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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Featured Zibbeter Interview

 With pride and pleasure I was asked to participate in the  Featured Zibbeter interview found on the Zibbet blog. 

Enjoy learning what Meadow Muffin Gardens is all about!

Featured Zibbeter - Meadowmuffin2010

Zibbet is excited about introducing you to Stacy Whalen of Berks County, Pennsylvania. What an amzing shop he has!
Meadowmuffin2010 has it all! Treat yourself to her wide array of herbal body care products. If you are concerned about the chemicals used today in your current commercial products you’ll enjoy shopping at Meadow Muffin 2010.
Please enjoy the interview, leave Stacy a comment, and then use the Share Tools so others can read it, too. Please spread the Zibbet Love!
  1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

    To describe myself in a few words, I’d say I am first always the student. Books have always been not only the key to higher learning, but they are a portal to any place I’d rather be, a friend when lonely, and the secret to maintaining a sharp mind.
    Our family tries to uphold a holistic, simplistic and eco-friendly way of life. To do so we have accumulated a library of information concerning gardening, native plants, natural family and pet health, handmade remedies, food politics, environmental issues, household product safety, etc.
    Aside from years of tinkering around with making my own remedies for our ailments, Meadow Muffin Gardens developed out of another very practical purpose. Systemic Lupus Erythmetosis, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, has been an unwelcome guest for quite some time. Lupus patients can have a great sensitivity to the sun and have to aware of skin protection and care. It seems there is always something stirred up and we deal with rashes, itching, aches and pains, headaches, the list goes on.
    Tired of trying to decipher the ingredients in commercial products I began to do my own research and make my own lotions and potions.  Knowing exactly what is in each product gives peace of mind and it was flattering when others began to pick up on the “first do no harm” philosophy and began asking for products made for their own families.
    So my husband’s playful nickname for me became the name for my little home based business. Of course I get teased about whether I know what a meadow muffin really is. My response is ‘well, you can’t get any more organic than a cow flop’.
  2. Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?

    We are at a neat crossroads in our lives with our children. A daughter in graduate school and a son in the Army Reserves as well as a college student, has left them with one foot out the door. After years of being consumed with the responsibilities of the home and family, it is an interesting time for re-evaluating our roles and identities. Empty nesters can easily slip into limbo once they no longer are revolving their own identities around the hustle of the kids’ lives.  It has been the ideal time for taking my Meadow Muffin Gardens shop to the next level of opening an on-line shop.  The overwhelming list of things to learn, such as computer skills, a sense of business, bookkeeping, on top of keeping up with the growing and putting up my herbs and oils, not to mention making the orders, all has certainly distracted me from a mid-life crisis.
  3. What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?

    A little research into human history soon brought to light how quickly people forget what was once vital information for survival. Before our age of technological advancement the use of plants was a necessary part of everyday life. People took care of their own and depended on plants for supplying their families with not only food but to make their own home remedies, body care and cosmetics. Human ignorance and indifference has taken quite a toll on nature’s balance. It is very important that we dust off the knowledge of our grandparents and give it back the respect it deserves. I can remember my grandmother no longer making the effort to teach her heirs the old ways because it was believed to be out of date folklore in comparison to the new pharmaceutical age.
  4. Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?

    As a child, we always had a garden but when it came to ‘weeds’ I never thought twice about their value. A weed was a weed. I now know that a weed is just a plant that man hasn’t a use for. One man’s weed to eradicate in a quest for the perfect lawn is another’s foraging treasure. The credit for that change in view came from a co-worker with a passion for herbal gardening.  She introduced me to the few places one could purchase herbs other than the typical cooking herbs easily found at the grocery store. As she got older and wanted to simplify her belongings, she gave me many of her herbal, gardening and naturalizing books. Many of these are older books I will always treasure.
  5. What other passions do you have in your life?

    If it breathes, I fall in love and want to take it home. Be it plants or pets, I am known to take on more than I can handle. We have chickens, two dogs and more than a few cats, and last my son’s chinchilla which I suppose is now mine.
    Due to the Lupus, years ago I got into yoga. A stretched out body is less painful. Now I rely on that hour I call my own to not only do my body a favor, but to blissfully block out everything else for a little while.
    And of course my children are my utmost passion. Watching them grow up and out is as rewarding as wrenching as I try to let them make their own mistakes.
  6. What do you like most about Zibbet?

    I discovered Zibbet about a year after I started my on-line Etsy shop. While I do love Etsy, it is so easy to feel lost in the shuffle with all the competition. Being Zibbet was new, I liked the idea of being a not so small fish in the sea, to feel as though should someone search for my category, my own items may actually show up without having to go through twenty pages.
    The groups, blog, forums are all so helpful and personal. It is nice to feel part of the “mom and pop” type of store a home business is supposed to be. These sellers are taking their skills and reaching out to buyers looking for honest, homemade crafts. There isn’t the worry that we are competing with actual businesses setting up a shop.
  7. What ‘new’ things would you like to see added to Zibbet?

    Zibbet is growing and improving all the time. Adding the ability to make treasuries has been addressed before and would be nice for creating themes, holiday shopping ideas and connecting with other shops.  I have to admit, often the only time I discover other shops is when I am making an Etsy treasury. I know there are many wonderful Zibbet shops out there but I just haven’t taken the time to really search them out.
  8. How do you promote your work?

    I have a business Facebook page which is connected with Twitter. I have a Pinterest page which is all the rage right now. I just joined Google+ but have a lot to learn to get the most out of my circles. I have a blog which is a great way to tie in my products with what I am writing about. I know how important social media is for connecting with customers but I am terrible at chit chat. I use these sites for promotion and hope that people discover my sites and if interested take the time to check them out.
  9. How would you recommend other Zibbeters make the most of

    I have noticed frustration amongst sellers in terms of sales and exposure. It is true that sites like Etsy are household names and people still ask what’s a Zibbet. My advice to other Zibbeters is to focus on making their shop as appealing as possible by taking excellent pictures and using their tags wisely. If a photo looks out of focus or too distant people will assume the product itself is that of an amateur. I don’t have an expensive camera but it helps to learn how to use the micro and the editing features to help with the lighting.
  10. In the future I’d like to be…

    Of course I want my shop to be successful. I have two more years before my accountant will let me know if I am considered a business or a hobby. At that point I’ll have to decide what is stronger…. my pride, my passion or my pocketbook.
    But wherever this business leads me financially, there is no doubt I found satisfaction in developing my own sense of personal accomplishment. The fear of failure or not being good enough haunts most of us and when every step of the way lies on one person it can bring out true character. For now I plan to keep plugging away, and the future will play itself out.