Monday, August 25, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
The one story that happened to be the small part that I watched, was about this woman who searched for her calling and found it in an amazing project reaching out to children across our country. Her story sounded so familiar to me in the beginning...she was working a career, climbing the corporate ladder like the rest of her friends, when she just knew that she was supposed to be doing something different. She searched for the answer, asking daily for her direction, until one day she had her (what I tend to call) "light-bulb moment" and the words "pajama project" just came to her. She has since then collected and distributed 100's of thousands of pajamas to children in this country. I was deeply affected to find out that many of these children didn't even know what "sleeping clothes" were since they had always slept in their regular clothes, what few they did have.
This story was a nice reminder to me that we all have a calling, but sometimes it takes much searching to figure out exactly what that may be. When I knew deep down that I was not in my right place, I made a commitment to pray daily, for just a few minutes, but daily, asking for my answer. I made a promise to God that if he would just tell me what it was that I was supposed to be doing, that I would commit everything, give it my all, and reach out to others along the way. I feel tremendously blessed that I have this opportunity to do that in a very small way. I hope to grow this company, and touch the lives of millions, through our charitable giving, as well as taking others with me on this amazing journey!
If you are still on this search, I urge you to spend a little time every day asking for your guidance. Think outside the box, and I promise if you put others needs at the top of your list, you will be amazed at how it all comes full circle! I know that I don't do this as well as I could, but I am still growing, and remind myself daily to focus on what is truly important and allow the rest to work itself out.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Geek Mom Mashup
Best of Stupid
The Big Bald Blog
Unconventional Marketing Blog
How do you enter to win?
I am super excited to finally share with you that we are MOVING!!! With everything going on in the business, we have tried to get things in place prior to the announcement, so I will be sending out the official word to our newsletter subscribers this week! So, both our business and our family will soon be making the move from South Florida to Charlotte, NC. Although, we have enjoyed our time here in the Sunshine State, as a southern girl from Kentucky, I am really looking forward to our move to NC!
I am in the process of putting together a new team now, with multiple interviews set up for our first week in the new office. I am really excited to meet some of the fantastic candidates that I have spoken with so far, and to get things back up and running full steam ahead! The logistics with the business will continue to work pretty much the same, with a few small tweaks in shipping destinations. Unfortunately, I will have to close down the offices next week through Labor Day to get everything packed up and moved in to the new place, but will still be available by email throughout most of the time. We have to temporarily delay shipping order beginning Saturday, August 23rd, and will ship and and all orders on September 2nd. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience!
As you can imagine, my big prego belly has slowed me down just a bit with the whole packing experience, but I am so grateful to my wonderful husband and family for all of their help and support!
Life can be crazy, with incredible days, challenging days, curve balls, and milestones met. I just want you all to know, that even with my recent whining, I absolutely love what I do and am so incredibly appreciative for this chance to do it. And the fact that I have "met" so many other amazing women through this blog and this business is just one more blessing in my life!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Store name: Baby Bling Things Boutique
Store Owner: Ann Spross
Store location & contact info:
Open since: 2006
What is the story behind your store?
I didn't realize this little love would turn into the business it has. I started selling on ebay for fun, really not expecting anything. The response I received from my products took me by surprise to say the least. I didn't realize there was such a big market for baby bling products. As time went on and my ebay customer base grew, I decided to open my own store to see where that would take me. It went so well that I now sell to many high end online and retail boutiques across the country and a handful of international retail boutiques. I honestly feel so lucky and blessed to be where I am today. I love doing what I do. Even though it is my job, it really is my hobby first and foremost. I feel lucky that my love of creating bling things is what I can do for a full time job and it also will allow me to stay home with my baby, which is something that is important to me.
What was your inspiration to start your business?
I have many nieces who I love making unique custom creations for. At the time I started making my items, there weren't many boutiques or stores carrying custom baby bling. And the places I did stumble across were so overpriced. I wanted to create a place that carried upscale unique baby bling creations at a more affordable price.
What are some of your favorite products available at your store?
The Swarovski diaper wipe cases are by far my favorite product. Each one is custom designed making it a new experience and design every time. They are very time consuming to make and the feeling I get when they are completed is of quite an accomplishment.
What is your favorite RuffleButts style?
It really is to pick just one style, but I love the pink retro rufflebutts line!
Do you have a RuffleButts story (customer reactions, best selling products, etc)?
I am very new to selling the rufflebutts but have already received a very warm response from my customers. I am very happy I am able to offer such a cute baby line at my store!
What is life like for you as a children's boutique owner?
My life has been very busy since opening my store. I am very passionate about my work. Each item that I custom make is a new experience. I enjoy meeting new people and making my customers happy. But I try to balance all my work so I have time to spend with my family and friends.
What is your favorite part about your business?
My absolute favorite part is seeing babies/children using/wearing my products! I can never get enough of the pictures and Iʼm glad people love sending them. I also love meeting so many people from many parts of the world.
Friday, August 15, 2008
So, back to the question, what drives me?
1) My faith - I owe it to God to make the most of my time on this planet
2) My husband - he always challenges me to do more and better than what I think I can do
3) My family - from a very early age, my need to make my family proud has always pushed me beyond the average
4) My future little addition - of course, I want to create a career that not only supports my family, but also makes her proud of her mommy
5) Other amazing women - I am constantly amazed by so many other incredible women out there pursuing their own dreams
6) All of the encouraging comments and emails that I receive through this blog and on the RuffleButts website, which remind me that there are other people out there touched by what I am doing.
So, what drives/inspires you?
Thursday, August 14, 2008
So I try not to whine too very often on this blog, but if I am just being real...I am so tired!!! I am sleeping a little better lately, although I'm not sure if it's because I am totally exhausted, or because I am getting a little more used to a little dancer living in my belly! Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is okay to be worn down, I am about 26 weeks pregnant, add in running a business and all of the other things going on in my life, and that can be a bit tiring at times. I still am baffled how mompreneurs do it, but I will soon find out!!
There is a lot going on here at RuffleButts this week, as we just placed another production order to catch up on some of our super-quick selling styles, we are working on our first few advertising placements, we're sending out some of our Fall orders to retailers and working feverishly to get in our last Fall style so we can announce and launch the new styles online as well! I am also super excited to say that we are working with Amanda Elkins to do a photo shoot with our new collection. I love her work and can not wait to see what she is able to do with our creations! She is hoping to get some photos back to me next week, so I'll be sure to share those with you here.
The good news is that the business is going well, I am happy & healthy, and learning to balance two of the biggest blessings ever...a little angel soon to join the world, and my pre-baby, baby, RuffleButts!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Want to win a Sleepy Wrap? Then head on over to mommymandy.com for your chance to win one these great wraps. The winner will be able to pick the color they like. Babywearing is a great way to bond with your baby and I would love to be entered to win! You can enter HERE! This giveaway will end on Aug 15th
Good luck on your entry!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We took care of the registering thing a few weeks back, but haven't done any shopping other than picking up a used crib and stroller/car seat that kinda fell in our laps. The stroller and car seat pretty much came free with the crib, but I am so not in love with the fabric. So, yesterday, as I was working on some marketing for RuffleButts, I came across this company that makes the most adorable carseat covers and I just had to share them with you. The company is called Ritzy Baby, and the Owner Bridget seems like a total sweetheart! Although we are having a girl, I am usually not super over the top with the whole girly thing. I know that sounds funny, since I design a line of apparel all about the ruffles, but what I mean is that I like more the "hip girly" thing as opposed to lace and patchwork girly. Well, with this collection there is something for everyone...girly, not so girly, and everything in between. I am a little torn, since the price is about that of a new car seat, but so much cuter!
And, I need your help here...are you a mom that has some advice for a first-timer? Is there a product that you just can't live without? I would love to know! There is so much out there, and of course I have my favorites from being in the business...but have no idea where to start when it comes to the products needed for daily life. I would greatly appreciate any comments with recommendations, as I think it is time to get a shopping!!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
When I started this business last year, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that I was super determined to make it work, and with that determination, I could figure it all out. Looking back, my naiveness was probably a very good thing, because had I known what I was about to face, I probably would have been too intimidated to take the leap. Since then, I have learned so much and come so far. I find myself blown away by what I can accomplish when I need to! The great thing is, I am not unlike any of you! I think we are all capable of so much, but it is when we are pushed beyond what we are comfortable doing, that we are able to soar.
When my husband made that comment, what he really meant was that he thought this would all be easier - that we would design a little baby bloomer, find someone to make it and sell the heck out of it. We weren't really prepared for the challenges that we have faced with the manufacturer, sourcing, sales reps, accounting, etc. When running a business, there is so much to know and always something to learn. This is part of the reason that I love it! There is not a day that goes by that I am not challenged in some way, and that means that I am growing in some way, daily.
If you are considering starting your own business or even just getting started in your own business, be prepared that it will not be all easy going. The more you are challenged, the more you're growing and the better prepared you will be to run and grow your business. Dig deep and make sure that you have that determination to get you through the tough days along with all of the fun ones.
As much as I know my determination and ambition, I never would have imagined us here today. I am so very blessed and know that I could not have done this without the most important factor, and that is faith! I will continue to focus on this business, growing and learning, and can't wait to see where we are in another year!!
Friday, August 1, 2008
So, my husband and I have been married for four years. Actually, the 24th was our anniversary, but embarassingly enough, we've both been so busy this month, that neither one of us remembered! The past four years have been a whirlwind for us...we've moved 4 times, soon to be 5, have lived in three states, have started businesses, sold businesses, renovated two homes, moved for jobs, and of course, started RuffleButts! We are a couple just like any other marriage...we adore each other, but definitely have our days. If only you knew us well, we are actually two pretty strong personalities, and would make for a very entertaining reality show!! Well, this month, my husband has earned enough bonus points to last him quite a while. He has redesigned our website, helped me with ads, newsletters, pictures, business issues, and everything else you can imagine. And last night, he stayed with me at the office till 10:30pm packing orders!!
Yesterday was a blast!! Don't get me wrong, it was one long day (and night), but it was so much fun to see such a positive reaction to my creations from moms all across the country! The Daily Candy article was such a joy and introduced our products to so many moms that were out there searching for the ruffles!!
So, I am officially nominating my husband for the Husband of the Year Award!! I truly could not have created, and more importantly kept up with, this business without all of his support. Sounds corny, I know, but there are times that just call for some corny appreciation!!