I’m Kathy, also known as Kat, also known as Mattie. I’m a 6th generation Texan, living in the small North Texas town founded by my ancestors. At networking meetings, I like to call myself a “multi-preneur” because I have so many business interests! I decided why choose just one!
Wow, so many aliases! Where did all the names come from?
Well, my given name is Kathy (not Katherine or Kathleen, just Kathy). Kat came about partly as a shortened version of that and also while trying to keep my Twitter name shorter. @YellowRoseKat was the shortest name I could come up with that wasn’t already taken. And Mattie is from a Monkees song.
Where did you come up with the name “Yellow Rose Designs”?
Obviously, there’s the song The Yellow Rose of Texas. Through the years, my personal web sites have typically included pages dedicated to Texas and the Rose, starting with my first site in 1993. And I’ve always loved the story of the real Yellow Rose of Texas – a woman named Emily Morgan, who, according to Texas Legend, helped Sam Houston defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Her role in the battle changed Texas history forever. I couldn’t think of a more fitting name for a business – you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can never take Texas out of the girl.
And the “Designs” part? What do you mean when you say “Design”?
LOL. I get that question all the time! Yes, I made it generic on purpose, so the business could grow with me. Almost anything involving “design” interests me. Jewelry design, graphics design, web site design, application and computer program design (object oriented programming is a form of design too!), designs from the Arts and Crafts movement, art design, architectural design, engineering design… Wikipedia defines “engineering design” as “a formulation of a plan or scheme to assist an engineer in creating a product.” So the word encompasses several of my passions all at once. Gotta love that!
You have so many interests! How do you do all of them at once?
Ha! I don’t! While setting up my business plan, I kept hearing over and over again that you should have a niche. While I don’t really have one niche interest, I am starting to individualize each of my sites so that everything isn’t all mixed up together on just one web site. Admittedly, that’s how I started out, but I quickly figured out that it can become difficult to manage that way. With the help of Knowledge For Success’ New Quest program, I was able to more concisely outline each branch of Yellow Rose Designs and how it relates to my business model as well as how they relate to each other. That helped me narrow down specific areas. So Yellow Rose Designs focuses primarily on jewelry design, Arts & Crafts design, graphic design, and web site design.
How many web sites do you have?
I own 25 domain names, though not all are active. You can see all of the active sites on the About page for my blog here: http://blog.yellowrosedesigns.net/about/. There are currently about 10 live web sites (including this blog), with 9 more already in the planning stages.
You mentioned having a site in 1993. How did you get started in web design?
Yes, that was when I started. I was working as a secretary for Tarrant County Junior College (now it’s Tarrant County College), and I found myself lucky enough to work in the Media Department. That included the audio/visual department, computer labs, and the graphics and photography departments for the school. So I not only had the opportunity to assist the graphics department when they needed help – more than once, I was solely responsible for the internal campus newsletter layout – our director also tried to keep up with changing technology as well, giving me an opportunity that few people had at that time. When she heard other schools were getting involved in something called “the World Wide Web”, she picked me to attend seminars at nearby universities and even meet directly with Apple to research new server technology. There was no such thing as a degree in web technology then. Luckily one of the universities at the forefront of training other professionals from colleges and universities was Southern Methodist University, right here in the Dallas, Fort Worth metroplex. Their seminars were where I received my initial training and from there found online bulletin board and Usenet chat groups to discuss, share ideas and learn from each other.
If you had only one word to describe your business, what would it be?
Now it’s your turn! Have a question for Owner/Designer/Multi-preneur, Kathy Bigham from Yellow Rose Designs? Ask it in the comments and she’ll answer your questions too!
I have a long list of accomplishments for 2010. I have an even longer list of Goals for 2011. And yet . . . I try to write them down and get
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I’m almost to the end of this journal (started Dec 1) and reading back, much of it was one long Hard Times Rant. ("I can’t post that!" I tell myself, "What will people think?!") Yes, even I think that sometimes too. Yes, even ‘Pollyanna’ gets negative and downright whiny.
Then last week, I watched a series of videos I found thanks to my friend Kay Wright (Virtual Done Wright). By the end of the 4th video, I found myself clicking the "Buy Now" button to buy the book ("Act NOW to get our 5-week study course!") What the . . . Why did I do THAT?
Now, let me tell you – I LOVE self-help books and videos. I follow Barbara Sher (Wishcraft) almost religiously. We watched The Secret last year and loved it. This idea of the power of positive thinking and Law of Attraction isn’t lost on me. On the other hand . . .
I’m less than enthusiastic about ACT NOW offers (*insert waving crazy hands*). Nothing makes me UNsubscribe faster than "this offer will be gone SOON!" (Except maybe lauch coaches saying "this offer will be gone soon!" and whining about how many launches there are going on at the same time as theirs. But that one just makes me giggle while I’m clicking UNsubscribe / UNfollow / UNlike.)
Another surprising fact – I haven’t had time to read a book in at least the last 6 months. Why was I buying another one?
Maybe something about this author reminded me of Barbara (always a good thing in my world of self-help manuals). Maybe her words made me think of The Secret, which I also enjoyed. Mostly, I think it was the 2nd video being at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. And what she said there. She reminded the viewer to Breathe. And meditate. And my little bit of Taoist beliefs came rushing in and settled over me.
Somehow that was just what I needed. Right when I needed to hear it.
Miraculously, the book arrived in only a few short days (if you knew our mail problems, you would know why that’s a miracle.) Even more miraculously, I’m already halfway through reading it. I start the 5-week self-study course next week.
And . . . miraculously . . . my Pollyanna attitude is BACK! She even mentions Pollyanna in the book too (and The Secret. and The Intention Experiment. AND Quantum Physics. Again, if you know me, you know I admire that.) I knew there was something I liked about this author besides her being a native of Fort Worth.
"Who is she, what’s the book, and where can I watch these inspiring videos???" you’re asking.
But . . . ACT NOW if you want to watch them! They’ll only be online for a few more days! (No joke. She mentions that in the last video.)
I’ve been hard at work on my personal Portfolio and moving all of my “techie” updates to the Portfolio blog. If you’re interested in my Facebook, site design, or WordPress updates, be sure to subscribe to the Portfolio site since that’s where any new techie news related updates will be.
I’ve also got a new pet project working on a genealogy site for my family. Here’s a little sneak preview of it: TrekToTexas.com. It’s been quite successful so far. The first week it was up, I was already contacted by the local historical societies interested in learning more about it, and another recent contact was from someone who has photos he thinks might belong to my family. I’ll be meeting with him tomorrow to look through them and I can’t wait to see if they’re pictures of my own ancestors. (No need to hit the panic button – we’re meeting in a public antique mall.)
There are some other updates I’ll be working on in the coming weeks/months here too, so stay tuned – we’re not off the air yet. I guess you could say I’m “niching out.”
But don’t worry. The blog remains the same. I’ll still be posting my Wishcraft updates here, as well as the business plans, and any random thoughts I might come up with. So, where to next?
Back to the studio in a few weeks. Here’s my latest project:
It’s my second piece of stained glass I’ve made and I’m totally hooked. I can’t wait to make more!
Deciding on the direction of YellowRoseDesigns.net and YellowRoseGallery.com. The Gallery site is blank since the switch to a new host. Do I merge the two sites or make it a real “Gallery”? I’m going to give Etsy a try for some of my jewelry. I’ve been looking into doing some craft shows, but I must admit getting a little discouraged that I wasn’t accepted into the first two that I applied for. Jewelry is the toughest category, after all, but these were smaller, lesser-known shows.
And as it turns out, since I made the decision to move away from web design and more towards arts, crafts and digital designs, more people are interested in my web programming and WordPress skills. It seems to have renewed my own enthusiasm for web design. That’s been my “day job” for the past 9 years. I thought I was burned out (and a little discouraged there too. corporate contracts have been getting fewer and farther between), but coding for WordPress and Facebook have opened up a whole new niche for me, so the excitement is building again.
So, there I am, in a nutshell. Oh, and somewhere in there, “getting a life.” I hear they’re all the rage.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
I’m especially proud to be offering this design on the tote bag too. Our amazing artist, Dean W, drew this design just for Yellow Rose Designs. This stunning American Flag was beautifully crafted one gem at a time to create the feel of Old Glory waving proudly in the wind. The text “Proud to be an American” is customizable – just let us know what you would like written under Old Glory when you’re the winner of this great giveaway!
But wait… how do you win, you ask? It’s simple. Just go to our Facebook Page and “Like” our page, then come back and leave a comment on this post! Be sure you have access to the email you add your comment with, because that’s how we can notify you that you’ve won! We’ll randomly draw a number and the comment number that matches will be our winner! Please only comment once. (Your comment may not appear right away as all comments are moderated, but we’ll approve all comments as quickly as we can.)
The giveaway ends June 21, 2010 at midnight Central Time, so be sure to Like our Facebook page and leave your comment before then! Not a U.S. citizen? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you too. If you’re the winner, you can select any of the Budget Totes from our shop on Zazzle (Retail value $12.80, Budget Tote must be in the http://www.zazzle.com/yellowrosegallery shop only.)
Thank you everyone for all you kind comments and for entering our first giveaway! I used Random.org to generate a random number based on the number of comments . . . and the winner is . . . Comment #2! DeeDee, congratulations, you win one of our beautiful Budget Totes!
Entries are now closed but feel free to comment. Thank you to everyone who participated! Look for our next giveaway coming soon! I wonder what it will be?
I went to the Panther City Bar Bazaar at Lola’s Saloon in Fort Worth this past Sunday. The artists there were absolutely amazing! I know the heat or other obligations kept some people from coming out for the Bazaar, but they really missed out if they haven’t seen the artwork from these DFW area artists.
I love going to festivals and bazaars so I had a great time, plus they had a live band playing that kept everything festive. I loved that the band wasn’t so loud you could actually talk to the artists too. This bazaar was really well thought out. When you arrived and paid admission to get in, they had a comfortable wrist band so if you wanted to leave and come back, you could. Not that you would need to leave – you could get food and drinks there, and even donate to the Fort Worth Burrito Project by buying a burrito and chips and salsa. Most of the artists’ tables were arranged away from the stage (and speakers). Because they had such a good response for artists, they had to put some of them outside (of course no one knew it was going to be this hot so early in June! thankfully there was a breeze to keep most of them cool.)
One thing that stood out for me about the Bazaar was the attitude of the artists themselves. If you go to many art festivals, you know what I’m talking about. You walk up to an artist’s table and they’re sitting there texting away on their cell phone or reading a book and they never look up. I understand the monotony of being a vendor, especially at a slow bazaar or festival. But one thing I can guarantee with 100% certainty – the vendors that never bother to even speak to a single customer are the ones you’ll find complaining at the end of the day about what a bad show it was for them. (You thought customers don’t hear the complaints? Believe me, WE DO.) And this was what was amazing about the artists at the Panther City Bar Bazaar. Every single vendor there was friendly, engaging and actively interested in their customers. Every one. That, my friend, is Rare. Even the artists who were outside in the heat were happy to be there, and laughed off when the breeze blew their cards off the tables. They were all excited to talk about what they do. Not only that, but the artwork itself was truly incredible. All handmade, and top quality work. If I weren’t a poor, starving artist myself, I would have bought something from everyone there! (That’s a hint, people! Go check out my site and buy stuff so I can go buy their stuff!)
Here are just a few of the wonderful artists that I met.
Shelli of Neke Designs has some beautiful hand-crafted wire jewelry. As a wire-wrapper, I can tell you, she does more than “just wrap stones” with wire. She looks for a truly unique way of hammering and fastening the metal together in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to look at and would be great to wear. Many of her pendants are offset so it doesn’t just “hang” around your neck, plus she combines copper, brass and silver in a way for each metal to complement the other. It’s like wearing a delicately hammered piece of art.
Karla from the Soap Addict makes all natural, vegetarian soaps, and lip balms. I was immediately drawn to her Lavender Palmarosa, which I didn’t get out without buying before I left the bazaar. The scent is a combination of lavender (my favorite, and all I ever wear) lightly accented with rose, and the soap itself has essential oils that are great for your skin and face. It was tough deciding between the Lavender Palmarosa and the Oatmeal Lavender with Honey soap, which has a much more subtle, soft scent. Her eco-friendly soaps and balms are a great alternative to just buying soap at the store and handmade soaps always last longer, so it’s well worth the price.
Well it’s not morning and we’re not in Vietnam, as far as I remember, but it probably caught your attention and that’s what counts.
My name is Dean and I’m a slave…, er, assistant to Ms Kat who runs YellowRoseDesigns business. I’m here to update you about her work and to post generally cool stuff concerning her, her business and people, projects, and things she admires and likes. At least sometimes, when she is too busy to do it herself. I’m here to come up with ideas to help Ms Kat get the recognition she deserves. Which means – so much for the introduction, let’s get down to business!
A POLL. What poll you want to ask? A POLL ABOUT GIVEAWAYS. Should Ms Kat run some giveaways? If so, what prizes would you be interested in? Please, save your “rides, chicks and wine” for later. You’re in Ms Kat’s territory so you should definitely think about a prize from her works. Do you want her jewelry, T-shirts, journals…? Do you have any other ideas? Leave a comment, show Ms Kat some love and help her decide.
That’s all for now. Peace. Out.
. . . You don’t quit playing
Last night I watched the Slovakian Olympic hockey team take on Canada. For anyone who doesn’t know, Canadians invented hockey. Playing on their “home turf”, the Canadian team clearly expected to win, especially after sending the Russian “Dream team” home with their tails between their legs.
At the end of the 2nd period, the score was 3:0, Canada. During the break, as they cleared the ice and both teams prepared for the final period, the announcers on CNBC declared Canada the winners. Even as the players skated back onto the ice – with 20 minutes left in the game – they said repeatedly, “It’s going to be Canada vs. the U.S. for the gold!”
Thankfully, no one gave that memo to the Slovakian team. They played the 3rd period with heart . . . and when they scored 2 goals, they forced the arrogant announcers to eat their words. As the clock ticked down the final seconds, and then the final milliseconds of the game, the Slovakians sent a 6th player onto the ice and scrambled the puck in front of the Canadian net. They were not going down without a fight. The game announcers, who had declared a clear winner 20 minutes earlier, suddenly changed their tune, “Whoever wins this game will go on to play for the gold medal.”
Like many people, I was cheering for the underdogs – Slovakia. Why do we do it? Why do we root for the underdog? Why not cheer on the “obvious” winner? Make ourselves part of “the winning team” too? Because somewhere, deep in our hearts, or our gut, we think, “Hell, if they can win against a country that invented the sport, and in that country’s homeland no less, maybe I can too!” Maybe I can be a winner!”
The game ended.
Canada had won, but the Slovakian team made them earn their place in the Olympic finals. The Slovakians did not go sit on the bench and give up when the score was 3 to nothing. When one of their players was knocked into the glass and hurt enough that it took longer to get back up, he did not sit on the ice with his head in his hands and cry. He got back up and he played. And he kept playing until the final buzzer.
Hell, if the underdog team can keep fighting to win, even until the last seconds of the clock run out, against a country that invented the sport, and in that country’s homeland, maybe I should keep fighting to win too! Because no matter what the score is . . . no matter what the odds against you are . . . you keep playing. You don’t quit. You don’t give up and go sit on the bench while there’s still time on the clock.
Thank you, Slovakia. You are True Olympians.
Slovakia will play against Finland tonight, 27 Feb, for a chance at the Olympic Bronze Medal, airing on MSNBC at 7pm PT. I’ll be watching. Will you?
Wish: Successful Entrepreneur
Touchstone: Financial Independence
Role Models (I have several): Donald Trump; Dolly Parton; Loretta Swit; Julie Powell
Target: Earn $2,400 – $3,000/mo. (profit)
Target Date: Nov. 1, 2010
Obstacles: Time/Time Management; (lack of) Marketing Skills; next steps after starting?
Brainstorming: Can I focus on all of these areas at once?
- Graphic design for PODs
- Affiliate marketing
Assignment direct from Barbara.
Rough and Ready Six Month Plan.
BarbaraSher @YellowRoseKat Why not create a rough & ready 6-month plan? Total fiction, but it’s a start. Then brainstorm details with us. #ideaparty 5:48 PM Jan 21st from TweetChat in reply to YellowRoseKat
BarbaraSher @YellowRoseKat No, first rough is wish-goals. ’1st month, site is up, blog is hot, I’m tweeting sexy stuff to get readers’ #ideaparty 5:53 PM Jan 21st from TweetChat in reply to YellowRoseKat
So, taking her first month statement and running with it, here’s what I’ve come up with. She asked for “rough”. This is it.
1st month: Site is up, blog is hot, I’m tweeting sexy stuff to get readers
2nd month: I have 100s of designs up on PODs. Followers and readers are growing.
3rd month: I’m a Proseller at Zazzle! I’ve won TBA (their ‘Today’s Best Award’) and am gaining recognition from my peers.
4th month: Writing is going smoothly – I’m blogging every other day and my POD sites are bringing in sales (they call them donots) on a regular basis.
5th month: Time management and energy are no longer a problem. Blogging and adding new designs daily. Able to focus on Affiliate sites and Amazon.
6th month: I’ve been working on crafts and jewelry for Etsy. The house is de-cluttered and I have a “mailing station” for Etsy and Ebay sales. My readers and followers can’t wait to see what new designs I’m going to add next or what I might blog about.
Somehow after those first words from Barbara, I got unstuck from my Ideal Day and back on track for where I need to go next.
My original Ideal Day still stands. A few exceptions of course: I’m not living alone. We have both a cat and a dog. Our house is a small cottage house (not the 2-story one by the beach) in a historical, artistic neighborhood with a full studio in back. Our business is not just a tourist gift shop, but is also the only Rock Shop in the county, with a focus on selling/teaching art/pottery/jewelry and supplying local students.
This is my long-term Dream. Everything in my life that has changed over the last 20 years – since I first dreamed of owning a business… since I first set foot into my first Rock Shop, wide-eyed like a child discovering her first candy store – the one thing that remained constant was my dream: Own a business that supports an artistic community and helps promote learning and growth.
My business must start somewhere. It starts with the next six months. Who knows where it will go from there.