Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun and Fancy on the Fourth

Ruffle Intern: V

It's been pretty exciting around the office lately. New merchandise seems to be shipping in constantly and I received the first sample of my t-shirt design last week. Amber officially announced that her and her husband Mark are having a baby and I couldn't be more excited! Having a baby is a complete blessing and I can only imagine the joy having one brings. My mom to this day when she sees a baby gets this very particular look where her eyes get all big and she has this huge smile run across her face--then she'll turn to me and say, "I just love little babies". It makes me laugh every time. My mother is a wonderful woman and just so happens to be the greatest mother anyone could ever ask for :).

Something that I am looking forward to this week is the fourth of July! Every year my boyfriend's extended family has a BBQ pool party and it is always a blast. There is always a ton of delicious food and a whole house full of wonderful people. This will be my third year in attendance and I am excited to go. I hope everyone has a fun fourth of July spent with plenty of family and friends.

*Both of my sisters are in New York right now--my older sister lives there and my younger sister is there for a pre-college summer program. I miss them and I hope they have fun together on the fourth in the big city. I am so proud of my little sis for doing her thing. Love you guys!*

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gram's good sayings live on...

I am definitely one of those lucky ones with absolutely fabulous in-laws. My mother-in-law is a total doll and is full of these fabulous sayings, most of which were passed down from her mother, known by the family as "Gram". I found this saying hanging on one of her walls (along side of about 100 others, no joke!!), but this one always stands out to me, so I wanted to share. It is a saying that applies to all areas of life, but especially business. It reminds me what is truly important and why I started this business (and blog) in the first place. Thanks Gram!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're having a RuffleButt Baby!!!

For those of you who have so sweetly followed my crazy writings over the past year or so, I am very excited to tell you that I have an update to my Goals posting from this past December...

My husband, Mark & I are expecting our very own RuffleButt Baby!! Through faith and prayer, we were hoping for a little angel of our own one of these days soon, but trusted God to give us this miraculous gift when we were/are good and ready. I am thrilled to say that it is finally our time, we are expecting our little angel this November and we couldn't be happier!

I must admit that the first trimester was a bit of a tester for me, as I had no idea what morning sickness was all about. I was so in over my head trying to balance work and taking care of my body. As all of you entrepreneurs know, if you aren't doing it, no one is...we don't get "sick days" and I thought I was going to loose it. But, as we all do, I got through it, and am now feeling great! I still can't imagine how expecting moms with little ones already at home make it through this time, but I guess we all find it deep within ourselves to do what we gotta do.

My husband has been beyond supportive helping me in every way...he has packed orders (for those of you with a personal note from Mark at the bottom of your invoices), spends countless hours on accounting, and completely manages our myspace page, all while managing his own career in the mortgage business! I am one blessed little lady!!

I apologize for keeping you in the dark up to this point, but we wanted to get through those first few months and into the safe zone, which I am so happy to say that we finally are! We have our big 21 week ultrasound on the 8th, so I'll be sure to keep you updated. Patience is not a character strength of either one of us, so we will definitely be finding out the sex on that date (if the little one cooperates).

I am so very grateful for your support, thoughts and prayers over the past 6 months and the next 6 to come! I truly could not be more blessed with the business, my family, and now a little RuffleButt of my own! Life has a way of coming at you in all directions, and sometimes it is so difficult to understand, but from my experience, if you have faith, work hard, love life, and live by the golden rule, it all works itself out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Universal Studios

Ruffle Intern: V

Short week again! Amber is out of town for a couple days so the first half of the week was a rush to make sure we filled all our responsibilities to our customers and shipped out as many orders we could. The backordered t-shirts came back from the screen printer on tuesday. I was able to finally pull/package/ship all the orders that had been waiting on these items and it felt so good! I love being able to cross things off my mental list and accomplish whatever tasks are ahead of me.

On a less intense note, I used the day off on Friday to take a trip to Universal Studios with my family; it was so much fun!!! My boyfriend comes with us on all our family trips (and vice versa with me and his family) and there is nothing I love more than when all the people I love are together and having a great time. The weather was a little iffy with on and off showers, but we packed our ponchos (yes, we wear ponchos at theme parks) and got to do all the rides and shows we wanted to get in.

Anyway, I'll be back in the office Wednesday. Hope everyone had a great weekend!


Thursday, June 19, 2008 marketing

I just began writing as a contributor on This is a great spot for us female business owners to share any new and exciting information about our business. What a fantastic idea from the creators of (a great blog and social networking site) to think of something like this for its readers! The best part for us...its free!! I also find it a wonderful tool as a fellow female shopper myself to read up on great sale opportunities as well as product announcements. If you haven't heard of it before, be sure to check it out!

And don't forget...As a celebration of summer and a sincere thank you to all of our incredibly supportive customers, RuffleButts is offering FREE SHIPPING on all US orders over $75 and 15% ALL DRESSES (making absolutely everything in the collection under $40!!) through the month of June.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To do the "right thing"

In business, I have found myself challenged at times dealing with various companies and people. From my life experiences in general, I have always found that "doing the right thing" usually gets the "right results". My challenge with this is that it is not always black and white, and sometimes when I try so hard to do the right thing, I don't seem to get the right results right off the bat. I am also a people pleaser by nature, and sometimes find it challenging to find balance between keeping everyone happy while not being a pushover. I pride myself in our incredible relationships with our business partners, from our vendors to our customers, and this will continue to be of the utmost importance to me.

I don't know about you, but I hate confrontation and whenever it comes about in business, I try to learn from the experience. The trouble being that I play the events over and over in my head, trying to figure out if I could have or should have handled something differently. I bring this all up because I spent my day yesterday in confrontation with one of our business relationships. I was shocked that there was even a problem being that I have always had a wonderful relationship with this person, but when I found myself attacked and accused, I had to dig deep to hold strong to my core beliefs. I will always run my business in an ethical manner and will do everything in my power to "do the right thing", but I find myself truly shocked by the choices of others. I know that this is not uncommon in the world of business, but I must say it is definitely not one of my favorite parts of running my own business!

With all of that said, I have received various emails from business owners recently inquiring about my opinions and experiences with various vendors and sales reps. My best advice is to do your research, get references, and read contracts very carefully. I am very trusting and want to keep things as upfront and open-book as possible, but I am learning that not everyone operates in this manner. When someone asks to you sign a contract, there is a reason. Contracts should outline the agreement and protect both parties, so don't hesitate to alter a contract prior to signing to be sure this is the case. If they are hesitant to allow this, it is your first red flag. As "nice" as people may seem when you start to do business with them, just know that they do not always turn out to be the same person when things get a little rocky. Choose to do business with companies that operate with similar philosophies. This may take time to find these companies, and unfortunately may require a few rough trials to weed through those that aren't a great fit, but when you do find them, it makes all the difference in the world for your business. I am very fortunate to work with some incredible people, and count my blessings that a year into this business we are building our dream team.

If you are a business owner looking for referrals, please do not hesitate to contact me. For things as small as labels, hangtags, tissue paper, packaging, elastic, buttons, zippers - these items all take working with various vendors and it can be a time consuming process weeding through the companies. Finding the right sales rep or manufacturer is a much bigger decision, but again this is where referrals are priceless. I am always more than happy to pass along our positive experiences, and help my fellow entrepreneurs!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day :)

Ruffle Intern: V

Happy Father's Day!
I hope everyone has been able to enjoy today with their families. Today was absolutely beautiful and I was lucky enough to spend it with my mom and dad, my younger sister, and my boyfriend. We shared a Father's Day brunch together at a place right on the beach and it was lovely. Spending time with my family is the main reason I come back home to Florida during the summers (the fantastic weather is a bonus---it's hot, but I'm a tank top and sandals kinda gal!). 

Back to business--
I have been extra excited about our work over here at RuffleButts these past couple days. We just got a shipment of our merchandise in and the new t-shirts that I have designed for the following spring season have just arrived in with the bunch! Right now they are just the basic tee's but pretty soon they'll be my very own creation! They're waiting to be screen printed and I am waiting anxiously to see the final results. I'm so proud and I hope that you all will enjoy them for your little ones when the season comes around. 
The weekend has been pleasant and now it's back to the work week to get things done! 


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I love our customers!!

Well, first I have to sadly say that I am under the weather with an icky cold today. I can't remember the last time I used the word "icky", but it totally describes how I am feeling at this moment! Poor Veronica was stuck with me and my "icky" germs all afternoon yesterday as we ran all over creation, picking up new stock that arrived from the factory and dropping off our t-shirts for their final touches. I am so happy to say that we will FINALLY be sending out all of our back-ordered "So Blessed" t-shirts next week to our very patient and supportive customers. That makes me feel so good, a huge relief. I feel horrible that our customers have had to wait on these tees, but are so relieved that they will be receiving them just in time for this crazy, hot summer!

On that note, I just got off the phone with one of our customers, Rosalind Lara. Rosalind is the grandmother to a precious little angel and had placed an order with us back in early May. She called after placing her second order yesterday to tell me how happy they are with their new RuffleButts, and how her daugher gets so many compliments everytime she takes her little angel out in her new ruffles. I just have to say, yet again, that we have the BEST customers in the entire world!! I know I am a little bias, but I just feel so blessed to receive such uplifting phone calls from such loving and considerate women! I have worked in other industries in the past, I just can't say the same thing for my experience in pharmaceuticals & real estate! Thank you, sincerely, to all of our incredible customers that take the time out of your day to share the most adorable pictures and kind words about your new RuffleButts! It truly makes my day!

I have decided now that we have such an adorable collection of little angels in their RuffleButts that I must share them with the world. I am working on a full page of our "RuffleFans" to post on the website, so this is a little sneak preview: I am still working on the final touches and double checking all of the spellings. Really, does it get any cuter?? If you are a customer, be sure to send me pictures of your little angels to and I will be sure to add your little one to our page of stars!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Getting Into The Groove

Ruffle Intern V

What a crazy week! Between organizing our office, filling our entire order history, working on designs for the next season, PR ideas, and getting together a volunteer project on the side, we have been a busy bunch!

This is all very exciting and new for me. Being a design student, I mainly work in an isolated state of mind, focusing only on the creative task at hand. I have never really been exposed to the responsibilities of promotive/customer interaction in the work world before and I must say--it's pretty thrilling. Although very hesitant at first (I'm not what you would call a 'phone person'), I quickly got into the groove of contacting people during our PR week and now, after working on various promotional ideas and press contacts, am feeling the joy of responses.

I love be able to spend my time here. I feel like I am accomplishing so much more than I would at a typical design job where, more often than not, one is required to work within one very specific field of task without seeing an end to one's means. Working at RuffleButts has allowed me to work first hand with every aspect of running a business in the world of apparel and design. I've really gotten into the swing of our daily routine and its been such a great experience so far. Thanks to everyone who's been keeping up with my time here with me :)
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

PR Project week

This has been a very busy and exciting week here at the RuffleButts office. Our goal for last week was to launch our official office "PR Project". This included a brainstorming meeting and then a lot of time staring at the computer working on our list of contacts. I have learned in this business that PR is so very important - you can have the most creative, adorable product in the world, but if no one knows about it, you really don't have much of a business.

We were so fortunate to be recognized by babytalk Magazine last month, but as those issues are starting to disappear from the racks, we need to make sure that our next project is lined up and ready to go. There are so many fabulous outlets out there to share our creations, now we are just facing the challenge of how to let them know about us in a pleasant manner. I know these people are bombarded with companies trying to get free PR on a daily basis, so I just try to be as genuine as possible. I truly believe in what we are doing, which helps me tremendously as I weed through the "no's" to get to those amazingly encouraging "yes's".

If you are a young business on a similar path, here are just a few of the ideas that have worked for us:
- find the contact info for editorial at local and national parenting magazines & email them directly informing them of your company and most importantly your product
- email or call your local TV stations letting them know about your up and coming company. try to take an angle, such as work-at-home-mom, young business owner, encouraging other female business owners...something that they can work with for a story
- check out the many opportunites that you have to promote your business through FREE press releases online. These are just a few that I found online:

Hope this helps a bit. I know it can be discouraging, but what it really takes to get the word out there is time - much time spent plugging away at every opportunity you can think of. Because for all of those emails that go out unreplied, it just takes one big break to get those order rolling in!

For the month of June, RuffleButts will be offering our customers FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $75 and 15% OFF ALL DRESSES! This is just our way of saying thank you for all of your support and welcome to summer!

*Picture to the left is the adorable Anya of Celebrity Baby Blog in her RuffleButts Swiss Dot Sundress!