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Looking back on 2017: thank you for an amazing year

Looking back on 2017: thank you for an amazing year 1

A look back on 2017 with BeautyGram

2017 to me can best be described as a transformational year.  Truly, I experienced transformation on every level of both my person, and my business life, and BeautyGram was no exception.  Like many people who have followed BeautyGram, I was a raving fan and customer for years.  I still to this day feel a tremendous amount of gratitude that I found a way to purchase this company when it was for sale.  It resonated with me in so many ways as someone who loves to show gratitude, and I love to surprise, spoil and appreciate the people that I love with gift boxes, traditional gift baskets and gift baskets.

Since the acquisition of BeautyGram, I so fortunate, daily, to be reminded of how much good there is the world, through all of you.  I see your messages on the gift baskets that express your love, gratitude and appreciation to your employees, clients, friends and family.  I see your hearts, and your caring through your words.  And I feel your appreciation through your testimonials when we helped you deliver your mindful gift in a meaningful way.  And I also feel your love through your feedback, when you share with us what we could do better, or what is missing, so that we can continually improve and evolve.  For all of that, and so much more, I am grateful to each and every person for their part in BeautyGram. Even those who have never made a purchase, but cheer us on through social media from your tweets, hearts, likes, comments and shares.  All of you play a part for us.

Dearest Maegan

Maegan HawkesAs I reflect on 2017, I am amazed at how much happened in this little business.  Most of my BeautyGram moments fill me with excitement all over again when I reflect on them.  And a few moments, I I have had to release with love.  Specifically, dear Maegan, who has been my right hand in BeautyGram and Carrie’s Closet for 2.5 years.  Some of you may have met her at your door, and others may recognize her through my social media feeds.  Maegan has been in my life for almost 20 years.  Her mom is a dear friend of mine, so I had the pleasure of meeting her as teenager and watched her blossom into a woman of strength, who has morphed from Laura’s daughter into my friend and confident.   In 2013, she started working with me on contract as a photographer for my other web business, Carrie’s Closet and as time went on, helped me set up the warehouse on 38 Avenue NE when I moved into it from my Edmonton Trail pop up shop.  As time went on, she helped with fulfillment on both companies during peak times with fulfilment of online orders, and then more on a regular schedule.  Even though it was always a casual employment arrangement, it was a working relationship that I cherished and respected.  Maegan worked casual employment with other businesses as well, and in November, locked down regular business hours with one company.  With integrity, she helped me transition with as much time as I needed to get my ducks in a row and is now soaring in her new role.  As much as her presence is missed in our NE warehouse, she is a friend for life, and always welcome back.  Best of luck Maegan!  You will be missed, but never forgotten by our suppliers, clients and especially me.

Clients

BeautyGram gift box unboxing clients pink gift baskets Our clients are like-minded people, who understand the joy of mindful gift boxes, with high quality local products in a variety of price ranges.  Thank you to all of our customers who have supported us through your likes, tweets, shares, comments and purchases.  Without you, there would be no BeautyGram.  A business needs customer to survive, and needs raving fans to thrive.  We are fortunate to have both.  Through 2017, Alberta’s economy continued to recover, which created an influx of customers who haven’t made a purchase since 2014/2015.  Thank you for coming back, and giving us a chance to serve you with our beautiful gift baskets and gift boxes.  Also, 2017 saw a large influx of new clients and repeat clients.  All the way around, 2017 was a transformational year.  The other increase was in custom gift baskets. This is where customers contact us with a specific budget in mind, and a specific buyer in mind, and ask for our help to create a gift basket or gift box in their budget.  These custom baskets came in a myriad of forms.  In some cases, it was a realtor with 50 clients, and a certain budget per person that needed a mindful gift that could be sent to a male or a female client.  In other cases, it was a baby basket that was a collaborate effort, and they needed a $400 gift basket for a baby boy, with no muslin blankets (mama has a tonne), the family is vegan, and they want gifts for both the baby and the mama.  So as you can see, the requests are varied, and #yeswedothat.  Thank you so much for trusting us with your clients, employees, friends and family.

Suppliers

Suppliers in the gift baskets at BeautyGram Gift Box vendorsIn 2017, we were in a better position to incorporate some of the feedback we received from customers in 2016 with certain types of baskets they wanted to see made available.  We offboarded some baskets that were not selling, and added some new baskets that were submitted as ideas from existing and future clients and believe me, there is more to come in 2017.  In order to create that variety in our gift baskets, we onboarded Drizzle Honey, Stretch Creation (lava bead jewelry with essential oil, which is on trend right now), SockNSack for more mens products, and Gourmet Distributor for food and high end candy.  Those are some the new suppliers that we have onboarded this year.  We also increased our product lines with Kismet Essentials, Adoniaa, All Things Jill, Barefoot Venus and Buff Headwear.  We have also replenished Kutula Kiss and Cake Beauty.  All of these lines give us more flexibility to serve you better with more combinations of products, and also, to give us the ability to replace any product lines that have discontinued.

Charitable Contribution

Charitable donationsI am proud to tell you that we donated in excess of 100 BeautyGrams last year.  For those of you who received a BeautyGram for your event, it has been our pleasure to serve you. For those of you that we missed, I do sincerely apologise.  The volume of requests have gone up 10 fold and we are doing what we can to get to as many requests as we can.  Please don’t give up on us.  Keep asking.  We will do our best to fulfill as many as we can. 

With Gratitude

Mom and IThere is so much to be thankful for as I reflect on my experiences in 2017.  My husband has been my rock, and biggest cheerleader through this journey and believe me, owning a small business through the last two years has been a learning curve and an adjustment for every small business owner.  I also am thankful for my mom who came out both in June and November to help me in peak times in all my online businesses.  Thanks mama for being such an angel and working so hard.  Also, all of those who have stepped forward to help with deliveries, packing baskets, referrals, sales and social media shares.  All of your efforts have been adding up to the growth of this small company, and for that I am forever grateful to you.  Every client and supplier who has touched this business, known that you were selected with love to be a part of this gift package, and our goal is to grow this company, to help your small business thrive with our regular purchases from you.  One. Big. Love. Circle.  And of course, our clients. Without your support, there is no BeautyGram.  That is the truth.  You are BeautyGram.

Harvest Hills Hub in Calgary fundraising for an improved green space

Harvest Hills Hub in Calgary fundraising for an improved green space 1

I grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario and my childhood memories are flooded with a playground in walking distance from my home.  Myself, and many neighborhood kids use to play tag, red rover, hopscotch, and play on some of the limited playground equipment there, and also use to play on some of the statues, boulders, and other "things" that just happened to be on the land of that greenspace.  Even though Hillcrest Park is a landmark in Thunder Bay as a whole, to the children of that area, we didn't necessarily roam the grounds of Hillcrest Park.  There was one "corner" that had a slide, some monkey bars, some grass, sand and boulders, and THAT was our meeting spot.  I am 47 years old, and make it back to Thunder Bay every few years, usually for a wedding or a funeral.  However, even now, when I go "home, I always make a point to drive by that place.  As I am listening to the same radio station I listened to when I lived there (CKPR-FM) silently acknowledge my childhood home, my best friend's home, the corner store that we use to buy penny candies from, the land where my public school was, and of course that plot of land at Hillcrest Park where we use to play.

Fast forward to 2017, Sarah, a BeautyGram client sent me an email at the beginning of the summer, sharing that her a small group of volunteers are working with Parks Foundation Calgary and the City of Calgary to improve the green space in our community.

 

She is volunteering as a fundraising coordinator and will be hosting multiple events in our community to raise the remaining funds required to move forward with the construction in the spring / summer of 2018.  This collaboration with Parks Foundation, the city, and with local businesses is an important part of the success of this project.  My mind quickly went back to my last trip home (which was October 2016) and taking some photos of Hillcrest Park, tagging some of those childhood friends with photos on facebook to relive some of those memories.

These memories of fun, glee, innocence and play are cherished and remembered, because back then, our worlds are rich, but very small.  We cannot drive to where we want to go, so we frequent those places close and accessible to us.  These greenspaces and parks are important. Kids need a place to play, and even better if it is cared for, loved, nurtured and used by the community.

This is important work in my opinion that is being run by community members in the best interest of their children.  Sarah shared with me that they are so excited to be hosting multiple events in the community of Harvest Hills to raise the remaining funds required to move forward with the construction in the spring / summer of 2018.

These events include a pub night at the Canadian Brewhouse on October 21 as well as an online silent auction that will run from October 20- November 7. They expect 150 people at our pub night.

They hope to reach not only their our community members, but other Calgarians with our online silent auction through social and conventional media.

 As these events materialize, I look forward to sharing them with you, and encourage you to participate should you see something that you.  Their events will be listed on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HarvestHillsHub.  If you click LIKE you will have the opportunity to see the progresison of those events in your facebook feed, and hopefully participate if any of their fundraising is of interest to you.

Thank you Sarah for allowing us to be a part of the your fundraising efforts.  I hope the BeautyGram fetches some well deserved funds for this community project.

 

 

Dream Your Dream retreat, Wild Nights Ladies Group, BeautyGram Guest Speaker

Dream Your Dream retreat, Wild Nights Ladies Group, BeautyGram Guest Speaker 0

I had an amazing night speaking at the Wild Nights and want to sincerely thank both Maureen Dobranski and Chantal Plowman for the opportunity to speak to their tribe of amazing women about my journey through standing up my ecommerce business, and the purchase of BeautyGram. 

What is Wild Nights?  Its a ladies heart-centered group in Calgary where women come to be inspired, learn and to have fun.  These evenings usually include 1-2 guest speakers, and are a way to keep past alumni connected after their popular retreat Dream Your Dreams.  You do not have to be an alumni of Dream your Dreams to attend, but this is where many of the attendees have previously met.  If you are interested in the retreat, I have attended it, and it was an amazing way to decompress, be creative, connect with like-minded new friends, and in general just leave the city behind and enjoy some time in the mountains collecting my thoughts.  For those who cannot attend the retreat, but like the sound of the group, Wild Nights (Women Igniting Life's Dreams) is a great way to get to know the Facilitators, Maureen Dobranski and Chantal Plowman and to get a feel for the types of women who support these events.  Tammy Nicoll, Medium, will be speaking athte next Wild Nights event.  I will be sure to share the event link once it is posted.

The next Dream Your Dream retreat is around the corner Oct 13, 14, 15th at the Banff Rimrock.  If this sounds interesting to you, definately click the link to find out more.  Below, find the video that I did to endorse my time out there in 2013.  

 

On September 20th, Maureen and Chantal invited me to be a guest speaker at the Wild Nights evening to share my entrepreurial journey with my ecommerce businesses, which include BeautyGram, Carrie's Closet and my Ebay Anchor Store.  I have to admit that even though I have 19 years experience in the Learning and Development field, I did not feel very confident when I was in front of a group of people talking about myself and my journey.  My comfort zone is teaching people how to do something that will help them, and that calling has nothing to do with me as a person or an entrepreneur.  I am use to speaking about the steps and the tasks to help someone, rather than blathering about myself.  So this was a good stretch for me, and I look forward with getting more comfortable with the vulnerability and transparency that is associated with an exciting, but definately ebbing-and-flowing small business journey.

The talk was around 20 minutes and there were a little over 30 women there.  I gave everyone there a sample diva kit with a few items, packed in red or black BeautyGrams, so that they could have the experience of a BeautyGram, that I fell in love with myself back in 2011 as a customer.  What is truly special to me about the BeautyGram experience, is that you have NO IDEA what is in the box, since it is not wrapped in cello, where you can see what is inside.   In their BeautyGram was a sample Diva Kit.  On the website, we sell them for $19.99 with 17 items inside.  This sample kit had six items, plus the patent pouch that fits perfectly in your desk, glove compartment or travel bag.  It had a mini nail file, earring backings, hair elastics, a safety pin and a sewing kit. And for good measure, some double-sided tape.

Thank you to all who attended, for allowing me to be vulnerable while sharing my journey.  And Maureen and Chantal, much gratitude for inviting me to speak, and I wish you an extraordinary Dream Your Dream Retreat mid October.

 

 

  • Carrie Paxson
Join us at WILD Nights on Wed Sept 20th at Marda Loop - Guest Speaker Carrie Paxson, BeautyGram

Join us at WILD Nights on Wed Sept 20th at Marda Loop - Guest Speaker Carrie Paxson, BeautyGram 0

 

WILD Nights is an evening out filled with girlfriends, food, wine, ambiance, fun and inspiration all rolled into one.  WILD stands for Women Igniting Life's Dreams.  Women share their trials and triumphs in the spirit of connecting and inspiring others.

The two founders of WILD nights are long time personal friends of mine, that also run a ladies retreat in Banff called Dream your Dreams.  I attended in 2015, right before I purchased BeautyGram.  I went onto the BeautyGram website to order two BeautyGrams to bring with me out to the retreat, and lo and behold, I saw that BeautyGram was for sale.  I was already in the ecommerce space with Carrie's Closet, was madly in love with the BeautyGram brand and product, and that is what started the wheels in motion.  At the retreat, all of my plans focused around how to acquire BeautyGram and evaluate the opportunity (since it was very much an unplanned purchase) and by October 21st, the deal was done.

My ecommerce journey did start before BeautyGram.  I already was the founder of Carrie's Closet, and I was a powerseller on Ebay with a US store.  Definately from the start of that, to present, I had a number of trials and triumphs and quite frankly, I am still learning every day through feedback of my customers, suppliers, followers and friends.

If my journey in this space interests you, I would welcome you to join us.  I will be speaking about my journey through ecommerce.  I am unsure of what the rest of the evening will entail, but I have attended these events in the past, and always have a mix of fun, networking, deep thoughts and inspiration.

Maureen Dobranski and Chantal Plowman, hosts of both Dream Your Dreams Retreat and Wild Nights Events are successful, powerhouse women, that are worth getting to know and following.

Purchase tickets: https://www.womenignitinglifesdreams.com/events/sept-20-wild-night/

Date: September 20th at 7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Location:  Mad Rose Pub Marda Loop

Hope you can make it!

  • Carrie Paxson