Friday, December 4, 2009
I'm excited...I have a good life, and overall where I pictured myself by age 30. But 30, really?? When I'm in the grocery store and look down at the "born before 1988" sign to purchase liquor, I about gag!!
So, my husband was a smart cookie and decided we would actually celebrate this one...he even booked a hotel room for the night (woo-hoo!!). I think he's a bit afraid I might get a little bummed out, especially considering that I will be spending my actual birthday hosting an open house on our unsold home! That's a whole other story...but for today and this weekend, I am celebrating. Thirty years of adventure - ups, downs, friends, family, living in 6 different cities (so far)...and many more adventures to come!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
We are giving away our beanies, seriously!! Now through Monday the 30th, spend $100 or more at www.RuffleButts.com and receive the beanie of your choice for FREE.
Gosh, I just love giving stuff away, so fun! And to top it off, the beanies are handmade by a group of Indian women that were taught to crochet to support their families. Many of these women are less educated and do not have another provider in the family, and this organization has provided them stability and opportunity.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
And for our loyal RuffleButt fans, you know we just love giving stuff away! So, this is your first hint for our next crazy deal, announcement to follow soon...
Friday, November 20, 2009
Don't forget, these RuffleButt Bloomers are absolutely precious under holiday dresses and over tights! They are also fantastic all winter long, worn with her favorite legwarmers or over colorful leggings.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I would like to take a minute to introduce you to one of our new RuffleButt Retailers...
Heather, the Owner of Mom 4 Life, has a great story to tell. She is, of course, a mom herself, and with a "dream and God's grace", she started this incredible business. The coolest thing is that their extensive product line is comprised entirely of the handiwork of moms. Not only do they carry some really fabulous products (now including RuffleButts!!), but they also feature the story of the moms behind them.
This is a unique web-store for many reasons, but you can read a few of them here. You can also read more about Heather, her story as a mom and entrepreneur, and about some of the fantastic Mom4Life products on her blog at http://blog.mom4life.com.
Another thing that I love about this company is that they are totally on the same page as us when it comes to customer service. Heather writes, "Regardless of how many products I offer or how large my business grows, my primary goal will remain the same: to offer unique products at great prices with exceptional customer service! I am rather picky about customer service: I like to be appreciated as a person rather than viewed as a number. I want to do the same for you!" I love it when our retailers handle their customers the right way. We feel that every RuffleButts customer deserves this attention and it is a huge comfort to know they are getting it whether they buy the products directly from us or from Mom4Life.
We are privileged to work with some of the most amazing stores around the world and I am honored to add Mom4Life.com to that list. They have truly been fabulous to work with on our end, and as a mom, I am already getting into trouble browsing their site...so many of my favorites!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
So anyway, back the Realtor....she mentioned that she is a little unsure of her career. Sound familiar?? I feel like we all face this split in the road at one point or another and sometimes the arrow sign just isn't there. Since I also left a career in real estate a few years ago to start RuffleButts, I can certainly relate. The big difference is I left when I was completely overpaid (in my opinion) for doing very little "work" back then, but I was still missing something...that big word that comes up in almost every one of these conversations...passion. I was not fulfilled. I could not image my life 20 years from now in the same career.
Is this you? Have you always dreamed of doing something different? Or maybe it's just not clear what that dream is at the moment. Maybe you never really wanted to be a doctor or a teacher, but knew that you were passionate about photographing your friends. What is it that makes you go?
I used to read book after book searching for this answer. I remember reading one book called Follow Your Dreams And The Money Will Follow, or something like that. Sounded easy enough...the tough part is my dreams weren't paying the bills and were honestly, not quite clear. I took classes, joined groups, but nothing seemed to give me my answer. So, I am going to share with you my life-changing decision. I'm not promising that this will work for you, but I know with 100% certainty that I owe my RuffleButts realization to this discovery. I committed to 5-minutes of silent prayer daily. I know sounds super committed and religious, but I am honestly not all that responsible. The reality was that I would spend 5 minutes in my car with the radio off and would have my little "conversation" with God before going into the office. It was my moment of calm before the storm that I faced daily. I would just chat with Him, explaining my dilemma and asking for a little guidance. I would also ask him to help me see the good in the nasty people that I worked for and with. After a few months of this, I finally got desperate and begged. I hated my job and the people I worked for, so I tried to make a plea with God. I promised if he would just give me the "idea", I would do everything in my power to make it work. I understood that I needed to start my own business, I just had no clue what that was supposed to be. I then quit my job, knowing with 95% confidence that this was the right step (I mean really, when you make a major decision like that leaving your career behind along with all income, do you ever really know with 100% confidence you're doing the right thing?), and decided to dedicate myself to figuring out my answer. It was when I took a step back, started volunteering a local children's hospital, took sewing classes (something I had always wanted to d0), and invested in myself, that He knew I was ready. The idea was a light bulb moment for me, and from that minute on, I knew what I was supposed to do. I can literally remember where I was standing, the color of the cell phone I was using to tell my mom about my realization, the parking lot and the corner that it is located on...it is ingrained in my memory. Don't get me wrong, it was not always easy, or super clear along the journey, but I finally figured out which direction I was supposed to be going.
If this is you, have faith that you will figure it out. I don't know how, or when, but if you search long and hard, you will find it. You can not be scared to take that leap of faith, but you also must do your part in making sure it is the right leap. You must be sure that you are committed to doing EVERYTHING in your power to do it well and do it RIGHT. I still stumble and sadly, I sometimes forget who I owe this entire journey to, but when it comes down to it, I know that He led me and I am proud of myself for listening. And if you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be here today, I would have believed you, but I wouldn't have ever imagined the journey that it took to get here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday - Organization=Calm
Today I am committing to the cleaning and organization of my desk. I love organization, but I always seem to busy to stick to it. I have high hopes and good intentions, then Aubrey is down in the my office, I am running behind, I get too much mail, and all of the sudden I am working on the 1/4th of my desk that is actually cleaned off. Today, that will change. I am starting with a calm working environment.
Tuesday - Clear Mind and the Captain
Tuesday is going to be all about clearing my mind of the clutter, so I can be a good Captain. I realized that I am the leader here, and my team looks to me to know where we are going and to get us there safely. Lately, I feel like I am too busy being worn down to lead anyone, so that changes today. I have splurged and booked a massage at a local resort. When you book a service, they give you access to their steam room, whirlpool, and all that good stuff. I'm not much of a spa gal, but I'm pretty psyched about this. I am going early in the morning and will spend a few hours decluttering my mind. I will focus on me and getting back to my happy place. Then, I am taking my computer to a local cafe, will have a healthy lunch and spend the afternoon planning out our path for the next year. I am going to put together our "map" and rediscover the joy of the journey.
Wednesday - Plotting the Map
Back in the office for the day, I am going to take as much time to myself as possible and put my plan in place. We are also going to have an office organization day to get everything in its place. I often find us wasting time going from place to place looking for basic office stuff. This is not only a time-waster, but also is stressful. The goal is to eliminate as much stress and negative energy as possible. Today, I am also signing up for some type of mommy & me class. I want to spend more time with Aubrey and I need some mommy friends. I think both of these things are super important in my life and today is the day that I am putting them both on the calender.
Thursday - Spread the Joy
Today is the day of giving. It has always been a top priority to me to share our success. I committed to donate a portion of our profits, and sometimes I am so caught up in the business, I don't take the time to do the things I enjoy...like giving. So today, our company will take the time to gather a bunch of apparel to share with come local children. We are going to give a bunch of bloomers to children at a local hospital to wear under their gowns, and we are sharing a ton of apparel with a local organization that helps families get on their feet. The fabulous thing is that the joy just pours in when you open your heart to give, so I am super excited to share this with my team here at RuffleButts.
Friday - On the same page
This day, as a company, we will review the plans. We will get on the same page, share ideas, get pumped up for what's ahead, and will figure out what we each can do to help. I am also taking just a little time out of the day to plan for my family. I have learned that my joy has to be evenly distributed, and as much as I love this business and devote the majority of my time to running it, I have to commit equally to my other sources of joy. I am booking a trip with my hubby and I am silencing that little voice in my mind telling me that we just don't have the time, or shouldn't spend the money. Our marriage deserves the time and money and I am making the commitment today. Maybe just a weekend away, but we need it, and I am doing it.
Okay, so that's my plan for my personal joy journey. On top of these daily tasks, and probably the most important factor to the success of my plan, is my commitment to spend at least 5-minutes daily in prayer. I did this just before I started RuffleButts, as I was searching for an answer and knew that I had to do something differently. These 5 minutes changed my life drastically and I learned that if you don't take the time to listen, the answer may just pass you by. God doesn't ever forget about us, but he does sometimes nudge us in his own way. I think last week was my nudge and I am ready to listen.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Summary: Dallas Area Moms
Name: Bryce Gruber
Geographic Region: Dallas, TX
Deadline: 01:10am EASTERN - 23 October
TheLuxurySpot.com is working on a project getting feedback from Dallas-area moms (we'll be working on other cities in upcoming months). If you're a trendy, stylish mom in the Dallas area we'd like to talk to you about where you shop, eat, & spend your free time.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Click here to go right to the registration page.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Yesterday, we were packing up our order for Nordstrom when Mark caught a very small error that is actually a gigantic error. The factory switched around our UPC labels and printed the tags incorrectly. Sounds like it wouldn't be a huge deal, but Nordstrom has very strict ship-by dates and Friday is ours. As you would imagine, it is a little tough to have our factory print labels and send them overnight international to arrive in time to receive, attach to the RuffleButts and pack up the entire shipment. So, I spent the morning figuring out how to deal with it. There was a solution, but now I just have to count on a tag supplier and UPS to do their jobs correctly and on-time to allow us to meet our deadline. A year ago, I would have been having a stress overload, but now I just take it as it comes. Don't get me wrong, it wears me down and burns me out at times, but I have learned that almost everything has a solution.
Today, has been the total opposite, a nice relaxing day. Our new hats arrived, finally, and we now have almost no hats on backorder!! I also sucked it up and invested in our own commercial embroidery machine. This was one I put off for the the past few years for multiple reasons, the first being the large investment, but more importantly the time to run it. It is a nice feeling knowing that it is now in my control and I can run our embroidery in the time and quality standards that I like to offer to our customers. It is days like these that I feel the hard work pays off...still stressful, still busy, but I feel like we are moving forward, and that's the direction I like to go =)
If you are a fellow business owner and you are in one of the not so relaxing days, just know that it comes with the territory, and there is an end in sight. Okay, well it's not really an end, but at least a breather in sight. Tomorrow, I'm sure it'll be back to the roller coaster for me, but for today, I am going to go take a little mommy time now and will catch up later tonight.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
So here goes my answers to her Laurie's questions:
1. What to look for in sales reps and if there are some out there that are paid only based on commission?
Yes, there are some sales reps that are paid only on commission. I think this is the most fair way to work this business relationship...this way they are paid for the work that they do, and are not paid for the work that they don't. Typically you will find the commission rates to be higher with reps that don't demand a showroom fee, but this only makes sense. Here are some of the lessons I have learned with reps...
- Get everything in writing. Write a contract and make sure it is very clear. If a rep has issue with your contract, don't work with them because it will end eventually anyway. Everything should be fair, and if they don't see it this way, then they are not who you should be working with long-term.
- Do you intend to pay your rep for orders that come from your existing stores? If not, be clear about this because many reps expect to be paid on everything, orders they send you, orders from your existing clients that they see at a show, orders that their customers call in directly to you, and orders that your existing clients call in to you after they have ordered from your sales rep at one show last year. Believe it or not, most reps expect to be paid on orders from customers that they don't even know about, stores they have never visited, or even met, but happen to come from their territory. I don't think this is fair, but many reps would disagree.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page before sending samples and be sure that you have a written agreement stating that those samples are your property to be returned at any point in time upon your request.
- It is tough to find good reps, but they exist. Some reps are fabulous at what they do, but to me, the biggest factor is communication.
2. How did you get all of your media contacts? Through reps? On your own? What is the best way to get exposure?
I got my media contacts through old fashion hunting. I spent much time on google and going through magazines to get the editors names. I then found another email at the company and used the same format to take a shot that my email could make it to the right person and actually get read. To be honest, I received a response to one out of every 50 or so emails sent, but the few that did respond landed us in BabyTalk Magazine, on Fox news, and in Texas Family Magazine, just to name a few. I have learned in business that you don't get what you don't ask for, and people want to help you, you just have to help them to want to help you =) I am including a few publications below to help you get started (courtesy of Build-A-Buzz):
Better Homes & Garden: email@example.com
Good Housekeeping: firstname.lastname@example.org
Woman's Day: email@example.com
Family Circle: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies' Home Journal: email@example.com
3. What advice would you give people starting their own line?
Wow, I could write a book on this one! The biggest piece of advice would be to keep your head up and know that you are not alone. This business can be a little lonely at times...you work your little heart out and it often feels like you are fighting an uphill battle. You also quickly learn that in every business you must weed through many to find those you can trust. Be cautious, be proud, be determined, be an outside-the-box thinker, be creative, be ambitious, be brave, be memorable, be honorable, and ALWAYS follow your gut. Make decisions that you will be proud of when looking back, and don't spend too much before making any.
4. What mistakes did you make that you would warn people about?
I listened to people because they were more experienced in this business, even when I knew that I had a better idea. I trusted too easily and I didn't get enough in writing. Don't be embarrassed to ask manufacturers to sign non-disclosure agreements...if they are hesitant, that means they have reason to be. Put deadlines on your factories and give them a reason to stick to them (financial penalties). This is more apparel specific, but give your factory more specs than you would ever think would be needed. They don't use "common sense", so don't let them try.
5. If you knew then what you know now?
Well, I think I would probably have gotten more sleep and less grey hairs over the past two years! So, I have learned a lot over the past years, but honestly, it has been one heck of a ride. I absolutely love what I do. It makes me crazy, it can be lonely, it is SUPER stressful at times, I work WAY too much, but I couldn't ask for better customers or a better career! I have often said that I am glad I went into this whole thing a little naive because I may have been too scared to take the leap. I'm glad I didn't know how much I really didn't know until I was too far in to turn back. Now I look back and although I still have SO much to learn, I feel so much more confident in my decisions. I don't second guess myself as much and I care MUCH less about what others in the business may think about me or what I do.
Like I said, I am far from an expert, but I am honored to share my experiences in hopes that they inspire you just a little bit. There were so many days in the beginning when I just felt like I was in over my head. I didn't know where to turn. My friends were very supportive, but they truly did not understand how incredibly difficult and demanding this venture would be for me. You are not alone and we all started where you are today. Actually, Laurie, it sounds like you are starting out much further ahead since you have a handle on the manufacturing aspect of this whole thing. So, I hope this helped a little!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I know we all have our weeks, but this week has been a bit exhausting. I'm trying not to whine, and I do know that I am so fortunate to have all of this on my plate, really I do, but man does it get tiring sometimes! Since our GC quit on our new house/office, I have been spending about half my time out there in meetings and the other half in the office trying to get caught up. My poor DVR is overflowing with shows that I hope to watch one of these days!! I know it is completely worth it, but it would just be nice to have an end in sight.
Okay, that's enough negative for now. Good news...Nordstrom just placed their order as we head toward the holidays and we have created a new surprise RuffleButt Bloomer just for them. We will also have a few available on our website, but they are definitely a limited edition. I am really excited to see them, as we are shipping from the factory just in time to be in stores by the end of next month. Believe it or not, that's quick in this business, especially when everything is overseas! The other good news, we have so many incredible customers, supporters, and now friends...I couldn't wish for anything better =)
And lastly, if you have a little one in size 2T, we have a Purple Glitter knit RuffleButt and matching t-shirt on sale for $22.99 FOR BOTH!! It sounds a little gaudy, but it's really not...it is a subtle glitter made right into the fabric and the tee is embellished with a rhinestone butterfly. It is really precious and a total steal right now!! We're already sold out of all other sizes, but if you're little one is a size 2T, or will be a size 2T next Spring, this is a hidden gem on our Sale Page!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I share this both in celebration with my blogger friends, as well as a reminder to everyone out there praying for something. It is so difficult to remember, but faith is always rewarded. Sometimes we won't understand...I remember praying month after month for God to grace us with a child, yet month after month, she did not come. I prayed through a miscarriage, not knowing that so many of our friends had gone through the same experience. Then, following the birth of our daughter Aubrey just 10 months ago, I looked down and realized why He had not answered my prayers...he needed me to patient, to wait for my precious daughter to come at the right time. We have some friends, two of the most thoughtful and considerate people I have ever met. They have been waiting patiently for their turn at parenthood since we began our family prayers years ago. I don't understand why they have to wait, and I'm sure they don't either. I truly can not think of anyone more deserving. It is so difficult not to get angry or to lose faith, but it is days like today, that I know He is working His (not my) plan. We may not understand it, or like it for that matter, but there is a rhyme to the reason, and He is listening.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I met Annie Salyer from No Slippy Hair Clippy a few years ago out in LA. She was super sweet and really made a lasting impression on me. Her brand seemed really creative and I always heard others raving about her products. Well, that was pre my little cutie patootie, and now I have a whole new appreciation for Annie's creations!
Aubrey's hair is super fine, much like mine. She is not lacking for hair, just enough to hold in any kind of hair accessory. Of course I dress her pretty darn girly, but that still doesn't stop those random strangers from asking what "his" name is? What does a mom have to do??
So, No Slippy Hair Clippy to the rescue! After browsing through the TONS of styles available on their website (www.NoSlippy.com), Aubrey's three adorable clips showed up in the mail this week. Seriously, she has not gone a day since without her Clippy! We have had them for less than a week, and I have had no less than three people ask where we got such cute hair accessories.
We have only taken pictures in two of them, but I'll be sure to post another picture soon of the cute little ribbon thing they are clipped to hanging in her room. And the best part is, since they are hanging and organized, they don't get lost!! Annie, you are one smart lady =)
And, by the way...the picture below is Aubrey entertaining herself in the office recycling while I got out a few late night emails!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
"The price of greatness is responsibility"
- Sir Winston Churchill
Good quote, huh? So, we decided to make up our own quotes and were tossing around a few ideas. Then, it hit us...
"The road to failure is paved with a sense of entitlement."
- Mark and Amber Schaub
When we moved to Dallas about 5 years ago, I had to move down first for my job, while Mark stayed in Cincinnati to wrap up the sale of our house. One day, when on the phone, he asked me what I thought of Dallas, and I told him that I loved the city, everyone was very friendly and I was glad we made the move, but some of the people that I was meeting seemed to feel entitled to everything. They were kids that came from money, adults that wanted all play with no work, women that wanted men to pay the bills with no price. It was so foreign to me. I quickly learned that those people exist everywhere, it was more a matter of my workplace and the people that it attracted. Anyway, I found that these people were some of the biggest failures I had ever met. They thought they were owed everything, but wanted to earn nothing. Even if they had "everything", they never found a sense of fulfillment, which may be even worse.
So, Mark and I vowed that we would never raise our daughter this way. We want to give her the foundation to build her own legacy and be proud of herself when she accomplishes that.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I will keep the long story short, but for those of you that read about the big daycare fiasco...turns out that we should have pulled her out months ago. I had been telling Mark for weeks that we really needed to start looking for a new childcare provider, as I just wasn't getting the best vibes from our current provider, and then the sh** hit the fan. Not only did she cross the lines on many levels, she then sent a letter threatening to sue us for the one month of childcare AFTER we removed our daughter. I wanted to walk away and truly just didn't want the drama, but since we were faced with a law suit, I had to do a little more research. Turns out that not only was she breaking numerous rules, she was technically operating an illegal childcare operation, caring for too many children with no state license. I guess I should have followed my gut. The good news is that I now have Aubrey home with me all day, every day! I have some extra help here at home, a "family assistant", who doubles as a "office assistant" when Aubrey is napping...couldn't be better!!! She is super sweet, fantastic with Aubrey, and we love having her around.
I have never been busier, and trying to fit everything into one day is a bit challenging. This month is a record month for us, as was last month, as was the month before. This is all such an enormous blessing, a ton of work, and the biggest challenge of my life. I am just trying to keep my head above water, making sure we stay on top of orders, designing for next season, working arrangements with some new large retailers, and planning some very exciting things for RuffleButts. Anyway, I keep learning over and again, that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
Friday, August 14, 2009
If you are a Mompreneur in California, this could be a great PR opportunity...
5)Summary: Looking for CA Mompreneurs to Profile in Film
Category: Business & Finance
Email: Helpareporter@gmail.com (Put CA MOMPRENEURS in sub)
Media Outlet: Anonymous
Specific Geographic Region: N
Deadline: 06:08pm PACIFIC - 26 August
I am producing a documentary film about mom entrepreneurs and looking for
moms to profile in California. If you are interested in being considered,
please email me and include your name, website url, how long you have been
in business, how many children you have, city you live in, whether you labor
at your domicile or in an office and the best time and place for us to contact you.
Those who send me their information first will receive priority for
consideration. We are looking to fill 36 segments. We will be filming for
3 days in late October.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
So, I have now realized that just about every week or so I write a post saying that this week has been a little crazier or more hectic than most. I have now come to accept that every week is more hectic than most! This week is no exception. So, let's see, our NEW Fall Line finally arrived from the factory. I put together our new line sheet & order form and finally got them sent out to our wholesale customers on Thursday. I then received a call from daycare which started a big fiasco. Friday was all drama and let's just say that I pulled our daughter out of her daycare permanently when the babysitter accused my husband and I of "having alcohol on our breath when picking up our daughter more than once." Wow, this caught me off-guard, especially considering that my role of mommy is #1 on my priority list, so this is obviously an incredibly offensive accusation. But on top of that, we pick up Aubrey around 5:30-6:00 in the evening, and I only wish I could be sitting around having margaritas all afternoon, but my days don't quite allow for it!! So now, I am somehow full-time mommy and full-time CEO, and thank God for Mark and Mary right now!! I honestly could not do it with out them.
On to the rest of the week, Mark and I worked until about 1:00am on Sunday night getting all of our new Fall pieces up and available for purchase on the website. I think I've almost got handle on things...now onto finding a new childcare situation. To be honest, a part of me absolutely loves having her home during the day, but realistically I know that it is not fair to her or the business to spread myself that thin.
So, I am thrilled with the new line, and I hope everyone else is too. Onto our new designs, which are on my list of things to do this week...along with a few other things!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
So, I am challenging you to pick up the tab for a random stranger. Do it at the coffee shop, or maybe the McDonald's drive-through. It could even be a $.99 cup of coffee at the gas station. It doesn't have to be much, but I guarantee you will make someone's day!
So many of us are loaded up with responsibilities and stresses. We have a lot resting on our shoulders, and even if we could afford that cup of coffee, it would be so much more fun if it were free! And the best thing in life is that all good deeds come back at you ten fold...so plant those seeds and let them bloom. If nothing else, someone will have a better day all because of you!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
We were pretty excited when we received an email from Kelly (one of our RuffleButt model moms) informing us that she had just spotted RuffleButts on TMZ! Turns out Ali Landry and her daughter Estela were out playing on the beach when the papparazzi got a few shots. They best part is, Estela was looking absolutely precious in her Swiss Dot RuffleButt Bloomers!! I mean seriously, Ali is one hot Momma (I must admit I am a little jealous of that killer body) and her daughter could not be cuter!
I actually met Ali out in LA at the Pre-Golden Globes Gifting Suite in January of 2007, just after launching RuffleButts. She was super nice as we laughed about the stories of our own 'rufflebutts', having grown up in the south. Well, I grew up in KY, but it is more south than many of the states beneath us! Anyway, she told me that her daughter loved her ruffled bloomers and now ours would be the brand of choice! So, it was very fun for me to see Estela having a blast in her RuffleButts a year and a half later!
We found the pictures all over the internet including TMZ.com and iBabyCouture, among many others. We are crossing our fingers that they make it into one of the weeklies, but I am completely honored either way!
Monday, July 13, 2009
- Worked until 1:00 in the morning trying to confirm models for Saturday's photo shoot
- Found out that our production coming from the factory was going through the forwarder and was now going to arrive on Wed or Thursday, instead of Mon or Tues as expected
- Found out that our photo shoot samples were FINALLY sent out and due to arrive to me today
- No photo shoot samples
- No production delivery
- Waiting to hear back from the models
- Production for big Nordstrom order due to ship out from the factory today or tomorrow
- Photo shoot samples arrived, missing about 25% of the items
- One fabric made with the wrong background color
- One t-shirt made with the wrong print colors (we sent them corrections after seeing the first sample via photo, but they didn't correct them)
- No production delivery
- New RuffleButt denim for photo shoot missing from samples, now due to ship overnight today
- Notified that production cleared customs and should be delivered today
- The rest of the photo shoot samples arrive, still no denim
- Receive notice that denim is not being sent in time for photo shoot
- Production never shows up
- Still have not received confirmation from all models for photo shoot
- Production finally arrives...yay!!
- Find out that Nordstrom order never shipped out to us, and we are supposed to use the production we just received to fill that order...which leaves us with no production to fill the rest of our orders, and not even enough to fill the Nordstrom order!!!
- Sent out all back-orders (more than 30 of them!)
- Go through all samples and pack for photo shoot...until 1:00 in the morning
- Get up at 4:00 am to leave for airport
- Lug all photo shoot apparel and Aubrey to the airport and take of for LA, all before 7:00am
- Play with my adorable (but not acting adorable) little one for 5 hours on a plane. She slept a total of 20 minutes of the 5 hours =)
- Arrive in LA and drive to straight the photo shoot. Stuck in LA traffic for about two hours and arrive almost an hour late!! (We only had less than 2 hours to use the first location)
- Drive straight from 1st location to 2nd, arrive 30 minutes late due to time crunch at 1st location.
- Shoot all of the models and then Aubrey at the end. She was tired, not happy and completely thrown off...wouldn't smile for anything =)
- Get back to our hotel around 8:00pm LA time, 11:00pm our time.
- Up at 6:00am LA time, played with my little angel and off to the airport by 8:00am
- Aubrey was so sweet to me and had a wonderful flight!! We played together the entire time and I felt so blessed to have this devoted time with her where I couldn't work, couldn't accomplish anything around the house, and it was just 100% Aubrey all day. She was a joy!!
- Hubby picked us up from the airport shortly after 7:00pm and we were very happy to be home!!
- Back to work =)
Still want to start your own business?! This week was a tough one on me. Emotionally, I went through the ringer with our factory and production. Physically, I am exhausted. But, with all of that said, I absolutely love what I do!!
The good news is that our new factory is really great at what they do and they are working hard to make it all right. Hopefully we will get back on track very soon. The good news is I am thrilled with the new collection, as some of the new shirts came out even better than I expected! Stay tuned...more to follow soon!!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
You don't have to know exactly what business you want to start, you just have to have that little fire inside that says you want to take a risk; you want to do it on your own; you want to plant a seed and watch it grow. More than that, it means that you are willing to take on the instability, the chaos, the long hours, the ability to think ahead of everyone else, the discipline to pass on the gatherings when all of your friends are having fun and you are at the office. You don't have to have the big idea from day one, but you have to be willing to work hard enough to achieve it.
As an entrepreneurial mom, I feel like this adds an extra layer. There aren't a lot of other moms out there who understand where I am coming from. Other mommy friends are hard to come by because I don't have any spare time to invest. I hardly even have time to respond to emails. From the other side, I'm sure it comes across as selfish, but I truly have to choose between personal emails and business emails during the day. My days are so jam packed and now that Aubrey is my top priority, I have to let some other things slide. The good news is that I have finally hired an Assistant, so hopefully that will help me on this never-ending journey towards balance.
So, I have learned in life, that I will never make everyone happy, but for me, this is happiness. I am working super hard at the moment to try to build something for the future. Mark and I are paying the price, working 10-12 hours a day, weekends, and then some to build a life for our daughter. I hope that putting in the extra hours now, while she is young will enable us to spend more quality time with her as she gets a little older. I think I was just born with that fire. I am not satisfied any other way. I just count my blessings that I have found the perfect husband to join me on that journey, and a few incredible friends who support and understand.
Friday, June 26, 2009
If you or someone you know happens to live in the LA area, we are on the hunt for some new little RuffleButt gals. Our clothing only goes up to size 2T, so unfortunately, some of our previous little cuties (including the adorable Bela) have now outgrown us. So, we are now looking for fresh faces to join us for the fun! Check out the details below:
Thursday, June 25, 2009
“Try not to compare yourself to others as a measurement of your performance or feelings of success. If you do, you will have bought into the erroneous idea that you will, in some way, be better and HAPPIER when you are ahead of someone else. GOD IS LOVE.” -Rev Run
This holds so true for so many people...women, men, moms, entrepreneurs, wives, husbands, children. I pretty much think we all have this in common - we compare ourselves to others. There is always going to be someone who has more, who seems happier, or is more successful. As a business owner, I have come to accept that there are people ahead of me in this adventure. But instead of comparing myself, I have learned to learn from them...what did they do right? or wrong?
I agree with Alex that I am also guilty of this, but this post was a nice reminder to be happy with where I am today.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Are you sitting around wishing you were in different circumstances? Do you hate your job? Do you complain about your friends? It's your life, and no one is going to change it but you. I completely get it that we have other factors to consider, like supporting our families or keeping everyone else happy, but sometimes I think we minimize the importance of our own happiness. And when I say happiness, I don't mean that life should be perfect and we should drop everything to go lay on the beach. I think you know exactly what I am saying here...happiness, as in our ultimate life goals.
If you are not satisfied in life, what is missing? Is it something you can change? Does it require a risk? Does it require a good kick in the butt?? Maybe this is not the right time, and only you know that, but don't settle. DON'T BLAME OTHERS FOR YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. It's your life and only you can change it.
I am fortunate enough to absolutely love what I do. I get to work with incredible people (including my husband) and have the best customers in the world! The thing that I am not completely happy with in my life at the moment is my lack of time. I feel like Mark and I have put so many things on our plate at once, that it is now taking its toll in every aspect of our lives. I am tired, I am stressed, I don't have any time for friends, I wish I had more time with Aubrey, Mark and I argue over little things, and I certainly don't get enough time with family. With all of that said, I am so blessed to live the life that I do, but I know that I need to make some changes. I am working super hard right now to get to the place where I can find balance. I just hope that comes sooner than later.
So, what are you not satisfied with at this moment? What are you doing to change it?
Monday, June 15, 2009
I believe this experience brought about many emotions. I believe some people were a little too quick to hit the 'post' button and to judge others that they didn't know. I do understand why and hold no ill feeling towards anyone (including those that judged me personally). Just like everyone else, I obviously didn't know that the blog was a lie. And honestly, I feel like the writer needs love and prayers now more than ever. I am not supporting her actions in ANY way, but each and every one of us have made mistakes, maybe not quite on this level, but we are not perfect either. The world has a way of working itself out, and I am sure she will pay an extremely high price for her actions.
So, on the topic of mistakes, although not near the severity of Beccah's, as a business owner, I feel I am always learning from my mistakes. When I first started this business, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I read, I researched, I inquired, but I think sometimes we just learn best from doing. I may not have chosen the very best fabrics, or factory for that matter. I didn't know the best advertising avenues and not all of my decisions were the correct ones, but as we are growing, I am improving. Things are getting so much easier! We now manufacture our own fabric, and we are working with a fabulous factory (one that actually sends our products correctly and responds when I contact them). I now know, for the most part, where to advertise, and where is a total waste. I know more about the industry, sales, trade shows, and product development. This is the natural progression of experience. So, I guess my point is this...if you are still at the beginning of that learning curve, you will make mistakes. This is okay, expected, and actually, to your benefit down the road. You have to make mistakes to improve. Don't let people make you feel like you don't know what you are doing, even if you don't!! We all started somewhere and I promise, we have ALL made mistakes.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
On a side note, I do have to give a sincere "thank you" once again, to all of you amazing people out there. I have been so touched, and inspired, by the sweet words of support. It is a little crazy out here in internet world, and it is just too easy to type from a place of emotions and hit "send". I have learned in business not to take other's opinions to heavy, as long as I feel confident in my heart that I am doing the right thing. I continue to be amazed by the swarms to wonderful women out here in blogland, and I only wish I could know each and every one of you in person. I truly do appreciate your comments.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I will say that I was a little taken off-guard by the emails that I received today, but overall, I am touched by the support. This is not our situation, and we should in no way be the focus of attention. If this is all honest and true, there is someone much more in need at this moment. From this point forward, I will not be commenting or responding regarding the situation. It is not about me. I will, whether you agree or disagree, continue to pray for this family. I realized that either way it went, I was not going to make everyone happy, so I have to follow my heart and do what I feel is the right thing. I live my life and run my company by the Golden Rule, and this is what I would want if the situation were reversed. I do not know if this blog is honest and I can not answer that for you, but it is not my place to decide.
I know I can be a bit of an optimist, although I definitely am not naive. I want to have hope, but right now, I am faced with a bit more disappointment. With all of that said, even if this one person, or even handful of people, did lie to world, they are still the minority. The world is full of good people and, if nothing else, this potentially evil action brought out so much good in so many people. So many of you put them ahead of yourselves, you prayed for them, you thought of them, you sent them gifts, you cared. This is why people are good, when put to the test, there are still so many incredibly supportive, loving, giving people out there and please, do not let this experience take that away.
Thank you for taking the time to send me your kind words...they do not go unnoticed!
Today, I received a phone call, followed by about 4 different emails from individuals informing me that this blog is a scam. They, of course, pointed out that our brand is now associated with this scam and recommended that we discontinue the ad immediately. Of course I found this extremely alarming, not only for our company reputation, but also for the many people that supported and prayed for this family. As far as I know, this blog was not a source of income for the writer and I never once saw her solicit money or donations, with the exception of this ad, which was very affordable, compared to your average advertising.
I am so torn, as I have no confirmation that the site is a scam. The ladies that contacted me informed me that B posted pictures of a doll, claiming them to be her baby April. When I went to the site, all posts and pictures were removed with a note from B, saying that this has all just been too much. I was able to pull up the site from yesterday and saw the pictures for myself. I must admit that they do look a bit like a baby doll, but who am I to make this claim? If this woman is really going though the birth and loss of her newborn daughter, I can not turn my back, nor throw stones. I am not the judge here, and we all know, ultimately, who that will be!
If this is all a lie, this woman probably needs our prayers more than anyone could ever know. I just can not bring myself to demand that she take down our advertising, as this is the last thing she needs to be dealing with, if she truly is dealing with the loss of a child. On the other hand, if this is a scam, I do not want to be associated in any way. I would be completely disgusted and truly disappointed.
So, here I am...for the first time, in a while, completely torn on what to do. In my opinion, people are innocent until proven guilty. I sent an email to both Kelli and B this morning asking for their word that this is 100% honest. If I receive proof that this is a scam, I will not only immediately demand the removal of our ad, but I will truly be heart broken. Until then, I offer my prayers of strength to this family in a time of extreme pain and loss.
Update: At 3:30pm, I still have not recieved a response to my emails to Kelli and Rebecca. I therefore made the decision to request the removal of our ad. I am not judging, but in this situation, I feel it best to seperate ourselves from their actions. As a person and as a company, we only want to do the right thing and to bring smiles to the faces of others. I know that B is going through a world of pain, whether she has truly lost a child, or was so lost in life that she lived a lie online. Either way, she needs prayers of stregth and healing. As I said before, it is not my place to judge, but I prefer to be removed.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Being that we both came from the real estate industry, we always like to keep an eye on what's going on. So, we were out driving around a few months back and came across this pretty lake house. The house is located just about 20 minutes away from where we live now, but in a lake community. Just for kicks, we decided to take a look. It was nice, we went home, and life went on. Then, a few months later, Mark said to me, "what would you think about moving to the lake?". I thought he was joking at first, but quickly realized that this is totally something we would do! My first reaction was a quick "no way!", but after a few days, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I could come up with quite a few reasons why we shouldn't, but I just felt a little push to explore further.
So, long story made a little shorter...last Friday, I started to do a little more research and came across a home in another nearby lake town. The home looked absolutely gorgeous on the listing site, and I couldn't imagine it was something we could afford. But, as I looked into it a little further, I realized that the home was new construction, left incomplete by the builder, and the home was in foreclosure. I was intrigued, we drove to check it out, and really liked what we found. After much discussion and a LOT of prayer, we made an offer on Monday. By Friday, we found out that we got the house! Yes, we are idiots =) We made an offer to buy a new home when we still own our current home and don't even have it on the market yet. It is the worst time ever to sell a home, and yet, I have this sense of comfort that we can do it. Oh, and did I mention that we haven't even been in our current home for a year?
So, to wrap it up, we close on our new "home" this Friday, start construction on Monday and hope to have our current home sold in the next 30-days! There are just so many things that make this right, but one that is super exciting is the fact that there is an enormous space, absolutely perfect for RuffleButts Corporate, built right into the house, with it's own separate entrance for our employees and a lake view!
Needless to say, it has been a crazy week! Oh, and to top it off...it's also been our best month ever for RuffleButts!!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I had this vision in church this weekend. I know, it sounds bad that I was thinking about work at church, and not being more focused, but actually, I was thinking about moms, children, families and what a true blessing they really are. So, I have an idea, and I need your help to make it come to life. And, what better than FREE RUFFLEBUTTS as an incentive!!
Here's the deal: Take some creative pictures, have fun while doing it, have great pictures to add to your collection, and maybe earn some free RuffleButts in the process! You don't have to be a mom to participate. Everyone is welcome! Just pick your three or more categories below, and have fun!
- You must send in at least one (1) digital photo in at least three (3) of the seven (7) categories below. The more the merrier, and more chances to win, but three is the minimum.
- No one in the photo is required to be wearing RuffleButts except for the "Little Angel in RuffleButts" photo. Although, you definitely earn bonus points if RuffleButts are spotted in the other categories as well!
- BE CREATIVE, think outside-the-box!!
- On the 'fill-in-the-blanks' categories, the photo must show the actual words in some fashion.
- You give us the rights to use your photos on our website and in any promotional advertising, including the video from my vision! Entrant represents and warrants that the submitted photograph is an original, non-published work that does not infringe any privacy, intellectual property or other rights of any third parties.
1) Baby, Mom, Grandma (Three Generations)
2) Children are ______________.
3) My daughter/granddaughter is ________________.
4) Baby & Daddy (Daddy's Princess)
5) Smiles are ______________.
6) Little Angel in RuffleButts
7) RuffleButts are _______________.
What to do: Send your photos directly to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, June 5th. We will be selecting the winner on or before June 12th and will make the announcement at http://www.rufflebutts.com/. Photos must be at least 72 dpi. Be sure to include in your email your name, phone, and email address, along with your blog address if you have one.
How to win: We will select our favorite photo based on creativity and thoughtfulness. The entrant that submitted the photo will win our 5-Piece Knit RuffleButt Gift Set, including our solid pink, white, turquoise & lime Bloomers, along with the color of their choice from our Floral Knit Collection. This is an $89 value, all yours, for FREE!!
**Please feel free to share this on your own blog - the more the merrier!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I have found in small business that one of the most valuable gifts are those of referrals! So, when I come across a wonderful vendor, I like to share their information, one, as a thank you for doing such a great job, but two, to pay it forward and help other small business owners.
Let me just say that I have worked with my share of graphic designers. I have had all kinds of experiences, but obviously, was still looking for the best fit. So, I recently worked with a graphic designer by the name of Andrea Russell with Optasia Graphics. She is fabulous!! Not only can she get in my brain...seriously, I was a bit freaked out =) but, she is also a true pleasure to work with. This is no surprise, but she actually came to me as a referral from our photographer, Amanda Elkins, who is also beyond fabulous!
So, since I received this wonderful gift from Amanda, I am paying it forward and sharing the info with you! I know this business can be a bit secretive, which can be super frustrating when you are new (or old for that matter), but if someone doesn't have enough trust to change that trend, then each and every one of us are going to have to learn the hard (and expensive way)...or we can change the business and help each other out! I am going to have faith that sharing my resources does not come back to bite me. If you have any great vendors that you would like to share, please post them in the comments below...so we can all succeed together!
Monday, May 11, 2009
I do some of my best 'out loud' thinking in the car with Mark (my hubby), although sometimes, I must admit, I look pretty crazy, 'out loud' thinking in the car all alone! Anyway, on Friday, as we were driving to FedEx to drop off some last-minute orders, a discussion arose regarding some of our past vendors. Have you ever made a statement and then realized how right you were? Well, I had one of those moments...I turned to Mark and said "I think in order to think outside-the-box, you have to live outside-the-box." Then, I realized how true that statement really is. We pride ourselves on good customer service, but in order to provide that service, rarely can I follow the 'rules'. I often find myself driving Express orders to the post office because someone missed our order deadline, but desperately wants bloomers for pictures they have scheduled. Other times I have had products rush shipped from our factory in India for a customer that had her heart set on a particular style for a particular event (at our expense). I have literally driven to a customers house to exchange out a product and have personally sat on the phone for hours trying to track down packages delayed with USPS, even though they are completely out of my control. I am not patting myself on the back by any means, all of these things are expected, or at least I expect them.
You have a choice, you can be as successful as the industry standard, and if you are okay with this level of success, then that is your option. If you are someone not okay with this mid-level success, then you must think outside-the-box. You must rise above the rest, do things differently, not follow the rules, and leave your customers raving about how "different" you are from everyone else!
I'm sure I will, quite honestly, raise the ire a few sales reps with this statement, but in my opinion, the industry standard is no longer the best way to sell products. I think giving exclusivity of an entire chunk of the country to a sales rep that has never sold your products and has yet to turn in a single order is crazy. I also think sending them thousands of dollars in samples and paying monthly showroom fees without any sales requirement / minimum is crazy as well. I was in real estate sales, and if someone offered to give me all of North Carolina real estate transactions, no matter how many (or few) that I completed, and pay me monthly, regardless of how many homes I sold, I would 1st look at them like they are crazy, and 2nd, sign on the dotted line! Does this sound a bit ridiculous to anyone else? Don't get me wrong here...I am all about rewarding someone for a job well-done and paying them fairly for the hard work that they accomplish. That's why I love commissions! It is very black and white, you sell, you get paid. As my husband always tells his sales staff, and as holds true in the wilderness, "You eat what you kill". Who's going to provide better service and do a better job, someone who's hungry or someone who's sitting at a free lunch buffet?
Okay, so I'm an Entrepreneur. We are a bit of a rare breed and probably have a harder time following the rules than most. Sometimes I should probably do a better job of that, but for now, I strive daily to think outside-the box, and most importantly to live outside-the-box!