April 15, 2011

Go Green, Save Money, and Impress Eco-Conscious Consumers

The following entry was originally posted by Christy on the Llewellyn blog for booksellers, MoonLit on April 14, 2011.

Hello again, Booksellers!

As Earth Day approaches, the issue of green takes center stage. How eco-friendly is your store?

I confess that I don’t have the greenest lifestyle. While I use a rain barrel, make an effort to buy local organic foods, recycle (including the plastics that the city won’t take), and keep a chemical-free lawn, there’s a lot more I could do. On my list this summer? Composting!

Taking steps toward a greener business can save a few dollars and win over environmentally conscious customers. Here are some green business practices to ponder.

Reusable Bags
Reusable bags are catching on. Some shops offer a small ten cents discount to customers who use them. Custom tote bags printed with your business name and logo is a great way to advertise your store and encourage customers to bring their own bag. Another option is to simply ask customers (buying only one one or two small items) if they need a bag before automatically providing one. Those who are concerned about reducing waste will feel good about supporting an eco-friendly business.

Make the Leap from Print to Digital
Do you have a store newsletter? Think of how much paper and money you can save by switching from print to electronic. There are plenty of free resources for designing e-newsletters. One example is MailChimp.com, which offers easy design templates and other services.

Rejuvenate or Update?
Consider ways to fix what you have, instead of replacing it. If buying new is the only answer, research energy-efficient options that will save you money in the long run. Here’s some information on rebates and funding for energy efficient updates from Energy Star.

Starve the Landfills
It’s amazing how many people have a use for what we consider trash. Before sending your junk to the landfill, check with Freecycle.org to see if someone wants to take it off your hands.

More easy ways to reduce, reuse, recycle:
• Seal air leaks in windows and doors.
• Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent.
• Bring in plants to clean the air.
• Opt for paperless billing.
• Reduce junk mail by having your name removed from unwanted mailings.
• Coordinate a staff carpool or encourage employees to commute by bike or mass transit.
• Launch an in-store recycling program.

Have more ideas for reducing your carbon footprint? Please share!

I'll sign off now and leave you with some thought-provoking candidates for a book display.

Voices of the Earth
The Path of Green Spirituality

Sacred Land
Intuitive Gardening for Personal, Political and Environmental Change

Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future

Sacred Practices of Unity, Power and Earth Healing

April 14, 2011

Magical Storekeeping: 5 Simple Feng Shui Tips for Businesses

The following entry was originally posted by Christy on the Llewellyn blog for booksellers, MoonLit on April 13, 2011.

Hi Booksellers,

At last, spring is here. For us Llewellynites living in the frozen north, Minnesota to be exact, winter is a harsh and incredibly long, bone-chilling journey, provoking doubt as to whether the snow will ever melt. So when spring finally hits, we rejoice in a big way. Considering this is the season for new beginnings, it seems like the perfect time to introduce MoonLit, Llewellyn’s first blog for booksellers.

In keeping with the spring theme, we’ve asked author Tess Whitehurst to share some simple feng shui tips and advice for the store environment.

Have some “magical storekeeping” ideas of your own? Please share! We would love to hear your comments on how spring inspires you to enhance the energy of your shop.

Position Yourself for Success
5 Simple Feng Shui Tips for Booksellers

To the modern-day seeker, a bookstore is not just a store. It’s a temple, a repository of secrets, a mystery school, a gathering place, and an uplifting refuge from the everyday world. To those who are looking for new insights, it’s an open door and an initiation. To those who are in need of healing or guidance, it’s a bright new dawn of hope after a long, dark night of the soul.

To draw new customers into your mystical haven, to make your existing customers’ bookstore experience as enticing as possible, and to position your store for long-term success, there are a number of simple feng shui considerations you might like to employ.

Say it Loud and Say it Proud

Never underestimate the power of signage. A sign that succinctly defines and describes who you are and what you offer—and one that’s easily readable from the street—will get you noticed. (Or, if your store has an entry that’s not visible from the street, do your best to clearly mark the entrance with strategically positioned signs and arrows.) By removing all possible confusion and giving your potential customers an obvious mental picture of how to arrive and enter—and what to expect once they do—they will feel much more comfortable about the prospect.

Invite, Welcome, and Entice

The front door is the place where blessings and abundance enter your business—so it’s exceptionally important to make sure that it’s noticeable, welcoming, and open! For example, make sure that any plants placed nearby are healthy and vibrant, and perhaps bring in a big red doormat to “roll out the red carpet” and cheerily welcome in your clientele.
Allow Breathing Room

When we enter a new environment, we need a moment to come into the present and orient ourselves to our new surroundings. That’s why—as opposed to an explosion of displays and products just inside the door—it’s best to leave a bit of relatively open/clear space in this area for your customers to transition into the environment and serenely assess what surrounds them. (If you want to observe this dynamic first hand, observe what your customers gravitate to immediately upon entering the store. You’ll likely notice that products that are too close to the entryway often go unnoticed.)

Embellish the Bathroom

What turns a good shopping experience into a great one? You guessed it: a magical bathroom. Your customers will love you for it—so why skimp in this area? Have fun with it. For example, you might paint it a whimsical color, hang a sparkly crystal in the window, and/or display attractive and uplifting artwork.

Create Ambiance

Always remember the music! The right music can transport the listener to another realm, and is a key ingredient to bringing out the desirability of your products and enticing your customers to linger and return. Choose something entrancing and pleasant that seems to blend seamlessly with the mood of the store.

Tess Whitehurst is a Los Angeles-based feng shui consultant and the author of Magical Housekeeping: Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home. Visit her online at www.tesswhitehurst.com.

Tess on her favorite bookstore:
Alexandria II in Pasadena, CA will always occupy a special place in my heart because it was the first metaphysical bookstore I ever had the pleasure of finding myself in. I’ll never forget how awestruck I felt as I explored it those first few times.

April 12, 2011

Llewellyn's Affiliate Update, April 2011: Spring Sale, Coupon Offer, Special Promotions

Get fresh Llewellyn banners and text links and the scoop on special offers, sales, and promotions.

The April issue of the Llewellyn Affiliate Update is now available.

Click here to view month's issue.