Monday, 29 April 2013

Raising the awareness of bowel cancer

Did you know that JUNE is bowel cancer awareness month? To help raise awareness I have decided to organise a fundraising market night to be held on Friday June 28th-Sunday June 30th 2013.

If you would like to read my personal story and how bowel cancer has affected me and my family you can read it here.

I am calling on the generosity and support of businesses who wish to contribute an item towards the market night with a percentage of the funds being donated to the bowel cancer awareness fundraiser page here.

There is no specific theme, all I ask is that the items feature a royal blue ribbon which is bowel cancer awareness ribbon.

You decide the % you wish to donate towards this cause.

I have also started a group to be kept up to date with the workings of the market night which will be a safe place for other businesses to get to know each other. The group if you wish to join and contribute is here.

I hope you will join me in raising awareness for bowel cancer during the month of June.

Don't delay get checked today!

DID you know that June is bowel cancer awareness month?

Through June I want to raise awareness of the importance of getting screened and to share with you my personal reason for feeling so strongly about bowel cancer awareness. It is not embarrassing or something that you need to shrug off. It is something that you need to get checked if your bowel movements arent normal. Here is why.

Hi! My name is Talya Goding and bowel cancer is something that affects me and my family deeply. Looking back there were signs but they were ignored due to it being embarrassing. But if it had been taken seriously I would probably still have a dad here with me. 

Both my dad and myself have a condition that is really rare and it is called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis or known as F.A.P for short. This is a rare form of bowel cancer that is only attibutes to 1% of total bowel cancers. It is a inherited condition which if left untreated the polyps will turn into cancer.

But the signs had been there my whole life and just thought it was normal.

I was officially diagnosed in 2010 at age 19 by blood test and colonoscopy. My dad was diagnosed in 2010 a week after my wedding in July.

I noticed a change of my bowel habits when I was 15 and went and saw numerous doctors who told me my change in bowel habits was normal and nothing worth looking into. I also had numerous subaceous cysts and  fibroma's removed from when I was 9. Which unknown to me or my family or my doctors is a tell tale sign along with a freckle in the eye.

In 2006, when I was 15 and in year 10 my bowel movements changed when I was menstruating each month to having horrid diarrhea. Which in 2009 had changed to losing more blood through my bowel then the 'normal' way each month. Again was dismissed by doctors and told it was normal. In 2009 also saw a constant change from normal movements to diarrhea and since then I had never had a normal bowel movement since. 

In 2009 I was diagnosed with severe anemia as I was losing a lot of blood through my stools but was told it wasn't an urgent case and as I was only 19 and no KNOWN history of bowel cancer in my family so I went on a 12 month waiting list to see a specialist.

Then in 2010 I knew my dad was having issues with bowel movements and had even expressed this to my doctors that there might have been something going on. I got married in July 2010 and on my wedding day had noticed my dad had dropped a lot of weight in the 2 weeks since I last saw him and knew he was sick. He wouldnt talk about it that day and kept saying I will tell you when the time is right.

A week later I was called along with my family to a family meeting where my dad confirmed his diagnosis with terminal bowel cancer and that it was a inherited form.

The next day I went back to my doctors with this news of my dads case and I was bumped up the waiting lists and began consulting with genetic counsellors, bowel surgeons and more specialists.

It was confirmed a week later that I did in fact carry the FAP gene and was booked in for a colonoscopy the following week.

Polyps were found during the scope and was told I needed to have 6 monthly scopes to monitor. 

In October 2012 I had adenoma's removed from my ovaries, endometriosis removed and had a scope which confirmed polyps were turning into cancer. Also confirmed that polyps were growing in my bowel, rectum, stomach, duodenum and GI tract.

In a week I will be having my entire colon and rectum removed with a permanent ileostomy to prevent the cancer from forming and spreading. 

So if there are changes in your bowel it is not something to just shrug off. No matter your age get tested or screened. You aren't only saving yourself but also your family from the heart ache of losing a loved one.

My name is Talya, 22 and bowel cancer has hurt my family deeply leaving behind children now without a father, a partner without her love, parents without a son, siblings without their baby brother.

This is my dad with my younger siblings on my wedding day in 2010. My dad was 39 here in this picture. 2 short years later he lost his battle at age 41.

He is dearly missed everyday by those who loved him greatly. We have our memories and know he is always in our hearts.

This image was taken on Dad's birthday the day before he passed and was the last photo we have with him. Here are Dad's children (both biological and step along with our partners). As you can see he was surrounded by loved ones and we all loved him deeply.

Please take the time this month and help raise awareness for bowel cancer.

I will be having a fundraiser through my business page as a market night in June (details to follow) but have also started a fundraising page here!.

Thank you for reading this today and together lets raise awareness of this horrid disease.

Friday, 19 April 2013

NEW!!! Handmade diaries/notebooks

Okay so remember last night how I was upset that I had this amazing and unique idea and couldn't get it right.. well I spent most of today revisiting the design and guess what!! I have perfected it. I am totally loving the design and really quite proud!

Goes to show you don't give up and just keep believing in yourself.

This new range is of handmade and handbound wire coil notebooks with thick lined double sided pages. There are 50 pages but as they are double sided there is 100 pages to be written on!

Perfect for jotting down thoughts!

Each diary is made with quality materials and is quite sturdy in design. Front and back covers feature a 600GSM board.

Made with a lot of love and care this would make the perfect diary, notebook, guest book for your parties, baby book to record those precious memories and moments.

Can even investigate plain pages for a sketch pad.

Here are the images and for a full description and write up you can find these on our page .

inside front cover

front cover

close up of inside front cover

close up of front cover

pages and bookmark

close up of front cover

close up of front cover

inside back cover

back cover

close up of the heart on bookmark
If you would like to order one please don't hesitate to contact me. Custom orders available but remember from the start of May MWL is closed and re opens June x

You have that great product idea and then you feel like...

What is wrong with me? I have never felt like this before and I hope that is is normal as a creative person...

Well have you ever had that awesome product idea or an amazing idea and in your head its perfect you know what you are going to do its amazing and your impressed.. but then you actually take the crunch and make it for the first time and its not perfect its nothing like you imagined and you just want to cry.

I don't know why I want to cry.. Is it because it is 2.30am? Is it because there is so much I am trying to process and I am exhausted? Or is it that I am exhausted?

I just feel like I have let myself down, that I have failed not only myself but my customers. But you know what? I am just going to keep going until it is perfect. Just found this quote online and already I feel bit better.
After some sleep and a day to revist the design I will make it work because Practice makes perfect. Who said following your dreams was easy? But I wouldnt have it any other way and love that I can look back in years to come and say I followed my dreams.

Before I go to sleep I will leave you with this quote. Never stop trying and always believe in yourself, even when no one else does just keep believing!!

Bur most importantly!!!
Night all x

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Refer us to your friends and get rewarded!

Hey guys, so I have been going over and finalising ideas and ways to make your experience with Made With Love the best that it can be!

Have you heard of a customer referral program before?

Well I have created a NEW customer referral program that YOU are going to LOVE!!

Effective immediately you could be receiving a Made With Love gift voucher everytime you refer a friend to Made with love.

Order form is here!!

How it will work is:
Your name is Sarah and you have a friend called Ann. You tell Ann about the services available such as custom and amazing invitations, cards and more. Ann has a little 3 year old Thomas who has his 4th birthday coming up. After telling Ann about how Amazing you find our invitations Ann decides to place an order which is then finalised and she mentioned that YOU referred her. As my thank you to you for referring Ann, you will receive a $5 gift certificate towards your next order.

You can refer as many people as you wish BUT the orders MUST be finalised and posted before the $5 voucher gets sent. This voucher is sent on the FIRST DAY OF THE NEXT MONTH. If one friend successfully places an order in that month you will receive a $5 gift voucher for that month. If you have several friends who place successful orders for example 5 friends you will receive a $25 gift voucher for that month.

Also remember there are other great discounts for every invitation order such as FREE set of cupcake toppers or A free deluxe greeting card.

If you are a repeat customer you will receive 10% off every order.

If your order is over $100 you will get FREE post.

Please note that those who you refer MUST state your name and an email address for me to contact you with your voucher. Gift vouchers must not be redeemed for cash or to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

P.S There is still free bunting banners for the next 3 people to place an invitation order. You can place your order here!!!

Hope you are as excited as I am to offer you this great new rewards program. So what are you waiting for? Start referring your friends today!!

Etiquette and conducting your business on facebook

I think sometimes when conducting a business page online especially over facebook a lot of people or businesses are actually conducting themselves in a manner that is not fit for business.

I have numerous degrees in retail and business and while I am no expert I certainly know etiquette and how to conduct myself in a manner fit for business.

I am all for helping and supporting others IF they do the right thing by me and by business ethics and practices.

I will discuss a bunch of scenario's below, and I honestly would like you to think if any of these are current practices you do. In most instances you are actually creating more of a negative impression from your business and in turn it is quite impersonal and rude.

You have to remember that as an online business you have no physical store that your store front is indeed your website or facebook page. Just like a store it needs to be inviting, clear of clutter and it needs to have professionalism and respect.

Think of your photo albums or photo section as a place where you display your stock in store. Is it well packaged? Does it look appealing to the customer? Can the customer know and understand the product without having to ask questions? Is there a price listed? Are your items up to date?Postage options available? Just like in a store customers browse your albums and if there is no pricing or information they generally wont ask questions and will walk away. Why? Because this in turn makes them feel obligated to purchase as they initiated the conversation.

How about thinking of your business wall as your shop counter where you can interact with customers, help them with their enquiries, let them know any specials or information. So you want to engage with customers and this is especially important in facebook's scheme of things. In order to be seen you need people to interact and to engage. Simply ask a question or post something catching to the eye like an image. For me I have been trialing a new thing the past month where I upload an inspirational or motivating quote at essentially the start and close of business e.g 9am and 6pm. I have found this has so far increased my engagement and have seen it work very successfully on other pages.

Now it comes down to the nitty gritty's of business conduct.

Do you or would you go to a store and place your products in their store window? This is the same as you posting images and links to your products on someone else's business page, their shop front. When you think of it this way you wouldn't would you? But why do it to business pages?

Would you go to the front of their store and handout YOUR flyers or YOUR products to THEIR clients? In terms of fb business etiquette this is posting on a page "Hi from such and such come and like me".

Or would you go up to THEIR customers and say "Look I can offer you a better deal if you pop over to my business". Not only is this rude but it is not the right business ethics you want displayed to your customers. What does that say about you or the way you conduct your business? Certainly not one that I want or would like to associate or conduct myself in. There is far too much poaching of others business customers on facebook of late like emailing customers who have purchased or intend to purchase. Or emailing them an invoice for goods for your items even though they purchased somewhere else. It is WRONG so don't do it and if you are STOP!!

What about walking into a store and acknowledging the owner then go on to tell them about your products and your sales you are having and then just walk away. This is how it is when you post on another business page. I find this is SPAM and I know you want to network and get your name out there. But this isn't the way. Most of the times I will not like or even look at your page. Why? Because there is no incentive or benefit there for me to go to your page. Firstly you came to my business, my shop front and started posting or inboxing me. IF you were to compliment me or if you were interested or enquiring into a product or service I don't mind but it is my most pet hate!!

Another pet hate is when people post saying "I have liked you so you have to like me from your personal account to make it count". I don't HAVE TO do anything? I don't have to mark your post as SPAM but I just did!

Here is another one of my pet hates. When someone asks me "How have you gotten so many likers" or "You have a lot of likes I don't have many so please do a shout out or two as you have heaps". YES I am well aware of the number of likes I have. And all I will say is that it has taken A LOT OF HARD WORK to get to the point that I am. I am up until 4am each night then up at 9am each morning and work the whole day through. I feel it is rude to not only appreciate my hard work but expect me to give you a free ride. Real business world doesn't happen that way and neither is the way I conduct my business online.

If you do the following to ANY business page or even at a market stall please stop it immediately. Do you comment under a picture of a handmade creation saying "How do you make this?" or "I can make this cheaper and better" OR "Hey @tag such and such can you make this for me?". Not only is it rude but it is also upsetting. Many handmaidens like myself have worked tirelessly to create a product that is unique and individual. This is my passion and my love and I have invested ALL of MYSELF into Made with love and every design created is with my spirit and my passion and my love. I work off my own designs and my own templates and I appreciate you admire my work but it doesn't make me flattered that you want to replicate it. It makes me quite upset and hurt. Especially when at a market stall people (customers or stall holders) come up and say "I have no intention of buying I make and sell my own cards and tags and I am looking for ideas. You have great designs and I will replicate these to sell" My jaw drops and I just stare. How bloody rude!!! or another person says "Great designs love your work (turns to their friend and says) I can make this easy!!

Can you see how ANY or ALL of the above scenarios are rude and insensitive? Hope this has helped you to rethink your approach to business etiquette and ethics.

Yes online or virtually it all seems harmless in the scheme of things if you conduct yourself in this way but it actually isn't doing you any favours for your business.

So before you post or comment on someone else's page think to yourself "Would I like it if someone did or said this to me". If you answer No then you shouldn't do it.

Let's do things fairly, politely and be respectful to others!

Monday, 15 April 2013

I want to know what YOU want!

How often do we get asked what WE want? Whether it is from our partners, our children, our family or from a business... But I am asking YOU what it is that YOU want.

When you choose to shop at a business what encourages you to buy or to go back? Do you like to tell your friends and family? Do you like to be rewarded? What is it that YOU like?

I know for me factors are if they have great customer service or are always wanting to go above and beyond to make an awesome experience. Another major factor which is the most influential for me is I find I support more businesses if they are a handmade business or if they are a parent working to support a family.

I love the quality and the personal story and relationship that can be built from purchasing from a handmade business. Or I love the idea of supporting a family instead of a chain store who the CEO has a motza in the bank or has 5 houses he owns. I have always been community orientated and have been raised to support others.

Personally I know how much it means to me when someone chooses to purchase through my business and I like to support others where I can.

So I am reviewing how I thank each of YOU for trusting your next party with Made With Love. So HOW can I better YOUR experience.

Currently I am offering 10% off your next order or would you prefer a $$ amount say $5 off your next order?

Would love to hear from you!!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Custom spots for April ALMOST FULL!

Hi everyone, Just wanted to let you all know that there are only 5 custom spots left for April and that these are filling up fast!!

If you have a party in May or June NOW is the time to book in and order your unique and OOAK handmade invitations!

Or if you are wanting a GORGEOUS and UNIQUE handmade card for your mum for mothers day best to get in and early and secure your place on the customs list.

So if you are wanting either of the above remember there is only 5 custom spots LEFT and these are filling up fast. So to avoid disappointment and missing out please get in contact with me sooner rather then later.

P.S EVERY yes EVERY invitation order will receive freebies such as a FREE set of cupcake toppers or a FREE card and giftbag set.

BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE FREEBIES!!! For the next 5 customers to place an order you will receive a FREE matching bunting worth $32 completely free!!

So if you have a party either in May or June NOW is the time to book it in. Can completely customise your theme for you as well! To order head to the website and under 'get a quote' there is an order form, fill that in and I will be in touch with the next step for your order!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Help me pick a name and you could WIN!!

Good afternoon, How is your Saturday afternoon treating you? It is raining and gloomy here, perfect weather for implementing new changes to better YOUR experience with Made With Love.

BUT I NEED YOUR HELP!!!

As you know there are many things I want to and need to do to better your experience and am already on my way to completing my list such as the blog, the website etc. One thing I am wanting to introduce to you is a newsletter/VIP club.

THIS IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP!

I want it to be INVITING and I want it to be something that YOU will want to open and read.

What will be in the newsletter? Well there will be LOTS of amazing things!!

  •  There will be a BIRTHDAY CLUB where a gift voucher is posted to you for your birthday where you have a $$ amount towards your next order
  • There will be special VIP CLUB ONLY offers/discounts
  • There will be news on new products and the latest happenings
  • There will be a crafty tutorial in there
  • There will be a new theme of products inside
  • It will be a MONTHLY newsletter generally at the start of each month
  • I will also share/review a business that we love!
So it will be a newsletter and VIP club very worth while reading and subscribing to but there is one issue.. IT NEEDS A NAME!!

As I said above I want something that is INVITING and something that reflects Made with love and something that YOU will want to read.

For an example a fictional business is called "Joe's Tree Nursery" and they have a customer newsletter called "The Treehouse".

I will be having a competition until next Saturday the 20th of April,2013 where there will be TWO winners. One winner is chosen based on their creative entry that is LOVED by myself and a select panel of judges AND there will be ONE winner based on voting for their preferred name.

Here are the names that I am suggesting to you:
  • From Talya with love
  • Sent with love
  • The envelope
  • Love letters
  • From a love of paper
So what you now need to do is to leave a blog comment below with your pick of the 5 listed names ALONG WITH your very own suggestion. Don't forget your email!

Be CREATIVE! Have FUN! 

REMEMBER it is to be inviting and reflect on the Made With Love values.

How the winners will be chosen:
Will randomly pick a winner through random.org for the vote for the selection above. A panel of select judges will help me to pick the winner of the most CREATIVE entry.

Forgot about the prizes: 
Each winner will receive a customised set of 10 invitations in their chosen theme (valid for 12 months).

It would mean a lot for your support and to help me choose a name that YOU want! 

So what are you waiting for? Comment away!!! Look forward to reading your entries!!

IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO COMMENT please feel free to inbox or email your entry and I will post on your behalf.

Friday, 12 April 2013

What a busy little bee I have been this week!

Good Friday to you all! Hoping you have had a great week! What are your plans for this weekend? I don't think I have much planned other then creating some decorations for an upcoming baby shower.

This week I created some unique designs for a custom order for a customer with a superhero request, a VHC inspired request, a girls 1st birthday dress card, a monkey card and a skull card all for a first birthday!
There is a fun showcase over at Chook Shed Designs & Little Beatnik yesterday and today in a 1950's theme showcase. I decided to create something unique and fun and with my LOVE of paper I created and designed a set of 1950's inspired party booth props including beehive wigs, neck scarfs, bow ties, Elvis wigs and my favourite being the MASSIVE sundae that looks so good you could eat it! (Already have expressions of interest and orders flooding in!). 

I invited my friend Sammy and her beautiful daughter Brit around to have a photo session and it was so much fun! Perfect end to a bad day and we had that much fun I forgot what I was upset about! 

I also worked on another unique invitation request for a lovely little boy Lauchlan who is turning 3! I was asked to create a Batman/Spiderman/Mickey Mouse inspired invitation and I am pretty impressed with the outcome. Goes to prove that no theme is too difficult!
I have created and drawn the background with mickey heads as the centre of the webs with a bat that unfolds its wings to reveal the invitation wording underneath!

I was approached and asked to create some cupcake toppers, food toppers and labels for jars etc. I also created a banner for the customer as a thank you for her order and patience. I love seeing my items in use!

{CUSTOM SPOT AVAILABILITY}
Just to let you know that I still have a few spots available for custom orders for this month. Perfect timing for parties in May or late April! You can express your interest by filling in an order form on our website.

Have a lovely Friday and an even better weekend x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Change is as good as a holiday!

Hey everyone, I know I should be first day post op now but just as they were about to put me under for the surgery they cancelled as they realised the hospital wasn't equipped enough for the appropriate ICU and after surgical care I required So back on a 6 week waiting list through the public system. So what does this mean for you all??? There are pricing changes, new postage changes read below!!!!

This means that I am still closed for this month HOWEVER I am working on the orders that I had for May now so there wont be any issues when I need to close up again in May.

ALSO I am reviewing the current price structure in your benefit as the customer. This will mean (on average around a $2-3 price drop per invitation or could be $20-$30 per order. BUT the pricing is still going to reflect the labour charges as no one should be working for free. BUT the end result will still be cheaper for you!

I also have some great ideas for products especially in the lead up to xmas will be BIGGER and BETTER then years gone!! So make sure you stick around to find out what is coming!!

So if you have a party coming up this year and you would love to find out about what we can offer you, simply pop on over to the website and under 'get a quote' fill in the form and I will be in touch. Our amazing website is found here!!

FOR ALL SAMPLES effective Feb 2013 there was a $20 deposit fee introduced. The fee is mandatory and covers the labour and costs to create samples for you; acts as your deposit fee in the limited order queue; is the first installment of your order. If you pay the $20 then get samples done, and then you decide to decline the $20 WILL BE REFUNDED TO YOU.

But in order for me to QUOTE you accurately I need to have created SAMPLES to know what exactly it is I can offer you!!

POSTAGE! Yes the dreaded and ever increasing option lately through Australia Post. BUT REST ASSURED I kept my promise of finding a cheaper alternative through Smart Send couriers!! I am just waiting for the satchels to arrive and can start to offer you better priced postage service and so much cheaper too! As no order has EVER been over 1KG I can now send (when satchels arrive) a 1kg satchel for-WAIT FOR IT- $6.99!!! How fantastic!!

So lots of changes happening but it is all to better your experience and your pocket!!!

Hope you like the changes and don't forget there will be only limited spaces available in the queue so best to get in and secure your spot now!!
 
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