It really *is* all about the packaging. Shortly after I started CBT, I wanted to stand out from the crowd a little bit. Create a little bit of excitement when our packages arrived.
What better way than in the packaging?
Normally we have our famous Owl tissue paper, but our supplier was out of it when I went to pick up my supplies this past Saturday. I brought a friend along who is creating goody bags for an event, so we decided on colourful tissue paper, of which I gave her a few set of to get her started - it was a BIG batch of tissue paper! But no worries, I'll be popping back to my suppliers'
I picked up my boxes though...and stamped all 80 of them this morning! They might last me a few months (more likely not at the rate we're going!). I find the stamps make us stand out, and get customers excited when our orders arrive. I also enjoy being able to provide a personal touch to every order (aside from the toys I create!)
I picked up this cute Feather Stamp from an Etsy seller - I'm all about supporting other Small Business owners, and this was the perfect stamp to add to my growing collection
I also found a cute set of mini Owl & little bird themed stamps while picking up some supplies from the UPS in Ogdensburg, New York.
It is a bit of a project, but after doing this for a few years, I just get into the stamping zone, and get them all done at once. It's much easier for me to do big batches vs only a few.
We won't go into how in the beginning I hand stamped Every. Single. Business Card/tag. Thankfully Husband was kind enough to buy me business cards the first Christmas after I started CBT. I could NOT keep up with stamping
That's all for today for a bit more insight into the workings of Crystal's Bird Toys.
Our birds sure love wreaths - another reason I have a great variety of them!
Beads & Wood is our second wreath design.
Stryder loves to just sit in the middle & swing - the rocking motion makes him happy.
Rosco loves to dangle with one "foot" while swinging towards another toy. He gets especially excited by the bell ball at the bottom - bells drive him crazy, so I can always tell when he's playing with his Beads & Wood toy!
And Merlin, the subtle parrot he is, likes Beads & Wood to be near his top perch so he can grab it with one foot & swing it like a pendulum, slowly over time chewing away at the wood, and tonguing the beads - he sure loves his beads!
Here's a closer look at this diverse design.
So part of my job with this whole site includes finding decent places to advertise, but at a cost effective price.
In order to keep prices down on our toys, advertising premiums have to be kept to a minimum (otherwise the cost comes to you, the consumer). I've tried our local advertising sites (kijiji and Used Ottawa), placed a few posters up at work, Facebook, Twitter, and word of mouth. I've tried bird/parrot websites (but anyone with a full-time job cannot possibly keep up with the banter of 6 or 7 sites! I still have to keep up with the birds, husband, dogs, cat, house, and our fitness goal of running the Zoo Run in Toronto this upcoming October!).
I'm an honest person, work myself to the bone during the day, try not to over exert myself after work, spend time with my loving zoo/aka family, and do realize that clicking away at the computer an hour a day is required as part of keeping the business here for all to enjoy.
A friend made the best suggestion to me today - Check out Blogs of people who blog about their pet birds - and ask to send them free toys for their readers (for a contest) in lieu of linking my site up with theirs. How genius is that? It's like it came out of the mouth of a marketing person. Oh wait, she IS in marketing, and an awesome new friend!
I've had a few friends who have offered great suggestions, and I'd just like to thank them for the time they've taken with me.
I've had the bird thing down for well over a decade, the toy making skills for over a decade, and perseverance since I was in my mother's womb.
I do want to put the word out for my followers, if there is anything you'd like to see, a type of toy or material you'd like me to create with, I will do my best to accommodate any request. I'm here for your birds (and you, I suppose!), and your input is invaluable.
Until next time...
Alex the African Grey parrot was one of the reasons I brought Merlin home with me in May 1999.
Alex left his foot print on this Earth from 1976 to September 6, 2007.
He knew over 100 words for objects and shapes. He knew his colours, could count up to eight, was learning how to read, could do basic match calculations, and was the king of his roost.
The Alex Foundation continues Dr. Irene Pepperberg's research into the knowledge of establishing the cognitive & communicative abilities of parrots as intelligent beings.
His last words were, "You be good...I Love You...See You Tomorrow..."
As a parrot owner, those words are so touching. I could see our Merlin saying those words - they really ARE that intelligent.
More can be read about Alex & Dr. Pepperberg's research at: www.alexfoundation.org.
My favourite book to date by Dr. Pepperberg is, "Alex and Me"
Give your parrot a big hug today, as they're here with you today. Appreciate them while you can.
So sometime between making dinner on the BBQ and coming back inside after 5 minutes of leaving Fynn to do his own thing, he decided it would be a good idea to see if a Rhodesian Ridgeback could test out one of our bird toy samples.
I note, these are AVIAN TOYS, not dog toys, especially dogs who find chewing a tire fun.
Well, Fynn rated the fun factor of Coffee Time a 10 out of 10. The paper parts of the toy did not fare so well, but were mainly intact. I still have to locate the wire base with beads and raffia/sisal/crepe paper.
Fynn wins this round, and gives 2 paws out of 2 for ease of doing business with Crystal's Bird Toys. Crystal even swept the craft room/hallways/living room/dining room to help clean up the hurricane we call Fynn's mess.
I was trying to find articles about Caique behaviour, when I came across Bird Talk Magazine.
When I worked with birds of all sizes years ago, I always had my handy subscription to Bird Talk Magazine (along with the trusty Barron's books, ranging from parrot behaviour to species specific topics).
I found this article to be short, to the point, and a good reminder to keep emotions cool when dealing with our feathered friends.
Pet Birds React To Their OwnersParrots react toward their owners’ energy, including those of aggression and panic.
By Sally Blanchard
There is one golden rule in understanding our parrot companions; parrots are more comfortable with people who are comfortable with them. This is why I encourage people to take a slow breath and relax before they pick up their parrot, especially if the person is stressed or upset. Parrots have a difficult time with our energy when we are frustrated, depressed, angry or aggressive, and this can cause the parrot, in turn, to be fearful of a person or react to him or her in an aggressive manner.
Spike is a perfect example of a parrot that can easily go into overload and become aggressive. He is also a very sensitive little guy so when I recently moved, he went to a friend’s home who also has a caique and is a member of Spike’s fan club.
During his visit with her, Spike occasionally became aggressive and bit her several times. In the beginning, she tried to discipline him. With many parrots, aggression is met with aggression, and the more she tried to discipline him, the more aggressive he became. In a phone conversation, I told her that when he was acting like a little jerk; she should just lower her energy, even to the point of being submissive with him. Once she started doing this, his behavior changed, and he was more Dr. Jekyll than Mr. Hyde for the rest of his visit. It wasn’t that he didn’t like her; it was that he didn’t trust her energy toward him.
Calm Yourself First
Another cause of a rift in the relationship can be a traumatic event. When I lived in California, my parrots and I experienced quite a few earthquakes and good-sized aftershocks. They were quite afraid because they couldn’t instinctively fly away, and so they thrashed around in their cages. Compounding matters, I was exhibiting similar panic and fear and, if I had rushed in to see if they were all right, I would have panicked them even more. As soon as the rumble stopped, I would calm myself down and slowly walk into their room and sit on the floor and hum. They would relax, climb back on the perches and start jabbering as if sharing their experiences.
Learn more about what’s behind a bird’s aggressive behavior toward its owner in “Think Your Bird Hates You?” in the November 2008 issue of BIRD TALK magazine.
Rosco's favourite thing in the world (aside from food), is water. As soon as the tap turns on, his eyes start pinning, he hops around like a little kangaroo, and all I hear is, "Wheee, wheeee, wheeeeeeee!!!"
So, needless to say, his favourite time of the day is shower time.
Here are some photos of his most recent shower this weekend:
It's getting foggy in here!
We forget how busy the days are at times.
I wake up early (5:30ish) when my husband wakes up for work. By 6am the pups have been out once, lunches are made, and Husband is out of the house. Then it's time to feed the dogs, go downstairs to take care of the bird waters/food/papers. Rosco usually crawls out of his water dish hole, and we make our rounds back upstairs to let the pups back outside. Then it's shower time, time to respond to a few customer emails, check out my favourite sites and blogs, and time to put Rosco back so I can leave for work.
Then it's an hour drive, work work work, and an hour back home. Running with the dogs and Husband as part of our goal to run 9 minutes, walk one minute (we're at 5 and 1 currently), then time to make dinner. Merlin tends to help us out with making dinner, and Stryder gets time on top of his cage (with Mesi if she's in the mood). Then it's time to veg out in front our tv for some downloaded X-files with dinner, and at one point and time we'll have Gideon on the couch, Fynn beside the couch, Kitten (Sax) on the side table, and Merlin on my knee.
Our lives are sometimes an act against nature, but it works for us. I just bask in the quiet times we have together. Whether it be nuzzling with one of the dogs, being groomed by one of the birds, or sitting reading with a few members of our zoo while reading our latest novels in our beloved Poang chairs...it's nice to just relax, smile, and know that it's a good life that we've made for ourselves. As sappy as it is, we have each other and the animals, and that really makes us happy. Anything beyond that is just the cheesecake of life (*drool* cheesecake).
Take a moment today and give each of your loved ones (including feathered and furry family members!) a hug.