January is a time for reflection on the previous year and to think about the coming year. It’s a time to assess what went well for you and to address anything you want to work on changing. It is the fresh start of a new year, and we are so excited you are here with us on this journey! During 2021 we made some amazing moves within our business to support the growth we have seen throughout the pandemic. As we continued to push forward into the unknown, we brought on two new team members, Mckenzie and Danielle. Mckenzie joined our team as a Web Specialist and Danielle joined our team as our Project Manager.
With the growth of our team throughout the year, we were able to bring on 60 new clients. Each one has been essential to our growth, and we have had so much fun bringing all their ideas to life and getting to know their businesses. The experience of trying to expand our business, and help others do the same during a pandemic have helped us develop our skills and strengthen us as a team. We were so blessed to not only survive but thrive this year!
Looking forward to 2022, we have no plans of slowing down. Our growth and development as a team is one of our top priorities. We want to push each other to the next level in everything we do. When we support each and our individual growth, the entire will benefit from it, and we can continue to grow together as a business. Another major goal for the year is to create new business and community partnerships. We focus on small, local businesses, and love being able to be part of their growth. We also want to help all our current clients meet any goals they have for the year. When we strengthen the businesses around us, we strengthen the community, making it a better place to live, work, and visit.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
My typical day includes working in my home office updating websites, posting to social media, and brainstorming ideas for Berry Digital Solutions. When the workload slows down, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, Parker. Parker and I are high school sweethearts. We both attended Triad High School and have been together since 2014. We are getting married on October 23, 2021 and we are beyond excited! We have two fur babies that we adore so much! We have a cat named Trixie who we adopted in January of 2020 and most recently, we adopted a Miniature Australian Shepard named Odin who is now seven months old.
Most of my free time is spent with my fiancé. We both enjoy nature hikes in Yellow Springs, fishing, playing video games with our friends, watching anything and everything Marvel, binge watching The Office for what seems like the millionth time, and having Harry Potter marathons. One of our favorite memories is attending the renaissance festival which we plan to attend again this year! Another fall favorite of ours is watching Ohio State University football on Saturdays. This has been a tradition of ours since we started dating almost seven years ago!
Family is the most important thing in my life. I enjoy spending time with my family any chance that I get. I have three siblings; Macie, J.T., and Addison. I am also a proud aunt of Owen (6), Connor (4), Quinn (2), Hailey (4 months), and Elias (2 months). Being with my nieces and nephews is the best, and it's even better when we are all together at once! I could not imagine life without my family and I am so lucky that we are all close knit.
This past year has been very eventful with my fiancé and I moving into a new place in February, planning a wedding, two new additions to our family in April and June, getting a puppy at the end of May, to leaving my job of two years and starting a new career on June 7th. I have been very blessed with the life I have been given and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for helping me along this path. I still have a lot of learning and growth to do, but I am surrounded by love and happiness that has given me the motivation to always be my best self. I am so excited for what the next few years will bring and I look forward to all that the future has to offer.
Fall is almost here which means the holiday shopping season is happening soon – or has even already begun for some people. According to a survey by Salesforce, 58% of consumers expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than before. We have already seen this in action, with online sales reaching 18% of all retail sales in 2020. This number is expected to hit 21.4% by 2024. In 2019, before the pandemic, that number was just 13.6%.
What does all of this mean for the future of small business retail? Well, first look at all the different avenues available for online sales. With platforms like Facebook and Instagram rolling out shopping features, it is easier than ever to sell online. While these tools can’t replace your ecommerce site, you can attract potential customers you may not have been reaching before. Getting set up for sales on each platform is a little different, but worth the time.
Another thing to consider while getting your store ready for the holidays is that people are still looking for an experience. It might not be easy to recreate the feeling of holiday shopping the way we used to know it on a digital platform, but putting that thought behind your decisions can help. Some sites are including more videos, offering augmented reality try-ons, and even offering chats with sales associations online. Giving your customers something that makes the experience memorable will go a long way.
As you prepare your holiday shop it is good to remember that half of all online sales during the 2020 holiday shopping season were made on a mobile device. It is so important to make sure the time and effort you put into your ecommerce site translates to mobile users as well. You
don’t want half of your audience to miss out on all the effort you put into your holiday planning.
Last year the holiday shopping season started early, and we should expect to see more of the same this year. Along with early deals, expect shipping costs to go up this year. USPS has already said that they plan to charge more for packages shipped during the holidays. This increase will apply to individuals and businesses. Be sure to take this into account as you price out your shipping costs for the season.
These tips should help you get your ecommerce site ready to go for the 2021 holiday season! If you need any help implementing any of these changes into your site, give us a call today to set up a consultation to see how we can help you - 937-404-1050.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
This is something I have been struggling to write. What do I do outside of the office? Honestly, the same things a lot of other people do. . . work to maintain that work/life balance. If I am being really real - it’s hard! I am a people pleaser by nature. Disappointing someone, anyone, is triggering. I want to be the best wife, mother, daughter, employee. . . the list goes on and on. So, I decided that if I wanted to do this right, I had to do another hard thing, be authentic. If you know me, like really know me, you know I am careful to share my stories. I guard them closely, because opening yourself up to someone comes with a risk. A risk of being judged or misunderstood. While I pride myself on being authentic, I would rather hear someone else’s story and be their support person than share my own, but I can do hard things. I also really value authenticity and vulnerability. In a time where mental health is still undervalued, it’s imperative to shine a light on the good times and bad, to reminder others that hope is never lost, and there is always light in the darkness. So, let’s start in the darkness:
September 29, 2019 - A year ago, I was drowning. Not in a literal sense, but in a metaphoric body flailing, can’t keep your head above water, soul crushing sense of the word. Life wasn’t working out the way I planned. I was stalled. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the future I imagined was no longer clear. I sat looking at a husband that completes me, that knows me better than I know myself at times, who lifts me up and has given me the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful little boy’s life: Preston, a kid that’s mine in every sense of the word, except one. In my mind, I was failing them both. I couldn’t give my husband a baby or Preston a sibling. Month after month you lose a part of yourself until you don’t know who you are if you can’t have a baby. There’s an overwhelming sense of being less than. It hits you in the moments you least expect, and there are constant reminders around you that you can’t do something most women can. As women, that’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we compare ourselves to others.
So, I overcompensate. I become unbearable to live with, because in my desperation I seek to become the best wife and mother possible - and I lose myself.
Then I see a post about a job I’m not remotely qualified for, but I decide it’s worth a conversation. I learn a little more and I’m in. I’ll be honest, it sounds crazy! Leave the job you’re great at, go do something you know nothing about, for someone you met just a year ago that has these wild plans that sound too good to be true! I needed a little crazy, and more importantly, I needed something for myself that I could feel good about and excel at.
My job has given me everything I never knew I needed: time alone to heal and just be, new experiences that give me the chance to find myself, and a purpose. My inability to “have a baby” doesn’t define my worth. Does it make it easier to imagine my life without a baby? Absolutely not. Are there still moments where I feel like I’m drowning? 100%, but it reminds me that I can do hard things and for now that’s enough.
P.S. You can do hard things too!
Now a little light, because we all need a little love and hope.
November 11, 2020 - Nine years ago I met you, a squishy faced boy who loved superheroes, snacks, and had a dad as a best friend. It took time for us to figure out how we fit in each other’s lives, and it wasn’t an easy road. With guarded hearts, we navigated the rocky waters. I never saw you take your first steps or say your first word, but I watched you confidently head into your first day of kindergarten, shared in the joy of your first touchdown, and comforted you during your first experience with death. With disappearing cheeks and a deeper voice, I’ve watched you become a teenager who’s wise beyond his years. Yesterday, in a courtroom, with a judge and your dad, I watched you become mine! After nice years, some tears, and a lot of love I can officially say that I became your mom!
Words can’t truly express how I feel. Eternally grateful. Thank you to your dad for trusting me, for bringing me into your lives, and allowing me to love you both. To your birth mom, thank you for creating a boy that’s changed our lives forever. For loving him and making the hardest choice possible for him. For putting him first. To you, my not so squishy faced boy, thank you for making me a mama. For teaching me so much about life. For making me a better person and for allowing me to be a part of your life.
August 13, 2021 - Today I am here. I am surviving. Surviving a pandemic, surviving a son entering high school, and surviving a baby that still isn’t here. All of that is what makes life beautiful. It’s messy, and complicated, and happy, and sad. I hope that if you’re reading this you know that you’re not alone, that there is beauty in the mess and that you can do ALL the hard things!
Berry Digital Solutions is proud to be made up of a team of people that not only bring passion to their jobs but have passion for their lives. In this new blog series, we want to highlight our team members and what they currently are doing outside of the office that keeps them motivated and inspired. First up is Chris Anders, one of the founders of Berry Digital Solutions, and the guy behind the scenes keeping everything running smoothly. Read what he has to say about coaching his sons below:
When I’m not sitting behind a computer for Berry Digital Solutions, you’ll probably find me running a local baseball, basketball, or soccer practice. My boys are 6 and 8 years old and already love sports as much as I do. The Super Bowl, March Madness, Opening Day, and National Championship Games are all important dates on our family calendar that we plan for and schedule around.
A major milestone in our family was the moment my boys were old enough to join youth sports leagues and begin playing the sports they love with their friends and peers. Initially, I had no intentions of coaching their teams. I figured they’d heard all of my “coaching” at home and were growing tired of my voice. I would remain on the sidelines as a supportive dad and let a new voice teach them some new things. But it didn’t take long to realize how much these local sports leagues needed volunteers. Practices couldn’t get started without coaches, and the pool of volunteers was so low that a couple of times, our seasons were delayed because no one was available to coach the teams.
As the co-owner of Berry Digital Solutions, I can make my work schedule pretty flexible, and I had a background in athletic administration, so it started to feel irresponsible of me not to volunteer. I took the plunge when a shorthanded friend of mine asked me to help him out with my son’s T-ball team. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to command the attention of a dozen preschoolers. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable behind a keyboard, and if you don’t bring the energy and passion every time with a group of 5-year-olds, it can flop pretty quickly. (Shoutout to my mom and dad who, even after a combined 6 decades of elementary school teaching, continue going to work every day to do it again and again and again. I have no idea how you do it. I’m completely exhausted after 1 hour of practice with 10 kids. My dad actually taught class all day long, and then chose to coach for another 2-3 hours each night in multiple sports throughout the school year. It was normal to me when I was kid, but now it seems certifiably insane to do that for almost 40 straight years.)
Since I started coaching, my head is constantly filled with practice ideas, funny things the kids say or funny things I can say to them at the next practice. I want them to look forward to the next game or practice as much as I do. The world is a crazy place full or stress and anxiety, so I try my best to create a practice environment where all of those stressors disappear, and we just get to have fun playing sports and joking around with our friends for an hour or two.
My favorite part of coaching is seeing how far the kids grow each season, from that first practice when everyone’s shy and maybe never even played the sport they’re signed up for, and by the end of the year they’re getting hits every game or scoring goals and everyone’s so excited it’s difficult to get a word in with all of the conversations happening between new friends.
The pictures I shared are from my WL-S T-Ball and Coach Pitch teams this season. At the start of May (on my birthday to boot!), my Coach Pitch team went on a magical run in the Logan County Preseason Tournament. We eventually fell in the Championship Game, but I swear, no team had more fun and more smiles that day than the West Liberty Lions Club. Even after losing, our kids were on Cloud 9 and you can really tell in those team photos. No matter where I end up on this coaching journey with my boys, I’ll always cherish these smiles and memories, and I can’t believe that I once made up my mind that I wasn’t going to get involved and coach my boys’ teams.
Outside of work, I like to spend time with family. I have been married to my husband since 2003, and we have a 16 year-old daughter and a 12 year-old son. My son is autistic, and for most of his life, I've stayed home with him, taking him to special schools and therapy. Now that he's a little older, I enjoy working from home, building and updating websites whenever I get a free second!
I love to read and hike, and I'm a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, but my passion is travelling. I've been to 46 states and all over Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean, and there's plenty more on my bucket list. I spend a lot of my free time planning my next adventure!