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Top Business Challenge:
Finding Capital for Marketing; Marketing On A Shoe-string Budget

Elizabeth Hamilton, Owner, Pookie Galore Designs

Lauded as one of Houston’s top artists of recycled materials. Her work has been displayed in Houston’s City Hall and at many prominent green shows

What have you come up with for meeting this challenge?

Bartering with other “creatives” (artists) and green business owners.  Instead of spending money we, for example, can cross-promote for each other on social media

How do you find a business that is willing to barter?
Some businesses, including green businesses, are now posting their willingness to barter on their Website
“Green” doesn’t mean they can’t work for another, not specifically, ‘green’ business

When entering into a barter relationship you need to assign some kind of fair market value for the time /products/services/ that are to be bartered

Some transaction examples:

  • In exchange for membership in Houston Green Chamber of Commerce -Offered them that amount of my time in dollars trading “X” number of hours of my time for a one year membership
  • In exchange for vendor space in a craft show – offered some of my finished products


Setting up a barter agreement
First have a clear idea of what you ARE willing to barter and what you AREN’T willing to barter
Make a list of what your time is worth, expressed as X dollars/hour; what your products are worth, and what your services are worth
If you aren’t certain of the value of the other business’ barter item(s), ASK them
Also, you need to be certain what you want to barter has a realistic fair market value—on both sides of the equation

Is there a limit to what you should use as barter?

E.g. coaching and consulting aren’t good barters; they can become very expensive and takes a lot of your time

Another one of my shoestring tactics is utilizing college students. Not by barter but college students, while not having the experience of a season professional they can have more passion in their efforts. College students are willing to learn, willing to re-work things, and, at times, notice things a seasoned professional might miss.

Tell us about your contributing a percentage of your net proceeds to charity –

  • Primary reason: I believe we were put on planet to make the lives of others better. One way I can to that is by providing money to charities
  • Secondary reason: once I started telling people that I was giving 10% of my proceeds to the Blood Water Mission, my sales shot up. People see the tangible benefit of the purchase as well as the chance to change someone’s life.


The Blood Water Mission

  • Build wells in Africa and provides HIV and AIDS medicine to those who need it
  • $1 provides someone with a years worth of water. The majority of the money goes to the project and is not eaten up by administration.

Do you have any thoughts about what other businesses should consider when looking to adopt a charity for their business?

  • Choose something that makes sense for their business
  • Stay away form charities that are too ‘out there’ or too controversial; you want it to be something that makes your customer feel good

You have a large business regret. What is that?

I wish that someone would have told me that just because a marketing program is expensive doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

Contact Information for Elizabeth Hamilton

Business Name:   Pookie Galore Designs
Business Location:   Houston, TX
Website:   Coming this Fall:

  • Shopping Website
  • Website soon to become a lifestyle portal (recipes, craft videos, blog entries, and later, projected to offer works from other green artists)


More about Elizabeth

  • Multi-talented also works, on the side, as a freelance writer; script writer, even as a Program Manager
  • Contributions include websites, blogs and the Facebook game “Mecha Galaxy”
  • Most recent article and photographs, “Buying Vintage”, can be read in the April 2013 issue of ‘White Magazine’
  • AND just launched her first book: “Deals in Las Vegas”. This ‘deals’ book is attractive and stylish, something that you aren’t embarrassed to take out to refer to on vacation. Available on Amazon as a Kindle Book.