Monthly Archives:

June 2018


5 Must Have Items for Shipping Merchandise

June 25, 2018

Finding our what you need to handle shipments is an ongoing process that doesn’t need to be fully tackled right away. Some items are absolutely required and some just offer comfort / speed increases.

1. Weight Scale – The size of the products you’re selling will determine the scale you’re going to use. For our Etsy stores,  ubermugs and Drink Everyday we use the Ozeri Pro II. Our home business consists of selling customized wine glasses and coffee mugs that tend to not weigh over 14 ounces ( with box and packing ). The small footprint and ability to measure minute changes makes this perfect for our use. Being able to accurately measure the weight of your items also lets you give your customers their exact shipping cost with no added surprises.

2. Printer – Depending on the size of your store, and frequency of shipments, investing into a laser printer might be a good option. The printer we started using is a Ricoh C250 laser printer. The price point of the printer tends to be on the lower end of the spectrum and it gives us the versatility to print in color (if need be) and print our shipping labels.

A great alternative to buying a standard printer would be a thermal printer. Thermal printers work by applying heat onto specialty label paper which then exposes the content you printed.  The printers themselves are also a tad bit expensive if you compare them to standard home printers. The thermal printer we use is the Dymo LabelWriter 4XL, which lets us print on 4 x 6 paper ( perfect for shipping labels). The downside to using these printers however is the paper itself. Original (OEM) paper can be quite expensive in the long run so we went with an aftermarket source (linked below). The speed at which we can produce and apply shipping labels to our orders makes this a no brainier. It’s literally print, peel, stick, ship.

3. Bubble Wrap and Void Fill – A pivotal part of shipping process is making sure that it makes it in the same condition you sent it in. Leaving empty spaces in a box makes the boxes less dense and more susceptible to caving in. Make sure you bubble wrap your items whenever applicable and use void fill to help fill up the rest.

TIP: You can use newspaper and easily shred it into strips to use it as void fill.

    • Bubble Cushioning Wrap 175′ – This comes perforated every 12 inches. If you’re sending small to medium items make sure you get something similar.

4. Tape (and TapeGun) – From securely closing your boxes to sealing your shipping label ( if done on a standard printer) this is an item you must have. While the tape gun is an option and not a requirement its ease of use and increased speed make this essential for your small business. If you’re shipping items under 5 lbs then the quality of the tape inst really an issue. If your store / shop / business tends to send items a little heavier than that then consider investing into better quality tape.

5. Boxes – By boxes I don’t mean just any ole box either. A dangerous thing to avoid when shipping merchandise is both the over-sized and undersized box. Finding the right box for the items you are shipping is imperative to the success of your business.  The first thing to get hit before your item is always the box!

The right sized box for shipping

We ship our wine glasses and ceramic coffee mugs in single corrugated boxes that measure 6(L) X 6(W) X 6(H). Single Corrugated means one inner wafer like cardboard sandwiched bettween 2 flat sides. Depending on the value of your items this may or may not be enough!

TIP: If you’re sending items via USPS priority sign up for a USPS account. There is a supplies section where you can order  boxes in different sizes free of charge. However they must be used solely for shipping items using PRIORITY and with USPS.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Clicking some of the links on this post will grant a commission sale which helps keep the site afloat.


6 Tips and Tricks To Get Your First Sale On Etsy

June 22, 2018
6 Tips To Get Your First Sale On Etsy

There is no better feeling than opening your store and getting your first sale. The sensation, excitement, rush, is definitely something hard to replicate. Your first sale is the culmination of hard, dedication, patience, and perseverance. The problem however is reaching that milestone. These tips are suggestions that will help you in your quest to obtain the ever elusive first sale.

1. Have Patience.

Do not expect to be an overnight success story. My wife and I opened our first Etsy store, Drink Everyday , in early July of 2017. We didn’t get to experience the joy of  euphoria until the very end of the month. There were times of doubt, uncertainty, squabbles, and quitting ( my wife ). My stubbornness however didn’t allow me to give up!  It is absolutely normal for a store to not get a sale in the first couple of months.  Just like in life there is a learning curve to selling online.

2. Take better pictures.

6 Tips and Tricks To Get Your First Sale On Etsy | Take Better pictures with a photo booth / Lightbox

6 Tips and Tricks To Get Your First Sale On Etsy | Take Better pictures with a photo booth / Lightbox

While having a DSLR , studio lighting, and a professional take your stock photos is great it’s definitely not practical. Make sure you take hi-quality, professional, and white background (whenever possible) pictures. Etsy currently allows you to add up to 10 photos to display to your potential customer. Take as many photos as necessary to show your  customer every nook and cranny possible. Make sure you give your customer an in store experience online.

Additional TIP: Depending on the lighting conditions in your home you should consider investing into a product photo booth. I was able to purchase a small photo booth with LED Lights and camera port for less than 20 dollars shipped off WISH.

3. Add content.

Once you’ve managed to get someone to get  to your store you’re going to want to make sure that your have something for them to look at. Not having a logo for your shop or a picture of yourself  shows you’ve done the absolute minimum to start a shop. Visitors are more willing to buy when all of the options are used. You’re going to also want to add a few listings to your store. If you have variations for your products try to add them as separate listings vs one so it shows you have more than what you do.

Ideally you will also want to have compelling descriptions that connect with your customer. Try to ask yourself what would I need to know in order for me to buy this item? Make sure to describe the process,  lead time, and shipping terms.

Additional TIP:  There is no shame in looking at what someone more successful is doing. If you find someone with a similar shop, see which ideas work best for them.

4. Learn how to understand some SEO.

Advanced levels of SEO  ( Search Engine Optimization) take hours and hours of trial and error to perfect. Make sure you follow some generic SEO tips when it comes to having proper titles, keywords, and descriptions.

Additional TIP: Common best practices for SEO.

  • Make sure your most targeted keyword are towards the front of your title – both etsy and google will limit the search possibilities as they restrict the amount of characters they list. Having your strongest keywords in the front will ensure exposure to them.
  • Your description should mention your top keyword or keywords
  • Use all 15 of your keywords – Use word variations that describe your product.

5. Use promoted listings!

Getting traffic to an unknown store is a bit difficult at the start. Etsy tends to not “trust” you so-to-say so it buries you the search until you get some follows / likes. While promoted listings is an additional cost it should be something you consider.

Promoted listings are paid per click advertising. Your product will potentially be displayed on any of the 3 promotion panes etsy has per page. Deciding how much you want to pay per click boils down to you deciding if you want etsy to take the wheel or if you want to set a specified predetermined price. Your advertise will continue to run over and over until you reach your max daily limit (you set this when you start advertising). Advertisements are displayed in such a way where the highest bidder will receive more adverts until their daily limit is exhausted.

Additional TIP: Drink Everyday – Promoted Listing Details:

Our store has paid $505.22 promoted listings, has received 223 orders, and we’ve sold $3,615.66 worth of merchandise.

Depending on your bottom line this may be good or bad for you. Since we make our products our margins tend to be a little higher than most. We averaged, after cost for promoted listings, $13.94 per sale.

6. Use your tools!

Etsy provides you with some basic tools that will tell you a couple of things based on your visitors habits. It will include some of their searched terms, how many have visited, what country, and times of visits.  While powerful in their own right they definitely leave a lot to be desired.

There are 3rd party free / paid services that offer you a more in depth look into your business. One such company is called Etsy Rank. Etsy rank tends to give you some behind the scenes information that is not made readily available to the naked eye. Etsy Rank - 6 Tips to get your first sale on etsy

The most appealing features to me have been Missing Tags, Missing Images, Missing Attributes, SEO Score, and Tracked Competitors. There is no better way to optimize your store to the best of its potential without a tool similar to this. Signing up is free for a basic package and they also have a paid version. I high suggest signing up for at least the free version so you can see what is offered. *This is not a paid advertisement and there is no affiliate link for Etsy Rank*




June 14, 2018
My Daughters Arachnoid Cyst Before

updated: 09.21.2018

It’s going to be ok!

Chances are that if you landed on this page either you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst. While I am not a doctor, and I do not suffer from an arachnoid cyst, I can give you the perspective of a parent who’s child does have one. This should also give you an idea on whats in store for you ahead.

My daughter Emma was born on June 27, 2013. My wife and I were extremely happy to hear the news that after months of trying she was finally pregnant! We did EVERYTHING possible to insure that this was going to be a smooth and flawless pregnancy. She got off birth control months before, took her daily prenatal’s, and for the most part we lived in a stress free environment.  The vessel for our soon to be daughter was prepped and primed for an easy delivery. Or so we thought.

Arachnoid Cyst Diagnosis

During one of our routine visits to the doctors office something came up on the sonogram. We noticed something was a bit off when the lab-tech called our doctor in to evaluate what was on the screen. Thinking nothing of it ( it was our first child ), when we were told to leave, we left. A week later we were called back into the office as they wanted to go over the sonogram pictures with us.

Upon arriving to the doctors office we were fast tracked and greeted by the 4 on staff doctors. To get an appointment to see one is already a mission, to see all 4 in the same office was quite the anomaly! My wife was rushed into the room, propped up, and began the process of having yet another sonogram taken. At this point I began to get worried and asked the doctor if anything was wrong. Waiting for the doctors reply felt like an eternity; In reality it was 20 seconds. “We’re not sure” was the response given to us by the doctors. At the time I could not begin to fathom how these trained professionals could not give me an answer. Our choices to evaluate the situation were: to either leave it up to nature, or have an emergency C-Section. We choose the ladder. We were told to prepare for the worst, go home, pack some belongs, and return to the hospital because the show was about to start.

Our premature daughter arrived to us via C-Section  at about 8 p.m. Immediately, due to her size, and pre-existing condition, she was hooked up to the majority of the machinery in the NICU. The following day I took my daughter to get her first MRI. Upon completion we were notified that it was indeed not blood but a cyst.


1 month after being born my daughter was allowed to go home. Due to her size, and recent birth,  the neurosurgeon opted to wait another month before performing any surgeries.

  • Surgery 1: Endoscopic Fenestration  – In a nutshell the doctor will pop and drain the cyst to alleviate pressure [performed on my daughter and did not work] .
  • Surgery 2: Endoscopic Fenestration + VP Shunt – Same as above with an added drainage that will drain in my daughters stomach ( body will absorb the fluid ).

The first surgery of the 2 was performed in order for there to not be a permanent VP shunt placed. This however did not work for my daughter but it does in many other instances. We opted to do the first operation as it was an option to hopefully remove the cyst and also not impact her life with a shunt.

Symptom and Side Effects

Including but not limited to:

  • Head Aches
  • Vomiting
  • Mood Swings
  • Cognitive delay
  • Developmental delay
  • Seizures
  • Weight Gain ( Steroids )
  • Increased head size

Therapy –

Therapy has tremendously helped our daughter improve! Our daughter was granted the ability to get therapy for 2 – 3 days a week and every so often we have to get re-evaluated with the insurance.

    • Occupational Therapy –  My daughters therapist will reinforce and introduce things as she see’s fit. They started off trying to just make sure our daughter knew how to use her hands. Blocks, puzzles, scissors are all going  to be things your child is going to be shown how to use / master.
    • Speech Therapy – Learning the differences between sounds,  genders, and sentence structure. The speech therapist has helped tremendously with our daughters Echolalia (repeats whatever you’re trying to say. Me: “Emma come here” Her: “Emma come here”).

Follow up appointments –

Depending on the size of the cyst and its location you will be required to have follow up appointments. Be ready and accustomed to weekly, bi-weekly, monthly visits to the doctors office. MRI’s were performed initially every 2 weeks, to monthly, to every 6 months, and finally we’re at the yearly stage.

Are they sick or is it the shunt?

Kids naturally live in a cesspool of death and decay. Anything they tend to find on the floor, street, trash, or in their nose suddenly becomes nutrition. With that being said just because your child has a shunt you don’t always have to rush them to the hospital. Kids are always going to be kids and they will trade germs and sicknesses like baseball cards. This is normal. Your kid is fine.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Consult with your child’s doctor for anything related to sickness.

These are some tips to see if there is a problem with the shunt or if your child is just sick:

  • If the child has a vp shunt like ours then you should be able to feel the rivets of the shunt itself. If you can feel them then its not flooded and it should be working as intended.
    • Make sure you sporadically touch the area so you can become familiar to what it should feel like.
  • Is your child eating? – If food is still a priority then its most probably not the shunt.
  • Is your child acting normal? – Normal that they are still at their core themselves.
    • If your child is hyper and remains hyper then its probably not a shunt issue. What they told us to check for is huge swings in temperament and

Advice to other parents –

  1. Be patient! – Your child might need more time to get things done. Your child might have mood swings. Your child might have constant head aches. Your child might just be slow.
  2. Find the right neurosurgeon! – If your area has multiple pediatric neurosurgeons get the best one available!
  3. Join a support group! – There are plenty of Facebook groups that can give you other peoples perspectives. You’re not alone!
  4. Take it day by day and I cant stress it enough that you’re not alone. You did nothing wrong. Its not your fault.


My Daughters Arachnoid Cyst Before

Before and after the placement of the ct shunt.

Update –

Emma is now 5 years old has been in a “regular” kindergarten school for over a month. We gave the teacher a 1 week grace period of letting her come to her own assumptions on our daughter. Almost immediately the teacher said she noticed she was a little behind. Unfortunately, they could not attribute that to the pace of the new school ( previously in day care ) or if it was a lack of exposure ( day care VPK ). With that being said, she has in fact made leaps and bounds in a short amount of time. She has been able to mimic her peers more often and is doing more  of the “right” things than not.

I also did not mention that we had her go through the process of getting an IEP (Individualized Education Program) over the summer. The results of the test showed she was in fact delayed by 2 years and classified as developmentally delayed ( we knew she was slower and we were giving it time ). The light at the end of the tunnel is that they feel she can and will catch up with the proper help. Unfortunately the school where she’s at does not have the resources to give her the additional help and because of that we’re enrolling her into another school.


  • Better penmanship
  • Can read over 20 words
  • Speaking a little better ( more sentences )
  • Better at expressing herself ( still not quite there but its better )

Needs improvement:

  • Following directions
  • Cognitive ability