Friday, December 4, 2009

The Big 3-0

So, I have never been a big one on birthdays and rarely even celebrate, as I appreciate every year, but think of it more as a celebration for my mom than for me. With that said, this year is a slight exception...not to the celebrating thing necessarily, but more about the acknowledgement. I am turning 30 this weekend. I certainly don't think that 30 is old in any way, shape or form, but it is an age that makes you take a step back for just a second. Really, I still feel 20 in many ways. I have a young appearance, so I still get carded at restaurants. I often feel entirely too young to be running a business or being someones "boss"! But here I am at 30...doesn't that mean I am now 100% adult? Since I'm a mom, I think I would now fall into that category. I'm not quite sure how I feel about all of this!

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

FREE handmade beanies!!

We are giving away our beanies, seriously!! Now through Monday the 30th, spend $100 or more at 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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I rarely post links to other random items or businesses on our blog, but when I saw this deal, I had to share it with our loyal friends. Before I was prego, I was hanging out with my friend and it was nap time for her little Hannah. We went through the whole putting her in her crib thing and then we walked downstairs. She pulled out this handy video cam thing and we watched as Hannah slowly wore herself to sleep. I knew this was a must-have for me when my time came! So, we put it on our registry not sure if anyone "loved" us enough to buy this pricey luxury, but we were thrilled when it was given to us! I was counting our blessings for our generous friends when I laid in by bed on Aubrey's 2nd night home, hoping that she was sleeping peacefully in the bedroom next door. Of course, as a paranoid new parent, I wanted desperately to go check on her, so it was the biggest relief to turn on the monitor to see my precious little angel. All of the monitors get mixed reviews, but overall we have been very happy with it. So, I was pretty excited when I saw this monitor on today's Daily Specials email. I immediately purchased two for Brandon and Amy (the friends I mentioned a few weeks back) and had to share it with you too! Just in case anyone is expecting, this is less than half of what they cost when we received it...

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

St. Jude's Ravishing Red Bloomers

It is our company (and my personal) policy to donate a portion of our profits to charitable organizations, specifically those focusing on children. This holiday season, we wanted to give even more! So, through the months of November and December we are donating $5 for EVERY RED RUFFLEBUTT BLOOMER sold. We are only 20 days into the month and have $185 in the pot. I know we can do better than this, so keep those orders coming! What a great get something adorable to give to someone you love, while also giving to someone who needs some love.

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

Mom 4 Life

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

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 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 many of my favorites!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby

My little angel turns ONE today!!
Happy Birthday baby girl.

Man, time sure flies when you're having fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tutu Tuesday

The girls decided we were going to have a "Tutu Tuesday" here at the office...Aubrey let me borrow one of hers for the day. So here we are, although I think they suckered me in cause theirs look like like pretty skirts, not fluffy tutus! From left to right, Kristina, Aubrey, me & Mary...what a team!! Mark refused to participate, so he was the camera man =)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just like Ellen Degeneres

I'm not usually a big celebrity gal and to be quite honest, I rarely have time to watch daytime TV, but I was thinking the other day, if there is a celebrity that I aspire to be like (or at least what I think they are like in real life), it would be Ellen. So here are my reasons why:

1. She breaks the mold.
So we all know that with the exception of Oprah, talk shows don't last long...and most of them, quite honestly, suck. They are the shows we have on in the background when the kids are running around the house or we're making lunch. Not something worth 100% attention. Anyway, Ellen took the risk of coming out with a daytime talk show in the first place and then on top of that, she broke the mold. She did it differently and it works! I hope to apply that daily here at RuffleButts. I read something today that was inspirational..."Be yourself, everyone else is already taken", a quote by Oscar Wilde. How true it this?? And when you think of someone living by that philosophy, Ellen just comes to mind.

2. She shakes her booty and sings on national television.
Not only does Ellen shake her own little booty on national TV, but she somehow gets hundreds of other people to do it too. I am a fairly outgoing person, but I would love to some day get to a point where I really don't care if I look like a goof on national TV. Not saying that she does...she's actually pretty good (she was awesome with the So You Think You Can Dance people a few months ago!!), but the best part is, I don't think she even cares! You seriously could not pay me enough money to do either one of these things in front of millions of people.

3. She makes people smile on a daily basis.
Okay, if you have ever seen her show, I don't think this one requires much explanation. She (and her must-be-kinda-crazy staff) come up with some very "unique" ideas, and I find myself laughing out loud, which does not happen very often when watching TV. When I started RuffleButts, one of the things that I loved about the business is that it was truly an opportunity to create and sell a product that brought smiles to others. I'm not doing it on quite the scale that Ellen does, but I sure would love to!!

4. She doesn't give a sh**.
Okay, I obviously don't know her personally, so I can only make this assumption, but based on her show, I would say that she is not afraid to do it her way. So, she's different, she's gutsy, she's silly, she's real. I can only imagine when they sat down to start the ED show that the "people" thought her ideas were kinda crazy. I bet most people thought it wouldn't work. She only wears pants, she dances and runs through her audience, she has goofy games and positive stories. Who does this and not only gets people to watch, but also get advertisers willing to pay the bills...she does!! She is not afraid to do what makes her happy, while also making others happy, and that is one fabulous combination! I am getting much better at this one, but only two-years into the business and being a natural people-pleaser, I still have a long way to go. Ellen, what is your secret??

5. She spreads her "realism"
Again, I'm not a huge celebrity gal, but whenever I see celebrities on the Ellen show, her "real" personality seems to be contagious. I think she makes people feel at ease and allows them to have fun. We all put celebrities up on a pedestal, but I bet it gets pretty darn boring going from talk show to talk show to promote your work. I bet they get worn down and just want to go home and put on some pjs. But, when they're on Ellen, it looks like so much fun. My employees were watching the recent clip with Taylor Swift when Ellen jumped out to scare her in the bathroom and I just thought "she totally doesn't care". When you see celebrities on other shows, everyone is all about following the rules and not embarrassing them, but Ellen brings out the best in everyone. I mean seriously, she gets well-known celebrities to sing in the bathroom on TV. Now that is just awesome!!

6. She's just a little nuts.
Life is full of responsibilities and I'm sure she has a lot of weight on her shoulders that she never lets us see, but she just seems to enjoy life. I mean really, wouldn't life be boring if we were all "normal"?? I am guilty of falling into my daily routine and being the responsible parent/business owner most days, but this is why I want to be more like Ellen...I don't have to be boring to be a parent and CEO. And it's just so darn fun to be a little crazy every now and then!

Okay, so that's why I want to be more like Ellen Degeneres. How cool to be successful and to be yourself! Ellen is my inspiration today.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Which way to go??

Over the past few years, I seem to hear the same story over and again...and the funny thing is that every time I hear it, the person often feels like they are the only one. I was having a conversation with someone the other day. To be honest, it was an email "conversation" with a person I have never "met". Technology is such a crazy thing!! So, this Realtor showed our house not to long ago and was professional and kind enough to send a very nice note of feedback following the showing. I was impressed with her professionalism and courtesy, so I replied. Just the other day she sent me a quick email, and I just felt like we understood each other. Funny thing...I don't have time to have local friends, but I have friends all over the country and have this weird connection (Amanda our fabulous talented photog in LA is a prime example...and Andrea our fabulously talented graphic designer)! Seriously, I could take a girls trip with these awesome ladies and have the time of my life, but I have only met them in person for a total of maybe 8 hours!! Now add on the time on email, and we have been friends for a lifetime =)

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 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

Congratulations Amy & Brandon!!

This week is getting better by the day, and this news just takes it to a whole new level...if you read my post about a month ago titled God, You Always Know Best, you may remember those friends I mentioned. They are the most deserving people we know, and I didn't understand God's plan for them when it came to children. Well, as usual, He knew what He was doing - they are now preggo...WITH TWINS!! Congratulations Brandon and we just have to be sure at least one of them is a girl =)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Joy Journey

Okay here comes the honesty...last week was rough. There is no specific reason, which actually makes me feel a little worse about my attitude, but to be completely honest, I am just worn down. I feel like I am peddling a million miles and hour, and moving, but just worn out. So, late last week, I was a little bummed out and at dinner on Saturday I told Mark (my hubby) that I felt like I was lacking joy. Then, I went to church on Sunday and I think the pastor wrote the sermon just for was all about putting the joy back in your life. It was invigorating, and was a reminder of my true source of joy. I realized that it was my perspective that needed a change, and so this week is my "Journey of Joy" and I am inviting you to join me.

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 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

30% off ends today!!

If you haven't heard already, we are doing something we rarely do...we are offering two styles from our new Fall Collection at up to 30% off. You can pick between our Cutie Patootie Ruffled Jeans or the bold statement-making Colorful Camellia Peasant Top. Even better, get them both to pair together for the perfect "where did you get that?" adorable outfit!! When you get both pieces, you are saving almost $20!

So, the sale is a 48-hour offer that started on Wednesday night, so if you haven't already heard, you better get over to before it's too late! You can click the link below to go directly to the special sale page.

Grab your BRAND NEW FALL STYLES ON SALE by visiting our website!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dallas Moms

Here's another one from HARO...if you are a stylish mom (and we know our RuffleButts moms always are!!) in the Dallas area, they are looking for you. Read the info below. They may even use you on their website! When they are asking for all your advice, just be sure not to forget your favorite place to!

Summary: Dallas Area Moms

Name: Bryce Gruber


Title: editorMedia


Geographic Region: Dallas, TX

Deadline: 01:10am EASTERN - 23 October

Query: 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

Good find

I am always a sucker for a good deal, so I had to share. If you are a bargain hunter, this site is for you. I just found it yesterday, so not sure what brands they offer and how cheap they actually get, but based on the deals from today, it looks like some great designer stuff marked down by up to 60%. I think this is another "get em while they're hot" kind of place, cause the inventory looked to be super limited. So, anyway, if you're in the mood to shop, check it out. The site is by invitation only, but this is my invitation to you...

Click here to go right to the registration page.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


If you are a business owner, you know there are some good days, not so good days, what was I thinking days, I just want to be a stay-at-home mom days, I love my job days, wow I really did this days, and lots of really really crazy days. Well, these last few days have been a little bit of all of those.

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

5 Questions on starting a children's apparel business

I received a comment recently on my "Sike" post from a fellow entrepreneur named Laurie. Laurie is already way ahead of the game, but had a few questions for me. Let me say that I am far from an expert here!! We have only been in business for a few years now, but I have learned A TON through the experience. It was so tough in the beginning because no one wants to give up info that could be competitive, and rightfully so. But where does one begin?? Do we all have to make the same mistakes as we set out on our journey?? Wouldn't it be nice if we could share in those learning experiences to all get further faster? Now that I am a few years down that path, I understand why others were slow to help business owners NEVER have enough time, and after being robbed and ripped-off, it is difficult to trust others in the industry. I want to help other women on the same path, so I try to share as much as possible. Hopefully my crazy experiences and random opinions will be helpful in some way =)

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:
Good Housekeeping:
Woman's Day:
Family Circle:
Ladies' Home Journal:

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 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


Okay, I am trying to be understanding and not bitter... so, the house contract fell through. The buyers couldn't get financing and terminated the contract. I keep telling myself it is happening for a reason, have faith Amber, have faith. So, I am going to have faith and move forward. The house is back on the market and we have a showing scheduled for tomorrow. I know it sounds silly to beg for prayers when there is so much more important stuff going on out there, children and others that need your prayers too... but, if you think about it, can you please add us into your prayers tonight?? It would be really great if God could just give me a little step stone, so I at least know where my family will be this Christmas...that would be really nice! I will be patient and know that He has a plan, but, God, selfishly I would really appreciate it if you could just give me a little peek.

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 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

Cutest Baby Brands

So, I had this random marketing idea...well, actually Mark had this great marketing idea, so I gathered three fantastic children's product companies and we are partnering up on a fun little marketing effort. The great part is I truly love their products!
So, I am pleased to share with you:


No Slippy Hair Clippy - I told you about this company just last week. I have always heard great things about their products, but it wasn't until I got some adorable clips for Aubrey that I was hooked! They are so cute and actually stay in her hair. Seriously, she wears one almost every day!

Zooni - So, this company makes THE most adorable fuzzy hats...and cute mittens, and now socks. They are all beyond cute, but the hats are what won me over! I saw these first when I was out in LA for the Golden Globes gifting suite, but then spotted them on the Tori & Dean show just a month ago. Aubrey has hers in her closet waiting for winter here in Charlotte, and I've already sent them as gifts to more than one friend! You gotta love it when your gift is one they actually use and RuffleButts ;)

Bobux - I have been a fan of these shoes for a long time now. Actually before Aubrey was even born, one of our friend's daughter was sporting her Bobux at church, and she told me this was one of those must-have products that I would have to get. They are super cute, but they also allow kids to maneuver without clunking around in stiff new shoes. Aubrey has received numerous pairs of shoes as gifts, but needless to say, most of them sit in her bin while she wears the ones that are actually comfortable 90% of the time.

And of course, RuffleButts - I think you know who we are by now =)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

God, you always know best!

So, I have really been put to the test over these past few months...we have a lot on our plate...own two homes, are dealing with construction on one, dealing with selling the other, running and growing RuffleButts, and finding the best solution with childcare. I always try to have faith and when I pray, I try to focus on asking for God to put the step stone in front of me and give me the knowledge to know where to step. I try really hard not to ask for specific things like "God, please sell our house today." I try to remember that He knows best, and when He decides not to make something happen when I really wish it would, that there is some reason. Well today, he reminded me that patient faith is rewarded. So, at 8:00am our GC quit...this was a good thing. Our GC was not happy on this job (he's used to running the show and building a home from scratch), and we really weren't happy with him. It just wasn't a win-win situation and we ended it amicably. At 10:00am, we received a contract on our current home. By 6:30pm we had a finalized deal. The best part is, I was able to celebrate this with Mary our employee, Elizabeth our intern, and Kristina, Aubrey's new nanny. All of them happy to make the move with us!

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

No Slippy Hair Clippy

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 (, 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


Mark and I were driving down the street the other day and passed a quote on a sign. I pointed it out, as I found it so dead-on. As I have said before, responsibility is a crazy thing, and you never have less than you do now. It is also a huge trade-off, a necessary evil, but a price worth paying. It is also tremendously gratifying in the end. So, the quote...

"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

For A Reason

As you may have noticed, I haven't had much time for blogging lately, actually, I haven't had time for much. I know, I say it every week, but things just keep getting crazier and crazier! I wanted to at least give you an update on my big daycare drama on top of everything else this month. So, I've pretty much always said, and firmly believe, that everything happens for a reason. should ALWAYS listen to your gut. If I've learned anything from this business is that, as women, our gut is usually pretty darn right. When I talk to a vendor, but don't get a great feeling, I probably shouldn't work with them. If I talk to a customer that is over-the-top demanding, I probably shouldn't sell to them. I learn this lesson over and over again...seriously, I must be super stubborn or something...I won't ask for Mark's commentary on that.

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

Calling CA Mompreneurs

Janie Dale over at Baby Cha-cha Boutique recently let me onto a resource that I can't believe that I didn't know about sooner...Peter Shankman's Help a Reporter Out (! Janie was nice enough to send over a lead that she thought may be a good fit for us, so I am paying it forward and passing this along to you. Best of luck!! Wish they were searching in North Carolina =)

If you are a Mompreneur in California, this could be a great PR opportunity...

5)Summary: Looking for CA Mompreneurs to Profile in Film

Name: Anonymous

Category: Business & Finance

Email: (Put CA MOMPRENEURS in sub)

Title: CEO

Media Outlet: Anonymous

Specific Geographic Region: N

Region: California

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
We are looking to fill 36 segments. We will be filming for
3 days in late October.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two jobs (temporarily)

Full-time mommy plus full-time CEO =

Aubrey found a bag of new Bloomers that arrived from the factory and just couldn't resist!


I am starting to think that I should have my own reality show, not because I would like the attention, but because I think it would make people feel a little better about their own lives. Many people are under the assumption that I've got my stuff together, maybe because I own and run a business. Well, don't be fooled!! I am a crazy mess of a mom, wife, and CEO, just trying to keep life on track. Loving every minute of it, but man, would it provide you with some serious entertainment to just watch like a fly on a wall!!

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 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

Nice Challenge

Okay, here is my challenge to you...I guarantee that something positive will come your way in return!

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 plant those seeds and let them bloom. If nothing else, someone will have a better day all because of you!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ali Landry & daughter Estela in RuffleButts!

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 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

LA photo shoot

So, I have been horrible about writing for the past two weeks, but once you read this, I think you'll understand why! I just returned from our photo shoot out in LA and am now back in the office, but here's the events of the past week alone...

- 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

Life of an Entrepreneur

I've said it before, but I'll say it again...we are a unique breed. Entrepreneurs are just different, often misunderstood. I knew from a very young age that I would one day become an entrepreneur. When I was a teenager and adults would ask me the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question, I always answered that I wanted to start my own business. They would always chuckle with that "Oh you little child, of course you want to own your own business...good luck with that" kind of thing. No one really took me seriously, but probably because when they asked me "what kind of business", I never really knew. It may have sounded flighty or naive to them then, but I am now learning that is the foundation of an entrepreneur.

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

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!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're crazy!!

So, this week has been a whirlwind! I know, I say it every week, but this week is REALLY crazy. I have decided that my husband and I are complete gluttons for punishment. We like to call ourselves "opportunists", but I just think we're crazy. So, here's what we did...

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's also been our best month ever for RuffleButts!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

RuffleButts Contest

UPDATE: Due to many requests, we have extended the deadline to Friday, June 12th!!

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 no later than Friday, June 5th. We will be selecting the winner on or before June 12th and will make the announcement at 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

Great vendors

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 we can all succeed together!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Box

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!