Monday, April 15, 2013

Inspired by Chelsea, 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.