The elves at Elfster certainly know the importance of making each and every day count! That’s why when a group of nearly 200 women from all over the country connected to participate in an exchange of products to enhance their personalized life planners, we thought we’d share their motivational ideas. Not only are these ladies organized, but they share a love for the happy, colorful and inspirational work of designer Erin Condren (EC).
According to the We Love EC MayDay exchange organizer Amber Windell, “Erin Condren (www.erincondren.com) is an online retailer for personalized paper products, gifts, and tons of other awesome items. Everyone in the group’s #1 favorite product is the life planner. All of us are ‘planner addicts’ who have extreme OCD for post-it notes, ink pens, washi tape, and most importantly documenting our everyday lives on paper. In the age of technology, we often feel like ‘weirdos’ for our paper planner obsession, but this group makes us feel normal, welcomed and understood.”
The women first connected through a Facebook group called “We Love EC.” The group is now up to 2,345 members, who all share a common love for personal organization and planning in a fashionable way. The Facebook page describes itself as “a group all about our love for all things Erin Condren! We are here to share, inspire, and meet others who share our passion for these wonderful products. Join us!”
According to Erin Condren’s website, she is the proud stay-at-home mom of two who followed her heart to create something she truly believes in: “When I started this personalized stationery business from my home years ago, there really wasn’t anything online that thrilled me. Everything online seemed so static and I tend to think outside the box! I always loved creating my own unique Christmas cards, birthday invitations, thank you notes and more. After several home shopping parties, I decided it was time to offer my collection to the world.”
And many have followed their hearts right to Erin’s websites, where she says: “I promise to do my best to create new designs & products that will make your life a little less serious and a lot more fun.”
There are limitless options to personalize these beautiful spiral-bound books, which can be used for any purpose to keep track of your own life, including recording birthdays, remembering important dates, managing kids’ activities, tracking bills or tracking your workouts, just to name a few.
This time around, participants are exchanging store-bought or handmade planner supplies with a $20 limit, such as markers, stickers, post-it notes, tape, etc. They are expected to ship their package on time (with tracking) and then upload the tracking information to Elfster. “Most importantly,” Amber said, “participants are expected to actually ship a package to their partner. Once names have been distributed, if anyone has to drop out they have to let me know ASAP so I can have the person who was sending them a package send to their partner instead. Failure to send a package could ban you from future swaps.”
And even though this is quite an organized bunch, we sure are glad Elfster could help to simplify the exchange process!
“I had used Elfster for an exchange for a different group that was not associated with ‘We Love EC’,” Amber explained. “Other members had used it for other groups as well, but as far as I know the current exchange is the first ‘We Love EC’ Elfster exchange. Prior to Elfster, whoever decided to coordinate the exchange (a volunteer) would dedicate a specific time period for sign-ups. During this time, members would send a message via Facebook to the coordinator with their name and address. The coordinator was responsible for collecting the data, swapping everyone’s names, and then sending the participants the name and addresses of the person they were sending to. It’s always a secret and you don’t reveal yourself to your secret partner. Once you shipped your package, you had to message the coordinator the tracking information.”
“I really wanted to coordinate a swap because I enjoy them so much,” she continued, “but didn’t want to take on all the responsibility and ‘hassle’ of how the swaps were being organized. It just seemed like too much work for the coordinator. So, I talked to the administrator of the group and she gave me permission to give Elfster a try. Now everyone loves it and keeps asking if we’re using it for future swaps, which is the plan.”
Using Elfster also offers unique features to help participants get to know each other. According to Amber, “Everyone LOVES the wishlist and question features because before we had no clue what our partner liked, what they had, what they didn’t have, etc. It definitely made the exchange more engaging and less hectic. Everyone was encouraged to add items to their wishlist, but not required to. Everyone really enjoyed this feature because we could really see what they liked and could easily click to buy the items. The questions/answers helped us figure out what our partner had or didn’t have, if they had pets, kids, favorite colors, etc. Since we were swapping planner accessories/supplies this was extremely helpful.”
“My favorite feature overall is by far the wishlist, I love how the wishlist stays with you so that with each swap you don’t have to create a new one,” Amber said. “From an organizer standpoint, my favorite feature is being able to see who was assigned who and tracking info. Because of the learning curve, some participants had a hard time finding who their partner was so I was able to go in and find it for them and message it to them.”
Plans are already in the works within the group for a “Christmas in July” swap, so they can keep on adding to those wishlists!