Fighting for Your business rights an interview with Lila ElWood of Wild Witchery

Many pagans think about running their own business.  They often dream about providing products and services for their faith community.  These products and services run from workshops and teaching to creating ritual tools and items for the religious practices.  Many of them don’t ever believe that someone would want to cause them stress or ill will.  When that trouble does come how does a small business protect themselves and manage to stay afloat?

I interviewed Lila Elwood one of the owners of Wild Witchery to find out more about her battle and how this has impacted them going further.

Loona Wynd: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your Business?

Lila Elwood: I have been a practicing Pagan for about 25 years now. On my mothers side of the family we are Iroquois and I was raised in native tradition. By the time I was 12 European Paganism/Witchcraft piqued my interest and I started down that path with no regrets.

I attended American University where I received my BA in Religious Studies-concentration on Ancient Mediterranean Religions with a minor in Ancient History of the same region. I am married and have 2 children and currently live in Yorktown VA- where our Business Wild Witchery is based out of.

We are primarily an e-commerce business specializing in creating Ritual Oil Perfumes, Candles, Bath & Body, Skincare, Hand Wrapped Amulets & Crystals. I have been making these items inside and out of Business for about 10 years now.

Loona Wynd: What inspired you to start Wild Witchery?

 

 

Lila Elwood: I had a business prior to this called Lady Leigh’s Apotheca, which was primarily an apothecary & didn’t focus too much on the metaphysical side, but offered similar items: bath and body, aromatherapy perfumes, plus teas and healing items. But I wanted to focus on the metaphysical. I wanted to offer really great products that were infused with Magick because i believe every aspect of your life has the ability to be infused with magick and sacredness- right down to the soap you use, lotion or perfume you apply or the jewelry you wear.

My friend now business partner and I had been talking about/dreaming about having a metaphysical shop together as our skills complimented each other, she focuses on crystals and jewelry and i on the herbal/bath body aspects. So this time last year we just went for it and started laying the foundations of what Wild Witchery now is.

Loona Wynd: You claim that you and your partner received a Cease and Desist letter. What was it for and about?

Lila Elwood:Yes, My business partner & I received a letter via email claiming  copyright and trademark infringement on 2 of our products, Amatus & Yule Ritual Perfume Oils. The letter demanded that we stop selling these items, remove them from all social media & pay the complainant $5,000 + their legal fees potentiallyThe letter also claimed issues with “Trade Dress”

Loona Wynd: Can you explain what they meant by “Trade Dress”?

Lila Elwood: I wasn’t sure what this was either until talking with our lawyer, it is the look and feel of the product.

Loona Wynd: Did they give you a further explanation about what it could entail? Feel and look of a product could cover a lot of things.

Lila Elwood: The complainant feels that our products look the same as hers – we DID at one point, use the same cap style on our bottles as theirs, and we also tie ribbons around our bottles to fill in void space. However, the bottles and caps we buy are available through multiple suppliers that sell to the public, and there are MANY other business’ who also use this same bottle/cap style for their ritual oils and perfumes as well.  in recent months however, the complainant has changed their cap style and discontinued use of the ribbon so really, there should be no conflict with this.

Loona Wynd: What actions have you taken to defend yourself and your craft?  It seems something named after a holiday such as your Yule Perfume Oil couldn’t be trademarked as holidays are open to anyone who follows those traditions, and there are many religious traditions which celebrate Yule.

Lila Elwood: We did a lot of research as to what constitutes trademark/copyright infringement. While the complainant holds NO federally registered trademarks/copyrights, they are alleging these charges based on seniority. They came out with these products first – which the law allows – sort of.

Common Names do not count in the eyes of the law – and as we all know, Yule is a common word/name/a holiday in our spiritual tradition. Many Pagans also make use of other languages when naming their products, i have half a dozen products named in various languages, which is how Amatus, which means Beloved in Latin, was named. Yet, it is uncommon enough to be misconstrued as trademark infringement.

After consulting with our Lawyer we agreed it was probably best to discontinue the use of the name Amatus, so we have removed our Amatus line from our Website and Etsy.

Yet there is another well known business who is selling a ritual oil using the same latin name as one of the complainants products of the same nature! But we want to keep the peace.

However we will NOT be doing the same with Yule. Yule is a sabbat and it belongs to everyone. No one person can trademark our holidays and the products we create inspired by those holidays.

We gathered examples of other Yule Ritual Oils from other Pagan businesses as evidence that we, nor the complainant are the only ones marketing a Yule Oil Blend

Loona Wynd: Is the Amatus line going to be discontinued completely or are you thinking about renaming it?

Lila Elwood:  We will simply rename it and re-release it.

Loona Wynd: What is the next step for you in this fight?

Lila Elwood:  Our Lawyer will be offering the complainant a settlement we discontinue the use of Amatus. But that’s it. Examples of other Yule oil products will be included in defense of out product & other business’ right to create sabbat oil blend, and we will not be paying them any money. We just released our Ostara oil so we’re honestly waiting on the other shoe to drop to speak!

Hopefully, that is the end of it. We do not want a huge dispute. We’re a micro business, small fish in the pond compared to the complainant who compared to other business’ in our niche, is a large corporation.

Loona Wynd: Given the small size of your business it must have been a shock to receive the letter. What went through your minds?

Lila Elwood: I was SHOCKED. I panicked, they were demanding $5,000 from us, we’ve made just under that amount in sales- not being that familiar with the law, I thought this was a formal lawsuit. i was envisioning us having to close up shop, being bullied out of business by the larger corporation

My business partner was not as shocked as i was. In hindsight we should have seen this coming, we had noticed in recent weeks personal friends of the complainant liking some of our social media statues and asking to join our Facebook groups.

Loona Wynd: So they had spies?  Friends checking you out and seeing what you were about?  Are any of those people still in your groups etc?

Lila Elwood: It kind of seems that way to us.   we never admitted these people to our groups and they have been blocked on social media

Loona Wynd: Are you taking any actions to protect yourself in the future?

Lila Elwood: Protection- YES! Our lawyer has implored us to trademark the names of our products – at least at the state level. In VA it costs $30 to trademark a product within state lines. My partner was apprehensive to go this route with trademarking the names of our holidays, and i agree with her, they belong to the community. However, the lawyer has assured us we do not have to enforce these trademarks, but they are there for if/when another situation like this comes about.

Loona Wynd: What advise would you give other small businesses should they receive a Cease and Desist letter or any actions along those lines?
Lila Elwood:  If you receive such a letter, research and consult with a lawyer, absolutely. Don’t Panic! It is not the end of your business, and don’t give in. Consulting with a Lawyer or having a lawyer draw up paperwork is not as expensive as you’d think. It cost us $250 to employ the help of a lawyer. But also, i do suggest researching the name you’re considering. We did not do that because we figured “we’re small & no threat to anyone” & also because we were naive thinking that no one would take issue with our business.how wrong we were! So research unique names, if a business is offering a similar product named the same thing, move on to the next name, no matter how perfect it was. And definitely look into getting state trademarks on the names of your products, if only for your protection.Loona Wynd: Is there anything else you would like to say about this situation or add?

Lila Elwood:  It is my opinion that the complainant is trying to corner the market on the type of items that we offer and is trying to scare the small business’ who offer similar items out of business. We all have a right to be here, we all have a right to create magickal products and market them – which certainly includes sabbat products named after the sabbats. To think you are the only person who has rights to these names and holidays makes you arrogant. Live and let live.

It seems like no matter what we do in this world there is always someone who will try to rain on your parade.  This author firmly believes that if you want to run a business you should try and go for it.  Live for your dreams and follow your path.  Don’t let yourself get discouraged.  Learn from articles like this and take their advice.  There is room for us all as we all have something different to offer.

If you would like to support and see the products and services provided by Wild Witchery: Wild Witchery

An innovative approach to group advertising, the Pagan Shops Online venture makes its debut

There is a new game in town and it is shaping up to be something that will give value for Pagan vendors looking for cost effective advertising that is under their control. The Pagan Shops Online site is a collective of Pagan businesses and entrepreneurs partnered together to put out advertisements on-line in theme-common blasts. The campaigns are set at effective intervals wherein groups of businesses share a common ad space with an equally disbursed cost.

At this time, they are starting with Facebook social media advertising, with their sites on Google presence next. Communal cost sharing will allow them to reach more eyes than individual spots. It also ensures that sharing among the businesses is equally beneficial to all involved. Their page on Facebook will be a source for information and opportunities for membership in each month’s campaign.

One member described it best by saying:

The best Pagan shopping comes together for you in one place. Occult, Wicca, Witch, Conjure and Druid, products, services, and classes online serving thousands worldwide.

More information can be found at their site, www.paganshopsonline.com.

My voting experience

 As I woke this morning preparing my daughter for school and prepping for the arrival of my husband on the bus, I wondered what the day will hold for me. While dropping my seven-year old daughter off at school, she tells me

” mommy we are voting at school today!” It makes me proud that’s she is so excited to have this experience.

I know it is a mock election for fun, but I wonder if she will face ridicule if she decides to not vote the popular vote like everyone else in her class.I tell her to have fun and not discuss who she voted for or why. She smiled at me and like every other day hugs me and says

” I love you mama, you are the best mama ever!”

After this I went home and got ready for my day while waiting or the hubby to get here so we can go vote together. Driving to the polls we discuss the negative behavior and rhetoric we may face walking thru the doors, we are usually not greeted kindly based off our looks alone. On the way there, there were a certain candidate supporters parked on a side road standing in a small section of city property waving flags, holding their candidates sign, drinking beers, and growing in numbers minute by minute, and no doubt putting down anyone who opposed their point of view, as they usually have!

Upon arrival at the polls things were surprisingly smooth, we received our ballots, and proceeded to fill them in. I was dumbfounded at the lack of Democratic Candidates on the ballot, as far as local government is concerned. When the time came to cast our vote, the machine decided to jam!!!! So the volunteers told us to hand over our ballots and they would enter them in when the machine was repaired. I was hesitant to do so, but was reassured that everyone’s ballots would be entered.

Today was shockingly uneventful, it was a welcome change of pace! My daughter came home from school and announced that Trump won the school election.

Image: Raven Moore
Image: Raven Moore

 

I would say the most memorable part if my day would be my husband voting for the first time ever, and I had the privilege to be there with him.

No, we didn’t discuss who we voted for with each other, but it was a pretty amazing experience to share with him. Voting and having a voice is an honor and privilege for me, I have that privilege due to the women before me who started the women’s suffrage movement, and I will not let their sacrifices be in vain.

PBN Blues Series: “Stones in My Passway” by Robert Johnson

Ah yes, that good old-fashioned favorite has finally made its way to this series.  In most practitioner’s scope of service, there will inevitably arise the question of foot track magick. The laying of tricks and the fixing of soils is as old as the first time someone drew the image of their enemies on the bottom of their shoes. Salting the earth so nothing grows is the mundane cousin to dusting the ground where folks will walk.

Image: How-Soon Ngu

The foot, and the need to crush those under it, is primal. The use of their footprints to get to the enemy is well-known. There are varied applications of this, and it is up to the parties involved in the situation. Sprinkling powders, driving in objects, or burying fetishes in the ground are in many magickal practices, so be ready for anything no matter where you set up shop.

Quick and sloppy service

SuGhee T. walks into your shop and comes straight to the counter. She smiles at you and asks you how you are faring. She places her purse on the counter and removes a pack of photographs and slides it to you. She asks you to look at it and tell her what it all may mean.

You check the set of pictures and it tells a very revealing story. You ask their origin. SuGhee T. tells you these are prints from her surveillance camera on the side of her house. The photos show a man laying what appears to be a powdered substance on the porch steps of her home, and sprinkling it all the way to her car door. He then dusts the handle and walks backwards away from the yard turning at the last-minute.

Image: Bruce Emmerling
Image: Bruce Emmerling

SuGhee T. tells you that this man in the photographs is her cousin. They have been in dispute over an inheritance from their grandmother. She won the case in probate court, but ever since then, her affairs have been in chaos. Her dog died, she has been in two car accidents, and her house caught on fire. This has all occurred in the course of no more than 30 days since court.

You tell SuGhee T. that this is a simple fix. You direct her to a set of novena candles and give her instructions on using them. You also sell her a small High John root to carry. You offer to dress the candles and sprinkle a bit of glitter and oil just on the top of the wax. She leaves and you go about your day.

 

Getting down to business for effective service

SuGhee T. walks into your shop and comes straight to the counter. She smiles at you and asks you how you are faring. She places her purse on the counter and removes a pack of photographs and slides it to you. She asks you to look at it and tell her what it all may mean.

You check the set of pictures and it tells a very revealing story. You ask their origin. SuGhee T. tells you these are prints from her surveillance camera on the side of her house. The photos show a man laying what appears to be a powdered substance on the porch steps of her home, and sprinkling it all the way to her car door. He then dusts the handle and walks backwards away from the yard turning at the last-minute.

SuGhee T. tells you that this man in the photographs is her cousin. They have been in dispute over an inheritance from their grandmother. She won the case in probate court, but ever since then, her affairs have been in chaos. Her dog died, she has been in two car accidents, and her house caught on fire. This has all occurred in the course of no more than 30 days since the court case.

After more conversation, you find out that things in her yard and home have gone missing. There was a day not too long ago when her window was open, even though she never leaves it open. Nothing of value was stolen, so she had forgotten about it. Upon reflection, she notes that several personal items have gone missing.

Adding to this disclosure, she tells you that her yard has been slowly dying near her tree. There is a bare spot where rain damaged the ground by flooding it. It is just outside her bedroom window. She remembers strange mounds in the earth and unusual stones. You grab your divination set and get to work.

Image: Joy Stamp
Image: Joy Stamp

You shake your head and take a moment for a deep intake of breath. In this moment, you have deduced that this is going to be an ongoing situation. You also know that it will take some serious work, so you let SuGhee T. know that this is not an overnight fix. Things are going to need she get her hands dirty. You also tell her she is going to have to re-purpose some of her kitchen tools.

The fact that the cousin has become so brazen speaks to his level of malevolence. The unexplained happenings are all tied into the timeline. The images are the final nail in the coffin of proof that buries any doubt about the source of this run of disasters.

Together, you devise a long series of workings to battle back this attack. The cousin has used a combination of magicks, contagion, probably sympathetic (according to your oracle), and conjure. So this will have to be fought on multiple fronts. You warn her not to tip her hand that she knows what he is doing. The soil around her house will have to be handled as well.

An order of spell components is placed for the missing items. Ancestor Work is your main plan of attack, as well as graveyard work. You are going to bring Grandma into this fight. She is also going to have to do some night time work of her own.

A friend of hers of the dangerous sort lies buried not far from her home. She decides to pay him a visit and ask for some assistance. She makes a quick search on her smartphone for the closest store that sells a good grade of rum and adds a few more items to her list.

Image: Todd Quackenbush
Image: Todd Quackenbush

Reversal work can get nasty. You give her a set of instructions for clearing herself, her home, and her property. She buys a railroad spike from you for her car and a few lodestones for her bag. Her kitchen will be her headquarters for the next few months, so she also buys a good mortar and pestle while she is there.

Later

SuGhee T. follows the plan and comes back to your shop within a month’s time. Her spirits are higher, and she has a new dog. The cousin is mysteriously no longer coming around, and actually has fallen quite ill. Such a shame when that happens, you say. You both share a look and your customer buys a few more things. She leaves your shop, satisfied and ready to refer more clients.

PBN Blues Series: “Bitter End” Rag’n’Bone Man

Friendships and relationships make the backbone of common casework for many practitioners. Beside money issues, they reign as the giants of the topics for concern for the professional practitioner. Clients are humans, after all, and they cannot avoid the interactions that come with the human experience. Because of this, relationship issues are bound to come up sooner or later.

As a practitioner, you could very well specialize in this field and make a pretty good income. It can make or break a career if you become known to either be successful, or abysmal, in this field. This is why it should be handled well, if at all. Matters of the heart are always delicate, and a attention to detail is important when deciding how to engage a case.

Cut and dried it would seem

Photo: Tom Butler
Photo: Tom Butler

Penzobia B. is a peer level practitioner. She is up there with the best of them, but for some reason she cannot seem to shake a spell of bad luck that seems to keep cycling. She performs road opener works consistently, yet nothing sticks. Divination is unclear in its results for her, and dream work is not lucid in this matter. She wonders if she has somehow just run into a bad patch, or if something else is going on in her world.

 

After speaking with Penzobia B., you find that she recently ended a friendship of many years. This person is also a magickal and spiritual practitioner. You ask if she ended the friendship in anger, and she states that while there was a anger on one side, she already detached from the relationship due to negativity on the part of the former friend, so she felt nothing insofar as emotional distress. In fact, she felt a bit unburdened by having to keep up her half of the relationship after years of swinging back and forth between betrayal and neediness.

You surmise that her bad luck stems from her own suppressed feelings of guilt. You tell her to forgive herself, and bathe in hyssop. You also tell her to write a letter to the Universe asking for release from her bonds with that person, then burn it. You sell her the bath, and go about your day.

From bitter endings 

Photo: Zack Minor
Photo: Zack Minor

 

Penzobia B. is a peer level practitioner. She is up there with the best of them, but for some reason she cannot seem to shake a spell of bad luck that seems to keep cycling. She performs road opener works consistently, yet nothing sticks. Divination is unclear in its results for her, and dream work is not lucid in this matter. She wonders if she has somehow just run into a bad patch, or if something else is going on in her world.

After speaking with Penzobia B., you find that she recently ended a friendship of many years. This person is also a magickal and spiritual practitioner. You ask if she ended the friendship in anger, and she states that while there was an anger on one side, she already detached from the relationship due to negativity on the part of the former friend, so she felt nothing insofar as emotional distress. In fact, she felt a bit unburdened by having to keep up her half of the relationship after years of swinging back and forth between betrayal and neediness.

Normally, you might suggest a simple purification, however you also know that when practitioners are involved, things get deep sometimes. Upon doing a reading, you at first have the same issues. Disjointed information and nonsensical lines. But you are not new at this. You know “work” when you see it.

Photo: Simon Wijers
Photo: Simon Wijers

You cleanse the area, and client and self, with a blend containing eyebright and some other herbs, and try again. That is when it becomes clear. There is definitely work, and it is, indeed, the former friend. She, and an accomplice, are using a grey candle trap to avoid detection, and adding lavender to the works in order to lull the target into a calm state. This is an insidious form of magick, as it has a veil on it that make Penzobia B. feel nothing is really wrong, as she is always being soothed no matter how badly events occur.

Also, the spells have been formed in such a way as to reattach after being dismissed. They are feeding upon the continuous loop of doubt and fire magick. This is a tricky one, you will give her that much credit. Walnut shells are not the simple fix here.

You and Penzobia B. review the results of the divination and devise a case plan to dismantle, counter, and destroy the attacks. Because she was attacked, she decides that the “gloves are off” and buys spell components designed to twist a sufficient amount of curse work back to the assailant. She make her purchases, and you strengthen our professional networking relationship with her. You also do an additional cleansing and some grey work to deter mischief.

PBN Blues Series: – “Tramp” by Otis Redding & Carla Thomas

Respect is a fickle emotion, it rivals its cousin, Reputation, insofar that it is enduring or fleeting based on the subjective opinion of others. Social mores are tricky at times, especially when doing business in a neighborhood that has a socioeconomic demographic that is more affluent than the business owner’s beginnings. It is not uncommon to find oneself navigating the derision and contempt of the more affluent clientage and peer when moving to a new place.

The way that we handle the discourses in which we engage with those who may find us lesser is a crucial skill to develop. As a client, when we encounter poor treatment, we can easily take our custom elsewhere. However, as a business, the ever-present need for business can sometimes lead to decisions choices about how much is really acceptable to tolerate from a client. From peers, this has the potential to become exceedingly unpleasant, and damaging to our brand.

Image: Abigail Keenan
Image: Abigail Keenan

 

Anneliese V. has been a practitioner for over 15 years in various parts of the state in which she lives. First, as an independent reader, then later as a staff person in an obscure metaphysical business. She has painstakingly made small steps toward becoming an independent business brand of her own, and now opens a business in a middle class part of town. It is a step up from the lower end stores in which she cut her teeth. A gleaming window sign, a clingfilm sticker from the Pagan Business Network, new fixtures, and a well stocked shelf are physical manifestations of her pouring a lifetime of savings, hopes, and dreams into her shop.

Within a month, Anneliese V. develops a respectable base of clientage.  Her Romany inspired broom straw skirts and her passion for streaming Sacred Grove Radio instead of local contemporary music has given her clients a taste of her own unique style. Return customers bring referrals and all is well. However, shortly after the midpoint of the second month, her clients have begun to drop. The cheery little shop has begun to feel a down, and she does not understand what is going on.

That is, she doesn’t until the local blogger grapevine bearer drops into her ear the local news. It seems that a long-established store nearby has begun to disparage her name and business. A whisper campaign seeking to discredit her experience and product quality, by this competitor, has led to a loss of public confidence. She confronts the owner, and to her shock, he doesn’t deny her accusations. In fact he actually gives her a tongue lashing publicly at the local metaphysical fair and tells her that she is fit for nothing better than “garbage candle store magick, and everyone knows it”. He then attacks her style of dress as a costume fit for only a tramp from the poor side of the tracks.

Bending and bowing without a fight

Taken by complete surprise, Annaliese V. walks out of the fair. The local gossips feast upon the rumors and whispers that follow, adding to them. Emboldened, the shop owner publicly shreds her reputation at every gathering. Each time, she walks away. Finally, dejected, she comes to you to get a reading, as she has lost faith in her own abilities to read clearly.

You throw the coins and employ complementary techniques. All indications are that it will be difficult to undo the damage, as the juggernaut of misrule in the local metaphysical community seems to be falling in step behind the rival shop owner. You advise her to take a spiritual bath in hyssop and lavender, and tell her she has no hope of prevailing. You tell her that she should accept defeat and return to the neighborhood she started in before, and to not attempt to rise above her social and professional station. Success lies in being small and keeping quiet.

She leaves, intent on shutting down her business. Annaliese V. resigns herself to giving up her dream and you never see her again. A month later, her shop is shuttered.

Some things are worth fighting for

Taken by complete surprise, Annaliese V. walks out of the fair. The local gossips feast upon the rumors and whispers that follow, adding to them. Emboldened, the shop owner publicly shreds her reputation at every gathering. Each time, she walks away. Finally, dejected, she comes to you to get a reading, as she has lost faith in her own abilities to read clearly.

You throw the coins and employ complementary techniques. All indications are that it will be difficult to undo the damage, as the juggernaut of misrule in the local metaphysical community seems to be falling in step behind the rival shop owner. Still, people are not programs on software, and the future is not cemented.

As a professional practitioner, you know that spiritual counseling is a major component in your field. To counsel Annalise V. properly, you give her all sides of what is facing her. This involves you doing a more in-depth continuation of the reading so that she can get a balanced view of her choices. The fight will be long, but it is winnable. The decision is hers.

Annaliese V. sits quietly for a few minutes, the rascette lines on her wrists barely touching the cloth on your table. She seems to gather herself and rises. She decides to fight for her shop, and to combat this attempt at the destruction of her reputation by this rival. She purchases a small set of ceramic baking molds from you in order to begin a campaign of poppet workings.

Image: Alice Achterhof
Image: Alice Achterhof

As she is completing her purchase, you exchange mutual respect and banter casually about how good in this world always faces negativity with courage. You decide to gift her with a bottle of Confidence Nature’s Essence to help her along. She decides to set a return appointment date to check her progress in case she needs to change course. In a whishing of paisley glory she walks out of your parlor with a renewed sense of optimism, and you have just formed a professional association of mutual respect with her.

 

PBN Blues Series: “Detroit Moan” – Victoria Spivey

Hello PBN Blues Series readers, today we return with another segment in our series. Brick and mortar businesses become a stable part of the business landscape in any area. The family grocery store, the local dry cleaners, the deli,  the corner ice cream stand, a Pagan or Holistic shop, and the church,  many of these serve as the favorite go to places for townies. So when it is time to leave, it can present special challenges.

People become accustomed to seeing your storefront as part of their neighborhood pillars. Whether they patronize your establishment or not, they still begin to use it as a landmark. In the mind of the masses, you have become a touchstone for their travels and how they describe where they live. The days pass, and you become part of the cyclic flow of commerce. People begin to count you as fictive kin.

Given this much momentum of group energy, it works to the advantage of an established business to capitalize on it. However, when the owner decides to move the business, they may run into an unexplained set of barriers. Deals fall through, calamities befall finances needed for the move, and other issues arise that become a pattern.  That momentum of acceptance now takes a form of anchorage that seeks to compel one to stay put despite the need for progress.

At Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal
At Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal

When the keys to the future don’t fit the locks

Zenobia S. has a small herb and spice market in a local farmer’s market. She maintains a booth that she opened 3 years ago. Success has blossomed for her to the degree that she tries to move into a brick and mortar of her own. The shop she wants is on the other side of town. It is precisely the right size, a better neighborhood, and great location for foot traffic.

Zenobia S. let her regular clients know that she intends to move by the end of the year. Most of them do not have transportation to the area where she plans to relocate. They have grown accustomed to purchasing her unusual herbs and spices at her reasonable prices. The only other shop carries poorer quality wares at double the prices. Also, the customer service is very poor, especially when compared to the wit and sparkle of Zenobia S. and her employees.

All was proceeding normally, until recently. For the last three weeks, a string of issues visited upon her plans. First, all records of the proposed contract with the new location were mysteriously deleted and paper copies lost. Second, a larger vendor at the farmer’s market has made an offer on the same property, 2 days after the loss of the paperwork. Third, her bank account was frozen by error, and the institution has her funds on hold until a full investigation concludes. This is anticipated to take 30 days, just after the offer for the property will expire. Lastly, her shipments  held up in customs due to bill of lading and letter of credit problems plaguing her wholesaler.

She comes to you for help. You decide, upon hearing the situation, that the vendor in the market is to blame. You sell her a I Can You Can’t candle and have her set up an altar. Together, you gather components for a trick and advise her to lay it under the west corner of that vendor’s booth. She leaves determined to avenge this wrong doing.

perhaps - lian xiaoxiao
perhaps
lian xiaoxiao

A week later, things have gotten worse for her when she returns to you. She suffered being caught red-handed laying the trick, and now the market has the two vendors in mediation. She stands accused of sabotaging the other business by trying to place a foul odor there (the bag contained asafoetida) to take over her spot. She has to pay restitution to the building association to show good faith, again impairing her ability to move. What now?

Shaking the dust off the traveling shoes

Zenobia S. has a small herb and spice market in a local farmer’s market. She maintains a booth that she opened 3 years ago. Success has blossomed for her to the degree that she tries to move into a brick and mortar of her own. The shop she wants is on the other side of town. It is precisely the right size, a better neighborhood, and great location for foot traffic.

Zenobia S. let her regular clients know that she intends to move by the end of the year. Most of them do not have transportation to the area where she plans to relocate. They have grown accustomed to purchasing her unusual herbs and spices at her reasonable prices. The only other shop carries poorer quality wares at double the prices. Also, the customer service is very poor, especially when compared to the wit and sparkle of Zenobia S. and her employees.

All was proceeding normally, until recently. For the last three weeks, a string of issues visited upon her plans. First, all records of the proposed contract with the new location were mysteriously deleted and paper copies lost. Second, a larger vendor at the farmer’s market has made an offer on the same property, 2 days after the loss of the paperwork. Third, her bank account was frozen by error, and the institution has her funds on hold until a full investigation concludes. This is anticipated to take 30 days, just after the offer for the property will expire. Lastly, her shipments  held up in customs due to bill of lading and letter of credit problems plaguing her wholesaler.

She comes to you for help. You do a reading before proceeding with any work here. After delving into the situation, you realize that what is actually happening is surprising. A group of has decided that they cannot afford to have Zenobia S. move away from the area. The strength of their conviction is such that they are doing active work to prevent her from relocating. The string of events is not about competition, but a result of self-interest and selfishness.

This will take more than simple uncrossing work. Blockbuster work, combined with road opener will follow a directed and focused addressing of the group’s workings. The group will be nullified.

Altar work, incorporating candles, oils, and incenses,  are in order. You also tell her to add boneset herb to her working, just to add some boost. This is mixed equally with benzoin.

You also recommend your client to keep her further plans for progress to herself. Loose tongues often serve as the rods for our backs. She is to discuss her business plans with no one. You then give sell her a floor wash to clean out her booth area.

 Image by 2015 Nathan Miller

Image by
2015 Nathan Miller

 

After two weeks, Zenobia S. returns to report her situation improved. Coincidentally, several of her regular customers reduced their number of visits. As an aside, she mentions they all go bowling together and often bring her donuts. This cements her confidence that they are “in cahoots” on this. She has known them all her life, even been taught by one of them in Sunday School.

She has no true ill will, however, and laughs. She takes it as a complement that a group of older men in their 60’s, think so highly of her. They often dote on her and swear that no one takes as much care of their special orders as she does.

A month later, she returns to your shop with news of a successful move to her now store. She buys a blend of pine/basil/cedar floor wash from you for good business for her opening month. Your client is happy and you look forward to increased commerce from her in the future.

 

How to build a strong Brand for Events

Establishing a strong brand for your event helps you differentiate your event and build loyalty with attendees. While branding encompasses everything from your logo to the way you write your social media posts , your on-site experience is critical to building a memorable brand.

After all, having a captive live audience gives you the rare opportunity to fully immerse people in your brand. But how do you create a brand experience that goes beyond slapping your logo all over walls of your venue?

1. First impressions are everything.

From the moment a guest arrives at your event, they should have a sense of your brand. Consider key moments of entry where the most people will interact with your brand: the front door, the entryway of your venue, or even your registration table. These areas are worth investing in because they’ll get the most eyes.

Especially if you’re working with a limited budget, prioritize your high-impact points of entry — and don’t worry about placing costly signage at every turn.

2. Quality over quantity.

Don’t just throw your logo everywhere. Sure, you want your logo prominently placed throughout your venue, but think about the big picture. It’s about creating a clean, consistent look throughout your venue. You want to come off as polished — not pushy. Think about subtle ways to weave in your brand look and feel at key touchpoints like:

  • Building exterior or front gate signage
  • Registration or check-in area
  • Directional  signage within the venue

3. Creativity counts.

Beyond traditional signage like banners, think about how can you surprise and delight your guests with your brand experience. Instead of traditional foam core signs placed on easels, why not create floor decals? In place of printed posters, how about on screen motion graphics that catch your attendee’s eye?

Here are a few other ideas to get you started:

  • Coffee sleeves: Include your event tagline!
  • Projected lights: Project your logo or brand color(s)
  • Window or column clings: Put them in unexpected places
  • Swag guns: Shoot swag from a “swag gun” onstage to engage the crowd
  • Photo booth: Create a fun branded backdrop or frame to give attendees a photo op (An added bonus? You’ll improve your chances of attendees sharing your event

4. Engage your audiences before and after the event

why not create an application for your event- Eventbrite and Doubledutch are just two services that offer low cost  social app for your event branded with your own logo.

  • Event lasts longer and people have the ability to connect with friends long after the event
  • being able to network, network, network
  • better audience to advertise next years event
  • Sponsor have better presence, and intern stronger buying power!

 

Courtesy of Doubledutch.me

 

Bryan Peters ,  Meetings Expert  Consultant with American Express Meetings and Events, Questions/ comments? Bryan.peters@aexp.com  or call me at 330-274-7353

MEETINGS EXPERT Consultant, a freelance independent contractor, duly appointed by and working in association with American Express Meetings & Events.  “American Express Meetings & Events” is a service provided by American Express Global Business Travel (“GBT”). 

PBN Blues Series: “Who do You Love” – George Thorogood

There are times when power plays are important, in life and in the magickal/spiritual world.  There really are enemies out there who come after people.  Yes, sometimes it really is you against the world.

Clients, and even other practitioners, may come to you when they cannot lift the workings cast against them.  They may feel hexed, cursed, crossed, or any number of other colorful terms for feeling that they are being attacked magically and/or spiritually.  Witchcraft of the Mouth is the most common form.  So is candle working.  Once the choice has been made on how to counter these things, and this is of course after ascertaining if they even exist, there should always be a follow-up working.

The follow-up is like tying up loose ends.  It sweeps away the debris, and clears the road for progress.  It also facilitates and environment for healing of the client.  After battle, the medics always come in to patch, but long-term care is important for a proper recovery.

When working with your client, you may be tempted to do success work right away.  While this is not necessarily wrong, it can be incomplete.  If they are still emotionally and mentally compromised from the attacks against them they will be hindered.  Experience advises you to suggest clearing work, path opening work, and the critical task of building up their defenses and confidence.  Why help them fight if you do not provide the tools needed to mount a good strong level of protection and defense?  When a person neutralizes malevolent spells and workings, without sending a strong message, it sometimes becomes more dangerous and emboldens the adversaries to up the stakes.  In these cases, it is important to advise the client of ALL options.

Let’s look at a case where this comes into play.

Mattsson_Interrogation_of_the_sorceress.jpg
Mattsson_Interrogation_of_the_sorceress.jpg

Timone V. has been beaten down for a long time.  She has always managed to make things work, no matter how unhappy she may have been with her current project by constantly bending and doing the work that other don’t do.  She even has not made an issue when others came in at the last-minute to do a minor touch on the finished project in order to take credit for the work.

But recently, she hit the wall and reached her limit and spoke up.  Within record time, forces and working were cast against her in an attempt to compel her into submission.  Quietly,  detractors organized and set about a whisper chain to destroy her.  Being a practitioner herself, she was hesitant about acting rashly, so decided to seek an objective opinion.

Timone V. came to your shop and gave you a breakdown of her situation.   You joined together in deciding the best course of action.  You consulted with her in choosing work to stop gossip, to break any compulsions, and to clear her roads.  She did not wish to attack anyone, just to defend.  This was successful, however the attacks resumed and she found herself right back in the same dire straits of being assailed from all sides.  In fact, it became worse, as her enemies doubled down and increased their workings against her.  Now you find yourself in a quandary of what the correct action will be.

Quick and easy, and a little cheesy

You decide to use the honey jar method, as that is the new “go-to” panacea in folk magick popularity.  Using what you have prepackaged on the shelf, you quickly assure her that this is all she needs to fix her situation.   You see no need to explain the principles behind what you are doing, and assure her that her situation will be fixed with this easy remedy.  You see no need for subsequent work.  After all, if she is a practitioner, she should know all the forms of spells anyway.  She leaves your shop, unsure as to why this will work.

Tombstone hand time, or empowering the unsure practitioner/client

Timone V. has been beaten down for a long time.  She has always managed to make things work, no matter how unhappy she may have been with her current project by constantly bending and doing the work that other don’t do.  She even has not made an issue when others came in at the last-minute to do a minor touch on the finished project in order to take credit for the work.

But recently, she hit the wall and reached her limit and spoke up.  Within record time, forces and working were cast against her in an attempt to compel her into submission.  Quietly,  detractors organized and set about a whisper chain to destroy her.  Being a practitioner herself, she was hesitant about acting rashly, so decided to seek an objective opinion.

Antonio de Pereda [Public domain]
Antonio de Pereda [Public domain]
Timone V. came to your shop and gave you a breakdown of her situation.   You joined together in deciding the best course of action.  You consulted with her in choosing herbs to make a powder to stop gossip, to break any compulsions, and to clear her roads.  She did not wish to attack anyone, just to defend.  This was successful, however the attacks resumed and she found herself right back in the same dire straits of being assailed from all sides.  In fact, it became worse, as her enemies doubled down and increased their workings against her.  Now you find yourself in a quandary of what the correct action will be.

You explain that it is like going into a boxing ring and just holding up the gloves to trying to block punches.  Eventually, that person will get worn down, be slow to move,  and be pummeled.  This makes no sense.  The fact that the person does not want to fight does not matter, the opponent will keep swinging until they take them down.  In order to survive the fight, the proper course of action is to block AND strike.  This way, you defend, counter, and have a chance to make it to the end without being on your back and at your opponent’s mercy. If you knock them out, all the better.

Self preservation must be the first law.

Timone V. sees the wisdom of this and decides that it is time to end this cycle of conflict.  She decides to defend herself and also send a clear message of strong defense.  She designs a working that allows her to control the measure of retaliation and attack so that it stays within what she deems the limits of fairness according to her belief system.

In this case, ritual tools are incorporated into the sale.  These include a huge bag of Devil’s Shoe String that will be added to the anointing oil for cord working – turns out she is a textile worker, and some Witch’s Grass.  Items she usually had no call to utilize are now a part of her stratagems.  You have a variety of wares and this enables you to meet her needs.  You also supply her the chance to order additional items from your catalogs.  This extra mile will assure repeated visits and an opportunity to build her magickal toolbox.

You assemble the components and she makes sure she has the tools she needs to empower her working before she leaves.  You client is satisfied and confident, her faith in her own right to defend herself restored.  She also has a new level of faith in her Pagan business owner as well.  You watch her leave, and hear the Thunder in her steps.

 

PBN Blues Series: “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” – The Temptations

Welcome once again to the PBN Blues Series.  We have gone through quite a nice run, and today will feature a topic that is near and dear to this writer’s heart.  This is not aimed at anyone in particular, but ladies, on this one you probably will feel this one pretty deeply.

This scenario in our series will deal with child support.  Yes, the Friend of the Court is not every one’s friend.  Here in Detroit, it is very hard to track down the needed resources to help the agency help the mothers and fathers who depend upon it.  So here she comes into your shop.  Let’s begin here.

How to be a little too familiar and offend the client

Brandy P. comes to you spitting fire.  Her bills are behind, the rent is due, and her child support check would help keep the wolf from her door if it came on time.  But it never comes on time.  In fact, it comes so rarely that it is more of an annual surprise.  Her aim is to make that man pay in many ways.  She is speaking extremely loudly about her anger, and customers are shying away.

By Kalia-law
By Kalia-law

You ask her what it is she wants to have happen.  Brandy P. wants her child support, all of it, at once.  You do a sideways smirk and tell her that she knows that is not going to happen.  You also tell her that she should expect men who are (insert a nationality) and “low-class” to behave this way.  They are all dogs, after all.  You add the requisite term “girl” to emphasize your sympathy and authority on these things.

Brandy P.‘s face has just twisted into a scowl worthy of a Great Lakes sea captain in a squall.  Your attempt at forming a rapport with the client by downgrading the status of her children’s father has just gone down into the Bad Business Judgment Hall of Fame.  You have just implied that you feel above him, and by logical conclusion, her as well.  You receive a well deserved verbal lashing, and the client walks out slamming your door.  In that moment, you are what we call “made of Fail”.

 

How to have empathy, but still maintain a professional manner in this

Brandy P. comes to you spitting fire.  Her bills are behind, the rent is due, and her child support check would help keep the wolf from her door if it came on time.  But it never comes on time.  In fact, it comes so rarely that it is more of an annual surprise.  Her aim is to make that man pay in many ways.  She is speaking extremely loudly about her anger, and customers are shying away.

By Emergency Brake from Your mom's house (Aaahhh!!!)
By Emergency Brake from Your mom’s house (Aaahhh!!!)

You know a potentially volatile customer when you see one.  In your best calming voice, you ask her if she is going to be attempting to kill him.  This will probably do one of two things.  One, she may be shocked out of her rage and focus on calming down a bit.  Or two, it could lead her to say that she is indeed hellbent on harming, up to killing, him.  Neither of these will get her money today.

 

If it is the first reaction, you can now focus on an action plan.  If it is the second one, then it is time to tell her to leave your store until she can calm down her emotions.  This only applies, of course, if you are not the sort that sells this kind of magick.  If so, then this is where you stop reading and handle your business in your own way.  For the rest of the readers, let’s deal with the first possible reaction.

So in this instance, the client has calmed and decided to focus on what is needed to accomplish collection of monies owed.  You get her to understand that takes the path of least resistance and so she needs to identify her goals individually. You do this because she has more than one issue here.  She needs money, and she needs the father to comply with the payments that have been ordered.  Identification and comprehension of how to analyze her tasks will allow her to get her desired results.

Brandy P. likes fire based workings.  This is seemingly in accord with her personality.  Working together, you decide a quick money spell is in order for the bills is priority.  A dressed candle with a combination blend of High John, some appropriate herbs, and a few oils fit the immediate conditions.  You caution her to use the Bay leaves added to the work, as she did not seem inclined to add them to the bill.  This is to assure no Monkey’s Paw with the working.

Stronger measures will be taken for the child support issue.  Instead of a candle, you have worked with the customer to choose to create a lamp.  This will be a stronger and more lasting work.  Spell components are gathered and she has her timetable for repurchasing supplies.

You know she will be back, so you have written down a formula list with her name on it.  Only the first name and last initial are used.  This ensures confidentiality.  Brandy P. leaves your store on a mission, and satisfied with her experience in your shop.