Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Such a baby

Oh my gosh, I feel like such a baby at this very moment...tears are filling my eyes. I truly don't know how I got this lucky! So, I am working in a small temporary office in Southlake, Texas (more on that story here shortly), and have been living away from my RuffleButts team and hubby since Halloween. I have my kiddos, which makes a world of difference, but I have been stretched thin and under a little pressure to say the least. Anyhow, I just got a card in the mail, and it has turned me into a blubbering baby. It is from our RuffleButts team, still back in NC. I had to share, these are just a few of the notes in the card...

"Happy Birthday Super Woman, miss you!

"Have a wonderful birthday. You are one of the best people I've ever met."

Happy, happy birthday Amber! I super miss you and hope your day is Ruffle-tastic!

Happy Birthday, can't wait to see you!

Seriously, I work with the most AMAZING people ever! I don't know what I did to get so lucky...my family, our RuffleButts team, our customers, my friends...it's all a little overwhelming sometimes. I have been tested over these past 2 months in more ways than I can describe in this brief post, but it is times like these that I am emotionally overwhelmed by gratitude.

My sincerest thank you to my AWESOME RuffleButts family back in NC. You inspire me in so many ways and I feel honored to work with each and every one of you. I can't wait to see you VERY soon!!!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to make good business decisions

Following your gut is no way to make business decisions...or is it? What is needed when making an educated business decision? Sound data, detailed analysis, a solid framework and working foundation...right? Big wig business people don't make multi-million dollar decisions on a gut-feel, I'm sure. Well, after 6 years of running this business, I beg to differ. I may not be a "big wig business person" and may not be Ivy-league educated, but over the years, I have found myself making some pretty major, life-altering (and business changing) decisions. 

I remember years back when I would turn to Oprah for my daily dose of inspiration (I DVRed her, as there was no chance of watching a daily afternoon tv show). Anyhow, there are many episodes that come to mind when the guest would reference this 'voice in their head', 'just a feeling' or intuition. So many of them saying they wished they would have listened, but shook it off as it wasn't logical. Which brings me to something my husband would say it SUPER important, logic (defined by Wikipedia as the use of valid reasoning in some activity). Of course you would use valid reasoning when making a huge, life-changing decision. But what if there is good reasoning for either decision? What if the logic says one thing, but your gut says the other?

I speak for me personally, as I know this statement is likely to garner criticism, but in business, I have learned that my gut wins. In retrospect, when my gut has told me not do to something and I decided otherwise, I paid the price...and vice versa. Take for instance the decision to follow my dream and start a business. I was employed in real estate (in 2006...the heyday!). My work day started at 10am, who gets to do that?? The money was ridiculous and my opportunities were limitless. I should be loving life. The logic says stay. My gut said run, run, as far as you can...and just go for it. All through college when my friends wanted to be doctors & lawyers, my little voice kept telling me to do something different, I just couldn't quite understand what. My path was not clear, which made logical decision making a bit difficult. It was when I finally listened to my gut, and did A LOT of prayer, that my answer was crystal clear. 

Sometimes in life, your answer does not seem logical. Do you have the opportunity to move hundreds of miles away? Leave your friends, family, and everything you have worked so hard to build? Your parents think it is the wrong decision, but your gut keeps telling you it is right? How to you clear the noise and make the 'right' decision? I remember when I was on the Anderson Show with Sara Blakely. She was telling the story of when she started Spanx. She said she waited for a year before telling anyone her idea. She knew this is what she was supposed to do and did not want to hear their opinions. While I did not go that route, it makes so much sense. Clearly there are major life decisions when you need the opinion of your loved ones, but I truly think sometimes your gut is so clear that you just have to listen. When I told my dad that I wanted to start RuffleButts, his 1st response was "Why on Earth would you want to start an apparel company? What's to stop anyone from copying what you do?" He was completely right and I knew it, but I still knew, deep down, that this is what I was supposed to do. Sometimes our best decisions are not the most logical; sometimes the very best decisions are the ones that come from within. 

Don't get me wrong here, I'm certainly not saying to throw logic out the window and make brash decisions doing whatever you want. I'm also not saying to disregard the opinion of your loved ones. I think logic is super important, as is family. What I am saying is that sometimes the gut tells us exactly what to do. Just be sure you are listening. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shark Tank is so much more than what you see on TV

RuffleButts Amber & Mark Schaub deal on Shark TankI mean this statement in more ways than one, but the one that I want to share today is the most important. I realized after our show aired on TV that we all tune in every week to see both the business side and the personal side - the people. This is obvious, right? It is a show about people AND their businesses after all. But is it really? After watching I quickly realized that in reality, it is just another reality TV show. There is A LOT that you don't see. The key,  and where the reality comes in, is actually much more important than I ever realized. The part that is realer than real is the support and enthusiasm from people EVERYWHERE. We were truly blown away by the tweets, emails, facebook posts and good old fashion phone calls! We were flooded with kind words from current customers, new customers, strangers, stores, moms, grandmas, dads, fellow entrepreneurs, family members, friends, even old college roommates. It was truly a once in a lifetime kind of moment.

It's 9:10ish on the east coast. The episode is airing, I'm really not even watching (oddly enough I still have not gone back to watch it), as I'm trying to manage the flood of tweets and customers on the website. Analytics just keeps going up, and up, and up...then down. Yep, the worse-case scenario, the website crashed. My worst fear...and I'm pretty sure my phone call to our web team was their worst fear. In moments like this, you have a decision to make. I was determined to do everything in my control to manage the situation, do everything in my power to fix it, and understand that when you can't fix something, you do the very best to make the most of it. I was stressed to the max, to say the least, but amid the stress, my phone continued to pop up message after message of support and congratulations.

I knew there would be some out there with something negative to say...this is "reality" TV after all, but I was amazed by the love that completely overshadowed the few out there ready to criticize. I will be forever grateful that Mark and I were given the opportunity to share our business (and our babies) on national TV in front of 6.5 Million people Friday night! I am literally (and a bit embarrassingly) in tears typing this last paragraph. There are truly not words to describe our gratitude. I am just an average girl who grew up in KY. I had a dream and worked really hard to make it come true, like so many others. I'm still in shock that I had the opportunity to share that dream with so many of you.

What happens now? So, this is the question posed by many. My answer - the same thing that was happening the day before we were on national TV. We have been super fortunate to work with some AWESOME stores before Shark Tank and we will continue to add to the list after. We have been blessed with THE most awesome, supportive, enthusiastic customers (moms, grandmas, aunts, and dads too) from the day I launched this business in 2007. We are still the same people, running the same business, with the same principles, and same customer service. We just have more people to share it all with - what more could I ask for?!

Below is just a small sampling of the super sweet comments that we received. The very first tee that I ever designed for RuffleButts says 'So Blessed' on the front. It is still our best selling shirt today, and I must say that this experience just reconfirms it!

Aurora Maria Garza You guys did great !!!!!! Awesome product ; ))

Amy Price Smith I'm excited for you! My daughter has had her rear covered in RB's for her entire life!!!! Here's to proving quality ruffles only come from one place! RUFFLE BUTTS OR DIE! 

CaSandra Packard I'm a retailer for the both lines and was a customer buying online before I started a store last year. It is one of my favorite brands and one of the first I got in the store, love the products, love the quality, the price, and you have the best customer service of any brand we carry by far! Congratulations and best wishes for continued success! Dolce Vita Children's Boutique

Kelly Simmons Sherman So excited for you guys. You did wonderful. I am so proud to be a long time Rufflebutts customer. Congrats 

Cara Jean Eckerman Yay RuffleButts!!! Been buying and giving your products away since the very beginning .. Love your story and admire your entrepreneurial spirit!! Good for y'all

Heather Bowman Just saw you on shark tank! Congratulations. You were well spoken, smart, and beautiful. So happy for you guys!

KristeenLynnae @RuffleButts @LoriGreiner @ABCSharkTank I love your products! I've been a fan for my 2 yr old and 6 mos old. Loved seeing you on the show.

ZellaRoseBoutiq @ZellaRoseBoutiq loves @RuffleButts Congrats-what a great company! #sharktank

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

RuffleButts on Shark Tank?!?

RuffleButts on ABC's Shark Tank
I truly don't have the right words to open this blog post...holy moly, seriously?, OMG! I have watched Shark Tank from the very first season. I can pretty much remember every single entrepreneur that I witnessed pitching and ultimately defending their baby, their dream. Some more successful at it than others, but all laying it all on the line. Entrepreneurship is pretty much an all or nothing thing. Some people get that and some people don't, but to take something you've created and put it out there for the world to see has always seemed a nearly-impossible task to me. I cannot tell you the number of times that Mark and I have sat on the couch when the show goes to commercial and I am yelling aloud, "I could NEVER do that!". I know and love my business, but I am not that great at speaking publicly. I don't have an ivy-league education, prefer to be in my office over in front of a crowd and am certainly not clever, so I just knew I would get up there and not know what to say. Well....crazy enough, a single phone call from a Shark Tank producer changed my mind pretty quickly! 

RuffleButts Founder Amber Schaub and Co-Owner Mark Schaub pitch on Shark Tank
It all happened so fast! One minute we were on the phone, the next preparing our 'pitch' video and just a few short weeks later, on a plane to LA, both kids in tow. Holy _____! What were we doing, it was all just going so fast! What was our company worth?? Well, isn't that a great question, because a 'thing' only has value when you are trying to sell it, and I wasn't! At the same time, our company has been growing quickly for years now. RuffleButts, Inc landed on the Inc 500 list last year and added Neiman Marcus, buybuyBaby, and one other mass retailer to our customer list just this year. With growth like that, cash is king, and Shark Tank could be an awesome place to get it. More importantly, it would be an awesome place to score a high-profile and super experienced investor. Oh how awesome it would be to call up someone like Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, or Daymond John when I need advice on a distributor, new back office computer system, or even to knock on the door of a big box retailer for us! Seriously, does that really happen to people?
RuffleButts and RuggedButts Face Off with Shark Tank Entreprenuers
Long story short, our trip to LA lasted about a week. Our little 2 year old Jonas spent half a day in Disney Land first aid station and then ended up in urgent care the day before filming. Aubrey was a trooper and definitely helped to keep our mind too fixated on what was happening around us. Mark and I grilled each other with every question we could think of, practicing how we would defend this business that is like a 3rd child to us (born before both of our children). How to keep your emotions in check? What if they didn't like it? What if they thought RuffleButts & RuggedButts were stupid names? What if they picked it apart and made people question our business on national TV? We decided that we believe 100% in what we are doing and it was worth the chance. What an incredible opportunity, and we MUST take it! So there we were, the doors opened and we found ourselves walking down the aquarium filled hallway we've seen a million times on TV and we came face to face with the Sharks. We were honest, genuine and shared our business and dreams that we love so much and have poured so much into. It was only after answering what felt like a barrage of questions that they finally said...
What, did you think I was going to give it all away?? You'll have to watch RuffleButts ABC this Friday, October 18th! I can't give it away, but I will tell you that it is one experience that my family will NEVER forget.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Newbie Shmoobie - Motivated by Mark Cuban

No matter how long I do this, it is always surprising to me when people look to me as an 'expert' in the industry or entrepreneurship. Although I feel like I've been doing this forever in some ways, I still feel like a total newbie in others. I remember so clearly in the beginning...

I sat at my little make-shift desk in my little make-shift office in our 2-bdrm Ft. Lauderdale condo. I was in full blown fake-it-till-you-make-it mode. I don't think I would have survived otherwise. Completely intimidated, but even more determined, I picked up the phone and pretended to know what they were talking about...I had no clue! Sure, a full package manufacturing quote is what I wanted...no idea what full package meant. Was there a partial-package? Oh sure, HTS codes, of course I knew what category I was producing...not really! Interlock vs jersey...yes, that one. I just rolled with it, and then as soon as I got off the phone, I would scour the internet and books trying to figure out what the heck they were saying. 

Is this you?? Do you sometimes question whether you are good enough, know enough, or are strong enough to pursue your idea? I may not know you personally, but I am telling you, dig deep, you already know the answer. When it comes down to it, you (and no one else) know if you are strong enough. As for the good enough and know enough, that is up to you. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out?? Then you know enough! Here's the fact...for every single expert out there, at some point, they were a newbie. At some point they didn't know as much as others in their industry. They were willing to put in the work. Are you? 

Although I have come a long way when it comes to what I do, I still know that I have miles and miles to go on my journey to becoming a successful business leader and entrepreneur. I am really just like so many other people out there. I have a dream; I have faith in God; I have love in my heart; I am determined to create something bigger than myself; I want to pay it forward; I yearn to leave a legacy for my children. The only thing that makes me a little different from some is that I am willing to sacrifice and work more hours than some to make it happen. If this sounds familiar. If you are one of those people, don't you dare let them make you feel like a newbie. 

I am constantly inspired by other successful people. Mark Cuban is often one of them. I met him at the Dallas W Hotel launch event I worked back in 2006, and as I have pursued my dream of entrepreneurship, I often turn to him to figure things out (of course I don't mean personally...I wish!). 

What he says usually just makes sense to me. I think we're both stubborn as all get out. He's got the gift of being social, which I missed out on, but I think we're alike in various ways...minus the billions of dollars and private jet ;) Anyhow, in his book How to Win at the Sport of Business, he tells the story of when he was a newbie. He just dove in, determined to know more than the people he was selling to, so he read the manuals. Seriously, he would spend hours pouring through the manuals that come with the software. Seems basic right? I think it's genius! He took the information that was available to him and put in the hours to learn it. It is just my opinion, but I think that is a characteristic of many successful people, they are just willing to work and put in the hours to figure it out. So, we're all newbies in one way or another and it repeats itself over and over again. Life is boring if we aren't challenged. It's the only way to grow, so embrace being a newbie, but don't ever allow yourself to feel not good enough just because you may not be as tenured. Put in the work to become an expert, go for your dreams, and love what you do. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thinking of taking a leap of faith?? Think twice!

I open with the 'think twice' subject not to scare anyone from taking a leap of faith, but I say that because we are often inundated with inspirational books and articles telling us to go for our dreams. I LOVE this, but I also think it only fair to lay out the truth. See, I 100% support anyone who is pursuing a dream, but I have found over the years that there is a big difference between a dreamer and a do-er. Dreamers are the ones who have grand ideas and see the path easily in front of them, do-ers are the ones that work hard for the idea, then work 10 times as hard doing the research and figuring out a way to make it happen. So, I have listed below the 5 characteristics that I personally believe are a requirement if you are going to take a massive risk and pursue a career dream.

1. Stubbornness - Okay, so hear me out on this one. So, if you are hard-headed, unwilling to value the advice of others, and arrogant enough to believe that you are right, always, then head for the hills now. You will fail many times before finding humbleness. On the other hand, if you are stubborn enough to plow through your challenges, determined to find a solution, determined to prove your naysayers wrong, then you have a leg-up on others.

I remember in my Junior year of high-school, I was way more interested in my career than high-school. I would often cut class and go log more hours at the dance retail store where I was working and very involved. My guidance counselor pulled me aside one day to tell me that I was going to be a failure and with this record would never be successful in a career. Funny enough, his little talk motivated me to 'quit' my high-school and head to the bad-girl school where I could sign in and out as I'd like, finishing my senior year in less than 3 months. This enabled me to carry multiple jobs, while going to school when I could work it around my schedule, including nights. I have still never forgotten that little talk we had, as it has pushed me to prove him wrong, even to this day. Thanks Mr. Nelson!

2. Work ethic - The one thing I hear over and again from entrepreneurs is that they didn't realize how consumed they would be by their careers. I am included in this, although wouldn't trade it for anything. Often, the most successful entrepreneurs are not the smartest, they are the hardest working. I didn't go to an Ivy League school, actually neither of my parents even went to college at all, but I saw them both working their tails off. To be 100% honest, when I am surrounded by other successful people, I sometimes feel a bit uneducated and not well-spoken, but I know if put to the test, I could likely hang with the best of them when it comes to work ethic. I recently read a book by Barbara Corcoran, the Real Estate Mogal on Shark Tank, and she is the walking billboard for what is really possible. She says it over and again in her book and also on the show, she may not consider herself the smartest, but she was darn determined to be the best and she did!

3. Willingness to sacrifice - Before pulling the trigger on your big idea, you need to write down a list of what you are willing to sacrifice for it, literally. How about time with your kids, your life savings, friends, how about time with your spouse? Does your spouse support the idea? As a mom, I do the balance dance just like every other, but I have to make a conscious decision to miss out on a lot of time with my kids. It is painful and often confusing. They grow up so fast, and I certainly don't want any regrets, but it is just a fact that you don't grow a multi-million dollar company while having a bunch of free-time and hanging out with the kids during the week. Every single day is a decision on how to best spend my time to maximize the results, both with family and in business. Maybe you have a business idea that is not full-time, and there is a different way, but so far, for me, this has not been an option.

4. Competitiveness - I can't think of a single successful person that does not have a competitive edge. For me, I am not competitive in a harsh way. I don't wish ill-will on our competitors or even our copy cats, but I do have a pure drive to out-perform them every single day. I firmly believe I would not be where I am today without this. I feel blessed to do what I do, and obligated to our customers and my employees do it better than anyone else.

5. Unselfishness - I think some other successful business people may disagree with me on this one. I have heard many times over that no one is watching out for you except for you. Well, this may be true in many ways, but I have found in life that the moment that you become the focus, the moment that you lose humbleness, and the genuine concern for others is the moment you fall flat on your face with no one around to support you. I started this business with a promise to God that I would use the success he gave me to pay it forward, to honor our customers, and to share my journey. I wouldn't be honest if I said there are not moments when I get completely caught up in running the business that I forget to take a step back, but there is not a moment that goes by that I am not eternally grateful for this opportunity that I have been given. If your only goal is to make millions, in my opinion, you should think twice.

With all of this, I will end with a quote shared by one of my favorite Shark Tank sharks, Lori Greiner, on her facebook page recently. I agree all the way!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Holy cow...breathe!

Do you ever feel like you have turned into your parents? I feel like I lived so many years with my parents warning me that life goes by so fast, yet yearning to reach the next milestone, that seemed in the moment to take forever! It was just recently that I 'got it'. Yep, life flies by at warp speed and if you don't take just a moment to take it in, you will miss the beauty. Just yesterday, I was feeling overwhelmed, a little like life was flying by, and I was too exhausted to take it in. It was at 1:00am, as I sat up still working, that I looked out our back window, overlooking a peaceful lake, and took just a moment to remember that this life is short-term.

I guess we all fight this internal battle between enjoying all life has to offer, while also juggling the responsibilities that propel us forward. I LOVE what I do, but at times feel like I am drowning in it just a bit. There's the designing, the selling, the managing, the running a growing business...then there are the kids, the hubby, dinner to be made, tennis lessons to go to. Oh and did I mention, we are about to put our house on the market?? So much to do, so many hours working, but then I must take a moment to remember how blessed I really am.

I am certainly not the only parent trying to 'do it all', so I know you can likely relate. It's funny, I now find myself reminding my 4-yr old daughter to enjoy every age, to take it all in, cause "life goes by fast". I guess my parents were right all along, with age comes wisdom. As I age, and the dark circles become more prominent, the wrinkles become a little deeper, and those darn grey hairs are just hanging out at the surface laughing at me a little each day. I take it all in stride because there is nothing more rewarding, more valuable than understanding and truly appreciating that each day, each week as a gift from God. I may not do each of those days perfectly, and I certainly have a TON to learn, but there is something freeing about living life for your own beliefs, values and achievements, over the expectations of others. Pushing myself everyday, yet understanding the value in my priorities. Life does go by fast and although I may drown in it a bit, the adventure is mighty fun!

Monday, May 6, 2013


I saw this quote today, and found myself in a moment of thought...which is rare around my office, usually not so much time to actually think! Anyhow, this one really resonated with me today. There are many days in this business and in life where I run on high-speed, handling the daily decisions the best way possible, overcoming obstacles, and creating solutions. Then, there is the occasion, to be quite honest with you, where I am deeply challenged and not quite sure how to handle it.

To take a step back, I am not your average CEO. My formal education is not from a fancy Ivy League school. My parents, although both extremely talented and hard-working in their own right, do not have a college education. I am not the most well-spoken person you have ever met, nor the best-read. I try my best to keep up. I have two children that are at the top of my priority list, and this business was really baby #1 before they were born. I read a great business book when I can fit it in between days in search of carousels (my sons request this weekend), and I challenge myself to learn from others whenever possible. I think for the most part, I do okay most days. Really, I am not unlike most of you reading this post, most likely. We are just 'normal' people working super hard to do the best we possible can.

So, back to those challenged moments. I realized today that these challenges I face, are truly my most valuable teachers. Whether a loved one, an employee, or a vendor, those that challenge me, often force me to take a step back and evaluate. I evaluate my actions, the actions of others, ways to improve, and ways to grow. In retrospect, I should be grateful to these people. I should also remember in those moments that these will be the people to lift me higher, to make me better, and to teach me the most.

Do you have someone challenging you at the moment? In writing this blog, I often think it a bit silly to write about my life...really everyone has their own lives to worry about, why care about mine? But, I do it in hopes that what I am going through at the moment may touch someone else. May, the unlikely chance, be just what they needed to read that day. If you are being challenged by someone in this moment, maybe this perspective can help...what are they teaching you? I'm fairly certain I am stronger, wiser, and maybe even enlightened by the people that have pushed, tested, and challenged me the most. I may not have enjoyed the process (to say the least), but I am grateful for it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Inspired by Chelsea Handler...no, seriously

Of all the celebrities out there to choose from nowadays, seems a bit surprising I would pick this gal, known for her mean comedic pokes and no-care attitude, for my list of inspiration sources, right? Well, although I've always found her magnetic in some odd way, I recently put it all together. It was more than 10 years ago, Chelsea Handler jumped off the screen at me in this goofy comedic 'candid camera' type show called Girls Behaving Badly. There was just something about her...actually I know exactly what it was. She stood out to me as the type of person that commits 100% - if she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it all the way, which totally showed. BUT, she has a way of making everyone else believe that she doesn't really care. I'm really not sure if she would agree with me here (or totally make fun of this entire blog post all together...likely), but I am guessing that for most of her life, she was determined to achieve 'success'. It just seems so much to me that when she goes after something, she does it with everything she's got. I mean, this amazing success that she has achieved to date did not come accidentally. Although paid extremely well nowadays, it is a TON of work!

She oddly enough reminds me of myself in some ways, and completely not in others. So, here are my top 5 reasons why Chelsea Handler is on my list of people who inspire me:

1) In her rise to fame and success, it seems to be that she cares about others, and wants them to rise with her. Ok, who am I to make this call, but hear me out here. I've noticed that in almost everything she does, she does it with others. Think about it...Chuy, Chelsea's sidekick, has risen to his own star with her daily nighttime show. She also starts the show with multiple comedic guests, and while she often totally rides them on public tv, she does share the spotlight and gives them face time. It is all in good fun, and often quite entertaining. I just love that she seems to make it NOT all about her, and I have a lot of respect for that.

2) She is the master of dry wit. I'm SO envious!! It is often my husband or a friend will jokingly say something to me, and I just yearn for the ability to throw a quick come-back (of course all in good fun). Instead I can only laugh, and then about 30 minutes later think of a decent retort that is now completely lame in wasted time. I'm too 'nice' and it is no fun in moments like those!

3) She's honest. This is a tough one for me, as I highly value honesty, but I also place importance on empathy and the feelings of others (likely too much at times). Sometimes I think she crosses the line in her honesty about others (or flatly flies past it), but I also see a softness in her recently that I think comes with maturity. It is more her honesty about herself that I truly admire. She has this awesome way of not taking herself too seriously, or the people around her, that makes me want to be one of her best girlfriends. There is just nothing better than an honest girlfriend that tells you like it is...and makes you laugh!

4) She's hard working. She films her show daily, has written something like 5 books in the past 7 years (many of which have landed on the New York Times best seller list), and she also has a mokumentory called  After Lately that has become a big hit of it's own. I think I also read somewhere that she created her own production company. This lady clearly works her butt off and has some serious work-ethic.

5) She's clearly to the point in her life where she does not live for the opinion of others. This has been a personal struggle of my own, and honestly this business has helped me GREATLY along the way. I remember vividly an Oprah interview with Jennifer Aniston where they talked about how great it was to get older and to stop living so much for others. I found myself much through my twenties caring immensely what others thought about my decisions, life, and success. It was when I discovered this amazing balance between empathy for others, and confidence in my own beliefs and decisions, that I was able to let go, and in the end make better decisions all the way around. From everything I've seen with Chelsea, she seems so confident in who she is and what she wants. That inspires me on many levels, but most of all because I feel she lives her life with intention and doesn't seem to waste time confusing people-pleasing ways with her own purpose.

Monday, April 1, 2013

6 Year Journey

Wow, what a crazy ride! As I realized it was 6 years ago this month that I made the decision to pursue this dream, it really brings me back to our roots. From my visit on the Anderson Show to landing on the Inc 500 List, this past year has certainly been an exciting one, to say the least. There are many days that I look around, amazed by our abundance of blessings and the journey that got us here. To think that I came from that little one-room office where I ran RuffleButts completely on my own in 2007, just a gal from KY determined to pursue a dream, is sometimes hard to even believe.

Don’t get me wrong, the story reads a bit like a drama in the start. I will never forget the 1st shipment ever, that arrived to my small little office. As I excitedly pulled open the 1st box, my kid-like giddy quickly went from thrill to emotional devastation. Turned out less than half of the shipment was produced correctly. My amazing mom hopped on a plane and came to my aid, as we individually checked each and every garment. Yep, she’s awesome!

Then, came our fun family twist…after 2 years and a bumpy road of trying, just 9 months into the business, God blessed our family with what we would later find out to be a perfect little RuffleButt model! I can do this, right? Be a Mom & Entrepreneur! I was inspired (and maybe slightly intimidated) by the many super-moms out there, and I was determined to do both and do them both well. So, on we went and I hired my 1st Assistant. Now, just 5 years later, we are 15 people strong, and what amazing 15 people they are!

So, as the story goes on, customers begged us to add something for the boys. We answered with an entire collection called Rugged Butts, all for the little guys! Just months after pulling the trigger on the new venture, God decided both of my families needed a #2 and my belly began growing again. We were happy to find out that we would have the joy of a 2nd RuffleButt model. Just to keep things interesting, a few months later, following the arrival of the 1st Rugged Butts shipment, our baby BOY arrived…yep, you read that right, they were wrong, it was a perfect, little Rugged Butts model!

As my family was growing, so was the business…right out of our office space! So, with a 4 week old baby in tow, off we went into an official (and MUCH larger) office/warehouse space. The entire team pitched in and made the move. A very big day for the RuffleButt family! To continue on this trend of upgrades, we decided our website was missing out…so shortly after the move came the launch of a MUCH upgraded website. We are always striving to provide our customers with the very best experience possible, in every way, so with our improved website came an improved shopping experience. With a few hiccups (and an entire crash at Black Friday), we dusted ourselves off and continued on our quest to spread the ruffles and share the joy!

Then came a phone call from the producers at Anderson…what, they wanted me, little ol me?? Turns out they caught wind of my story and a little person by the name of Sara Blakely. Yep, you may know her…super successful, Billion Dollar Entrepreneur, Founder of that little company called Spanx!! Well, Sara was just a determined, self-starter with no experience in apparel, venturing down a similar path not too long ago. I happened to catch an Oprah episode where I saw Sara speaking through the TV screen at me, back in 2007. Her passion and excitement spoke volumes and gave me that extra kick I needed to go for my own dream. I started RuffleButts Inc just weeks later! Anderson gave me my chance to thank Sara, an opportunity of a lifetime. The experience was one I’ll never forget and really lit my fire to pay the inspiration forward.

Today, our vision is much the same, although the story is no longer my own. I am now honored to share it with a team of amazing individuals, and a bevy of the most incredible customers EVER! We are blessed to do what we do, and it is our goal daily, to create unique products at a top-notch level of quality and customer service for the fabulous customers that got us here in the 1st place. We operate by the Golden Rule, just as my mother taught me. It is with true gratitude that I share this story, because if you are reading this blog, you have likely in some way, played a part in this story that is the RuffleButts adventure.