Monday, December 27, 2010

Take it Back!

This week we will not only finish out the year, but we will finish out a decade!

Business Question of the Week: With the holiday shopping season winding down, many people are now returning items to stores or online vendors. Do you have a return/refund policy? How do you keep this process simple for your customers and yourself?

General Question of the Week: As a customer, what issues about return policies frustrate you the most? Some stores require you to have the receipt, some require a return to occur within a certain time span (30 days, 90 days), some add a restocking fee, and on and on.

Remember for Entwined Community members, each comment that is posted on BigTentwill give you one entry for a $25 gift certificate to Trends in Twos! This contest closes on December 31st at midnight PST and comments must be entered on BigTent to count as entries.

Photo credit (Flickr user Stevendepolo)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Remembering to Say Thanks

During this time of year, there are many things to be thankful for - family, good health, employment, friends, and maybe a gift or two. While we feel thankful, we may forget to take the time to send a note of our appreciation. December 26th is National Thank You Note Day, so this is a good time to refresh yourself on the fine art of thank you notes.

Throughout history, people have sent notes of appreciation. The Chinese and Egyptians would exchange notes of goodwill on pieces of papyrus. As paper become more available to the general public, the popularity of hand written notes increased. The invention of postage stamps in the 1840's allowed individuals to send notes and cards to anyone, not unlike the much later introduction of electronic cards (ecards) which are a popular today.

Yvonne and Yvette Durant are identical twin sisters and etiquette activists. Yvonne took a few minutes out of her day to answer a few thank you note questions for us.

EC: When is a thank you note necessary?

YD: A thank you note is necessary when someone has done something for you such as - invited you to an event, a dinner, a party, and always if they've paid for the evening. (I would leave out boyfriends, girlfriends and family if they are not distant.) Thank you notes are also in order if someone sent a sympathy card or note to you.

EC: Should I send a hand written or email thank you note?

YD: Handwritten is the best. Everyone should have a box of note cards in their home and young people should be urged to write them. Recently, I wrote an email of thanks but added "Before I entrust my gratefulness to the US Postal System, I just want you to know what a great time we had." A day later, I sent a note. This may be overkill, but go with your gut. We know that email is the way of the world these days and an email thanks is better than none. But, there is nothing like the power of paper and ink. You will be remembered for that.

EC: What about thank you's in the workplace?

YD: A thank you note after an interview is a good thing to do. In the workplace, there could be more gratitude so if someone has done above and beyond their job to help you, a thank you note is great. Of course, one would prefer their boss to thank them in the paycheck, but that is a whole other subject.

Entwined Community wants to thank you for supporting twin/multiples owned businesses! We hope that you have a safe and happy holiday with your family and friends.

About Yvonne and Yvette Durant: Yvonne is a freelance writer and copywriter by trade and has written numerous articles for major newspapers and magazines. She now blogs on the HuffPost. Yvette is an executive assistant and had her own personal shopping business wherein she worked for high end clients and learned a lot of the do's and dont's. She loves the art world, collects, and is a fan of classical dance. They were born and reared in Brooklyn. In their household, manners were required. Talking about thank you notes rings a bell for them - they've had stationery since they started writing, and still freshen their stationery wardrobe when they are low on supplies. Visit their website, Yvonne and Yvettetiquette: Modern Manners for the 21st Century.

Photo credit (Fund Forward)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Entwined Community 2011 Editorial Calendar

Are you a twin or more, or the parent of multiples? Entwined Community has put together its 2011 Editorial Calendar and is looking for you!

In 2011, Entwined Community will bring readers interesting stories on a variety of topics related to home, work and family. Visit our website to view the 2011 Editorial Calendar, which provides a general template of the subjects we will feature on a monthly basis. Entwined Community welcomes pitches based on any of the topics listed. Although the Editorial Calendar is listed as a general guide, please note that it is subject to change.

Twin/multiples families, bloggers, business owners, photographers and more are invited to contribute to Entwined Community articles, blog posts, press releases and more. Your quotes, guest posts, stories, photos and more will be featured on our media networks and help to showcase the wonderful world of multiple birth families.

Are you a twin hair stylist? Send us a pitch on winter beauty tips. Photographer and triplet mom? We would love to feature your credited photos in our stories. This is a great way for adult multiples or parents of multiples to share tips, knowledge, products and services with multiple birth family readers. If you are interested in submitting a pitch, or for additional information, contact

Image from Brain Training 101.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Return to Sender....

The holiday frenzy is in full swing this week. Hope you are stress free and enjoying time with your family!

Business Question of the Week: Today is the busiest day of the year for the US Postal Service - with workers handling 800 million pieces of mail today, a 40% increase over the average daily mail. Whether you are mailing invoices, products or newsletters, most small businesses rely on mail services such as the post office, Fed Ex or UPS as an integral part of its services. What tips or tricks do you have for ensuring your business mail arrives on time and safely to its destination during this busy time of year?

General Question of the Week: Most of us have ordered from an online business before. When you received your package, did the business include any special notes or thank you gifts for shopping with them? Did this little "extra" make you more likely to shop with them again?

Remember for Entwined Community members, each comment that is posted on BigTent will give you one entry for a $25 gift certificate to Trends in Twos! This contest closes on December 31st at midnight PST and comments must be entered on BigTent to count as entries.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twins, Triplets and Commercials

The countdown is on for the holidays! I hope everyone is keeping busy, and staying safe.

General Question of the Week: Twins and multiples are frequently seen in television commercials - check out this Ikea commercial from 2009 featuring identical twin girls. What is your favorite commercial featuring twins or multiples - add a link if you can find it.

Business Question of the Week: Have you created any commercials for your business? Since twins/multiples are so popular in commercials, would you consider using your twin or children (if you are a parent of multiples) in your commercial? Share a link to your commercial if you have one!

Remember for Entwined Community members, each comment that is posted on BigTent will give you one entry for a $25 gift certificate to Trends in Twos! This contest closes on December 31st at midnight PST and comments must be entered on BigTent to count as entries.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snowed In

Let's jump right in with our questions of the week!

Business Question of the Week: Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey - they all approach business in a different way. If you could choose one business tycoon (alive or historical) to have lunch with - pick their brain - get some advice - who would it be?

General Question of the Week: My husband Anthony is from England and he shared this news article - a couple got trapped in a pub in the North of England for eight days due to a snowstorm. Twenty feet of snow drifted against the door and prevented anyone from leaving - luckily for them the pub was also a bed and breakfast so the couple and staff ate food, had drinks and tried to entertain themselves the best they could until they were rescued by a snow plow that cleared the road on Saturday. So, this week's question is - what would you do if you were trapped in a pub/bed and breakfast for eight days?

Remember for Entwined Community members, each comment that is posted on BigTent will give you one entry for a $25 gift certificate to Trends in Twos! This contest closes on December 31st at midnight PST and comments must be entered on BigTent to count as entries.

Photo credit (BBC News)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Five Gift Ideas for Twin/Multiples Entrepreneurs

With everyone busy thinking about gift shopping, have you put together your small business gift wishlist yet? Here are some ideas to get you started!
  1. Facebook Advertising budget: With over 500 million on Facebook, a Facebook ad may be just what your small business needs to take it to the next level. In a few simple steps you can design your ad to reach your target demographic and choose whether you would like pay per click or per impression, budgeting as little as $1 per day. If you add this to your wishlist, ask family or friends to give you cash - although retailers such as Target and Walmart sell Facebook credits gift cards, currently these are for use with Facebook games only.
  2. Gift card for office supply store: The need for office supplies is endless, whether you run a local cafe or an online Etsy store. A gift card to a local office supply store can go a long way towards keeping your small business running!
  3. Software programs: If you have a small business, you need a website. Software programs such as Adobe's Dreamweaver and Photoshop can help you create professional websites and images. You may want to add a how-to book to your list, as these programs require some knowledge to operate.
  4. Wireless desktop: In our digital age, no one wants to be tethered to a desk with a wire. Improve your desktop or tower/LCD television combo with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
  5. Portable printer or scanner: If you regularly are on the go when doing business, a portable printer and/or scanner can help you stay on task. Portable printers/scanners are perfect if you attend trade or craft shows on a regular basis, or meet with clients at the local coffee shop and need to print invoices, receipts or more.
What is on your business wishlist?

Photo credits (Wired)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Winner and December Giveaway!

We have a winner for our November Giveaway! Congrats to Helen R., winner of a $25 gift certificate to an Entwined Community business of her choice.

December's Giveaway is sponsored by our friend, twin mom Kellie at Trends in Twos! Kellie has donated a $25 gift certificate to Trends in Twos for an Entwined Community member to win. Trends in Twos is a proud Entwined Community business member and offers 10% off purchases with your Entwined Community member number.

Simply login to our BigTent community - each comment on our forums during the month of December is worth one entry to win. Not a member yet? Read here about our membership benefits - the first 100 businesses are still just $5 to join and the first 100 individuals are only $1. Read here for more fine print on giveaways.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December from Entwined Community!

December is here! Although winter does not officially begin until December 21st, it seems that festive moods abound. Whether Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza or Winter Solstice, there are lots of ways to celebrate with food, family and friends this month. What holiday traditions do you share with your family? If you have young multiples, this may be the first of many new traditions to celebrate together. This month is also the birthday of D'Lila Star and Jessie James - the twin daughters of Sean Combs will turn 4 on December 21st.

December's Business of the Month is Thirty-One Gifts Independent Consultant Carey Welden. Carey is from Arkansas and starting selling Thirty One Gifts after she was so impressed with their products. Take a look at the matching adult and child aprons on page 6 of Thirty One Gift's Holiday Gift Guide - what a fun way to encourage kids to spend some time in the kitchen. Carey offers free embroidery for purchases over $50 to Entwined Community members, a great way to make the aprons an extra special gift.

This December is also special as her girls will turn three! Carey loves this time of year because she spends time with her family who live far away. She loves to catch up and play cards, a past time that she has enjoyed since high school - her granny has always been tough to beat! She also loves driving around and looking at all of the houses and stores with Christmas lights and decorations. She is eager to share this tradition with her girls as she thinks they will really get it. The girls already know about Jesus and Santa, and she looks forward to starting new traditions with her girls.

Our Member of the Month for December is Stefanie C. from the Las Vegas, NV area and mom to 23 month old boy/girl twins. Stefanie is a member of the East Las Vegas/Henderson Mothers of Multiples Club and enjoys spending time with her family.

Lots of exciting things happening around here, stay tuned for more information!

Photo credits (Julian Colton) Christmas lights