Over these past few months, RuffleButts has ventured out into the world of print advertising, and wow is it pricey!! This has proven to be such a tough decision-making process for me, because you pretty much have to spend the money upfront to figure out what really works for your company. A few months back we decided to take the leap and signed on for two advertising campaigns, one in Cookie Magazine and the other in Baby Couture Magazine, from what I found two of the more affordable options for us...and when I say affordable, I do not mean cheap!! And for a frugal gal like me, let's just say this one was a tough one for me to swallow! Prior to these campaigns, we were so very fortunate, to spend not a dime on print advertising, so this was a big step.
With the recent changes in the economy, it is such a unfair time to judge the results of these campaigns, as everyone is seeing a slow-down, advertising or no advertising. We are definitely seeing some results from these ads, but not quite what I had hoped for. I am telling myself to be patient and let it run for more than one month, but when it is your business, your baby, and your investment, patience is not as easy to come by!
I have had a few other business owners recently ask me for my suggestions when it comes to advertising, and although I have shared a few of the less expensive investments we have made over the past year, I would hate to be responsible for a larger print recommendation with little data to go on. It comes down to return on investment, and although a $25 ad may be much easier to swallow, if no one sees it, it is a $25 waste.
I am learning that you can have the most fabulous product in the world (although I may be a bit bias), but if no one knows about them, it does no good. I am learning as I go, and have found that if us business owners stick together and share our marketing successes, we can all learn from each other and help to save on those "learning experiences". One recent discovery I have made is www.iBookersGuide.com. Gemma recently launched this website after many years in the business and from what I have seen so far, she really seems to have the best interests of others at heart. I have recently joined the site, and recommend that you do the same if you are in the children's products business. I know we are all a little overwhelmed with social networking sites, but so far, I have found this one well worth my time spent.
It is never easy to sit back and write about what best describes you in couple of paragraphs. Here it goes:
After having three boys my parents were desperately praying for a healthy little girl and they finally got one. I was born in Florida and although I have not lived there for some time, I believe it is the reason I am so in love with the warm weather! At the age of 9 my family moved to North Carolina and has been there ever since. Being one of five children made life interesting and rarely boring. Even though there were trying moments growing up with so many people watching, I really am unbelievably blessed to have such a great family. This past weekend my brother Ryan got married (Congratulations!!) and my husband pointed out how lucky I am to have such amazing immediate and extended family members. Sometimes I forget they are there, but the happiness I get from being with them is indescribable.
After graduating from a small high school I tried my luck at a large university UNC-Chapel Hill. I loved being a part of the amazing environment there, especially the basketball games! It is also where I met my husband of now 2 and a half years. After two months of marriage Michael’s job transferred us up north to New York City, a place I never thought I would ever live.
As we both adjusted to the big change things slowly started to click into place and the next two years would be something I will never forget. The difficulty of being in such an unfamiliar place helped me appreciate all that I had. Soon it was more like home and not just a place where we had to work and live. I had the opportunity to work for an amazing family while I lived there and would not trade my experience for the world! Two wonderful little girls and their parents taught me so much and for that I am forever thankful.
Our life in NYC was over sooner than we expected. Michael and I moved to Charlotte, NC at the end of this summer. Although Charlotte is still new to us, we are becoming more familiar with the area and are happy that life is a little less hectic. This is where RuffleButts comes in! My sister-in-law emailed me about the opening at RuffleButts and I immediately called in hopes of an interview. Talking with Amber was so inspiring; she really is an amazing woman who has worked hard to do what she loves. When I finally found out I got the job I started to cry as Michael grabbed and hugged me! A couple of weeks in and I already feel like I have learned a lot. I cannot wait to learn more about the families and companies that help RuffleButts grow everyday!
I am excited to share that RuffleButts were including in a recent photo shoot and showed up in the pages of BabyCouture Magazine! Just click on the image above to view the virtual magazine (go to page 71)! They featured our Red Woven Crawlers and coordinating Dancing Dot Peasant Top...one of my favorite outfits from our Fall 08 Collection!
It is always so fun and super rewarding to spot my baby creations in the pages of any magazine, but this one is extra special, as they always feature extremely hip and creative brands! I am always honored to share my creations through mediums such as this, as you can have the best products in the world, but if no one knows about them, it doesn't do anyone any good!
This brings me to a conversation that I had with another children products business owner this week. Everyone starts somewhere, you try a few different tactics, you think outside the box, you work with various people and organizations trying desperately to get your name out there...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have been extremely blessed and grateful to have received the press that we have to date. Since we have now been selling for just over a year, our brand is slowly building a positive reputation and momentum. For those of you out there just starting out, please don't get discouraged...for every magazine photo shoot and online mention, we have received just as many turn-downs and last minute cancellations. I picked up a copy of a magazine (whose name I will not mention, but one I really like) just today at the OB. This particular magazine had contacted me requesting samples for a cover shoot a few months back, returned the samples, said that we would be featured, and I've never seen a photo one. I must say, this one was a disappointment, but we move on, and know that other fabulous opportunities are just around the corner!