Friday, July 29, 2011

We are Live!

Yesterday, I got my issue of BeadStyle magazine, with our ad on page 27. Wow. Right there where the magazine falls open because of a blow-in card. 

Today, I finalized the new webstore so that people can purchase the software with little or no problem. I was afraid the old method was too complicated.

So now it's a matter of waiting until people read the issue, have their curiosity piqued by the ad, and visit the website. Oh, and decide to buy.  Boy oh boy do I hope they decide to buy!

Advertisers link page!
People can find us in the advertisers links on the Beadstyle website as well.  And next month, the ad will appear in Bead & Button, with a much larger subscription base, so that's exciting as well.

Not too surprisingly, my creativity has been sidelined by all the stress and business of trying to get a new business launched. I sit down to bead and do a little of this and a little of that and not much of anything in particular. Not too long ago I was bubbling with ideas of what I wanted to next. I have to recover that and it may take awhile.  I hope not too long.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Day Arrives, Sort Of. Software Soft Launch, Spotlights in the Sky

For the last several months, I've been focused on moving my new software to market.

This has involved countless hours of programming, to get it right.  Then I recruited a group of testers, to make sure.  This involved setting up a feedback forum, distributing build after build as we all worked to find sticky interface and functional points, responding promptly to each concern, and learning all the spots where my brilliant ideas were exposed as not quite as brilliant as I had thought.

After I got through rebuilding the whole structure (those testers were thorough!) during testing, it was time for the next part.

Build the website. So I had to download and learn a new tool, Rapidweaver. I haven't built a website for over 10 years, and technology has marched on. Heck, I started coding HTML by hand back in 1994. 

Rapidweaver is a marvelous tool, but it's structured with lots of bits and pieces of add-on programming that each cost a few dollars. It adds up.  I spent...well, I can't even count the hours I spent researching online, downloading, testing, learning the software and tweaking on the website.  It was a very intense two weeks.

Then I had to add the e-commerce component. More downloads, more learning, more tweaking. I'm using a plugin called Cartloom that connects my website to Paypal, and then downloads the file to a purchaser.  Wow, what a tangle to implement. It works, now, but nowhere near as elegantly as I'd like.  

I set up a forum for users to communicate with me, and with each other. I connected the website to this blog, and the blog to the website.  I set up accounts hither and yon...I swear I can invent new passwords in my sleep. My password database got about 12 new entries. Yes, I am a geek. I have a password database. Doesn't everyone?

Oh, I almost forgot. I had to research, download, and learn to use installer programs on both Mac & Windows. How can you sell software without installers? More money, more time, more accounts & passwords. Whew.

The website and the webstore are both works in progress. They'll be evolving as I continue to find new and better tools and designs.

The software is now finalized in Version 1.0. That means no new features until I roll out the first upgrade.  But I'll be alert to user-feedback in case there are errors that must be fixed in order to have the kind of solid, robust program I want my company to sell. 

We've placed an ad in BeadStyle and Bead&Button magazines, which alternate each month. Six months at an amazingly high cost. But it's national exposure and this project is not going to fail for lack of marketing.

No sales yet, but the magazine will be rolling out to consumers in the next few days. Then we'll see.  It could all still be for naught. Or it could hit big. Some of my testers have been very complimentary.

Needless to say, beading has somewhat fallen by the wayside. But I did finish one piece the other day, which I will post soon. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

WOW Great News and Hurry Up, Right Now!

I've just been made aware that our first ad in BeadStyle Magazine is out in advance copy. I don't know if that means the first subscribers are getting theirs today or not.

But if you've read an ad in Beadstyle and ended up on this page looking for BeadEnCounter software, we will be live for sales as soon as possible. 

What does that mean? Please check back. Tomorrow. Over the weekend. Monday at the latest, because I will work as quickly as I can to test out our e-commerce and get the website functional. 

BeadEnCounter is an exciting new product and we want to make it available to you. The magazine jumped their promised publication date by more than a week, so we have to jump to make it up!

Hold on, more news as it breaks!  Thank you for your patience in the meantime!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Might be some disruption in service....

I've got the website for BeadEnCounter about 75% built.  This is good news. Tomorrow we wrassle with the e-commerce area of the whole thing.

But the URL, the web-address is going to undergo some changes. will become the main site, hosted at someplace I haven't decided yet. This blog will return to, and become a link from the main website.

I just wanted to warn everyone not to worry if the blog disappears for a day or so during the transition. 

We're under construction. Excuse our dust!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fine Birthday Visit to Ocean Sky Beads

There's a danger in visiting a bead store on your birthday. The "Oh heck, it's my birthday, why not!" danger of seeing wonderful beads and having to have them and really, there's no reason not to, is there? It's my birthday, darn it!

So the visit to Ocean Sky Beads in Oceanside, California on Tuesday was fraught with peril. Peril to my budget, that is. The score is Beads, 1, budget, 0. 

But I found some lovely amber and brown garnet, along with a bunch of other things. The store is handicap-friendly for a person in a chair, and the staff generous, helpful and willing to work with someone who is buying a whole lot of beads.

You can't dislike someone who laughs when you comment that the entire city of Oceanside, on a sunny summer afternoon, smells like sunscreen. Which it does. Fresh ocean breezes and sunscreen. A fine combination.