Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Best Bookkeeping Spreadsheet for Your Handmade Business

As a data analyst for the last 8 years, I've been lucky to have advanced Excel and modeling skills, as well as a solid understanding of financials and bookkeeping.

Having a handmade business has been a great learning experience, and the most important lesson learned is that you should never be in the dark when it comes to your expenses, revenues, and financials as a whole.

I do all my bookkeeping in Excel. There are many software tools out there at different prices that offer ways of keeping track of inventory, wholesale orders, and expenses, but honestly Excel is very diverse and has so many options for modeling your handmade business financials that I think other options are not worth my investment.
I built my own Excel spreadsheet for bookkeeping and have revised and added more useful features over the years to help me run my business on Etsy. It tracks everything in once place - inventory, sales, fees, and even a price calculator for figuring out what you should charge for your products and adjusting that price for wholesale orders or retail. In addition, the spreadsheet provides a ton of visual aids to make it easier to see trends and make comparisons across months and products.

I wanted to share my spreadsheet with other Etsy sellers and make their bookkeeping experience painless and practical. You can purchase my Bookkeeping Excel Template here, and I'm happy to work with you further to customize it for your specific needs.

Sales Tracker
This is where you fill out your sales - simply enter the date, item name and info on price, tax, and shipping - and it calculates the rest automatically. It gives you options for using Paypal or Etsy Direct Checkout, an international or a domestic sale, and even of the transaction has multiple sales in it. Then it will show you all the Etsy and Paypal fees and what your final revenue is for each product you sell.

Expenses Tracker

Here is where you track your spending on inventory, labor costs, or any other business expenses.

Pricing Calculator
This is one of my favorite features - a detailed breakdown of each material used to make a product. It calculates the cost of each item and then gives you a suggested wholesale and retail price that is associated with those costs. You can also calculate the potential profit from each item, or see what you should charge in order to get your desired profits.

Last but not least - another great feature that shows you all the data in charts. I'm a visual person and I find it helpful to see graphics that summarize the data and help analytically - much better than just staring at the numbers all the time. This feature provides summary analysis with tables and charts to help you view your business performance on a monthly and annual basis, and a head-to-head monthly comparison. You can see your revenues and expenses, a breakdown by categories, and net profits - all based on the information you enter into the spreadsheet.

What financial tools do you use to run your handmade business? I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you've found useful.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pepi's Picks

Elegant fall outfit

This week's outfit features beautiful fall colors- brown, beige, and yellow. And why not wear a pair of leaf earrings to accentuate the foliage theme?!

Pepi's Picks

Casual fall outfit - blue and brown
Goodbye summer and hello fall!
Though it does make me sad to admit that summer is over, I'm excited for fall fashion! I've created an elegant casual outfit, featuring my oxidized copper domes and silver hoops earrings. I love the rustic brown shades - perfect for the season.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012

Today, April 22nd, is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day worldwide. It's a reminder to all of us that now, more than ever, we should take measures to reduce all the waste we produce and cut down on the energy we use. Today's rapid climate change manifests the urgency for cleaner environment and every little step we take towards more eco-friendly actions counts.

I try to reuse, reduce and recycle whenever I can. For my Etsy business, when it comes to packaging and shipping, I love to reuse tissue paper and wrapping ribbons from previous purchases, sometimes even bubble wraps if they are preserved. I also invest in jewelry boxes made of recycled materials. One other thing I stopped doing a long time ago is printing the invoices - saves so much paper, and it's really unnecessary.

When it comes to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, here are 5 simple things you can do on a daily basis that can have a significant impact:
1. Avoid using bottled water. There is no need to buy bottled water from the store. Try to use filtered water....
2. If you don't make your coffee at home but like to buy it, bring your own travel mug. Most places even give you discounts for using a mug instead of the paper/plastic cups they offer.
3. If you need to print something and your printer allows it, print on both sides of the paper.
4. For your shopping trips, bring a reusable bag with you and avoid getting the plastic bags. If you have to, then save them and try to reuse them at home as trash bags.
5. Don't run the water while brushing your teeth or soaping dishes - you're not really using it then, so why not save it!

If you're looking for some sites with tips and resources, definitely check out Rachel McAdam's Green Is Sexy blog, which is full of fun ways to live life to the greenest. Also, stop by Recyclebank - a great website that promotes taking green actions every day and offers a ton of information and interesting facts about sustainability and preserving the environment. If you open an account, you can earn points for every green action you take, and redeem those points for coupons or other great offers.

What are your favorite green tips or websites?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Learn About Gemstones: Aquamarine

Aquamarine, from the Latin word for "sea water," is the modern March birthstone. It is the zodiac stone of Scorpio, and is a suggested gift for the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries. Its color ranges from really pale blue to deep green-blue or teal. Today, aquamarine can be found in Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Russia.

There are many myths and believes surrounding aquamarine. The stone has been the symbol of happiness, everlasting youth and young love in many different cultures. In Rome, it was an appropriate gift to a bride by her husband on the morning after their wedding day. The gem was also said to reawaken the love of married couples. Greeks and Romans also believed that aquamarine, the sailor's gem, protected its owner during stormy seas. According to folklore, aquamarine was also believed to treat anxiety, help with belching, yawning, cure ailments of the jaws, throat, stomach, and liver, and even reduce the effect of poisons.

Want to learn more about other gemstones? See a list of other posts here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Birchbox

I LOVE beauty products - from make-up and hair styling to skincare products and new fragrances. I'm also a huge fan of homemade spa recipes that help you save a buck here and there, but from time to time it's nice to try new products and treat yourself to something nice. And that's when I discovered Birchbox.

Birchbox allows you to try fun beauty products for a small monthly fee. Each month, you receive a beautifully wrapped box filled with 4-5 different hand-picked deluxe samples from high-end brands. You can fill out a Beauty Profile that helps customize the products just for your body, skin, and color preferences. Samples are different every month, ranging from make-up and beauty tools to body and hair products. Each sample is big enough to allow you to use the product a few times, and decide if you like it or not. Occasionally, you may even get the full-sized products! All you pay is a $10 monthly fee, which includes shipping and handling, and you can cancel any time without any obligations. Isn't that a great deal?!

Another cool thing about Birchbox is their points program. You earn points for filling out product feedback after you've tried the samples. If you shop through their store, you also earn 1 point for each dollar spent on full-sized products. You can also earn points by referring friends. Every 100 points earned can be redeemed for $10 off a full-size product order.

I have been a member of Birchbox since August 2011. The picture above shows some of the products I've received during the last couple of months. You can see that most of the brands are well known in the beauty industry - Smashbox, Quidad, Ahava, Zoya, Benefit, Jouer, Stila, Kate Spade. Yes, I admit - I didn't love every single sample I've received - there have been a couple of misses, but for the most part the products are really high quality and really do match my skin preferences and beauty needs per my profile. It's fun to try new products and receive a surprise box in the mail once a month for a very reasonable fee.

Have you tried Birchbox? If yes, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Learn About Gemstones: Amethyst

Amethyst, the most valued member of the quartz family, is the official birthstone for February, the zodiac stone for Pisces, and the suggested jewel for the 4th, 6th, and 17th wedding anniversary.

The name amethyst is of Greek origin, meaning "not drunken" or "not intoxicated." Throughout history, the gemstone has been a symbol of sobriety and was believed to protect against drunkenness and addiction.

Ranging from light lavender to deep purple, its royal color made amethyst a highly desirable stone amongst the wealthy through history, as it signified power and rank. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels. They were also the favorite jewels of Egyptian royalty and Catherine the Great of Russia, who sent out thousands of miners to Siberia to search for the best quality in the Uralian mines, creating the "Siberian" grade amethyst. This precious quartz was also an important ornamentation in Catholic churches in the middle ages, and was a favorite stone in the high ranks of the Christian church, referred to as "the stone of bishops," due to the belief that it symbolized celibacy and piety.

Most amethyst stones on the market today are heat-treated to enhance the deepness of the purple color. Heat treating is permanent and it prevents color fading over time. Also, note that most citrine on the market today is actually heat-treated amethyst. Currently, the biggest amethyst deposits are found in Brazil and Uruguay, but smaller deposits are also found in Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and US (Arizona).

The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from the Greek mythology. The god of wine and intoxication, Dionysus (Roman Bacchus), was insulted one day by a mortal, and swore to unleash his anger on the next mortal who crosses his path. He summoned fierce tigers to devour the victim - the unsuspecting virgin Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Artemis (Roman Diana). In her defense, Artemis turned Amethyst into a pure crystal quartz statue to protect her from the ferocious tigers. Upon seeing the beautiful statue and realizing his cruelty, Dionysus wept tears of wine, thus staining the quartz purple and creating the gemstone we know today as amethyst.

Isn't that fascinating? If you want to learn more about other gemstones, check out my other posts here.


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