Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Shipping

Tuesday December 18th will be the last day to place a standard domestic order, to ensure delivery before Christmas. Express shipping is available, please call 302-422-5470 and we will get your order out immediately so that you can have your ladybug items before Christmas, an additional fee will be charged for USPS Express shipping. LadyBug Shop will be closed Christmas day, but will be open again and mailing out orders on December 26th. As always, thank you for visiting! And Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Downtown Milford's Holiday Stroll

If you live in or around the Delmarva area, then on December 7th from 5PM-8PM you must come to the Downtown Milford's Holdiay Stroll, sponsored by Downtown Milford, Inc. The festivites include, free raffles, free refreshments, carolers and a horse drawn wagon ride for everyone of all ages! And best of all stop by and see Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa's house. LadyBug Shop will be raffling off a holiday sled bowl with coordinating jingle spoon and a Ladybug Teapot, as well as offering special sales all throughout the store! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Personalized Ladybug Gifts!

If you have visited the New Items category lately you will have seen all of the new ladybug gifts that can be personalized. Including a Ladybug Rocking Chair, Ladybug Wall Clock, Ladybug Wastebasket and more! Instead of sending a card with money, a great holiday idea this season is to purchase a Ladybug Personalized Cash Box instead.

Remember all orders must be placed by December 7 to ensure an arrival time before Christmas.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Ladybug Gifts!

LadyBug Shop introduces a new line of handmade soap by Soap Sophisticate. The Ladybug Shop handmade soap comes in a white decorated gift box, and features hand made soap scents of Geranium Fields, Dusty Lavendar, and Rosemary Wild Mint and comes with two glass ladybugs! Also new is the Black Quilted Ladybug Purse, Ladybug on leaf Earrings, Large Ladybug Bead Earrings by Kelly Colleen, Ladybug Top Hat Holiday Ornament, Christmas Turtle Holiday Ornament, and new Ladybug Suncatchers! Coming soon to the LadyBug Shop are ladybug socks and personalized ladybug gift items!

Friday, November 9, 2007

NEW! Color Bug!

LadyBug Shop introduces Color Bug a toy created by RC Art. This game has already won national recognition as the Best Toy of the Year award from Creative Child's Magazine. It has even been introduced as one of Oprah's next big ideas. The Color Bug is great for children ages 4 and older. And it's so easy! You simply, choose your marker color and snap the marker into Color Bug. Place Color Bug on a large sheet of paper or the Color Bug Play Pad. Then use the radio controller to move your Color Bug around the paper and HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ocean City Gift Show

Well, I didn't have any luck finding a ladybug umbrella, or a ladybug lamp, but I did find some other very cool ladybug gifts. Including, a ladybug photo album, a ladybug diaper bag, a ladybug lunch box, a ladybug purse, a ladybug water coozie, and best of all ladybug socks! Look for these fun and exciting ladybug products coming soon!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Ocean City Resort Gift Expo

I am going to the Ocean City Resort Gift Expo this Sunday! I will be on the look out for requested products such as a ladybug umbrella, ladybug floor lamp, ladybug linens, ladybug curtains and more! Wish me luck! And look forward to new and exciting ladybug products coming soon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Every Grandparents Dilemma

Every grandparents dilemma—if you have a little granddaughter and a little grandson, you can’t buy something for one without buying something for the other one.

When our little grandson was born we thought about how much fun we have had with Madison and introducing her to ladybugs. As we stroll along the Mispillion Riverwalk we love watching the turtles sun bathe on the banks of the river and talked about how turtles might be a nice addition to the shop—thus Ladybug Shop and Turtles Too. We are now actively looking for both ladybug and turtle products as we attend the gift shows.

Our grandson lives in Savannah and we plan to visit soon. You can bet “Granddaddy” will have several packages with cute little turtles to start introducing Dorian to the turtle.

The Three R's

The LadyBug Shop is committed to recycling. If you have received a package in the past from us you will know that most of the time you can see places where we have torn off stickers, or other companies information may be present. It's because we here at the LadyBug Shop abide by the Three R's, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.
All of the boxes or packing material that we do not use is recycled, and we are asking you to do the same!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Photography for the Website

Having good photos of products is essential, since much of the information customers need is conveyed in this manner. Sometimes our wholesalers will provide product photos, but this is still rare. (It seems that more wholesalers are providing this service as the importance of Internet retailing increases.) I now take our product photos using a Canon PowerShot Pro 1 eight mega pixel digital camera. In addition to its good optics, this camera has a large digital viewer that can fold out and swiveled into almost any position—a helpful feature when using a tripod. The camera also has macro and super macro modes that are essential in taking photos of very small objects such as earrings.

I usually work with the camera mounted on a BOGEN 3021BPRO tripod with a Manfrotto 3275/410 Compact Geared Head with Quick Release. Using a tripod helps in setting up shots and improves the quality of the resulting images. I have learned that it is very important to use a light box for most products so that you have good diffused lighting (provided by two daylight balanced photographic floodlights mounted on stands). I use an EZ Cube studio lighting system which I purchased online at

Altogether all the above equipment cost almost two thousand dollars. But the investment has been well worth it. The first year of taking photos for the LadyBug Shop website I used a Canon PowerShop S30 three mega pixel camera with no tripod or light box. It took me much longer to take product photos and the results were not as good as I now get with better equipment.

I download the images from my camera onto a computer and store them there. I use the free Google photo management software—Picasa—for this purpose. Most of the photos need to be edited in some way—either by being cropped or by making adjustments in brightness and contrast. I purchased one of the most popular digital photo-editing software packages—Microsoft PhotoShop—to do this editing, but I have found that I can usually do everything I need to do using a much simpler software such as the photo editor provided in Microsoft Office.

Our shopping cart software—Store Logic—allows us to upload and insert photos into our catalog via an Internet connection to the computer where the photos are stored. In some cases it is necessary to provide several views of the product, or show different variations or colors of the same product. Store Logic provides this capability.

Ladybug Computer Game

I found a really fun and FREE Ladybug Game that you can play online at Put the game on full screen when setting it up, it may look easy at first, but it took me a couple of tries to get past it! The key is not to get in the black, and get your ladybug to the end of the maze! What fun on days when you are in front of the computer, children will love it too! Hope you have fun!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

LadyBug Shop Introduces Turtles Too!

LadyBug Shop has decided to introduce a new line of products featuring TURTLES! Look for turtles popping up all across the website, including the full line of Stephen Jospeh Turtles being added next week! Including Turtle Pencils, Turtle Backpacks, Turtle Notepads, Turtle Accessories, and more!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Special Sales!

New Items in the Special Sales Category! Including the Summer Pitcher & Tumbler set, originally $54.99, now only $49.49! Other items on sale include, the Large Ladybug Tote, the Ladybug Citronella Candles, the Ladybug Sock Coin Purse, the Purple Dazzle Photo Stand, the Purple Dazzle Magazine Rack and more!

Take advantage of these low prices while they last!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Building the "Catalog"

One task that takes up a considerable amount of time at the LadyBug Shop is entering information about our products into our website catalog. Each time we add a new product to our inventory I take a digital photograph of it and Zoe or Rhonda writes a description of the product. We add these to the website by means of a form that is provided as part of our “shopping cart” software. Whenever we need to enter or edit information on our products, check customer orders, or undertake other administrative tasks, we enter our website using a special website access point that is password protected. (Since we work on the website at the same time as customers may be shopping on it you may occasionally notice our presence. A new product may suddenly appear for a few minutes with incomplete information, then disappear, and later reappear in complete form!)
While the product description needs to convey essential information about product price, size, materials, colors, etc. it also needs to written to “sell” the product. Thus whenever possible we try to provide other information that attract the customer’s interest. And we try to write the text descriptions in a friendly, informal and enthusiastic manner that we hope our customers will like.
With so many products on the LadyBug Shop website we have tried to make shopping more convenient by breaking the products down into categories—books, jewelry, apparel, kitchen decor, garden items, etc. In some cases, as our selection has grown, we have even introduced sub-categories, such as Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, etc., in the Jewelry category. Often products fit into more than one of these categories. Fortunately, our shopping cart software lets us easily put a single product into multiple categories without re-entering the information for each category. We also have the ability to show “related” products which helps in “cross selling”. And we even have a product search facility, which you can find at the top of the home page.
For special holidays, to highlight items we have placed on sale, and to show customers those items that we feel are most popular or that have recently been added to our catalog, we have created special categories where we cross-list them so that they can be displayed in these special categories.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Disappearance of the 9 Spotted Lady Beetle

The disappearance of the 9 Spotted Lady Beetle, known as Coccinella novemnotata, was little known to me until I read this wonderful article by Krishna Ramanujan. The article briefly talks about the reasons why the 9 Spotted Lady Beetle may be declining, and a proposed bill in New York to change their state bug, which is currently the 9 Spotted Lady Beetle. Check it out at It turns out that you can even take a class at Cornell University about the Search for Lost Ladybugs!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hosting the Website

After you get your website named and built, and before you share it with the world, you need to find a “host” for the website. This is a service that many computer service companies provide, so that you will need to find one that best meets your needs—that is unless you are big enough to want to own and operate computer servers yourself. If you want to learn more about hosting, a good place to start are the Wikipedia article on hosting at and the articles on hosting found at .

In our case we once again turned to our known local providers—Scott Livingood and While you can have this service provided from almost anywhere—one of the intriguing features on the Internet is that it is not location bound—you may, like us, prefer knowing the company and people with which you are working. It is especially useful to know the name and telephone number of someone you can call if you have problems.

You should shop around to make sure that you are paying a reasonable amount for this service. Hosting should not be a big expense for a small Internet retailer (several hundred dollars a year)—but you definitely need reliability. There will be service interruptions occasionally—and these are costly since you can not sell anything if customers can not access your website. And it is a hassle to change a host if the company you are using provides poor service or goes out of business. So you should consider both cost and reliability when you select your host. (Company size, length of time in business, existing client base, reputation, etc. are things to consider.) And you should insist that you are notified immediately any time there is an interruptions in service—either planned (for maintenance) or due to unexpected problems with the computer server.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just around the corner, so don't wait until the last minute to order your little one's Halloween costume! My personal favorite is the Ladybug Cape Costume, it is great for ages 3-9, it is so soft and adorable your little one will never want to take it off! Another costume LadyBug Shop offers is the Ladybug Vest, which can be paired with black leggings and a black turtleneck to complete the look. And for our tiny ladybugs, the Little Ladybug Costume, which fits infants up to 25 pounds. Don't forget the treat bag! To make your Halloween even more special order the Ladybug Personalized Tote to put all of the candy in, or if you prefer a smaller bag the Ladybug Goody Bag, or the Daisy Goody Bag. Have fun Trick or Treating!

Friday, September 7, 2007

LadyBug Shop is a merchant of

If you haven't been to yet, you have got to take a look! It allows consumers to enter in information about the person they would like to buy a gift for, including, gender, occasion, age, etc and it narrows it down for you. It even let's you look in the price range you would like to purchase the gift for! If you are like me I have a hard time figuring out what to buy people, unless they are ladybug fans...and this new tool helps immensely! We here at the LadyBug Shop thought it was so wonderful we have become a merchant of!

Building Our Website

When we first started the LadyBug Shop we knew very little about websites and eCommerce. Fortunately, we knew Scott Livingood, a local website designer. Several years earlier Scott had built an “advertising” website for us for another business. This time the job was bigger—since we wanted to sell our products via the Internet we needed a “catalog” and “shopping cart” in addition to information about the shop and about ladybugs. Scott’s solution was to divide the website into two parts. For the purely informational pages (which includes the home page) he used a popular user-friendly software called FrontPage. A good description of this software is provided at Wikipedia. The plan was that I would also learn to use FrontPage so that I could make changes to this portion of the website any time I wanted to do so. Unfortunately, I have still not found time to study the program, so I still have to ask Scott to make changes when they are necessary. (But I have the FrontPage manual and plan to study it some day!) For the shopping cart Scott turned to a local software development company,, who had developed excellent “shopping cart” software for small businesses such as LadyBug Shop. (You can find out about this software at Their shopping cart allows Zoe and myself to easily add product photos, descriptions and sales information whenever we have new products. And it takes care of putting together orders as customers select items from the catalog. It provides a number of other useful services such as handling credit card and shipping information and allowing customers to use discount codes that we have promotions or special sales. We have been very happy with our website and like having worked with local individuals and companies to put it together. Today we keep about 500 products in our website catalog—which makes us the largest provider of ladybug products on the World Wide Web!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Naming Our Website

Finding a URL—or website name—was one of the first tasks we faced in getting started with the construction of our Internet website. We wanted a name that would be easy to remember, so we thought simply using our physical shop’s name would be best. However, when electing a name, you must follow certain conventions (such as that you can not have any spaces in the URL) and you need to check that no one else have registered the name you want to use. Also you have to decide on which top-level domain to use, which is indicated by the letters following the dot in all URLs.

For our name we settled on LadyBug-Shop because it was an easy to read version of our shop’s name. (Some experts advise against using a hyphen in URLs, but we think it makes the name easier to read.) And we chose the “.com” domain because it is by far the most popular domain for commercial websites. (Other possible extensions for business sites are .biz or .net. Government websites use the .gov extension, non-commercial organizations such as non-profits use the .org extension, and educational institutions use the .edu extension.)

It should be noted that while we like to display our URL using upper and lower case letters, when typing the name in a search engine, capitalization does not matter. You get the same result whether you type,,, or even!

After selecting a name, we had to find out if it was available or if someone else had already taken it. Luckily the name we wanted was available. But as millions of domain names have been registered—many just to place a claim on them for potential future use or for resale—it can be difficult sometimes to find a good name for a new business. We were fortunate. You can use websites such as to find out if a particular URL is available.

The next step was to formally register the name, which also required paying a small fee. Registering a .com domain name currently costs about $20 to $60 per year, depending on which company you use. Check around and you can usually get a big discount, especially for the first year. Also, registering .biz and .net domain names is somewhat less expensive. The registration process can easily be completed on the Internet using any of a number of registration services such as or

We completed all the above steps and on May 19, 2003 “” was born!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Finding Products for the LadyBug Shop

One of the big tasks one faces when starting up a retail sales business is finding good wholesale suppliers for the products that you will offer your customers. The task is especially challenging when you have decided to dedicate your efforts to a very narrow line of products—in our case only products that incorporated ladybugs in their design. Very early in our search we made a fundamental decision—that we would warehouse all our products and not rely on what are termed “drop ship” relationships with wholesalers. Drop ship allows a retailer to handle the marketing and sales of item, while the wholesaler fulfills orders when directed by the retailer. It is attractive in that the retailer does not have to invest heavily in inventory. But we decided it would not work well in our case as we would have to work with a large number of wholesalers, ordering only a modest amount from each. And the unit cost of our products is lower than that which usually works best for a “drop ship” mode of operation. Also we think customers find it less appealing when they purchase a number of items and then have them shipped by multiple suppliers.
From the very beginning we wanted to encourage artists and crafters to make products especially for our shop. And many of our early offerings were from this source. And even today some of our most popular products—such as Marilyn’s customized, hand-embroidered pillows, shirts and hats—are handmade just for us. But we found we could not build up the selection of products we needed from this source alone.
Fortunately, we heard about the International Gift Fair that is held in New York City twice each year. And since I work in New York during the week and have an apartment there (coming home to Delaware every weekend), it was easy for us to check the show out. The first time it was a truly overwhelming experience. Thousands of wholesalers set up shop in the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the Hudson River for one week. Rhonda and I walked, looked, talked and bought until we dropped. Fortunately, with such a large assemblage we were able to find dozens of companies who produced wonderful ladybug items. Products from these companies became the bulk of the LadyBug Shop’s initial offerings.
Since our first visit to the Gift Show we have returned every six months over the last four years to renew our contacts and find additional products. We have also occasionally visited similar wholesaler shows in Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia—but the New York one is still our primary venue for finding suppliers. And it just happens that Rhonda and I are at the show this week looking for even more special ladybug items to add to the LadyBug Shop!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Only 6 Available!

Unfortunately, the Ladybug Plush Pot Cover has been discontinued! The LadyBug Shop only has 6 available until the Ladybug Plush Pot Cover is completely sold out! Order now before it is no longer available! One of our most popular items, the Ladybug Bank, will be out of stock for a month. So don't fret it should arrive in time for Christmas!

Thank you for shopping!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"The Ladybugs" by Deb Zarek

Last month we asked for your stories about how ladybugs have played a role in your life. The following was submitted by Deb Zarek--and we have chosen her to receive the prize of a 10% discount on her next order. There were many other great stories sent to us. Here is Deb's story:

"We are a group of seven women who get together for a 'girls only' annual campout weekend. This year (2007) is our 14-year anniversary! We travel from all over (Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas) and stay at the same location each year in Onawa, Iowa. The park is called Lewis & Clark, named for the famous explorers of course. This particular park has replicas of the keelboats used by the original expedition and draws history buffs from all over the country.

The group was started by co-workers who became friends and discovered a shared love of camping. Two became four, four became six, etc. Friends of friends were invited and the group grew to a size of eight. We lost one of our members a few years ago, and now are seven. We range in age from mid-30s to late-40s, and all but two of us are currently married. We're all professionals with hectic schedules and demanding careers. Together, we have 14 children and 3 grandchildren! Three of our members became grandmas in the last year. We are fiercely loyal to each other, and better friends you won't find anywhere. The original motto of the group was "No Men, No Kids, No Hassles!"

We got our name "The Ladybugs" from a group of senior campers who also frequent the park. They essentially adopted us one weekend and fed us fresh-baked brownies and other wonderful treats. As we were riding by their campsite on bicycles one afternoon, one of the ladies called out "oh, there go those cute little ladybugs again.'" And so it began...We accepted that moniker with great enthusiasm and soon everyone was collecting everything 'ladybug.' We have banners, flags, T-shirts, shorts, shoes, socks, candles, towels, chairs, lamps, mugs, napkins, tissues, rugs, tableware, etc. even a ladybug-shaped BBQ grill! Friends and family have been giving us unique ladybug gifts for the past 14 years.

We all have 'ladybug' nicknames. There's Go Go Bug, Weather Bug, Flashing Bug, Bar Bug, Naughty Bug, Dancing Bug, and Leaky Bug. Each of the bugs 'earned' her name for a variety of reasons. You can use your imagination on this! A couple of the senior campers who gave us our name have become Mama and Papa Bug and they try to join us for our weekend whenever they can.

We also have a 'secret bug' where we draw names out of a (Ladybug-shaped) basket and send anonymous gifts several times each year. The secret is revealed at our awards ceremony held on the Saturday night of ladybug weekend each year. The awards ceremony is a whole story unto itself...suffice it to say it is amazingly creative and exceedingly entertaining!

There are lots of other rituals we have. "Theme Night," "Sponsor a Movie," "Keelboat Sailing Demonstration," and "The Walk" are just to name a few. Like the awards ceremony, each of these has its own story, which I won't elaborate on for now. At this year's gathering, we'll plan our special 15-year anniversary celebration for next year. Our annual weekend is very special to each one of us and one we look forward to with great anticipation. We are such great friends that we can pick up where we left off and get caught up on each others' lives in a very short period of time. There are lots of stories to tell--some involve tears--but many more involve laughter and warm memories.

Thanks for sticking with me for this long diatribe. Your website asked customers to share why the ladybug is a special symbol to them. These women are why the ladybug is so important to me

Ladybugs at the Hospital

I started collecting ladybugs in 2000 because that was the year my mother died. She was on the 11th floor of the hospital in Orlando,Florida dying from a brain hemmorage. It was during January and we found it odd that her bed and room were crawling with ladybugs. We didn't mind them because we all loved ladybugs so we left them alone. However, I asked the nurse if this was unusual and she said that they were only on the 11th floor, the home of the terminally ill.We also had a young teacher at our school die shortly thereafter. She, too, had a terminal illness. Outside her classroom were all these ladybugs. We did not find any of them anywhere else on campus. One day I heard a young woman ask a psychic or "gifted" guest on a talk show ask if they knew any relationship between people dying and ladybugs. She said it meant that everything was ready for them on the other side. All of my friends, family, and students have been buying me ladybugs ever since. I must say I have had a very blessed life.

--Barbara Thames

Ladybugs from Texas

Three years ago I was BLESSED with my first grandchild, a little girl named Landrie. An original name I thought and one I didn't know at the time would turn into "Ladybug". I also have a young son who is of course, Landrie's uncle. (only 13 months apart, but we have FUN!!!!) When both were much younger and learning to talk, my son couldn't say Landrie but instead pronounced it Lannie or Lanie. That in turn started me calling her Lady and Lit'l Lady. One day my husband starting calling her "Ladybug" and it has stuck ever since. She wore a ladybug costume for her first Halloween (as her uncle was a bumblebee, too cute!!) and has spent the last couple of years collecting ladybug anything along with me, her "Nanny". We are preparing now to decorate her new "big girl" room with the Ladybug theme, all in red, black, and white. Nanny has begun to appreciate this little bug now as it reminds me everytime of my little good luck charm brought to earth.
And of course, how excited was Nanny when I found your store. Thanks for all the goodies and ideas. Keep up the good work.

--D'Ann Lee


An Inspirational Story

I wanted to share an inspirational story with you.

My wife past away in February of this year as a result of cancer. For 3 years she fought hard. The day she was diagnosed her front door was covered with real ladybugs, and since that day she had looked at them as someone watching over her.

To this day as my children and I are doing things together a lady bug will more then likely visit, this past weekend while on the beach a lady bug landed on my arm , my daughters arm then my sons… was Suzy watching us.

--Sean Grant

Bugs From California

Have you heard of the “Legend of the Ladybug”

“Ladybugs” have become a very significant part of my family’s lives after my oldest brother Mike passed away just one year ago. My brother died of lung cancer and when diagnosed was only given a few months to live. He passed away after 6 months of great suffering. During those 6 months we all had our special moments and visits with Mike. He told each one of his siblings and his wife and children that he would come back to us! His daughter Gina went to her dad’s grave side and prayed to her father and asked him to please send her a sign. At that moment 2 ladybugs landed on Gina’s hand. Then his wife had ladybug encounters and his son as well.
I too have had many ladybug encounters and my husband as well. We know that it is my brother Mike coming back to us as he promised! I looked up ladybugs on the internet and found the “Legend of the Ladybug”! Then it all made sense to us why Mike is giving us a sign through the Ladybug. Mike was very devoted to Our Lady and prayed to her daily. Who doesn’t love a cute little Ladybug. But now the Ladybug has a very special meaning to our family and we can’t get enough of Ladybugs!! I think we could write a book on the ladybug encounters that my family has experienced. They are not your everyday encounters….they have been at significant times and that’s how we’s Mike!!
--Bugs from California
(Bugs was a nickname my big brother called me when I was just a little girl)

Legend of the Ladybug Good Luck Ladybug

In most cultures, the Ladybug is considered Lucky or to bring Good Luck. And stories vary about how this legend began. The most popular began in Europe during the Middle Ages when swarms of insects were destroying the crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon thereafter the Ladybugs came, devouring the plant-destroying insects and saving the crops. The farmers called these beautiful insects 'The Beetles of Our Lady' which over time became 'Lady Beetles' or 'Lady Bugs'. The red wings were said to represent the Virgin's cloak and the black spots were symbolic of both her joys and her sorrows.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

From Tennessee

My name is Ashlea Montgomery and I live in Memphis, Tennessee. This is my ladybug story... I wish it were different...

My friend, Cheri Wade and I are in our mid thirties and both have two children...In 2005 our sons were 5 and our daughters were 3. Our sons, Jacob and Chandler, were best friends and attended the same small private school...that is how I met Cheri. Our daughters, Katie and Evan were just going to start preschool in the Fall so we bought their uniforms and were so excited...we had big plans for our kids who had become such close little friends…all was perfect in our little world until “Katie-bug” had a horrible accident on June 25, 2005. I received a call that she accidentally slipped in the neighbors pool and drowned. I don’t even know what to tell you after that sentence but that we were devastated and our lives would never be the same after that day. We wrapped our hearts around the Wade family and have never let them go. We have had balloon releases, ladybug releases, dedicated a childrens book series to our school library...anything we can do, we try to do to show them our love and support.

We just had the 2nd anniversary of precious little Katie’s death. We went out to the site of their new house in the country and had a “ladybug release” where “Katie’s Garden” will be. It was a sad but sweet time to draw close to Cheri, Jason, Jacob and there family. I was shopping for the perfect thing and that is when I found your store online. I bought the adorable ladybug bird house to hang on the tree in “Katie’s Garden.” Cheri absolutely loved it. It was precious and priceless.

Cheri is so, so sweet. She is a woman of such strength and character. She makes me want to be a better person. If my story is chosen, I will use it to honor her and the memory of precious Katie.

Well, back to my story…Cheri decided that she wanted to get a small ladybug tattoo in memory of Katie this past June. So, about eleven of us planned a fun sleep over night and made our way to the tattoo parlor...they were surprised to see “suburbia” roll out of this mini van and pile in the door for our new addition! I thought the artist was going to start crying right then and there when we responded to “so what’s up with the ladybug?”

Well, now you know my ladybug story. We will be forever friends brought unusually close through this tragedy...

We sign off to each other by saying, “Hugs and Ladybugs!”

Thank you for hearing my story.


Ashlea Montgomery

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Choosing Ladybugs

One of the critical decisions to be made when starting a new business is defining a suitable product with an adequate potential customer base. In the case of the LadyBug Shop the initial idea for focusing on ladybug products came from the fact that the ladybug is Delaware’s official state bug due to the efforts of a second grade class from the town of Milford petitioning the State Legislature to give it this designation. (Read the full story) Given that we are located in Milford, Delaware, it seemed like a nice business to have in our town and one that local customers would find appealing. But that was only part of the decision. In addition I had been studying the world of “eCommerce”—i.e. business done via the Internet. And I had some ideas about what would be a good product line to offer to shoppers via a website. I was looking for a very narrow product line, since I knew that advertising costs were high if you have to compete with other stores. And I knew that we would need a relatively large potential customer base around the world. Clearly, limiting ourselves to gifts with a ladybug design was a narrow focus. And I knew that ladybugs were beloved by people around the world--so I guessed there might be a large customer base for ladybug products. I did not do much market research—but I did do a Google search on the word “ladybug” and came up with over 12,000 web references (in 2003). That seemed promising. Of course you never know until you try—but it seems that I was correct about the appeal of the ladybug. Today we have over 10,000 visitors per month visiting our website

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NEW! Ladybug Leather Luggage Tag

We just received a shipment of Ladybug Leather Luggage Tags that are incredible! Each bold ladybug is great to put on your luggage, gym bag, diaper bag, backpack, purse, golf bag, any thing you can think of! Plus it is so bold you can be sure to distinguish your luggage from all of the other black luggage--you'll find your bag at the airport in a hurry! Look at our New Items category frequently to see all of the new ladybug products!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Everybody Loves Ladybugs!

Everyone loves ladybugs, especially little girls! Dan and I have a wonderful granddaughter, Madison, who is now two years old and has come to love the ladybug. Each year since she was born Madison has been with us for Milford’s Bug & Bud Festival and joined us in leading the opening parade. Just before the Festival the LadyBug Shops receives live ladybugs from Ladies in Red, which we give out to the community during the Festival. When Madison was just an infant we gave a ladybug to her and she calmly let it crawl on her hand. She now looks for them in the garden and when we go for walks. One day we were out for a walk and she stopped suddenly and reached down and picked up a ladybug and proudly told us what it was. She knows they are “good bugs” and she is very careful with them. What a fun way to teach a child about nature!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Click-and Mortar" Gift Shop

The LadyBug Shop is a specialized "click-and-mortar" gift shop that my wife Rhonda and I opened in Milford, Delaware in November 2003. The “click” refers to the fact that we have a website that is used to sell our products online to customers around the world. The “mortar” refers to the fact that at the same time we operate a retail gift shop in downtown Milford to serve customers who shop in Milford. In large part we started the LadyBug Shop an experiment to see if this type of business can help to revitalize historic downtowns in small cities. We have been working for several years with the Downtown Milford Inc., a not-for-profit volunteer group dedicated to the revitalization of the town’s historic central business district. We realized that it is very difficult to create a viable cluster of small businesses in an older downtown area using traditional business models. Given the limited amount of shopping now occurring in the area, the pioneering shops usually did not survive very long, thus the critical mass of shops needed to draw shoppers back downtown could not be accumulated. We thought eCommerce could be used to supplement traditional retailing and thus be a useful tool for sustaining viable businesses in the downtown area while the in-store shopping customer base was built up over time. I plan to use my entries in this blog to record our experiences in setting up and operating the LadyBug Shop so that others can learn from our experience.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ladybug Books For All Ages!

The LadyBug Shop features ladybug themed books for all ages! For beginning readers ages up to three, we carry the Mary Meyer Soft Book. For ages three and up the Set of Three Touchable Counting Books is a great way to get your little one counting with monkeys, stars and ladybugs! The Grouchy Ladybug, is our most popular book and is wonderful for ages five and up! Each page gets a little larger and features a clock at the top of the page to teach your child how to tell time! The ladybug in the story starts out not using her manners but by the end says "please and thank you" and is a well mannered ladybug! Shaoey and Dot is a wonderful story written by Mary Beth & Steven Curtis Chapman, about a young oriental child that is befriended by a ladybug and soon discovers the joys of being adopted by a family. This book is fabulous! The first time I read it I needed a tissue box!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

WELCOME to the LadyBug Shop!!

Welcome to the LadyBug Shop...where everything is ladybug! The LadyBug Shop features almost 500 ladybug themed gifts! Including ladybug jewelry, ladybug garden decor, ladybug apparel, ladybug baby supplies and gifts, ladybug cards, ladybug office accessories, ladybug kitchen decor, ladybug picture frames, ladybug toys and games, ladybug books, ladybug birthday party supplies, ladybug collectibles, Franz Ladybug Collection, ladybug home decor. There are so many things to mention that you need to visit now to check it out!

Fun Ladybug Game