Monday, June 30, 2008
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
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
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
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
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
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
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
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!
CELEBRATE SUMMER SALE!!!
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!