Tag Archives: Business

Made in America…The Longaberger Company

Baskets for Storage

Buying “Made in America” products is the newest and coolest bandwagon to jump on.  However, Made in America is so much more than a fad.  It is the fabric that this country is woven from…It is one of the ways we express our inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  We are a free people whom should we have courage enough to pursue a dream, a vision or a concept we can make a difference in our life, the lives our family members and our community.  If enough people buy into this concept and begin to truly support American companies that produce and distribute products made in America we can put countless Americans back to work.

I have decided to dedicate one blog posting each week to a “Made In America”Company.

Baskets for Storage

I have an unusual attraction to handmade baskets. Each basket is a work of art.  My eye is drawn to them like a moth to a flame.   I love the unique patterns that the basket weavers use to construct their incredibly versatile crafts.

I have many baskets scattered around the house.  I have one basket that I am particularly fond of and wish I knew more about it.  It is a recent acquisition but it is far from being new.  There are other baskets scattered throughout our home that serve as storage containers for a multitude of things but they also add texture to every room in the house.  I have a basket I purchased from a basket weaving company in East Texas that holds my napkins and  eating utensils when we set up a buffet line for a party.  I have a basket next to the bed that I purchased from a market vendor that holds books and papers .  I have a basket that holds everything that I need for my morning routine; hair products, toothbrush, deodorant and perfume.  My laundry room shelves are filled with baskets that hold everything from puppy treats and light bulbs to extra batteries and bird seed.

The history of basket making dates back to the early evolution of mankind.  “Fruit and vegetables were gathered from the fields into baskets; fish, poultry and dairy produce were all packed into wicker for the journey to the town markets. Jobs requiring the transport of bulky materials such as manure or rubble needed baskets, and not only were rural items such as animal muzzles, bird traps and beer strainers made of willow, but so were the travelling trunks, hat boxes and umbrella holders of the well-to-do.”

Baskets for Storage

The first company I have decided to highlight is the Longaberger Company.  The Longaberger Company is a Ohio based premier maker of handcrafted baskets.  The Longaberger Company was founded in 1973 by Dave Longaberger based on his families basket making heritage.  Longaberger has several factory stores but the bulk of their sales comes from the hard work of thousands of home consultants.  The Longaberger Company makes it possible for the Men and Women of America to pursue their dreams of having their own home based business while supporting an American company while selling a product made in America.  I wonder how many American jobs this company creates?

This company is a true Made in America company.  I hope if you are in the market for a new basket to hold your knitting needles, manuscripts, journals or hair ribbons that you will look into purchasing from The Longaberger Company.  Go ahead and buy into the fad and jump on the bandwagon and buy a Made in America product.  You will be glad you did.

Baskets for Storage

By the way…I do own quite a few baskets. However, I do not know if I have a Longaberger.  But I will be sure to purchase at least one before the year is over!!!

Do you have a favorite basket?  Do you have a Longaberger Basket?

10 Comments

Filed under Made in America

Am I the Only One?…

Am I the Only One?

Am I the only one…The trouble with emails is it can be almost impossible to determine the intended tone of the person typing the email.  That is unless the email contains exclamation points or bold capitalized type, then you might have some inkling of what the sender of the email is trying to communicate.  When there are just words laying on a screen it is up to you the reader to interpret the intended tone.  Unfortunately, the tone is usually interpreted in the same tone that reflects the mood of the person reading the email.  Therefore, leaving huge opportunities for misinterpretation.

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it. Peter Drucker

Let me explain…

This Christmas, buying “Made in America” was on the forefront of my mind when making my Christmas gift purchases. As many of you know I am committed to “buying American” and “buying local“.  You may have even noticed the air time that the National news committed to promoting companies that are creating American jobs by manufacturing products in America.

I spent a considerable amount of time researching companies that had potentially promising gift options.

I discovered a website that represented over 100 “Made in America” companies.  I found one particular item that I knew would be a great gift for my husband.  However, I can not reveal the actual item at this time as I am still waiting for it to arrive.  Which brings me to the rest of the story…

Let me just say that I knew going in that there was a possibility that my order may not get to me in time to find its way under the tree but the manner in which the delay was handled is in my opinion totally unacceptable.

I ordered my product on Monday December 19th sometime after  5pm CST.  Within an hour I received an email from the website administrator notifying me that the shipping address and billing address on my credit card did not match.  Therefore my order was cancelled.  No problem..thanks for the quick response.

I immediately re-ordered using a different credit card and my order was accepted.

Good service is good business. Siebel Ad

On December 22nd when I had not received a tracking number I contacted the website administrator requesting my tracking number.  Within an hour I was notified that the product was being shipped from the manufacturer and the tracking number had been requested.  Wow…I wasn’t expecting such a fast response.

Christmas Day came and went with out a follow-up email with the promised tracking number.

Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

On Sunday Christmas Day in the evening I sent a follow-up email to the website administrator advising him I was disappointed and again requested my tracking number.  Hind sight being what it is I should have elaborated a bit as to why I was disappointed and included a winking smiley face…but I just sent a one line email, the words were just laying on the page, waiting to be interpreted by the recipient.

It is now obvious to me that my email was not received with the intent it was written.. The email response I received on Monday was typed in much larger type than the previous emails,  informing me of my tracking number.  I was also notified that “people” were working on their Christmas holiday to help me out.  I was also informed if I was disappointed I should shop elsewhere!  What?  Really?  Oh NO you didn’t!!!  But oh YES he did….

Needless to say I have sent Mr. website administrator a very detailed email expressing where my disappointment stemmed from and exactly how I felt about his invitation to shop elsewhere…I am tempted to share the entire email correspondence with you but I think you know me well enough to know that I was never rude or demanding in my requests.  The only thing I ever expected and asked for was the tracking number for my purchase so that I could check on the progress of the shipment.

I would like to say that I hope the lack of professionalism that I experienced is an isolated incident.  I would hate to think that the owner of the website representing these “Made in America” companies makes a habit out of inviting customers to shop elsewhere.

In the world of Internet Customer Service, it’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away. Doug Warner

However, I did not just delete the email and stew over what I deemed an unnecessary comment.  I responded!!!  With vigor!!!  I do not believe I am the only one who is fed up with the lack of respect and customer service that is dished out by business’.

Am I the only one who thinks that a business owner would want to know the level of satisfaction his customers experience when visiting his website or place of business?

Am I the only one who thinks that the needless and rude comment suggesting I shop elsewhere could have been avoided had the company provided the tracking number in the first place?

Am I the only one who expects a certain level of customer service from the companies I spend my hard-earned American dollars with?

Am I the only one who takes it personally when treated rudely by an employee of a business I visit?

Am I the only one who is fed up with rude employees and mediocre products?

With the exception of food, water and gasoline there isn’t one item I can think of that I must purchase.  I don’t need another picture on the wall or shirt in the closet.  I don’t need another chair to sit on or electronic device to click away my time.

However, I may choose to buy a new dress for a party or a picture frame for a special family photo.  I may choose to replace my old patio chairs with new ones or invest in a Kindle.

I will no longer accept poor customer service or look the other way when treated rudely by an employee of a business.  I will no longer spend my money with companies who do not believe that the customer is their most important asset.  I will no longer…well I think you get the point!  I am over it and I am not going to take it any more!

I only expect what I am willing to deliver to those who choose to shop in my business or stop by and visit my blog.  Excellent Customer Service with a Smile!!!

Am I the only one? I don’t think so…

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. unknown

15 Comments

Filed under postaweek2011

Small Business Saturday…saving America one brick at a time…

Re-post from January 26, 2011
Invest in America, support the local brick and mortar businesses that our country was built on.  Investing in the  independently owned businesses in our neighborhoods helps our local economy.  These businesses employ our neighbors and strengthen our community.

The Local

I have a passion for locally owned businesses.  Not because I am a small business owner but because I appreciate the time and energy and the financial commitment local business owners bring to the game.  Small business owners are dreamers and risk takers.  They are passionate about what they do!

I have been a supporter of locally owned businesses for years.  I will always choose to shop, eat or use a service company that is locally owned over a big chain business.  Always!

The Patio @ The Local

I have posted about my favorite neighborhood businesses as well as local businesses I have discovered on weekend getaways.  My husband and I always gravitate to “the local” whenever and wherever we travel.  We had a couple of weekend getaways last summer; Galveston and New Orleans where we supported many locally owned businesses.  We supported the local restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, antique stores, and a couple of art galleries.  We met wonderful people who love what they do and we were treated like old friends.

Star Drug Store

A few of my local favs that I frequent at least once a month are; The Local Restaurant, Browse Aroun’ Antiques and  the Something Unique Gift Shop.  My #1 favorite local lunch spot, The Pear Tree Tea Room, closed it’s doors just before Christmas.  They had a great location, loyal following and delicious food.  I know things are difficult at best in this economy so the local businesses need all the support you can give them.

Acme Oyster House

Recently I began to follow the blog over at The Red Door Antiques.  While surfing through the blog site I noticed a button; the 3/50 Project, saving the brick and mortars our nation is built on.  My interest was piqued.  I clicked on the button and was directed to a website filled with some very interesting information.  I would like to share some of what I read;

3    What three independently owned businesses would you miss if they disappeared?

50   If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate over $42 billion dollars in revenue.

The folks at the project say that  for every $100 spent in an independent locally owned business $68 returns to the community in payroll, taxes and other expenditures.  If that $100 is spent in a national chain $43 comes back to the community.  Shop on-line and $0 comes back to the community.  Check out the movement to save our bricks and mortar companies, they are what built this country.

Mosquito Cafe

What’s your favorite local independently owned business?  Have you supported them this month?  How would life in your community be different if you lost one of these businesses?

Make Time to Support your Independent Locally Owned Businesses

11 Comments

Filed under Made in America, My Local Recommendations, postaweek2011

City Wide Yard Sale

Needville City Wide Yard Sale

What a great idea!  The city of Needville, Texas hosted a city-wide yard sale this past weekend.  For the chic upcycle-minded urbanite or someone trying to stretch the family budget browsing one yard sale after another can be a great way to spend a Saturday morning. 

The city-wide yard sale is co-sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation.   The event is hosted twice a year.   The city advertises on their webpage and also places placards in the surrounding cities. 

We started out about 7:30am with a hot cup of coffee and an open mind.  The day was overcast with scattered showers in the forecast.

The entire city was prepared for the onslaught of bargain hunters.  The city had arranged for all entrance and exits through parks and schools to be open in order to accommodate the flow of traffic.  Their were police officers posted in the more congested neighborhoods. The traffic flow was steady. 

I definitely missed out on a couple of really good deals.  But no worries.  I got some really good deals as well.  My husband negotiated a sweet deal on 6 antique windows with the original glass and brass locks in tack.  We will incorporate them into the greenhouse we are planning to build next spring.   

City Wide Yard Sale

I also picked up several items to use as display pieces in my antique resale space.  They need a bit of TLC but that’s part of the fun.  Looking past the obvious and seeing the potential.

My sister-in-law is a weekend yard sale warrior.  She flips houses for a living and finds great deals on plumbing fixtures, lighting and hardware to name just a few.  This weekend she scored cedar boards for $4/ea.  According to her it was the buy of the day. 

My experience with yard sales is you can not start out with high expectations.  Shopping yard sales can be compared to searching for the needle in the haystack.  Most people have either held on to their stuff far too long and now it amounts to junk.  Others are still emotionally attached and therefore have priced their stuff so high they will be keeping it at the end of the day. 

Then there are a few people who really just want to get rid of the stuff they no longer need.  They have priced it to move.  They have organized the items so that they are easily viewed by the shoppers.  They have also decided that they will accept any reasonable offer. 

I typically donate my no longer needed clothing and housewares to someone who has an immediate need such as family that has experienced a house fire or the wrath of a natural disaster.  Otherwise, I will drop off a box of gently used items to GoodWill or Salvation Army.

7 Comments

Filed under Life in Texas, postaweek2011

Expect Excellence!

Do it with Excellence!

If you are going to do something you should do it with excellence or you shouldn’t do it all!

What is excellence? 

  • Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or very good.  
  • The quality of excelling; possessing good qualities in high degree.
  • Excellence is the state or quality of excelling. Particularly in the field of business and organizations, excellence is considered to be an important value, and a goal to be pursued.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle

  • Performing at a level of excellence means to exceed the expectations of the intended recipient. 
  •  To perform at a level of excellence is to meet someones unspoken need or desire. 
  •  To go above and beyond what is expected. 
  • To anticipate the need and then at just the right moment to meet the need. 

No matter what I choose to do, I choose to give it my very best.  I remember exactly when I realized that working with excellence mattered to the person on the receiving end.   It is very rewarding to be a part of someones unexpected experience with excellence. 

I have the natural ability to observe a situation, access it from a distance, determine an unpoken yet expected need and react to it.  I have been told that I have my finger on the pulse of my surroundings. I thought I was just being helpful. 

We should always expect excellence.  Expecting less will get you less. 

Excellence begins with a genuine attitude of caring for the needs of others. Excellence requires that you take responsibility for meeting those needs of. Once you commit to a level of excellence you must see it through to the end. 

Once you have experienced a level of excellence from an individual, a brand or company it is what you should always expect.  To expect less or even to accept less will only encourage a lifetime of accepting mediocrity.   

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
W. Somerset Maugham

If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Better to not make a promise you do not intend to keep.  Thus the problem with automatically generated social media support centers. 

I have come to expect a certain level of excellence from my social media providers.  Just because social media sites are offered free to the end-user doesn’t mean that we the user should accept less than excellent service. 

I understand that Facebook, Twitter and WordPress are continually updating their sites and services.  Which can and will cause somewhat isolated and temporary problems for some users. 

I will not belabor the ongoing issues I am having with my WordPress blog.  I will just say that if you as a provider of a service or a product are aware that consumers are experiencing less than excellent service, Communicate!  Do not leave them in the dark. 

Communication will show you genuinely care about the situation.  Communication will show that you are taking responsibility for the situation.  Communication will show that you are going to see the situation through to an acceptable resolution.

I do realize that we are privileged to have free access to such a great resource.  But in all things…if you are going to do something whether for a fee or for free you should strive for excellence.

Booker T. Washington
Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

17 Comments

Filed under encouragment, postaweek2011