Monday, March 30, 2009

American Dream

What happened to us? I try not to share my political views on the RuffleBlog, but after hearing a very disappointing statistic this morning, I realized that my political views are a part of who I am, and I strive to share me, my honest self, with you. Take or leave it, right or wrong, they are my opinions. So, I come back to the question, what happened to the American dream?

According to the New York Post, "One in three Americans believe the government should make it illegal to pay athletes and movie stars more than $1 million per year...There is more support for capping the pay of corporate executives - with 36 percent saying the federal government should make it illegal to pay any company exec more than $1 million a year."

What happened to being happy for others? I agree that some occupations are overpaid, but the wonderful thing about our country is that it is all up to you! If you want to pursue one of those occupations, go for it!! I work very hard, as do many, many women out there. Mark and I sacrifice many evenings spent with the family, instead working at the computer. I sacrifice time I would rather be playing with my daughter. We work when we would rather be doing something else, to build a foundation for our family. There are many dads out there that would rather come home at 5:30 to hang out with the fam as opposed to spending late nights at the office, but they sacrifice to pay the bills. There are other moms out there going to work everyday when they would rather be at home, but they also have to pay the bills. I do not choose money over my family by any means, but I sacrifice like many others.

We make these sacrifices now, so one day, we can offer our children a foundation of security. I hope to spend more time with my family, as my business grows and brings in more income. It is the same with many other occupations. Many of us pay the dues early on, to invest in our future. We work hard with big dreams. If your dreams have a government imposed limit, why do it? I have always been so proud to be an American, but this attitude is so extremely disappointing!! Why should our government have any say in how much income we can earn or how big we should dream?

The sad reality is that the majority of the people that support this salary cap are the bottom earners. What they don't realize is that if they want everyone at the same earning level, many small businesses would never start, many jobs would be lost. The welfare system would loose it's funding that is there to help them on their feet when things get tough. Where do you think those taxes come from...the people that pay the larger %, the people that earn more $$.

Lift and encourage others, do not pull them down to make your self feel better. This goes for so many areas of life. Don't get caught up in this selfish behavior. Celebrate the success of others and it will come back at you. Get sucked into the ugliness of jealousy and find yourself sinking in the quicksand of loneliness. Dream big, achieve big - there are NO LIMITS!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So fortunate

"That a girl Amber!! As long as you are true to yourself nothing else matters!!
Your products are AMAZING, and of wonderful quality!!
A loyal customer!! ~Lisa"

"Amber, you are allowed to be a bit "negative" at times! That makes you human, of course! I hope whatever got you down has been pushed out of your mind. You are doing a great job and your products are adorable! Keep on keepin' on! ~Anna (Sweet Dreams Designs)"

What can I say...we have the best customers ever!! I just received these notes today from two of my favorite customers. I do know how truly blessed I am. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your support and encouragement. This is also a nice reminder that although we are all far from perfect, and some of us are a little further than others, there are still many incredibly considerate, supportive, caring and overall wonderful people out there! When you find them, hold on tight and count your blessings. I know I couldn't do any of this without the fabulous people in my life!

Okay, so completely changing the subject...I had to share this recent pic of me and the little one. Talk about blessings!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ethics Cont.

Okay, after reading that last post, I just add to make a little sounded a little too negative for me. Although, I sometimes find myself disappointed by others actions, I have to say that for the most part, I work with some incredible people! I do what I do and find so much fulfillment in my job mostly from my amazingly wonderful customers. I receive phone calls and emails weekly telling us that we are doing a good job, that little angels are enjoying our creations, and that, most importantly, we are making people smile.

For every complaint we receive, the are 99 compliments - I couldn't ask for anything more! The fact that our customers take time out of their day to share kind words, makes me the luckiest business owner in the world. I know that business can not be all gumdrops and lollipops, but sometimes I just get so frustrated that people don't look at the bigger picture. I am so blessed that 95% of my days are spent in a positive manner, but I am human and just hate dealing with disappointment and frustration.

I literally had nightmares last night that everyone hated our products and that they were of horrible quality. I think this was a combination of dealing with a difficult vendor and a customer complaint that I just couldn't get out of my head. Man, Oprah was so right about complaints!!

When you sacrifice your ethics, you are sacrificing your legacy. When you inspire and lift others, the world has this wonderful way of filling your heart.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I continue to this day to be utterly amazed at the lack of ethics in business today. It seems that everyone is out for themselves. I have lost almost all trust in others. Well, that's not true, those that earn my trust, I value for life and would do anything for them, but those that give me reason to question, almost always disappoint. As I have had year-long relationships with many of our vendors and business associates, I have sadly learned that no matter how great our relationship may be, when $$ is involved, it brings out the worst in people. With that said, I will stay 150% committed to those vendors that have earned my trust as we continue to grow and will support them in every way possible.

I will continue to run this business by the golden rule, and will do everything in my power to do the right thing, but I am truly disappointed that not everyone in business works by these principles. The other sad lesson I have learned is if they are doing it to others, they are doing it to you, and vice versa. I try not to listen to gossip or negative talk, but if someone's customers and business associates do not have positive things to say about them, you should probably listen. If your vendor shares untrustworthy information with you about their other customers, they are doing it to you as well. The other biggest lesson I have learned in business, listen to your gut!!

If you are one of those people struggling to do the right thing, as it may cost you a little more, it may be a little more work, please think twice about the lasting effects of your actions. Think of who you want to be and the legacy you want to it really worth it? When you go to the grocery store and they accidentally put an item in your cart without charging you, do you let it slide? I promise, this world has a way to coming full circle...when you do the right thing, it comes back at you ten-fold.

Losing focus

So, I just read this blog post over at Starting a Baby Boutique & Clothing Line and I couldn't help but laugh to myself for just a moment. Of course, I am not laughing at Amber (yes, same name, different entrepreneur), but relating to her completely. This entrepreneurial journey can be one of many emotions. Honestly, there are some days where I feel like I should be checked into the mental ward (and I think my husband would agree)! You start a business with a grand vision, an idea, and you take this enormous leap of faith. I always say it is a good thing that 99% of entrepreneurs don't truly understand what they are getting themselves into, otherwise, they would never take that first step. I had a very big dream and try to live everyday in this business dreaming the seemingly impossible, but I never really fully comprehended where I was going. I am still in the beginning of my journey, after only 2 years in business, but when I stop to look at what we have accomplished, I am actually just a bit surprised with myself.

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, from the smallest Etsy Boutique to the largest corporation, we are all on this amazing journey together. Don't lose sight of that big vision you had in the very beginning. Better yet, as you meet those small milestones, dream bigger, set more magnificent goals. Be realistic, Rome was not built in a day, as they say, but try not to get caught up in daily obstacles. And most importantly, grab tightly to the positive people that you meet along the way. Stay in touch with them, lean on them, turn to them for understanding and support. The support of friends and family is imperative to a successful venture, but no one will understand quite as well as those of us on that very same journey.

Here's my challenge to you - write down your dream from the very beginning, in the same words you would have used day 1. Now write down your dream today, with slight revision from experience. How similar are those goals? Now, hang that on your desk and revisit when you find yourself distracted. You may be a bit surprised at how far you've come!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Catching up

Wow, what a week. I have not been this sick in years! I am still fighting this bug, and now after sharing it with both Aubrey and Mark, we are one sad little family =)

Well, trying to get back in the groove this week, we decided to give away some more Bloomers. I just can't help myself, it is so fun to offer such great deals to our customers! So, for the next few days, we are running a Purple March Madness sure to check it out.

I also marked down a ton of new items and reduced the prices on some of our sale items. We have some new stock on the way from the factory and need to make room in our warehouse.

More good news, we received an order from Nordstrom today to place RuffleButts in 34 more locations! The best part is that our buyer is a joy to work with and I personally really like Nordstrom as a department store. They really do it right...customer service, customer service.

It is so crazy, as an entrepreneur, to watch the life of your creation through the ups and downs. RuffleButts really is like another child to me. Some days I have to deal with issues that are not so much fun, other days are big celebrations, but overall, this experience is such a tremendous blessing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sick Day

So, I think every mom will relate to me here, work-at-home, stay-at-home, working away-from-home, whatever your situation...I guess I just didn't realize that along with motherhood comes the forgoing of all future sick-days! Don't get me wrong, motherhood is well worth this sacrifice, along with the many others that come with the honor of being called "mommy", but I came to this harsh realization this week.

I have only been sick, really sick, once since being married about 5 years ago. Well, now make that twice! I thought when I was a little under the weather on Friday, that I would kick it and be back in business by Saturday. Let's just say, by Sunday, I was waiving the white flag! I am just now starting to pull myself together, but judging on the sea of wadded tissues in front of me, I believe I'm still a bit of a pathetic mess.
Aubrey's been at home with me every one of these days, and while Mark was wonderful helping out (he vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the bathroom and cooked every meal...yes, major hubby points), it was a whole different experience being ill with child. There is a strength, I think God gives us as women, to pull it together when necessary. It wasn't a pretty sight by any means, but I survived.

So, the topper...we are leaving town on a 7:30am flight Wednesday morning for our first vacation in almost two years. We are leaving the business, the baby, and all responsibilities behind for a whole five days and four nights!! The grandparents are coming to hang out with Aubrey, which I know will be a joy for everyone involved. I am just crossing my fingers that I am all better in the next 36 hours...and that the hubby does not get it too late!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mommy Faves

If you are a mom and haven't already discovered this website, you should definitely check it out! is full of great products recommended by moms. The wonderful mom that added our brand is a mom herself and has a long list of personal accomplishments, including her own parenting TV website, as well as many books! You should also check out her site www.TheGoToMom.TV. I just found out today that RuffleButts is a new mom fave on the site, so if you are a fan, click below to crank up our rating!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Bachelor

Okay, I am going to be such a dork for a moment, so please forgive me! Last night, I was a total girl, glued to the TV for The Bachelor Finale. Mark will kill me when he reads this, but of course, he was right there by my side watching from the corner of his eye as he worked on the computer. The episode was all drama, and had me on the edge of my seat. I was on an emotional roller coaster ride, one minute feeling sorry for the Molly, the girl that he didn't pick at the final rose ceremony. The next, I was so happy for the cute couple, as Melissa, the girl he did pick, seemed like a real sweetie.

Little did I know that the "After the final rose" show to follow would throw everyone for a total loop. The Bachelor, Jason, actually broke-up with Melissa and then asked Molly for a 2nd chance, all on live TV!! I was disgusted with this guy and my heart just sank as Melissa emotionally confessed to the camera that after being "on this end" of a break-up four times in a row, she knew that there was something wrong with her. I am still trying not to judge, not Jason, Molly, or Melissa. I'm sure they are all good people and we all have relationship issues that would not look that good to others if aired on national TV. Anyway, this whole crazy thing really got me thinking. As I was explaining to my husband that this Jason guy just went from being the most loved guy on television to the most hated by all women that have been left for another woman, I realized that this "the grass is always greener" thing runs through so many areas of life. Who knows, maybe Molly really was Jason's soul mate and he truly just couldn't stop thinking about her. But more likely, I think that when challenges arise in a relationship, it is so easy to think there is something better out there...that everyone else has something that you want.

This is true in business as well. So often we see other business owners out there making it work. They seem so successful, so "together", and we wonder "what is wrong with me?". See, Melissa will one day realize that there is something "wrong" with all of us. But, we wake up and try each day to do it right. None of us are perfect, but if we learn from each experience, and even more from every failure, we come out stronger, better, and ready to conquer. It is so easy, in life, to get sucked into "the grass is greener", but this is really the death of all success. Try daily to improve, but don't look back, don't compare yourself to others when you really can't see the full picture.

The same is true in marriage. This is also a long journey and I have found in life the three things that are the most rewarding, inspiring, and fulfilling are the three things that are the most work, the most struggle, the most husband, my daughter, and my company. I wouldn't give up any one of them for anything, they complete my life, but I must admit, there are days when I would like to put at least one of the three on hold for just a brief moment.

So, I may have rambled a bit, but I hope to get the gist. Definitely follow your heart, live with no regrets, but don't fall prisoner to "the grass is always greener". Be grateful for what you have, work daily to improve, and know that you are not the only one going through life's challenges.