Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Breaking a Sweat

As seen through the eyes of the RuffleIntern...
Boy, have we been busy this past week. Gracious thanks to BabyTalk Magazine for the kind words about RuffleButts! I could not believe how many order we have fulfilled in just one week! I finally know where I can find everything in our office because I have been pulling customer's orders so much. Don't get me wrong now, this is a fantastic thing that is happening! I am so thrilled to be interning for a company that is gradually "booming!" So far this experience has been so amazing, and I cannot wait to see what summer will bring to us. Lately Amber and I have been trying to come up with a new Trendy Tee design for our fall line. We have come up with a few great ideas, however you will just have to wait and see what we will have in store for you when our Tee is complete!

Besides all of the orders we have been pulling, I was informed that we are bringing along a second intern to help RuffleButts. We need the help greatly considering all of the feedback we are receiving from BabyTalk magazine. It is great that we are having another person join the RuffleButt clan. This will allow us to gather more ideas, put our heads together, and gain more information from one another. I am excited to meet our new intern, and I cannot wait for us to all work together and bring our ideas to life!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Holy Moly

"WOW" and "thank you God"!!! That is all I can say at the moment. These past few days have been insane and I am loving every minute of it! Orders have been rolling in like crazy...seriously, my inbox is overflowing with order notifications. I recruited my husband to help me pack orders on Saturday, and by the time we were caught up from Friday and Saturday's orders, we had even more sitting in the inbox! This is what I have been waiting for, but I must admit, although I feel so incredibly blessed and am thrilled that the business is finally ready to run, I am totally scared out of my mind on how I will keep up and fill orders! We are already sold-out on a handful of our products and are running a replacement production now. With that said, production requires at least 4 weeks, and customer service is my #1 priority. I want our RuffleButts customers to be delighted by their shopping experience, and I want to stay true to my goal of spreading ruffles and sharing smiles (not frustrations with delayed products)!!

So, how did this come about...

RuffleButts was selected by babytalk Magazine editors for their page called "Stuff We Love"! They did their own photo shoot with our lime woven RuffleButt Bloomers and ran them in their May issue. First, I have to say, with complete honesty, that I have never worked with a more pleasant company. I was already a subscriber to this magazine, but they are now at the very top of my favorites! I am so truly honored that such a well-respected national publication took notice of our products and even recommended them to their readers!

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you know that the journey of entrepreneurship is one with so many ups, downs, twists & turns, but it is milestones like this that make me feel like I am accomplishing what I set out to conquer! I know we have so much further to go, but the fact that others are taking notice is a huge step in the right direction. And for those of you that email me asking for words of advice...and I am so far from an expert here...but based on this experience, I would just tell you to go for it, ask for it; you never know what will come of it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gracious celebrities

I just received a note card in the mail from the Ballard Family thanking me for my generosity and praising our RuffleButts. I must say that I am so pleasantly surprised by this true act of consideration and kindness. Of all the celebrities that visited us at the Boom Boom Room this past January, this is the first to send us a thank you note. With that said, I do understand what a huge task it would be to send thank you notes to all of the incredible companies that participated in the event, and never expected this from anyone. I think this says so much about this family that they went through the effort of either accomplishing this on their own, or through the expense of hiring someone to do this for them.

I must give total praise here, and if you are not already a fan, I hope this gives you a new respect for this talented Actor and his family - Alimi (David Sinclair on CBS' Numbers), Dahn, Naya & Kairo Ballard. This is obviously a beautiful family, both inside and out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

"From what we get we make a living. From what we give we make a life." Author: Blake Beattie

I can not tell you how excited I was to discover such an amazing concept in action...! The quote above really struck a chord with me, but this website is absolutely overflowing with so many quotes, ideas, community & classroom projects - it is just fantastic. As many of you know, one of my main objectives with this business and my life, for that matter, it to touch the lives of others in a positive way. I know and sincerely appreciate that so many of you stand with me on this core mission. I was thrilled by the response to our "Share the Smiles" Project, but I don't want this goal to become lost in the shuffle of daily life. I am always open to any of your ideas and suggestions on how I can use this company to impact the world in a positive way, one person at a time! I make it an absolute priority to donate to charities and organizations, but as a small company, I can only do so much on a financial level. My ultimate goal is to grow RuffleButts to a size that can make a huge impact on the world and it's children, and I appreciate every bit of your support on this journey.

Okay, I'm getting a little off subject. I would highly recommend checking out this organization called The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which is privately held and funded. If you are a teacher, this organization offers list after list of classroom projects, calenders, and free graphics. If you are an individual just looking for ideas on how you can make a small impact on the life of someone who needs it, this is a great place to start. They even have free e-cards! So take 5 minutes out of your day today to do something small for someone else. You never really know how much someone needs your attention until you make the effort to share.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aussie mums!

I am so excited that we are now offering our RuffleButts to Aussie mums! I am truly honored and a little shocked that we have already started selling internationally, but Australia holds a special little place for me. My grandmother was born and raised in Australia and introduced me to many of the little Australian customs as I was a child...let's just say I was totally hooked on Velvet Crumble candy bars and despised Vegemite! I am thrilled to share my creations and spread the ruffles in AU!

Last night my husband was finishing up the final details on our Australian home page for the RuffleButts website. I am so fortunate to be working with two fabulous Aussie retailers and am so excited to grow our brand with them! I recently finalized an agreement with one of the retailers to launch sharing the RuffleButts brand in Australia and promoting our Authorized Retailers making the brand available locally to Aussie mums! We plan to launch the site next week!

Honestly, I must say there are so many days where I feel like I am in so over my head, but I just take it one day at a time and feel so blessed to have the opportunity. There are days that I wish I had a law degree and knew so much more about international business, but I am learning as I go. I have said it so many times before, but when running a business, you truly realize how much you do not know. At times that can be a bit overwhelming, but for now, it seems to work for me. I can't wait until the day when we have our own team, with people that specialize in all of these different areas. For now, I will depend on research and advice from others.

For all of you other entrepreneurs out there that may be facing some of these same learning experiences, just keep going! I know there are days when you don't feel capable of handling it all, but we will succeed, and one day look back and laugh!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Material World

Yesterday I made my way down to the oh so glamerous world of South Beach...okay, not so glamerous for me as I walked about a million miles (slightly exagerated) through this annual fabric and trim convention. I'm still not feeling 100%, so it took a little self-motivating to get down there, but worth the trip. Although I did meet some interesting people and checked out a ton of fabric sources, I must admit that the most rewarding part of the experience is feeling like I finally am not the "freshman" anymore! It was so nice to truly realize how far I have come since my Material World visit one year ago.

A little reminiscing (which I hope gives some of you hope)...

So, last year I remember too clearly walking into the enormous room full of professionals, extremely experienced professionals. I had been on my computer for days reading and researching so I didn't seem like a complete nitwit, but I still felt very much so like I was carrying my freshman class list wandering the halls with a big sign on my back! I was so intimidated to talk to the businessmen there representing these enormous companies, but I would occasionally get myself in there to ask questions and find my way. Many people wouldn't give me the time of day, so it was a slightly rude awakening, but was a great start to my journey of much learning.

This year, I signed up for a seminar on "Sourcing for Small Businesses". This was my moment...I sat there thinking, "Wow, I know this stuff." Please do not get me wrong, I still have SO much to learn, but it was extremely rewarding to know that although many days I feel like I am pushing against a mountain, I really have been making my way up that mountain. It is just so enormous, most days I still can't see the top, but I know I am a least on my way.

I also thought to myself how helpful it would have been to have a mentor or friend in my position a year ago. It would have saved me so much headache and heartache, although I truly believe that my learning experience has given me much strength. I know, a bit cliche, but I truly mean it. It also reminded me why I try to share my experiences through this blog. Sometimes I am not the best at writing, but for those of you on my path, slightly behind or ahead, I hope we can stick together and conquer this mountain as a team. Maybe it's just me, but isn't everything more fun with you have someone to lean on when things are weighing you down, and to celebrate genuinely when you finally hit a mile marker??!