It’s a full year later than when we originally intended to launch a new site, but it’s now live. Since Google announced about a month ago that it’ll rank mobile-friendly sites higher in search results, it was critical to do so (I need to get this blog on the mobile-friendly program soon too). Our old site was already suffering from poor SEO due to some of the typographic design decisions I implemented when we launched that site years ago that have since made it outdated as far as SEO goes, so now that we’re back on the search results grid, I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting our site to rank higher for certain keywords. I think this new site might be the 4th or 5th version since we started our business 8 years ago and every version is a reflection of where we are currently in web design trends.
Increased bandwidth over the years have resulted in web designs that feature bigger, higher resolution photos, but design has gotten more templated and in a way, maybe even “less creative” due to the fact that sites need to be responsive in nature so that they’re optimized across all devices. When I look back at the very early days of web design and coding, we used to design the craziest stuff because there were no rules back then and it was all experimentation. Usability wasn’t a thing yet; it was just novel to get anything up on the web and graphic assets, particularly photos, were limited to bandwidth. When I started designing websites for clients back in the late 90s/early 2000s, I experimented a lot with navigation, especially when Flash websites were a thing, and it makes me laugh now because they seem so user-unfriendly by today’s standards. Now, 15 years later, we have best practices, CMS, templates, and usability requirements that have almost homogenized web design. Is WordPress killing web design? That’s up for debate. These are big generalizations, of course, and there are lots of beautiful, unique and creative websites out there in the world, but I admit this has played a part in my desire to move on from this part of my career.
All of this isn’t a bad thing, obviously. Good usability IS good design and that’s a beautiful thing. So while our new website might not be the most creative website I’ve designed, I’m thrilled with how it works across all devices and even happier still with how easy it is to update and maintain on the backend. Hopefully, it will be a better user experience across the board for you too.
P.S. Our Father’s Day Gift Box is available. Order deadline is June 14th. Head over to our new site for details.
P.P.S. Sign up for our mailing list on the website. We don’t send out too many newsletters (promise!), but we do send out emails with exclusive sales for our newsletter subscribers.
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We had our first 80 degree day on Saturday, shed our jackets, put sandals on and promptly complained about how hot it was, ha! The truth is, the warm weather was a little too soon. We’re still getting used to this Spring weather and we’d like to enjoy it a little longer.
Which brings us to Mother’s Day which is only 3 weeks away (this year, I tell ya. Where is the time going?). We’re having a little Mother’s Day Gift Box Pre-sale till Tuesday – 15% off if you order early.
Hope your weekend was a great one. Ours could have gone better, but Mark had a killer day at Smorgasburg on Sunday so it ended well. It certainly lifted our spirits. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us. The outdoor market season is shaping up to be a great one.
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I always look forward to the reappearance of these sunny Rosemary Meyer Lemon sandwich cookies at Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to forget that citrus is a winter fruit, but this is a good thing, right? When we need the sunniness of citrus the most. We also brought back the Pink Peppercorn Red Currant Linzer Cookies from years ago. But the real story here is that I had some fun styling the cookies and hot chocolate over the course of 2 days.
I don’t love food styling. Sometimes I don’t have the patience for it (or a well endowed prop closet which really helps) and taking photos always takes a lot longer than you think, but recently I’ve taken on the task of food styling like it’s my job because…well, I suppose it is part of my job. I still have a lot to learn and improve on, but this is all related to brainstorming what we need to do in the years ahead for the business. Because so much of social media right now is image driven, great photos are critical.
We’re still wrapping up paperwork from last year so we haven’t completely assessed how we did for 2014. I know it was a bit of a lost year for obvious reasons, and I’m grateful that we could even afford the time to drift away like that. All part of the healing process, I suppose. But for the first time in all these years in business, I feel the pressure to think beyond what we’ve been doing and actually look ahead rather than just keep up. We’ve sacrificed growth for profit and that’s how we’ve been operating since Day 1. It’s actually worked well for us, but it’s not sustainable. Changes in retail, fluctuating food trends, and technology shifts business in ways that we can’t even predict sometimes. How you weather and adapt to these shifts in the industry is what will make or break your future. It’s good that I’ve been thinking about it so much these past few weeks; it means I’m thinking business. It’s not necessarily comfortable to think about, but anything involving growth rarely is.
Now available in our shop: A Little Box of Valentine’s Day Cookies | Earl Grey Hot Chocolate & Rose Vanilla Marshmallow Hearts | Spiced Chile Hot Chocolate & Coconut Marshmallow Hearts. Order deadline is February 5th.
Posted by Jenna | 11 Comments
That first day after the holiday rush is over is both a relief and a strange letdown. It’s fairly hard to explain because it’s such a weird mix of feelings and I wonder if other business owners feel the same way. I walked around all day yesterday in a haze – this after getting excited the night before about wrapping up another holiday and thinking about all the business related projects I want to get started. I think it’s a combination of not knowing initially what to do with myself and the crash from a high. But it’s done, another holiday done!
Next year is the year I turn my focus back on the business; we have plans – we’ve always had plans – but they always seem to get derailed by other life things. But as we move into year 8 of the business, it’s time. I’m working on making this a priority for 2015 and trying to clear my schedule to make it happen (despite the fact that I now have a job). In the scheme of things, they’re small changes. We’re not opening a store or writing a cookbook, though those two things always come up when we think about how static we feel sometimes, particularly since pretty much all of our friends have opened up their own spaces and written a book, but I suppose we’ve always moved at our own (snail’s) pace. But I can tell you that earlier this year I was in meetings about a book; then life happened and it just didn’t seem like the right time anymore.
I also think about how in past years I always ended my day writing a post, even during holiday madness times. What that means is that I made it a priority back then. And now? Well, I’ve expressed before that it’s been a struggle. Even with good intentions to write, it’s been harder to put the words down. I think like a lot of bloggers, Instagram has replaced the blog. It’s easier and spontaneous, less commitment and the engagement is better (so if you’re instagram, let’s connect!). But I won’t give up on this space. Posts will be fewer and farther between and there’s a far smaller circle than there used to be, but it I’ll still hang around if you will.
We’re looking forward to a quiet weekend. Actually, no…a LAZY weekend! We’ve usually done holiday markets the last shopping weekend of the season, but this year we decided to skip it – and I’m glad. A weekend of pajamas, hot chocolate, games, and maybe a little holiday adventure sounds really good right about now.
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This is our 7th holiday season. It hasn’t exactly been the kind of craziness where we’re running like chickens with our heads cut off or pulling our hair out in stress. Not yet anyway, but we did feel some of that holiday stress tonight. It’s always hard to gauge what kind of December we’ll have – order volumes change from year to year (and with it our sanity level), but every year proves to be a little different no matter how prepared you think you are for it.
I went back on the blog yesterday and read over the entries around the holidays, all the way back to our first in business. It’s something I like to do every season this time of year, I guess to see where we’ve been and how we got here, and to laugh at the memories of how stressful the holidays can be now that we have a little distance from those particular memories. Like how our fan belt fell off the car while driving during a delivery run; or the time the car stalled and wouldn’t start up in the middle of Times Square (another delivery mishap); or the year we did a holiday market for 9 straight days during our busiest days in December and nearly died trying to keep our booth stocked with product. There have definitely been years where tears were shed. Last year we made over 900 s’mores gift boxes and that was a big production we didn’t think we could handle, but we survived somehow with a little help from friends.
This year our shipping deadline is Monday, Dec 15th for Christmas delivery. I hope everyone is having a having a nice holiday season!
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