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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ascention Lutheran Holiday Boutique

I started as a consultant in October of 2010, so I did several boutiques last year before I had even recieved my samples. Over the course of the year, I bought little bits of merchandise to have on hand for cash-and-carry markets. But I haven't had much money to pay in booth fees this season, so I ended up doing only a single boutique that I registered for weeks ago. This particular one was 30 miles away from my home, so it turned out to be a significant investment in gas and time as well.

I used half the 8' table for Longaberger sales, and half for my handmade craft items. I expected to have internet access since I'd emailed the organizer about it when I registered. The organizer never got back to me, and when I arrived, there was no wireless, leaving my table emptier than I would have liked.

I had a selection of price points, from a $10 picture frame or vase to a $50 9x13 baking dish, and not one item sold. The show was in Thousand Oaks, an upscale valley suburb, and held at a church with attached private school, so I thought their base would be sizeable. But the traffic was minimal. I did have several people who'd heard of Longaberger, and I gave away my business card, so I'm hoping to get traffic on the web or phone calls. But in all my hurry to load the car, I forgot to put out a mailing list sign-up sheet. I think I was a bit out of practice since I hadn't had a booth in so long.

What do you consider a reasonable booth fee? Do you do shows where a percentage of sales goes back to the house? Which time of year is best for you sales-wise? Do you do cash-&-carry or just give out catalogs? I'm still learning and would love to hear the experience of other consultants, so please comment on the blog or on my facebook page!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby New Potato, Homegrown Rosemary, Fresh Ground Nutmeg, Cheddar, & Parmesean Quiche

Here's what I've been using my Longaberger bakeware for lately: Baby New Potato, Homegrown Rosemary, Fresh Ground Nutmeg, Cheddar, Parmesean Quiche. Yummy! I love one-dish meals....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dreams Live Here Tour 2011 in Ontario, CA

Hello, my name is Ellen, and I'm an addict. Today I met Tami Longaberger! If you don't know (how could you not!) she's the CEO of The Longaberger Company, and daughter of its late founder Dave Longaberger.

I journeyed to Ontario, CA, about an hour and a half from my house, for the Dreams Live Here Tour 2011. It was held in a lovely banquet room, and featured talks by Longaberger staff, motivational speeches by National Sales Leaders, as well as a basketmaking demo from a Longaberger artisan. Add to that tips & tricks for fall & holiday entertaining, gifts, and decorating from a sales leader, and photos and signings with Tami were just the icing on the cake! Plus, there was FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed there. Needless to say, I came in with my wallet and walked out without it. But I got sales credit for all purchases I made, as well as the 25% discount, and free shipping, so I couldn't resist a few special gifts to myself.

I walked away with the Dreams Live Here Basket, which benefits Joplin, MO reconstruction and cleanup from the May 2011 hurricane. It's woven in the Crimson Hill weave of heather gray, crimson red, and golden yellow. i know it will have a long life in my home. And best of all, it's now signed by Tami!

(the National Sales Leader who introduced Tami as a speaker)

(Claire was tired out by the crowd!)

(Tami speaking--my apologies for the awful camera)

(Tami and I together)

(a beatiful display of fall items)

(A grouping of Holiday 2011 items: I love the way the Santa Belly Tall Tissue basket is used as a base for a "tree" sprig of fir.)

(A special Horizon of Hope display)

(The delicate Collectors Club items on display)

(A Masters Studio basket)

(My favorite Collectors Club items--especially the Gourd!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Longaberger Cake Basket in Action

I wrote about my experience in KCRW's 3rd Annual Good Food Pie Contest on my personal blog, but I wanted to highlight my Longaberger pottery and baskets that I used in my presentation.

I love the sage green cake basket that I got last fall, but don't have occasion to use it often. It definitely came in handy on this day! Underneath the riser I had my apron for the Apron Fashion Show, as well as a book to keep me busy in between check-in and the competition itself. It was so easy having everything right at hand!

I've been collecting the Traditional Holly pottery for under a year, and am finally acquiring some major pieces, thanks to the spring sale bringing back retired pottery. I was glad to have Grandma Bonnie's Pie Plate for this year's competition. I think the bright red filling was shown off well by the ivory and holly pottery.

After the contest, the Good Food Blog featured an article on pie transporters. While they mentioned baskets, they didn't use any brands. Of course I left a comment on the post as a testimonial to my love of Longaberger!

What's your favorite basket to transport baked goods? Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's in a Signature?

Here's the email signature I use for my Longaberger correspondence:

Ellen Rosentreter
Independent Longaberger Home Consultant

Shop with me 24-7 at

View the Wishlist or Flyer at

Like my page on Facebook to get the latest sales, recipes, storage and decorating advice automatically in your news feed!

And follow my blog about Longaberger living for more tips and ideas!

My signature is long but gives lots of easy links and invites communication in whatever form one prefers. I've heard of consultants using graphics, changing their signature daily or weekly to feature specific products. What small touches do you add to correspondence?

The First Longaberger Party of the Holiday Season

My mom was hostess for my first home party of the holiday season over Labor Day weekend. We had a great turnout of at least eight or ten ladies, some that mom hadn't seen in quite a while! My folks have just returned from a cruise, so it was a fun way to share her trip memories, chatting while looking over the latest Longaberger catalog.

I was excited to share the new Golden Fields line through my Small Flare Basket, as well as highlight the 2011 Christmas Collection Holly Berry Basket and 2011 Tree Trimming Little Holly Berry Basket. On display was the new shape of the Travel Cup in the Sisters Black Medallion design. Several ordered napkins and placemats after seeing the Crimson Hill fabric.

I've also invested in new signage that will be great at other fairs and boutiques. In the invite for this party, I offered to repair Deep Brown baskets using my new stain stick. At the party, I walked everyone through the online "wish list" function and encouraged everyone to think about their own gift lists.

I donated a copy of Entertaining with Longaberger: Celebrating the Seasons as a raffle item. Mom used her hostess benefits of two half price items and $50 in credit towards two lamps and a set of candlesticks that had been on her wishlist for a while, so I know she'll enjoy them.

Mom made Audrey's Chocolate Cream Pie (pictured above ~ recipe on my personal blog) for refreshments, and I made her Chocolate Marble Cheesecake (below) as a practice for an upcoming pie contest, so stay tuned for that recipe!

Let me know if you'd like to book a home or catalog party! It's a great way to catch up with friends.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler & Cooking for One

I posted the recipe for this lovely Blackberry cobbler on my other blog, since I incorporated it into a gardening post, but it looked so scrumptious in my Woven Traditions 8x8 Chocolate Bakeware that I had to post a photo here as well. I've just started using my bakeware over plain clear Pyrex more often lately, and it really does add an elegant touch even to meals for one. I'm realizing it's so important to treat myself as well as I would a guest in my home.

What habits do you practice to treat yourself well at home? Please leave a comment on the blog.

Friday, June 10, 2011

4th of July Decorations

Here are my favorite baskets to bring out for 4th of July. How do you decorate for summer? Do primary red, white, and blue figure prominently in your decor or do you highlight bright, vibrant tones including pink, orange, green, yellow?

Wrought Iron Organizational Unit, Woven Traditions Divided Wave Bowl,
American Celebrations Divided Wave Basket 2011,
2011 Hostess Appreciation Vase Basket,
Little Star Hostess Appreciation Basket 2001 with Old Glory Liner

Little Star Hostess Appreciation Basket 2001 with Old Glory Liner

Woven Traditions Divided Wave Bowl,
American Celebrations Divided Wave Basket 2011,
2011 Hostess Appreciation Vase Basket

How do you decorate for summer? Do primary red, white, and blue figure prominently in your decor or do you highlight bright, vibrant summer tones including pink, orange, green, yellow?

I love to share how Longaberger fits in my home. Please check out my flickr photoset here to see more.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday Calendar

Here's another tip for bridal registrants:

My sister went to a wedding recently where the couple had made a photo calendar from their engagement photos. The calendar was placed next to the guestbook, with a note requesting each guest write their name on their birthday and wedding anniversary. At the end of the reception the couple had a birthday calendar reflecting all the important dates from both sides of the couples' family and friends!

I thought this was a really creative way to begin establishing traditions together. Have you ever been to a wedding where this was done? Please feel free to leave a comment with any other tips you can pass along.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wedding Planning Apps

Here's a great article to forward to clients on your bridal registry, that talks about using mobile phone apps to help plan the big day.

Sending a useful link like this that doesn't have anything to do with Longaberger can help you establish a personal relationship with your client that can lead to an ongoing relationship.

The apps discussed in the article include:

BRIDES Wedding Genius: Search through thousands of current wedding gowns anytime, anywhere. Browse by silhouette, designer, price, size and more. Then, find a store near you that sells your dream gown. There are also ring, honeymoon and registry categories. (Available on the iPhone for free. A $2.99 upgrade gives you access to the "binder" feature.)

Tiffany Ring Finder: Browse engagement rings by stone, shape, setting and metal. Your significant other can also take a ring you own, drop it onto the phone, and determine your ring size. (Available on the iPhone for free.)

Etsy Addict: This application places the largest marketplace of artisans and crafters right in your pocket. Browse through dozens of categories, such as paper goods, jewelry, and decorations. Save your favorites to your account to purchase later on. (Available on the iPhone for $0.99)

Color Toy: Find your key wedding color and all of the complementary shades that go with it. Save your palettes to show your florist, or to bring when shopping for things like neckties and napkins. You can also search for colors by name, e-mail palettes to wedding planners, and more. (Available on the iPhone for $2.99)

Wedding Dress Look Book: Download Wedding Dress Look Book and look through hundreds of new wedding dress photos, no matter where you are. You'll also get listings of wedding dress salons that carry dresses you've been dying to try on. Search dresses (by style, shape, and price), and bookmark your favorites for later. This app also gives you access to wedding dress shopping tips, glossaries, and so much more. (Available on the iPhone for free. Will soon be available on the Android.)

My Mobile Checklist: Get this checklist for your cell and stay on top of all your wedding to-dos! It's the exact same checklist that you use on - in a mobile phone format. Use your mobile to view your reminders and check off wedding-planning tasks while you're out and about. (Available for free on any mobile phone with access to the internet)

Wedding911: Get answers to your top wedding questions no matter where you are. Post your wedding questions and instantly get answers from other brides-to-be. You can also scroll through 150+ top wedding Q&As and get expert answers from The Knot editors. (Available on the iPhone for free. Will soon be available on the Android.)

How do you keep in touch with clients in between purchases? Please leave a comment below the post.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mailing Labels Without Return Address

I do a lot of thrift store browsing for my Etsy shop selling vintage Pyrex. Through my friend Jenny I've come to know about Scentsy products, another direct selling business. So when I saw a Scentsy warmer at a thrift shop, it caught my eye. The consultant that initially sold it had placed a sticker on the bottom with her information--and a lightbulb went on in my head!

Tagging the products you sell on the underside ensures that each client will be able to reach you, both now with concerns about their order, and years down the line, when they are looking for a replacement part or are ready to place their next order that they couldn't afford in one lump sum.

I had mailing labels made that coordinate with my business card and car door magnet. But rather than containing my return address, I listed my consultant number, my website, email, phone, and even my facebook page! In addition to placing these on the products themselves, I tag each piece of literature I give out, from flyers to catalogs. The labels are small enough to be unobtrusive, but yet clearly readable and eye-catching.

This is great for cash and carry sales as well, letting new contacts with whom you might not have a personal relationship know how to find you.

I've also bought printable Avery labels from an office supply or big box store, and printed up information to get the word out about my facebook and blog pages. These were large, 2x4 in. squares that I affixed to catalogs.

Shop with me 24-7 at

Like my page on Facebook to get the latest sales, recipes, storage and decorating advice automatically in your news feed!

And follow my blog about Longaberger living for more tips and ideas!

Self promotion can be as simple as writing things out to let people know. What are your best tips for promoting your business? Please let me know in a comment on this post.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole

I love one-dish meals for their ease and versatility. At the top of my comfort-foods list is eggplant parmesan. I have a really easy Sandra-Lee shortcut for this: I get a box of frozen breaded eggplant from Trader Joe's, their generic house brand. Layered with a can of sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and shredded Parmesan cheese, with a few garlic cloves for good measure, it's assembled in less than ten minutes. I cover with tin foil and bake at 325 for an hour, then remove the tin foil and broil for ten minutes until the top is brown and bubbly. It will fill an 8x8 baking dish and I'll have lunch for most of the week!

Out of the oven, I slide the Woven Traditions pan into the Wrought Iron holder, and have no worries about my counter surface or tabletop. It's served straight from the dish, and it looks like love baked right in.

What do you like to make in your Woven Traditions bakeware? Please share your favorites in a comment below.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy Hostess Gift

I love to give my hostesses a prize to raffle off as an attendance incentive for home parties. An easy and free way to do this is to get Longaberger books off of Paperback Swap.

I also use this to donate to charities and events for raffle prizes. I always stick a catalog and business card inside the flyleaf of the book, so the recipient will be able to contact me for further info, even if I don't get to meet them directly at the event.

It's a great way to introduce the company and our image to new customers. And the "Entertaining with Longaberger" book is my favorite because it has so many concrete suggestions for using Longaberger products, as well as recipes that will appeal to anyone regardless.

What are your favorite giveaways or prizes?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Pineapple Bake in Pink Woven Traditions

Thanks to consultant Alicia McCallister in Baltimore, MD for sharing this great photo of her Easter Pineapple Bake. It looks so yummy and enticing in the Pink Bakeware that it inspired me to look up a similar recipe. I found this heart-healthy version on AllRecipes that prints out on 4x6 recipe cards. I'll be trying this soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Longaberger Flickr Group

I started a group on Flickr called "Loving Longaberger" as an open photo pool and discussion group for collectors, fans, and consultants of Longaberger Baskets, Pottery, and Wrought Iron products.

It's a public group.
  • Accepted media types:
    • Photos
    • Video
  • Accepted content types:
    • Photos / Videos
    • Screenshots / Screencasts
    • Illustration/Art / Animation/CGI
  • Accepted safety levels:
    • Safe
I'm new to many media, so I'm interested to see how popular this particular site is. Please join in and contribute to the discussion as well as photos!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Longaberger Bridal Expo

Did you know Longaberger has a Bridal Registry? I recently participated in my first Bridal Expo. I wanted to share the experience and get some feedback on how to make my next one even better.

My expo was staged by the restaurant Maggiano's at the Grove on Fairfax and 3rd, as a way to showcase their banquet facilities for use in weddings and rehearsal dinners. There were about 20 diffferent vendors, ranging from photographers, to cake designers, to calligraphers, and even a chocolate fountain rental company! I felt like my products fit right in.

I brought a sampling of everything from my home to showcase the different lines available through Longaberger, including pottery, and signature, sports, and holiday themed baskets. I included popular bridal gifts such as the recipe and kleenex baskets.

I featured the current catalog and flyers prominently, and handed out both catalogs and business cards. I always forget at events such as this to put out a sign-up sheet to be added to my mailing list. Next time I'll include that as well.

With my brand-new Mac computer, I was able to show my website, the current online catalog, and exactly how a bridal registry worked. I also had a tab open to showcase the current month's special offer--the 2011 Mother's Day Basket.

What makes the most appealing display for an event catered to brides? Do you try to spotlight only one basket collection, or would you try to include a sampling of everything, as I did?

How do you determine which events to participate in? Do you find only events which require hefty vendor fees are worth your time, or do you forgo those? Please feel free to leave a comment with your advice!

Longaberger Consultants: You'll Love VistaPrint!

I used a site called Vista Print to design my car door magnets and business card holders. Those two elements are the prime ways I promote my business, along with a facebook presence.

I designed mailing labels through Vista Print that have only my name, Longaberger consultant number, phone number and email. These I affix to every piece of literature, from catalogs to flyers, so that my contact info is easily accessible. I also stick them onto the bottom of products before I distribute an order. That way, if later a replacement item is necessary, the customer will remember me and be able to find me.

Vista Print offers many types of free business cards (just pay shipping) to get you in the door, then tries to "upsell" other products to you. I just go through the process for only what I need.

I also designed and ordered a metal sign, much like those used by realtors, to mark the house of my Longaberger party hostess on days of our event. It makes it easy for guests to find the party, and may even spread the word to other interested neighbors who might not have been invited.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Home Parties with My Mom

One of the main reasons I enjoy being a consultant is the fun I have with my mom. She's supported me by hostessing home parties. It's given me the chance to learn about her entertaining style and get to know her collection (that she had prior to me becoming a consultant). She's taught me tips on how to be a great hostess. I've also gotten to know her friends through our home parties.

my mom's holiday baskets

We kept our refreshments simple with just a bar cookie and some punch, then had some other holiday snacks on a buffet near the table where we were gathering.

getting to know my mom's friends through Longaberger

my own current samples

Who have you found to be the biggest supporter of your business--family, friends, or otherwise strangers?
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