As January 1st quickly approaches, I begin to ponder life, my achievements, goals (accomplished and not), my dreams and desires for the fresh new year right around the corner. This has been one heck of a year...I made the decision to pursue a dream in February, incorporated RuffleButts in March, and debuted www.RuffleButts.com in August. Here we are in December and I can't believe how quickly it's gone! This is the time that I begin with a clean slate - I can't look back, but have to look forward at the exciting list of goals for next year. RuffleButts sales is at the top of that list and I will devote the next week to outlining my plan. I am going to follow Amber's lead over at Baby Fabulous and set up a plan for myself. I will begin her "training program" on January 2nd and will keep you updated. This will be perfect timing considering that we are (yet again) scheduled to receive our products back early next week. I am desperately hoping that they will come back corrected and ready to go out to customers. This will allow me to focus on sales and get the ball rolling again. We are also scheduled to head out to LA for the Boom Boom Room in mid-January, which should be a great start to the PR plan for 2008.
Other personal goals include beginning a work-out/de-stressing plan. I would really like to get back into a routine that allows me to de-stress and focus on something other than work for an hour a day. And on an even deeper personal level, I am praying that God agrees that this is our year to add to the family. My husband and I would really love to have a little RuffleButt of our own!
So, what are your goals? Is this the year that you pursue a dream? Let's hold each other accountable...I think we can do this together!!
I just have to take a moment to extend my sincerest appreciation to those that have taken the time to email me and comment with words of encouragement and support. I work with some of the most amazing retailers!! I thank those of you in support of my quality commitment. I have also been so touched by the emails that have come in from others in the business. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that I am not alone.
I continue my amazement at the number of incredibly talented, supportive and sincere individuals that I have "met" in this blogging world. I started the RuffleBlog as a marketing tool for my new business, but it has turned out to be so much more!
For those of you taking a little time to visit some new blogs over the holidays, these are just a few I would like to pass along. Not only are they interesting and well-written, their authors seem to be some of the most incredible women out there!
That is just a start, I will be sure to share more favorites at a later date! I hope you all are having a wonderful day. Can you believe that 2008 is just over a week away?? I know that the year holds many exciting adventures in store for all of us!!
So my husband and I were talking over this weekend about blogging. I was torn - I am an honest person, so naturally I want tell you openly about what is going on behind the scenes at RuffleButts, but on the other hand, I am a generally positive person and don't want to bring anyone else down with our struggles. My husband made a great point, that when we watch reality shows like the Real World and Survivor, we want to see it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly! That's what makes them real - they don't get to pick and choose the scenes that are shown, they are human and that is how we connect. So, I want to share my current situation...
As most of you know, these past few months have been challenging to say the least, but really, what business isn't?! As an entrepreneur, I am learning the ropes and as the sole employee, I manage it all. It keeps it exciting and me on my toes, but at times can become overwhelming...like this week. If any of you watch the Real World (shamefully, a guilty pleasure of mine), I felt like one of those characters...one minute pulling my hair out, the next in tears. A part of me felt like the infant in the picture! I was digging super deep to find the positive in the situation.
Last night on the Survivor finale, I was rooting for Amanda, the one that I felt played the most honest game, the most genuine person. Most were rooting for Tom, the one that played the most strategic game. See, I feel that in life, we can strategize our way though, lying and cheating to win the money, but really in the end, is that the legacy you want to leave? Not me, I want to play the honest game...my legacy will be one of trust and loyalty. So, here's the truth...
I have been working so hard over the past few months to have our first line manufactured in the Dominican Republic. I am working with some really great people, but sometimes things just happen outside of our control. First there were delays caused by the hurricane, then they were rushing the order out to make our deadlines. The workers at the factory who have now sadly lost their jobs, simply didn't care. They mis-labeled our products, they made a size 12-18m the same size as a 2T. They made one RuffleButt leg 10" and the other 12". When developing this company, one commitment that I made was to manage by the golden rule, making and selling this apparel that I would be happy to purchase myself. I can not in good faith sell some of these products without making some major corrections. Don't get me wrong, the construction quality is outstanding on most of the items, but there are small issues that need to be fixed.
I spent most of the week going through the products, thinking that there were just a few discrepancies. We were correcting the small discrepancies locally and preparing our retailer orders to go out, with the intentions of mailing them last Friday. It was then I realized that although many of our customers would be disappointed in us, I would prefer them to receive their products late and be elated, than to receive them now but find them unsatisfactory. Our customers are our number one priority and I want them to think highly of us. In the end, a business is based on it's reputation and I am determined to be one of quality. I want to be the company that does the right thing, and I believe that this is the right thing. As the Owner, I am embarrassed and tremendously disappointed, but I can not give up. We have received such amazing feedback on the products that are correct, that I must look forward.
I can not begin to tell you how much I have grown through this experience. It is when you are tested that you truly discover who you are. I have lost sleep, having nightmares on a daily basis. I have found myself at the brink of tears just driving down the street, but I have also gotten up everyday and put one foot in front of the other. I have stood strong in my beliefs and will do what it takes to make it right.