About Treasures By Sandra, Sustainability Blogs

Busy, Busy Bee

Yes, I know it has been a while since my last post. I DID warn you that this was my first attempt at a blog. Combine this with trying to set up a business, working two jobs, raising kids, and one can easily get caught up in minutia and neglect one aspect or two. But… Just because I have been silent does not mean I haven’t been busy!

Raw Materials: I have spent a considerable amount of time sourcing raw materials to find the best quality and the best price. Since the focus of my Etsy store is to find less environmentally impactful alternatives to common household items this has also required some creativity. To begin with – fabric. I had two choices. I could by organically grown and processed fabrics, or focus on recycling. I have decided to do both. I am so fortunate to have amazing friends. Debbie, who was going to lend me her serger, works for a local theatre company as a seamstress making costumes. The sewing department goes through a lot of muslin for linings and for draping actors for fittings. This means that they also have a lot of unusable pieces. Being ever the considerate person she is, she realized that I could use these pieces for my projects and has provided me with enough muslin to wallpaper my entire house. Now I just have to find a place to keep it until I can use it! She has also brought me pieces of other fabrics suitable for use as covers.

The other source I have found is upholstery shops. I called around to a couple and found that they sell their remnants. I went to one and found that ‘remnants’ in their world are really bolt ends! I purchased yards and yards of fabric for very little cost, and the owner was very happy to be getting rid of stock they cannot use. Recycling at its finest! I am now fully stocked on fabric to make my therapeutic packs, which got me thinking. What other products should I add to my store?

I have so many ideas that I am having a hard time concentrating on one. I would like to make a replacement for paper towels. No, seriously! I KNOW that paper towels are convenient, but do you have any idea what the carbon footprint of those things is? It boggles the mind. Plus, any paper towels worth buying are expensive, and I have recently found out that my ‘go-to’ brands do not have ANY recycled content in them at all. That pretty much made my mind up. I have been researching the best fabrics to use and the best method for storing the towels that will fit in with someone’s already established kitchen (in other words, it has to look and act like a paper towel). I have some ideas in my mind and have bought some pieces of linen to make my prototype. Stay tuned for the result!

What are your favorite sustainably made products? I would love to hear what you are using or doing to be more sustainable. Also – do you have a product that is a ‘must have’ and haven’t found a way to make it more environmentally friendly? Let me know what it is and I can try to find a solution!

About Treasures By Sandra

Step 2: Permits, Licenses and Legalese

Part of starting a business is being sure you have fulfilled all of the legal requirements. This involves a lot of research at the state, county and local level. The first task is to decide what type of business to form. I must admit that this was daunting to me. Should I form a corporation, a limited liability corporation, or a sole proprietorship? Each type requires different forms, different fees, and different insurance requirements. I spent a lot of time on the internet researching the pros and cons of the different paths I could choose. I also conferred with other business owners, an accountant, and an attorney. Eventually I came to the decision that a sole proprietorship was the best fit for what I wanted to accomplish.

Now for the paperwork! I live in California and so needed to get a state-issued reseller’s permit. This was pretty easy. It was done online and only took an hour or so. I also needed to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the county. Yes… This sounded really sketchy to me, too. But it is required if you want to use a name for your business other than your full legal name. This required a trip to the County office to file the paperwork, pay a fee, and provide identification. I also need to post a public notice about the name for four weeks in a local newspaper. This is in progress.

The last piece of paperwork I needed to file was a Business Tax License with the City. This was the biggest hurdle – mostly because the website did not work very well and I had to start over several times. All in all, it was not too arduous once you knew what you had to do.

If any of you have gone through this process I would be interested in hearing about any issues you had. Send me an email or submit a comment.