Friday, June 22, 2007

Who are the people in your neighbourhood?

Good ol' Sesame Street. I've been enjoying watching the same old stuff that they've remastered to make a little more modern, or used as a background for Grover flailing around. And I enjoy that I now have an excuse to watch it again. hehe.
But really, that doesn't have much to do with this post other than making friends with your "neighbours" is a good thing. And in this case, I'm referring to other similar small businesses run in Ottawa by women. We're making friends with them, and trying to learn from them, and they're fabulous!!

Karen, who started Sugardaddy spent a great part of yesterday afternoon telling us about starting an online business in Ottawa, and helping us know what to do, and what to stay away from. She had great advice, and she has FABULOUS stuff. I have an ESPE wallet and change purse from her, and I'm already thinking about what I want to buy for when I go back to work! :)

Christina and Bridget from Workshop Boutique have also been fabulous. They answer questions whenever we have any, and send us names of people to work with. They just expanded their store in the Market and it is ALSO fabulous. I am currently sporting the headband and belt that is not a belt but a guitar strap, but who needs to stick to rules about what things are, that I bought at their re-launch party the other night.

While I'm on a kick of great small businesses in Ottawa, have you ever checked out Milkface? I bought my meit tai, my ring sling, and all the nursing bras that were ever worth wearing from her. She's online too, and definitely worth your time.
Vicky bought her baby hawk from the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe, so they too are worth your time.

These are some of the friends in my 'neighbourhood'. We'd love to keep talking to more!
add to sk*rt

A potential tag line

We got some really great suggestions to our request for tag lines! Thank you to everyone who submitted ideas. We are considering using this tag line, but we really want your feedback. Do you like it? Does it inspire you to want to shop at our store? Do you not like it at all? Why? Let us know!

Apples'n'Oranges kids clothing: Common fruit, uncommon style!
add to sk*rt

Monday, June 18, 2007

Apples'n'Oranges Survey #2

We'd really appreciate your feedback by completing this short survey: Click Here to take survey. If you have already received this message in an email, you do not need to complete the survey twice.

add to sk*rt

More research

Today Lara and I are doing some more research. I just looked up Apples'n'Oranges in the Canadian Trademark Database and yippee there were no documents found! That means we don't have to worry about launching our business only to find some big business already has the name trademarked and is going to sue us. Fiouf.

Lara's in the process of inquiring about importing goods from the U.S. Seriously, there is so much to learn about starting a new business, and nothing is in the same place! GST numbers, Import/export numbers, zoning laws, vendor licenses, insurance for your house, insurance for your car... the list goes on. And it looks like all of these don't need to be set up until the last minute. Boo, if only we could plan ahead on all of these things while we're still at home with time on our hands. But no, both of us have signed on to start this business just as we're going back to school and work. Busy times ahead!!!
add to sk*rt

Monday, June 11, 2007

Help us out and you could win a prize!

The thing about having a great business name like Apples'n'Oranges means that we need a tag line that will let our customers know exactly what we are all about! The perfect tag line will be short, punchy, and memorable. We'll use it mainly on our business cards but also on our Web site. Essentially, we want our tag line to say something like "Your kids are unique, so shouldn't their clothes be too?"

This is where we need your help! If you suggest a tag line that we end up using, you'll win a fabulous prize:

your choice of an 18 month 'Give Peas a Chance' long-sleeve onesie, or the Modern Child-Unfriendly Alphabet Tea Towel.

Here are some guidelines

-no more than one line, however it can be more than one sentence.
-must have some mention of, or allude to funky hip children's clothing.

Here are some examples that we have come up with. Feel free to use parts of these examples to come up with something even catchier!

-Stand out in the fruit bowl
-Because no two are alike

You can submit your suggestions into the comments, or you can email them directly to me at

Contest closes June 17th.
add to sk*rt

Getting the headquarters in order!

The Apples'n'Oranges company headquarters will be in my basement, in the office that we never use now that we have a laptop! I have two of those Expedit bookshelves from IKEA, which will be perfect for storing inventory. Before I can start setting up the new company office, I need to do some reorganization in my basement. I am going to put together a play area for Joel and move all his toys to one side of the basement. That way I can move out the bookcases from the office to make room for the storage. But before I can do that, husband needs to install some new shelving in our kitchen pantry so I can move all the kitchen stuff being stored on the Expedit bookshelves!

I am also going to get rid of a lot of items we don't use at a garage sale this coming weekend. If you are in the neighbourhood, come and check us out!
add to sk*rt

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A request for more info

Ok all you A'n'O followers, so I hear there's been a request for more information about our progress? Things are really rolling along now! You've seen the logo below, let us know just how much you love it!

Right now we're in the process of getting our website up. We have a few options in terms of web development.

1) The very talented Eric Wellman will code the back end of our website for us at a very good price (yet to be determined- although I'm wondering if it could include favours of some kind, perhaps lawn mowing or car washing? ;) With this option, we will need a graphic designer to do only the front end of the site. You'd think it would be easy to find a designer who will separate coding from design, but not so. We're still shopping around for prices and for the best fit, and so far we've found a few really great designers, but they are not interested in just providing us with photoshop image files which is really too bad.

2) My brother Ian runs a web company called Tarantula Consulting and he's offered a package deal including web hosting, web mail, front end design using either a stock template or having it designed by a designer, as well as the whole back end shopping cart system. He can get the site up in as little as a week. We're just waiting for a quote. Ian seems to have a lot of knowledge and experience in search engine optimization which peaked my interest.

Both options are good, and I personally want to make an informed decision about our web needs. Until I talked to my brother, I really had no idea what we needed. But now I am more informed, and I am trying to look at both options from a professional perspective. Although, it is difficult since both Lara and I have relationships with our two potential web guys...we don't want to hurt feelings or step on toes.
add to sk*rt

We have a face!

Thanks to Mike at Point 25 for creating this fabulous logo for us!! Apples'n'Oranges is looking good!!

add to sk*rt

Monday, June 4, 2007

Indie artists are cool.

I wanna be an Indie Artist! On Sunday Lara and I went down to an event called Art in the Park and I saw so many amazingly creative people there! I liked to consider myself a creative person, but after seeing some of the art, sculpture and jewelry at Art in the Park, I have a serious inferiority complex. I want to be funky, hip, cool and create something! Maybe I can channel this need to create into making bibs! :)
add to sk*rt

Friday, June 1, 2007

Cuz you can't do it alone

I thought I'd do a little plug for the Entrepreneurship Center. I know that this will only come in useful if you're thinking of starting a business in the Ottawa area, but I'm sure there must be similar types of organizations in other cities?

The Entrepreneurship Center has really been useful to us so far. Not only did we go to an information session about starting our own business, we also got to meet with a banker to discuss the financial needs of a new business, and a business advisor who answered our general questions, for FREE, we get to talk to a lawyer and an accountant for a small fee, we have access to free workshops on things like bookkeeping, and we can use their resource center. Talk about useful!

And we feel pretty good about all the information we've been getting, including positive feedback - like the business advisor wanting to know when we launch so she can buy stuff for her four year old! :)
add to sk*rt