Friday, May 29, 2015

Small Biz Details: How I Process Your Order

I'm often asked how things work over here at PaperDoll Designs.  I totally get it.  I'm super curious about how other people work and I can't get enough of those "Day in the Life" posts of other working mommas.  I eat them up.  So maybe there are some other small biz owners out there that might be interested in how it works over here or you might be a customer that wants to get a little glimpse of how your order is processed.  I hope this helps answer some questions about why things don't always happen over night and why the proofing system I've set up is so very important.

So here you go.  This is what happens when you place an order...

1.  I get an email telling me that an order has been placed.  I usually already have my orders to work on  planned out so I don't typically review orders the minute or even the day they come in.  Instead, I file them in a folder that I have created in my email based on the order that they are received.  At the end of each day or at least every other day, I actually print those orders and place them in a large binder I keep on my desk.  It has 4 sections but right off, orders are placed in one of the first two sections:
  • SEND A PROOF - this is where I place the orders that have requested that I send them a proof. 
  • READY TO GO - this is where I place orders for in stock items (I don't have many of these) and orders that did not request a proof
I feel like I need to make a point here.  If you are starting a business or you already have a business and you like to read up on ways to more effectively run your biz, then you have probably read a million times that you should be working with some automated system and should have some super fancy way to keep track of your orders.  Well, I'm a paper girl and I like to have printed copies of my orders.  I like to write notes on them based on emails and I like to have them in my cute little binder on my desk.  It works for me.  I do still have all my orders accessible from my shop cart host and I do update that but I work from the paper copy.  I've tried doing things the way you are "supposed" to do it and it only hindered my process.  Do what works for you, boss girl. 

2.  I try to send proofs within 48 business hours.  This doesn't always happen but I try my best.  If I have a high volume of orders, it may take a bit longer.  If you placed an order on Friday night, it might be early the next week before I get to your proofs.  If I take a little longer getting to your proof, I try to make up for time once it's approved.  I know customers are anxious to see their proofs and I totally understand.  However, since I'm a one girl shop and I am a mom of three, I have to just do my best.  Sometimes I get a little behind but I have some amazing customers that generally seem to be okay with that.  Once I have your proof set up, I write down the file name of the proof on the order page so I can find it quickly when the order is ready to be processed.  I then send the proof to the email provided.  I have the signature below set up on my email so I don't have to type out the same info all day, every day. 

"Thank you so much for your order with PaperDoll Designs.  Just let us know if this proof meets your expectations as quickly as possible.  The faster you let us know, the faster we can get to work making your pretty items! The turnaround time clock starts as soon as you approve your proof!
Please keep in mind that proofing is a free service provided by PaperDoll Designs to ensure that names are spelled correctly and that the font chosen is fitting.  Please, try not to use this as a time to change designs, colors and names that were chosen during the order process.  ONE proof revision per item will be provided after the initial proof.  Further proofs will be provided at an additional fee of $1/proof.
Once you approve your proof, you may not hear back from us…we will be too busy working on getting your order out to you as soon as possible.  THANK YOU!"

Once I have sent the proof, I file the order in the 3rd section of my binder:
  • REPLY NEEDED -  I file orders here AFTER a proof has been sent and it stays here until I have heard back from the client.  Orders that are unclear (font is left blank, colors are not chosen, special instructions were left and I need to clarify) are also filed here after sending an email to the client for clarification.  Once an email has been sent, I move on to other orders and wait on the client.  I hope that they get back to me as quickly as possible so we can proceed with the order but sometimes that doesn't happen.  If I notice that it has been a while or if I get to a point that I am caught up and ready to move on, I will email them but I generally leave it in their hands to reply.
3.   Once I hear back with proof approval or if I have an order that did not request a proof, I get started on processing the order.  If the order contains items that are not made right here in the PaperDoll studio, then I send that file out to the appropriate vendor to be processed and the order gets moved to the 4th section of the binder:
  • WAITING ON A PRODUCT - orders go here while I am waiting for part or all of their order to come in from a vendor
Many of the items are made right here in the studio by me.  This is the most time consuming part of the order process because I am a bit of a perfectionist.  I try my best to send out the very best product that I can and I take my time making sure each order meets the PaperDoll quality standard.  Packages are also coming in from vendors each day and it's almost like Christmas getting to open them up and sort them.

4.  Once products have arrived and in studio products have been made, I get to do my favorite part:  Package them up pretty!  I then print out the invoice and send them on their way and start all over again.

As you can see, it's a never ending process.  I almost ALWAYS have proofs to send and orders to process and there is never any downtime.  From start to finish, orders usually take 1-2 weeks but that time all depends on how quickly proofs are approved, how many orders are coming in and how long vendors are taking to process products.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this little peak behind the scenes.  I'm off to send some proofs!

 © 2013 paperdoll designs Please don't be shy!! I'd love to hear your comments!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

PaperDoll Anniversary!

My middle little just turned 12.  PaperDoll Designs was born shortly after she was so I guess my biz baby is turning 12 this year too.  It has been 12 years full of ups and downs.  I have had helpers and I have gone it alone.  I have run this biz from my kitchen table and I have had an office to call my studio.  I have thrown up my hands and quit.  I have come back.  I have operated solely off of word of mouth.  I have had websites that have made my life so much easier.  I have had happy customers that leave Diet Dr. Pepper, bundt cakes, and Christmas wreaths on my front porch.  I have had a few nasty emails.  I have had months that left me wondering how I could stay afloat.  I have had months that paid for vacations.  I have wished more than anything that I didn't have to work and could just be "mom."  I have been so thankful for a creative outlet and have wondered what I would do without it.  I have introduced products that have flopped.  I have introduced products that have been game changers.  I have hand delivered orders.  I have shipped orders all over the United States.  I have pulled all nighters for weeks on end hustling to get orders done.  I have pulled all nighters worrying whether enough orders would come in.  I have gotten down on my knees and prayed that God would help this business grow and flourish.  I have cried tears of joy and thanked God for all that He has provided through this business. 

I think after 12 years, I can finally consider this business legit.  I don't know why it took me so long to feel like this gig is for real and not just some hobby but I'm finally there.  I am pretty certain that 12 years from now, you will find me somewhere making note cards and sprinkling sequins into packages before they head out the door.  I am a born Maker.  I love to create.  I love patterns and colors and textures.  My heart honestly skips a beat when I see the perfect combination of stripes and florals or a lovely font.  I love styling the finished product for a cute Insta photo and I love hearing from a customer that she is thrilled with her PaperDoll product.  I may cringe at accounting and seriously detest keeping up with technology but for all the things that I don't love about being a business owner, there are a million more that I do. 

Here's to 12 more years of cute clipboards and monogrammed stationery!

Thanks for sticking around!

© 2013 paperdoll designs Please don't be shy!! I'd love to hear your comments!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Building My Capsule Wardrobe

I've been interested in a capsule wardrobe (a small wardrobe that mostly coordinates and covers almost all occasions) for a while but had kind of put the process of creating one on the backburner.  My mom recently sent me a link to this blog post and I decided it was the perfect time to give it a try.  I decided that for my first go round, I wouldn't necessarily force myself to stick to a strict article of clothing number, but I knew that I wanted my closet to be filled with only items that I love and will wear.  I have a very small closet but I wanted it to have some empty space and a clean, minimalist look by the time I finished building my first capsule wardrobe.

Since it's supposed to be summer here in Oklahoma, I first removed EVERYTHING from my closet that was not for summer.  I am lucky to have another closet that I can store out of season clothes in and it really helped me see what I was working with.  I'd recommend finding somewhere (under the bed, in bins on a top shelf, etc.) to put all the out of season clothes.  After removing all the winter clothing, I removed anything that I knew I didn't like or wouldn't wear.  Next, I called in my super honest, blunt daughter and I tried on EVERYTHING that was left.  This was REALLY helpful for me.  I needed someone else to give their opinion on whether items were too big, too small, too short or just too out of style.  Call a friend if you don't have an almost teenage daughter that will tell you exactly what she's thinking!

I'm actually not a big shopper.  I really don't consistently buy TONS and TONS of clothes but I tend to hang on to things.  I still had clothes from college days and I am NOT a recent graduate.  I got rid of a lot of stuff.  I did have some MAYBES that I hated to part with so I agreed to store them with the out of season clothes and if I don't miss them by the time the summer is over, I will donate them.  Through this process, I got down to about 30ish items but saw that I had some big gaps in my wardrobe.  I was left with mostly casual shirts and jeans so I did add a few items.  I was careful to choose items that coordinated or could be dressed up or down. 
For example, I am in love with this maxi dress.  I've already worn in twice.  Once with flipflops and a jean jacket and once with heals and fancy jewelry.  I am certain that I will get a lot of use out of this dress and it's so comfortable! 
I also purchased these grey shorts.  They can be dressed up or down and go with several of the shirts I already had and they are so comfortable and a great length...not too short. 
I also got this dress (but in grey) and it's my very favorite.  It's so comfortable and can also be dressed up or down.
The only area that I am seriously struggling with is SHOES.  I did purge several pairs but I'm hovering at a number that would not cut it in a true capsule wardrobe so I think I have decided not to count them in my capsule numbers.  I like shoes.  I'm not ready.  I also feel like shoes can change an outfit so I am okay with having more shoes and less clothes.
This is the AFTER pic of my closet. I'm down to about 30ish hangers and it feels good.  I did go through my jewelry too but as you can see, I kind of feel the same way about jewelry as I do about shoes. So far, I am loving having a capsule wardrobe and have found that picking something to wear is less of a chore and that it's much easier to keep my room and closet clean because I'm not trying on several things (and not hanging them back up) before settling on something to wear.  I pretty much like or love everything that is left hanging in my closet.  I really wish I would have done this sooner.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Nora!

Thinking back on the days gone by filled with pink dresses, big bows, tea parties, baby dolls and more baby dolls, pouty little faces, toothless grins, tutu skirts, princess parties, pink cowboy boots, arms full of bracelets, button collections, pom poms, dollhouse decorating and all the girlie things that my grown up girl used to love. Where did the time go?  I miss those days a little but am in awe of who she has become. My girl is 12 today. What an honor it is to be her mom. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Instagram Contract for Kids

I've gone back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) over whether or not we should let our almost teenage daughter get an Instagram account.  I love Instagram for many reasons and use it A LOT for my business.  I love that it not only puts me in touch with friends and customers, but that it's such a great outlet to connect with other creative entrepreneurs.  It is by far my favorite form of social media and I see a lot of good come out of Instagram. I use it everyday and love the community that I have found on IG.
I'm not 100% convinced yet that it's such a great thing for my children.  I've heard heartbreaking stories about young girls getting their feelings hurt time and time again all because of an Instagram (or other social media) post.  I've read articles and researched the effect that social media can have on a young person's self esteem and more than I'd like to admit, I've seen adults participate in social media tactics that can be hurtful to others.  Last year, I attended a social media talk led by our Associate Pastor, who was the Youth Pastor at the time, and he shed some light on why we shouldn't completely rule out letting our kids be a part of this online world.  THIS is the world they are growing up in.   It's not going's just moving along and advancing quickly.  I think it is hard for this generation of parents to parent in regards to social media because we didn't have to deal with it at their age. I'm dating myself but when I was my daughter's age, life was all about Guess jeans and coach purses and the most "advanced technology" was three-way calling.  Now it's hard to even keep up with all the apps that the kids are wanting and to stay on top of what's "in."  I agree with my pastor though...we can't just hide from it.  It's my job as a parent to decide when my kids are ready and to put some serious ground rules into effect IF and when I let them step inside the social media world.
I decided to sit down and come up with a contract.  Yes, I'm that kind of parent.  I thought of all the things that I think could be potential hazards and set out rules to guard against those situations.  I decided I didn't want to just say "because I said so" though and for each rule, I went to God's Word to back up why we were laying those rules down for our family.  I plan to sit down and go over these rules and really talk through these "what ifs" with my kids and if they aren't willing to sign their name on the line, then they aren't ready for social media.
I'm also sharing a free printable if you'd like an Instagram contract for your child.  Admittedly, this contract is probably geared more for a girl because that's who I had in mind when writing it but it could work for your son too.  Just tell him to disregard the hearts.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thy Word Spiral Journals

The Thy Word Spiral Journals have been one of my biggest sellers over the past few weeks so I thought I'd share the story behind them on the blog today.  They are near and dear to my heart and I hope those that use them will love them and find them useful in their spiritual walk.  Here's the story...

In the fall of 2013, God placed the phrase "thy word" on my heart and in my mind.  I had no idea why but I found myself saying it in my head over and over and over again.  It popped into my mind while driving, while working, while trying to sleep...all the time.  I finally decided to go with the most obvious and started reading and really studying God's Word on a daily basis.  Then I reached out and asked some others to join me and that seemed to do the trick....for about a  minute.  I knew I was supposed to do SOMETHING else with this "THY WORD" situation and it finally hit me.  I have loved my system of organizing/documenting my daily reading & prayer time so I decided to make a "Thy Word" spiral with the hopes that others would love it too. It's totally simple.  There is nothing fancy about it...well, maybe the ribbon paper clips are a little fancy.  I am no expert on how one should set up their spiritual journals or document their time spent with God BUT I do know what has worked for me.  I am motivated by pretty spirals and cute pencils and fun paperclips and I LOVE the thought of filling an entire spiral from cover to cover.  I have also found that accountability is key.
Section 1
Use this section to record the date and the passages you are reading.  There are no rules...just jot down anything that comes to mind.  Write down verses that jump out at you or just take notes.  The point is to read God’s word and take something from it each day.
Section 2

This section is for journaling about those areas that you may need to work on.  Writing these things down makes them REAL.  Try it.  It’s a great place to write down verses that have convicted you.
Section 3

Record 2 –3 things you are thankful for each day.  Keep track of your prayer list here and then go back and see how they have been answered.  God is good!

I’d love for you to tag @mypaperdolldesigns on Instagram and use hashtag #thyword or #thywordjournal if you are using a Thy Word journal.  I’d love to see how you are using yours and I'd love for us all to encourage each other as we dive into God’s Word. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Happy 9th Birthday, Charlie!!
We are so happy that God sent you to complete our family!  It would be way too quiet around here without you.
Happy Birthday to our crazy dancing, fort building, funny story telling, Frisbee throwing, big brother following, video game loving, lemonade drinking, couch sleeping, always hugging, paper airplane making, hole digging, "I didn't do it," super silly, seriously messy, always my baby boy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bible Tabs

It's been a while but Bible tabs are finally back in stock this week.  I have some ready to ship out right away and more will be ready to ship mid-week.  I would have never imagined that these would quickly become one of my best sellers but it makes me so happy to continue to get emails asking when they will be back in stock.  They sold out a few weeks ago and it took me longer than expected to get them back in the shop.

The "pink, green, blue & yellow" tabs are the ones shown in the three pictures above.
I also have the "teal, coral, blue & gold" color way listed.
Last is the "stripes & dots."
You can find all three in stock as of this morning here.
These usually sell quickly but I promise, they will be restocked as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Daily To Do List Note Pads

I've found that some days just require a "Serious To Do List!"   I got tired of trying to squeeze all of my to do's on a crazy day onto a tiny post it note so I came up with this note pad for myself.  I can jot down my schedule, what's for dinner and list all my to do's for the day on one sheet of paper that I can tear off and take with me if I am headed out for the day.  I thought you might like these too so I've added them to the shop here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scripture Cards

I had no idea that introducing Scripture Cards would be such a blessing to me and my business.  I was hesitant to introduce them because honestly, I didn't think people would want to buy them.  I thought people would think "what am I going to do with those?"  Oh how happy I am that I was wrong!  I am thrilled to be selling out of them week after week and even more thrilled when I get messages about how you are using them!!  I am committing scriptures to heart because I spend A LOT of time staring at them while I make and package them!!

Here are just a few ways customers have shared that they are using them:
Scripture Memorization: The original intent of these little cards was to aid in memorizing scripture.  It's so important to arm ourselves with the Word and to have it stored in our hearts and mind.  One customer told me she tapes a new card to her dashboard each week and works on memorizing it while she's in the car.  You can tape them to your mirror or place them near your desk.  Just reading it over a few times each day will help you commit them to memory.
Bible Journaling:  Bible Journaling has become so popular lately and I think it's a beautiful way to study scripture.  It makes so much sense to me that creatives would express worship CREATIVELY!  I LOVE scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram to see the amazing art that people are creating right on the pages of their Bible.  For those of us that are a little less gifted in the art department, just adding these cards to your Bible is a way to draw attention to certain passages that you love or that you have studied.

I've added several to my own Bible using washi tape.  I know some people may gasp at the idea of decorating or drawing in your Bible (my own son included) but as a creative person,  I just love this expression of faith!
Planner Decorating: Decorating your paper planners is another thing that is HUGE right now.  If you're one that uses a paper planner, I definitely recommend clipping or taping a scripture card in a place that you will see it often.  Not only will it look pretty, but it will be a constant source of encouragement as you go about your day.
Tip Cards/Pass Along Cards:  I've had customers tell me that they are leaving these cards with their tips or that they are putting them in the credit card slot at the gas station for the next person to find.  I love this!!  Just leave one in a random place praying that whomever stumbles upon it will be blessed by a little encouragement!

I'd love to hear how you are using your scripture cards!!
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