frownie face…

Imagine a big frown on my face. I had to make a tough choice and just sent out an email to all my customers informing them that I have closed the U.S. side of my business. It’s just far too expensive to ship to the U.S. and the exchange rates and duties don’t help either. I’m sad to say goodbye to my friends to the south, but it had to be done. I’m still serving all my Canadian customers as usual though. I’m sure hoping that everyone will stay connected with me through social media though. I’m always here or on Facebook (Nicole Jane Home), Twitter (@nicolejane.com) and Pinterest (Nicole Jane Home).

cherry snow…

I thought I’d share a photo I snapped the other day. The ornamental cherry trees have been beautiful this year! They always remind me of the poem “Cherry Snow” that my writer/artist grandmother published in New Yorker and Chatelaine magazines when she was a young woman. She was also the first woman in Canada to fly a glider airplane–a feat mentioned in a book called “No Way To Treat A Lady”. This one’s for you, Grammy đŸ™‚

"Can I help you?"…

If I had a bricks-and-mortar store, I’d have a big smile (I’d serve wine and chocolate, and I’d play Christmas music all the time) and welcome you with, “Can I help you with anything?” I hope my customers get a sense of that when they shop online at Nicole Jane Home, ’cause it’s how I truly feel.


I just sent this newsletter to Nicole Jane Home‘s newsletter subscribers.I REALLY appreciate them, so I run regular specials and contests just for them! If you would like to be included on the list, let me know.

just give in to the serenity…

Sometimes the universe just forces you to slow down, whether you like it or not, and you better just deal with it. I’m having one of those weeks that just make you want to slap on a backpack, tie up your boots and head for the hills. The hubby is in L.A. wining and dining at a big gaming show, and I’m here at home running the other show.

Let’s review: So far I’ve had to fix a broken toilet (well…it’s a BandAid really, until Mark gets back), call the police to break up an impromptu drunken grad party on my lawn in the wee hours of the morning, talk a stressed-out boy down from the homework ledge, entertain visiting family, run a business, clean a house, clean up the mess from the other toilet I coincidentally broke (thank goodness for the third one or we’d be hooped). So far so good.

However, it only takes one grain of sand to bring the whole engine to a grinding halt. A virus hit and Jane has been knocked out with a bad cold! The poor kid has been lying in bed for two days, while I try to convince her to study for her last grade-five science test. Yowsa. I can feel the grey hairs sprouting all over my shrinking head!

I have had to admit defeat and climb right into bed with her. It’s like there’s a little heat generator in bed with me, so all the windows are open, and a breeze is wafting in.

So I’ve given in to the madness and the day is actually turning out to be pretty good! I finally figured out some tricky PhotoShop processes and I went to town. Although it looks simple enough (my graphic designer friends are howling with laughter), the summer entertaining collage I put together took some figuring out, and I’m patting myself on the back for turning 46 yesterday and teaching myself something new every day! Go me!

for better or worse…

As an online retailer, it’s really important for me to find out what my customers are thinking. It’s not like a bricks-and-mortar store, where you get immediate feedback about how you’re doing (“Oh, I just love how you wrapped that gift!” or “I want to speak to the manager!”). When I worked in a home decor store, I loved the interaction with customers, most of whom really appreciated our customer service.

An online business is very different–it’s all warehouse, boxes and packing lists! I love helping customers on the phone, but it’s not always easy to get a sense of what what they think about our customer service. That’s why I just sent out a survey to all my customers.

It was nerve-wracking deciding whether to press the “send” button, ’cause I started to get the jitters.

Devil on left shoulder: You can’t handle rejection, you wimp! Get me a brownie!

versus

Angel on right shoulder: You’re the best. You look fabulous in green. You need to know the truth: good or bad. It’ll be a hoot. Now let’s go shopping!

So if you would like to participate in the survey, I’d love to hear from you too. It’s most relevant for people who have purchased something on Nicole Jane Home, but it also covers stuff like how you heard about us. Just click on the picture and you’ll go straight to the survey.

photo by Reinier deSmit for Nicole Jane Home

Who's Nicole Jane?…

Well I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she’s not me. She’s my company’s name. After months of writing this blog, I just realized that there isn’t any place to find out who I am or what my name is. Bad blogger! Bad blogger! Must talk to my tech team and get that sorted out.

My name is Jennifer Findlay, and I own Nicole Jane Home. My daughter’s name is Jane and we share the middle name, Nicole. I think I might have made a mistake naming the business, though, ’cause everyone–and I mean everyone–calls me Nicole. Even my girlfriends think it is riotously funny to say, “Hi Nicole…” when they call me.

Not that I mind being called Nicole, it’s just that I really think that people like to know who they’re talking to (whether it’s email, blogs, Twitter, etc.), and they want the straight goods on your name.

I’m a middle-aged decor fanatic and I started my business two years ago, because I thought Canada needed a good source online (we really didn’t have much going online at that time…we’re getting there). Little did I know that my American friends would make up 90% of my business (consider yourself wrapped in a big ‘ol Canadian bear hug).

I’m married to an arm-chair comedien, Mark, and we have two great kids–Sam & Jane. I try not to write too much stuff about the kids, ’cause they get really cheesed, and the internet is still such a wide-open arena–you get my drift.

If you asked me what a blog was eight months ago, I would have said, “…a muddy hole in a swamp?” If you asked me what Twitter was eight months ago, I would have said, “…is that the guy who always cuts me off at the cross-walk?” At least I knew what Faceboook is, but I don’t go on it much now that they got rid of Scrabulous–bastards!

If you’re sick of my rants, blame my husband…yeah, the hilarious guy! He dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of technology and made me sit in my desk chair and learn all about it. I could just kiss him for that, but I won’t ’cause I kissed him yesterday, and that’s enough for one week!

I’m having a blast getting to know the blogging and Twittering worlds out there. So far, my experience has been so positive and it just reinforces what I’ve always thought–we’re all the same out there, and we’re really interested in each other. For those of you who haven’t tried Twitter yet–do it. It’s much more instantaneous, and it’s fascinating. You can follow me on Twitter @nicolejanehome.

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