Category Archives: Small business

Housewares Report

So the show wiped me out more than I expected and  I’m running a day late, but here is my report on the Housewares Show – most of these things are not items I will be carrying, but they are things that caught my eye for one reason or another.


I posted this on my FB page, but the FoodPod by fusionbrands amuses me to no end.  It looks to me like some alien craft or creature, but is used to cook and drain foods in one step. (Picture copyright, fusionbrands)



Hobby Holster – ok, no great surprise that I like this little gadget.  These are silicone holders that will cling to a smooth surface without adhesive.  What I REALLY like is that I can put my hot glue gun right into the pocket or onto the flat surface without an issue and (I’m told) any glue that drops onto it will peel right off.  I’m sold.  They also make a more general line – Lil’ Holster.   Considering making these available, just because I like them so much – what do you think?  Let me know.

Charles Viancin – these are some super nifty silicon lids that create airtight, water-tight seals and can be used in the microwave, stove top and refrigerator.  They are all nature themed and beautiful.  I am absolutely in love with these.

SnapIt screw – this is a great idea for any of us who wear glasses.  An eyeglass repair kit – the screw is extra long with the bottom unthreaded, so it drops through and holds in place while you screw it in.  That way you aren’t struggling to keep the screw in place.  Brilliant.


BluApple is an interesting idea. This little blue apple holds a replaceable packet that is designed to absorb ethylene gas for 3 months, thereby extending the shelf life of your produce.   I am trying one out now.  If it works, it is a great money saver.  I will let you know!

Ok – there are more fun things that I will post as I keep sifting through everything I brought home – and things I am absolutely going to be adding to the product line.  If there is something here that you would like me to carry, let me know!


International Housewares Show

This coming weekend I will be attending the International Housewares Show at McCormick place.  I love this show for so many reasons.  There is a Gourmet Food section, which lets me find new products. There is the tabletop area – fun mugs, teapots, trays, bowls – I always find something that I want to try as an alternative container for a gift package.  The organization area – I am both organized and terminally messy.  I describe my workshop as an organized disaster and despair of ever being able to keep my desk neat.  The electronics area  – a few years ago there was a massage chair in this area that wrapped around you – you felt like you were being swallowed by the chair, but I can’t deny that the massage felt great.

That said, this year I have another reason to be excited to attend – I will be doing one on one consulting to small business owners on “Planning for Profits.”   This is the second year that I am doing this, but last year I was a last minute fill in for someone who had to cancel.  Apparently my ratings were good and I was invited back this year for another round.  I find this to be incredibly satisfying – I’ve received so much help from others in my business that I can never fully repay, this allows me to pass those gifts forward.  And I have found that I really enjoy one on one consulting with other small businesses.    So win-win.

So, should you be coming to the Housewares Show, I still have some open slots – you can sign up here.  Or, just pop me an email and let’s try to connect for lunch or a quick meeting.  For those of you not in the industry, keep your eyes here for my report(s?) on all my finds or let me know if you want me to find something for you!




packing peanuts

Packing peanuts hanging from the rafters!


Did you know that BasketWorks is green?  Not with envy (although watching folks’ exotic vacations on FB does cause some of that) but rather ecologically green.  Really!

  • Tissue paper – all of our tissue paper is made in the United States from 100% post industrial recycled fibers,
  • Packing peanuts – We have been using packing peanuts in the bases of our baskets for 17 years – since the day we opened our doors.   We have never, in 17 years, purchased a single packing peanut.  EVERY packing peanut we use is recycled, either from incoming shipments or from community members who don’t want to just toss them out.  We verify that they are clean and then happily use them.
  • Cellophane – Our cellophane is made in the United States of 100% Polypropolene.  It is entirely BPA free, contains no heavy metals or environmentally hazardous substances.   It is not biodegradable but is completely recyclable as code 5.  Additionally, we use our scrap cellophane in the bottom of our gift baskets to supplement our packing peanuts.
  • Boxes – All of our incoming boxes are either reused (we give the larger ones away to folks who are moving or storing things.  Need some?   Just let us know!) or recycled with our friends at Shred Spot.    We do use new boxes for shipping our packages out – but they are at least 40% recycled material – the national average is 35%.
  • Wrapping paper tubes – Tubes are regularly given away to preschools, art teachers, scout leaders – virtually anyone who would like them.    Wrapping paper tubes are great for art projects of all sorts (some of our favorites are here at the Crafty Crow).   Around here, they become swords and light sabers!  Ask and ye shall receive.
  • Ribbon Rolls – Empty ribbon rolls are useful for creating Rube Goldberg machines, racing vehicles, or simply storing ribbon or yarn lengths.  Also available for the asking!
  • Styrofoam sheets – We use Styrofoam sheets for centerpiece bases, to stabilize large designs, and for vertical structure.   Almost all of our sheets are cut from Styrofoam coolers.
  • Ribbon scraps – This is perhaps the oddest recycling we do.  We have lots of ribbon scraps – sizes from a half inch  to several feet long.  Tulle, the occasional silk flower.  All get tossed into our scrap box.  Like the tubes and rolls, these are favorites for anyone doing craft projects – especially mosaic type projects.

If you can use some of the items we have, drop me an email.  I am happy to get these items to folks who can use them!



Get Human….

So I know I said I wasn’t going to be publishing daily, and honestly, I’m not, but something happened in one of my networking meetings this morning and I needed to share.

We were discussing auto-phone attendants, and folks general dislike of them.  Comments were made about how frustrating it is to go through a never-ending menu, or to enter all of your account information just to be asked for that same information again when you actually got through to a person.  I mentioned in an off-hand sort of way, assuming everyone in the room was aware of the site.  Apparently not.

So GetHuman is a fabulous site that helps you to navigate through automated phone systems to actually get to a real person.  There is information on what to press at each prompt, how to get a call back, average wait times.  Fabulous site, enormous time saver!

Just for the record, when you call BasketWorks you will either:

  1. Get a live human (that would be me)
  2. Get asked for your name and then put through to a live human (again, me) or
  3. Reach our voice mail – which apologizes that you didn’t reach a live human.  I’ll call you back as soon as possible.  🙂

Hope this is useful!  Have a lovely, folks!