{Big Monthly Giveaway} Women at Woodstock Getaway

biggiveawaylandingpage
Rest, relax, and restore!

FOF is excited to attend another sensational getaway with Women at Woodstock East! Join FOFs from across the country this October for a transformative fall retreat in tranquil Woodstock, NY. Enjoy empowering workshops, performances, and great networking at the luxurious Emerson Resort & Spa. Your retreat also includes three nights at the resort, as well as gourmet meals and a luxe gift bag. You’ll leave inspired, relaxed, and rejuvenated. ONE FOF WILL WIN!

The reinvention retreat includes*:

• 3-nights private accommodations at the Emerson Resort & Spa

• Full admission to the Women at Woodstock retreat, including a ticket to the opening night performance of Alice and Elizabeth’s One Woman Show, a welcome party, intimate workshops and speaker presentations.

Dates: October 6-9, 2013

To enter to win, comment below to this question:  Why would you like to attend the WAW retreat?

1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes August 20th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

*Does not include transportation.

{Fashion Find} SugieWogie

Not long ago, Shari Riehl took her young nieces to the Bahamas as a graduation present. She was having a blast until she had the thought, “Am I gonna have to put a bathing suit on?!” She went around to different shops, trying to find pieces that would look right but also jibe with the beach life. “I got a pair of bicycle shorts and a little skirt and I wore a tank top,” she says. “Somebody saw me and said, ‘That is really cute.’ That’s where the thoughts about my project really took off.”

Guided by the certainty that women need something they can wear right from the beach to dinner, Shari created the SugieWogie SwimDress. “You even may want to go dancing in it,” she says.

We chatted with Shari about her swimwear and her philosophy: “Why try to fit in when you’re born to stand out?” she says, quoting from the movie, What a Girl Wants. “I’ve always wanted to be my own unique self, and I think that’s so important for every woman. You can follow a trend, but put your own stamp on it.”

What inspired you to create the SugieWogie?
Most women love clothing, but they hate swimwear. When it comes to swimsuit season, they’re dreading putting their swimsuits on. I wanted to create something that women could look forward to wearing and buying.

What were you doing before starting SugieWogie?
I owned an interior decorating business, which I ran for the past twenty years. But I’ve had a love for fashion since I was a little girl.

Why hasn’t the fashion industry come out with something like this sooner?
Maybe because men were designing and they like to see more of a women’s body? I don’t know.

It’s amazing how the bikini has become “normal” swimwear. It’s no different than underwear! The SugieWogie seems to address that.
When I was younger I didn’t mind wearing my bikini. But as you grow older, your body changes, and you want to be a little more modest and not advertise your flaws.
A lot of women know that as soon as they put their swimsuit on, they’re going to feel very conscious of their bodies. And they’re grabbing a cover-up of some sort.

I thought, we need to find something that gives women confidence when they’re heading to the pool—that will make them feel elegant and classy.

How did you come up with the name?
It’s what my father called me since I was a little girl. I wanted a name that would reflect me and the garment. When you say it, it makes you smile—it’s not uptight. That’s how I am–creative confidence with a sense of humor.

We like the models on your site.
We used real women, from 20 to 50. We didn’t alter their bodies in any way. That’s another thing that’s important to me – using real people. I really loved the Dove ads. We need to use images of real people because it’s hard to achieve perfect. There is no perfect.

It’s funny how fashion used to be so modest. Then we went completely in the other direction – super exposed. Seems like you’re finding a middle ground.
Even the spring fashions coming out now are more ladylike. The retro look is in. This fits with that. But it’s updated.

And this has shapewear in it, so it does help shape your body. There’s such a big market for shapewear. And it won’t cling to every flaw.

What’s it like in the water?
It’s fine. It’s not performance swimwear—it’s elegant swimwear. This is something you’ll swim around in a little bit, then towel off and be absolutely fine and ready for the next thing. If you want performance, wear your Speedo.

Are you married?
I am.

What’s your husband’s name? Does he like the SugieWogie?
My husband Ben loves it. He’s the one who really encouraged me. He said, “Are you gonna just talk about this, or do it?”

{Brilliant Idea} Can a nightgown really help you sleep?

Two FOF believers (and business partners) are spreading the “Goodnighties” gospel…

FOF Sarah Baldwin spent 25 years as a high-powered marketing executive, launching mega brands such as NutraSweet and Dorothy Hamill’s Ice Capades. But by her mid 40s, she had stepped off the corporate track to raise her two children and was, in her own words, a “tired, restless menopausal mom, not getting any sleep.”

That’s when she happened upon a website featuring “Goodnighties”–sleepwear that claimed to improve circulation and sleep. “I thought the name was cute,” Sarah remembers. “So I ordered one.”

Exactly 19 days later she was on a plane to Hunstville, Alabama, to meet the inventor of Goodnighties, Marcia Bacon. “The very first time I wore the gown, I slept through the night and woke up feeling refreshed,” Sarah remembers. “I said to my husband, ‘This actually works! I have to find this company.’”

Today, Marcia, Sarah, and their husbands run Goodnighties together, a labor of love that’s quickly turning into a blockbuster business, with sales in all 50 states and 15 countries. Here, Marcia and Sarah discuss how a unique fabric has inspired their business, their friendship and a legion of fans.

FOF: Marcia, you actually developed Goodnighties.  How did you get the idea?
Marcia: While I was recovering from back surgery and going through menopause. The combination made sleep impossible.  My husband, who has been in the sportswear business for years, brought home a shirt sample made of ionized fabric (called Ionx) that supposedly increased circulation and improved healing. It was intended for athletes. I was skeptical, but I wore it, and noticed right away that I was sleeping better and my recovery felt easier.

Still, the shirt itself wasn’t quite right. It was too thick and too heavy. So I started development of a custom Ionx fabric that was lightweight, soft and non-binding. After 18 months, Goodnighties “smart fabric” was born. It has the same negative-ion properties but is also moisture wicking and antimicrobial. (It’s also made in the USA, which I love.)

What exactly do negative ions do?  It sounds a little like science fiction.
Marcia: Negative ions are molecules found in abundance in certain natural, outdoor environments such as the beach or the mountains. Recent studies suggest that they can increase serotonin levels, decrease stress, regulate melatonin and increase circulation. If you’ve ever had a fabulous night’s sleep at the beach, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Researchers at Columbia University are even investigating negative-ions as a treatment for depression.

Sarah, what did you notice when you first wore the nightie?
Sarah: I slept so well in it.  I felt energized!  I thought, ‘everyone should know about this!’  I didn’t know the science behind it then, but my whole body felt refreshed.

How did you connect with Marcia?
Sarah: I cold called her! And she couldn’t have been nicer. She appreciated my marketing background and what I could offer her business.

Marcia: Our abilities complimented each other. My husband and I had the manufacturing experience and Sarah, knew marketing and sales.

Sarah: A few months later, we went into business together.

What’s been the reaction from consumers?
Sarah: It’s not an easy sell at first…most people are skeptical. They think that if it’s not a sleeping pill, it’s not going to work. But once women try it, they love it. We get calls and emails constantly from customers who can’t believe how well it works.

Marcia: Our re-order rate is amazing. Most of our customers re-order either for themselves, or send it to other women they know have had trouble sleeping.

What are your plans for the future?
Sarah: Right now, we’re just having so much fun working together on a product we believe in. It’s inspiring. But it’s also a great challenge.
Marcia: We promised each other that when we hit the $5 million sales mark, we’ll take a trip together.
Sarah: We want to have a glass of wine in Tuscany! That would be a dream–no pun intended.

Editor’s note: FOF’s Founder, Geri Brin, discovered Goodnighties this year, and liked hers so much she contacted the company about creating a special FOF-branded version. Check it out in our shop and enjoy a 10% discount this week when you use code Good10 at checkout.

{Beauty} Two FOFriends “break the bonds of cellulite”(R) with their body buffer tool

It’s been smooth sailing for FOFs Nancy Donahue and Susan Anton Pasanen since they launched their HoneyBelle® bodybuffer, a hand-held oscillating tool, designed to diminish the appearance of cellulite. The gadget appears to be doing the impossible: actually working. In tests, 70% of women who tried it report that it actually reduced the appearance of their cellulite. It was recently named “Best Beauty Tool of 2011” by Neiman Marcus and the first run has been flying off the shelves.
How did two regular FOF women do what thousands of giant beauty companies couldn’t?  Read on.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Tell me a little about your lives before you created the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer.
Nancy: I grew up in Lowell, Mass. I was a model in the late 70s and 80s in New York. I did covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, Mademoiselle. Then, I moved back home to Boston and went to culinary school. I became a chef for nine years. At the same time, I was a personal trainer and later I taught yoga, pilates, and was a fitness director at a high-end country club.

What made you leave modeling?
Nancy: I got divorced. I moved home with my son. At first, I did a little bit of modeling out of Boston but there was not much opportunity there.

What about you, Susan, what were you up to before working on the HoneyBelle?
Susan: I grew up in Chelmsford, Mass. I was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years and also did volunteer work. For nine years I sold the Worth Collection clothing line. That gave me tremendous insight into women and their bodies. I left Worth and started giveBeauty.com, a gift card beauty site.

And how did you two meet?
Susan: I was on the board of a theater company in Lowell with Nancy’s mom. Also, our youngest children went to high school together.

Nancy: Susan and I did a lot of charity events together. We’d see each other out and she would always ask me, “What’s the latest exercise?”

And how did you get the idea for the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer?
Nancy: I was running marathons and doing personal training at the time and a client gave me this quirky oscillating massager. She had been using it to get rid of scar tissue after lipo but told me to try it to soothe my muscles after training. It made them feel great. I told Susan to try it while I was on vacation…

Susan: It was this crazy little makeshift device. I used it a couple times a day because it felt good. By the end of the week I noticed my legs were smoother. I called Nancy up and left a screaming voicemail that said, ‘We are on to something here! We have to make this device bigger, better, stronger, more beautiful…’

When was this?
Susan: Four years ago…

So what did you do next?
Susan: I called a friend who is a plastic surgeon and asked him for a medical explanation. He told me that the technology, which is not new, is called random orbital oscillation. Cellulite is nothing more than fat locked into place by dermal bands or connected tissue (picture: fish-net stockings). This device doesn’t remove the fat, but when it spins and zig-zags over the skin, it stretches out the dermal bands and releases the fat from where it is. The dermal bands settle back into a normal configuration and reduces the appearance of cellulite.

So how is the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer different from the original device you tried?
Susan: It’s not new technology, it’s technology that we’ve reinvented. We changed the industrial and mechanical design of the gadget and made it bigger, better, stronger and prettier. We also made it safe for body use. There’s a lot of testing involved for products you use on your body.

Are there cases you shouldn’t use it?
Nancy: You shouldn’t use it if you are on blood thinners. And you can’t use it on the cervical spine, the breast or the face.

Who designed it?
Susan: We worked with a Slovakian industrial designer. She’s also a sculptor, so she has an eye for beauty.

And the technology–was it patented?
Nancy: Yes. We patented it. We worked with a team of MIT and Harvard engineers and doctors for the last four years to develop it. They helped us come up with a motor that is powerful yet small.

When did you officially launch the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer?
Nancy: In January of 2010 we launched. By May 2010 we had an exclusive with Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. They recognized that it was the only beauty and wellness tool for the body. There’s Clarisonic and other tools for the face, but nothing for the body.

There are these creams though, tell me about that…
Nancy: They are loaded with caffeine.

Susan: They work for a short period of time, a minute, a day…

Nancy: We have a cream that comes with the machine. It has green, white and red tea in it which helps release the toxins.

Do you have to use the cream with the bodybuffer?
Susan: No. You can use it with what ever cream you like.

When do you use it? Before or after you shower?
Nancy: Use the bodybuffer on dry, clean skin when completely undressed.  Use in the morning before your shower and then afterwards apply the cream.  Use at night before going to bed, and, again apply the cream afterwards.

How long before you see results?
Susan:  I saw results within the first week.

Nancy: But you have to keep using it. You don’t go on a diet for just a day, you don’t exercise for only a day. It’s a regime. It’s a body buffering experience.

Is it just for cellulite?
Susan: For me, it’s all about cellulite. It’s bathing suit prep. But, a lot of women are buying it for relief of sore muscles. Or really, you can use it for any type of edema–fluid build up. I do my shins, calves, soles and tops of my feet every night. It’s amazing. It makes my legs feel so energized.

Does it do anything to the muscle?
Nancy: It brings blood flow back into the muscle and it gets rid of the toxins and metabolic waste that builds up after a lot of exercise.

If you’re heavy and have cellulite, will this device work?
Nancy: It won’t make a heavy woman thin, but it will make them smoother.

How often should you use it to see results?
Nancy: For five to ten minutes, twice a day.

Do you have plans for the next level of bodybuffer?
Susan: We are coming out with our Babybelle™  this month. It’s for travel. You can throw it in your gym bag.

How much will those be?
Nancy: $295.

And how much is the original bodybuffer?
Nancy: $395

How has it been working together on this venture? A lot of women have trouble doing business with their friends…
Susan: We work really well together. If we hit a roadblock, we powered through it. We have a lot of positive energy.

Nancy and Susan are giving away Bellecore Honeybelle ® bodybuffers to 4 lucky FOFs. Enter here. Contest ends June 14, 2011.

Visit Nancy and Susan’s website.

{Careers} No experience? No degree? No problem!

These 5 FOFs started profitable second-act careers without going back to school or working their way up the ladder. Our FOF career gurus say you can, too…

B&B Proprietor

“My client Melanie, 54, was an executive with a major airline for over 20 years, but she always had a passion for cooking–especially breakfast pastries,” says FOF Career Guru Jane Angelich. “Her dream was to open a small B&B where she could live, earn an income, and enjoy baking for her guests.”

How she made it work: “Before Melanie made the leap, she spent a few days shadowing a B&B owner using this site: www.vocationvacations.com. Then, confident she’d enjoy B&B ownership, she sold her home (she was in the middle of a divorce), and rented while looking for an existing B&B for sale. By purchasing a property that was already active, she could build upon the prior owner’s customer base. She also didn’t have to worry about getting the zoning permits from scratch because that work was already done. Melanie is now making a comfortable living and having a blast creating new and exciting recipes for her guests.”

How you can, too: First, find a B&B you like and ask to shadow the proprietor for a few days. Even consider offering to work there a few weekends doing odd jobs. Then, salivate over all the fab inns for sale at www.bnb4sale.com. You’re on your way….

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“Workshopper” in a Retirement Community

“Anna, another client, was a bank executive who spent several years visiting her elderly aunt in a retirement community. She also hobbied as an actress in community theater. She loved listening to her aunt’s stories and decided she wanted to create a documentary to capture them. She created a series of workshops, using the documentary as a tool to help residents tell their stories. Since then she’s booked her workshops across the country and is paid as a workshop leader.”

How she made it work: “Anna landed her first ‘gig’ by trying out her material for free at her aunt’s retirement community to refine her delivery and material. She asked for testimonials and used them to build her marketing material. She attended a trade show geared for retirement community/assisted living providers and networked like crazy so she could follow-up after the show.”

How you can, too: What knowledge would you love to share? Consider your passions–history, gardening, art, shopping(!)–and offer to teach a seminar or run a workshop at your local assisted-living facility. Search for one in your community, here: http://www.alfa.org/

FOF Career Guru Jane Angelich is a serial entrepreneur. She’s been a business coach for over 30 years, helping women find their career zen. Today she is the CEO of Bright IP Concepts, manufacturer of the supercollar® and the author of two books about in laws, http://www.inlawexpert.com.
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Professional Downsizer

“My client Susan was a stay at home mom for many years before her kids left for school and her marriage fell apart,” says FOF Guru Kathi Elster. “She found her calling when she artfully downsized from a 4,000-square-foot home to a 1,000-square-foot apartment, sanity intact. Today, Susan helps families downsize when their kids move out, when someone moves to a retirement home or when divorce comes late in life.”

How she made it work: “Susan got her first client by visiting the newest Adult Living Facility in her community, describing her services, and offering a finder’s fee for any clients they recommended. She did the same with several local moving companies and quickly got clients. Then she started getting referrals.”

How you can, too: If you’re willing to pay a few hundred dollars, you can take organizing courses and get certified by NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers (classes average $40 for members and $140 for non-members). Alternately, offer to help a friend downsize for free, and learn while you do.

FOF Guru Kathi Elster, founder of k2 Enterprises, is an executive coach and nationally recognized business strategist.
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Home “Redecorator”

“An over-50 attorney I know loved home decorating and had a natural eye for it,” says Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors. “She watched HGTV and read decorating magazines religiously. Her friends always oohed and ahhed when they came to her home and begged her to help them with theirs. She knew this is what she wanted to do as her second-act career.”

How she did it: “She took a week off from her practice and completed my Redecorator Training in New York City. By the end of the week she had learned everything she needed to help clients re-do their rooms using what they already had on hand. This allowed her to jump right in, without having to create relationships with suppliers and designer showrooms. In addition to the practical redecorating skills, she learned best-business practices, pricing, marketing and even got some hands-on experience shadowing a re-decorator on the job. Plus, she was able to start off slow. She accepted clients on nights and weekends and only closed down her practice when she felt financially comfortable.”

How you can, too: Lauri Ward’s New York City Redesign training programs are offered 3-4 times per year. The $3,500 cost includes your tuition and lunch for the week. If you can’t make it to New York, Lauri offers an online training program (which provides the same certification as the live class) that you can complete at your own pace (typically 2-4 weeks) for $2,000. Once you get your business off the ground you can expect to earn a minimum of $250 per room (each room typically takes a couple of hours to complete).

Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors, an interior design business that helps people use what they already have in their home as the foundation to create a fresher, updated, more elegant look, without spending a lot of money.
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Dessert Caterer

“Andrea, a music industry exec was burnt out from her high-stress job and baking was the only thing that relaxed her,” says FOF career image specialist Lisa Johnson Mandell. “She recently started a dessert catering business. She makes treats for showers, teas, engagement parties and sets up dessert tables for kids parties. She plans to quit her day job when she can make enough from the business to keep up with her payments.”

How she made it work: “Andrea rents out a local kitchen for just $15 per hour and bakes on the weekends and by moonlight.  So far, it’s been a  minimum financial investment but it takes a toll on her, it’s physically draining and an enormous sacrifice of time. But, she thinks eventually she’ll be able to profit doing what she loves. She hopes to have her cake and eat it too.”

How you can, too: Many bakeries offer reasonable “cupcake camps” or workshops in cake decorating and baking. See if your local sweet shop has a class schedule. If not, ask if you can “stodge” (work in exchange for experience) at your local patisserie or shadow a pastry chef in your area. If your baking style is more homestyle than haute, market yourself that way! ‘Mrs. Fields’ never attended LeCourdon Bleu, and you needn’t either. When you’ve built up enough cooking confidence, check out this directory of commercial kitchens for rent and get baking!

FOF Lisa Johnson Mandell is a Career Image Specialist, an award-winning multimedia journalist, host and author of Career Comeback—Repackage yourself to get the job you want.

{Giveaway} The next generation of “business cards!”

FOF is giving away three brilliant alternatives to old-school business cards. To enter, answer this question in the comments below: Do you prefer networking in person or online?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Has the desktop Rolodex gone the way of the dodo? And if it has, where are we supposed to keep all those business cards?! Business card swapping, once an in-person business ritual, has migrated to the web. Discover a whole new generation of contact management, below:

Virtual business cards: About.Me connects your physical business cards to your online networking profiles. When you create an About.Me online profile, you receive business cards (printed by Moo.com) with a special barcode. When potential customers or business associates scan the code with their smartphones, they’re taken to your About.me profile page which includes links to your website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. You can track who visited your “virtual business card” and where they are coming from.
*Win: A pack of 50 About.me business cards printed by Moo.com (a $21.99 value)

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The ultimate contact management app: Connected helps you reference all your contacts in one place. It builds a single online contact book using your e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook and other online networks. Among other fab features, it sends you reminders when one of your contacts has a birthday or changes jobs.
*Win: A 3-month subscription to Connected (normally $9.99 per month)

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Business card scanner app: Take a photo of a physical business card with your  iPhone or Droid, and the ScanBizCards app will recognize and store all the contact information in your phone. It also creates a virtual library of business cards and contact information that you can access from your desktop.
*Win: Unlimited version of the ScanBizCards app (normally $5.99)

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*Enter to win one of these 3 fab networking tools: a stack of business cards from About.Me and Moo.com, a Connected contact management app or the ScanBizCards app. 3 FOFs will win. Answer this question in the comments below: Do you prefer to network in person or online?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. Three winners are chosen at random from all those commenters who answer the question. Contest closes June 9, 2011.)

{Survey} What are FOFs up to 9 to 5?

Boardroom or boredom? Job-hopper or loyal as a dog? Retiring or reinventing? Answer this anonymous career survey, then find out about the work lives of other FOFs.

Which best describes your current employment status?

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If you are working, how much do you typically make in year?

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Do you financially support your husband or partner?

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If you’re working, what best describes your employer?

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Which best describes your job transitioning behavior?

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At what age were you most satisfied with your career?

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What best describes your attitude towards retirement?

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Which (if any) posed the biggest challenge to your career ambitions?

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If you had kids, how did motherhood affect your career?

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If you have grown children, do you have to work to support them?

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Were you forced to go back to work by any of the following reasons?

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How has the current economic downturn affected your career?

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Do you have any regrets about the career path you’ve chosen?

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If you could go back, would you spend more or less time worrying about your career?

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{Business} 6 Commandments for $uccessful Garage Sales

Thou shall read these 6 commandments for successful garage sales and thou shall hear the cash register ring…

FOF “Master of Garagesaleology,” Ava Seavey shares her secrets for pricing, marketing and stocking your sale so that you walk away with maximum cash profits.

1. Everything must be labeled with a price.
“A lot of people are shy; if an item isn’t marked, they will likely walk away. Don’t be a salesperson. Be a cashier. Period. And don’t hover–it turns shoppers off.”

2. Take out an ad.
“A lot of people think they’ll just put up a sign, and people will come. Guess what? The majority of people will come from your ad. And people who come from an ad will be serious buyers. Community papers, circulars and the like are good places. There are also garage sale sites online.”

3. Lay things out properly.
“Don’t put things on the ground. A large percentage shoppers will be retired folk and they can’t always bend down to rummage on the lawn.”

4.  Make a proper sign.
“Most people write too much and the letters are too small. You could get into a car accident just trying to read that little piece of paper. I like large signs that go in the ground, with very little written on them. You want people to salivate with anticipation of coming to your sale.”

5.  Two words: Free and No
“If a customer buys something, have a table from which he or she can pick something out for free. Or advertise ‘buy two books, get one free.’ Don’t just give stuff away; there has to be some sort of catch to it.”

The other word is ‘No.’ As in, ‘No, you can’t have that $10 item for $1.’ ‘No’ needs to be said to maximize your profits. And if you say ‘no,’ a lot of times people will come back and buy it anyway. That will net you higher profits than if you let people negotiate. And most people who come to these sales do not want to haggle. It’s a common misconception that they do.”

6.  Appeal to the masses.
“You have to have items for men, women and children. A sale can’t just be all baby clothes or all purses. If a woman is shopping and she has a man with her and he’s bored, they won’t stay long. Men happen to be great garage sale shoppers, by the way. Same thing with kids’ stuff. If a kid becomes occupied looking at stuff, the mother will stay longer.  Have low-priced items, middle-priced items and expensive items. If you don’t have enough to do this, ask your friends to add some items.”

{Read the entire interview with Ava here}

Learn more about garagesaleology at www.garagesalegold.com

{Art} She made $87,000 in a year selling her art online. And you can too!

There’s a mass migration occurring in the art world. Many FOF artists have abandoned traditional galleries to run their own virtual galleries on websites like Etsy, Artfire and eBay. They’ve found that online they can make more money and offer art to buyers for less than selling in brick-and-mortar galleries (which take up to a 50 percent cut of their profits). “My first year on eBay I grossed $87,000,” says FOF artist Patty A. Baker. How’d she do it? Read on to find out how Patty and 2 other FOFs have turned their art from a love to a living.

Patty A. Baker

Painter
Sells on: Etsy, her own website and Art.com
Location:
Ogdensburg, New York

Why do you like Etsy and Art.com?
Etsy offers a lot of exposure. Art.com does all the printing, framing, and shipping. I submitted a bunch of high-res images to Art.com which was a lot of work in the beginning, but now it’s easy.

Do you sell in brick-and-mortar galleries?
I’ve been selling online since 2004. I support myself and two kids with what I make online. My first year on eBay I grossed $87,000. If things continue the way they are this year I’ll gross $50-60 thousand. I know one artist who makes $500-600 thousand selling her art online. It’s so doable.

What’s the secret to selling art successfully online?
You have to make art that people are going to buy. That’s a hurdle for most artists. You do have to bend, you do have to do some sort of selling out.

How do you price your art?
I had to come way down in price when the recession hit. I use a loose formula of 23 cents per square inch for the larger paintings. For the 16X20 paintings, I charge $160.

How do you choose what you are going to paint?
What I paint is secondary to how I paint it. I like to see how colors respond to each other. I also look around to see what’s selling. I’m just as happy painting a salt shaker as a river.

Buyers don’t need to see the art in person anymore?
A buyer recently said to me, ‘Many people buy art to match furniture. I bought a couch to match your painting.’ Also, artists who sell online will bend over backwards to make sure the buyer is happy. For my commissioned pieces, I send samples by e-mail before I ship to make sure it’s right.

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Nancy LaBerge Muren

Watercolor Artist
Sells on: Etsy and her own website
Location:
Davis, California

What is your style of painting?
I like to capture interesting light. Light is so fleeting. I take photos of something I see with nice light, then take it back to my studio to paint it.

Why do your prefer to sell online versus in a gallery?
It’s a lot of work to get things ready for a gallery. I’d do all my own matting and framing. I’d cart around the art. Then the frames would get old-fashioned, and I’d have to update them. And in the end, it wouldn’t sell. On a site like Etsy, every day there are at least 2,000 people that are looking at my work, in a gallery you might get 5. 

So the exposure that the web offers is the biggest draw for you?
Yes, in fact, last summer I was contacted by a television art director who found me by doing a search on Etsy. Now my paintings are on the sets of the shows Modern Family and Better With You.

How do you price your art?
I look how other people are pricing their art. Sometimes people think because art is priced lower it’s not as good, but if I were selling in a gallery, they would take 50% and I’d have to pay for my time and materials. If I subtract all that I end up with a pretty good price for originals. I can price lower because I sell more.

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Leslie Saeta

Painter and Host of Artists Helping Artists Blog Talk Radio Show
Sells on: DailyPainters.com and her own website
Location:
South Pasadena, California

How did you get into painting?
I’ve only actually been painting for 5 years. I had an emergency hysterectomy and after that I decided I needed to do something for me.

Why do you like selling on DailyPainters?
DailyPainters jump-started my art business. The visibility from the site is really incredible. Every day that I post a new painting to my blog, DailyPainters publishes it to their homepage. There are 80-100 new paintings each day. It’s difficult to be a featured artist on DailyPainters. Last year they only picked up one new artist, so I feel blessed my art is on their site.

How do you price your art?
It’s all priced by size. For instance, all my 6×6 paintings sell for $200 unframed.

How do you decide what to paint? Do you paint to what sells?
You have to think of both, what people are buying but also what inspires. I paint a lot of reflections because it’s what inspires me. I also paint a lot of universities and colleges because it creates a wonderful memento.

What is a common mistake people make when they try to sell art online?
You’d be surprised how many people write on their websites, ‘E-mail me if you want to buy my art.’ A lot of art purchases are on impulse so you need to make it as easy as possible for the buyer. Just recently, I led a workshop on how to add a “Buy Now” button to your website.

What’s a secret to selling art successfully online?
You have to market your art with press releases, newsletters and shows. Every month I send out a newsletter and it results in at least one sale. Over the holidays I ran a ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion and gave away something each day. The traffic I generated to my site was amazing. You can’t just sit back and think listing it on a website is going to sell it.

{Giveaway} Win a tower of chocolate-drizzled popcorn!

FOFs Elaine Wyatt and Paula Kauffman are giving away this tower of chocolate-drizzled popcorn from their brilliant biz, b’drizzled. Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Do you prefer to snack on candy or popcorn when you go to the movies?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.


Every holiday season for as long as they can remember, sisters-in-law and FOFs Elaine Wyatt and Paula Kauffman made their signature treat: double-drizzled chocolate popcorn. “Our family friends lovingly call it ‘crack corn’ because it’s so addicting,” says Elaine. “People love the sweet and salty combination of popcorn and candy when they go to the movies, and that’s exactly what our snack embodies.”

Elaine and Paula began to sell the treat at fundraisers to make money for their children’s student activities. “It sold great,” says Elaine. “People told us ‘you should take this into stores.'”

A longtime marketing consultant for high-end shopping centers, Elaine had an in with Hiller’s Markets, a Michigan-based gourmet chain. “We took it to their corporate headquarters for them to sample and they just loved it,” she remembers.

In 2006, Hiller’s Markets became the first stores to carry b’drizzled popcorn (the name Elaine and Paula decided on) and from there, business popped off.

Their popcorn is now sold in 30 gourmet markets in Michigan as well as Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in five states. Their bestsellers include “Double Chocolate Supreme,” “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup,” and “Chocolate Cherry Cordial.” (Elaine’s favorite is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup and Paula’s favorite is White Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream.) Elaine and Paula employ up to twenty employees at a time at their factory in Farmington Hills, Michigan, where they kettle pop and double-drizzle their premium popcorn each day.

Enter to win a b’drizzled popcorn tower, by answering this question in the comments, below: Do you prefer to snack on candy or popcorn when you go to the movies?

(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes March 3, 2011