Fan Club Friday: Doorpost Collections

Doorpost Collections nativity advent calendar

Okay, yes, I am writing about my own business today.  

Maybe I'm not supposed to do that, but I figure that since this is my blog, I get to decide what I post.  And to be honest, I've been excited for a long time about the day when I could finally announce Doorpost Collections.

Before I tell you about the Advent Collection I've created, let me first tell you about my awesome husband.  I never thought that I could own a business with Andrew.  We are so different.  But it is precisely because we are so different that I now cannot imagine owning a business without him.  

I can make crafts, and I can write.  Oh, and I know how to be nice to people.  Those are the extent of my business skills.

I created an advent calendar and script for our own family when my oldest was an infant, and it was at Christmastime last year when the teenager living with us suggested, "MR, you could totally sell these.  I bet people would use them."  

This had truly never crossed my mind, but then I thought, "Sure, why not try?  'If you build it, they will come.  Right?'"

nativity advent calendar

Wrong.  

My dear husband is a business analyst, and he gently explained to his naive wife that this is not the way entrepreneurship works.

Have you thought about marketing?

Where to sell?

Shipping?

Packaging?

Sourcing?

Pricing?

No, no, no, no, and ... no.

So, all that stuff on Etsy and basically everything that is not the actual calendar, storage box, or script itself?  That is all my guy.  I had a dream, and he made my vision a reality.  

It also helps that I'm trying to sell a craft, and Andrew works at the ultimate craft store, Hobby Lobby.  

Anyway, enough bragging about him.  I could go on and on about how opening a business has changed our marriage for the better and made me see things in him that I never noticed before, but I should probably talk about my products.

Currently, Doorpost Collection only includes items for the Advent season, but I plan to expand the shop to include an Easter/Lent collection as well.

nativity advent calendar

The standard advent calendar includes a 16x16 inch burlap board in its natural wood color, but there is also a whitewash option.  The board comes with 25 miniature nativity objects to be placed on it from December 1-25.  These items have been sourced from a variety of retailers, and a few are handmade.  Each miniature was carefully selected to tangibly represent a part of the story of Jesus' birth in the Bible.  

Inspired by Scripture and Noel Piper's Treasuring God in Our TraditionsI created a script to be read individually or as a family during the month of December.  The script tells the story of Jesus, but it also includes other verses of Old Testament prophesies and New Testament promises.  Each day, the beginning paragraph of the script is repeated, but a new portion is also added which corresponds to the miniature being placed on the board on that specific day.

nativity advent calendar

A handpainted and numbered 25-drawer storage box for the miniatures can be purchased separately or in addition to the nativity advent calendar.  If you're a DIY kind of person, I've included the script as an option to purchase separately, as well.

If this product sounds simplistic, it is.  That's what I wanted it to be.  The Christmas season is often so full of chaos that the true Reason for our festivities is lost.  Selling these advent calendars isn't about money for me; it's about bringing Jesus back into people's homes.  It's about giving parents a tool for teaching their kids to adore the Savior.  It's about redeeming a holiday that has been distorted.  

nativity advent calendar

I'll leave you with this letter I've written.  You'll find it in your box if you order from my collection.  

You can check out Doorpost Collections on my website, InstagramFacebook or Etsy.  

 

***

Dear Friend,

I grew up in a home that did not acknowledge Christmas.  Classmates constantly questioned my religious background, wondering if I was Jewish or Jehovah’s Witness.  My response was and still is, “No, my parents are devout Christians.”  For reasons I couldn’t understand at the time, my parents chose to entirely forgo this holiday that the world has a tendency to misrepresent.

My husband, on the other hand, was raised in a family where Christmas has always been the year’s biggest celebration.  Yet, even with all of the festivities, the true meaning of advent was lost on him, as well.

Adopting our oldest child caused us to consider, for the first time, what we desired holidays to be for our own family unit.  I devoured Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions book in only a few days and then attempted to implement some of her wisdom into our home.  Unfortunately, the advent calendars and script which she sold when she wrote the book were no longer available.  So, I decided to make my own.

As I worked on this project, my heart changed toward Christmas and Jesus.  I had originally created the calendar to teach the story of Christ’s birth to our children through a digestible story and tangible objects, but I really ended up teaching the story to myself.  Writing the script that we would read in our home required extensive Bible research on my part, and seeing Old Testament promises fulfilled through the Messiah brought renewed joy to my spirit.  I found myself eagerly anticipating each evening during the advent season, when we would gather as a family and add another piece to the burlap board.  Seeing the wonder of the Savior through the eyes of my children sparked my own wonder, too.  For the first time in my life, Christmas had meaning.

The name, Doorpost Collections, was chosen with intention.  We, like the Israelites, are a forgetful people.  We need objects and routines which stir our affections for Christ.  My prayer is that, as you display and use Doorpost Collections in your home, you will be enabled to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

                                                                                 All glory to Jesus,
                                                                        Mary Rachel

15% of Doorpost Collections’ proceeds go directly to Peru Mission.  For more information, visit www.perumission.org.

Fan Club Friday: Social Butterfly OKC

Social Butterfly Logo

When I began blogging professionally several months ago, I knew that part of the gig would include social media engagement.  

You guys.  Those words kind of make me cringe.  I want to write content and be done.  I don't want to promote my latest post on my Insta account because a) that's awkward, b) I'm old school, and c) I have no clue what I'm doing.  But did you know that the average person spends two hours a day scrolling through feeds?  Managed correctly, that's a ton of publicity and engagement!

When my friend, Nichole Hughes, told me about the social media management business that she started with her sister, Laynie Snider, I was immediately intrigued.  Companies need to be promoted via social media in order to draw more clients and keep their current ones satisfied.  (You can thank millennials like me for that one.)  However, updating Facebook is often too much for an eye doctor, for example, whose full-time job is to take care of eyes.  Laynie and Nichole actually enjoy scheduling posts and moderating comments, which frees entrepreneurs and established businesspeople alike to focus on their careers.  It's a win-win situation because both parties get to pursue their talents and passions.

social butterfly coffee

Why work with these two coffee lovers?  Several years ago, Laynie opened Blo, OKC’s first blo-out-bar, in Classen Curve.  As the former owner of Blo, Laynie used social media exclusively for marketing, which quickly grew a large following in the community.  Braids, big hair, brides, blush, and beauty products (alliteration intentional!) filled Blo’s Instagram feed.  Blo’s exposure and profits through social media drove them to become a leader in the OKC beauty industry.  Laynie saw an opportunity and had the desire to partner with other local businesses to recreate the success she had initiated at Blo.  She knew that she would need help, and it made sense to ask the best friend who grew up with her in south OKC: Nichole, her identical twin sister (born four years earlier).  

Though I don't know Laynie personally, Nichole has been a sweet friend for years.  I can only imagine that since Laynie is so much like her sister, she's a tough and hilarious go-getter with wisdom beyond her years and a genuine love for people.  These extroverted girl bosses have six small children between the two of them, but they still manage to work hard for their clients, care well for their families, and look perfect while doing it all.  (I mean seriously, have you seen two more attractive brunettes?)  The fun, yet professional personalities of these ladies makes them a joy to have as friends and a dream to employ.  And let's be honest, they don't need me showcasing them on my blog because we've already discussed who knows what they're doing in this situation, but hey ... I like writing about gifted people.

At this point, you may be asking, "Who is Social Butterfly for?"  Everyone!  It doesn't matter if your company has one employee or 700, Social Butterfly can help grow your business.  Services they offer include:

Photos by:  Kate Bernard

Photos by: Kate Bernard

  • Daily Posting: Seize the day every day because they post for you!
  • Social Media Strategizing: They help you decide what your pages will look like and how the layout and theme will best reflect the values that your business has.
  • Brand Engagement: Grow real followers, not robots!
  • Community Management: Social Butterfly responds to the comments and questions of your audience.  Check that off your to-do list!
  • Content Calendar Creation: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  Nichole and Laynie do content creation and planning for you so that failure is not an option.  All of the next month's posts will be submitted for your review and approval 10-12 days in advance.
  • Media Management Flexibility: Since Laynie and Nichole have been business owners themselves at one point or another, they know that needs vary depending upon the size and stage of the company.  So, they're willing to work with you and devise a plan that pleases everyone!

Don't waste any more precious time attempting to grow your business alone.  Check out Social Butterfly OKC on their Facebook page and Instagram, or email them directly at socialbutterflyokc@gmail.com.

Friday Fan Club: Kate Bernard Photography

This is my friend, Kate.

Isn't she stunning?  (Sorry, gents, she's taken.)

She's also an incredible photographer.

When I began blogging here at Finding Freedom, I knew that I wanted to keep this space free of "clutter" and to make your time on my page a reader-friendly experience.  This is one of the many reasons why you'll probably never see banner or sidebar ads popping up as you scroll.

However, I have some talented friends, like Kate, whose work is too good not to share.  On the first Friday of each month, I'm planning to showcase one such business, entrepreneur, or creator.  I'm telling you about them because I think they're that good at what they do, not because I'm getting any sort of reward for doing so.

This Friday, I'm a fan of Kate Bernard Photography.

Kate did some headshots for me as I prepared to start Finding Freedom in January.  I couldn't be more pleased with how these turned out!  Below, you'll see some of my favorites, but I had a tough time picking only a few because they were all extraordinary.

The thing I loved most about my session with Kate was that she made me feel comfortable in my own skin.  (This is a big deal, given my tendency to be super awkward and shy.)  Not only did Kate help me pick out the perfect outfits prior to my session, but she ensured that the natural lighting was ideal when she got to my house, and she encouraged me to simply smile and "be me".  She captured all of my best angles and knew exactly how to position me so that I looked confident and professional.  Aside from her skills and experience, Kate is a genuine, kind person who seems to bring warmth with her wherever she goes. 

Specializing in more than headshots, Kate also photographs seniors, families and kids, moms-to-be, and newborns.  If you're in the central Oklahoma area, you should definitely check her out at www.katebernardphotography.com