Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First Big Idea for 2010: The LipSync Project

I have so many fabulous things planned for 2010!

Lots of exciting new products & projects are in the works - I'm unbelievably excited!

And one of the things I'm most thrilled about is expanding my LipSync line of natural lip care: mineral tinted lip butters, glosses, plumpers and more.

Since I'll be introducing fresh items, developing new flavors & shades and launching some amazing new all-natural lip care products, I've decided that my LipSync line will grow big enough to warrant it's own shop on Etsy.com!

I've established the shop - with a cool new logo & banner! - and just need to start listing inventory. Check it out: http://LipSync.etsy.com


So I thought that this might be a great time to announce a new Blog Series: "The LipSync Project: 15 Days of Treats for Your Lips"

Those of you who were with me earlier this year for 'The Lather Project: 30 Soaps in 30 Days' may remember what fun it was! I learned so much and made lots of new friends. It was a wonderful experience and I vowed I'd do it again - possibly even once a year. So I thought that with the opening of the LipSync shop, the timing is perfect for another series.

So this month, I'll begin The LipSync Project, creating 15 different lip products in 15 days! I'll work on everything from lip balms & butters to glosses and plumpers, as well as lip exfoliators, creams and other all natural lip treatments.

Here at Bellissima, we are very passionate about lip care - I've written blog posts and squidoo lenses about it, and hope my new blog project will reinforce my commitment to providing information about natural ingredients and skin care and offering healthier alternatives to traditional cosmetics.

So join us over the next month for lots of great fun!

And if you've got any suggestions for The LipSync Project - lip gloss colors you've always wanted a more natural version of, for example - I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guidelines on Getting It There by Christmas


It's not too late.... honest!

With so many people shopping online this Holiday Season, it's important for buyers (and sellers!) to acknowledge deadlines. Sales deadlines, ordering deadlines, shipping deadlines, postal deadlines, etc.

It can really make your head spin!

What's the best way to make sure that gift you ordered online is going to be under the tree on Christmas Day?

Here's a list of my helpful

Online Holiday Shopping Tips for Buyers:

View the US Postal Service's Holiday Shipping Deadlines at: http://www.usps.com/holiday/shippingcalendar.htm

*Although no delivery is guaranteed (except 'Guaranteed', of course), the USPS has fairly accurate cut-off shipping dates.

View the online seller's shipping policies

*Does the Seller ship on the same day, or within a day of ordering? Even if Priority Mail delivers within 3 days, it won't matter if the Seller's policy is to ship only on Wednesdays and you've ordered on a Friday!

See if the Seller offers a variety of shipping options, like Priority or Express mail

*Many Sellers offer several different shipping options, including alternative carriers in the event a package needs to get there fast.

Look for shipping upgrades at reduced rates

*Some Sellers will offer an upgrade from Parcel Post or First Class Mail to Priority or Express Mail for a minimal fee - in many cases, the price difference may be negligible and well worth it!

Communicate the need for prompt delivery with the Seller

*Send the seller an email before purchase and let them know by what date you need the package - most Sellers will be upfront with you and let you know if it's feasible for them to honor your request.

Ask the Seller to provide you with your package's Tracking or Delivery Confirmation Number

*Knowing where your package is - or at least knowing it's on it's way! - will provide security and peace of mind during this stressful Season.

Look for complimentary gift wrapping services

*Having your Gift pre-wrapped can save lots of time, especially if arriving at the last minute!

Look for Sellers who'll ship to alternative addresses

*Many Sellers will send your gift directly to your recipient, and with nominal or absolutely no additional fees - a real time saver!

Following these Guidelines will hopefully help relieve some of the stress of Holiday Shopping - and shipping - online!

If you have any other online buying tips
to pass along, please post them by adding a Comment!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Value of Customer Testimonials - Both Giving & Receiving

We all know how important Customer Testimonials are to our businesses - particularly small businesses. Most indie businesses benefit from word-of-mouth advertising more than any other - and flattering reviews, positive feedback and satisfied customer testimonials are incredibly valuable and often translate into sales.

We at Bellissima are profoundly grateful for our own favorable reviews and are accustomed to asking permission to reprint complimentary comments for our own marketing purposes. And with appreciation, we're always glad to offer them up for products and companies we truly believe in.

I recently blogged about sending out Bellissima's first email newsletter (better late than never!) and my experience with http://www.hostway.com/ 's new Newsletter Broadcast.

I was so impressed with Hostway's simple set-up, ease of use and attractive designs - and was so proud of myself for finally getting our Newsletter issue under control - that I had written a glowing review on my blog, never giving it a second thought.

But shockingly (as most things tend to happen to me - & Bellissima), I received a phone call the next day from Hostway. They were making a customer service call, asking if I knew about or had used their new Newsletter Broadcast service. I let them know that I did, and had - and they asked for my opinion. I directed them to my blog post - since it was all right there in black and white for all the world to see - why shouldn't they?

It was funny really, and quite serendipitous.

Hostway was working on promoting their Newsletter Broadcast, including details in their own monthly email newsletter, and thought a customer testimonial fit in perfectly with their plans. I gladly approved excerpts from my blog post for a quote and gave my permission for them to use.

I received their Newsletter just yesterday - and was thrilled to see my quote published on the page! But even more thrilling was clicking the link and seeing my full product review - with a screenshot of Bellissima's Newsletter - right on their website!


I'm flattered to have been chosen to represent Hostway's customers, but even more than that, I'm thrilled to endorse a product that I truly believe in - and one that's helping me build my business and making it more successful!
Oh, and if you'd like to subscribe to Bellissima's monthly Newsletter, you may do so here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bellissima Black Friday Sales Extended Through 12.31.09!


Just a very quick post today, but a pretty big
announcement:

I've decided to extend all the Bellissima Black Friday - Cyber Monday Discount Promo Codes through December 31st, 2009!

Just check this post or click on the link below for all the Specials and insert the Promo Codes during Checkout for the Discount:

So stop by BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com or www.bellissimatruccominerale.com to save through the end of the year!

Tune in for more of the Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide coming soon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Something to be Thankful For: International Exposure for Bellissima Minerals!

We had something extra special to be thankful for this weekend - and it came as a delightful surprise!

When one of our items was published in Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine back in October, we were absolutely ecstatic. But we thought that, if it wasn’t a once in a lifetime thing, we’d wait years for something like that to happen again - at least.

But we didn’t have to wait that long - and this time, we’ve been published in an international magazine!

And the debut issue, to boot!

A new - and stunningly beautiful - magazine out of the Czech Republic with a creative eye towards Indie fashion and beauty has hit the stands!

With both print and digital editions, Styl Magazine has made it’s inaugural debut.
And it is gorgeous!

We’re incredibly honored and thrilled to have our Bellissima Mineral Tinted Lip Gloss in Beautifully Blush appear in their ’Heart & Bruised’ editorial by Kristin Walko. It’s a dazzling spread on a new look in beauty & cosmetics that focuses on the ethereal: “The key is going soft, muted and with some sort of sheen - be it very fine shimmer or in a cream.” One peek at these striking photos and you’ll want to wear this look!

Bellissima wishes to send heartfelt thanks out to Riz Sedek and her collaborators at Styl for publishing such a magnificent mag and for turning the spotlight on indie beauty and fashion with such an inspired eye. We wish her much continued success!

Be sure to take a peek at Styl’s website: http://www.stylmagazine.com/

Support this effort to promote handmade and indie businesses by subscribing here (PayPal accepted): http://www.stylmagazine.com/subscribe.html

And if you’d like to take a few minutes to offer up a bit more support for this admirable endeavor, please tweet, blog, facebook, stumble upon, digg it - anything you can to help spread the word about Styl Magazine!
We'll continue with the Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide tomorrow - so be sure to tune in!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide Day 5: Soap Gift Sets

♥´¨)
¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*´¨) We're Moving in to the 'Big Boys'!
(¸.·´ (¸.·´♥

Those gifts that are substantial and hefty enough to deserve their own spot under the tree!

But trust me, these won't even make even a minor dent in your wallet... you can feel confident in presenting thoughtful, meaningful, enchanting, gratifying gifts that won't break the bank.

First on the list? Soap, of course!


Soap is a great gift for everyone: practical yet decadent at the same time.

Handmade soap retains glycerin - a natural by-product of the soap-making process that most commercial brands remove and sell due to it's value - making handmade soap much more moisturizing and emollient than store-bought brands. It feels heavenly on the skin and really is a special, pampering treat. It can provide the same extravagant pleasure as an expensive trip to the spa.

And if you guive a man a bar of handmade cleansing pumice or coffee soap, shave soap or shampoo bar - trust me, he'll never want Lava, Barbasol or Suave again!

And Bellissima handmade soaps come in so many varieties, you're sure to find something for anyone: all-natural, botanical-infused, all-veggie oil, goat's milk, scented, utility and more!

We've put together a fabulous 4-piece Soap Gift Set that's sure to please! It comes with 2 bars of our delicious handmade soap - each more than 5oz huge! Each Set includes a pine soap deck and a netted bath sponge. We also add in our Handmade Soap Guidelines - helpful hints for using, storing and extending the life of your Handmade Soap!


And be sure to check our previous post for lots of Promo Codes for Discounts valid for through Monday Only!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide: Day 4 of Stocking Stuffers


And we're back to regular programming!

Still talking about Stocking Stuffers, too.

While just about everything we sell at Bellissima could fit into a stocking, they all don't qualify as stocking stuffers. And why is that?

Well, one very old legend of unknown origin tells the story of a nobleman who had lost everything after his wife died and was living as a peasant. He was quite poor and in need of dowries to marry off his three daughters. Saint Nicholas happened to be visiting the town and heard talk from the villagers of the family's dilemma. He knew the family would never accept charity, but decided to help anyway. He waited until the family was asleep and peeked through the window. He noticed the girls had hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry, and climbed down the chimney to drop gold coins in them - enough for each daughter to be able to marry. Thus, the very first Christmas Stockings were born.

There are other popular stories, too, but suffice it to say that they all involve footwear by the fireplace and small coins, balls or toys.

So, it's tradition to just use small gifts for stuffing stockings. And, it's what fits! Nowadays we save Stockings for just small-sized presents, usually inexpensive, designed to make the recipient smile.

And what's the most perfect Stocking Stuffer of all? Gift Certificates!

Bellissima is offering shop Gift Certificates this Holiday Season in a wide variety of denominations - from $10.00 up to $1,000,000.00 (just kidding...)!


They never expire, include the cost of shipping and are valid on everything in the Bellissima Shop! We can email a .pdf version for you to print out or snail-mail the real thing.

So if you need just one more thing to top off that stocking, Bellissima Gift Certificates are the way to go. You can find them at http://www.bellissimatruccominerale.com

And don't forget to check yesterday's post for lots of discount promo codes valid for this weekend only! Or this post for themed stocking stuffer gift ideas!

Stay tuned for more of the Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide coming up!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Deals at Bellissima Minerals

It's here!
The biggest retail shopping day of the year!

Once Thanksgiving is behind us, the focus switches quickly to Christmas and Holiday Shopping.

No doubt, many of you were up at 3:00, 4:00, even 5:00 am looking for those special gifts at just the right price!

I thought I'd offer some great deals at Bellissima, too... but no scrambling, hustling or bustling allowed! Just curl up, nice and comfy (preferably in your fave pj's and slippers), in front of your computer and grab a cup 'o coffee, tea, whatever.... log in to either
and enjoy these amazing deals!
~ Free US Shipping on all Bellissima Handmade Soap Sample Stacks!
Use Promo Code 'Black'

~ Free Shipping on all Bellissima Mineral Makeup Kits!
No Promo Code Necessary

~ 15% off of all Bellissima Full Size Single (or Double pack) Handmade Bar Soap!
Use Promo Code 'Friday'

~ Free US Shipping on all Bellissima Mineral Tinted Lip Glosses!
No Promo Code Necessary

~ 15% off of all Bellissima Handmade Soap Gift Sets!
Use Promo Code 'Cyber'

~ BOGO - Buy One Bellissima Soap Sample Bar, Get One Free - No Limit!
Use Promo Code 'Monday'

~ B3GO - Buy Three Bellissima Full Size Soap Bars, Get One Free - No Limit!
Use Promo Code 'Weekend'

~ B2GO - Buy any Two Bellissima Mineral EyeShadows or Mineral Tinted Lip Butters and Get One Free - No Limit!
Use Promo Code 'Deals'

~ 25% off the Cost of all International Shipping Fees!
No Promo Code Necessary

Fine Print & Red Tape (there always is, isn't there?):
* Sale & Promo Codes Valid from Friday, 11.27.09 - Monday 11.30.09, 12am EST
* Be sure to note Promo Code in Message to Seller Box during Checkout
* You may wait for a Revised Invoice reflecting the Discount, or Discount may be issued as refund after payment is made
* Black Friday Weekend Specials are not valid with any other discount, promo or Bellissima discount Gift Certificate
* 25% off International Shipping is based on Flat Rate Priority International Shipping Rate

And please don't hesitate to email me with any questions or if you need any assistance at all!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taking A Break in the Action for Thanksgiving

I think it's time for a break in all the action to stop and be thankful today.

Thanksgiving's a day to set everything aside and just relax - to gather together and spend time with family, friends and loved ones, enjoy a wonderful meal and think about all the incredible blessings that have been bestowed on us throughout the past year.

Life is so fast-paced these days: we're racing for all the right reasons and to succeed at the things that mean the most to us. A little reflection helps us to refocus and reprioritize, set new goals, recover a bit and realize that our work is always rewarded.

Many of us today will list all the things we're thankful for, but I'd rather just note much more eloquent words from people I admire and who say it all so much better than I ever could:

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." Albert Schweitzer

"When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup." Sam Lefkowitz

"Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient. But a thankful heart hath a continual feast." W.J. Cameron

"Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life." Northrup Christiane

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,is the true measure of our thanksgiving." W.T. Purkiser

"Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse." Henry Van Dyke

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." Edward Sandford Martin

"This is the finest measure of thanksgiving: a thankfulness that springs from love." William C. Skeath

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." Irv Kupcinet

I'll definitely be watching what I eat today!

Have a joyous, restful, relaxing, reflective and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide: Day 3 of Stocking Stuffers

As a girl, I loved cosmetics - I still do. And like many other girls of a certain age, I was addicted to nail polish, lip color, eyeshadows, etc. I can even pinpoint the exact time when my fascination with everything that beautifies began - but that's for another post!

I really wish a few things were different back when I started using makeup:
- I wish I knew as much about skin care as I did about cosmetics
- I wish I cared more about what I was putting on my face than how it looked
- I wish there were much healthier options available

I attribute most of the skin issues I'm experiencing today in middle age with the transgressions of my youth. Unfortunately, we just didn't know any better.

But now we do.

And I firmly believe that girls today will have much healthier skin tomorrow because of it!

My step-daughter will soon reach that age when makeup becomes a vital life necessity, and I can't wait to introduce her to mineral cosmetics - Bellissima, of course!

And the perfect introduction is with a Trial Size Mineral Makeup Kit - it makes an ideal stocking stuffer for the Holidays, too!

Our 7pc Trial Size Kits include small 5 gram jars filled to the brim with Minerals: Foundation, Mineral Veil, Concealer, Blush and Bronzer.

We offer them in every shade of Foundation, and the companion products are in coordinating shades. We also include either a mini Kabuki Brush or 5pc Mini Brush Set (your choice) and our detailed Mineral Makeup Application Guide. Each Kit offers approximately 2 weeks of daily application, depending on use.

And it's affordable, too: $12.50 with Free US Shipping!
They're available at both shops:
http://bellissimatruccominerale.com
http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com

So, whether you've always wanted to try mineral cosmetics yourself or you know a Tween or Teen just getting into makeup and want to introduce them to a healthier alternative to traditional cosmetics, Bellissima Trial Size Kits are the perfect choice!

Want to try before you buy? I’ll send you 5 Bellissima Mineral Makeup Samples - totally Free of Charge - to do just that! They're in smal 2"x2" ziplock bags, are great for testing shades and will last 1-2 applications.
Just visit http://www.bellissimamineralmakeup.com, go to the Contact Us Page and fill out the form. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

Stay Tuned for more Stocking Stuffers from Bellissima!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide: Day 2 of Stocking Stuffers

Okay, admit it: you know you’re getting socks and underwear for Christmas. Most of us do - whether we need them or not. Whether we want them or not.

Stockings are, in many households, predominately for filling with the necessities of life: batteries, razors, pens & pencils, toiletries and the aforementioned unmentionables.

But how do you give these types of gifts and avoid the inevitable look of utter disappointment?
Make it FUN! And make it an annual tradition.

My Mom made it fun by choosing undergarments with cool characters or fun designs - an awesome change from the pure white we were used to the rest of the year. She gift wrapped even the most mundane item, usually even more elaborately than the ’real’ gifts. And she made it a tradition by doing things like a variation on theme every year. One year our stocking might be filled with nothing but blue items or T-Shirts, the next year might be nothing but purple stuff or makeup!

But no matter what, we always looked forward to opening our stockings - in spite of the fact that we knew that there was a strong possibility that there’d be socks and underwear in there. And I try to keep it fun and build a tradition for my loved ones now, too.

Soap is one of those gifts that you can have fun with. And with our soap sample bars, you can have a blast! At just over 1 oz each, they’re both inexpensive and practical, and perfect for stuffing stockings. Here are some great ideas for themed stocking stuffing:

DIY-er or Car-Lover Gift Idea: Fill with handy tools, measuring tape, car wax, a nice chamois and a few sample size bars of our Orange & Tea Tree Mechanic’s Companion Pumice Soap.

Cook’s or Chef‘s Gift Idea: Fill with mini cookbooks, utensils, spices, oven mitts and a few sample size bars of our Black Diamond Coffee Kitchen Companion Hand Soap.

Fruit-Lover‘s Gift Idea: Fill with an apple corer, citrus peeler, small jars of jams or preserves and a few sample size bars of our Anjou Pear, Blackberry Hibiscus or Avocado & Lime Soap.

Gardener’s or Florist Gift Idea: Fill with a spade & trowel, gardening gloves, apron, seed packets and a few bars of our Red Rose & Ivy, Exotic Orchid, Flowers & Ferns or Lavender & Lemongrass Soap.

Dog-Lover’s Gift Idea: Fill with a pet brush, chew toys, pet treats, leash & collar and a few bars of our Comfrey & Tea Tree Oil Dog Shampoo Bar.

All-Natural Themed Stocking: Fill with organic snack bars, 100% cotton socks, hand-made paper stationary and a few bars of our Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Triple Mint or Cracked Black Pepper Soap.

Hair-Care Themed Stocking: Fill with brushes and combs, bows, ribbons, clips, hair spay & styling gel and a few bars of our Amber Vanilla Shampoo & Body Bar.

Shave Themed Stocking: Fill with disposable razors, a cotton facial cloth, soothing aftershave or aloe gel and a few sample bars of our Chamomile Aloe Shave Soap.

The ideas are endless, really - and only limited to your imagination! Oh - and to make it easy and economical, we offer our Soap Sample Bars in 4-, 5-, 6-, 8- and 10-Pack Variety Stacks!

All of our Sample Size Soap Bars are available at:
www.bellissimatruccominerale.com
BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com

So have some fun this year, and start a tradition that will keep your family looking forward to opening their Stockings every Holiday Season!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bellissima Holiday Shopping Guide: Day 1 of Stocking Stuffers

When I was a kid, I always saved my Christmas Stocking for opening last. I’d run and tear open the boxes under the tree as fast as I could - and it was exhilarating! But I’d always take my time with my Stocking. I’d carefully take each item out one at a time, trying not to peek at the next treasure underneath. I’d cherish every single gift, knowing it was special - thoughtfully chosen just for me.

And remembering the absolute joy they gave me, I always stuff stockings for my loved ones.

And I’m not the only one!

So for the start of the Bellissima Holiday Gift Guide, I thought I’d showcase some of those items ideal for stocking stuffers.

Bellissima Mineral Tinted Lip Butters fit all the prerequisites for the perfect stocking stuffer:

*They’re compact, leaving plenty of room for lots more treasure in the stocking
*Come individually wrapped
*Come in a variety of flavors and shades
*Are practical, but still a guilty pleasure
*Great for women of all ages

And Bellissima Lip Butters are chock full of fantastic ingredients, including sweet almond and coconut oil and lots of cocoa, mango and shea butter. They’re extra-emollient and moisturizing and are enriched with Vitamin E. Formulated with only the highest quality ingredients, they're the ultimate in promoting soft, supple, smooth lips. And with a hint of sheer color, they can be worn alone, under or over lipstick & lipliners.

From November 16th - 23rd only, I’m offering a Blog Reader’s Discount of 10% off of all Bellissima Mineral Tinted Lip Butters! Just enter the Promo Code: ‘STUFF' in the Message to Seller Box during checkout. We’ll either send you a revised invoice reflecting your discount or your discount will be refunded back to your account. I’m sorry, I cannot combine this with any other offer.

The Discount Code may be used at either of Bellissima’s Online Shops:
BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com
Or
www.bellissimatruccominerale.com

Tune in Tomorrow for more Stocking Stuffers from Bellissima’s Holiday Shopping Guide!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Countdown: 40 Shopping Days 'Til Christmas

It's hard to believe, isn't it?

And it seems like the older I get, the faster the Holidays sneak up on me. I used to be so organized - I used to start my Holiday shopping in July, buy one gift a week and be done and ready to start wrapping by the end of November! It was actually a yearly ritual for me to wrap my first present on Thanksgiving night.

It seemed like such a practical thing to do, but in hindsight, I was usually over my Holiday spending budget by September. And by October, I was buying duplicate items, double-gifting (my term for buying two presents for the same person), forgetting who I'd already bought for, buying just for the sake of buying and running out of room to hide everything!

So these days, I wait until closer to the Holidays to start my spending spree.

And honestly, I enjoy shopping during the Holiday Season. I adore looking for - and especially finding - that perfect 'thing' that will make my Mom cry or my husband laugh. It raises my spirits and brings me joy. Of course these days, I'm more likely to put on a CD of Christmas Carols, plug in the tree lights, grab a cup of hot chocolate and cuddle up to my laptop in my pajamas rather than get up at 5am to join the bustling crowds!

And I'm not alone. The largest online shopping day of the year in 2008 was December 8th with over $880 million in total sales. While pure convenience tops the list, there are so many reasons why online shopping gets more and more popular year after year. I appreciate it so much as a consumer, and now as an indie biz owner, too.

Last year was the biggest Holiday Season so far for Bellissima. We've been working hard to get ready for this Season, so I thought I would blog a Holiday Gift Guide of sorts and highlight some Bellissima items perfect for gift-giving this Holiday Season!

Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting some great ideas for Holiday Shoppers from the Bellissima Catalogue. There'll be bargains galore - everything from discounts and coupons to shipping deals that will be available at both of our shops: BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com and www.bellissimatruccominerale.com! And I'll be putting together some special offers just for our Blog Readers - so be sure to Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Three P's to Perfect Mineral Makeup Application

I have written several Squidoo Lenses and am so proud and love each and every one! For anyone not familiar with Squidoo, please be sure to refer back to my blog post:
My Love Affair with Squidoo


I did so much research making sure they were interesting, enjoyable, very informative - and most of all, accurate. And I think one of them has some information that bears repeating here. It’s from my lens
Troubleshooting: Mineral Makeup Application Hints, Tips & Tricks”.
Check out the righthand sidebar for links to some of my other lenses.

It’s my Three P’s to perfect mineral makeup application.

Anyone who’s tried mineral makeup has experienced, at one time or another, some kind of issue: flaking, ashy-ness, uneven-ness, etc. And so many women experience a problem on their first try and give it up, thinking it’s just not for them. But mineral makeup is so good for your skin, just the thought of even one woman abandoning it due to an issue that can easily be solved bothers me. I honestly feel that, because I formulate and sell mineral cosmetics, it’s my job - my duty - to do everything I can to help inform and educate women so that they can feel confident trying it - and hopefully learn to love mineral makeup.

And so, I advise that an extra few minutes spent a day following these steps can help resolve so many mineral makeup issues.

And here they are:

The Three P's to Perfect Mineral Makeup Application Every Time:

Step 1. Prime the Skin
Cleansing and exfoliating are the basics of most daily skin care regimens and are very important steps to great mineral makeup application. Wash the skin with a gentle cleanser to remove surface skin oils, dirt and debris. Exfoliation aids in the removal of dead skin cells and can be done as simply as:
  • gently scrubbing with a cotton washcloth
  • naturally by using a bit of honey mixed with brown sugar and smoothing over the skin
  • using an over-the-counter brand name product
Be sure to search out products that are targeted toward your skin type.

Step 2. Prepare the Skin.
The most fundamental step in applying mineral makeup is prepping the skin. It's crucial to moisturize prior to application. Why? Because most mineral cosmetics contain no hydrating properties and naturally absorb moisture from the skin (especially surface skin oils - which is good!). Moisturizer will help keep minerals from looking dry & flaky on the skin. Even if you have oily skin, this step is still important - try an oil-free moisturizer or one made specifically for oily skin. And be absolutely certain your moisturizer is completely absorbed before applying your minerals.

Step 3. Practice!
Very few people get things right the first time out - and as they say, practice makes perfect. Play with your minerals! Practice your technique over and over, try different application methods and discover what works best for you. Some women achieve perfection by applying their mineral foundation with a brush, others are successful using a flocked sponge. Some women prefer to apply their eyeshadows dry, while other love the look they get with ‘foiling‘ - applying their mineral eye colors wet. Just like with anything else, the more times you do it, the easier it will become and the faster you'll be able to apply your minerals every day.

If you’ve tried mineral makeup and thought it wasn’t for you, please give it another shot! I’ll even send you 5 Bellissima Mineral Makeup Samples - totally Free of Charge - to do just that!
Just visit
http://www.bellissimamineralmakeup.com/, go to the Contact Us Page and fill out the form. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

And then let me know if you’ve tried the Three P’s - and if it’s made a difference in your application.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has any other suggestions or tips for applying mineral makeup, too!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Indie Biz Focus: Product Packaging

And speaking of packing and packaging…

There are so many things that happen behind the scenes at an indie biz. Hundreds, if not thousands of small and large, even monumental decisions that must be made every minute of every day. Some of these decisions have very little impact on the customer - or are even evident to those peering into the ‘storefront’ - but are important -sometimes crucial - nonetheless.

But it’s the ones that do impact the customer and the ‘storefront’ that are the hardest decisions to make.

Packaging, in my humble opinion, is the toughest issue, and make for the most difficult decisions.

There are so many reasons why, but here are my personal top three:

1. Discovering that your current packaging is just not working - for whatever reason - means money down the drain. Investing in new packaging and discarding old packaging can become a bit of a financial burden, and can sap resources very quickly.

2. Changing packaging means not only an investment in new jars/tubes/bottles, but also in new lids, labels, product photos as well as making changes to listings, marketing tactics, etc. There’s a lot more to it that just putting a product in a different container.

3. Making a change to one product’s packaging often means changes are necessary for compatible products, as well. Keeping a product line’s packaging streamlined is very important to aesthetics, branding and appeal. It's the most professional thing to do.

It’s very rare when I can count on my first choice in packaging to work for any extended period of time.

Take for example, our LipSync Lip Gloss packaging. After several months of use, we discovered that many of the tube’s plastic inserts (you know, the part that the sponge-tip scrapes on when the wand is pulled out of the tube) were popping out after only a few uses. Not all the inserts were defective, however we couldn’t tell just by looking at them which ones were going to cause a problem. In my opinion, this was actually worse than all of them being faulty.

So we had no choice but to make the decision to scrap them all and get brand new packaging.
And the hunt was on….

After about 40 different suppliers and 60 different samples and months of testing, we finally settled on the one we thought fit in best with our LipSync line, was professional looking and quite appealing, and most importantly - each one worked perfectly every time!

After developing new labels, taking new product pics, rewriting listings, editing our printed materials, making minor changes to marketing campaigns, and announcing the changes to our sales people, we were done.

And we’d love to hear what you think of them! The top photo is of our former packaging, and the bottom pic is of our current, brand new packaging.

And if you’ve tried Bellissima LipSync Lip Gloss, be sure to add a comment - we want to hear from you!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Online Sellers: Pack Your Items Like You Mean Business - Because it Does


There was an active thread in a popular online marketplace forum a few weeks ago about packing sold items for shipment. Literally, the topic was: “Does how you package an item really matter?”
Seeing this question in the forum of an online sales venue over 100,000 sellers strong generated some serious thought from responders, but just some stunned bewilderment from me.

Now, I’ve been selling Belissima online for at least 6 years, and involved in web sales an awful lot longer than that. As an employee for companies who had an online presence, I can go back as far as 1992! Personally, I’m more than a little bit amazed that this question is even asked. While I would never ‘call out’ any of the posters in the thread, I have to take issue with any seller who admits to ‘just putting a business card and the item in a mailer’ and shipping it out.

After some thought, I realize that my astonishment at this particular ‘strategy’ comes from being a part (small as it was!) of the early days of online sales. I remember all too well how incredibly difficult it used to be to try to convince consumers that buying online was not only safe and secure, but also that they were buying quality items, that they would still receive top-notch customer service and that, other than waiting a few days for their purchase to arrive, their buying experience would be no different - if not better - than shopping in any brick-and-mortar retail establishment.

I may be dating myself, but I still recall so many of the questions I fielded as one of the pioneers in the early days of online retail sales:

‘Is this a real business?’
‘Are these items used?’
‘Will I really get what’s in the photo?’
'How do I know you’ll send the right thing?'
'How do I know you'll send anything at all?'
‘What happens to my credit card information?’
'How do I know you won't take off to Aruba with my Credit Card Number?'

In these days of HSN, eBay and Amazon, questions like this may seem a little silly, but believe me - we answered the craziest of questions with all seriousness. We struggled to build relationships and establish trust. We believed in the world wide web as a viable sales venue and worked hard - in our own small ways - to help pave the way for every seller online today.

And one of the most important keys to success was in making our customers feel special. When we launched Bellissima, we decided that each and every buyer would feel as if they just walked out of a high-end boutique. We would package and ship every item quickly, with the utmost of care and as beautifully as possible. And in recent years, we take conservation into consideration, using 100% recycled materials whenever possible.

We try to give our customers an extraordinary buying experience and make them feel exceptional. We make sure they know that we value their business and care about their satisfaction. And we are rewarded every day with treasured repeat customers, priceless referral business and precious word-of-mouth advertising that money just can’t buy.

And so, to all my fellow online sellers who‘ve asked themselves or others, please take some advice: Pack Your Sold Items Like It Means Business - Because It Really Does.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bellissima Enters The World of Publishing... Email Newsletters, That Is!

Email Newsletters are a huge part of online retail marketing, and I’ve always known it’s something we should be doing. Every time I receive a company’s newletter in my inbox, I think to myself “When am I going to buckle down and finally get this done?“

I even started collecting subscribers over 6 months ago in anticipation of publishing monthly newsletters. But somehow, even though I set my mind to it, I never managed to decide on just how I could make Bellissima‘s email newsletter a reality.

Over the years, I’ve researched lots of email marketing companies and have been terribly confused, incredibly overwhelmed or just plain disappointed. And if I were to be perfectly honest with myself, quite intimidated, too. Confused by too many choices, overwhelmed by the necessity to learn yet another software program, disappointed in the lack of value offered by most companies for the money.

Until yesterday.

Scanning my inbox yesterday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see a new email marketing offer - encouraged, but definitely somewhat cynical.

I’m very satisfied as a customer of www.hostway.com, the company that generated the offer - I have been purchasing several website domain names from them for many years now. They provide services from web hosting to pc backup and utilities - and now marketing and promotional tools. So I couldn't resist taking a peek…

And lo and behold, my skepticism all but vanished when I discovered that their new email newsletter service is just as easy as writing this blog post, looks professional and attractive and is even FREE with my current domain name subscription! Of course, I’m restricted to only 100 email addresses (an additional $9.95 per month gives me unlimited addresses), but as a test run for my first foray into newsletter publishing, I can live with that.

And:
I can use their templates.
I can use my own photos.
I don’t need to download any software.
I don’t need to follow pages & pages of complicated instructions.
I don’t need to know any html.
It’s actually easy - and fun!

And so, Bellissima‘s very first Email NewsLetter went out yesterday afternoon… and I’m delighted!

If you’d like to take a peek, be sure to send me your email address!


Monday, September 28, 2009

New Bellissima Product: Creme Perfume


And speaking of more new Bellissima products….

We’ve been making and selling solid perfume for a while now. We offer them in complimentary fragrances to our scented soaps & lotions, and up ‘til now, have only had them available in our 3pc Trial Size MiniSpa Kits.

One of the reasons for this is that, although they’re fine the way they are - and exactly what you’d expect a solid perfume to be, they’re not quite what I personally happen to like in a solid perfume.

This is one of the unending internal debates every crafter/artisan/indie biz owner goes through: to formulate a product that meets the expectations of a wide customer base, or create a product that I not only love and would use every day, but something I’m incredibly proud of and dream others will love, too?

I’ve been true to myself from the very beginning, and I can’t find a reason to stop now!

I’m satisfied with most aspects of our Solid Perfume: the depth and longevity of the fragrance, the look of the product, especially the fact that one jar will last months and months! But what I really wanted to change was the consistency - the way it feels on the skin.

I really wanted more of a creamy, rather than waxy consistency. I want it to feel rich and velvety going on - an ultra smooth and luxurious texture that’s indulgent and pampering. I wanted it to be really decadent.

This means that the usage won’t be quite as extensive, and I run the risk of it melting during shipment in the warm weather months if I'm not very careful, but I believe it will be a much more enjoyable product.

The first thing I changed in my formula was the Beeswax. Although I love beeswax, I think it can be a bit stiff in certain applications - like this one. I replaced a majority of the beeswax with soy wax, which has a lower melting point, will absorb into rather than lay across the skin and has a much more creamy texture.

I kept the High-Oleic Sunflower Seed Oil, Rice Bran Oil & Sweet Almond Oil from the original formula for their moisturizing qualities and because I love the way this combination feels on the skin. Then I added in lots of Shea Butter to increase the richness and emolliency.

I ended up with a wonderful, silky smooth, luxurious perfumed crème that feels as delicious as it smells!

Right now, they’re only available in scents to accompany my soaps, but I really hope to expand further into my own perfume blends at some point.

You’ll receive a trial size crème perfume with any of the 3pc Trial Size MiniSpa Sets (along with a trial size body lotion and sample soap bar) in your choice of available fragrances.

Full size crème perfumes will be available soon (in convenient 1oz tins) at
http://www.bellissimatruccominerale.com and http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com

If you’ve tried our Solid or Crème Perfumes, be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bellissima Finds National Exposure!

This is a first for us - exposure in a national magazine!

And, wow - is it exciting!

Several months ago I was contacted by the press contact at etsy.com regarding one of my items and product photos. He said that he had been in touch with a national magazine doing an article about cool online finds for a bathroom makeover article, and would be submitting information about etsy. He requested permission to send in my product photo, with a notation that there was no guaranty that it would be used.

Not a problem!

I told him I would be honored to have etsy consider my shop & photo as representive of what etsy has to offer - in any way at all, and he had my express permission to send anything he wants to anyone he wants! Who would/could say no?

And the wait was on. The etsy press contact knew it would be the October issue, but wasn't sure when it would be out.

And then a few days ago I received a lovely convo (etsy-speak for an email through their messaging system) from a fellow etsian congratulating me on having my shop mentioned in the Online Shopping Secrets October 2009 Issue of Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine! I think I was just as amazed that someone saw it and took the time to email me about as I was about being in the magazine!


So there we are: Page 43, the top photo on the right hand side.

Etsy is listed under 'Best for Unusual Bath Accessories' in 'Where to Find Cool Bathroom Stuff' in the 'Instant Bathroom Makeovers' article that begins on page 37.

They feature my Calla Lily Scented All-Veggie Oil Soap photo and listed the URL for my etsy shop.
Some of the other online shops mentioned in the article include potterybarn.com, cb2.com, sundancecatalog.com, overstock.com, bedbathandbeyond.com, westelm.com and crateandbarrel.com. I'm just overwhelmed to be among such a prestigious group of retailers in this magazine!

I'm really grateful to Etsy for choosing my item and shop to submit for this article - especially when there are just so many incredibly talented soapmakers and bath-item artisans on Etsy!

And I was beyond excited when I ran to Borders, grabbed up a copy and saw my shop and photo in Consumer Reports Shop Smart Magazine! The man standing next to me reading Computer Digest must have thought I was nuts!

I hope every indie biz gets to experience this... it's just the thrill of a lifetime!

Friday, August 7, 2009

New All Natural Lip Gloss Shades For Fall


And speaking of Lip Gloss…..

I’m really excited to introduce some great new shades for Fall!

It took me a long time to perfect our Lip Gloss formula. I wanted all natural ingredients (of course!), lots of shine and none of that thick, petroleum feel. I used some wonderfully skin penetrating oils with lots of nutrients, both cocoa and shea butter for richness and emolliency, and both beeswax and candelilla wax for shine and to lock in moisture.

I decided not to use any synthetic flavor oils to keep it all natural and only use cosmetic grade, lip-safe mica for color. This creates a pure product with a sheer, barely-there hint of color that makes them perfect for every skin tone and incredibly good for your lips!

The first (top, left) is a gorgeous, intense bronze with subtle hints of burgundy and amethyst, plenty of shimmer and lots of shine: Remarkably Raisin.

The second (right) is a striking deep pinky-orange shade with copper undertones and unbelievable shimmer and shine: Absolutely Apricot.

And the third (bottom, left) is a stunning peachy-pink shade with red and gold undertones, high shine and enormous shimmer: Beautifully Blush.

Each all-natural Bellissima LipSync Lip Gloss comes in a see-through tube with a convenient sponge-tipped wand applicator.

They're available for $7.50 each, including US Shipping. We also ship Worldwide!

Through the rest of the Summer (at our Etsy Shop only) we’re running a Buy 3, Get 1 Free special for $22.50 - and Free US Shipping!
View all 7 shades at either of our stores:
Have a suggestion for a new Bellissima Lip Gloss Shade for Winter?
We’d love to hear it!

Monday, August 3, 2009

5 Steps to Perfectly Beautiful Lips

I’m a huge Lip Gloss fan!
I’m a huge fan of lip products… period.

For lots of reasons:
~ lips are one of the first places age begins to show on most women
~ delicate lip tissue is vulnerable to damage from harsh elements
~ lips have no oil glands and can’t replenish moisture on their own
~ lips have little melanin and are susceptible to UVA/UVB sun damage
~ dry, cracked, chapped lips are incredibly painful
~ soft, moist, supple lips are sign of good health


And I can certainly sympathize with women who suffer from dry, chapped lips all the time.
I have to keep huge dehumidifiers running year ‘round in my mineral makeup ’lab’ and I spend a majority of my time there. They can really wreak havoc and draw unlimited amounts of moisture from the skin.

I like to advocate a 5-Step approach to keeping lips healthy and youthful-looking:

1. Proper Nutrition: Drinking lots of water daily, eating plenty of fresh fruit and green veggies and ensuring your diet is high in vitamins and nutrients is always the first step to healthy skin!

2. Sun Protection Daily: whether your facial moisturizer has it, your lip balm or gloss has it, your mineral makeup has it or you’re applying it separately (or all of the above!) - make sure you’ve got it on! Sun protection from UVA/UVB rays is highly important and cannot be stressed enough.

3. Use a Lip Exfoliator 3x a Week: even though the skin on the lips is much more fragile, gently exfoliating the dead suface skin cells helps to keep your lips smooth and healthy-looking and feeling!

A lip exfoliator should be extremely gentle - many natural exfoliants are wonderful (like pumice, nut shell powders and even fruit/berry seeds), but way to harsh for tender lip tissue! We use ground Camelina Meal in a thick, rich, all natural cream base for Bellissima Gentle Lip Exfoliator. It’s as kind as can be, offers wonderful nutritive properties, helps soothe and smooth the lips and moisturizes, too!

4. Apply Lip Butter/Balm Often: replacing the moisture in your lips is difficult, but a good lip balm/butter with lots of emollient oils and butters plus beeswax for sealing in moisture will work wonders!

Lip Balms are not all created equal! Balms with a high percentage of beeswax can pull and tear at delicate lip tissue during application, causing more harm than good. Bellissima Lip Butters use a smaller percentage of beeswax and high amounts of cocoa, mango and shea butter to deliver a creamier consistency that will smooth on easily, moisturize and help relieve dry, chapped lips. We also use unsweetened flavor oil to reduce the detrimental ‘lip-licking’ syndrome produced by sweetened lip balms.

5. Use Lip Gloss: a lip gloss full of healthy ingredients (and maybe even some natural sun protection) will help lock in moisture and protect the lips from harsh elements and future skin damage.

Lip Glosses don’t have to feel like Vaseline! You can have shiny, glossy lips without that thick petroleum jelly feeling. Bellissima uses all natural ingredients to produce a skin-healthy Lip Gloss that moisturizes, shines and conditions your lips. And we use cosmetic grade iron oxides and micas to produce our sheer, colorful tints!

I take lip care seriously.
And we’ve made healthy lips a priority at Bellissima. We want to make it simple and affordable for women to look fantastic and feel good about what they‘re putting on their skin. We’re constantly expanding our LipSync Lip Care line and hope to be able to offer something for everyone.

Be sure to take a peek and see if there's something for you!

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Product Launch: Bellissima Mineral Makeup Setting Spritz

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm working on several new product launches for Fall - and in time for the Holidays!

The one I'm most excited about is a product that's been requested for a few years now - yes, I said years. When we first introduced Bellissima Mineral Makeup, I believe it was during the first week that a customer asked if we had a Mineral Makeup Setting Spray. We didn't, but the seed was planted... and we've been working on it ever since!

The thing is, I didn't want 'just' a mineral setting spray - I wanted something that would be great for all skin types, would improve the look of skin and the minerals, that would be skin-healthy - and would actually work!

And of course, in true Bellissima style, it had to be as natural as possible and completely free of oils, alcohol, parabens, synthetic fragrance and, as I found out through my research, propylene glycol.

Propylene glycol, while 'natural', may cause eye or skin irritation, and as far as I'm concerned, just doesn't belong in a leave-on product that will be misted on the face. Since it's main purpose in this type of application is moisturization, I figured I could replace it with ingredients more appropriate and certainly less controversial.

And so, after much research and testing, I developed Bellissima Mineral Makeup Setting Spritz!

The ingredients are simple and healthy:


  • Floral Waters of Rose, Rosehip and Lavender for astringent and antibacterial properties, their vitamins and nutrients, as well as for their aromatic and aromatherapeutic qualities
  • White Willow Bark Extract for its astringent, moisturizing and toning properties
  • Green Tea Extract for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties
  • Chamomile Extract for its anti-inflammatory, soothing and healing properties
  • Rose Canina Extract for its emollient, astringent and antioxidant properties
  • Vegetable Glycerin for moisturizing and emolliency
  • Citric Acid for balancing ph
  • Aloe Vera Juice for its moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and healing properties
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol T-50) for its antioxidant, photoprotectant and moisturizing properties
  • Silver Citrate, which in conjunction with Citric Acid, is part of a natural preservative system known as Tinosan SDC - which is free of parabens, formaldehyde and phenols.


And I'm so, so pleased with the finished product and it's performance!


It's main purpose is to set your mineral makeup application to help prevent smudging and smearing and help reduce the need for touch-ups throughout the day. It provides a protective layer that seals the minerals and helps in resisting water, humidity, even tears. And the vitamin and nutrient rich ingredients will also help provide moisture, reduce inflammation and provide anti-aging benefits!

It can also be used as a gentle leave-on toner after cleansing and as a primer beneath your mineral makeup. I leave mine in the fridge during the summer months to provide a cooling, refreshing spray of moisture anytime I need it!

Bellissima Mineral Makeup Setting Spritz, 2.4oz in a conveniently sized spray bottle, is now available at two of our online shops:

http://www.bellissimatruccominerale.com
http://BellissimaMinerals.etsy.com

If you have any questions or have given it a try, feel free to leave a comment!