Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)

Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)

Common Chickweed

Latin name –  Stellaria media

Common names –  common chickweed, chickenwort, craches, maruns, winterweed

This little plant is found in most places in North America, Europe and Asia.  I live in northwest Georgia and have several acres of fields with lots of chickweed intermingled with all kinds of other wildflowers, grasses, weeds and other plants growing wild.  Many of the weeds my mother tries to keep out of her suburban ornamental garden are the ones I’m thrilled to find in our unkempt fields.  We do not use any pesticides or weed killers so all of those nutritious little plants are chemical free.

Most information says that Common Chickweed blooms from April through late September to early October.  This year I noticed the chickweed blooming at the beginning of February.  We have had some warm weather this year.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)
Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)

For those of you that want to go find some chickweed to work with in your area here are some tips for identifying it.

 

Common Chickweed has tiny white blooms that appear to have 10 petals.  They are really 5 petals that are split down the middle making each petal appear to be two petals.  The leaves are oval shaped coming to a mild point at the end.  The leaves are in pairs opposite each other on petioles with a line of fine hair on them.  The stalks also have a single line of fine hair running down the stem between the sets of leaves.  The hair switches sides of the stem in between the leaf sets.  As the leaves go up the stalk each pair is rotated 90 degrees with one pair growing north/south, the next pair growing east/west, next pair north/south and so on.   The leaves fold in when it rains and at night.

Chickweed generally likes moist areas but will quickly spread once it takes root in sunny areas.  Many homeowners spend quite a bit of time and energy trying to eradicate Chickweed from their lawns.

 

Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)        Common Chickweed close up of stem

Chickweed is edible with medicinal uses.  Be aware there are some plants that resemble Chickweed that are not edible.  Two look alikes that are toxic are spurge and scarlet pimpernel.   If the plant you think might be chickweed has a white sap it is NOT Chickweed and is NOT edible.  Spurge (left) and Scarlet Pimpernel (right) are pictured below.

Spurge         Scarlet Pimpernel

Chickweed is a nutritious little weed.  According to WebMD.com, it is high in chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamims C, A from carotenese and B factors, such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine.   

Medicinal uses have included constipation, stomach and bowel problems, blood disorders, asthma and other lung diseases, obesity, scurvy, psoriasis, rabies, itching and muscle and joint pain.

Here’s some of ways I use Common Chickweed.

  • Dried to make tea when I have an upset stomach, losing weight or when I’m having joint or muscle pain.
  • In an herbal salve for use with insect bites and rashes.
  • In a warm moist compress for muscle pain.
  • In a flower essence for balancing my energy with those I have relationships with or balancing my needs with the needs of a group. I take this when I need to let go of a relationship that does not serve my best interest.  (You can find Common Chickweed Flower Essence in my shop.)
  • In tincture for digestive issues, losing weight, joint and muscle pain.
  • Fresh in a salad.
  • Chopped and frozen into ice cubes to use in cooking.

I also find this little plant to have a lot of magickal uses.  Here are some of the ways I have used it in my magickal practice.

  • Bath teas and salts
  • Incense
  • Smudge sticks
  • Anointing Oils, Waters & Tinctures
  • Sprinkling teas or powders
  • Carried fresh
  • Sachets
  • Amulets
  • Poppets

For the purpose of:

  • Attraction
  • Fertility
  • Love
  • Lunar Magick
  • Relationship
  • Animal Magick
  • Bird Magick
  • Peace
  • Fidelity

About the author:  Charissa founded the Pagan Business Network, North Georgia Solitaries and sits on the board of directors for Universal Society for Ancient Ministry.  She co-owns Pagan Markets with Sadie Odinsdottir of Sleeping Gryphon and co-owns Silver Pines Gifts, Charissa’s Cauldron and Kit’s Flea and owns Sacred Grove Radio, Pagan Black Book and Pagan Business Directory.

Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.

To Drop Ship or Not to Drop Ship

I promised in the last article that I would talk about different selling platforms in future articles.  I will do that.  Today I am going to step it back a little bit and talk about one of the product sourcing options you will have.  You can make or purchase products to sell.  Both of those require an outlay of cash and a space to keep your inventory.  Another option is offering items from companies that will drop ship directly to your customers.

Here’s how drop shipping works.  You set up your shop online.  You sign up with a company to be able to sell their products.  You market and get the customer.  You collect the money and then order from the company and they ship directly to your customer.  When you order from the company you pay less than retail for the order and pocket the difference between what the customer paid you and what the company charges you.  Sounds great, right?

That’s the rosy side of selling product from a drop shipping company.  Let’s talk about some of the challenges.

Out of Stock – sometimes a product will go out of stock and take what seems like an unreasonable amount of time to be ready to ship.  In this case you are the face of the order.  Your customer may not be happy to wait weeks for the item to become available again and you are powerless to get the product any quicker for the customer.  Some drop shipping companies publish a list of out of stock items weekly to allow their client companies to make a note to not offer those items until they are back in stock. That is one of the best options.  However, it does take staying on top of those lists.  Most of the time you will not know an item is out of stock until a customer orders it and you try to place the order with the company.

Shipping Charges – it is important that your business model is such that you are charging enough shipping on the order without charging what might seem unreasonable to your customer.  If you are working with multiple drop shippers, you will run into orders that include product from more than one company.  That means you are paying multiple shipping charges on one order.  The customer is ordering from one shop and will expect shipping to be a combined shipping cost.  This is a bit of a balancing act.

Discontinued Items – you will need to stay on top of items that are discontinued from your drop shipper, so you can remove them from your stock.

So, when crafting your business model, you need to weigh the pros against the cons and address how you will deal with those cons before jumping in to offer products from drop shippers.

With all of this in mind the next question is “Where do I find all of these companies that will drop ship?”

 

I do not have a comprehensive list but can list a few here.  I would love to have a larger list so, if any of you have knowledge of any other drop ship companies please comment with information on them and we’ll add them to this list.

 

Arcadia Marketplace

This company carries candles, oils, smudge sprays and books.  They carry candles, oils, smudge sprays and some books.

Azure Green

One of the most well-known drop shipping companies offering Pagan type products is Azure Green.  Their product line includes statuary, books, decks, wands, athames, candles, herbs, gemstones, oils, jewelry and all kinds of other supplies and tools Pagans use.  There is a lot of competition out there selling Azure Green products.  There are also a lot of customers ordering their items from multiple sellers.

BadAssTribe.com

They sell a list of companies that will drop ship.

Charissa’s Cauldron

This is a shameless plug for my products.  I offer a drop ship program for the Charissa’s Cauldron brand products (Crystal and Flower Essences, Conjure Waters, Goddess Waters and Lunar Waters).  I will leave it to you to read the page that explains how it works.

NewAgeReseller.com

They offer a list of wholesalers that will drop ship for purchase.

StarLinksGifts.com

They sell spiritual jewelry.

SwordsAxe.com

They sell swords, knives, LARP gear and some other goodies.

WiccanSupplier.com

They offer a sizable catalog and will drop ship.

 

About the author:  Charissa founded the Pagan Business NetworkNorth Georgia Solitaries and sits on the board of directors for Universal Society for Ancient Ministry.  She co-owns Pagan Markets with Sadie Odinsdottir of Sleeping Gryphon and co-owns Silver Pines GiftsCharissa’s Cauldron and Kit’s Flea and owns Sacred Grove Radio.

Starting an Online Business – Part 1 – Selling Books on Amazon

Friend calling on the phone:  “What are you doing?”

Me:  “I’m working.”

Friend:  “Doing what?”

Me:  “Today I’m photographing so I can get more listings up.”

Friend:  “Ok.  I’ve got to run some errands so can I drop the kids off since you aren’t busy?”

 

How many of you that work from home have those kinds of conversations?   A little frustrating isn’t it?

Running your own business is not for the feint of heart.  It is not for someone that is easily distracted or for someone that wants to stay home and watch television all day.   You have to work the business for it to pay.  That means putting in full time hours listing, shipping, and marketing.

I run an online business selling goods.  I sell products I make.  I sell products I buy and even some of my art every now and then.

I thought I might share my business journey this year with our PBN News readers.

My husband and I get up every morning and check our online shops first thing.  If there are sales we print them out and work on locating and packing everything to go out.  He will run to the post office around lunch time.  That sounds great, right?  Wake up to sold product?

Let’s talk about what happens next.  One of the keys to selling stuff online is listing stuff online.  That requires photographs, descriptions, condition notes (we sell a lot used goods) and finding a good spot to keep each item so we will be able to find it quickly if someone buys it.

In our case, we sell books on Amazon and two Shopify stores as well as vintage goods on two Shopify stores, an Etsy store and an antique mall.  We also sell products I make on one of the Shopify stores and Pagan Markets (a marketplace for Pagan businesses).

This adds the complication of making sure that when an item sells we remove it from the other selling channels, so we don’t oversell.

I could fill up a book with all the little things we have to do to keep the business running and paying bills. So, we’ll start at the beginning.

Selling books on Amazon

Let’s start with Amazon.  We sell books on Amazon.  If you were going to set up to sell items on Amazon you will first need to know how much it will cost you so you can ensure that you are making money when you sell something.   Since we sell books I will be using details about selling books here.  There are other products you can sell on Amazon.  I will leave it up to you for those choices.

Cost to sell books on Amazon

If you only have a few books to sell the Individual Selling Plan would probably be the best choice.   The formula works like this.

+  Book Sale price

+ Shipping collected from customer by Amazon

Minus 15% referral fee

Minus $1.80 closing fee

Minus .99 listing fee

Equals the money you get from Amazon.

 

So, let’s say you have a $10 book with standard shipping of $3.99

The customer pays $13.99.

Then Amazon takes 15%, which is $2.10 in referral fee as well as $1.80 for a closing fee and .99 for a listing fee.  That leaves you with $9.10.

But wait!

You still have to ship the book.  Now you have the cost of the packaging if you don’t happen to have packaging to ship the book laying around as well as the cost of postage.

If you pay retail for shipping envelopes you can easily pay around $2.00 per envelope.  We have found that when we purchase our shipping labels through Amazon for media mail they usually run around $2.63 – $4.00 depending on the weight of the book.  That is cheaper than taking it to the post office and having them post it.  The postal service gives discounts to companies like Amazon to encourage us to all use printable postage from home so they do not have to staff the counter with as many employees.

So now your $9.10 has decreased by anywhere from $2.63 to $6.00 leaving you with $3.00-$6.50.

If you are only going to sell a few books these number might be the best for you.  Keep in mind that you don’t pay those listing fees until something sells so you aren’t paying up front for something that doesn’t sell.

For more information see Amazon’s Fee Schedule.

The next plan up for selling on Amazon is the Professional Plan.  This is the plan we opt for because we list hundreds of books.  This plan eliminates the .99 per book listing fee.  We pay $39.99 a month instead of the individual .99 per book fee.  So, if we sell 40 books in a month it is covered.  The rest of the numbers above still apply.

Listing Books

Now that you have chosen which plan you want to use it is time to list your books.  There are several different ways to do this but we will just go over the simplest for now.

The first step is to type in the ISBN code in the search bar on Amazon.  When the book comes up choose which format you have (hardcover, paperback, etc.) and bring up the offers that are already up on the book.  That will give you an idea of how much to price the book.  You want to be able to price it so it comes up on the first page of offers.  Mass market books will not leave any room for profit due to the .01 sellers.

Once you have decided on your selling price click on the “Have one to sell?” link just above the title and photo of the book.  This will bring up the listing page.

You will need to choose a condition.  This is very important.  If you mark the book in better condition than it really is a customer may report you and your Amazon seller account could be suspended.  We always opt for a lower condition if we are unsure.  We keep the Condition Guidelines handy when doing listings.  There is a special section on books at the above link.

There is a space for Condition Note – buyers are more likely to buy from someone that fills out this note.  Include any details you have about the condition of the book such as previous owner’s name written on the first page, some minor scuffing on the cover edges, page corners curling, etc.

Next field for individual sellers is the quantity.  Keep in mind the quantity is for that book in that condition.  If you have one in Very Good Condition and one in Acceptable condition they need to be listed separately and do not mix them up when shipping.

You can upload photos but there is generally a stock photo already up.  I generally do not add photos unless I am listing a book that is not in Amazon’s catalog.

Next you need to put in the price you want for your book.

The last line is the SKU line.  Because we have created an inventory system to deal with the thousands of different products we sell we put our own SKU in that section.  Many individual sellers do not.

Find a safe place to store your book so you can find it quickly if it sells.  There is nothing worse than selling an item and having no idea where to find it.  Amazon wants you to ship within 24-48 hours of the sale when possible.

When you sell the book you can print out the order, a packing and even purchase postage directly from your seller dashboard.

This concludes selling books on Amazon.  Stay tuned for segments on Etsy, Pagan Markets, Shopify, social media marketing, selling on multiple channels and more.

About the author:  Charissa founded the Pagan Business Network, North Georgia Solitaries and sits on the board of directors for Universal Society for Ancient Ministry.  She co-owns Pagan Markets with Sadie Odinsdottir of Sleeping Gryphon and co-owns Silver Pines Gifts, Charissa’s Cauldron and Kit’s Flea and owns Sacred Grove Radio.

It is time to Stand Against Hate!

Anyone that knows me will not expect many comments from me on political or social issues.  It isn’t that I do not care or that I do not keep up with what is going on.  I am just usually busy marketing community projects and my own business and keep my political views to myself.  This week I do not feel that I have the option to keep going with business as usual.  This week has shown us something more horrible than anything I could ever imagine happening in the United States.   This week something has happened that requires every American, every Human to stand up and say “NO!” to.

Last weekend, people calling themselves the Alt-Right, White Nationalists, Ku Klux Klan, White Supremacists, Aryan Nation, etc. gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia under the guise of protesting the removal of a Confederate statue with their hate-filled chants, violence and horror.  One of those people decided to drive their car into a crowd of people with the intention of hurting as many as possible.  One young woman was killed and many more were injured.

You would think that would be the worst of it.  You would think that all our leaders would put aside  their differences and come together to assure the country that this is not acceptable.  Our leaders would stand together and assure us that the evil that showed up that day was not welcome here and all that is possible would be done to protect the country from this evil.  Assure the world that this is not representative of what is in America at its heart.   For the most part, that did happen.  Until we got to the President of the United States.

Our President, the leader of the free world, the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces, stood in front of the cameras and told us that there was violence on both sides.  He told us that the counter-protesters brought clubs to the protest and implied that “they started it”.  He even went so far as to say that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.  ………..  Let that sink in for a moment.  Very fine people marching under swastikas and confederate flags.  Very fine people carrying torches and chanting hateful rhetoric.  Very fine?????!!

So here I am.  What can one person do? Many would say nothing.  I’ve been told by some that there isn’t anything you can do about it so just ignore it.  I just can’t.  Not this.

So here I am standing up and saying “NO!  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”

America was founded by immigrants.  America went through a long and bloody history to learn that equality has no color.

Perhaps the good people of America have become complacent.  Perhaps we have looked the other way too often when confronted with the ugliness of racism and hate.  We cannot do that anymore.

Stand Against Hate!  Do so in your own way but step outside the comfort zone and stand up.  I pledge to Stand Against Hate when I see it.  I pledge to show everyone that I will not participate or ignore hateful rhetoric.   Do not allow the hate to become comfortable.  Do not fight hate with hate.  But do not allow people to get away with posting or saying or doing hateful racist things.  Force them back into the shadows.

Click here to add Stand Against Hate to your profile picture on Twitter or Facebook.

There are many other ways to stand up against hate.  Consider donating to organizations that protect our liberties such as ACLU or organizations that work to identify hate groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center.  If you cannot afford to donate show your support on your social media.  Speak out when you see hate.  Contact your representatives in government and make it clear that you will only vote for people that stand firmly against hate.  Tell them you will not vote for people that do not call out those in power that support hate.

For quick reference here is a link to the directory of the House of Representatives with their phone numbers.   https://www.house.gov/representatives/

Here is a link to the directory of the Senate with phone numbers.  https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Business Spotlight – Talking Stick Emporium

As a part of my exploration of Pagan businesses I want to share Talking Stick Emporium with you.  They curate products from businesses and bring them to you all in one place.  They have some unique and beautiful products.

Orgone Merkabas with Chakra Gemstones

 

Orgone Merkabas with Chakra Gemstones

“Merkaba, is the divine light vehicle allegedly used by ascended masters to connect with and reach those in tune with the higher realms. “Mer” means Light. “Ka” means Spirit. “Ba” means Body. It is the same shape as the Star of David.”

 

Pyramid Energy Generator - 7 Points

Pyramid Energy Generators with 7 points

4″ diameter
Pyramid energy generators can be placed around your space to clear, activate, transmute energy, for clearing and protecting.

Used for healing. Great for Chakra energy work. Place them over the Chakras or areas of the body where energy needs to be transmuted.
You can create energy grids with them or place around plants. Anywhere where there is a pyramid, energy won’t become stagnant.

River Keeper

River Keeper

A small hole in the bottom of River Keeper holds a cloth for collecting drops of sacred water. A beautiful way to carry the water essence from any sacred site or ceremony. Leave the cloth in place. As the water wicks into her body she holds the living vibration and magnetism of each place and experience. 3″ tall, comes with small messages including the words below, along with a blessing from Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and instructions for collecting sacred water. Partial proceeds from the sale of this sculpture are donated to Grandmother Aggie.

All Bell Pine Art Farm sculptures are individually handmade with sacred intension. Designs vary on each piece.

Enclosed Card:”The water can hear you, bring your voice! Pour your heart into the river. Say “Thank you, I love you, I promise to care for you…
With purest intention, may all water be BLESSED, restoring it to life-sustaining balance. You are the river!”

Talking Stick Emporium is putting on the Harvest Moon Symposium, a journey to wellness and enlightenment in the Pacific Northwest in Elma, Washington, September 9-10, 2017.

 

Thunderclap – A Great Tool for Your Business Toolbox

Here is a new tool I am putting into my marketing tool box with a thanks going out to Laura Perry for showing it to me.  It is called Thunderclap.   For those that have not heard of it I am going to share my understanding of how it works.

Let’s say you have something to promote.  For ease of math I’m going to say you have 100 friends on Facebook and 100 followers on Twitter.  For this example we are going to assume that all of your friends and followers will see your post.  So when you make a post about your spectacular new project 200 people may see it.

Imagine that you have set up a Thunderclap campaign for your new project.  You got 100 people to support it. Each one of those people have their own friends lists.  If you reach your established goal of supporters before the end of your Thunderclap campaign your new project will be shared to the friends of all of your supporters.

So for the ease of math we are going to assume that each of those 100 supporters has 100 friends.  Now instead of only reaching 200 people you are reaching 10,000 people.  Thunderclap only posts once but the reach is tremendous.

Now you are wondering what this costs.  They have a free version as well some premium versions.  For my purposes I think the free version would do.  The cost is in spending some time promoting the Thunderclap campaign enough to get the number of supporters you need for them to run the post.

Let’s look at an example that is running live right now.

minoan-coloring-book-1

Laura Perry, a talented author and writer in the community is running a Thunderclap campaign for her new Minoan coloring book.

minoan-coloring-book-2

So using Laura’s follower numbers she has approximately 4000 between all of her social media channels.

To date her social media reach with Thunderclap is over 123,000.  She still needs a few more supporters before the deadline or there will be no Thunderclap post.  If you have a few moments why not visit her campaign and take a look at it.  CLICK HERE

Go to Thunderclap and check it out.  Look through some of the campaigns there and see if you can think of ideas on how to use it for your business.