Artisan Spotlight: Merryn Oliveira - Body by M

Like so many artisan crafters, Merryn Oliveira is very much in tune with the idea of “buying local”, and supporting one’s local economy. And she likes to give some of it back.

“My husband and I both went to public schools, so when the budget crisis created school funding issues, we wanted to be able to help.” Body by M has partnered with the Alameda Education Foundation to help raise funds to maintain programs in the arts, athletics, and other enrichments at her area school(s). 30% of selected items on her website benefit the project.

Internet Marketing and Communication

The internet opened up a whole new world, especially for small business entrepreneurs. Businesses have sprung up that would not have been possible before the internet came on the scene. It has also allowed businesses to mount advertising campaigns in a virtual world in which you control where and when the ads will appear and how much you are willing to pay for them.

This article explores some of the avenues that you might consider to promote your business online. The mention of specific services by brand name does not constitute an endorsement by the author or publisher of this article.

Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, Inc. Lives the American Dream

On May 18-20, 2011, the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, Inc. will assemble in Miami to celebrate its 14th Annual Conference as attendees continue to live the American dream of owning their own business. Approximately 300 members and non-members will convene to attend hands-on craft classes, demonstrations and workshops in soapmaking and other craft specialties and to hear expert speakers in their respective fields.

Artisan Spotlight: Liana Spiegel - Marmalade Hills

“Nurture your skin with nature”

As a new mom, Liana Spiegel was very concerned with creating a healthy environment and diet for her family, by incorporating better quality foods and products into their lifestyle. It was 2006 and her father's recent passing from skin cancer brought it all into even sharper focus.

Looking for a New Niche? Specialty Tea Craze Is Heating Up

There is a gourmet tea craze creating quite a stir in the U.S. these days. Specialty tea sales are soaring in retail and specialty stores as well as food service outlets. Americans are sipping these premium varieties – and willing to pay a premium price - in both hot and cold fashion. Consumers are drinking tea for health benefits as well as for its trendiness. But it looks like this trend is here to stay.

“If anyone believes that the United States Tea Industry is not undergoing a dramatic period of change, they should take a quick tour of their local supermarket and observe what is happening. Even within this single distribution channel, change is pervasive and immediately apparent,” says Joseph P. Simrany, President of the Tea Association of the U.S. (

Expand Your Business: Become the “Author” of Your Talent

Congratulations! After spending numerous hours, months and years thinking about who you are and what you're all about, you’ve finally discovered your passion, perfected your talents, and turned your hobby into a business. You've done your homework and effectively overcome many new business rough spots, and you've committed to a schedule of trade shows for awhile now. Yet, despite the sense of accomplishment and the success you've gained so far, there’s a gnawing feeling of “What’s next?” Now may be the perfect time to become an author!

Artisan Spotlight: Laura Winward - Waves of Creation

Research is Key

“I was like a dog on a pork chop”, says Laura Winward in describing her zeal for finding out everything she could about what goes into creating your own line of bath and body products.

She’d been creating since she was a child. Along the way, she started making candles and it was at shows that she was inspired by the quality of the personal care products being offered by her fellow crafters. With a day job as a research biologist it was in her nature to dig deep and learn all she could about how to make her own, wishing to add items to her product line to include in gift baskets. From there, it wasn’t long until she grew into a 700 square-foot work space, and – three years ago – opened her own store.