Friday, June 26, 2009

Casting Call

We are gearing up for our next photo shoot with Amanda Elkins. I am always so excited to work with her, and this time Aubrey and I are making the trip out to LA to be a part of it!! Yes, I am flying across the country with my 7 month old little angel (well, let's hope she's in the mood to be an angel on two 4+hour flights!). We will be flying out one morning and returning 24 hours later, since I can't really afford to be out of the office right now. It will be a quick trip, but I am so excited regardless!!

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

Compare yourself

My husband and I really enjoying reading The Entrepreneurs Blog by Alex, the Managing Partner of LC Management. Alex has this great way of saying the things I am thinking or would like to say, but find myself sucked into my people-pleasing personality and just don't. So, today his post was about Rev Run from Run's House on MTV, and although I don't have time to watch much tv these days, I am still a fan of this reality family. Rev sends out these daily words of wisdom (which is always the last scene of the tv show) and usually has some really great advice. Alex shared today's tip and I have to pass it along.

“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

It's your life

I had a conversation with an associate today and it really got me thinking...sometimes it is easy for us to get stuck in a rut of self pity, or self doubt, or even excuses. Sometimes it takes a little shake to get us out of it. I am just as guilty as anyone else, and if I let my mind get lost, it can get me completely off track. It's my life and no one is going to care like I do. No one is going to push me like I do. And no one is going to hand me opportunities.

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


Okay, this is my very last comment regarding the April Rose situation. As most of us know by now, Beccah has posted her explanation and apology. I do appreciate all of your support, but I would prefer that none of us join the others that are quick to judge or point fingers. I do sincerely appreciate those of you that came to my defense. If I'm being 100% honest, I was a little ticked by those that came down on me as I tried to make the best decisions possible. And it was so nice to have others, quick to stand up for my actions...and to send me sweet emails in support. Part of me wanted to defend myself and the other part of me just wanted to get back to my job. Part of me wanted to go to your blogs (you know who you are) to tell you to figure out all of the facts before sharing your not-so-nice comments, but I refused to get sucked in!

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 we go

So, as you can see, I took a few days away from the blog to let some of this April Rose drama blow over. Things have not slowed down around here, and today is no exception. I am cramming in as much work this morning as possible (with my daughter home from daycare), turning everything over to Emily, and then off we go to Atlanta. The AmericasMart June apparel show is this weekend and it is my weekend in the Stella Jane & Friends co-op to work a few days. Things have been really slow lately in market world, so I am hoping that we see more traffic this time around. Don't get me wrong, things have not been slow overall, as last month was our biggest yet, but I think people are pulling away from markets and doing more of their research online. Well, at least that's my opinion. So, it will be a crazy weekend for the family, but taking along our very best RuffleButt model =)

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

Rough day

It has been a tough day for anyone involved with the Little April Rose Blog. My heart still goes out to this family (and close friends of the family) in dealing with this incredibly difficult situation. I was just made aware that our ad has been removed, and I have great respect that they obliged our request. I hope they, as well as everyone else, understands our need to step away from the situation for the time being. I will continue to pray for both April and B regardless of opinions and truths. I feel they both need my prayers and I don't think a single prayer goes wasted when sent with sincere intentions.

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.

Little April Rose Update

I never lost faith that, overall, people are good. I have to be honest, this has all been a little rough on me, but I couldn't be more appreciative of your supportive comments from my earlier post. That's not quite what I received via email this morning. I was accused of everything from " being stupid" to not having a very good "business tactic". Wow, all of this from a decision to help someone in need! I understand the emotions that have been evoked, as a mom, I find myself in an ocean of them today. But, I do have to admit, that was a little hurtful!

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!

Little April Rose

This has been a very interesting morning. I am in a situation where I am truly torn. I always want to do the right thing, but sometimes that causes more of a challenge than just doing the easiest thing. So, here's the situation...a few weeks ago, I came across a blog about Little April Rose that really touched my heart. It is/was written by a mom named Rebecca (also referred to as 'B'), struggling through a pregnancy with her baby girl, April, diagnosed with Trisomy 13. All of my communications were with Rebecca's friend Kelli, and she had offered me the opportunity to advertise our RuffleButts on B's blog with a donation in the amount of our choice. She was never pushy, nor did she ever ask for any amounts of money. She only requested a small donation in exchange for advertising, which is not unusual in the least. I was thrilled to be able to work with them for two reasons, 1st being that I knew our funds were going to help someone facing some serious medical bills, and the 2nd being that I hoped that our little ruffles would bring smiles to B and her readers. We sent one bloomer as a gift for April, but were never asked for anything more.

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

Amber & Aubrey

I know she looks a little freaked out, but I think this photo is just so darn precious! I just added these new hats to our collection, so I wanted to do a quick photo test. Our RuffleButts are already popular for baby photo sessions and this hat is the perfect addition! They are handmade by a wonderful lady in Canada and I am thrilled to offer them to our customers. This one coordinates perfectly with our fuchsia woven bloomer. I hope to get them added to the website this be on the lookout.
Of course, when I was pregnant, I was hoping for healthy and happy...boy or girl, either way I was thrilled. But, I must admit, I absolutely love having our precious, frilly angel as our little RuffleButt model. I already loved creating for little ones, but she just makes it extra special for me personally! I hope you enjoy my creations with your little angel too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A whole new office

Finally, our office is done! So, before we made this crazy decision to buy the new lake place, I had decided that I needed to brighten up our work space. It took a little longer than expected..doesn't every project, but it is now better than ever! Too bad, we won't be here for long to enjoy it, but I am still happy we did it. Okay, I totally confess - our desks NEVER look this clean, but as we were putting everything back in place, we had to snap a pic in this pristine condition. The woodwork turned out great, and I am definitely a fan of the white. Since I spend 80% of my time in this office, I wanted it to be lively and inspirational. A change in atmosphere is just what I needed and I think this did the trick!