Writing a blog about starting and running an online business did not seem too exciting and the subject matter would have put my most ardent admirers straight to sleep. Mundane has too many syllables to convey the utter dreariness of everyday matters, coupled with the occasional excitement of operator error and hitting the learning curve at speed (not to be encouraged).
Having decided upon my plan to bring gorgeous alpaca items to everyone, and having only the most luxurious of alpaca items available at the lowest possible prices, it was not too difficult to bring the rest of my hopes and dreams to fruition. I already knew how to build a website, had rudimentary coding knowledge and, lucky for me, have a good friend who knows it all (although he would never admit it) to get me out of trouble when needed. Keeping the prices as discounted as possible will enable more people to enjoy the beauty and softness of alpaca – which in turn will create a larger market for this amazing product. Once worn, nothing else will suffice, I guarantee it.
I also wanted to give back and, as the alpaca farmers in Peru are so poor and often uneducated, unscrupulous businesses will take advantage of them and rarely will they see the profits from these beautiful, but expensive, items. A company I found supplying one of the highest quality alpaca made items, Peruvian Link, supplied information on The Nunoa Project, which helps both the farmers with better husbandry of their animals plus their families. They provide veterinary help and medical assistance plus begin cottage industry education, so the people of Nunoa will be better able to take care of themselves and their families. This seems like a really good charity to support so I pledged 5% of all sales (even that not purchased from Peruvian Link) to this wonderful cause. You can read all about it on the Thank You For Your Purchase Tab. Also, if you have been, or are going to be one of our customers, I thank you for helping to support the people of Nunoa and hope you not only enjoy your new item immensely, but also feel good about helping the poorest of the poor.
As might be expected, the first few weeks (months) were a total whirlwind. Having visited Baltimore (twice) with great excitement, my paperwork was in order and my Company was official. WOW! Less than a month later, I had my first show at Frederick Fairgrounds Oktoberfest and sold out. Yes, SOLD OUT! All I had left were a few pairs of socks and some teddy bears. DOUBLE WOW!
As my inventory increased, so did the work involved in getting set up and transporting it all from show to show. I love the fact that people not only look for me but are thrilled with their purchases and the prices they are getting items for. Frederick is such a great place to showcase my items as there are many alpaca farms around and many people are aware of the cost of obtaining these high quality and luxurious items. They see my prices and I’ve even experienced folks purchasing in bulk – that’s always fun and rewarding. It’s how I know I have my items well priced and I love happy customers. Even those who choose not to purchase, or are not in the right place to be spending money right now, are always invited in to pet the animals and it is usually guaranteed to bring a smile to everyone’s face when they feel the warmth and softness of alpaca for the first time.
So why, you might ask, have I decided to start writing a blog now – a year since I obtained my first sales licence. Sadly for me, I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and, suddenly, I now have something to write about. After the shock of the diagnosis, came all the tests and scary stuff (more later) and I now want to show how I’m dealing with all the issues (of which there are many) so maybe others can be encouraged as I move through this unwanted ordeal. Of course, support is everything and my “Team” of family and friends is just simply amazing – I couldn’t be doing it without them. My blog will consist of my diagnosis, choices and experiences as well a few anecdotes that are just too good not to share. For example, you won’t believe the one about the guy and the long johns – pure hilarity – but that’s for another day.
The last point I want to cover for today is “The Team”. If there is anyone out there reading this and struggling with cancer, who does not have the support and encouragement of family and friends, I hope you will contact me. Firstly I would like to offer you my encouragement and support and I would like to pray for you. There are many groups to help you along the way but sometimes it just helps to get your worries out in the open to someone you never have to meet. Maybe I can be that person for you.