Hello friends! Kristen here! I am thrilled to bring you the fourth installment of my “Turn The Tables” series. If you haven’t had a chance to read why I decided to do this series, click on over HERE. I am thrilled at the people I am hosting at my “dinner table” this week! This week we are talking about favorite software and applications utilized within our businesses. I always find this so interesting. At Thimblepress®, we have so many different systems we use. We WISH we could get them all into one, but that would be too easy, huh? I thought I would list some of my favorite programs, softwares and applications!
PROGRAMSAsana - task management. It's amazing. When you complete a task, a unicorn flies across the screen Stitch - order & inventory management although we wish we could take orders through it at shows and also do raw supply inventory management for it since we hand package and assemble everything! Hootsuite - social media management. Great for connecting your whole team to your social profiles! Ship Station - shipping management. We can connect all of our platforms through this. Google For Work - We have been using Google for business since we started back in 2012. We utilize google calendars, use it for our email platform, google drive, hangout, and our business phone numbers, through Switch, all connect through Google for Work. Wordpress.org - I love Wordpress.org. Do I wish WooCommerce would advance a bit, yes. We have a custom built platform that works great for us. Because our's is custom built for us it makes sense for us. I also know how to code HTML and a little CSS, so it makes working on our site a little easier than most. We also have a great web programmer that tolerates my text messages and late night emails!!!
SOFTWARESAdobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop Adobe Lightroom
APPSInstagram - this by far our biggest tool of interaction with our customers. We love it so much. We are able to really get to know who we are making products for. I love that connection and that relationship we have with them! Dark Sky - amazing weather app. I mean, you need to know the weather in your business! Dropbox - we use this for a lot of file sharing and storage! Flipagram - for creating social media videos VSCO & Photoshop - great for photo editing on your mobile device Hotel Tonight - great for booking last minute travel and getting awesome deals for when we go to shows. AIR BnB - We use this a lot when we travel! Pocket - for saving all the blogs and info I want to read in one place. BitMoji - well, if you have to ask why it's for business, then we will probably never be friends, ever. Just kidding, but this app is for pure entertainment and laughter. Laugher is necessary in any business I'm a part of.
What software and apps do you use for your business that you can't live without? Why do you love them so much?
"My list is pretty long. Photoshop is essential for blog posts and I use Lightroom to edit my photos - I'd be lost without both of them. And I couldn't live without Google Calendar, which I use to keep track of my editorial calendar and contributor columns on Oh So Beautiful Paper, and FreshBooks, which I use for client invoicing and to keep track of expenses." -Nole
"Instagram is huge for my business, an extension of my brand. My background in in photography, so this form of social media is such a great artistic outlet for me. I post a lot of new items to the shop here and always use Camera + and PicTapGo for editing. For all the lifestyle photos that I post, I use VSCO to edit. I am still a write in pencil in my planner sort of person, but I do love the Reminders app on the iPhone. I can set reminders, make as many lists as I’d like, and so on. It’s great for when I’m on the go. I usually make the next day’s to do there so I’m ready first thing in the morning, to get to work." -Erin
"Stitch Labs has certainly been a lifesaver from day one of going wholesale. It keeps our orders organized... at any point in time I can stop and see what has shipped, what is upcoming, who has paid, who hasn't, where our inventory is... I truly cannot imagine the business without it." -Meg
"Slack - for multi-platform communication (if I see something on Instagram that inspires me I can show the team in an instant!). Boomerang - it's critical for never missing or responding to an email" -Aubrie
"Photoshop was the best investment I ever made in my business. I remember my 21 year old self saving up cash from my part time job to be able to purchase CS3, and when I finally shelled out the cash, I was blown away by how much my product photos improved.." -Erin
"My first online shop was built on Wordpress on a custom theme. It worked well but could be very clunky. I switched to a Shopify storefront a few months ago because I needed my inventory maintained when someone bought something online and when I make a face-to-face sale. With Wordpress, I would have had to take note of every little thing I sold and then change the inventory one thing at a time. Um, NO. Shopify is glorious. My site is clean and navigable, I have a credit card slider for my pop-up shop on Sundays, and my inventory stays current. The back-end stuff is super easy to update as well. Enthusiastic thumbs-up emojis everywhere." -Kristina
"Illustrator, InDesign, Stitch, Shipstation, Shopify. We laugh that almost all of our systems start with S so it gets really confusing from time to time." -Emily
"ShipStation rules. Everything from our Shopify and Etsy stores goes into it, it makes it so easy to organize and track shipments, and the customer support is awesome. We like Shopify a lot. Much, much better than WooCommerce, which was the original platform our online shop was built on. I use Photoshop every single day, Illustrator every once in a while, and InDesign when I have to design a catalog. We switched our office email host to Gmail earlier this year and it's been great. I live and die by our Google calendar, and we use Drive a lot too. We use Dropbox for Business to share files around the office instead of having a main server, but I don't love it as much as I want to. We just started using Sprout Social to help deal with social media, and I like it a lot. It's especially good if you have multiple people posting in your business social media account, answering people's tweets, etc." - Emily
"Cannot live without Illustrator (to design our goods) and quickbooks. Oh and Evernote. Without Evernote, everyone on our team would not know what the heck is going on." - Lisa
"I use Quickbooks, Stitch and Illustrator just about every day. I love Quickbooks for tracking income and expenses and forecasting for the future. Stitch is great - we’re still mastering the full potential, but I love that we are no longer keeping track of inventory by looking at a shelf to determine if we have enough stock on hand, ha! Illustrator is how I transfer my drawings and handwriting into files that are ready to be printed." - Rosanna
"Google calendar! We schedule all of our custom clients so they can see when designs are due, when we require feedback from them, and all of the steps of the process until when the invitations are finished and shipped. For our wholesale line, all of our important dates are saved so we don't miss a beat. We have so many gears in motion, we'd be totally lost without our almighty google calendar! " - Arley-Rose
"Wave invoicing and Stripe are such a better combo to accept payment than PayPal! It deposits the money into our bank account automatically and keeps from mixing with my Volkswagen parts and discontinued Bath and Body Works purchases on eBay!" - Erin
"I would like to sing the praises of Instagram from the mountaintops. Seriously. I don’t post nearly as often as I should - but Instagram has done wonders for my business. We’re working in a visual field and, in my opinion, there’s no better way to get images of your work in front of customers, retailers, bloggers, etc. So many buyers that came into my booth at the National Stationery Show this past spring opened with "I saw this on Instagram!" -Sam
"Google Apps are HUGE for us as we manage inventory from here and communicate with our warehouse in Chicago on these. I love that they are real-time so it's a game-changer for our business and getting customers their packages correctly as efficiently as possible. Again, I love InDesign for planning imagery on our website/blog/or even social platforms ahead of time to keep myself organized. I'm a little (lot) bit Type A, so keeping organized is key." -Jordan
"Our business could not function without Quickbooks. All of our wholesale and bookkeeping gets done through there. We use the online version, which I love, because you can send invoices via email to your customers that are payable at their convenience online." -Kristen
"Quicklytics App to keep track of my site stats on the go. Also, I recently implemented a chat function on my site, Olark, and I love connecting with customers. Lastly, since I work from home alone, Spotify is cranked 24/7 and is the fuel that keeps me motivated." -Jillian
"If I had to pick one, I would say Google Drive. I have a doc created for every protocol, every team member's to do list, every schedule, etc... It's SO helpful, and I don't know what I'd do without them!" - Eva
"Google Maps saves my life daily." -Tiffany
"Aside from Adobe Cloud, I can’t live without Dropbox and Google Apps. I use google apps for all TSBC email accounts, calendars and also to capture survey data for our NSS alumni survey and/or Paper Camp responses. Dropbox is my central hub for file management." -Katie
"Google Docs. We really use them so much for shared to do list, spreadsheets, and data that multiple people need access to at and away from their desk, etc!" -Kelly
Thanks again friends for following along on our new series and I truly hope you enjoyed it! Catch question 2, next Wednesday!