At this point in our tech-centric lives, it’s a pretty safe bet that anyone reading this post has had to come up with at least a handful of personal passwords at some point. WiFi, bank accounts, social media, Paypal, Amazon, Netflix… the list goes on and on. And if you’re like me, at least a few of those passwords have been embarrassingly bad and easy to figure out (for anyone looking to raise Cain on my childhood AOL Instant Messenger account, for example, I think my password may have been some variation of KISSrocks). For those in any doubt at all, let me assure you that the threat of hacking is very real and can be very costly.

So, is it really all that hard to develop, use, and remember strong passwords? Let’s take a moment to look at a few good options that may surprise you.

you’re doing it wrong: passphrases instead of passwords.

Love him or hate him, Edward Snowden makes a great point. Passwords/phrases don’t have to be random bits of meaningless jargon. Instead, a long, humorous and random phrase could provide you with the double whammy of a memorable phrase that is next to impossible to crack (dibs on margaretthatcheris110%SEXY, by the way). The idea here is that non sequitur (meaningless) phrases are much harder for hackers to figure out than meaningful names or dates. It’s also important to remember that hacking is usually done by computer software running through billions of options a second, not an individual trying to guess your favorite pet’s name (although that can happen).

“The best advice here is to shift your thinking from passwords, to passphrases.

– Edward Snowden

To see this in action, make up a few test passwords (NOT a password you actually use) and run through them through How Secure Is My Password?

is encryption the right prescription?
how to encrypt your passwords:

Don’t be intimidated by how technical it sounds – encryption simply means to take something that makes sense and make it unreadable. There are tons of different ways to encrypt your passwords, from the very advanced to the very simple, but today we’re just going to talk about a couple of the easiest ways to add that extra layer of security.

  • 1Password. If you’re looking for a secure, user-friendly, minimal-effort way to develop and keep strong passwords, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than 1Password. Long story short, 1Password is a browser add-on that remembers all of your passwords for you, and it can even develop completely random passwords that are nearly impossible to crack. 1Password is what we use here at cyclone and it’s pretty incredible, not gonna lie. We’ve tried similar services, but nothing is close to as good. Check it out here.
  • The laziest way to encrypt. Ever. Maybe you’d rather not bring another party into your password bookkeeping – no matter how secure. Or maybe you’re just feeling lazy today, who knows? The point is, you can “encrypt” passwords yourself really easily. Let’s say my passphrase is donatellotheninjaturtle4primeministerofmyHEART247. I can encrypt it by making up my own code in which to write out that phrase. Maybe I’ll move my hands up one row of keys before I type it in, disguising it as e9hq53oo05y3h8huq5745o3%[email protected]$&. Bingo! Easy as that. Feel free to make up your own encryption code.

Whichever way you choose to develop and store your passwords, keep in mind: the longer, the better, and don’t re-use the same password for multiple sites. Make it something easy for you to remember, difficult for anybody else to figure out.

Drop by a craft show in the greater Kansas City area any time of year, and chances are you’ll find 20-something local Wanda Wolmar hard at work in the Duplika Jewelry booth. Starting as a hobby in her studio apartment in 2012, Wanda’s hand-assembled jewelry has quickly blossomed in popularity, now available in KC’s own acclaimed boutique shop, The Bunker, as well as other stores across four states including the East Coast. Wanda’s unique blend of classic style and handmade appeal has garnered her popularity on Etsy, and has even received love from Taylor Swift on Instagram.

cyclone press has been lucky enough to work with Wanda since the beginning. Approaching us early on, we were able to rebrand Duplika Jewelry, design and print her business cards and perform various other services, including the creation of a uniquely mounted PVC sign, and a large vinyl banner that’s getting plenty of mileage at her craft shows. Wanda was kind enough to sit down with us and chat a little bit about the past, present and future of Duplika Jewelry.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to chat. Tell us a little about how this all got started. How did you end up where you are?

Duplika Jewelry started out as a creative outlet for me. It really just began as a hobby but then I started getting lots of requests from friends and family. The business has been steadily growing ever since.

Q: What was your initial vision for your company? Has that vision changed over time? 

My initial vision was pretty simple: to make jewelry for women. Once my company started to get more exposure I learned that I was unknowingly providing so much more than jewelry. Purchasing jewelry can be intimate and provoke memories and nostalgia. My vision is now to give my customer a quality item that helps encapsulate a moment in time or evokes emotion or memories. It’s an honor to know that my jewelry gets to be a part of someone’s story in life whether it’s a gift or a part of a ceremony or celebration.

Q: Can you tell me a little about your customer base?

My customer base is mostly made up of women between the ages of 20-45. The women are not those that buy jewelry at a box store. They enjoy handcrafted items and will seek it out via Etsy or an indie craft show. I am finding them steadily at craft shows and at small locally owned shops.

Q: Describe some challenges unique to your industry. Has there ever been an obstacle for your business that you never saw coming? 

Jewelry is such a heavily saturated market. You can get a $4 necklace at Forever 21 and not worry if it breaks because it was only $4. I’ve learned that I can never compete with that. I needed to stop trying and to offer a different solution. I can do something that large stores cannot; personalize. I can offer my customers a custom item made just for them – something special and personal that no one else will have because I made it with the customer in mind.

Q: What type of products did you need that are unique to your industry? 

I specifically needed branded jewelry cards that fit inside of the gift boxes that I ship my jewelry in. The boxes are an odd size and Cyclone Press was able to do custom card sizes for me. That was something that the more mainstream printing companies were unable to do.

Q: How did you know it was time to start using business cards? Have you found it helpful to have the new branding?

Once I started selling online I knew that business cards would be essential to good customer service and to promote my social media accounts. Every order gets a card and it has any important info on it that they may need about the company. Cohesive branding has been vital for Duplika Jewelry. Everything from the business cards to signage and online graphics needs to have the same look. cyclone press was able to create a custom logo and other supplemental images and designs that embody the brand and convey it clearly to potential customers.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an entrepreneur? What advice would you give to someone starting out? 

I read online once that if an opportunity scares you then it usually means you should consider it. Risk is scary but it can also reap big rewards. I would tell someone thinking about starting a business that you can only plan so much – sometimes you need to simply jump in. You don’t need to have everything completely figured out before you get started. You always learn as you go.

Q: What does a typical day at the office look like for you? 

Since I have a day job my office hours don’t typically begin until the evening when I get home. I answer any emails then sit down and work on jewelry designs. On the weekends I take product photos and list new items online.

Q: What do you like most about working with cyclone press? 

Working with Cyclone Press has been such a breeze. The convenience of having both design and printing services in one company has been such a great asset for me. There are no extra steps because it’s all included.

Q: Any specific goals for the near future? 

My current goal for the year is to have a high quality line sheet made so I can widen my wholesale reach to larger retailers. Sarah has been a huge help so far in executing this goal.

Q: Thanks so much for your time. 

Thank you for having me!


You can check out more of Wanda’s amazing products at DuplikaJewelry.com, and be sure to follow her on Instagram to see new jewelry designs and updates on upcoming craft fairs. Thanks again to Wanda for taking the time to chat with us!

If you’d like to read about how we rebranded Duplika Jewelry, check out our project post here.

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