely star strucked!  We met famous celebrity chefs such as Guy Fieri, Geoffrey and Margaret ZakarianAarón Sánchez, and much more!  We had no idea what to expect.  We spent our time and energy putting together custom engraved cutting boards with their logos for celebrity chefs to take with them in hopes for some recognition.  You can call it a marketing for us.  It was a stretch.  After all, we’re a “mom and pop” small business with ambition to grow like all small businesses.

How did it go? Well, we didn’t hear from anyone really in the months to come.  We gave away our boards, met these wonderful people and had a great time in Miami, Florida.  Later that year, the Zakarians decided to reach out and asked us to make their Christmas gifts for their friends and family … our custom engrave cutting boards designed just for them!  The following year, we made more cutting boards for their Valentine’s dinner at the Lamb’s Club and they loved it!  This year, we’re looking into potentially doing more custom engraved cutting boards for a variety of events they and their partners will be doing all year long.  So, the moral of the story, plant a seed in your garden, you just need to believe it will grow into something beautiful.

Best Closing Gifts

Always consider a closing gift whether you are the seller or buyer’s rep.  It is a fact that closing a house deal is not an easy feat.  Realtors everywhere spends a lot of their time, energy and money finding the right home for their clients  A long term relationship is where realtors make their money … through referrals.

So invest in your relationship.  Start with a “thank you” gift … a closing gift.  One that is special, different, interesting and personal.

Here are my suggestions on 3 fabulous closing gifts.  My criteria?  These are gifts I would want to receive if I closed escrow with a realtor (doesn’t matter if I was selling or buying a home).

  1. Custom Address Plaque – I love it!  I’ll always remember my agent each time I come home.
  2. Custom Engraved Cutting Board – engraved with the family name.  Big and bold.  Match it up with other kitchenware.  It goes a long way!
  3. Custom Address Stamp – with their address!  I use it when I send invites to my housewarming party.

The more time you spend thinking the gift, the fabulous it will be when it is received!  A long term relationship with your closing gift vendor goes a long way too.

Wholesale vs Retail Sales Dilemma

Wholesale vs Retail

Small business are always challenged whether they should dive into the wholesale market or stay in the retail front?  I’ll tell you the difference.  Retail is one time sell.  You hope for repeat business, but they are usually a small percentage of your sales.  Wholesale is repeat business.  Especially if you sell to the right wholesale customer that would move your products on a consistent monthly basis.  Think about it, if you don’t have a storefront, you are most likely shlepping your products to arts and crafts shows to sell or pop up events.  With wholesale, you wait for the reorders through emails or phone calls inside the comfort of your office or workshop.  Or in most cases, your home based business.

There’s always your online store where you would market and brand your company through the social networking world.  Totally doable especially if you hire someone to do it for you.  Selling wholesale is a no brainer in my mind.  Unless of course you want to go to shows each week, each month to make your monies.  I think it’s exhausting doing that.  Wholesale is definitely the way to go.  If you are up to the challenge, do all three – retail shows, wholesale and online.  More ways to make money.  Who doesn’t want that?

Back to School for Small Businesses

Back to School for Businesses

Which also means fall season is just around the corner.  YIKES!  Well, maybe for some.  I happen to love fall season when it comes to fashion, atmosphere and people’s overall attitude.  Fall just brings more spending!  It happens to be the busiest season for our cutting board business.  Actually, most if not all retail businesses, fall season is the beginning of cash flow!  So how do you prepare?  I have some thoughts.

  1. Organize your business in a calendar.  Look at what’s ahead.
  2. Have a great accountant/bookkeeper.  I love having that all in one.  That way there’s only one person to go to.
  3. Organize your office space whether it would be at home or at a warehouse location.  Organize it to where you know you feel great each time you walk into it.
  4. Focus on your social media. Business owners wear many hats.  Not enough time during the day, but this particular “line item” should not be ignored during your busy times.  This is when you shine and you should let your target market know about it.
  5. Hire part time virtual help.  Money isn’t always the issue when hiring someone.  It usually is training them.  But if you train someone to do menial tasks such as your social media or data entry of your products on your website, it would free up so much more time for other big business ideas.

Pick the Right Cutting Board for You!

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Stuck on what cutting board to buy? How to pick from the variety of options that are out there? Check out my top 5 guidelines to consider when selecting the right cutting board for you.

1. Choose plastic or wood. That’s it. Narrow the choices. Make your life way easier.  I found a great blog on it.  Check it out … Rodale’s Organic Life.

2. If your choice is plastic, ask yourself why do you want to buy a plastic cutting board. Lightweight, easy maintenance and functional are all what you should consider. Not style. Generally, plastic comes in different colors, maybe some design but in the end, it is still a plastic cutting board.

3. If your choice is wood, YAY! First, make sure you select a hardwood cutting board. Soft woods can be too soft and will not be able to withstand long term usage. There are varieties of hardwoods out there for you to select – maple, cherry, walnut and mahogany hardwoods are just a few common hardwoods available. More exotics woods are purple heart, brazilian cherry, padauk, yellow heart and koa hardwoods. Also, wood is a natural fighter of bacteria. Check out this article from Dean O. Cliver PhD.  It is a study about how wood cutting boards are safer than plastic cutting boards.

4. Consider weight and size. What will you be using it for? Serving cheese at your next wine and cheese party? Perhaps, carving a roasted turkey or prime rib at a family function? Or maybe you are an avid BBQer and just need a hearty chopping board next to you to slice, dice and cut your meats the way you want it. Either way, it can make the difference from selecting a my guide or an extra large cutting board.

5. Why are you buying a new cutting board? A gift? To replace your old one? Think about the style and colors you like or the person/family you are buying for. Kitchen decor and taste is also a consideration. Do you want it to match or simply stand out? My advice is pick the cutting board that you find aesthetically pleasing to you and go with it. More than likely, everyone else will feel the same when they see the new cutting board in your kitchen.

In the end, you want to select a cutting board that you feel good about. Get bragging rights to a fabulous cutting board that everyone will wonder where you got it. Now that’s worth your time finding the right cutting board for you.

Closing Gifts for Sellers

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Yes … there is such a thing.  It’s not just for your buyers.  Realtors should really consider a “thank you” gift for their sellers too.  What a great way to build rapport from both ends … the buyer and the seller.  Well, especially if you had done both deals, right?  Either way, being a realtor which is really an entrepreneur is all about building relationships, rapport and integrity.  Word gets out that you are trustworthy, knowledgeable and sincere you’ll find yourself hiring help to help you answer your calls.  I love this blog by Tom Hopkins on Rapport Building.

Here are some ideas on what to give your seller as a closing gift:

  1. Wine basket with fine cheeses, crackers and a cutting board.  Not just any cutting board, but a cutting board engraved with their name(s) on it.  No “thank you” is necessary on the board.  Just personalized with their names is plenty.
  2. In addition to the basket, you can offer a gift certificate for wine tasting at the winery you are giving.  Nice touch I think.
  3. Treat your sellers to a nice dinner.  Make all the arrangements based on their schedule and all they have to do is show up.  A little bit coordination of your part, but talk bout the memories you will get from that.
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