Talula’s Barefoot Books Blog

A running commentary on life as an online bookstore owner after 25 years in Early Childhood Education.

Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

We Are Almost at Launch of New Barefoot Books Site; Whoopee!

Posted by Talula on June 30, 2009


Unveiling the new Barefoot Books Ambassador websites! (Insert High-five here!)

After a LOT of hard work by many, many individuals within the Barefoot Books corporate & booksellers ranks; we have made it down to the wire. We are steadily editing and posting new info 24/7 on the new sites to prepare them for the anticipated launch date of July 1, 2009.

“Yes; you heard right! Tomorrow is the planned start date.”

OOPS! THERE HAS BEEN A BIT OF DELAY AS WE RE-DO LINKS! The logo above should be working today asap!

As of this minute — the launch is still on schedule. We are all prepping, tweaking, and polishing all the parts to give our wonderful customers a seamless and more productive web experience in our online Barefoot Books Ambassador sites.

Last year, our Founders decided to fold the old Stallholder sites into the main hosting server to simplify our systems;   and in the process – revamped the whole kit & kaboodle. The whole Barefoot Books site has been rebuilt to make it more user-friendly for both our customers and booksellers, the Stallholder system has been renamed – we are now Barefoot Books “Ambassadors” – and the whole visual and functional aspects of the Barefoot Books online presence has been reborn!

We have added many new functions for customers; like bigger & clearer photos of the books, reviews, wishlists, community event locations with Google maps,  samples of audio clips and immediate links to their very own personal shopper (the original Ambassador who introduced them to Barefoot Books). The navigation of the site is much faster and more intuitive! Community Events and Fundraising sections are easier to find and use! Plus, corporate added many new ways for the booksellers to keep up with their customers more efficiently; and now it is easier to follow your favorite Barefoot artists & illustrators! You can even send comments on the artist/illustrator’s  own pages by finding their profile listing through the search box.  These are just a few of the features added to the new and improved version of Barefoot Book’s online store! We are so happy to share our new look with all our old friends and customers, that we are about to burst with excitement & anticipation!  But; for these last few hours: I need to go back and keep polishing and tweaking.  So see you in a flash!

I will post a link as soon as we have the official launch button moment! Then you can surf the new place, bookmark my landing page, create a wishlist and browse new books to your little hearts content! Oh, and don’t forget to look for our latest July special buys!



Ta Ta, Talula

Talula Ready To Bring Barefoot Books To You!

Talula Ready To Bring Barefoot Books To You!


Posted in Barefoot Books, Bedtime Stories & Lullabye Songs, Bookstores, Children's Books, Early Literacy, kids, Multi-Cultural, Online small business co-op, Picture Books, reading with children, Small Business | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Post #2 of “My Confession” to become a published children’s writer

Posted by Talula on April 27, 2009

My Desert Inspiritation

My Desert Inspiritation


Part #2 of my plan to become a published writer in the children’s genre.  Part #1 was finally admitting in print that it was my dream to be a writer. (See  march 15, 2009 post on ‘ a little confession’  or ‘following a dream’ in the tags)

Still reading, organizing, and sorting in my office/studio. I don’t really know if anybody is listening (or reading as the case may be); to catch my venture on the road to becoming a children’s book author.  But just in case someone is; here is my second post on my progress.

I have joined a writers group in an online ‘clubhouse’ which is a new site from Write4Kids. I am searching out all my notebooks with half-formed stories, and trying to collect all of them in one place. I am sure that many will be different angles of the same theme; and once I have had a chance to sort them – I will probably have at least 50 ‘starts’ to begin a few really good ones from.  So a lack of material is not an issue, finding it and polishing it is!

At this point; I have to paint a picture of what I have to do while accomplishing that ‘collection’ of story starts! To be brutally honest; I have been beginning stories, or at least writing down the main ideas of stories since I was about 9 or ten years old. Before that I would tell outlandish ‘fairytales’ made up by me; to the very thin air – sitting in a swing or in my favorite perch – the limb of a young chinaberry tree in my yard. My brother & uncle would tease me un-mercifully much of the time – so that was my escape from reality. Funny; now that I am thinking back – I also sang songs in made up languages to my dolls or to imagined babies, as I swung in my seat in the wooden swing with my arms wrapped around the chains and looking down at the ground. I sang them quietly, as one might sing to a baby, and often in a lullabye kind of sing-song.  Perhaps in  a modern psychological viewpoint – I was singing to my inner little girl; or perhaps in a spiritual viewpoint – I was singing in a language from a previous life to a baby from another time & place. Well it is time to move from imagining to action.

Back to the present for now. In order for me to find all those half-written stories, I had to begin the herculean task of cleaning out my office. Moving furniture has always been my first step to spring-cleaning, sort of a ‘biggest task first’ thing I guess.  So to that end – I am completely rearranging the whole 20′ x 20′ room; to make it much more functional for researching, planning & working on several different  projects at once. 

Here is the PLAN!  A little more than half the space available is to be my office space (about 200 sq ft).  About 1/4  is for my sewing & craft area.  And the last fourth is for the twin bed & a nitestand with a rocker/recliner for reading which is to be my grandchildren’s guest bed area.  They LOVE being in the middle of Granny’s craft materials, digging around in there even when I would rather they not sometimes – because then I can’t get them out to take a nap, a bath or eat their dinner, until they have finished searching for treasure! :()  So I decided to include them in the planned space, then maybe I can take back some control in how & when they use it.

It is a great sized big room for separating into functional spaces. I have a LOT of furniture in there – but now it will all serve new purposes for at least one of those new functional areas, with some pieces serving two purposes.  A large dresser with a tri-mirror will house all my craft supplies and some sewing items. The mirror will help to reflect light onto the table & chair area right in front of the dresser  for sewing or crafting.  An upright 5-drawer chest is now the main sewing items repository.  They flank a wide but shallow closet where I have stashed my Barefoot Books business equip & materials, plus my camping gear.

The office section is going to really be expanded from what it was previously (was about a third). I am going to bring the main desk into almost the center of the room to take advantage of the great light from the wide east window,  with the north window becoming the backdrop for my file cabinets and two tall towers with a light bridge surrounding the file cabinets. That used to be with a queen-size headboard (which I have now re-purposed to be a side bar behind the twin bed for books and a nightlight for the babies), it has a great pull-down for a little table height space for their snacks and drawing on. Then of course my computer desks (I have two) will set on the east wall  beside the window ( big computer desk – to block the glare from the main window ) and small one in the NE corner respectively. The small one will probably be changed to be a printers space, once I have dumped some stuff from my old compter to the new one. then of course I have one tall bookcase ( today I emptied, moved it into the new spot  and re-filled it with more appropriate child development, business, and writing parapheniela [sp?] volumes).  This should make a very large l-shaped production area for the business of writing, with the best use of  natural light in the room.  I have a couple of more pieces which will serve for office supplies and more files. Then I have a large tall entertainment center, which I haven’t decided what to use it for – at least for now – since I took the tv to my bedroom when we hooked up another dish antenna for movies.  I think I’ll just let it simmer for now.

As soon as everything is in place — then I will tackle 2 more phases.

1) Re-painting the room for the display of all my Native American collection of art pieces.

2) Sorting & organizing all the papers (30 years of teaching materials, cookbooks, craft books and collecting stuff from my now-grown children’s lives)

Will report later — major storm is crackling all around me!

I’m BACK! Last night’s storm was loud and messy; caused several electrical & cable outages – none of which lasted very long.  The lightning show went on for about 5  hours. So I didn’t try to bring the computer back up till this morning, although more thunder storms are forecast for later today and it is very overcast right now.  Just saying cause I might have to jump of the air again. Methinks lightening and computers don’t mix very well –   how about you?

Back to the plan! PHASE 2 – Painting the room – will be done to surround me with soothing colors to accent my collection of Native American art pieces.  My native pieces are my creative inspiration and I have never really displayed more than a piece or two at a time. It is going to give me great pleasure glance around my office and see the beauty of my ancestors for dancing with my muse. And since i have such a strong spiritual connection to both my Native American and Irish ancestry ~ I expect they (all of them) will feel totally welcome to visit, and of course give me advice; as usual.    I haven’t totally settled on a color yet – but I will be letting that simmer, also as I finish setting up the room.  My color pallet wiil have to include the existing carpet (a burnt orange/desert sand mix) the furniture is a cream white-wash finish.  Before i started on the room – I had thought to use a pale nature’s misty green – but now I am leaning to a pale turqoise or the same color as the furniture (to just let the furniture secede into the background) and let the art work speak more clearly. Many of the pieces have a strong balance of turquoise in them, some just a touch of it.  

PHASE 3 ~ sorting, organizing, and dispensing of my papers. This is no week-ends work! I could probably fill a dump truck with all the papers I have in there. Left overs from classrooms I have taught in, conferences I have attended, workshops I ran for teachers, research for parents on their child’s issues, games I have created for classrooms, craft books for classrooms and many I still use for my grandchildren,   half-finished sewing projects & materials, drawings my children did, report cards from their school days, photos of children in my classes & of my children and grandchildren (I will be hanging many of those)…but I think you now can picture it quite well!!!! My plan is to sort last, since I can do a small box at a time while watching a movie, etc. ,  once it is down to what I cant just throw out.

OK – I guess that is enough stalling for today – I’d better go make some of the above happen!

Funny little note here; I was clicking categories to tag this post and I saw “Teacher’s Gifts” – and I thought about what all I have stored in those papers & books — It really is a “‘Teacher’s Gift”  that is in all those papers — my gift of knowledge to thousands of children over the years! That makes me smile, although it may make it harder to part with some of it. Alas; it must be done to move into the next part of my life – becoming a writer!

Watch for the next report soon; as i will have to take a break from all the dust & sneezing! Ta – Ta from Talula.

Posted in Families, Small Business, Teacher's Gifts, Teachers, Early Childhood ED. | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Just Announced – Barefoot Books ‘Boutique’ in F.A.O. Schwarz-Manhattan!

Posted by Talula on April 6, 2008

HOT OFF THE PRESS NEWS FLASH! OUR BAREFOOT BOOKS BOUTIQUE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESESS!The Grand Opening is set for Thursday October 2, 2008  with Family Day Celebration on Saturday October 5, 2008 — So make your plans to visit our shop on the second floor of F.A.O. SCHWARZ in Manhattan when you visit New York City.


The latest industry news on Barefoot Books has been announced. It’s Official! We have partnered with F.A.O. Schwarz to create an in-house ’boutique’ within their NYC landmark toy store in Manhattan!  

Soon  Now travelers to NYC will be able to visit our very own Barefoot Books Boutique within this world-renowned toy store which became the inspiration for the recent movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium set in a magical fantasy version of the store. The Fifth Avenue site was also used in one of the Home Alone movie series. The very real ‘magic’ of this children’s dream of a toy store was captured well in the Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium film, showing the wonder and admiration from the millions of children (and adults) world-wide who have made the almost mythical store a destination trip for traveling with children to New York city, especially during the fall holiday season. Viewing the movie (with or without a child by your side) might give you a sneak peek into the store if you have never been lucky enough to visit it while in New York. Or you might want to just browse the F.A.O. Schwarz online store to look around. 

FYI: The Barefoot Books Boutique is now OPEN on the second floor of F.A.O. Schwarz toy store!

Barefoot Books corporate headquarters has just announced this new partnership with famous F.A.O. Schwarz toy store and is in the planning stages for our very own Barefoot Books ‘Boutique’  inside the famed Manhattan (NYC) location. 

Here within the ranks of ‘Barefoot Insiders’, we are just now hearing about all the plans rolling out for the Barefoot ‘Boutique’, for the space providing the ability to showcase our products and partnerships in their Special Events rooms, and to share their commitment for high-quality items for children and collectors world-wide.

The NYC landmark store on Fifth Avenue will be the location of our entry into the 145 year-old legendary world of F.A.O. Schwarz and the source of it’s globe-spanning enchantment for those who have strolled through the well-known front doors guarded by their giant toy soldiers into an amazing wonderland of childhood fantasy.     

F.A.O. Schwarz has used this ’boutique’  design previously with great success in their themed stores-within-a-store  for Harry Potter, Barbie, Lego, Hot wheels, American Kennel Club, Noble Collection, Steiff Bears, and Madame Alexander dolls; and several others which delight the many fans of these much sought after dolls, books, toys, and games. We at Barefoot are thrilled to be among the companies chosen to highlight these specialty niches for children & adults looking for high-quality, conciencious products in the children’s book & toy market. Our diverse multi-cultural stories, classics, faerytales, and simple toddler bordbooks; all  with their absolutely gorgeous illustrations, combine art & story in elegant picture books for children of all ages. Many of our award-winning titles have become collector’s items already, and Barefoot Books has only been in  business for 15 years; a mere baby in the publishing world.

To learn more about our Barefoot Books products and awards, click here to go to my online store>  http://www.talulaswagon.com

This partnership will bring a huge spotlight onto Barefoot Books, bringing us to the forefront as a sterling publisher of award-winning quality picture books in young children’s literature; and will be the springboard to our upcoming launch into the world of YA (Young Adult) chapter-books genre in late 2008 or early 2009.  We look forward to the exposure and expansion possibilities which will surely result due to this fantastic combining of our two companies in this venture.

I will keep you posted on developments as they arrive in my message boxes.

Posted in Barefoot Books, Bookstores, Children's Books, Families, Small Business, Traveling & Eating Out With Children | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Creating A Small Business Online Co-op

Posted by Talula on January 30, 2008

BFB red girlI have spent the last week working on a co-op idea for our company’s Indpendent Consultants. Here at Barefoot Books, we call them Stallholders (for the  gorgeous little bookstalls in Paris, along the River Seine).   I guess I should first explain that Barefoot has Stallholders all over the place, on both sides of the “pond” and even in some really far off countries.

The point is that for many of us in the Southwest area of the U.S.; there are issues which are a little different than in other parts of the country, or even the world (except maybe for Australia – yes – we are there, too!). In our geographical area — towns are far between and sometimes sparsely populated; making it hard to advertise, market community events, drive (fuel expenses are killing us) to hold bookfairs or deliver easily. Add that to the high cost of advertising on our tiny WAHM budgets; and you will begin to get the picture of our unique issues.

To remedy those problems; a colleague and I are starting a private blog for our group and we are creating our own website to bring more internet traffic directly to our group, to share local training & workshops, to communicate more locally within our states/region; plus, use co-op advertising to share the burden of costs for our small businesses.  

Of course; as with any business tool: the blog and website will evolve with how the group uses it. I would be interested on feedback about your use as a WAHM (or WAH-DAD) with similar tools or ideas. Have you found any great ways to advertise with a co-op (not a corporate-linked site – we have those)? Or do you have any other tips? Please post here if you do. Thanks!

Edit: For those Barefoot consultants who are trying to find the SW sites – they are now listed in my blogroll! 

2nd Edit: 2/17/08 Well Game On! We have sent the co-op information out to our home office managers to see how it is received! Will report the next stage as we get the info! I have to say that our new co-op website looks crisp, clean and professional.

3rd Edit: 4/11/08 I just realized that I had never updated the news on the co-op and am here to remedy that. It took a little tweaking and re-arranging content to satisfy the home office and the Regional Mgrs. but I am happy to announce our co-op site is going over wonderfully. It is constantly evolving with fresh content, and we are adding several new members to the group listings weekly.

We have added lots of customer friendly content first and foremost, since it is mainly for exposure to help our group who can’t afford their own websites. So, of course; we have member links for Barefoot Stallholders in geographical lists, by state. We have links to help parents and teachers find great information, and lots of fun ways to show our newest products and most recent breaking news. That is just on the public side.

On the password-protected side we have tons of content to cover business tips, product reviews, training, marketing, web-function info, literacy links, colleague site samples, company trivia, message boards, and a private Stallholder group blog.  Check us out at www.BFBSW.com I would love to hear some feedback if you would like to send me comments about the public content.

Posted in Barefoot Books, Online small business co-op, Small Business, WAHM, WAHM Business Opportunities | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Talula has a new look!

Posted by Talula on January 26, 2008



Was looking for a cleaner look to my site and decided to try this style for a new ‘do! Swing by and tell me what you think!

I want to up my quantity of posts in the start to a new year and felt a makeover was in order to inspire me! I am also considering some collaborations outside this blog to build traffic to my online children’s bookstore and new marketing/advertising situations.

In the spirit of interactive blogging – IF (?) I have any regular readers — I have a question that I would like to have some feedback on.

An issue/discussion has arisen about security banners on a website with e-commerce capablities. My questions is this – Is there anyone out in cyber-world who would or has made a purchase from a website recently which DID NOT have any kind of secure site banner? If so; why?

My query stems from a realization that a vendor’s site which I have been constantly reassured that it is/has a secure ordering system; but which  actally has no banners, buttons, etc. which announces the state of security or anything about when it is updated. It probably does have a secure ordering system still; but would you trust the site enough to purchase from it online, in light of today’s current identity theft mantra? This site has ben receiving tons of great hits all over the country; but has very few actual buyers of the product through their online system. This has been going on for about a year; while a migration to a new server & mgmt. company has been going on.  Could this have been caused by an oversite, maybe?

My sense is in the negative — but I want to be fair and ask John or Jane Q. Public for their input. Am I being unreasonable to expect ANY company I do business with online to at least show the proof in the banners (preferrably with daily dated entries), instead of behaving as if I should just turn over my money and confidential info; because they SAY they run secure systems and servers? Please jump on and leave your comments. As always I will moderate all comments before uploading them — due to the fact that i seem to have a blog name which draws some readers with quite colorful tastes in adult viewing — I smile to think of their shock to find this a tame, quiet little blog about childrens books and small business.

 See Ya later; Talula.

Posted in Barefoot Books, Bookstores, Children & Grandchildren, Children's Books, Early Literacy, Reading, Small Business | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Talula’s “Bookwise” Crash!

Posted by Talula on January 12, 2008

To those folks who have read a little about my blog; and have noticed something amiss on the Bookwise pages and posts: I have to finally speak out about what happened with that part of my site.

I joined Bookwise about 6 months ago and had really felt that I had found a wonderful addition to my children’s bookstore site. However; the beautiful picture that was painted on their virtual canvas turned out to be less than ideal match; at least for me. I have chosen to withdraw my association with BookWise; fully understanding that I may miss a golden opportunity to be in on a revolution in the bookseller and publishing industry. My reasons for many; but I think it really boiled down to 2. These are my own reasons and based on my my experiences with other organizations; both public & private in the business world. 

1) The public launch came before the product offering (The BookWise Bookstores) was ready to begin the fight for market share from Amazon & other big guns.  I firmly believe there should have been a longer development stage, before hitting the ground running against the giants.

2) I found the administrative & mgmt. details to functionally operate the bookstores was quite non-existent. While I did have some experience running an online bookstore with my original company for children’s books; the mktg materials sent to promote the business were unmanageable and security locked (rendering them useless), while the chats intended for training how to run the bookstore site functionality turned into online “getting to know you parties” instead of imparting useable info. Delays on the company blog were many when answering questions sent in by email.

That being said; I still think BookWise bookstores will eventually be a terrific offering to offset the major players on cost points, quantity of inventory and faster shipping. In a year or two, they may be gaining on the big guys and I hope everyone who manages to stay with the company through that time will be totally satisfied in the choice they have made to stick with BookWise. I simply couldn’t afford to financially wait out the lull in income while they prep & and ramp up for that tremendous fight for market share.

Well; that is all I have to say on this issue, at least publicly and I guess when it all comes out in the wash; nobody really cares. I just thought that since this blog is mainly about my journey on this online bookstore venture; John Q. Public should know that not every opportunity is right for you. Trying is what is important and the journey will always have its unforseen events. That does not mean you should give up on your plans, goals or dreams.

Posted in Bookstores, Great Books For Grown-Ups, Small Business | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »