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.

Fun Ladybug Game