Loyalty

Loyalty:  reliable, trusty, faithfulness, support. No, I’m not attempting to fill a Cabinet post. I, as a small business owner, am assessing the loyalty of my customers. If you’re a small business owner also, do you have a way to draw in a loyal customer base?

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Hot off the presses! I just picked up from the printer my newly-designed Loyalty Passports. By the way, beginning to use a professional printer for all my printing needs such as brochures, etc., was a SMART idea. What took me so long? And if you’re still printing your small business products at home, run, don’t walk, to a small, local printer, not a big box store. I am so pleased with the care and service of the local person I found.

After a lot of downloading of templates (hmmm, that one is for Mac only, bummer) and cutting and pasting, I came up with what represents my company and vision and allows me to grow a loyal fan base.

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One of the fun parts was designing stamps to ship out with each dinner box, each stamp representing the theme of the box. What do you think?

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All designed to present a terrific theme dinner box experience. The re-design of the Moroccan dinner box is ready to ship out with some new authentic products just received from Morocco. Now I must speed up my re-creation of each of my existing dinner boxes and the creation of new dinner box experiences. Lots of work, but so much fun! Head on over to my website, passportdinners.com, and buy one, or more, today! Become Loyal,  Reliable, Trustworthy, Faithful, Supportive.

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Passport Dinners:

Taste the World, One Box at a Time

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Goats in Trees

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One of the most exciting products we’ve added to our Exotic Moroccan Feast is culinary Argan oil.

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Found exclusively in Morocco, Argan trees produce one of the most beneficial oils known to man, especially high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. And the goats. The goats nimbly climb the branches of the Argan tree in search of its seeds. These seeds are essential for Moroccan farmers to crack, roast, and grind to release its oils.

We just received another shipment of Argan oil from The Argan Project  (http://thearganproject.com/).

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The Argan Project is a local San Diego company that acquires their oil, both culinary and cosmetic, from women-owned cooperatives in Morocco which benefits these Moroccan women with added income to help their families during times of need. Go to their website to learn more about these cooperatives. And check out our website to see, and purchase, our Exotic Moroccan Feast gift box which includes a bottle of this culinary Argan oil along with other exciting items from Morocco plus organic spices and honey to help the receiver create their own Moroccan dinner party.

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Passport Dinners:

Taste the World, One Box at a Time

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Shrink Wrap is Shrinking my Brain!

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Opening our Moroccan boxes can be a wonderful experience, with the scent of rose oil and the brightly colored pouches and bags filled with all sorts of wonderful organic products to help you prepare a Moroccan feast . . . unless that sticky raw organic honey has escaped it’s cork-topped bottle!

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So in our effort to provide you with the best experience possible, I’ve come to the conclusion that something like a shrink band would be a good choice. This goes along with finding out they are called shrink bands! Measure the neck of the bottle or bottles, research shrink bands and how to apply, buy appropriately sized shrink bands, buy heat gun (not using a hair dryer, I find out), and watch a lot of YouTube videos on how to apply them.

In the last photo you’ll see a lot of little failed shrink bands. Not so easy! Seal, baby, seal! But I think I’m getting the hang of it.  All part of our on-going process to make an excellent product. No dripping honey for you!

On to the next issue.

 

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Passport Dinners: taste the world, one box at a time

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This? Or that?

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As I mentioned a bit ago, I’m in the process of re-booting my business. As happens with many of us who start with a passion and attempt to share that passion with the world via a business, down times do occur.

But with the help of my business mentor, Carolyn of Your Product Hub, I’m beginning to have clarity, focus, and renewed excitement about my evolving product.

So I’ve taken my previous Moroccan Feast box, along with LOTS of photos, and LOTS of lighting angles:

 

and re-imagined and re-created what I feel is a more authentic experience for my clients to throw their own Exotic Moroccan Feast:

 

And along the way there’s been “What type of bottles/jars do I use?”

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And, “Oops!, that jar leaks! Try another one!”

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And “Should I use tins? They’re kinda cute.”

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And “How about some fabric pouches? Or kraft paper pouches? What size? What color?”

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Then there was the previous organic Moroccan Mint tea bags:  Good.

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Next, Organic Moroccan Mint tea in cute little tins with a packet of Organic Cane Sugar, to sweeten:        Better . . . but messy!

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And lastly, biodegradable tea bags filled with fragrant Organic Moroccan Mint tea and a tin of Organic Cane Sugar, to sweeten:  Best!

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So the process of re-booting has been a challenge, a bit messy, engaging, yet fun!  Most small businesses have their challenges, but also great rewards. I think it provides a much better experience for my clients who are interested in exploring the world through food such as found in our Exotic Moroccan Feast.  On to the next box!

 

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Passport Dinners: taste the world, one box at a time

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Sunday Funday (& Memories) at Whole Foods Market

Recently I dragged my spouse into Whole Foods Market, conveniently located next to one of my favorite beer/brunch places, Bier Garden in Encinitas, CA, to look for a protein to prepare for Sunday dinner. We agreed to head to the fish counter, which is always well stocked with a wide variety of fresh offerings from the sea.

Right in front of us was a chilled container brimming with fresh trout. Yes, please! We were both remembering days of living, and fishing, in Colorado.
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When we were in our 20’s we lived in the mountains just west of Denver about an hour. Many Fridays after work we’d head up the mountain, stop by our work-in-progress home we were building, throw a few things in the car, then head to one of our favorite camping spots.

This particular spot was found by driving off the main highway to a couple of smaller roads to a rutted road through a herd of cattle, then deep into the pine trees. Only a few spots were here, nestled along a stream that would lull you to sleep at night, under the canopy of trees that shaded you during the day, and covered with pine needles from which made for a nice, soft cushion beneath our sleeping bags.

I loved the hand pump for the water, which was always crystal clear and super tasty. Of course, that went for most of the well water in the mountains. Even the well water at our home was crystal clear, tasty, and super-cold. With the addition of a little naturally occurring uranium (yep, I worked at a lab and had it tested).

Hal, the spouse, would head down to the wider part of the stream, throw in his line, and more likely than not pull out a brookie or two, or other trout, or stream salmon. Cooked in a large cast iron pan with a little oil and cornmeal and dinner is served, along with a few beers.

So we decided to prepare these fresh little trout two ways: simply stuffed with lemon slices and parsley with a little salt and pepper AND dredged in buttermilk and cornmeal, both thrown in a pan with a little oil, and finished in the oven. Maybe 7 minutes max and we have memories of camping in Colorado with the best that nature has to offer.

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It was nice to recall the memories of Colorado and fresh-from-the-stream fish, along with a few beers, San Diego IPA style, of course. No silver bullet here! Ah, Sunday Funday!

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Passport Dinners: taste the world, one box at a time

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The Business of a Business You Love

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I began my Passport Dinners business as a offshoot of my love of both food and travel. And I LOVE to throw a party. And if it’s a theme party, all the better!

When my girls were quite young, we introduced them to one of our favorite types of dinner parties, the Moroccan feast. A roomful of friends resting on pillows scattered on the floor. Fragrant warm, sweet, and savory foods brought out on big platters to be devoured, convivially and festively, by the handfuls. No silverware here! Just large napkins or hand towels to wipe up the evidence.

So Passport Dinners was designed to encourage others to create a similar experience with friends and family, not just experiences of Morocco, but Spain, and Italy, and Mexico. And not just places I’ve visited, but places I’ve wanted to visit and explore the foods and cultures of. I’ve been slowly plowing away, slowly increasing sales, but not coming close to the success I originally imagined.

And I’ve had many doubts, such as when I hear, “So, you’re still doing that?” And when my motivation lags and I haven’t picked up the chef’s knife in months to create a new dish. And when my computer crashes and my new computer and old software aren’t compatible.

I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire to share a passion and at the same time to create a business that is successful. Many companies have grown from modest beginnings to quite impressive heights. Auspicious goals are worthy of time and energy.

Enter my business mentor, Carolyn of Your Product Hub. She advised me, “If you’re hearing ‘No. No. No.’,” especially if these No’s are in your own head, it’s time to re-evaluate and chart another course. Am I still passionate about my core idea? Yes. Do I want to invest considerably more time (and more money) to create a better product? Yes. Do I want to add value to my product? Yes.

So here begins the great re-boot of my company, my vision, my passion. And with someone at my side to encourage me and, of great importance to me, to focus me. I’d love to share my process and my progress through this re-invention of my original passion, one box at a time. More to come.

Yes, I’m still entertaining my own family with a favorite, the Moroccan feast. My girls are all grown up and do a lot of their own entertaining, often with a theme and always with great food. And one of my daughters has had the great opportunities to travel to and/or live in Spain and Morocco. And we’ve added a son-in-law to the festivities. Yes, I still LOVE to throw a party!

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Passport Dinners: taste the world, one box at a time

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Rio, I’ll Be Watching

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There are lots of opinions about the Olympics.  Good, bad, uplifting, indifferent, commercial, political . . .

“All its manic neediness, demanding attention from all corners of the globe, 24 hours a day for two weeks straight, dishing out prepackaged, overdramatized “sport” to the delight of corporate sponsors everywhere.” (http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/joetopia/article39210417.html#storylink=cpy)

The opening ceremonies with the Parade of Nations. The best athletes ALL those nations present to “wow” us in the next two weeks with their prowess of the human body, coming together on a global stage in a tenuous peace.  And a nod to ancient history in Greece with a fledgling democracy and their Olympic festivals to honor the “athletic ideal” (http://www.pe04.com/olympic/olympia/).

No matter what your views of that once-every-two-or-four-years extravaganza, the Olympics, you should have a cocktail, right?

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I’m going with the best-known Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha, “little peasant girl”.  I’m using Pitu “the lobster” cachaca (pronounced kah-sha-sa), made from fresh cut sugar cane juice and typically not aged whereas rum is made from molasses, a by-product of cane juice, and aged.

So what does it taste like?  Here we go!

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For my tastes, a little like a white rum mixed with tequila, and similar to Pisco (which, also, always reminds me of tequila), the brandy hailing from Peru and Chile.

Per serving, use 1/2 lime cut into quarters and muddle with 2 tsp. sugar to release the juice and a little of the oils of the lime peel.  Add 2 (or 3) shots of Cachaca, pour over ice, and get ready to enjoy the Games!

Saude (sah-oo jee)!

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Passport Dinners brings you DIY (Do-It-Yourself) themed adventure dinner party kits for you to taste the world, one country at a time.  It’s not just dinner.  It’s a party!

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