Salon des Métiers et de la Formation, 24-30 Nov 2014

Important post for the parents of and older kids!

Salon des Métiers et de la Formation (Careers and Training Exhibition) will be held next week at Beaulieu in Lausanne. This is the event where professionals from many fields gather and interact with the children and parents about the many kinds of jobs they can go for in the future. Entry is free and according to the downloadable info for parents:

Come along with your child and take the opportunity to find out about professions for today and for tomorrow, the requirements, the training programs and career options. We suggest you make a family visit on Wednesday afternoon, Saturday or Sunday. This will avoid the visiting times for school groups and you can talk to the professionals more comfortably.

 

Careers and Training Exhibition, Lausanne
24-30 November 2014
Tuesday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
Entrance free
www.metiersformation.ch

*Image courtesy of MCH Group SA

Back to a More Personal Blog

Hi there,

Apology for lack of activity on this blog last week. My daughter got sick and more importantly, I had a lot of thinking to do. A lot of thinking about this blog.

For many months now, I have been having problems keeping up with my emails. Especially the emails that kept coming asking me for possibility to write about new (and old) businesses in the area. I usually read all emails, but I don’t always have the time to reply. Let alone blog about it.

I always feel bad about it. Always. When I started this blog I wanted it to be an informative site as well as a platform to promote small businesses in the area. So whenever I receive an email about something new coming up, I tried to come back to the email, or I sent a quick reply telling them to be patient and remind me in 1-2 weeks time. Unfortunately I learned that I never really have the time. And to make it worse, some emails started to be rude and they drove me mad.

My daughter now goes to school and my son goes to a Jardin d’enfants 2 mornings and a crèche for one whole day per week. That gives me 3 mornings and one afternoon free per week. I always plan to write at least 2 blogs on 2 mornings, but turns out it is still difficult as I also use these times to run errands and chores. To do my hobbies and to exercise. Even worse, money is getting really tight now in our household (single academic salary here!) that I decided to stop the creche for my son by November. This will leave me with only two child-free mornings per week and significantly less time to deal with emails and blogs.

This said, I regretfully decided to not do promotional post for a while. A long while perhaps. I just can’t devote my precious free time and energy for this yet. After all, this is a personal blog, not a business one. For now, I will concentrate on more personal blogs about our activities and experiences in the area, as well as round-up post or lists of useful-to-know things.

I will still offer the ad space (the square banners on the side of site) for anyone wishes to promote their business there. These ads will be charged, CHF60/3 months or CHF100/6 months and this fee will go directly to a charity I choose. I’d be happy to announce the new advertisers on Lausanne Mom Facebook page, but not anymore as sponsored post on the blog. The same goes for camps and workshops announcement – they will be posted for free on Facebook page. As an exception, giveaway post can be arranged for items with minimal values of CHF80.

I hope this will work – for you and me. I really really wish to simplify my life, while still keeping blogging fun. Blogging has been a very constructive hobby for me. It doesn’t help my life financially, but it has enriched both my life as a parent and my life here in Switzerland.

 

Thank you and I’ll come back soon with more fun post!

biz, meta.

Journée “Oser tous les métiers!” (JOM) – Bring Your Children to Work Day

jom2014

You may have heard it from your children’s schools, but in case you haven’t, the annual Journée “Oser tous les métiers !” (I loosely translated it into “Bring Your Children to Work” Day) for the Canton of Vaud will come on Thursday, 13 November 2014.

This event targets 7th-9th graders (HarmoS), and is done by having the girls going with theirs fathers to work and boys with their mothers. The idea is to introduce jobs that are men-dominated to the girls and that are currently considered feminine to the boys. So hopefully one day we will have gender equity at most (if not all) types of work. If the parents cannot do it, or if the kids have known the work, they can also come with a close relative (uncle, aunt, grandparents).

We had it at the the hospital where I used to work, as well as in UNIL and CHUV. And once when I was at my dentist during a JOM, my dentist brought his daughter with her. So in case your company’s public relation officer hasn’t said anything about it, perhaps you can let them know that you’ re interested to bring your child to work that day?

There will also be additional activities for the girls (such as “can be computer savvy and speak at the Parliament, too”) and boys (“can be a nurse or child-mider, too”). For these programs, download the program and register here. Places are limited and easily booked out!

For even more information, this is the official website. You can download the booklets (for parents, childrens, and companies interested in participating) on the right side bar.

Will you crowdfund Lausanne Mom?

So this is the update about my computer.

After the coffee spill accident and despite drying for days (on rice), it won’t start.

 

I don’t think I will go for repair. It’s 4 year-old and I already planned to buy a new one, but next year.

So in the meanwhile I am using my old one to do my online things, but it’s so slow and from time to time the screen goes black just like that. Preparing a blog post with it will only make me pull my hair out. FYI for a post that you read within one minute, it usually took me, on average, an hour to finish. With this old computer, it takes double or triple time. Attaching photos almost certainly will make the browser hang. Even linking to other page had proven difficult. It’s taking too much time and patience, so that I think I will only resume the blog once I can afford a new computer. Many of you may know that this blog doesn’t really make money, so that I have to wait most likely until my hubby gets his 13th salary by the end of the year.

A few facebook followers suggested that I started a crowdfunding for a new computer. I have looked into it, and yes it may work. To resume my online and digital life seamlessly, I need another MacBook Air 11″ – which basic package cost around CHF1100 (I will add more power to it, RAM and faster processor, as I would like to use it for at least the next 5 years. The total cost would be CHF1445, but I will pay the extra myself). Since I have more than 700 followers on facebook, and a couple hundreds following through feeds, if a portion of you would generously donate between chf2-5, it would be enough for me to get the basic MBA.

It feels awkward to me to ask you to donate for a personal item. But I know that the blog has benefited many, all information has been provided for free and I have also donated my time to write and maintain it for the last 5 years and 5 months. Would you donate CHF2-5 for, let’s say, once or twice a week post until the end of the year? That is roughly between 20-40 posts, or 20-40 hours work.

Please let me know if you would back up a crowdfunding, by commenting below, hitting like on facebook, or sending me a PM. If I have many positive response I will set up a GoFundMe* account. If not, it’s OK. I promise I won’t be too upset 😉 I will still share interesting info and links through Lausane Mom facebook page (I believe those of you not on facebook could still check it?) and I will resume writing the blog as soon as I can buy an MBA.

Just let me know if you will. Thanks so much in advance.

*GoFundMe will show the amount of funding received, but they charge US$0.30 per donation and around 8% fee, which is why it doesn’t make sense to donate less that $2 (approx CHF1.8 in today’s rate)

This & That Week #14 – April 2013

Hiya all,

Hope your Easter was wonderful! We started a tradition of celebrating Easter as a family holiday this year. As it was our first time, we didn’t do too many things, but it was surely fun for my 4.5y daughter to decorate the eggs and for both kids to egg hunt.

I apologize for not doing the “This & That” post for a while. I’ve been having too much on my plate, and to be honest, I felt a bit unmotivated these days. I think I need a real vacation, but with single salary and 2 kids, looks like we won’t be able to afford it anytime soon 🙁 So we’re doing staycation again this Easter holiday. How about you? I sure hope you are enjoying the Easter school holiday with the kids, where ever you are.

 

I have quite a list this time:

  • Circus Nock in Lausanne starts this Friday, until 17 April 2013
  • IKEA currently offers 20% off all toys for IKEA Family members, until 6 April
  • Early Parenthood Support group. The first group will be held on Monday, April 8 at 15.00.
  • Baby Sensory Classes in the Suisse Romande (the page on facebook)
  • The next scheduled coffee mornings in Starbucks, St. Laurent are on Tuesdays the 16th and 30th April 2013 from 10.30am to 1pm. No RSVP required. Find the group at the end of the café.
  • New Tai chi courses starts this April. Open house Monday 15 April – 9:00-11:00 and 19:00-20:30.
  • A blog for those of you living in or near, or interested with Nyon: Living in Nyon
  • Have kids who are ready to taste some jobs? Apprenticeship at the Swiss Post
  • Want to speed up on a motorbike in a real circuit? Here’s your chance

And finally, I also would like to warmly welcome Lausanne Mom’s newest supporter: Hayley Hay Photography. Don’t forget to “like” their page on facebook!

Happy Spring!

xx

Boutique Signorelli — with a Voucher Giveaway!

I was recently approached by Tracy Signorelli. She is Australian, a mother of two, and lives with her husband and children in the city of Luzern. She recently opened an online shop for baby and kids clothing called Boutique Signorelli.

This is how she described it in her own words: “I love dressing my children nicely and have always spent a lot of time finding brands and styles that are different to suit them and their individual personalities. I have sourced some wonderful and individual clothing brands for my boutique and will slowly add more to my site as I get established”

And yes, as the result, the collection is adorable. My personal picks would be these ones: for my 3.5-y.o. daughter, a Frilly Frenchi’s Underwear Set in pink (CHF27.50, left), and for my 11-m.o. son, an organic baby bodysuit “I’m super” (CHF13, right).

Don’t you agree that they are super cute and the price tags are very reasonable? To make the shopping experience better, there is also free shipping for all orders over CHF50!

And now the best part, Tracy was so kind that she agreed to give one reader a voucher worth CHF50. To enter the giveaway contest, let us know which product is your favorite from the boutique (it doesn’t have to be the one you’ll spend the voucher on if you won it). Comments are accepted until next Tuesday 3 April at 11:59pm. One comment per person, only eligible for readers who reside in Switzerland.

Good luck!

 *Images courtesy of Boutique Signorelli

Mommy Entrepreneur/Artist: Krishala of Acacias Gallery

Krishala of Acacias Gallery has had a passion for art over the years, which grew when she became a mother to a little boy, who was born in Carouge, Switzerland. Finding herself with time to create in the evenings whilst her newborn was asleep, she developed her skills and experimented with many styles and began also playing with different mediums, finding her preferences is oils although she also uses inks and acrylics. She now resides in Montreux and is looking forward to three gallery exhibitions this year in the regions of Vaud and Geneva.

One of Krishala's many art works

How did you originally get into the business of making things?
Creating has always been so much a part of my life, so ingrained, that I honestly have no idea when it began. For as long as I can remember I have been inventing and designing and creating. I’ve gone through phases where I try to pretend that I don’t need to craft, but in the end I always go back to the inevitable truth that making things makes me happy. I’ve always made things. I’ve always been creative. I was always the girl drawing people in class rather than taking notes. The internet site Etsy was really the beginning of my personal quest to make my art seen, and since becoming a part of that community I have learnt so much and discovered a lot about marketing and the business side of art.

How did you start this business?
I quit my job in February of 2008 when I was 3 months pregnant with my little guy. I slowly started to realize that I wanted to be a stay at home mum and not live to work. During my pregnancy I painted with a fever! And my family and friends were big fans of my creations and encouraged me to continue to develop my style. Within two days of signing up to Etsy I sold a $200.00 painting (in my previous shop Krishsw19) and was able to pay my utilities for the month. With that one single sale I realized it was possible to at least ‘fund’ my passion! Following that, I created work for Artfire and Dawanda also, which are similiar to Etsy and just as awesome for opportunities for emerging artists.

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy businesses? What’s your best marketing tip?
I can’t stress enough how important it is for business owners to figure out their target audience and promote their businesses directly to them. My number one tip is visibility. Always ensure you are in the public eye so you are never far from their mind. I am a big believer in relisting, renewing, and ensuring the shop is constantly updated and fresh.

I know that as an Etsy shopper I stalk quite a few shops, and some of them only update say, every week or so. I make sure that there’s always something brand new at least every other day, if not daily. I update my customers in my shop announcement every single day about what’s going on. I even put a time on the update. Sometimes I’ll update a few times in a day. I’ve been told by a few customers they really appreciate knowing what’s up — it keeps them coming back daily because there’s always something going on in my shop. It’s not just about enticing new buyers — it’s about keeping loyal patrons coming back for more!

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
Sticking strictly to Etsy and advertising within “the box.” For me, it’s all about bringing people directly to my shop, and as I mentioned previously, I need to budget my time and energy accordingly into those avenues that will produce the most viable traffic to my shop. This requires stepping away from Etsy and finding new pools of patrons who might not necessarily know about Etsy. This provides a benefit not only to myself, but the community as a whole — as I bring traffic directly to my shop that has been essentially handpicked, they have the opportunity to then browse the website and find all of the other amazing sellers in the community. A fine artist selling work within a certain price point is generally above an “impulse purchase,” I have to work hard at bringing my target audience directly to me.

What do you enjoy most about painting?
I love that if I want to work at 2am then so be it! I love that I can do something creative, something I lose track of time doing, and that I can make things other people want to buy. One less positive note is that art is definitely harder to sell online than other more affordable products, so it’s always in the back of my mind that my next sale could be my last for a while. But often I manage to have the mindset that ultimately I am painting for myself, as a way to express my creativity and that in a way is a much better focus to have than painting to sell or conforming to what I think other people will like.

As a single mother, maintaining that balance between family and personal time is most definitely a challenge. I really need to learn to ask for help when I need it and take a break when it gets to be too much. I am truly thankful to my Aunt Anne, who has helped me immensely in that regard, and is constant with her incredible support and kindness, to which I am eternally grateful.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? What advice would you give someone else?
You are in charge of your own destiny. Don’t rely on anyone else for your success. Don’t blame anyone else for your failure. Believe in your work, but be realistic. There are millions of people trying the same thing as you — to make their small business work — and you’re in an ocean of individuals as unique as you. You have to think outside the box and be clever to get noticed. Rarely is there a “fast track” to success. You need to be patient and persistent. Know it’s going to take a lot of time, hard work, and personal sacrifice for it to become what you want it to be. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort, otherwise you have no one to blame but yourself.

What goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your art?
I’d really like to expand my inventory and produce new works, ideally daily. I also want to learn more about the history of art, and theory, to really immerse myself in the art world and keep up to date with current up coming artists both locally and globally.

Lastly, I am incredibly grateful to Etsy for the opportunity to feel passionate about what I do for a living.

Thanks, Krishala, for sharing your story! Check out Krishala’s shop and work at: http://www.acaciasgallery.etsy.com

Mommy Entrepreneur: Sarah of Simplicity Admin Solutions

It’s time for another Mommy Entrepreneur: Sarah Santacroce of Simplicity Admin Solutions

Sarah was born in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. She is married to an Italo-Canadian, recently moved back from California and now living in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. With all these, Sarah considers herself a true citizen of the planet.

The idea of running a home-based Administrative and Internet/Social Marketing Business all started in California, where Sarah’s husband had a temporary job transfer. For three years she was a stay-at-home mom and once the kids were off to school, she looked for a new challenge, and decided to start her own virtual business. She quickly realized that she had to learn how to market her own business and got interested in the new marketing channels such as Social Media & Internet Marketing. After lots of research and some classes, she is now offering her knowledge to other small- to mid-sized businesses who struggle to find their place on the web (If you are interested, check out her blog post about Facebook pages for small businesses). Sarah also offers administrative support for small businesses who cannot afford an in-house assistant.

Sarah works from a home office and just like every other mom with kids in the public school system, juggles with lunch breaks, homework and extra-curricular activities. But she loves what she does, and the flexibility that comes with it.

I thank Sarah for sharing her story, and if you are interested to know more about her and what she does, check her company website, LinkedIn profile, or “like” her Facebook page.

Poll: Busy moms, how do you do it?

Busy Week

How do you keep your sanity juggling with many things around the house (and work, if you do)? What help do you use to keep up with the high demand of mommy life?

Please vote only when you are a mom who resides in CH. Multiple answers possible. Comments are welcome. Thanks!

What help do you use to keep up with mommy life?

View Results

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*Photograph courtesy of Duncan Harris, used under Creative Commons

Mommy Entrepreneur: Liz of Forget-Me-Not Cards

After my previous post, yet another successful, entrepreneur mother to post about!

Forget-Me-Not Cards, Switzerland was founded in 2005 by British woman, Liz Andrews, who having found herself a new stay at home Mum, wanted something to fill the time as her toddlers became more independent.  An eternal lover and giver of greetings cards, she found the cards in the Swiss shops to have little variety, extremely expensive and not actually very appealing – as well as the availability of English cards being rather hard to find.  This gave her the idea of importing cards from the UK – and the life of her card business began with a couple of baskets of cards being sold within playgroup circles.  During the past four years, it’s expanded to taking over a room within her house at Chamby-sur-Montreux (two rooms during the busy Christmas period!) and The Card Room at Chamby is open all hours by prior appointment (see contact details at the end of the post).

There are thousands of cards on display for all occasions from regular greetings cards to bespoke hand-crafted varieties covering from new baby congratulations to engagement, marriage, new home, get well, condolence and all family birthdays as well as ages from 1 to 100.  Additionally small gifts are on sale too, e.g. bookmarks, candles, phone charms, magnets, notelets, etc.  Cards start at just Fr 1 – most are priced at Fr 3, whilst the hand-crafted styles are from Fr 4 to Fr 5.50 – generally about half the price of those sold in department stores and card shops.  Liz also provides a mobile delivery service to your home, office or school (between Lausanne & Aigle).  Just let her know which type of cards you’re in need of, and she can bring the appropriate selection to you to choose from.

Liz has recently expanded her business to include Phoenix Cards and has become an independent Phoenix trader.  Cards, giftwrap, postcards, stationery and accessories can be ordered from a catalogue which you can browse from home and orders placed via Liz.  There are over 800 contemporary designs to choose from, all blank inside and therefore suitable for all occasions.

Cards can be ordered online at  www.phoenix-trading.eu/web/lizandrews

Regular coffee mornings and cheese & wine evenings are held at Liz’s home with other artisans selling items such as British Food items, hand-crafted beaded jewellery, English children’s books, educational wooden toys, home-made conserves, etc.  To be included on the mailing list for these events, feel free to email Liz to have your name added.

Additionally, Forget-Me-Not can come to host a card party for you and your friends at your place. As a hostess, you can benefit from a 25% reduction on all your purchases if you arrange to have a minimum of 6 friends come along to socialise, browse, and buy at your home.

For more information, please contact:

Liz Andrews
Forget-Me-Not Cards

Route de Chaulin 74B, 1832 Chamby
(3 mins by car from Montreux autoroute exit)
Email: ForgetMeNotCards(AT)bluewin.ch
www.phoenix-trading.eu/web/lizandrews
Tel:  021 964 5091 / 079 376 3079

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