Monday, October 29, 2018

5 Ways to Have a Merry Yet Sustainable Christmas

homemade christmas gift with pinecones decoration

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

The holiday season is the most festive time of the year. There is the gift giving to look forward to along with the kiss under the mistletoe, decorating gingerbread houses and drinking eggnog. After Christmas, there's New Year—the time to leave the past behind and start anew. Most people look forward to coming up with resolutions and following them.

All of these are fun and exciting especially when you have a full house this holiday season. But, the holiday season comes with spending and other activities which are wasteful and harmful to the environment. Even in the comfort of a house and lot for sale in Bulacan, you and your family can be guilty of posing as a threat to your community and the environment. Instead of contributing damage to the Earth, why not try to become an eco-warrior? Encourage family members and friends to have a merry yet sustainable Christmas.

Adopt a new tradition with these eco-friendly lifestyle choices.

1. Give homemade gifts

The great thing about handmade gifts is that they are highly customized. As the giver, you are the one responsible for looking materials to create the stuff you give out to your loved ones. You can avoid harmful chemicals or wasteful production practices. You are in charge of what to use and how to use the materials you need to make your present. With this in mind, you can minimize your waste and consumption even if your goal is to give something new.

There are several ways to make homemade gifts. You can look for inspiration on the Internet. You can also come up with ideas to improve or personalize store-bought items. If you wish to create something from scratch, it’s best to use organic and naturally-sourced products and ingredients. These are less destructive than their commercially-produced counterparts. Another green method of making homemade gifts is to reuse and upcycle. Give a new life to items you think are junk by decorating them or adding a new feature to enhance its components and quality.

2. Decorate using real trees, twigs, and wreaths

The great thing about fake decorations is that they last for a long time. You can use the same thing over and over while still looking new and fresh. Unfortunately, supporting manufacturers of fake Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands means that you are using twice the resources needed to cut fresh pine trees. To produce the decorations, it uses large amounts of PVC which takes a lot of valuable resources to make. On top of that, companies transport the decors from factories to stores. The transport vehicles burn a lot of fuel that adds to the fake Christmas decors already high carbon footprint.

This year, opt for a real Christmas tree especially if you aren’t looking for long-lasting decorations. A fresh pine tree is biodegradable. As long as you dispose of it properly, you won’t be adding to the Earth’s accumulating junk pile. You can even re-plant it. That way, you won’t have to buy a new one next holiday season. Don’t forget about other naturally-sourced decorations. Not only do they add to the natural feel to your home. They are also cheap. If your home is near the woods or a park, you can gather twigs and a few greens you can use to create a centerpiece, a wreath or small decors that complement different parts of your home.

3. Replace burnt out bulbs from your festive fairy lights

Nothing says Christmas than your several meter-long blinking lights on the tree. Your idea of a Christmas tree is almost complete, but a few bulbs don’t light up. Before you decide to throw it away, you should check if the fuse is still working properly. You can do this by taking out the fuse and looking inside. If the fuse is functioning, then you need a bulb tester. The tester gets rid of the hassle of identifying which are busted bulbs. All you must do is to hold each bulb against the tester to see if it lights up. With a bulb tester, you can find out which ones to replace. Bulb testers are available in most hardware stores.

4. Create a new recipe using leftovers

The holiday season also means there is a lot of food on the table. With Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve feasts, there is bound to be pounds of turkey, savory slices of meat, creamy sauces and decadent cakes on dining tables. Since these are celebrations, no family is going to be stingy and frugal with their food selection. It leaves a lot of people with leftovers. Every year people dump millions of food and fresh produce in the trash which shows how much effort and money goes down the drain.

To avoid wasting food and money this year, you should try to salvage as much as you can from the dishes you prepared from your banquet. Keep untouched cold cuts, cheese and other desserts on the fridge. Leave a plate or a few slices of what you made for a family member who might get hungry after the festivities. It avoids spoiling the rest of the dish. Most of all, it leaves you with something to work with for the next day. You can use dips and sauces for salads. Leftover meat is perfect as a protein-source for sandwiches, wraps, and other recipes. There are a lot of things you can do with holiday leftovers as long as you keep an open mind to the possibilities.

5. Switch the lights off before heading to bed

Though part of Christmas is turning on the lights, you are better off unplugging them before you sleep. Leaving electronics and lights switched on the entire nights consumes a lot of energy. You might feel like Scrooge doing this, but doing it goes a long way. Once it becomes a practice, you won’t have to remind yourself to unplug lights on the tree, on your windows and the ones outside.

Christmas is fun and magical. The decorations, activities and other festivities make it the most awaited holiday. However, it is also the time when people become wasteful. Instead of contributing to Earth’s degradation, it’s time you revolutionize how you spend Christmas. These tips can be your guide in making lasting changes.

8 Eco-Friendly Burial Options to Think About Now

Be peaceful and inspiring with a bed of daisies. However, you don't allow the planet to rest when you use chemicals and toxins to decompost your dead body.

A few days from now, you get to spend time with loved ones to visit deceased family members. You have plenty of time to drive to Heroes' Cemetery or The Heritage Park Mortuary & Crematory if you stay at Arbor Lanes. But, it doesn't matter if it takes an hour or more to get to visit the people you love. Since it's a long weekend, you have enough time to prepare for Halloween and mull over your plans for your grave.

Think Ahead

Nowadays, it's best to stay on top of things. Whether it's preparing for college or moving forward with career, you must create a plan. If you don't have one, it's time you make one. Planning doesn't only apply to immediate needs. You must also factor in your death. Others might think it's morbid to think about one's passing, but it's the most practical solution.

When you plan for your passing, you ensure that the people you leave behind won't have to think about the casket or your grave. Having a plan covers all these details and more. You have the option to go green if you want.

Die and Contribute to Sustainability

Sooner or later, your body reaches the end of the line. It's time you pay attention to how to leave the Earth but still contribute to sustainable efforts. With that in mind, here are 8 green ideas for your body besides being buried six feet under the ground.

1. Serve as an artificial reef

Instead of scattering your ashes and praying the waves to take you to places, you should sign up to become an Eternal Reef. An Eternal Reef is an artificially-designed reef that uses cast concrete to serve as a home for various marine creatures and life forms under the sea. It utilized the cremated remains or "cremains" of an individual and mixed into environmentally-safe cement mixtures. The result is a formation placed in a permitted ocean location chosen by the individual, family member or friend.

The organization encourages families and friends to participate in the creation of the reef. Participants assist in mixing the remains with concrete. They are also the ones in charge or personalizing it with handprints and written messages. Small mementos are also allowed. Eternal Reefs currently operates in the United States. Some local states and federal agencies grant access and support it. You can find the reefs on sites designated for recreational fishing and diving areas.

Indeed, being an artificial reef is much better than embalming the body and burying it in the ground.

2. Grow a tree

Instead of a traditional burial, why not become a tree? The body goes in a biodegradable bio-polymer resembling an egg where you can find a tree on top. The tree gets the nutrients from the remains of a dead person in the egg-shaped bag.

Aside from this, you can opt for a biodegradable urn made from sustainable options. The Bios Urn, for instance, uses coconut shell, compact peat, and cellulose. It claims to have no preservatives or any additives to hold it together. The container comes with soil mix and expansion disk. Below is space for the ashes. Once you place the remains, it's time to plant it in an area to allow the seed to grow and germinate.

3. Play the anthem of your life

Andvinyly, a company in the UK, presses cremains into discs. Each disc features 24 minutes of audio (12 on each side). The sound can come from you, your significant other and from other people you cherish. However, each disc features the company's standard artwork and labels which include your name, date of birth, and date of death. Still, you can provide original artwork by providing a photo or allowing others to set a picture for you.

4. Become a diamond

LifeGem creates a certified, high-quality diamond using the remains of the body. Transforming the remains into a gem is one way to celebrate life and maintain the connection with loved ones. The diamonds are timeless and endure the test of time. It's the perfect family heirloom and memento to leave behind.

5. Wear a mushroom burial suit

Jae Rhim Lee, founder of Coeico and the maker of the suit introduced a new way to save the planet even during death. She came up with a head-to-toe "ninja pajamas" with special mushroom spores that feed off human tissues. Mushrooms can absorb and purify toxins. The process is called mycoremediation, wherein the toxins become nutrients absorbed by the trees. With the suit, a dead body becomes highly useful for the Earth.

6. Try water cremation

Aquamation, alkaline hydrolysis or water cremation are all the same. The process requires full submersion of the body in a stainless steel vessel containing 95 percent water and 5 percent potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. The combination of water and high temperature allows the body to melt and leave it with the skeleton or parts of it. The leftover becomes a powder with a pearly sheen which loved ones can scatter or place in a biodegradable urn.

7. Be part of a body farm

Body farms allow scientists to study body decomposition in different decomposition scenarios. Thanks to the body farm a lot of developments happened in criminal science and the study of death, thanatology. Though it can be creepy and disturbing to know that your body lies in the forest infested with maggots or eaten by hungry carnivores in the desert, it's still a greener compared to the chemicals they place to preserve the body.

8. Order biodegradable caskets

You can skip embalming fluids and other toxic chemicals. A green burial ensures you won't have any of that. At the same time, there are no machines used to dig the grave. It must be done by hands. It also uses a casket made of wicker or unbleached cloth shroud wraps the body. Since the burial process is shorter than usual, it costs less than the average funeral.

Halloween and other life events can make you think of death. Preparing for death isn't necessarily a bad thing especially when you think of the loved ones you have to think of when you leave the planet. Choosing any of these ideas extends the health of the earth and their future.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

5 Tips to Prepare and Enjoy the Fall Season

fall autumn woman throwing maple leaves

Photo by Jakob Owens

Wherever you are in the world, you can feel the cool breeze that comes with the fall of the leaves. Even if you aren't aware of it, the weather can influence your feelings and thoughts. Seeing the leaves turn to orange or brown can make you feel moroseness. Though other people enjoy the turning of leaves, some don't feel the magic of the fall.

Most of the time, autumn is a busy season. Students must finish their school work before the winter break. Professionals and other worker bees must catch up with the demands of their job. Athletes train for summer competitions. They spend all day at Vermosa Sports Hub, the community pool or the gym.

At one point, it seems as if everyone is busy with their lives. Fortunately, the change of the season brings a unique experience for everyone. Fall, in particular, can be the season you most enjoy if you allow yourself. With that in mind, here are the tips to help you prepare for fall and enjoy it.

1. Prep your home for weather changes

The best move for home prep is to ensure it remains weather-proof. Most of the time, you experience heavy rainfall, strong winds, and thunderstorms during autumn. Hence, you must insulate your house to retain the heat. If possible, you should replace your window and door frames. But if that is not a viable solution, you should consult a carpenter or a professional on how to best insulate doors and windows.

You should also check if your heating system still functions properly. Make sure to fill it with fuel or natural gas. You should also have a spare tank in case you run out of fuel in the middle of winter. If your heating systems run on electricity, then you won't have to think of refills. However, it's necessary to ensure there are no faulty lines and everything connects to the primary source.

Other than these preparations, you can also add rugs and carpets to maintain the heat. Changing your lightweight curtains to thick drapes are also effective insulators.

2. List the activities you wish to do

Some areas experience fewer rainy days making autumn for family outdoor activities. Before you begin planning an excursion, you should list all the thing you wish to do together. When coming up with stuff to do, take note of the location and resources you need to accomplish your goal. It'll help you identify which ones are feasible within the amount of time you have. Most of all, it allows you to schedule all the activities and ensure they fit in a day.

You should include all the members of the family when deciding which fall activities to pursue. You can invite them over a family dinner at a restaurant or home-cooked meals. If you have kids, your list must comprise a few of their favorite fall activities. You can also suggest to include separate activities for adults and children. That way, everyone has a chance to enjoy their time trying out different fall activities.

3. Come up with a new tradition

After you have a list of things you want to do for fall, it's time for you to go out and do them. Whether it's visiting a local pumpkin patch, getting pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, or driving to the closest park to watch the leaves turn, you must pick one activity that becomes part of your fall tradition. Having something to look forward to helps you enjoy the season.

If you're coming up with tradition, you must ensure it's an activity you can do as a family. It should also be something that is fun or exciting. That way, everyone has a great time. It also helps to have a goal. If you wish to connect with family members, you should pick activities that are chill and requires a slow pace. But if you want to encourage them to move and sweat, then you should go for outdoor activities which are physically challenging.

4. Engage the family in meal planning

Autumn is one of the seasons where everyone is at home. The kids only have to be in two places - home and school. There are no vacations anytime soon so you can't go out of town for a holiday or a mini-vacation. Hence, everyone goes to where they have to be during the day and heads back home. Use this time to gather everyone to enjoy home-cooked meals. Bring out your family heirloom recipe and get busy. Put your cooking skills to test with different autumn menu recipes.

It's best to get the suggestion of everyone before you immerse yourself in the kitchen. Ask the household about the nutritious meals they want to eat. Let the kids decide what the vegetables and ingredients they wish to try are. When you allow them to make decisions, you teach them about nutrition, cooking, and budgeting - all of which are valuable life skills.

5. Observe your mood

The weather can significantly affect your mood. As the weather cools, you might find yourself feeling blue. You might also experience frequent mood swings. All of these can change how you perceive the season. Other people can experience the opposite. Some people are happy that they don't have to deal with the heat anymore.

You can better understand your reaction as you observe how you react to weather changes. Track your emotions so you can find suitable remedies to change your mindset.

Fall is the beginning of winter. If you aren't ready to face the cold weather, then you might not feel comfortable with the coming months. To prepare for the changes in the environment, you should try following these tips to enjoy the fall weather.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

8 Eco-Friendly Home Features to Install in Your Home

People are now more aware of the adverse effects of climate change. It's a global phenomenon wherein everyone experiences the disastrous consequences. Some countries have typhoons. Others experience hurricanes, continuous heavy rains, and drought. The effects are endless.

Fortunately, businesses are beginning to understand the detrimental impact collective human consumption and habits. A lot of companies are now changing how they conduct their business. From their products to their services, businesses are coming up with eco-friendly solutions for their consumers.

One key industry, real estate, is also part of the game-changing business platform. You can now find eco-friendly developments and properties in cities and other urban locations. You have the option to have an energy efficient home in the midst of a polluted community and Fairview Terraces mall. You can enjoy having a garden and a few breathing spaces even if there's concrete all around you.

If you already have a property, you can still partake in the green movement. An effective way to do this is by incorporating eco-friendly features into your property. Below is a list of eco solutions you can install in your home.

1. Solar Panels

Solar panels are highly useful in generating electricity if you live in a warm and sunny area. Solar power generation converts sunshine into energy you can use for your household. You won't have to rely on large electric companies to supply your energy.

2. Satellite controlled sprinkler systems

Instead of the regular sprinklers, you should try having the ones that turn on based on local weather conditions. These types minimize your water bill and conserve water. It also allows you to become efficient with your gardening. You can tend to the plants when the sprinklers are off. Plus, you won't have to worry about your plants drowning.

3. Cellulose wall insulation

Most homes have insulation. You need them to maintain the heat in your home. But, you should go for the ones with blown-in insulation. You should also pick the ones made of cellulose. The material is non-toxic, and it increases your home's fire resistance by 22 to 57 percent.

4. LED lights and dimmer switches

A LED light bulb is more energy efficient than traditional lights. Incandescent and CFL bulbs use twice the wattage you need for LED lights. To maximize your energy savings further, you can install dimmer switches in all areas in your home. They allow you to set the level of brightness in the room making them 10 percent more efficient than regular on/off panels. It also helps to have occupancy sensor light switches. That way, the lights automatically switch off when no one is around.

5. Energy star appliances

Whether its a refrigerator or the iron, Energy Star-approved appliances use half the resources consumed by their counterparts. If you're worried about bloating your electric bill, then you should always pick these types of devices.

6. Rainwater storage

An eco-friendly home doesn't only think of what's indoors. It also considers how it can harness resources outdoors. Besides the solar panels, a great addition to have in your home is rainwater storage. It allows you to gather water you can use for the garden or washing your car. You can also transform it into potable water as long as you install filters on your storage tanks.

7. Greenery in the roof

A green roof allows the homeowner to grow plants on the roof of their house or building without inducing leaks or any damage to the roof membrane. Green roofs are efficient. They also naturally cool your home's interior. Most of all, it adds to the beauty of your habitat.

8. Dual pane, low-emittance windows

Low-emittance windows extend your insulation efforts. They are the best windows for heating and cooling systems. On top of that, they block UV rays which can damage your skin and your belongings.

Now that you know which are the eco-friendly features you should have in your home, it's time for you to consider real estate developments that combine comfort and eco-solutions. You don't have to stay in the same place as your hometown or office district. You should think about moving in areal estate development that offers rest, encourages recreation and sustainability, and allows you to grow your roots.

With that, here are some of the features you must look into when considering an eco-friendly real estate in the Philippines.

  • Wide open greeneries

Green real estate properties have wide open spaces for you to enjoy. The greeneries are for you to relieve your eyes and mind from the monotony of the concrete jungle. With pocket gardens, tree-lined parks, and meditation patches, you get breathing spaces while still being in the midst of real estate sites.

  • Beautifully crafted landscapes

There is an advantage when you own an eco-friendly real estate property. You have access to beautiful landscapes. Other than fresh blooms, you have a view of tall, branching trees, clear bodies of freshwater, and manicured lawns. It becomes easy to get closer to nature when all of these are a few steps from your front door.

  • Conveniently located near the metropolis

Developers are now leaning into developing sustainable, environment-conserving properties. You'll find homes use durable yet organic, biodegradable materials. At the same time, they are made energy efficient. You can enjoy all of these perks when you relocate in an eco-community in a major Philippine metropolis. One example is Ayala Land’s Montecito properties in Nuvali.

You don't have to be an environmental advocate or an eco-warrior to live in an eco-friendly community or have these features in your home. If you value your life and your family, you should look into their benefits and find a way to make them part of your life.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Try Gardening to Get These 8 Benefits

Photo by rawpixel

Everyone needs a patch of green. Whether you're in the city or looking to live in a house and lot for sale in Laguna, you must get your hands busy. Once in a while, you should spend time on your porch or backyard. If these aren't available, you can make an indoor garden or grow a few seedlings on hanging pots. The possibilities are endless.

There are different things you can grow. If you have space, you should try growing some produce. You can save on grocery shopping when you don't have to purchase your fruits or vegetables. Other than crops, you can also tend flowers. Get some seeds of your favorite herbs and watch them bloom. But if you don't have the patience and the skill to grow greens, then you should turn to succulents and ferns. These plants don't require a lot of tending. They only need water now and then.

These are some garden ideas you can try in your new home. But, why should you try gardening? Would you get something out of it besides free food? Unknown to a lot of people, cultivating plants and spending time with soil has a lot of benefits. Below is the list of benefits you get when you immerse in gardening.

1. It relieves stress

Most of the time, gardening requires you to be outdoors. Even succulents need sun exposure now and then. The fresh air and sunlight can uplift your spirit. Meanwhile, moving back and forth will make you sweat. Sweating can lessen the levels of your cortisol which is also the stress hormone. Low levels of cortisol support your immune system, boosts your memory, and minimizes your risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, constant movement prevents you from getting obese.

2. It makes you confident

Gardening also makes you sure about yourself. You can feel a sense of pride and achievement when you see the seeds transforming from a tiny plant into a fruit-bearing tree.

3. It connects you to other people

You should consider gardening to your list of interests. It doesn't only give you a chance to be outdoors. It also offers you a chance to get to know other people in your community. It's a chance for you to be part of a group of people who are into the same things as you are. You can talk about your plants, how you grow them, and the different methods of propagating plants. You can get advice from seasoned growers on herbs, flowers, and vegetables. In exchange, you can offer a few nuggets you learned along the way.

4. It gives you a break from being indoors

Some plants need water twice a day. Thus, you need to be out of your couch if you want your plants to survive. When you have plants, you don't have to stay all day indoors. You need to go out. You must bring in your succulents after an hour, or they'll wilt under the sun. You have to check if the fruit is ripe and ready for harvest. In short, it keeps you busy. Time in front of the TV is now a luxury.

5. It imparts values to your children

If you want the kids to get their eyes off screens and devices, you should make gardening part of their lives. You children can learn several values when they learn how to tend to your backyard greens. For one, they will learn to be patient. They will realize that growing plants don't happen in an instant. At the same time, they get to appreciate the value of hard work. Plants don't thrive by themselves. They need a few things to survive which they won't get by themselves. 

Lastly, it will teach them things about nature and wildlife. It will show them where food comes from and how it grows. It can influence them to pick healthy, fresh food over processed ones. Most of all, it can help understand the limitations of natural resources.

6. It's your ticket to Vitamin D

Being outdoors exposes you to sunlight. You can feel the sun on your skin and enable it to absorb as many nutrients as it can get. Gardening pushes you to soak up Vitamin D which helps the body break down calcium to make the bones strong.

7. It's a form of exercise

Gardening will make you bend, lift, stretch, and twist. These movements all warm up and work the small muscles in your body. All of these can improve your strength, stamina, and flexibility.

8. It positively impacts the environment

Even if you're starting out with a plant or two, these have a positive impact to the Earth. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and other toxins in the air. When you raise a garden, you are combating air pollutants. You are also making use of run-off rainwater. Your plants can absorb the harmful pollutants to prevent them from reaching lakes and other bodies of water.

You won't miss out on these benefits when you consider growing a garden. You won't only see your plants thrive, but you can also watch them positively impact your life and the community.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Business and Farming: The Basic Steps of Organizing Your Accounts

If you want to transform your small weekend affair into one of the highly-earning organic stores Manila, then you must know the basics of handling your finances. You won't know if you're making a profit if you don't understand the formula on how to tally your income and expenses. Moreover, you need to put your money in a safe place. You don't want your hard-earned money mixing with the budget you set for your home. It can result in a disaster.

Whether you're in it for the safety of your finances or hoping to grow your keep, you should know the necessary steps of organizing your accounts. Staying organized minimizes mistakes and ensures you're on the path to hitting your targets. Lastly, it can make things easy once you start expanding your business. You won't have to look for receipts, tax records, and other essential documents.

Below are the things you must know when organizing your accounts.

1. You must have a separate bank account.

Your business account should not be the same as the account you use to save for retirement or other big-ticket purchases. You can start by setting up a business checking account. You can also get a business credit card for your business to build credit. At the same time, having a credit card lessens the incidence of mixing business assets and personal buys.

2. Pick the right bank

Don't open an account or transact with the nearest bank in your area. You should survey which bank offers the least fees. Most business checking accounts apply charges higher than most personal bank accounts. You should pay close attention to these, so you don't end up with expensive rates.

3. Learn the items on your financial statements

Your business financial statement shows your company's performance. At the same time, financial statements can be your guide to assessing past performance and managing expectations. These can also be your means of communicating with interested parties. You can reach out to creditors, investors, and analysts through your financial performance.

Accountants are the only ones who can prepare your financial statements. It's easy to leave everything to their hands to ensure you have the papers you need in your hands. However, you must also know which things are part of your statements. That way, you can check if there are wrong entries or discrepancies in your balances.

4. Establish a way for organizing receipts

You should keep all the receipts from all your business transactions. You never know when you might need it. Thus, you should have a system for storing your receipts. You can keep it in an envelope or a box. You can store them in any place as long as you can bring them out when you need them. Also, they must be separate from your family records and other personal papers.

5. Categorize your expenses

When you're running a small business, you can easily mistake a fee from the other. For instance, your family luncheon can be part of your "meals and entertainment" category even when you didn't discuss business the duration of your meal. To separate your expenses, you must first identify the groups they would fall. Separate meals, travel, transportation, utilities, and business-related purchases. Knowing the divisions helps you easily categorize the costs incurred. It also enables you to determine if the fees should be filed under your business or not.

6. Have a bookkeeping system

Bookkeeping is different from accounting. It is the daily process of recording transactions, putting them in the right category, and reconciling bank statements. Meanwhile, accounting makes sense of these records to create the financial statements. Now that things are clear, it's time you determine the bookkeeping method to use.

You can design a system of your own, or you can hire a part-time bookkeeper to oversee your cash flow. Once you have enough revenue, you can have an in-house bookkeeper and an accountant. You also have to determine if you will use the cash or accrual method of accounting.

7. Establish your payroll system

When you have people helping you out or working under you, you must first establish if they are regular employees or a freelancer. You'll need to have a payroll schedule and ensure your paying taxes correctly. Be sure you know how much you spend on each person and that you are providing the right compensation.

8. Know which payment schemes to offer to your customers

You must find different ways to accept payments. You can set up a merchant account or a third party processor. A merchant account is a type of account that enables you to process credit card payments. The payment gateway you choose depends on you and your customers. If most of your customers prefer to use their e-wallet or swipe their cards, then you should have a merchant account or a third party payment processor.

When setting up your business, you should not only think of your products and the overall setup of your store. You should also take care of your accounts, think of how you accept payment, and how you will record your expenses. These tips are your guide to covering the necessary aspect of your accounts. That way, you won't get lost once you move your shop from a weekend farmers market to your official store address.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Business and Farming: The Baby Steps of Joining Weekend Markets

Photo taken by Tomas Anton Escobar

Nowadays, people are becoming smart shoppers. They are expanding their shopping and food options. They become open to the idea of buying their food from organic stores and going to weekend market Manila. They support farmers, small businesses and establishments who are selling organic produce and homegrown products.

Thus, it's an excellent time for farmers to take part in bazaars or weekend markets. Setting up booth helps them connect with customers and showcase their crops while earning more money than usual. But to be successful in starting the business, you must first know a few things. The tips below serves as your guide on how to combine farming with business and start selling.

1. Visit different markets

Not all markets are the same. Before you join one, you must first find a market that fits your needs and helps you accomplish your goals. Taking a look at the bazaars enables you to see if they're a good fit for you.

Each market has a culture and a vibe. Some markets are filled with busy shoppers while others focus on providing a social setting. They have music and activities for kids. If you want to get to know how the market is like, you should talk to other merchants and growers. Recurring shoppers can also give you a sense of how things work in the market.

2. Ask about the rules

Markets have a set of rules for all sellers to follow. You should check in with the organizers to see what types of items are allowed. You can also ask if they provide the tables and booth set-up. Last but the least, you should clear up the selling methods they practice before settling on a particular market.

3. Choose a small market

If it's your first time to be an entrepreneur, you can go ahead with a small market that doesn't require a vendor fee. You should also choose a setup that doesn't need you to invest a lot of equipment. You must first learn about the process, so you're bound to make mistakes. Knowing there is minimal risk ensures your mistakes won't have a negative impact on the business.

4. Be unique

You can find a lot of farmers already selling tomatoes and lettuce. People won't come to you if you have the same products as the rest of the vendors. Instead, you can offer a variety of unique type of produce. You can also try assembling bundles or kits to increase your products' appeal to customers.

You must also differentiate your products. It must be unique to those who see it. It can be different in size, shape or texture but it should come out in a positive light. You should highlight these characteristics to the people who pass by your booth.

5. Do a dry run

Before the actual selling day, you should set up your booth at home to see how it looks. It shows you everything fits helps you spot the areas you can improve.

6. Create a checklist

To ensure you don't leave anything at home, you should list everything you need to bring to the market. The list must contain the items to sell, tools and material you need to set up the booth and displays.

7. Pack the essentials

You'll be out for the whole day and interacting with people. You need the energy to think clearly when someone wants to bargain and to compute the change to give to your customers. Thus, you must have snacks and drinks for you and your team. Having something to quench your thirst and ease your hunger helps you feel comfortable and at ease while working.

8. Put the best products on display

When setting up your display, you should always pick the best ones. Go for the healthy looking vegetables and plump fruits. Avoid those with wilted leaves and bruises. Place your best display in front and center.

9. Stack your items

The arrangement of your items dictates how people perceive them. When you stack your pieces, it creates the illusion of abundance. Of course, people are drawn to things that look good or make them feel good. If you want customers to come to your stall, you should pile the goods instead of laying them out on the table. You can also hang them so shoppers can easily spot what's on sale.

10. Think of presentation

Other than the arrangement of your goods, you should also take note of your decorations. You should try placing tablecloths, trays and a few photos. All of these add interest to your booth. You should consider how customers perceive you. Don't show up in the market with messy hair, torn and dirty clothing. You should wash up and wear comfortable and clean clothing. People appreciate sellers who remain professional. They are also likely to buy from stores with sellers who look sharp and take care of themselves.

Weekend markets and fairs can be your first step to building your business. It can be your chance to find other growers who are interested in partnerships and exchanges. It also an avenue to meet and find loyal customers. To get these, you first must get started, and these tips are what you need to guide your journey. They are the pillars to your farming and entrepreneurial success.

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