Category Archives: Giveaways & Contests

Giveaway: Bath & Organization Products from Command

As a serial renter, there’s one product I’ve been extremely loyal to for years:  Command hooks and picture hangers These magical hooks and the equally awesome picture hanging strips strips should be in every renter’s toolkit so that you can hang things without damaging your walls.

At least half the art on the walls of my current house is hung with Command picture hanging strips – which I love because the hook-and-loop tape is repositionable, so you never end up with a tilted picture.  I have Command hooks in my laundry area and in several closets.  And in my last condo that I rented, I had even suspended my shower caddy using Command hooks specifically made for the bathroom.

Now they have actual bath items, like bath caddy holders, soap dishes, corner organizers – all made to work in your shower.  I’ve had a few apartments where I really could have used this stuff.

So when Command contacted me asking if I wanted to try their new bath and home products, I said “no thanks, but I’d love to give away a set to my readers!”

Here are the details of the two prize packs:

Prize One:  Command Brand Bathroom Organization Products ($48 value!)

Command Bath Organization Products

  • Corner Shower Caddy
  • Soap Dish
  • Toothbrush / Razor Holder
  • Fog-Resistant Mirror
  • Large Towel Hook
  • Caddy Hanger
  • Medium Hooks (set of 2)
  • Assorted Wet-Proof Refill Strips

Prize Two:  New Command Hooks ($35 value!)

Command Hooks Prize Pack

  • Double Hooks (2)
  • Slate Terrace Hooks
  • Large Clear Hook
  • Clear Window Hooks
  • Medium Hooks (2 sets of 2)
  • Wire Hooks (2 sets of 3)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please read the terms & conditions (in the Rafflecopter widget) for the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This sweepstakes begins on July 19, 2013 and ends on July 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm.  The winners will be randomly chosen and posted on The Borrowed Abode on Saturday, July 27, 2013.

Keepin’ it real disclaimer:  I was not paid to write this post.  The prize packs were provided by Command, but the commentary is all me.  I’ll never review or give away something I’m not a fan of, because that would just be lame. End of story.

Small Business Spotlight (& Giveaway!): Old Town Suds

Welcome back to Steffanie of Old Town Suds, my very first blog sponsor – and instead of doing “just” a sponsor post for the month, we decided to feature her with a small business spotlight Q&A, as well as a giveaway!

Old Town Suds Header

Steffanie is an Alexandria, VA-based “sudsologist” who I was fortunate enough to meet through my blogger meetup last winter.  She’s also a member of my unofficial handmade business group, and is running her business from her rented apartment.

Q:  When did you launch Old Town Suds, and what inspired you to start your own eco-friendly soap company?

It was a slow progression. I was already making my own laundry detergent at the time because everything that was commercially available turned me into a red flaky lobster. Then, I had to have brain surgery. Several months at home, nothing to do and contemplating how your choices effect your health led to Suds starting at our local farmers market in September 2011. 

All Purpose Cleaner Old Town Suds

All Purpose Cleaner

Q:  You live in an apartment.  How do you fit your production studio into your space, and what are your tips for running a handmade product business out of small and/or rented space? 

It is difficult. We’ve moved once since I started Suds. When we moved, we specifically looked for a rental that would help accommodate a growing business. We have a storage unit with our apartment that is priceless. You have to be flexible, but I think the flexibility is more on the part of my husband than me. I tried to kick him out of his closet in December – true story.

We came up with a compromise that I would move my soap closet from the small hall closet to the office walk-in closet to give me more room. Plus, I use unique features of our place for storage. Above the fireplace (that we don’t use) we have a nice cutout for a square TV from the 90’s which won’t fit our nice modern TV. So, it is a giant soap curing area.

I really wish we had a basement or a shed or a garage or something but I know that will come as the business grows. I think there has to be a strategic decision made as to when you are too large to efficiently run your company out of your home; for each person that is a different point.

Q:  Like me, I know you work a 9-5 “day job” in addition to running Old Town Suds.  How do you balance it all, especially in the summer when you’re doing weekly farmer’s markets?

It’s hard. Most days I come home and take a nap while my husband cooks dinner. After dinner, I start working on Suds. It is easier because I can mostly leave my day job at my day job and focus on Suds when I am at home, but every so often business trips will interrupt my schedule. I love being at markets and talking to people about my products. Nothing makes me happier that hearing that someone loves what I spent so much time working on! Markets rejuvenate me for my day job. I find that what I do market wise for both helps me succeed in both places. This year, I expect that I will be hiring my first employee to help with production and markets. That will help alleviate a little pressure, hopefully!

Gold Karma Bath Bombs!

Gold Karma Bath Bombs!

Q:  What are the most awesome parts (and the biggest challenges) of your business?

The most awesome parts are the people, the opportunities and the creativity. There is nothing like owning your own business. I only have my success or failure to blame on myself. (granted the husbands do get picked on a lot for helping out) 

A challenge is when I am at my day job and in an extremely creative mood but my job doesn’t call for it at that moment. I hate wasting it and want to be at home making soap or doing something productive.

Some days, I just try to battle through it and hope that the mood lasts until I make it home; other days I will leave early or call in. It is a fine line, a very fine line. I’m lucky in that my new full-time job allows me to use a lot of my creativity at work in different ways. It sparks different ideas and helps me think differently about what I would or could do with Suds. It’s always a giant puzzle.

Q:  Where do you envision Old Town Suds going as it grows? Do you want to continue it as a side career or do you hope to someday?

Every day this answer changes depending upon my mood and frustration levels with having a full time job and a side job. I want to keep doing whatever makes me the happiest and fits my lifestyle. If that is opening up a teaching/retail space, I have the plans set to do that. If it means remaining a market booth, I can do that as well. I hope to continue to strengthen Suds no matter what direction I choose to take it in. I want to be flexible and opportunistic if the right situation comes about.

Blue Ribbon Beer Soap Old Town Suds

Blue Ribbon Beer Soap 

Q:  What are some of the newest products you’ve been developing lately?

We have a LOT of new things in the works! This year we are expanding our beer soap line to include local breweries. We have a great micro brewery scene in Virginia and DC and I couldn’t resist using their fantastic beers in some soap. We also have a vibrant wine scene so we have a new wine soap line that will be debuting. Since I am a coffee fan, we have some new coffee soaps too!

Back this Spring will be a spa bath bombs featuring doTERRA essential oils. We also have a few new home cleaners in the works but they are still in the development stages. I am hoping they will make their appearances in 2013.  I think my favorite new item though, is our new Fruit & Veggie Wash Soap! I am always trying to make sure my veggies are super clean before I eat them in any way. I don’t want any dirt or pesticides on my veggies!

Fruit Veggie Wash Old Town Suds

Fruit and Veggie Wash

Q:  What’s next on the event calendar for Old Town Suds?

Our next event is the We Can Expo in Arlington, VA.  It’s April 13 and is open to the public. There will be a lot of different women-owned business represented at the event. I think the neatest part about We Can, outside of that every business is woman-owned, is there are lectures, workshops and different demonstrations happening throughout the day. It isn’t your typical expo, art show or event. I can’t wait!

Where can we find you?

Old Town Suds:    Website     ~     Etsy Shop     ~     Facebook     ~     Twitter

Old Town Suds Giveaway ImageShopping now?  Use the code “ThanksJane” for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more in the Old Town Suds Etsy Shop!

Grand Prize:

  • 1 80-load bag Laundry Detergent, 1 Bath Bomb, 1 Veggie Soap Bar

Second Prize:

  • 1 Bar Soap, 1 Laundry Detergent Sample

a Rafflecopter giveaway