Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Over these past few months, RuffleButts has ventured out into the world of print advertising, and wow is it pricey!! This has proven to be such a tough decision-making process for me, because you pretty much have to spend the money upfront to figure out what really works for your company. A few months back we decided to take the leap and signed on for two advertising campaigns, one in Cookie Magazine and the other in Baby Couture Magazine, from what I found two of the more affordable options for us...and when I say affordable, I do not mean cheap!! And for a frugal gal like me, let's just say this one was a tough one for me to swallow! Prior to these campaigns, we were so very fortunate, to spend not a dime on print advertising, so this was a big step.

With the recent changes in the economy, it is such a unfair time to judge the results of these campaigns, as everyone is seeing a slow-down, advertising or no advertising. We are definitely seeing some results from these ads, but not quite what I had hoped for. I am telling myself to be patient and let it run for more than one month, but when it is your business, your baby, and your investment, patience is not as easy to come by!

I have had a few other business owners recently ask me for my suggestions when it comes to advertising, and although I have shared a few of the less expensive investments we have made over the past year, I would hate to be responsible for a larger print recommendation with little data to go on. It comes down to return on investment, and although a $25 ad may be much easier to swallow, if no one sees it, it is a $25 waste.

I am learning that you can have the most fabulous product in the world (although I may be a bit bias), but if no one knows about them, it does no good. I am learning as I go, and have found that if us business owners stick together and share our marketing successes, we can all learn from each other and help to save on those "learning experiences". One recent discovery I have made is www.iBookersGuide.com. Gemma recently launched this website after many years in the business and from what I have seen so far, she really seems to have the best interests of others at heart. I have recently joined the site, and recommend that you do the same if you are in the children's products business. I know we are all a little overwhelmed with social networking sites, but so far, I have found this one well worth my time spent.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Introduction to Emily!

We are so excited to introduce you to Emily, our newest addition to the RuffleButts family...

It is never easy to sit back and write about what best describes you in couple of paragraphs. Here it goes:

After having three boys my parents were desperately praying for a healthy little girl and they finally got one. I was born in Florida and although I have not lived there for some time, I believe it is the reason I am so in love with the warm weather! At the age of 9 my family moved to North Carolina and has been there ever since. Being one of five children made life interesting and rarely boring. Even though there were trying moments growing up with so many people watching, I really am unbelievably blessed to have such a great family. This past weekend my brother Ryan got married (Congratulations!!) and my husband pointed out how lucky I am to have such amazing immediate and extended family members. Sometimes I forget they are there, but the happiness I get from being with them is indescribable.

After graduating from a small high school I tried my luck at a large university UNC-Chapel Hill. I loved being a part of the amazing environment there, especially the basketball games! It is also where I met my husband of now 2 and a half years. After two months of marriage Michael’s job transferred us up north to New York City, a place I never thought I would ever live.

As we both adjusted to the big change things slowly started to click into place and the next two years would be something I will never forget. The difficulty of being in such an unfamiliar place helped me appreciate all that I had. Soon it was more like home and not just a place where we had to work and live. I had the opportunity to work for an amazing family while I lived there and would not trade my experience for the world! Two wonderful little girls and their parents taught me so much and for that I am forever thankful.

Our life in NYC was over sooner than we expected. Michael and I moved to Charlotte, NC at the end of this summer. Although Charlotte is still new to us, we are becoming more familiar with the area and are happy that life is a little less hectic. This is where RuffleButts comes in! My sister-in-law emailed me about the opening at RuffleButts and I immediately called in hopes of an interview. Talking with Amber was so inspiring; she really is an amazing woman who has worked hard to do what she loves. When I finally found out I got the job I started to cry as Michael grabbed and hugged me! A couple of weeks in and I already feel like I have learned a lot. I cannot wait to learn more about the families and companies that help RuffleButts grow everyday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

RuffleButts in BabyCouture Magazine

I am excited to share that RuffleButts were including in a recent photo shoot and showed up in the pages of BabyCouture Magazine! Just click on the image above to view the virtual magazine (go to page 71)! They featured our Red Woven Crawlers and coordinating Dancing Dot Peasant Top...one of my favorite outfits from our Fall 08 Collection!

It is always so fun and super rewarding to spot my baby creations in the pages of any magazine, but this one is extra special, as they always feature extremely hip and creative brands! I am always honored to share my creations through mediums such as this, as you can have the best products in the world, but if no one knows about them, it doesn't do anyone any good!

This brings me to a conversation that I had with another children products business owner this week. Everyone starts somewhere, you try a few different tactics, you think outside the box, you work with various people and organizations trying desperately to get your name out there...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have been extremely blessed and grateful to have received the press that we have to date. Since we have now been selling for just over a year, our brand is slowly building a positive reputation and momentum. For those of you out there just starting out, please don't get discouraged...for every magazine photo shoot and online mention, we have received just as many turn-downs and last minute cancellations. I picked up a copy of a magazine (whose name I will not mention, but one I really like) just today at the OB. This particular magazine had contacted me requesting samples for a cover shoot a few months back, returned the samples, said that we would be featured, and I've never seen a photo one. I must say, this one was a disappointment, but we move on, and know that other fabulous opportunities are just around the corner!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So nice!!

Sometimes I feel so surrounded by negative...political ads, the media, the economy, angry drivers, rude customer service representatives...that I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate the positive. Last night I watched a small part of a recorded Oprah episode, and the topic was rude people. Believe me, I think we all encounter our share, but I have to say that since our big North Carolina relocation in August, I have been so pleasantly surprised by the number of incredibly nice people that have crossed my path!

Here are just a few examples:

- Went to purchase a breast pump off Craigslist.com last night - the couple was so very friendly, gave us a good deal, threw in some extras (just out of the goodness of their hearts), and then emailed me to make sure I am happy with the purchase and to tell me congrats on the baby!
- Purchased a toy bin (again off Craigslist.com), and the super sweet lady also emailed me through the RuffleButts.com website to recommend a store for our RuffleButts and took the time to post a recommendation on her county's mommy website!!
- Met a random family at a restaurant the first weekend we were here in town and she has kept in touch with me through the website to give me advice on the business...turns out she was a children's wear buyer prior to her stay-at-home-mom promotion!
- I have received a ton of emails and blog comments from other blogging mommies after posting the recent prego pic just to share their congratulations...how sweet to take time out of their day just to share a nice comment!
- Received an email from one of my incredibly supportive and considerate friends back in FL asking "what can I do to help?" totally out of the blue. Now that's a great friend!
- This is a small one, but so important...the drivers here in Charlotte actually slow down to let you in when you put on your turn signal, instead of the speed up to block you tactic that had become the norm down in SoFL!

On top of all of these random niceties, I am always so very touched by our amazingly wonderful RuffleButts customers! I receive emails from our mommy and grandmommy customers on a regular basis sharing their kind words and adorable pictures. (Check out a few on our testimonials page!) I can not tell you how motivating and rewarding that can be for a hormone-overflowing, somewhat stressed out, a little tired, business owner/soon-to-be-mommy! I know I say it over and again, but we really have the best customers in the world!

And lastly, I am extremely fortunate to share this industry with some of the most amazingly talented and driven women. I have come across numerous companies/business owners that truly act as my inspiration and support. Just chatting with some of these other entrepreneurs brings me a sense of peace knowing that we are all in this crazy world together, going through very similar experiences and dealing with many of the same issues. Although I did enjoy my time in real estate, it is such a wonderful feeling to know that there are other women out there genuinely pulling for our success and vice versa! Here are just a few that you should definitely check out if you haven't already (in no particular order)...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prego Update

So, here I am, big and round and ready to pop!! I must say that overall I have truly loved being pregnant, but I'm sure all of you moms can relate to me here...these last few weeks have been a bit trying. Creating and growing a baby is such a miraculous event, and in the very end, the human body is just pushed a bit to accommodate this little miracle going on inside!

We are now due in about 6 weeks, but our OB doesn't know if we'll quite make it. I was already dilated 1cm at our last visit and since my contractions are increasing in frequency and some of the other signs are pointing to an early arrival, we are just leaving it in God's hands at this point. She just asked me to try to make it to 34 weeks, which I am happy to say we have done, so now starts the waiting game.

Emotionally, I am in the tug-of-war, dying to see her precious little face, while also wanting her to have as much time as needed to come out healthy and happy. I also have so much to do here at RuffleButts, I want to make sure I am prepared to give her as much attention as possible when she makes her grand entrance. It is a huge relief to have our new employees in place and my mom will be here to save the day, staying with us for the first three weeks to allow me to adjust to the work/baby schedule.

I'm sure I will provide much humor here on the RuffleBlog over these next few months, as I know I am about to take the ride of my life!! And I thought the business was a roller coaster...I can't wait to see what life has in store for me. I also appreciate ANY and all advice you moms may have for me over the first few weeks. Thanks again for all of your love and support...and stay tuned!!

By the way...not the most complimentary picture, but this is my husband's cute attempt at bumping bellies with me and matching my prego look (don't worry, he's not implying that I'm fat or anything!!!).

Friday, October 10, 2008


I usually try to write about the business here on the RuffleBlog, but this week I was inspired by an Oprah episode that had been sitting on my DVR awaiting a lazy day. The episode was a tragic story of a man whose wife and son had been murdered by someone hired by his other son to kill the entire family. Needless to say, the father survived and was sharing his story on the show. The biggest thing that I took away from this tragedy is that the father, with a loving and faithful heart, was forgiving of his son. This really made me stop to think about any hurt or anger that I may hold inside and how really it is only a poison to me and no one else.

I am super fortunate that I truly have no major pain to speak of where I carry the burden on a daily basis, but even on a business level, I will use this lesson to apply to my own life. A very good example of this for me is my previous boss. He really hurt me, spoke poorly about me behind my back, stole from me, and ultimately disappointed me. I was both hurt and angry for months following that experience and it took a lot for me to find the forgiveness I needed to move forward with this business. Now, I look at that experience as my inspiration to start my own business running it completely differently, putting my ethics in front of my financial success. I have learned in life that by doing the right thing, and treating others the right way, you ultimately come out ahead. He may have seemed to have achieved that "success", but the thing was that no one really trusted him, they were all just there for financial gain. I owe him for the many lessons that will last me a lifetime.

So, back to the lesson for the week...the show was a nice reminder that anger is just poison, and forgiveness is truly a gift to the person holding the hurt, not the person that inflicted it. If that father can find forgiveness in his heart for the murder of his family, then it makes little arguments with my husband or frustrations with a business associate seem so insignificant.

I hope this story inspires you to find forgiveness for that family member or friend that may have hurt you recently. Just remember that everything in life comes full circle, and it is much better to live with forgiveness and allow the universe and God to run the way of the world.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hold on baby!!

So there was a bit of drama here in the Schaub household last week...as I went to my regular scheduled OB appointment, the doctor decided to run a few tests to check for possible signs of pre-term delivery. She sent me home with orders to take it easy (ha, ha) and to stay off my feet as much as possible, but thank goodness, no bedrest!! The next day, I awoke to some crazy unexpected side-effects including dizziness that put me on my knees and some strong contractions...a little scary! The doctor had me back in the office and decided to send me over to triage for monitoring. I probably shouldn't admit this, but after making a deal with the doc to go straight home, consume 2 jugs of Gatorade, and to stay off my feet for most of the weekend, she allowed me to skip the hospital for now. I promise, I would have gone in if I felt that there was any risk or if she felt strongly that I needed to go. But, I really didn't want to spend a night in the hospital (with family visiting from out of town for the weekend to top it off!) unnecessarily.

I am doing much better this morning, but have just accepted the fact that I will be having contractions from now until she decides to make her grand entrance. I guess this is not extremely uncommon, so I'm sure I will cope. They have informed me that she likely will not be waiting her full 6 weeks, but I guess you never really know.

The super good news is that I have hired both our Intern for the Fall term as well as our new long-term employee!! They will both be starting on Wednesday, and I am thrilled to have them. I have learned to deal with the unexpected one day at a time, and although I am not prepared for her to be here today, the thought of seeing her precious face is a wonderful one!