Apr 172014
 
Binder clips

Binder clips are oddly addictive to collect

This is a pretty specific topic, but I am often asked how I keep track of orders from all of the places I sell online, so I figured it was worth a post. Really, this method can be used to sort any type of office papers so it might actually be helpful to many of you. Let me start by explaining what I'm talking about that needs organizing. The business model that Manic Trout is focused on is online sales and wholesale orders. I believe strongly in multiple revenue streams, so I sell on more than just my own website online. I sell on a variety of "anyone can sell here shops" such as Etsy, curated shops that I had to apply to sell on and I have drop shipping accounts with online stores that buyers have reached out to me from.  All of these stores either send me an email when an item is sold or I login once a day to download the orders that have come in that day. Most of these places in addition to having their own specific packing lists have certain ways that are particular to how and with what materials they are shipped. In addition to all of these shops, I also received most of my wholesale orders in email form, from either stores who I deal with directly, or through my showrooms and reps. This ends up being a great deal of chaos if not handled properly and as my policy is to ship within 3-5 days, I need to keep up to 5 days of orders from different stores managed so I know what I have already made and in stock in the jewelry closet, and what still has to made for these orders.

inventory lists

The lists next to my desk of inventory

The other paper that I find key to have easily accessible is a list of what I have sell in each of the dropship accounts. I like to be able to see at a glance these lists for multiple reasons: if I am discontinuing something at the end of a season, I need to make sure everyone knows this, to make sure I always have these pieces in stock and ready to go and to make sure that they all have pieces from the most recent of my new collections. For sites that I am managing the inventory myself on a site like Etsy or Chictoipa, I use a spreadsheet on the computer to keep track of listings as there are over 500 at any time.

hooks

I tend to  always choose the wire hooks, but use both the white and clear

Over the years, I have tried multiple ways to handle all of this paper, and after I rearranged my studio a few weeks ago, have actually gone back to a modified system that I first used in about 2005. I am a visual person (obviously) and need to see everything in front of me or I tend to forget about it. When I only have copies of the dropship stock on my computer, I can never remember what is on it. If I stack up all of the orders in a big pile, it does not motivate me to get it all out the door immediately. So I find that I need to be able to have a lot of paper hanging on the walls. The damage free hooks that have the pull tab double sided sticky foam mount have made it so I can have hooks all over the place in the studio without doing harm to the walls, perfect for both moving things around and putting up tons of them guilt free. The little ones hold up to 2lbs and binder clips are the perfect way to hold the paper and hang on the hooks at the same time.

orders organized

The wall of orders

Next to my desk, I have two racks of hooks hanging where I keep both the drop ship account inventories and a list of the percentage that all revenues takes from sales and the billing/payment schedules and methods. I was surprised at how often I have used that list, its really helpful to have it right there. On the big wall behind the jewelry making area and next to the shipping area, I have three rows of hooks. This wall is for orders. I hang them right to left, most recent order on the right, with a separate hook for orders from each outlet per day, but all of the orders from the same store, i.e. all manictrout.com orders for the day are in one binder clip. When orders come in and before I put them on the wall, I take the inventory from the closet if in stock and update the binder where I keep track of that inventory and put it all in the shipping area. I then write down all of the "need to make" items on a pad that I keep in the main jewelry making area so I know what has to be made for each date of orders to ship. The binder clips are great as they are easy to move around on the hooks, as sometimes the orders that I already have made inventory for will ship the day they come in and this way everything still can move around stay in chronological order easily.

So thats how I attempt to keep my sanity managing all of these accounts. It's what works for me...I hope it was either enlightening or inspiring for you!

Apr 162014
 

Candy Kabob

What's the worst thing you can offer a candy addict in recovery? That would be the chance to create a colorful, pinterest worthy, party enhancing candy kabobs! Once a month a group of my girlfriends gather at my house and last month, we met up a few days before my birthday. Renee, bless her heart, knows all to well that I only allow myself candy a few times a year on the candy high holidays (easter, halloween, christmas, valentines day and my birthday) and asked if it was ok to break the rules and have candy a few days early. When she told me why, I almost fell over in excited anticipation...I have been dreaming of making candy kabobs since I first saw them on pinterest. Not only are they awesome, but they are made up of my all time favorite, gummy candy!! I don't know how she did it, (girlfriend must pay attention!) but she brought four of my top favs and I added those sour flag looking type things that were in the emergency candy jar (yeah, yeah, yeah). We giggled, we ate too much candy, we got sour gummy sugar everywhere...it was so much fun!

Candy Kabob Station

I highly recommend that you try this for dessert at your next young at heart gathering. All you need are a few bags of gummy candy (or anything colorful that you can skewer) and wooden skewers. Pretty plate and tiny vase for the skewers is completely optional, although highly recommended because, look how pretty! We girls are gathering again tonight and I get to gummy it up in early celebration of easter (woo hoo!). Its a looooong stretch of no candy eating from easter to halloween!

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In case you're wondering what my top 5 favorite gummy candies are...

  1. Sour Gummy Worms (Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers are the best)
  2. Sour Gummy Octupus ( Trolli Sour Brite Octopus are the best)
  3. Gummy Peach Rings (they all taste the same)
  4. Twin Cherries (Haribo are the best)
  5. Gummy Frogs (Haribo is the best)

p.s. to see what I skewer tonight in real time, stay tuned on instagram!

 

Apr 152014
 

Sierra of Her Daily Muse in the Sunday Morning Necklace

Sierra of Her Daily Muse in the Sunday Morning Necklace (yes that's me)

I love seeing how women style and wear their Manic Trout jewelry, its one of my favorite parts of being a designer. I however seem to have some very shy customers because as much as I delicately nudge them, they do not send me photos of themselves in their jewelry. Ahem, I'm not naming names, but you know who you all are. Well, thank goodness for fashion bloggers because these ladies have gotten over being shy and are pros at styling and posing.  Here are a few shots from the lovely ladies who have recently been kind enough to share photos with me of of how they wear their Manic Trout. I'm hoping this inspires you as I would love, love, love if at the very least you tag #manictrout the next time you intstagram a selfie. We're not talking crazy fashion editorial level stuff...just cute snaps! I took the top photo of myself while Adam was looking at row upon row of Ducati bikes at MotoGP last Friday. It was a sunny day and I was bored...the perfect time for experimenting with phone selfies!

Kristin of K On The Bay in the Learn To Fly Necklace

Kristin of K On The Bay in the Learn To Fly Necklace

Monique of Curves and Chaos in the Bird Dream Necklace

Monique of Curves and Chaos in the Bird Dream Necklace

Erin from Currently Coveting in the Eleanor Over and Over Again Necklace

Erin from Currently Coveting in the Eleanor Over & Over Again Necklace

Feeling like you had an especially good hair day, took a great shot or just are kind enough to share? Email your photo to sierra@manictrout.com and your site if you wish and they will appear on the blog and all over the Manic Trout social media sites!

Apr 142014
 

rainbow of sharpies

Do you have a favorite color? Every time I try and select just one, I end up saying at least 4 really rushed...fuchsia, orange, grass green, lapis blue. Then a few more spill out in the next few seconds...oh wait, yellow, and eek, I forgot turquoise! Yeah, that happens every time. I especially love bright, saturated hues...and in abundance. I wear them, sometimes all at once, Punky Brewster style, they are sprinkled around my home and of course, I create jewelry filled with them. If you've every been in my studio, its incredibly obvious how much I love bright color with my red desk, turquoise chair, yellow walls and images and materials in all of the colors of the rainbow filling the room. If you've been to my pinterest page, you'll see color all over the place there as well. My favorite board is all about color, and I constantly find myself considering breaking it up into separate colors. But then I go through it and remember that as I tend to pin images that have more than one color in them this makes no sense at all. I realize that pins are like my choosing a favorite color, they also can't seem to commit to just one. Like the awesome photo of sharpies above. So it stays as it is, a cool infused explosion. The plus side is that every time I scroll though it, I'm instantly in a better mood. Color is pretty awesome that way!

Apr 072014
 

Caribbean Queen Necklace

Look at that beautiful parrot while wearing this Caribbean Queen Necklace

Rhona Insects Are all Around Us Necklace

Wear this stunning Rhona Insects Are All Around Us Necklace while gazing at that magnificent sky

Way Back Then Necklace

Look at that lovely beachy art while wearing this Leala Way Back Then Necklace

Pink Happy Pills Necklace

Wear this Pink Happy Pills Necklace while eating those delicious maracons

No One Like You Necklace

Look at that gorgeous bug while wearing this No One Like You Necklace

Slow Ride Necklace

Wear this Slow Ride Necklace while looking at that amazing sky

Most of the time I find inspiration in images when I'm designing but sometimes I see already designed jewelry in images. These statement necklaces pair pretty well with photos from pinterest, don't they!

Apr 012014
 
Our beautiful porch

Our porch in progress

When we moved into our house in the middle of last July, one of our favorite parts was the yard and the side deck, complete with built in benches and pergola. There also was already a growing herb garden and a little rock filled area for our grill.  By late July, summer has been in full effect for months here in Austin, and all of the garden and patio things have left the stores, but I made a promise to myself that in the spring, I would be ready.

Porch shot 2

Shot from the other side

The ottomans ended up being the perfect fit!

The ottomans ended up being the perfect fit!

It has taken me a few years to get used to such an early schedule for gardening here compared to the North East. For 34 years, I mentally had Memorial Day as the kick off for outdoor living, now it's the the first day of spring at the latest. This year we did somehow manage to hit the stores just in time though as we started shopping for the project on March 21st and by the next weekend, all of the herbs were sold out!

This is how I have been looking these past fe weekends

This is how I have been looking these past few weekends

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Close up of the succulent container garden

Here is what we have done so far:

  • Raked and cleaned out the garden, laid down new soil and planted the herbs and veggies.
  • Raked and weeded the rocks and laid down 2 new bags of them.
  • Swept and washed the porch and benches.
  • Bought trees, plants, soil and pots...including 2 new small pots which perfectly match match Mexican pottery collection.
  • Planted 2 hanging planters and hung them from the porch.
  • Planted a tangerine tree for by the front door.
  • Planted a hibiscus tree, large palm and mint for the porch.
  • Bought tomatoes to grow in a pot on the porch as something ate them all in the garden last year.
  • Planted oodles of succulents for out little potted graden.
  • Brought citronella candles out of storage.
  • Bought 2 ottomans to use with the built in benches.
  • Bought pillows, brought them home, hated them and exchanged them for brighter ones.
  • Hung a bird feeder from a tree for Adam.
  • Sprayed ants and wasps who think they own the place.
  • Fertilized both yards with fun wheelie spreader.
  • Rake and clean up front and back lawns.
  • While we were in the plant shopping mood, finally bought 2 huge plants and pretty planters for inside on the fireplace.
IMG_0398

The grill area...in need of more rocks

The garden...can't wait until it all starts flourishing!

The garden...can't wait until it all starts flourishing!

Still to do:

  • Hang the hammock on the porch
  • Buy some solar powered lanterns
  • Buy a tray or 2 for the ottomans
  • May be more palm type trees?
  • Renew rocks around plants in front of house and add more rocks to grill area.
IMG_0425

The tangerine tree by the front door

Im sure there are plenty of other things we'll think up each time we sit outside, but it has been lovely enjoying coffee in the mornings out there while Faye frolics around the yard. We even already have had a few friends out there, success! Hopefully this week we knock off at least the things we have left on the list. Yay for spring!

 

 

Mar 282014
 

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1. The busier I am, the more I get done. I'm pretty sure it's because I put off the stuff I have to do by doing all sorts of random crap.

2. Why are the tiniest containers of grocery items so expensive? I am trying not to waste over here people!

3. Buying the plants themselves seems to be the least expensive aspect of gardening. They get you in all the add ons, like the specialty potting soils and pretty pots.

4. Pre cooking most of the food I eat during the week in one day makes me a happier person for the next six days.

5. Exercise is essential to my mental well being.

6. I read yesterday that Dr. Dre has made much more money with his head phones than he ever did making music. This perfectly exemplifies the need for multiple revenue streams in every creative business owners life.

7. The fighting drug cartels in Mexico are having a trickle down effect on the economy. The lime growing region is currently a battle ground and as a result of this, lime prices have increased 400% this season. That is sad news for Mexican restaurants all over the US.

8. I read this quote this week in regards to someone saying they wished they could have a life while running their business. "Entrepreneurs don't have a life, they work 24/7. If you don't like it, either grow up and face it or quit." It made me glad to hear a realistic response. No one said running your own show was easy. You can't have it all.

9. I hate doing laundry, but I hate the idea of someone else doing it wrong, more.

10.  Sometimes you have great ideas and are really excited about them, and then you execute the plan and the realize it was a terrible idea and makes no sense what so ever. But better the keep thinking up ideas that somethings fail, because there's a chance they could be great.

Mar 272014
 
Pepper cutting

Pepper cutting

As so many people have reached out to ask how the weekly food prep mission has been going, I thought I would share my progress. To some up how its been going in 1 word: Awesome. I am still pretty slow at the weekly cooking but, but I think it's because I enjoy taking a 5-6 hour break from being plugged in all the time so I take my time at it. I have adjusted my shopping to a 10 day cycle so I am only cooking 3 days out of the month, and it means that I change around the day it falls on each time as well. I think this helps mentally as it mixes up what its disrupting in my schedule. I have been now doing this for 5 weeks, and have been eating strictly Paleo with only 3 tiny splurges on gummy candy for about 6 weeks and I see no stopping in sight.

The well stocked fridge after Mondays cook-a-thon

The well stocked fridge after Mondays cook-a-thon

The few days when I was running out of food before a shopping trip made me realize how wonderful this effort has made my life. I always have food at the near ready and making meals takes minutes now. I doubt I'd be able to eat Paleo if I did not do the weekly cook-up though, I would never be able to prep the amount of veggies and cook meat 3 times a day if most of it wasn't done ahead of time, and I love the way I am eating as much as how I am making the food. Adam pointed out last night that when we met, I basically was eating this way anyway and its very obvious in my weight and how I feel that my body responds very well to this way of life. It was actually weird to think that its only been 6 weeks as I just realized that I have dropped back down to my "normal" weight really quickly. That however was not the main factor in why I needed to make a drastic change. Truthfully it was that my hypoglycemia was getting out of control. My blood sugar was constantly dropping so drastically that I thought I was going to pass out when it happened. It was scary and felt horrible. Luckily I no longer experience the shaking, sweating, I'm going to fall on the floor right now feeling anymore.  Now when I reach the point of being hungry, I now experience normal stomach grumbles and thats about it. So yay for that!

Carrots, Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Fresh Parsley and Toasted Pistachios

Carrots, Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, Fresh Parsley and Toasted Pistachios

I'm feeling that as I actually have kept cooking throughout these past few weeks that have been a tad on the hectic side with SXSW, out of town guests, tons of outings with friends for my birthday last week and then the gardening craze that happened this week end that I'm hopeful for the future of this way of life.  Although I need to get over that all of my time that I am not running around doing things, cleaning things or cooking things has to be spent working in my studio beacuse I have not worked out in almost 3 weeks and my mood these last few days is making that very obvious that I need to!  I am ready for spring to settle in, and for the pace of life to get a bit back to normal...I actually laughed to myself the other night that I have hardly blogged since beginning the weekly cooking, but as with all new routines, I'm getting the hang of it and adjusting around it. I;m just happy that I have been keeping up with it as it may take a great deal of work the 1 day, but it makes the next 9 a breeze!

Mar 262014
 

How To Wear It: Easter

Easter is one of those holidays where looking festive can quickly head south by way of cutesy jewelry shaped like bunnies and an overload of pastels. To avoid looking like you should be stuffed in a basket full of faux grass keep a few things in mind when you select your ensemble for the day.

Focus on one or two attention grabbing items and keep everything else relatively neutral. You are most likely headed to brunch, this is not a holiday cocktail party and it is (sadly) not the time to add crazy bling, unless of course you are choosing your jewelry to be the focal point (in which case, I applaud you!) and then keep your outfit and shoes neutral. The jewelry selected above is out of scale for the sake of this collage, but when actually on, is all subdued and perfect for the occasion and lets that spectacular skirt get the attention it deserves.

Wondering how to wear a specific piece of Manic Trout Jewelry or what to wear for an occasion? Send me an email at sierra@manictrout.com!

Myra Fancy Dancer Earrings // Liona Foolish Love Necklace // By Your Side Bracelet Trio // Wallis Zsa Zsa Bling Ring

Skirt (similar) // Shirt (similar) // Shoes (similar)

*disclaimer: I choose the clothing purely for how well the photos of them will look in these collages, not by price which is why I've included links to similar items.

Mar 172014
 

Spring Giveaway on Istagram with @tinyhandsjewelry @plcpeggy @claudinehellmuth @aliciavf @prismera @manictrout

I am so excited to share the Spring Giveaway with you! I teamed up with 5 amazing designers to give one super box of awesomeness to one lucky winner this month. The contest is taking place on Instagram, here are the deets:

Want to win all 6 of these amazing prizes? Of course you do! All you have to do to enter is repost this image (if you are on your phone, just take a screen shot) with the hashtag, #handmadewins. Show your support for these wonderful designers and follow @tinyhandsjewelry @plcpeggy @claudinehellmuth @avfjewelry @prismera @manictrout on instagram. The lucky winner will be chosen at random using the hashtag, #handmadewins. This contest is open to US residents only. 1 entry per day. Contest ends March 24th, 2014 at Midnight MST.

Want more info on the beautiful work in the giveaway? Well look no further...clockwise from top left:

1. Scented Butter & Maple Syrup Waffle Necklace from Tiny Hands Jewelry (as seen on Amy Poehler on Parks & Recreation!)

2. Tiny Butterfly Earrings from Peggy Li

3. Yellow Retro Camper printable cupcake treat box kit from Claudine Hellmuth

4. Green Amethyst Drop Earrings from Alicia Van Fleteren

5. Geranium Necklace in Seafoam Green from Prismera

6. Never Forget You Bracelet from Manic Trout

Good luck!