GIVEAWAY: 2 Prints of the Winners Choice (& 2 Dicount Coupons for all)

As a means to embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving, even though not a European custom, Jan (ReStyle) and I teamed up to bring you a lovely pre-holiday giveaway. For you who are not familiar with Jan’s work, ReStyle is an amazing Etsy shop offering many Scandinavian inspired posters that will minimally and beautifully add splashes of color in your space. Quotes that will cheer you up, geometric creations for the a more adult-ish result and a ton of playful designs, ideal for your kids’ room. Take a closer look at ReStyle and tell us what you like πŸ™‚

And because we both are in the spirit of giving, we thought it would be a good idea to give you ALL two discount coupons. One for ReStyle Shop and one for myLifebox! Now that Christmas is around the corner, what better that a little discount, right? 

https://mylifebox.leadpages.co/leadbox-940.js

All in all, we really want to thank you for the support and interest πŸ™‚ After all today is about giving thanks to the ones you love! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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The giveaway will run until the 6th of December and one lucky winner will get to choose TWO amazing prints from ReStyle! Needless to say it is open to international readers πŸ™‚ Also, keep in mind that you are not obliged to enter with all the ways we ask, but the more entries, the more chances you have to win! 

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WEAR ME #6: WITH A SPLASH OF BRASS

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Well, for almost one year and a half I’ve worked solely with copper tubes. And while, I have to admit, copper is still my favorite metal when it comes to designing, I have realized that it doesn’t make any sense working only with that when I can use brass or steel as well. Given the fact that many people prefer wearing silver, while others wear only gold, I thought it would be a good idea to widen my variety as well. 

The necklace pictured above is called BLACK UTRECHT and I just listed it on my shop! I think it is my new favorite. I don’t know exactly why I wasn’t designing shorter necklaces before. But know that I do, I love it.  

Also, e x c i t i n g   n e w s : I finished the design of my lookbook and I’ll share the whole process behind it soon with you guys! Plus, I designed my new business cards and they just arrived…and they rock! Simple and yet lovely πŸ™‚ 

TOP 6 TIPS FOR ASPIRING ETSY SELLERS

Building a successful and profitable business is not an easy quest and whoever decides to pursue a part- or full-time job by selling on Etsy should develop and follow his own journey. However, being an Etsy seller myself for almost two years, has taught me a great ton of useful stuff that a new aspiring Etsy seller can benefit from. If you are considering to open your own shop take a look at the tips below and you’ll save a lot of time that you’d better to spend on more creative parts of your business!


1 | DO YOUR HOMEWORK

First and foremost you’ll need to do a little searching. Unfortunately that’s not something I can do for you since every business has a different focus. However, it is really important to discover what your role in the industry will be. Search for people who do the same or similar things with you. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses, see what you’d do differently if you were in their shoes and keep notes on everything you notice and you could use in your business development. The best way to reach success is to learn from people that already have it, after all.

I remember when I first launched my Etsy shop I had no clue whatsoever what I was doing, what others were doing and if my designs were something that a) would interest people and b) would stand out of the crowd. It is still really vivid the moment I received a ring I had purchased from Elephantine; in a small pretty box with a nice, handwritten note “Thank you very much for your order, Anna-Rosa :)”. I was totally smitten by that note guys. I mean I loved the ring as well, but that note made the difference. I instantly put a face on the maker behind the piece I was wearing. I cannot say for sure what Rachel’s thoughts were behind her decision to include a handwritten note in her packaging, but I can assure you that this decision is part of her brand. Is something that makes her stand out of other fine jewelry designers. 


2 | DEFINE YOUR LEVERAGE

The next and really important step is to define your strengths and make clear in your business plan what will make you stand out of the people who discovered in the first step. Please note you don’t need to discover something that no one else has ever done before, to make your business a successful one. Chances are that when many people do something successfully, the market has the corresponded need for their product. Of course if you have a breakthrough idea it will be amazing, but don’t try to define your brand differently only in order to to do something new. You will become different by working your way to the top, discovering your own methods of success. By all means, I don’t mean that you should copy whatever other business owners do, I just believe that if you want to make wooden jewelry boxes for example you shouldn’t shift your focus and use ivory instead, only because there are others who use wood as well. Don’t be overwhelmed by the fact that other people love what you love too, embrace the fact that you’re not alone.

Here, I want to stress out that copying is bad. You really need to find your own voice and stand by it. I really love connecting with fellow creatives, learn from them, share our stories and journeys, but I don’t appreciate when I stumble upon “creatives” that clearly copy others. I’ve stumbled upon many copycats and it is foolish to believe that people won’t notice. So, please, be inspired by others’ work and journey but not copy what you see. Of course when I saw Rachel’s handwritten note I did the same for a while – I stopped because I have a terrible character – but that is ok. I was inspired by the way she connects with her customers, I didn’t copy her ring design. Try to remind yourself that.


3 | CONNECT WITH SIMILAR BUSINESS OWNERS

Which leads to my third advice. There are hundreds of people out there doing what you do. As I mentioned above, that is not a bad thing. One of the greatest mistakes we do when we start our businesses is that we feel intimidated by others who are in the same field longer than us and have accomplished more. Of course they have guys! They’re on business for a longer time, they have made their mistakes, they learned and figured out how to develop a profitable strategy. Nothing is done overnight, believe me. So, please remind yourself that Etsy is all about people and dare to connect with them. Most probably they were in your place, with the same questions, when they started. Of course you should always be prepared that they might not want to connect with you as well, but it is always worth the try. Be polite, explain why you’re contacting them and make clear that you admire their work and business progress. Don’t look as a stalker or a weirdo though, ok? Be friendly, it is only a human thing to socialize. And you’ll be surprised by how much people enjoy to mentor or help others.


4 | BE ALWAYS HELPFUL AND RESPOND QUICKLY

Speaking of politeness and helpfulness. For some reason that I’ve never understood, some business owners don’t respond to their messages. I know it might come as a surprise but I’ve experienced more that thrice Etsians not getting back to me while I had contacted them with inquires that would lead to a purchase from their shop. Of course, I cannot blame them because I have no idea what was going on in their lives. But I think it is be more appropriate to switch your shop’s vacation mode on for a while, if you’re not able to handle it. For me it is a golden rule to respond to messages and emails from potential customers asap. Being helpful and kind is the first thing that leads to a good customer review. Of course the product plays the leading role when it comes to reviews, but being kind and letting your customers connect your brand with a person rather than a computer is of super high importance. Help your clients put a face on your business and let that face be a kind one. 


5 | PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS

Now…as I said, while your product is playing the leading role, there are several other details you should pay attention to, in order to communicate a consistent brand identity. Try thinking of what elements build first impressions. Logo. Brand name. Brand description. Photos. Prices. And so forth. All these combined are the first thing people see when they enter your shop. And unfortunately you should work on each and every one of these aspects to build a strong image of your business. You won’t need rocket science, believe me. You won’t need to pay other people to do everything for you either. You’ll just need to work with what you have in the most efficient way. BUT, you’ll need to do everything. I will stress everything out in a second post because I have many things to say on the topic, with many ways to accomplish each task in the most affordable and efficient way, but till then try to keep your expenses to the minimum. Find a catchy but not too difficult name, keep you image simple, your photos neat and clear and try not to be too cheap nor expensive. 


6 | KEEP TRACK OF YOUR FINANCES

A very often mistake new small business owners do, included myself when I started, is that we don’t realize which part of the money that comes our way is actually ours to spend and how much we should save for future expenses, Etsy and PayPal fees and taxes. Unfortunately, many of us cannot afford paying an accountant 5 days a week only to keep track of our expenses and income. Try not to get confused when you see the balance on your PayPal account and always try to remind yourself than “only” a part of it is yours. A couple of great tips to accomplish that is a) to have a separate business account where you’ll save all the money that come from your shop and b) to have a standard “salary” every month so that you don’t mess up and spend more than you should. 


BONUS TIP : Starting your own Etsy shop might sound overwhelming in the beginning and that’s the main reason I’m writing this post. I was totally overwhelmed when I started. I took crappy photos of my products, I hardly had a logo or a consistent strategy. But I figured it out somehow. And I still am. But I’ve learned one thing that you should always remind yourself: THERE IS NO PERFECT TIME TO OPEN YOUR SHOP, JUST DO IT AND EVERYTHING WILL COME YOUR WAY NATURALLY. And I mean it. All the tips above will be useful only if you start acting now. Don’t delay your success and progress by striving for perfection. If I had waited for everything to be ready, I’d probably still be working on it. πŸ™‚ 

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Any great tips you’ve discovered? I’d love to know!

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WEAR ME #5: ODE TO ETSY & WHY I NUMERATE MY POSTS

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Hello hello! Another WEAR ME post is published and I couldn’t be happier with this week’s findings. After WEAR ME #3 I decided to confine myself into looking for awesome brands only on Etsy. Being an Etsian for almost two years now has brought up a side of me that really appreciates the handmade and small business community. Therefore this weekly post will be entirely dedicated to all these people who work hard to make a difference through Etsy.

In other news I just realized that it’s over a month that I’ve been posting on this series and I wanted to talk a bit on the reason why I numerate my posts and how this decision has helped me a lot into being more productive. So…

WHY I NUMERATE MY POSTS

I often think that the number on my fashion collages and post titles might look quite strange to people. So I think I need to explain the reason behind it. It keeps me motivated to write. And also it signs to new readers that this is not a random post but a part of a series of posts that they might be interested in. But mostly, it keeps me from procrastinating.

Let me elaborate: I try to use the same system in most of my blog’s categories, so I can easily count the posts I’ve published on a series while it keeps me from falling behind. For example, the same week I started the WEAR ME series I also posted a FRIDAY BITS for the first time. One week later though I didn’t manage to post a FRIDAY BITS post so now the first is a post ahead. Realizing the importance of posting regularly and in a consistent manner on my blog made me dig up for ways to make that easier for me. 

I know it might sound crazy but these little tricks are pushing me a lot into creating content every week. Having struggled for more than three years with being consistent on my blog, now it’s the time to face my procrastination, work more on my progress and find ways to trick me into not falling behind. 

Do you have any tricks to keep you from not posting regularly?

MY OUTFIT#2: AUTUMN SUN IN THE CITY

Funny fact: I wasn’t planning this outfit post at all. This photo is from Friday, when I was out and about with my cousin (and my model) for a myLifebox Jewelry photoshoot. When we found that spot, where the sun was so beautifully creating that geometric background of shadows, I couldn’t resist but ask her to take a picture of me…is that totally weird? 

I also took a million pictures of her with my designs and they are amazing I have to admit. So excited! It was the spot I suppose… Anyway, more on that in a few days! 

As you see, once more (see my previous outfit post here), I wear pretty simple clothes. Partly because I wasn’t planning on being photographed, but also because I kind of wear basic, staple pieces all the time. I’ve found that even when I buy the extraordinary -most probably way too pricey- pair of pants I wear them only once in a while. And I think I know why. When a piece is really “wowzers” I always feel that if I wear it to often I’ll look like I wear the same clothes everyday. But when you mix up minimal pieces, that don’t pop out a lot, you always look neat and casual. 

What do you think? 

FRIDAY BITS #3: THE TREE HOUSE

I seriously have no clue how this week came to its end so f***ing fast. I remember having everything planned out perfectly last Sunday. And somehow life had other plans for me. And I wish they were good plans. No no no… two days in bed with the flue guys. Monday and Tuesday. So I guess that’s what happens when you really need all 5 days of the week. You get three πŸ˜‰ Anyway, flue or no flue, I don’t get to complaint because I think slowly but steadily everything falls on track lately. 

When it comes to blogging, I think this week was the first, of many to come I hope, that I actually posted as much as I plan to. If you missed my two brand new posts – one featuring my self and my “uniform” outfit, thank you thank you – and one on how to develop your own minimalist wardrobe – check them, maybe you like them. 

In other news, since this week was devoted mostly to my lovely laptop, I have many many interesting articles to share with you. 

But first, please please, let’s talk about tree houses! Because yesterday I stumbled upon this pretty cool tv show, called the Treehouse Masters and I immediately got smitten. I mean…have you seen how amazing tree houses exist? I’m definitely making one…when I grow up! And as I was searching I found this a m a z i n g hotel. I seriously want to go there! You get to have your own small tree house cabin – yes please!

Now that i said hotel… all week I’ve been following Alice from LingeredUpon on snapchat, sharing bits and pieces (and mostly meals) from her trip to London. And a couple of days ago she shared her travel guide in such a beautiful way that it made me wanna go to London even if I’ve been there so many times. 

So…links:

Have a great weekend guys! 

F/W MINIMALIST WARDROBE: THE 32 NECESSARY PIECES (+ a free printable checklist)

photo from here
photo from here

Many have talked on the purposes and benefits of having a capsule wardrobe. A lot of them have suggested particular ways to achieve it yourself; Caroline from Unfancy shared all her journey to possessing only pieces that she absolutely loves to wear and Joshua from BecomingMinimalist revealed his insights on how to own fewer clothes. 

Minimalism is not the lack of something, it’s the perfect amount of something

REASONS TO DEVELOP A MINIMALIST WARDROBE

  • you’ll save time: chances are that every morning you spend too much time deciding your outfit
  • you’ll save money: even if you buy only costly pieces, you’ll find yourself saving money because you’ll buy less often and spontaneously
  • you’ll gain confidence: since your clothes will be chosen one by one, based on what is flattering your body so you will never have to worry again in the middle of the day whether you dressed nicely or not

BASIC RULES / GUIDES

  • buy only what you really love: G O L D E N rule. Guys I mean it. Don’t ever buy something just because it nice, or you like it, or it looks ok on other people. Spend money only on stuff you fall in love with. The ones you cannot imagine your life (outfit) without. 
  • choose quality over quantity: of course we all have bought the 5$ t-shirt we randomly found at the market, but when it comes to basic pieces that you’ll want to keep for years, it is better to choose the best you can find. 
  • go for flattering not “in fashion”: the core of a minimalist wardrobe is exactly that the pieces are neutral, more or less monochromatic – so if you mix them all up you’ll still look pretty amazing – and basically and most importantly s u s t a i n a b l e. So, it is way better to invest in things you look confident wearing and buy fancy accessories and jewelry to spice up your outfits and feel “trendy”. 
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I, on the other hand, have always struggled with giving away my clothes. Maybe because my mom’s wardrobe was as big as an actual shop (btw she recently got rid of more than 2/3 of her clothes and donated everything to the refugees from Syria — Kudos mom!!!) or maybe due to my step mother’s actual clothing shop. About 8 months ago, when I stumbled upon a series of posts on developing a capsule wardrobe, I started thinking it was high time to actually follow that path myself. So, I gave away half of my clothes. And yet, my closet wasn’t where it should be.

A couple of months later when it was time to move to Rotterdam a second wardrobe purge took place and basically I was left with only the clothes I would bring to the Netherlands (minus the really summery ones – damn you cold weather!). Guys, believe it or not I’m in the  middle of a THIRD clean up! 

I have to admit I really love my clothes and I’ll try really hard to reach the state where I’ll actually own only 32 pieces. This post is the beginning of my personal effort to own less clothes by the way. And below are the pieces I plan on wearing the most. I narrowed them down for you because I’m pretty sure that these pieces are what you need too to built a strong, stylish and minimalist fall/winter wardrobe.

Below I’ve listed 32 pieces I own (the exact same or similar for older pieces) so you’ll basically take a look at my wardrobe – which means that this is a sneak peek of what I’ll wear on my outfit posts. If you want to buy or check any of them, just click on their photo. 

Also…make sure to download the free printable checklist if you want to streamline your wardrobe too πŸ™‚ 

TOPS

BOTTOMS

KNITWEAR

DRESSES

OUTERWEAR

SHOES

GET YOUR FREE CHECKLIST HERE !https://mylifebox.leadpages.co/leadbox-926.js


So, what do you say? Will you jump on the capsule wardrobe wagon? 

WEAR ME #4: ANIMAL PRINT VIBES

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Today I’m clearly inspired by wild life. I feel that the MAASTRICHT necklace is simple enough to let a distinctive pair of shoes stand out, don’t you think? I never thought that a pair of snake skin booties would catch my eye so wildly but I really think these are something special and each outfit including them would get elevated in an instant. 

Also, these no frame sunglasses…I’m seriously considering to buy them, aren’t they amazing? I only wonder if they would feel weird on your nose considering they don’t have a frame. But I find them beautiful anyway.

Where do you stand on animal prints? Would you wear an outfit like that?  

MY #1 OUTFIT: EMBRACING FALL WEARING MY “UNIFORM”

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog’s identity and focus. For more than two years I’ve blogged about DIY projects and recipes (and a bunch of other random stuff) things I really enjoyed back at the time. For some reason though, I’ve grown out of them and different things have triggered my attention. Nevertheless, I really like blogging. In fact I would love to develop this space into something more mature and professional. Having in mind the blogging journey I’ve made the last two years, the launch of my Jewelry Shop on Etsy and the lessons I’ve learned from both these ventures, I’ve come to realize the things I enjoy and excite me the most. And one of them is fashion – clearly. 

If you’ve been reading my blog you’d have noticed that I’ve already introduced you to two new post series, the “Wear Me” -where I share ways to style my jewelry- and the “Friday Bits” -where I share interesting links I’ve stumbled upon the past week, along with anything else that caught my eye. Today is the day that I’ll introduce you to a another new category of my blog *boom*. So, like maaaaany other bloggers out there, I apparently enjoy sharing my outfits too (spoiler alert: you’ll see a lot of stripes and black & whites!). 

For my first outfit post I deemed appropriate to wear my everyday “uniform”. Meaning, these are the pieces I wear the most – excl. the shoes which are new but I totally aim to incorporate them in my every day outfits. Basically since I was a little girl I had a thing for stripes. I think it comes from my mother who always said that the “navy look” will always be “in” and that we all need to invest in several good striped tees. Over the years I’ve realized that I couldn’t agree more with that statement. 

Same goes with the coats. I really believe that having a couple of good quality coats that will last for years, is one of the first investments one has to do when it comes to building a consistent and ever-green wardrobe. But I’ll elaborate on that “how to build an ever-green wardrobe” subject in another post. One of my staple pieces is this coat, which although a bit pricey, was totally worth it. 

Lastly.. don’t get me started on the importance of a good black pair of jeans. Just one guys, buy it and keep it for ever. You only need one – or two πŸ˜‰ 

top: Zara (similar here)
jeans: Diesel (here)
coat: Loft 
shoes: Forever 21 (here

THE PERKS OF BEING AN EARLY RISER

photo found on Cultiver
photo found on Cultiver

– early riser is a person who gets up early in the morning –

Well, let’s talk about sleep, shall we? Or rather not sleeping in. It is wide known that many people enjoy staying in bed forever. Also, many people are night owls, meaning that they prefer staying up late hours rather than waking up early in the morning. Despite of being productive though or just enjoying the feeling of your bed linens, there are several benefits of being an early riser. Let’s narrow down the reasons you should become an early riser yourself. 

THE NOT SO IMPORTANT BUT YET FUN REASONS

  • you get to see the sunrisewell that is romantic, right? who doesn’t love the magic sky colors of a beautiful sunrise?
  • you get to eat two breakfasts(!): since you’re waking up really early, around 3-4 hours later it will still  be morning but you’ll most probably be hungry. SO…who forbids you to have a second breakfast? After all breakfast is the most important meal of the day -LET’S DOUBLE IT *win*
  • you get to have your house for your own: at least for a few moments. If you are the early riser of the house you get to spend some quality time with your precious self without worrying about __________ (fill in your situation, i.e. kids, husband, boyfriend, parents, roommates etc)

THE HEALTH RELATED REASONS

  • you will have more time to exercise: studies have shown that people who exercise after work are more likely to skip workouts. Therefore waking up early gives you time to workout before starting your day
  • you will improve your quality of sleep:  early risers usually have a very healthy and well established sleeping routine, fact that leads to resting better while sleeping. Studies have shown that night owls need more hours to actually rest.

THE PRODUCTIVITY RELATED REASONS

  • waking up early gives you a head start: If you wake up earlier than the majority of people you have plenty of time to schedule your day, get informed properly and therefore be more forward thinking and proactive than your colleagues/classmates/coworkers. 
  • you’ll be more productive all day long: the aforementioned head start leads to the need and urge to keep your productivity flowing throughout the whole day
  • you’ll never be late again: waking up early will make you schedule your day better

After all, waking up early lengthens the day πŸ™‚

What do you think? Would becoming an early riser be something that you’d be interested in?