Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Top 25 Best Pieces of Advice from Moms

 Click here to visit our Mother's Advice Pinterest board

I'm not sure when exactly it happens, but there is a day post-parenthood that you open your mouth and your mom comes out! The 1st time I noticed it, I giggled to myself and then realized my mom had a few great sayings that I have carried forward into my own parenting. I have compiled a list below, gathered from my mom and the moms of those close to me, in no particular order. Would love to hear your top mom-faves too!

1. Treat others as you want them to treat you. (Not how they treat you, how you want them to treat you...my kids somehow get confused on this one often!)
2. Sharing is caring. 
3. Always wear clean underwear (then my mom would elaborate with the "if you get hit by a bus and have to go the hospital, you want to have on clean underwear...I don't think I needed the explanation looking back!)
4. It's less about words and more about actions. 
5. You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family. 
6. Don't judge a book by it's cover.
7. Give more to your community than you take from it. 
8. Anything worth having is worth working for. 
9. Before making a decision, do the newspaper check...would you be proud to have your decision/action on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper. 
10. No matter who comes in and out of your life, always stay true to yourself. 
11. Things are much more enjoyable when you have earned them.
12. Drink lots of water and use moisturizer daily. 
13. Put the seat down.
14. Be a person that builds others up, not one that tears them down.
15. Always tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, even when they drive you crazy. 
16. It's not what you say, but how you say it. 
17. Sit up straight. 
18. This too shall pass.
19. Smile at people, it's a free gift that goes a very long way. 
20. Be kind & have courage (this was borrowed from Cinderella's mom)
21. People who seem the least lovable, need the love the most. 
22. Always have your own money. 
23. Live life with gratitude.
24. When you feel alone chat with God. 
25. Find the positive, it could always be worse. 

Visit our Pinterest Board for more fun mom advice. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

9 years sure do fly by!


Wow, 9 years! I will never forget the day that my "1st born" was actually born. It was in the kitchen of our little 2 bedroom South Florida condo that Mark and I had the discussion. It was a fairly quick and casual conversation that would change our lives forever.

Mark: So, did you apply for the trademark today?
Amber: I couldn't pull the trigger. It's so much money! I would feel so awful if I wasted that money.
Mark: Amber, it's $400. While it's a lot of money, we will survive either way. Will you regret it if you don't go for it?
Amber: Yes, I will definitely regret it. Ok, I'll do it! Are you ready for this? You know me, once I'm in, I'm in.
Mark: You know I will support you all the way.
Amber: Ok, I'm going to do it right now!

That was the day I made the decision to go all in. The Tony Robbins quote, "If you want to take the island - burn the friggin boats" defined that moment for me. I was all in from that day forward. It took me a few months from that date to actually execute all of the steps necessary to start the business, but it was that day that we made the decision to pursue this dream and more importantly I made the decision that my stubbornness was going to lead the way. I was determined to make this a success.

Well 9 years and an amazing team later (including my super talented husband that nudged me in the 1st place), this dream is a reality! That incredible team has made this day so special for me (see the champagne photo above!), which just reminds me yet again how lucky I am. Let me rephrase that...how blessed I am. I don't really believe in luck.

I don't want to gloss over the road that has paved these past nine years; it has certainly been one heck of a journey, but one that I wished for my entire life. I could not be more grateful for this opportunity. While there are days I think I may fall asleep standing up (I guess not unlike most moms!), it is truly an honor to do what I do. To lead the team that I lead; to clothe adorable kids all over the world; to sell to amazing retailers both here in the US and faraway countries I only dream of visiting; it is all a dream come true. I am beyond grateful for this path and will continue fighting for my team and customers, to become a household name and requirement for every kiddo's closet!

To everyone that has made this journey possible, I extend my sincerest gratitude...our team, my family, my amazing husband, our customers (who are the ones that truly make this possible) and our friends. My 1st born is 9 years old today...wow, it sure flew by!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sharing the joy of blessings


It has long been a part of RuffleButts foundation to pay our blessings forward, but I've never wanted to toot our own horn. Mark and I have made these decisions pretty quietly for the most part, often not even telling our own team members. Following a sermon from my pastor at Gateway Church here in Texas, I knew I was doing everyone a disservice. I realized this Sunday that giving people the opportunity to bless others and sharing the joy of giving is an amazing thing. So this is my 1st step to sharing our charitable initiatives with you, our incredible customers!

As some of you may know, neuroblastoma touched our lives in a life-changing way back in 2009. It was not until 2010 that we shared this publicly and it turned our life and business upside down. I was blessed to have an amazing little girl by the name of Layla Grace touch the lives of my family and we will never be the same. This little lady is no longer here on Earth, but she is in my heart forever. It is because of her that childhood cancer has become a passion of our company.

Now 6 years later, we have relocated to the great state of Texas (which happens to be the home state of little Layla Grace), and have become involved with Cook's Children's Hospital here in Fort Worth. When I learned of a local event called The Blast, which was started to honor the promise one young friend made to another, to help find a cure for children suffering from this disease, I knew we had to be a part of it. The little girl that started the event was only a child herself at the time and started the the run/walk as a part of this promise to her friend, who passed away at the age of 7 from the disease. Last year the event passed the $1 Million mark in funds raised to help Cook Children's Medical Center with neuroblastoma clinical research. I am determined to help her in this cause!

I am so very proud of the RuffleButts team for rallying behind us with this event, many of them committed to showing up very early Saturday morning to participate in the run! If you are here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we would LOVE to have you join us at The Blast, Saturday March 26th. If you are not in the area, but would like to contribute to this initiative, we would love to share with you the joy of giving!

Please CLICK HERE to donate with the RuffleButts team. 

We are truly honored to be a part of this event, and as the leader of our business, I am extremely proud to see my team rallying behind a cause so near and dear to my heart. ~Amber

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Birthday gift ideas for kids

So, if you are a fellow mom, you will completely empathize with me here...my children have entered the age of never-ending birthday parties! Don't get me wrong, this means loads of fun for my kiddos and a nice opportunity to meet new parents, but it also means a never-ending to-do list of birthday gift buying.

So you would think as the CEO of a children's apparel company, we would just gift our own stuff, but the reality is that most 7 year old girls and 4 year old boys don't get all that psyched when they open their new pair of shorts (or other everyday apparel). I also feel a little self-promoting at times giving out RB goodies. So, I have found a happy blend of the RuffleButts & RuggedButts stuff that always scores major points for my kiddos, along with a few go-to add-ons that fit the bill. I know how tough it is for me to get creative, so I thought I would share my top 5 go-to's here:

Cute and easy birthday gifts for girls:



  1. RuffleButts Rash Guards ($26.50-$29.50) are always a huge hit. Want bonus points? Add their monogram. I don't know about you, but monograms are SUPER popular with my daughter's friends at the moment. We offer our swimsuits as small as size 3-6m and go all the way up to size 8. Want to go for the stand-out gift that everyone is talking about? Find a simple beach tote at Amazon, throw in the monogrammed rash guard, add a monogrammed beach towel and a pair of RuffleButts sunglasses ($14.50). While perfect year-round, it's extra perfect for a summer pool-themed birthday party! 
  2. For our younger friends, girls ages 2 to 5, we often opt for a RuffleButts Petti Dress. Those were prime dress-up years and their little faces light up at the sight of these massively fluffy and feminine creations! I typically receive cell phone photos within a week of the party with the little lady twirling in her present and the text "she won't take it off!" Of course Aubrey always loves when her friends tell her that she brought their favorite present. I don't know where she gets that competitive side...wink, wink. 
  3. This one can be in addition to #2 above, or a part of a collection of gifts. For Aubrey's 6th birthday, we invited their 18" friends to the party as well, and provided each of them a miniature version of the petti dress (above) to take home as a party favor. This was a BIG hit with the girls! If looking for a simple gift, you could pair the RuffleButts doll dress with some Our Generation accessories from Target, all for under $25-30. If you are looking for a more extravagant gift, put them inside this Wooden Wardrobe and cover your ears for the girly scream! 
  4. When it comes to 1st birthdays, these are the easy ones. From what I have found, kiddos usually have more than enough toys at this age, so some over-the-top clothes usually work perfectly. Our go-to is this First Birthday Tutu Set ($39.50) and we usually add her name to make it extra special. 
  5. For the Southern Girls (we live in Texas now, but it was always a hit in North Carolina too!), seersucker is almost always a winner. For little ones turning age 1 or 2, we usually opt for a monogrammed Seersucker Swing Top ($34 with the monogram) and the matching RuffleButt ($19). For the older girls, we have TONS of new seersucker styles coming in the Spring 2016 Collection! 
Popular and easy birthday gifts for boys:

  1. My go-to for pretty much every age is our Rugged Butts Birthday Number Tee. Funny enough, most little guys get pretty psyched to wear their new age plastered on a new tee! Sometimes I'll pair the tee with our Rocker Gray Wash Jeans to make a great outfit, other times I pair it with a sweet lego set. Really depends on the child here. 
  2. Legos, legos, legos. I don't know about you, but my little guy is pretty much obsessed with legos and has been for a few years now. This is my easy go-to on Amazon Prime for any upcoming birthday bash. 
  3. For 1st birthdays, I am usually thinking more about the parents than I am the kids, let's be honest. So, for the football fans, I usually go this route with themed apparel. From Rugged Butts, I know it will come all wrapped up and ready for me to throw in a birthday gift bag, which works extra well for moms with no time...well, that's all moms really! 
  4. One of the best birthday gifts we gave was put together in a mad rush, but the mom raved and raved about how much she loved it. I combined one of our Rugged Butt fedoras with a coordinating bow tie, short sleeve dress shirt and chino shorts. If you are looking to keep it under $30, a fedora and coordinating bow tie works great! 
  5. In more of the $50 range (which is more than we spend on just a regular classmate friend), the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam has been a huge hit. Jonas received this as a gift at Christmas and has really enjoyed it. A little pricey for a kiddie toy, but certainly less than a real Go Pro! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

My personal prayer for 2016

For the past 2 weeks I have been holding one-on-one meetings with every person that is employed at our RuffleButts headquarters to discuss their feedback and goals for 2016. One of my many goals for 2016 is improved and increased communication with those in my life, both personal and professional. This is step one. As I have been processing all of this communication, which has been totally wonderful by the way, it brought me back to my own goals for this year. The post below may sound a little cheesy to some, but those who know me well know exactly what I am saying here. So anyhow, I am sharing publicly and ignoring any fear of judgement that lies within. At 36, judgement has lost most of its power (most, not all). While I likely thought most of this ten years ago, I definitely would not have published it. 

Dear God, 

For 2016 this is what I pray here at RuffleButts...

Please use me, every part of me, to do Your work. To help those around me in whatever way I can. To notice those who need the attention; empower those who may need the confidence; to teach those who need the wisdom; to lift up those who experience doubt; to push those that may need the motivation; to challenge those who may need the humbleness; to listen to those who need to be heard; to share Your love in everything I do. 

Please help me to show my gratitude to You and to those around me on a daily basis. I am eternally grateful for my life, my family, this business, for the people in my life, for the comfort of a heated home, for the daily use of running water, for the gift to impact others, for the blessing to pay it forward, for your grace when I make mistakes and most of all for Jesus. 

Please continue to guide me in this business to do with it what You have always intended. I can not put into words my gratitude for RuffleButts, a literal answered prayer. For the amazing people You have sent into my life to walk this journey with me, to challenge me, to inspire me, to teach me. I only pray that I have given them a small faction of what they have given me. Thank You most of all for blessing me with a built-in business partner to make it all happen. Lord, You know our story would be so very different without him!

God, please guide us in communication, the communications with our customers and the communications with each other. It is so often we assume someone knows something that we have not said. Please lead us to share the joy of this business with as many people as possible. Help us to touch our customers with happiness; to make a grandmother smile with joy; to give the gift of precious memories to many, many mothers; to make a little girl sparkle with confidence in her new ruffles; to shower little boys in the compliments that will lead them to strong young men. We are so extremely grateful to see these smiles coming back to us in photos and letters from our customers. There is no bigger joy! 

Please continue to guide me in how to use this business to help others. Please lead us in our efforts with Cooks Children's Hospital and multiply our gifts. We are so very grateful for the blessing to bless others. I know Your plans are very big in this area and I just pray that I am able to fulfill them to the max! 

Lord, please prepare us for this AMAZING year ahead, because I know we are ready to take it on! 

With LOVE, 

Amber


Monday, November 30, 2015

Gwen Stefani is so cool!

Over the years, RuffleButts and RuggedButts have been spotted on the kiddos of celebrities including Jana Kramer, Jessica Simpson, Ali Landry, Rebecca Romijn, Giuliana Rancic and Jessica Alba, and we are truly honored each and every time! Today, when we spotted Rugged Butts on Apollo (the little cutie that calls Gwen Stefani mom) for the 2nd time this year, we were honestly a bit giddy. Gwen Stefani is just plain cool. We envy her effortlessly perfect looks and I personally dream of pulling off such style. She is an incredible designer, clearly a stellar businesswoman, a talented singer and performer, seems to be a genuinely kind person, and was one of my most memorable concerts of all time! So today, we are excited to share the most recent spotting of Apollo in our Buffalo Plaid Button Down.

It truly never gets old seeing adorable kiddos rock our designs, celebrity or not. Such an honor!

Image and article via Daily Mail.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Celebrating RuffleButts Retailers this Small Business Saturday


Today we celebrate the thousands of small business retailers that are such an important part of the RuffleButts family! There are many paths in life and the path of small business ownership is not for the faint of heart, but without those that choose to take it on, our communities would be much different. Here are a few stats from Entrepreneur.com:

- Almost half of U.S. jobs are held in companies of fewer than 500 employees.
- 54% of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.
- Small business donate 250% more than larger business to nonprofits and community causes.

At RuffleButts, we work with the most amazing boutiques all around the world. These boutiques contribute to their communities, from jobs, to relationships with the neighborhood, to giving back in so many ways. The people that we work with on a daily basis at these stores touch our lives regularly, many of them carrying RuffleButts since the very beginning. So, today we would like to share with you 5 reasons you should shop your local boutiques this Small Business Saturday:

1. Because the owner is likely your neighbor and maybe even your friend. Small business owners are not those Executives working to purchase a 3rd lake house and 10th car. They are your neighbor, working to put their kids through college and pay off their home. Small business owners wear many, many hats, and their work is often never done, but they do their jobs with passion and commitment, dedicated to their business.

2. Because boutique owners, unlike most big box chains, often spend time talking with their customers and discussing their needs. They then find the best brands to carry in their stores to fill these needs. These brands may not be the cheapest options out there, but they are often small businesses themselves and many, many of them create goods of a quality level that far surpass those of the big box retailer...like RuffleButts =)

3. Because local boutiques create local jobs employing local residents. It is likely that your teenager will someday be looking for a part-time job and these local boutiques are the places they will work and grow. I worked in a local dance shop called Not Just Dancewear as a teenager and learned so much about running an apparel store. I also used the money to purchase my 1st car. I will never forget that experience.

4. Because most local boutiques give back to the communities that support their business. As noted above, small businesses donate significantly more to community causes than large business. Many of the boutique owners we work with here at RuffleButts sit on boards of local nonprofits and organize community events for local charities. At RuffleButts, childhood cancer is something near and dear to our hearts. While today, we are talking about local boutiques, RuffleButts is also a small business. We are involved with our local community here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and are currently working with Cook's Children's Hospital to pay it forward and touch as many lives as we possibly can. Like many other entrepreneurs and small business owners, I started RuffleButts with big dreams, but very high up the list of those dreams was using this business to do something bigger than myself. Our customers enable us to pursue that dream daily.

5. Because they care. I can't speak for every single boutique out there, but I can speak for many of the boutiques that are a part of the RuffleButt family. These boutiques care about their customers. They work hard to ensure they stock the best brands and that those brands meet the quality expectations of their customers. They will go above and beyond to ensure a fabulous experience for their customers. When we come out with new styles, our boutiques will select styles based on individual customers, and they often even know them by name. There is something wonderful about buying from someone who knows your name!

With all of the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, today, we celebrate Small Business Saturday and the RuffleButts Retailers that are a part of it. Without them, our dreams would not be possible and your communities would not be the same. We celebrate the small business owners, their determination, commitment, generosity, and love for their communities. To find your local boutique that carries RuffleButts and/or RuggedButts click here. If your local boutique doesn't yet carry the brands, please send us a quick message here and we'll reach out to them. Happy Small Business Saturday!



Friday, October 16, 2015

Candy Bar Board



Most people read me as fairly non-emotional at 1st interaction. I'm not super social, but consider myself to be friendly. It is certainly rare that I get emotional in front of others. I want to say it is because I have spent the last 8 years as a CEO that has to pull it together and put on a brave face while we conquer goals bigger than ourselves. In an honest retrospect, I guess I've really always been this way, just mostly even keel, and ready for a challenge. When my closest friend heard that I started RuffleButts, her response was "of course you did." At the time, her response caught me a little off guard, but after a short explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. In a way, my life path prepared and led me right to this journey. In a way, I always knew what I wanted to do, without having any idea what that was...if that makes any sense to anyone!

Anyhow, there are many things about this journey that I completely expected and many more that I did not. One of the things I didn't really see coming was how much I would be impacted by those that signed up to walk along side me in this RuffleButt journey. They affect and impact me more than I ever knew possible. Back to my non-emotional statement earlier, while I may come across fairly non-emotional, I am actually affected quite deeply by those closest to me. As an only child, I don't have a large family, so in a lot of ways, this company has become my family. They are certainly the people that I spend the vast majority of my time with.

Today, these people truly made my day! I had no idea it was bosses day and quite frankly, what is "bosses day" anyway?! While I may technically fall under that definition in some ways, I don't ever considerate it my title in any way. While I may come across as bossy...let me try that again...while I do come across as bossy in many ways, I never think of myself as "the boss". I mostly think of myself as the captain, but a ship without mates would certainly not be a successful one. I carry the responsibility of captain quite seriously, considering that more than 25 people have trusted me enough to put their career in my hands. And, it goes without saying, that I absolutely could not do it without my co-captain (and hubby).

So, this morning our team told me that something was serious and we were needed in the conference room. When we arrived, this incredibly creative creation awaited on the table. As I looked up, our team joined us in the conference room to celebrate "bosses day". I was not only touched by the kind words, but also by the obvious effort that went into such a gift. I have to say I have never seen anything like this candy bar poster before, but what a great idea!!

To my team, THANK YOU!! Thank you for making this dream possible. Thank you for your loyalty to our vision. Thank you for your commitment to helping make it happen. Thank you for your forgiveness that I am far from perfect. Thank you for your understanding when we make mistakes. Thank you for your determination when our goals seem out of reach. Thank you for making us laugh with your clever slack commentaries. Thank you for the in-office entertainment. Thank you for your positive attitudes. Thank you for your lack of drama (seriously, this is a big one!). Thank you for all that you do!

Monday, October 5, 2015

#BeLight

As I walked past the large TV in the gym locker room, my son sat in a chair waiting for me to check him into the kids activity area before my yoga class. My day went on, but my mind kept rewinding to that sight. I tend to use yoga as a time for gratitude prayer. That day, I just kept asking what I was supposed to do to change this world we live in. The sight of the parents and students in tears, the sight of the college that had just become the next major news story, the sight of another day discussing these acts of violence just replayed in my head. As with most Americans, my evening went on. That evening I prayed for those involved, I prayed for the boy/man that felt compelled to kill and hurt other human beings, but I still felt with the rest of the world, confused and frustrated. 

Then, this Sunday I went to church, as we do every Sunday, but this day was a little different. There was a guest speaker by the name of Samuel Rodriguez and he spoke on "light". While I love attending church, it is not often that I leave with written notes from the service. This week was again different there. While Reverend Rodriguez was speaking, he said something that really resonated with me..."For when light stands next to darkness, light always wins." Following this week and that vision stuck in my head from the gym TV, this is exactly the answer I needed to hear. So, how do we create more light in a world that is struggling with darkness? 

From the very beginning of RuffleButts, I felt led to do something more than create adorable clothes for adorable kiddos around the world. While that job description is certainly an honor, I have always wanted to use this company as a platform to do good. Sometimes that "good" is obvious and other times it is not. Sometimes it is complex and often times it is quite simple. 

While our business is a business for profit, which means we do have to make a profit to stay in business, it is truly built on a foundation of love, goodness, honesty, and optimism. While we mostly talk about products, as most companies do, this week, I want to do something a little different. Many would not consider this to be the best business decision, as it will not drive sales, won't contribute to our revenue goals, and won't help to spread the word about RuffleButts. With that said, I feel like it will do something even more important. We have the most AMAZING customers ever! Our customers have had my back since the very beginning. They have supported this dream, the business, they have sang our praises and decorated their loved ones in our creations. Even those that have outgrown our sizes still show their loyalty with baby shower gifts and notes on our social media pages. I know that our customers have so much light to shine, so this week, I am calling on you to shine it. 

So, here is my simple request...do something kind for someone else this week. Shine your light! Show love, show support, encouragement. Pay for the dinner of a random stranger, maybe pay for their coffee ahead of them in line. Support a co-worker who you do not know well, who may need the support more than you know. Whatever it is, just shine brightly. Then take a moment to stop by our facebook page and share your story. It doesn't even have to have a result that you know of, just let us know what you did to join in our quest for light. Who knows, maybe we'll pay it forward too!

*When searching for his quote, I came across this post on Maria Shriver's website. Looks like she found him inspiring too. Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez was also nominated by TIME Magazine for their "100 Most Influential People in the World" list in 2013. After hearing him speak, I can certainly see why! 

Also turns out that Gateway Church is doing a re-air of Rev. Rodriguez's service at noon Central today. If you would like to view, click here



Monday, September 21, 2015

Two years, really??

When I glanced at the blog and realized that nearly 2 years had passed since my last post, I was half embarrassed and half reflective on how fast life truly flies by. Am I the only one that had at least two dozen moms and grandmoms approach me when I was preggers with the "flies by" advice? They all told me how fast it will fly by and to make sure to take it all in. Last week, I opened my mouth and realized that with complete unintention, those words were pouring out at the sweet pregnant lady I had just met. It was a moment that made me feel older, but also a bit wiser.

Seeing that January 2014 date as the last published post was a moment that stung slightly, as I realized how thin I have been spread over recent years, but also a moment of triumph as a mom, wife and entrepreneur that I have survived and thrived. I am filled with such gratitude that my life is so full, but like many other women, it is a rare minute that I don't feel like I am dropping one ball or the other. Writing has always been something enjoyable to me, a way of paying it forward of sorts, sharing my experience, and selfishly a way to chronicle my journey. Unfortunately writing is one of the things that was sacrificed over the past 2 years as it easily fell below the priority of time with kiddos and time at RuffleButts. It is today that I make the conscious effort to move it back up a few notches on the list.

Oh where to begin? How about a plan? So, it is my plan, going forward from today, to share all parts of me. Or at least all parts that I think you may find of any benefit or interest. I will share 1 piece business journey, 1 piece beneficial business tools, 1 piece motherhood and 1 piece life lessons to pay forward. This has been the blog past in general, but I will do my best to share on a regular basis go-forward. If you have any other questions or requested information, please feel free to post questions and comments here and I will do my best to respond. As always, I am truly grateful for your interest and support along the way! 

~Amber