Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Small Business Spotlight - The Cupertino Soap Company!

In keeping with my goal to promote 
Small Business.....
Access Profiles' Small Business Spotlight 
shines on Veronica Nourse and 
The Cupertino Soap Company!

One day while working for a fair trade company, Veronica Nourse and a friend started discussing what they would do if they could simply do anything they wanted. Veronica’s friend said she wanted to make handmade soap.

What was Veronica’s response?  “You can make your own soap?”

Nourse had never given soap-making any thought.  It seemed so much easier and cheaper to simply buy it at the local grocer.  

But Nourse was intrigued.  She asked her friend a million questions about soap-making and, according to Nourse, this started her head spinning “in all sorts of directions”.

Nourse then began her own research, and what she found amazed her.  The number of chemicals in commercially produced soap was staggering.  Many of the ingredients she couldn’t even pronounce.

At that same time, both Nourse and her son had skin problems.  
Nourse’s dry skin and eczema were something she had thought she would just have to live with.  She had even tried consulting doctors, but nothing seemed to help.

So while doing her soap research, Nourse discovered ingredients she could use that were both beneficial to the skin and wonderful to the senses.  She found that quality soap could be made using natural and nourishing oils, butters, and essential oils that make your skin really healthy.

Through a lot of trial and error, Nourse started making soap that actually made a huge difference in her and her son’s skin.  She wanted to share this with her friends.  Despite meeting with very little interest at first, Nourse decided to give her soap to them as gifts.

Soon her friends discovered that Nourse’s soaps lathered better, made their skin feel softer and smell better than any commercial soap.  They also no longer needed to use moisturizer.  

They were hooked.....
and The Cupertino Soap Company was born!

The Cupertino Soap Company is a small, family owned business located in Cupertino, CA.  Nourse is proud to offer the quality, handmade products she herself developed.

Cupertino Soap’s mission is 
to make safe products for your body 
while also keeping the planet safe.  
Nourse has been verified as a 
Green Company
and never tests on animals.

Most of The Cupertino Soap Company’s handcrafted soaps contain shea butter, cocoa butter, hemp seed oil and olive oil.  Some contain goat’s milk.  All ingredients are organic and natural. Nourse prides herself on only using the best herbs, botanicals, and spices in her soap.

Nourse admits that she is now a “soap-a-holic”.  She loves trying a new soap fragrance or blend, and keeps multiple soaps throughout her house.  She considers her soaps “an affordable luxury”!

Visit The Cupertino Soap Company Website, Facebook page, and etsy shop to see for yourself the wonderful soaps Veronica Nourse has to offer!  You will be glad you did (and I know since I have ordered soaps from her myself!).

Authored by

For more information 
about and for Small Business, 
check out my Website and online paper, "Access Profiles Weekly".  
Thanks, and remember to “Shop Small”!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Do “Nice” People Really Finish Last?

Consider these words from Charles Kuralt:

“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” 

None of us live in a vacuum.  Our words and our actions do have an effect on those around us.  Many times that fact is forgotten amidst the negative focus of our news and media.

Many of us get wrapped up in climbing the ladder and achieving some arbitrary level of success.  We may even come to believe that the “ends justify the means”.

I don’t think it needs to be that way.  I don’t believe that we need to choose between success and being “nice”.  We can have both.

In fact, I believe that the more likable we are, the more we can achieve.  People naturally gravitate towards nice people.  We want them as our friends and we go to them for advice and understanding.

Likable people are not self-centered.  They genuinely care about others and are willing to take the time to cultivate a friendship through concrete actions.  Despite having a busy day, they will meet a friend for lunch or take that phone call.  It is not all about them.

So why not take that “likability” and apply it to how you do business?

For example, as entrepreneurs we all know our focus should be on providing a quality product that solves a problem or fulfills a need that helps our customers.  Having this as our focus allows us to concentrate on our clients and partner with them so that they can achieve their own success.

Therefore, as we do in our private lives, we can take the qualities associated with being nice and likable and focus them on our clients.  We can take the time to reach out.  We can check in with them to see their progress or just to say hello.

The emphasis should be on what we can do for them, not on making a sale or pushing our latest and greatest.  If we conduct our business with that in mind, I believe we will better serve our existing clients and attract new ones.

The truth is, any time you make your business decisions based only on your own priorities, those priorities are misguided.  

Instead, those decisions should be made on what your clients want or need.

In my opinion, being likable in business is the same as being likable in your personal life.   By “humanizing” your business, you are able to start real conversations with your clients, like we do with our friends, and create a genuine relationship.

So, to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this article, Do “nice” people finish last?  My answer is a resounding NO!  I believe nice and likable people achieve the true success we should all strive to obtain!

*This article has also been published on LinkedIn blogs.

Authored by

To get more tips to help your small business, please follow this blog and visit my website.  I would love to help you achieve your own success!

Also, Let's Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Small Business Spotlight - Tracy Zhu and Tango Zulu Imports!

This week I would like to introduce Tracy Zhu and her company, Tango Zulu Imports!

Tracy and her husband Drew founded Tango Zulu Imports in 2010.  Their family-owned business is located in historic Port Gamble, Washington in a wonderful 114 year old building.

Tango Zulu Imports specializes in Fair Trade and Artisan products from around the world.  Zhu features many goods from developing countries.  Her business has made its name with African baskets, including the beautiful Bolga Baskets.

Zhu’s products also include wonderful, fair trade, Soapstone (Kisii) Carvings from Kenya.  Each piece has a soft, smooth texture and is hand carved and hand painted using traditional methods.

In addition, Tango Zulu Imports sells a growing number of locally sourced handcrafted items ranging from soap to jewelry to chocolate.  Their soaps include Sea Salt Soap Bars and Felted Soaps.

Tracy Zhu earned a degree in International Business from Seattle University and worked for Expeditors International in Seattle before taking the plunge into starting her own business. In the three years since its founding, Tango Zulu has added three employees and already outgrown its original location.

While most sales are derived from their brick and mortar location, significant revenues also come from their website and from exhibiting at fairs and other offsite events.

 Zhu is proud that the store turned a profit its first full year of operations and has been in the black ever since. Just as important to Zhu, Tango Zulu Imports provides an opportunity for artisans to make a living from their skills and hard work.

To find out more about Tango Zulu Imports and to check out all their truly unique products, please visit their website www.tangozuluimports.com and Facebook page. 

For more articles in the “Small Business Spotlight” series, I invite you to visit my blog and online paper, Access Profiles - “Week in Review”.  And to learn more about my small business, Access Profiles, Inc., click on this link to my website.  Thanks, and Go Small Business!  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Save Our Environment ~ Shop Local!


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
 ~ Margaret Mead

April is Earth Month.  It is a time we all take stock of what we are doing and what we can do to help Save our Planet.  A new or re-newed focus will be placed on recycling, saving energy, and a myriad of other things to help lead us all in the right direction.

These are all worthwhile and important steps.  But I believe we can accomplish these goals in another surprising way....by Shopping Local!

Shopping Local Helps Small Business & the Environment!  "Tweet This"

When we Shop Local, we have the opportunity to make a huge impact on our environment and in our community.  It is also a great way to promote Small Business.

Shopping Local uses less fuel.   The markets and shops we visit are right in our own neighborhood.  The fuel used by trucks that carry the goods from the local farmer or manufacturer is also lessened.  When we buy local, we conserve that energy.

Local goods use less packaging.  Whether it is the produce from a local farmer’s market or some other good from a neighborhood store, the packaging is often minimal when compared to nationally sold goods.

Shopping Local helps our Community.  By frequenting local merchants, we become active and important members of our neighborhoods.  We become acquainted with the owners of those businesses and they get to know us.  This creates a real sense of “community” and connection.

Shopping local keeps our money “in town”.  Money we spend at a local storefront or farmer’s market is a true reinvestment in our community.  In this way we can have a real economic impact in helping support and grow local business.

In this past few years, I myself have answered the “Shop Local” call.

Once a week my husband and I like to go out for breakfast.  Instead of going to the chain we used to frequent, we have now made a habit of eating in a diner down the street.  This cafe is owned and staffed by people right in our own neighborhood.  The bread and produce they use is also local.

We have come to know everyone who works there and often see many of our neighbors there also.  Eating in this diner has really created a sense of community in ourselves and given us the feeling we are helping “friends”.

We have also been more frequent customers of local barber shops, hair salons, and groceries.  

So, for this Earth Day and for the days to come, make it a real commitment to Shop Local.  The benefits to our environment, communities, and Small Business can really make a difference!

Please Share This & Leave a Comment.  I would love to hear what you think about "Shopping Local"!

Authored by

I can Help You and Your Small Business!
for a Free Consultation!

I can Help You!

Also visit my Services and About Me pages to find out more!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

The PREVENTION of Child Abuse Should be Our Ultimate Goal

“The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind's most basic duty to protect the innocent.”  James T. Walsh  (U.S. Politician)

No one argues that child abuse is a horrific crime.  Whether that abuse is physical or emotional, the victims are left to deal with the scars of that abuse for the rest of their lives.

Our laws tend to place the emphasis on dealing with the aftermath of Child Abuse.  We have programs to help the victims as well as methods of prosecuting the perpetrators.

I think it is time we change that focus.  As a nation, we need to place our focus on stopping child abuse in all its forms.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a perfect time for our emphasis to be placed squarely on the word “Prevention”.

As I have written in a previous post, there are two different categories of abuse:

  • Domestic – abuse by a family member or caregiver

  • Institutional – abuse within a facility or a program such as schools, day care centers, after school programs or sports teams

The abuse in each of these cases can cover physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.

Our goal as a society should be to recognize where abuse occurs and vow to do everything in our power to prevent any child from being a victim.  The question then becomes, “What Can We Do?”.

I believe we can all pledge to:

  • Prevent the Abuse – Undoubtably our best tool and is to take a “proactive” approach.  We must require all people who come in contact with our children to undergo a Background Check.  I would also suggest this be repeated every 2 years in order to prevent those committing more recent crimes from slipping through the cracks.  This should not be at the discretion of each institution, but national law.  Consistency is the key here.

  • Support Programs of Education and Stress Management - Providing our communities with the resources to aide parents and other adults who come in contact with children is crucial.  These programs should educate on how best to deal with the stresses of child care.  We also must make safe and affordable child care available to all.

  • Encourage Open Discussion about Abuse – We need to make sure that the subject of abuse is “brought into the light”.  Every child needs to be equipped with the knowledge that abuse can occur in many different places and they should never feel embarrassed or at fault for the actions of an adult.   

  • Provide “Safe Havens” to Report the Abuse -  It is also necessary to provide every child with the tools to know what to do and where they can go if they feel uneasy or unsafe.  They also need to recognize they will be believed and helped there.
The Prevention of Child Abuse needs to fall on the shoulders of our society’s adults.  We must make it our duty to protect our children and provide for them a world where they are safe and encouraged to succeed.  Only then will our society be truly great.  After all, our children are our future.

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Theologian)

If you would like additional information on how Background Checks can be tools for safety, please visit my website at www.accessprofiles.com and my Facebook page.  Thanks!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Small Business Spotlight" Wants to Feature Your Small Business!

Making Small Business Grow!

I have already had some great feedback on the previous articles in my series, "Small Business Spotlight", so I would like to repeat this offer......... 

I am once again Calling all Small Businesses!  I would love to Feature YOU in my ongoing series, "Small Business Spotlight"! 

My goal is to promote Small Business by highlighting a different company, both in my blog and in my online paper, Access Profiles Weekly!  I will also post your article on my social sites.

Every "Small Business Spotlight" article is designed as an Introduction to the featured Business.  

If you choose to have your company featured, I will include a spotlight of what your business has to offer and provide a little background on how you got started.  Your article would also include links to your business website and other social media pages.

By sharing this series, I hope to give my readers a chance to find out a little more about your Small Business and generate interest in “Shopping Small”.  It is also a great way for me to help "Pay it Forward"!

I believe there is a renewed focus on Small Business and I want to keep the momentum going!


If you are interested in this opportunity to promote your Small Business, I invite you to contact me at through this blog or at accessprofiles2@comcast.net.

There is no charge for this.  It is simply my way of "paying it forward" and helping other Small Business owners get recognized.

To check out previous articles in the Small Business Spotlight series (and to get an idea of what kind of information I highlight), please visit my blog (and why not leave your email while you are there so you won't miss an article!).

I also share information of interest to Small Business on my Facebook page and website, www.accessprofiles.com!

Thanks, and I hope to get the chance to help promote Your Small Business!

Go Small Business!

Authored by

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why "Leaning In" is not a Reality for Every Woman!


As women continue to strive for better opportunities in the workplace, I take a look back at my thoughts on what Sheryl Sandberg's words "Lean In" really mean to women.....

Unless you have been completely shut off from the world, it is clear that Sheryl Sandberg's words on "Leaning In" have generated controversy.  Many women are emphatic that Sandberg is coming from an “elitist” point of view and others are supporting her words and saying we simply have to “work harder”.

Let’s face it....not everyone can “Lean In”.  "Tweet This"!

Unique life circumstances cause us all to be very different and come from very different experiences.  That is what makes everyone so interesting.

Opinions on Sandberg’s words run the gamut from complete agreement to openly angered by what she has to say.  I venture to say most fall somewhere in the middle.  But all sides feel justified in their beliefs and disdain for the beliefs of others.

What can’t be ignored is the fact that many feel Sandberg does not speak for the opportunities open to all women - although I believe that she had no intention to do so.  It is obvious that the resources available to Sandberg are certainly not those available to all. 

What I find most disturbing are not Sandberg’s words, but the divisiveness and “bashing” they have unleashed.  Instead of being confrontational, we should be promoting a sense of unity.

It is hard for me to understand why any of us, as women, feel the need to criticize another woman for their choices or circumstances.  It is unproductive at its best and can be crippling at its worst.   

Photo Courtesy of MindBodyGreen.com

These words from Elizabeth Harrison (American Educator. 1849-1927) say it well;

“Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize.”

Our goal should be to advance the circumstances of all women.  We need to be there as supporters, mentors, and role models if necessary.  Check out an earlier blog post I wrote on this subject for more of my thoughts; Women in Business - My Case for Why We Need to Help Ourselves!.

Similar issues arise with the phrase “have it all” that is often bandied about.  The reality is that, for most of us, we are simply juggling in order to make things work at even the most basic level.

In most cases, it is not possible to “have it all” at any one time.   Our lives  are an ebb and flow that requires us to concentrate more on one thing than another depending on our circumstances.  That is when we have to make tough decisions based on what is best for our families.  

It is then that we have to focus on what we need to at the moment, put our all into that, then be ready to shift gears when our circumstances change.  In that way we are able to experience professional as well as personal success within our lifetime.

I discuss more of what I believe is life's "seesaw" here!

I close with these words by Kate Seredy, author;

"I make money using my brains and lose money listening to my heart. But in the long run, my books balance pretty well." 

Balancing my books over the long haul is my goal.  And, really, what more can we ask for?

Please "Pay it Forward" and share my article.  I would also love to hear from you ~ Leave a Comment!

Authored by

For more on Women in Business and other Small Business issues, please visit my website at accessprofilesblog.com!

Let's Connect!  You will find links to my profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more HERE!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Small Business Spotlight - Pittsburgh Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspections

This Small Business Spotlight Shout Out is to Brian T. Dolan and his company Pittsburgh Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspections (PVPPI)!

Brian T. Dolan has worked for 30 years in the automotive field and labels himself “an old car enthusiast”.  Brian has worked as an Auto Technician, Engine Systems Specialist, Body & Paint, Detailer, Inventory Management, and in Classic Car Restoration.

This experience drove Brian to start his own company, Pittsburgh Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspections (PVPPI) in 2011.  He brings his familiarity with the car industry and the online buying process to guide PVPPI.  Brian’s goal is to offer specialized Pre-Purchase Inspections to the Southwestern PA region.

A “pre-purchase inspection (PPI)” for vehicles is much like a home inspection.  Your vehicle is thoroughly examined, inside and out, to determine its current condition.  Having a PPI can help save you money.  It provides you with negotiating power on the purchase price.  A PPI can also help prevent costly repair and maintenance bills or keep you from purchasing a vehicle with many problems.

Brian stresses that a PPI is not just for “fancy” cars.  Many people have a pre-purchase inspections done on cars ranging anywhere from $3000 to $300,000.

The frequency with which people use the internet to buy cars “sight unseen” has created a real need for PPI services.  However, this service is also beneficial to those buying used cars locally.  Having a PPI mobile service check out the car saves the time and hassle of taking it to a mechanic to get it checked out.  

Brian is proud that PVPPI is different from the national chains.  Most national companies sub-contract their work, while you only speak with their customer service department.  You never get the chance to talk to the inspector directly.

PVPPI is different.  Brian and Pittsburgh Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspections are much more personable.  With PVPPI, you get the opportunity to speak with the inspector both before and after the inspection.  This provides you with both a verbal and written report on the vehicle.  You also get the chance to ask questions or get clarification.

Prices for PVPPI’s services range from $99 for an inspection on a basic vehicle to $199 for a specialty vehicle.  PVPPI is a mobile service (they go to your vehicle, you don’t have to bring it to them) and their prices include a 40 mile service radius.  For vehicles outside this range, there are additional charges.

Brian also enjoys being active in the many auto-related community events held during the summers in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  For example, PVPPI is an Official Sponsor of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  You can read more about this and some of the other larger events on the PVPPI website community page.

To learn more about what Pittsburgh Vehicle Pre-Purchase Inspections has to offer, please visit Brian T. Dolan and the PVPPI website at www.PVPPI.com or call (412) 638-0641.  Go Small Business!

And for more in the Small Business Spotlight series, check out Access Profiles - “Week in Review” and for information on issues of importance to Small Business, look for my blog and website.  Thanks!