Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FREE T-shirts!!

As a new mom, I have found a whole new appreciation for our "High Maintenance" Trendy Tee! So, in the middle of the night (I always tend to have my best ideas at that time), I decided to run a limited-time special. We are giving away, yes, "giving away" our rhinestone embellished "High Maintenance" t-shirt FREE with the purchase of the matching fuchsia knit Crawlers!!

I thought it would be fun to give something away...doesn't everyone love something for free?? It has been more fun than I even knew!! They are selling like crazy, and we are already running low on stock in some sizes, but I am having a blast! It's kinda like giving a gift to our favorite customers, and I love gift giving!

So, anyhow, if you are looking for a cute little outfit for your little angel or a very reasonably priced gift (they don't need to know it was free!!), then this is a good time to get it! Hope you enjoy =)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Atlanta Market Flop

Well, times have surely changed. We returned this weekend from the apparel market in Atlanta, and I believe it was the worse attended show in a VERY long time. I'm sure there were several factors here, including many retailers totally confused about the new CPSIA requirements and how that affects their business. I believe everyone is also waiting to see how retail spending trends for the Spring. We were all a little shaken up by the recent changes in the economy and retailers are figuring it all out, just like the rest of us. The positive here is that January has still been a strong month for us. Unfortunately, I can not say the same about the Atlanta market.

Well, when times change, you must change with them. We are really trying to make life easier on our retailers by offering all of our Spring stock for immediates. We even have our limited editions currently available to our retail partners, although those won't last for long. As everyone is scaling back, and travel is one of the 1st things to go, we must figure out a way to take our products to them instead of them coming to us. I try not to get stuck in the rut of the past, of old habits. I believe those that succeed are those that are one step ahead. I never quite feel ahead in this role, but I will always strive to get there.

We are a part of this fabulous co-op in Atlanta led by Julie Swanson of Stella Jane. She has done a fabulous job of organizing some really great businesses into this showroom and it really looks great. Although this market was not the best, for the most part, we have pretty good success with our Atlanta markets.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Off to Atlanta

I forgot to mention earlier...Aubrey and I are off to Atlanta tomorrow! If you are planning to visit the AmericasMart market this weekend, please stop by the Stella Jane & Friends showroom to say Hi! We have some really great friends in the city that have offered to watch the little angel, so I will be at market all day on Saturday and maybe Friday afternoon if she will allow me =) My husband is actually in a wedding this weekend, so it is a girls' weekend for the two of us!


Okay, I know I'm not the only mom thinking these thoughts...and I always promised to be 100% honest on this blog. So, today, I caught myself having this mental conversation - "If I have a mental breakdown, what will happen? So, they put me in the hospital. Well, when I had Aubrey, it wasn't so bad to be in a place where they bring you meals three times a day, wait on you hand and foot, and won't allow you to work. It would be like a forced vacation, with a really good excuse." Then I realized that I would be a little disappointed if it took a mental breakdown to force me to use good judgement in balancing my life, and a vacation would probably be cheaper!! So then I thought, "Okay, Amber, you are going to be a responsible business owner and mother, and figure out a way."

So, now that I am past the internal conversation (which probably leads many of you to believe that I am closer to that mental breakdown than I actually know), I have made the commitment to myself to try to figure this out. I need help!! I know that moms always have a long to-do list, but it is quite discouraging when days keep passing as the list just grows longer and longer. How do you do it??? Okay, I will find a way. I will find a way!

So, that is my honest sharing for the day. I absolutely love being a mom, and an entrepreneur, but wow, this is one crazy gig!!

And here is Aubrey's most recent pic...she is growing up so fast already =)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Other great companies

When I was out in LA earlier this month for the celebrity gifting suite, I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible women. These women are also business owners, pursuing their own dream, and have come up with some really great products, so I wanted to share them with you...

Buggy Bag - This company has designed the ultimate shopping cart seat cover, diaper bag, & changing pad in one! The great thing is that it rolls up in a convenient carry-all with straps. They also have a quote on their brochure that I totally love - For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalms 91:11. It is always so great to see a company strong in their beliefs! I already have one of these for Aubrey and can't wait to put it to use. It is super padded and so much nicer than basic ones you see at the mass retailers.

Happy Heinys - This is a great cloth diaper company with this fabulously designed cloth diapering system for those moms opting out of the disposables. They are already super cute on their own, but they can also be worn under our RuffleButts since they are waterproof!

McCall Wilder Designs - This is a couture clothing company for children. If you are a southern momma or grandma with a love for the details, this is the line for you! They are based out of Atlanta and have their own boutique at the Cates Center Plaza.

Cricket & Monkey - This lady is super sweet and makes some really fun diaper bags, along with other stylish baby goodies. Her blanket was even seen in US weekly with Tori Spelling!

Chuck the Yuck - the name says it all! What a clever idea.

The buti-bag Co -This is another Charlotte based company with an array of great accessories in very stylish fabrics. And the Owner is a sweetie!

Peek-a-Boo - This is a mom pursing her dream of creating the ultimate nursing bib. She is also super sweet and had her little angel right by her side throughout the event! She hand-makes this detailed nursing bibs, which were unlike anything I've seen before.

Zooni - You have to check out this brand of hand-made head wear (and mittens)! These hats are so adorable, I just couldn't come home without one for my little angel! They are obviously totally usefull (especially this year!!), but also make for great pics.

MamaOm - I have mentioned this one before, but she is such an amazing business woman and truly genuine person, I have to mention it again!

Chef Antonio - He is the author and creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Kids in the Kitchen. This is a great way to get your kids cooking along with you!

Last, but surely not least, I have to mention one of our RuffleButt customers who is also pursuing her WAHM dream. She makes these adorable floral headbands by hand and just recently launched her Etsy shop called Little Lovelys. These also make for great pics and, of course, look adorable worn with your favorite RuffleButts!

Okay, I think this is enough for now. I just love sharing other great products and supporting women in the pursuit of a dream. I know first-hand how much tears, love & sweat go into creating a launching a business. These women are an inspiration to many!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Leading Moms in Business

I try not to shamelessly promote ourselves through this blog, but I am in need of your help. With the economy in its current condition, we are all about PR, PR, PR. So, I have entered the Leading Moms in Business Competition for 2009. And, I am so excited that I actually qualify this year!!

So, I am calling on all RuffleButts supporters, near and far, for your votes! I have been so blessed by the tremendous amount of support received on a daily basis through this blog. With your help, we will share RuffleButts with even more "ruffle fans" in 2009!

Please click the link below to visit our profile on the site. You can cast your vote there. You can also just click the widget in the right side bar of this blog to vote directly. Votes are accepted once/day, and every single vote is appreciated.

Leading Moms in Business, RuffleButts Profile

Thank you as always for your love and support!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Celebrity Parents

Wow, what a whirlwind of a weekend! So, Emily and I returned late on Sunday from our Pre-Golden Globes Gifting Suite experience. I am happy to report that everything went well, and RuffleButts was all the buzz with the celebrity parents!

We were first approached by Kellie Martin from ER (and I'm sure we all remember her from Life Goes On!), exclaiming "Oh, these are so cute!" She and her husband shared this adorable story about when they were recently putting their daughter to sleep for the night, and she didn't want to take off her tutu, telling them that a princess never takes off her tutu. They told us their new RuffleButts would be perfect under that tutu! This family was super sweet and we were thrilled to introduce them to this tutu solution.

Shortly after their visit, we were excited to meet "Harry" from Sex and the City. Even Handler picked up a pair of RuffleButt Bloomers for his 2 year old daughter. I am such a "Sex and the City" fan, so that was a fun one!

Next came Tim Allen and his wife Jane Hajduk, who were really great sports. They picked up a Swiss Dot RuffleButt diaper cover for their little bun in the oven. This picture was also used in some press coverage on !

We were also excited to see Jeri Ryan, Ali Landry and Jodi Sweetin, all of whom told us that their daughters have RuffleButts at home in their closets. Ali picked up a new Swiss Dot pair for her daughter, while Jeri also picked this embroidered fabric bloomer.

So, this is the scoop for now, but I will definitely be posting more on the website soon. Our new Spring line just arrived from the factory last week, so we are busy, busy taking orders from our retail partners. Orders are always good and keep us in business, so I'm off to process more orders!! Keep your eyes on the website next month, as we are super excited by the fabulous feedback received so far!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Off to Hollywood

As many of you know, we were fortunate enough to be invited out to LA last year to participate in the Boom Boom Room, Pre-Golden Globes Celebrity Gifting Suite. We had a blast and were honored by the praise that we received from some of our favorite celebrity parents! This year, we had no intention of returning to the event for several reasons, but mainly due to the cost of traveling, as well as the recent addition of little Aubrey to our family. With that said, I received an email late last week from Jayneoni, the Founder of the event, informing me of the recent addition to her family...a little girl, and she just had to have some RuffleButts! Jayneoni asked us to come back to the event this year, and I just couldn't say no. We arranged flights (using frequent flyer miles thank goodness!!) and booked daddy for a weekend with his baby girl! Emily and I depart tomorrow morning, headed out to Hollywood! I'll be sure to share our celebrity dish as soon as we return!!

I have received emails from other business owners contemplating this event for their own brand and have always given the same advice...go into any event like this with realistic expectations. I don't think you'll see us on Entertainment Tonight over the weekend, but we plan to make the most of it. I have learned in business to go into everything with low expectations, forecast ROI, and then work as hard as possible to maximize the outcome. Since last years event, RuffleButts has been spotted in Babytalk Magazine, Baby Couture Magazine, Daily Candy Kids and hopefully many more to come. Who knows, maybe Entertainment Tonight is next on the list after all!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spring Sneak Preview!!

For our loyal RuffleBlog readers, I wanted to share the very first sneak preview of our new Spring Collection. The items will debut on the website February 1st, so be sure to check back in! The fashion show below shows a handful of the new items and limited edition prints, but there are even more to come. We are very excited to share the new styles and hope you like them as much as we do!