This last week has been stocked full of decisions. I think my brain is on overload and seriously can't function properly!! So, it seems that in this business everything comes all or nothing. We'll be slow for a month or two and then we get a flood of business over the course of a few weeks. PR and advertising will run with little response for a month or two and then bam, we receive calls from numerous publications. Maybe this is just God's way of keeping me grounded and hungry for success. Well, I'm hungry alright, as I'm sure many retailers are at this time. Business was just plain rough in Q4 and I, for one, am ready for the flood in 2009!
So, back to those decisions...this past week alone has been one of various opportunities and therefore decisions. We were approached with a last minute opportunity to return to the Boom Boom Room celebrity gifting suite. We had made the decision to pass this year purely due to the cost and lack of budget. Turns out we may be able to pull it off after all. Crazy thing is, Emily and I will have to leave on a flight in one week to head out to LA (Daddy is staying home to hang out with his pumpkin)! We have a lot to do to pull this one off!
Simultaneously, I was trying to make a decision on the Atlanta apparel market next month. I was planning to attend the show, working our Stella Jane & Friends Showroom, when I found out that my husband is actually in a wedding that same weekend. Since our little one is still so young and breastfeeding, we decided that it wasn't really feasible for us both to go to the wedding (out of town and a flight away)...so, off I will be going to Atlanta in a few weeks, with Aubrey in tow! I always said I didn't know how all you mompreneurs made it all happen, but I am quickly figuring out that you just do what you've gotta do, and we just find a balance in there somewhere!
On top of all that, I am trying to finalize our market plans for Fall 09. Booker & Company has a fabulous co-op opportunity for the upcoming Vegas KIDShow, which we attended last year. As a new company, this show was not a profitable one for us, but with Gemma's sales skills and our current brand awareness, I think this would be a good opportunity for us. Trade shows are always a tough one, as it is always a gamble and with the recent turn in the economy, attendance has been down overall. With that said, I feel that we have been so well received over this past year, but what we need is exposure. The stores that know about us are pretty loyal. Their customers buy our products and therefore they buy our products. It is the thousands of stores out there that don't know about us yet, that I am trying to reach. I know this happens over time through PR and brand awareness, but I think that trade shows are sometimes just a necessary evil. I don't mean this in a bad way, it's just that fine balance of cost, ROI, and publicity, and that big question...is it worth it?
I have also been working on our marketing plan/budget for 2009, which is also always a tough one. As a business owner and CEO, I want to make good business decisions, but so many marketing opportunities are again still such a gamble. We finally took the leap and placed some national magazine ads in Q4, but with the turn in the economy, those turned out to have extremely low ROI. Was it the publication, the timing, the ad, or a combination of the three? With sales low as a industry, we just don't have the funds to gamble, but we are also in a prime position for growth and understand the "spend money to make money" situation. My goal this week is to finalize this marketing plan, really analyzing the numbers, and hope that I make the best decisions for our brand. I have a really great feeling about 2009 and am not getting off this roller coaster any time soon!!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Happy Holidays from everyone here at RuffleButts! It has been crazy as always, both with the business, as well as the home life. We were blessed to have two sets of grandparents in town to share in the festivities and Aubrey was a little angel for her first Christmas celebration.
Thank you for your continued support of us here at RuffleButts. Thank you for your friendship, enthusiasm and advice over this past year. We are very excited about the year ahead. We wish you all the very best and look forward to hearing of your successes!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
As a sincere "thank you" to my incredibly supportive RuffleBlog readers, we are offering an exclusive offer to save 15% on your RuffleButts purchase for the next TWO DAYS ONLY!! Just enter the voucher code BLOG_FRIENDS at checkout. And to top it off, we are offering special one-price holiday shipping, so order as much as you'd like and your shipping is only $4.50 for USPS First-Class or $6.95 USPS Priority!!
Our Personalized RuffleButt Bloomers make a really special gift for the little angel in your life, and we have ton of ruffled fall styles that are perfect for this holiday season. Want to save a few $$s?? Check out our Sale Page where some items are marked down as much as 33% and now you save an additional 15% ! Or, check out our Gift Sets where you now save the 15% on top of the set discount...this is one heck of a deal for the holidays!
I sincerely appreciate all of your support, encouragement, excitement, and advice over this past year. It is my true pleasure to offer this savings to you at this joyous and festive time!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Okay, I know I have a fairly good excuse at the moment, but this has been a challenge to me really since starting the business...I am absolutely horrible at keeping up with correspondence, emails and voicemails, and remembering dates and appointments that are not on my work calender! And now that I have a new baby on top of everything else, it is a bit out of control.
Here's my problem, and I'm sure many of you can relate, I receive an email, I read it, and plan to respond. I then find that I have to deal with the 10 other things that are on my immediate to-do list, put it off till later in the day, when I find that 1st message has slipped off my inbox screen due to the 30 emails I have received in the meantime, and then completely forget to go back and reply. I think of it in the middle of the night, or at dinner-time, and have pure intentions on replying 1st thing when I get back in the office, but again, it just slips my mind as I get caught up in the many other things that are in front of me. I have learned that I am, as my husband calls it, an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" person, and this is my resolution for the coming year...I am going to find a system that helps to solve this character challenge.
I know many of you are probably thinking that we all have this problem and it is not that major, but lately, I am finding that it is spreading to other aspects of my life and really is a problem. I find myself not being a very good friend, as people think it is not important to me to respond to their emails, but it truly is important...I just forget when I am at my computer, as I deal with other work issues all day long. I also find myself not responding to requests from work related issues, as I respond to the more pressing emails, or "put out fires" and then forget to go back to those less pressing emails that still require a response.
My intentions are always to go back at the end of the day to get caught up, but somehow I just find myself deeper and deeper in this challenge. So, there it is, my big flaw, but I am vowing now that I am going to improve!! So, if you have written me, with no response, I apologize in advance, and promise to get back with you soon =)