Making a Difference

Who Needs a Care Package?

Giving back has always been one of my favorite things to do in my business…Whether it’s showing support in a time of crisis, to help someone start a new phase of life or just to let someone know you care, sending a care package is like sharing a piece of your heart.  The blessings you receive from just one simple act of kindness is AMAZING!

Whether it is a few small items found at your local grocery or drug store or a card with a gentle reminder they can carry with them….it all makes a difference in someone’s life.

Want to do something but don’t know where to start?  Have a cause near and dear to your heart…..Here are a few simple care package ideas for six special groups:

Service Members

Send your loved one in the Armed Forces a taste of home with their favorite nonperishable snacks – especially ones with extra protein like nuts and energy bars. They may be experiencing a lot of downtime, so board games, cards, movies and even video games are always appreciated. And because they may be on the move, easy-to-carry items like travel-size toiletries and instant coffee or cocoa packs are preferable to full-size. With the help of some local kids, we sent a batch of Zipper Pouches filled with yummy treats to a battalion stationed in Iraq.  Don’t forget to check your country’s regulations for sending items overseas (here’s the info for the U.S.)

Cancer patients

Every year, my AMAZING customers do Chemo Care Bags for those who are newly diagnosed and receiving treatment at the Cancer Center at the local hospital.  In addition, I have was able to bless a friend on her cancer journey with items to help her stay comfortable, like warm blankets and socks, lip balm, water and snacks. Puzzles, books and movies can keep her busy during long treatment sessions. Add wet wipes and hand sanitizer so she can stay germ-free when she’s out and about. Tuck it all inside a versatile Thermal Tote or All-In® Organizer or a Zip Top Organizing Tote.  Be sure to include a personal note letting her know you are always there for her.

College students

Is your baby all grown up and on her own for the first time. Whether it is at college, or in their own apartment, a care package it ALWAYS appreciated. Help them tackle “adulting” tasks with items like cleaning supplies, laundry pods, a first aid kit and microwave-safe cookware. Encourage them to connect outside of text messages with pre-addressed, stamped postcards to send home. Healthy snacks and single-serve foods will fuel late-night study sessions. Pack it all in a Crossbody Organizing Tote, which – bonus! – doubles as a great school bag.  There are some great totes options for the boys who are growing up too.

NICU parents

I was blessed with a healthy baby but I know some who have had to spend numerous days in NICU.  It can be a long and stressful experience for new parents. Most-wanted items for parents of preemies include gift cards for local restaurants, gas cards to pay for trips to and from the hospital and snacks for long days at the NICU. Fill a Double Duty® Caddy with self-care items for mom like essential oils, a water bottle and a hardcover journal to document their journey.

Children’s Mental Health Unit

Did you know one in five children is living with a mental illness?  The stigmas surrounding mental and behavioral health mean these kids often don’t receive the visibility and support they need. Why not put together care packages for kids in your local children’s mental health unit with books, puzzles, art supplies and games to help break the stigma and support these kids on their journey.

Looking for more ways transform children’s mental health and support life-changing research? Round Up! your order to the nearest dollar or make a donation of any amount when you shop Thirty-One this month.

Random Acts of Kindness

Make a difference in someone’s life today.  Your small act of kindness can be the ONE thing which brings a smile to their face.  Whether it is holding the door, saying thank you or even paying for someone’s coffee.  Those small gestures can make a difference.  Check out my “A Simple Act of Kindness” page for more details on how I would LOVE to help you make a difference in someone’s life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

Why You Can’t Live Without A Large Utility Tote

Thirty One’s original (and famous) Large Utility Tote, or LUT for short is celebrating it’s 10th birthday…Don’t get why this is such a BIG deal?

Millions of these totes have been sold over the years and for many it has been your go-to tote from the grocery store to the beach and back. And with more prints to choose from than ever, now is the perfect time to stock up on them – and the accessories to make the best even better!

Check out what makes this customer-favorite so special, and how the addition of the Double Chill Thermal Set and Stand Tall Insert has upped the game on this #1 seller.  The list of the 101 most creative, practical and just plain wacky uses customers have found for the LUT  is CRAZY!!

It’s storage made portable! When the best-selling tote debuted in 2009, the original Large Utility Tote featured, and still does, a sturdy wire support around the top to hold its shape and reinforced stitching on the handles and seams for unmatched durability.  Did you know it could hold up to 100 pounds?  Yes, it has been kid tested!  It also collapses flat for easy storage.

The two-piece Double Chill Thermal Set is soft yet structured and fits perfectly inside the Large Utility Tote, transforming it into the ultimate picnic basket or tailgating tote! Or quickly snap in a Stand Tall Insert to add structure, stability and handy interior pockets.

Want to get inspired????   Here are 101 of the favorite uses shared by Thirty One Customers and Consultants.  Which one (or ones) would you use it for?

1. Warehouse store shopping
2. Wine caddy
3. Cleaning supplies
4. Gift bags, boxes & tissue paper
5. Hockey equipment
6. Christmas lights
7. Winter hats, gloves & scarves
8. Campsite dishwashing tub
9. Yarn storage
10. Basketball camp

11. Junk in the trunk!

12. Classroom posters
13. Garage storage
14. Cold cellar storage
15. Portable tool box
16. Cowboy boots
17. Take puppies to the vet
18. Camper organization
19. Under the bed
20. Lift-out chest freezer divider

21. Bathroom storage

22. Beach or pool bag
23. Fitness equipment
24. Battle ropes
25. Band equipment
26. Hide Christmas gifts
27. Photo albums
28. Hunting gear
29. Kids’ science fair projects
30. Extra diapers

31. Boating needs
32. Car cleaning supplies
33. Calving supplies & milk bottles
34. Carry sewing machine to quilting group
35. Dry/wet towels
36. Store chips in the pantry
37. Newspapers for delivery
38. Camping gear
39. Soccer balls & kits
40. Swim team gear

41. Pack for a potluck

42. School supplies drop-off
43. Scrapbooking supplies
44. Gardening tools
45. Cake decorating supplies
46. Ice fishing equipment
47. Snowmobile helmet & gear
48. Kids’ hide-and-seek spot
49. Cookbooks
50. Beauty supplies

51. Coach’s bag
52. Birthday party supplies
53. Computer repair items
54. Church youth group
55. Painting supplies
56. Weiner dog bed for road trips
57. Tae Kwon Do sparring gear
58. Carry hay to the goats
59. Nerf guns & ammo
60. End-of-school locker clean-out

61. Ultimate picnic basket
62. Clothing & toiletry donations
63. Cub Scout bag
64. Cheerleading equipment
65. Packable extra luggage for travel
66. Hot tub essentials
67. Seasonal closet clean-out
68. Mixing bowls & utensils
69. Floor tiles & grout
70. Vinyl record collection

71. Extra baseballs for practice
72. Take coffee & snacks to the office
73. Transport a large piñata
74. Deliver May Day baskets
75. Dog boarding & grooming items
76. Toy racecar tracks
77. Carry birthday presents
78. Clean laundry sorting system
79. Artificial Christmas tree branches
80. Spare sheets in each bedroom

81. Family Sunday

82. Sleepover bag
83. Extra shoes by the door
84. Farmer’s market
85. Sweet corn picking
86. Pretend airplane
87. Stuffed animals
88. Blankets & throw pillows
89. Air mattress, pump & batteries
90. Take NICU/chemo care kits to hospital
91. Cosplay costumes

92. Grandma’s crochet projects
93. Softball catcher’s gear
94. Kayaking accessories
95. Magazine storage
96. Camera equipment & tripod
97. Trading card binders
98. Baby-wearing class supplies
99. 100 feet of garden hose
100. Ham radio supplies
101. Clothesline, clothespins & hangers

So, are you convinced you need one?????  Grab them while they are on sale this month…
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Hope Wissel

Life as an Entrepreneur

a year from now

Do you dread Monday mornings?  Let’s be honest, most people do.  Do you start looking forward to the end of the work week by Tuesday?  Counting the days till the weekend?  Maybe you are like millions of other people who have considered starting their own business.  No, this is NOT a sales pitch for Thirty one… it is some thoughts on whether or not you are ready to start your own business.

Thirty One was not my first attempt at having my own business… my first real direct sales attempt but I have wanted to be in my own business for as long as I can remember.  My first attempt was when I was making premature baby clothes.  I love designing the clothes, meeting the parents whose children were in the NIC units and then being able to give them a piece of clothing that fit their tiny baby.  This was LONG before the name brands were making clothes this small.  I gave up my business when I came to a crossroads – grow bigger or stop.  FEAR kept me from growing bigger so I stopped.

Second business was my consulting business…this came out of a desire to be home with Belinda.  I LOVED it.  Contracts with local agencies, working with clients, making my own hours and living life on my terms.  Again, I hit a transition point – go back to work for an agency or keep hunting for contracts.  I found an agency that I loved, so I stopped consulting and went back to work.  In both of these cases, I wish that I had a mentor who talked me to about business – what to expect being in business for myself.

Here are some things to think about if you are considering starting your business…

No. 1: You’ll be your own boss.  One of the most common reasons for wanting to start a business is to be your own boss.  Yes, you will be your own boss but all of those “other things” that were someone else’s job will now be yours.  Be ready to handle all sides of the business.  I love being able to go to my office in my pajamas on some days to make calls.  I love meeting new customers – but I am not a numbers person which is why it is a good thing that hubby is.

No. 2: You’ll make tons of money.  Isn’t this what we all hope for – lots of money.  I am not saying that you won’t make money but it may take time for the business to grow into what you expect – or you may need to change your starting expectations.  Be a little bit more realistic.  One of the most valuable aspects for me of having my own business is the opportunities I’ve had to grow and change personally and professionally.  I am making a good income but we operated at a loss for the first 2 years, can I tell you how excited I was to make a profit last year??

No. 3: You’ll get to do more of what you’re good at and interested in.  This is true in many ways but it depends on the type of business that you start – store front, consulting or direct sales.  With every business there are aspects that we don’t like so you have a choice – build a team that likes to do those “other things” or risk doing less of what you like to do so that you can handle all sides of the business.  This is why I love direct sales – no matter how big my business grows, I still get to do what I like to do – help great causes with fundraising, meet new customers and amazing hostesses.

No. 4: You have nothing to lose.  If you are looking at direct sales, a simple investment for the kit is all that it will cost.  If you already are using the products, then if things don’t work out – you still have lots of product.  No matter what kind of business you start “The key is to stay positive, ignore the naysayers, and learn from your mistakes so that things work out better the next time around. Some serial founders start multiple companies, and look at each company as a learning experience, not a failure.”

No. 5: Your big dream will become a reality.  It is so awesome to show up at your business and watch your company grow over time, and to watch the dream become a reality. Whatever the milestones are – growing a team, higher sales,  getting your first real office, getting recognized with an industry award, financial freedom or even just having really happy customers–it’s impossible to anticipate or describe how great it feels.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from starting a business, I just want to challenge you to think a little more about it.  Most likely, it won’t be anything like you expect it to be–but it’s possible that it will be better than you ever imagined.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!