FUN IN THE SUN FROM HEAD TO TOE WITH BABY BANZ, RUFFLEBUTTS & BOBUX!
UPDATE (6/15/10): The giveaway has ended and we're thrilled to announce Jenn D. from Alberta, Canada (post #319) as the winner! She's been in touch with us, can't believe she won, and will be receiving her items shortly. Thanks much to all who participated!! Image of Random.Org drawingAre you ready for this?? Three of your favorite brands are teaming up for the ultimate giveaway, an adorable outfit from head to toe! One winner will receive all of these fabulous goodies, valued at over $150:
- A White RuffleButts Ruffled Swing Top & coordinating Heart Ruffles RuffleButt Bloomer in the size of your choice ($50 value)
- Baby Banz sunglasses in the size and color of your choice, with a cool protective case ($27.50 value)
- A super cute Baby Banz sun hat and they're even throwing in some sunscreen to keep your little one extra safe ($27.50 value)
- And to top off the outfit, a pair of Bobux shoes in the style and size of your choice! (up to $48 value)
As parents, we are always trying to protect our children, while also keeping them cute and comfortable. Baby Banz is the perfect solution for just this! As studies reveal the damaging effects of UV damage, we must not overlook the need to preserve children’s sensitive skin and eyes. Get your child a pair of sunglasses from the industry’s leader in all aspects of sun protection for children 10 and under. Famous for their unique, wraparound sunglasses with the neoprene band, Baby Banz assure a comfortable, snug fit for those delicate noggins, leaving out the dangers of having sunglass arms snapping off or poking someone in the eye. Check out the entire line of sunglasses, sun hats, UV Swimwear, UV swim goggles, and new earmuffs at www.BabyBanz.com!
Recently spotted on American Idol and the Ellen DeGeneres Show, RuffleButts have created the must-have outfit for any trendy tot! It just doesn't get any cuter than little ruffles across your angel's rump, and with stylish Swing Tops and Precious Dresses to match, this is perfect outfit for any fun day in the sun. Available in the rainbow of fun and frilly colors, RuffleButt Baby Bloomers are the original ruffled diaper cover. With everything in the line priced under $40, they are both adorable and affordable! Founded by mom Amber Schaub, the brand is designed to spread ruffles and share smiles, while also donating a portion of profits to charitable organizations focused on children. Check out the entire line by visiting the website at www.RuffleButts.com!
Now that you have the adorable outfit, you must have the perfect shoes to finish it off. With more than 100 styles to choose from, we know just were to go, www.BobuxUSA.com! Bobux shoes are the original soft-soled leather shoes that stay on with the elastic ankle system, first introduced to the world by Bobux in 1991. I-walk shoes are the newest addition to the Bobux footwear family, and like Bobux, they are made of the highest quality natural premium leather, allowing babies feet to breathe. They feature flexible rubber soles, padded insoles, and leather lining and are sure to be a favorite in your little one's collection!
How to enter:
All that's needed to enter is to complete one or more of the following activities. For each item completed, leave a separate comment on this post.
Blog about the giveaway, linking to Baby Banz, RuffleButts and BobuxUSA. Then come back and leave a comment letting us know that you did. You must leave the direct link to your post! (3 additional entries)"Like" Baby Banz on FaceBook ! (1 entry)
"Like" RuffleButts on Facebook! (1 entry)
"Like" Bobux International on Facebook! (1 entry)
Subscribe to the Baby Banz Email List (1 entry)
Subscribe to the RuffleButts Mailing List (1 entry)
Please note to get all of your entries counted, for each thing that you do you MUST leave a separate comment for each entry! Example, if you do something that gives you 3 entries you must leave three comments to get those 3 entries. If you do not leave separate comments per entry then your comment will be counted as one entry. We do check every entry to make sure that you did what the entry required. Your entry can and will be deleted if you do not follow the entry rules listed above.
Contest open to US and Canada residents only. Must be 18 years of age to enter. Contest ends 6/14/10 at 11:59 EST. Winners will be chosen by Random.org at the end of the contest and notified via email as well as posted on this blog. Please make sure that your email address is obtainable by RuffleButts Inc. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before RuffleButts Inc chooses another winner. Family members of Baby Banz Inc, RuffleButts Inc. and Bobux International are ineligible to enter in any of our contests.
One other email I received recently was from Jennifer, the owner of a successful bow company. Not only was she super sweet, she was in a position very familiar to many business owners. She has developed her business over the past 4 years, and it is growing at a rapid pace. She is a one-woman operation, and at the point where she needs to make some decisions...does she continue as is, or does she invest in the business and take it to another level. She needs the profits out of her business to support her family, so doesn't know were to get the funding to do so.
I'm sure most business owners can relate here. It is so tough to run your business with one eye on today and the other eye on 1 year from now, but that is really what is required of us. Is it the best business decision to sacrifice today to triple business in 12 months? Sounds like an easy decision, but as we all know, it really is not. There are a questions that I would have for Jennifer:
1) Where are the #s? Have you sat down to figure out what it would cost you to hire help per week? How much would you have to increase your sales to cover this cost? For me personally, this was a very tough decision when I finally gave in and hired our first employee. I wanted to do everything myself to save on the expenses, until one day I realized that me doing everything was actually costing us loss business. Now, as we have added to our team, it has become much easier for me. Do they pay for themselves in the long run? If this answer is yes, then the decision will be much easier.
2) What is your end goal? Do you want to grow the business and continue working it yourself? Jennifer mentioned in her email to me a dream of opening her own shop. If this is the goal, I would sit down and figure out what that would take. How much would you need to sell (and therefore produce) in order to make this profitable? Can you do that qty making them yourself? Would you be available to work the boutique or would you have to hire help?
3) It sounds like Jennifer has done her due diligence in researching funding. $$ is not the easiest to come by as a small business owner, especially in this day in age. I completely understand needing the profits out of your business to support your family. When it comes down to it, that's why we work in the first place. I would recommend websites such as entrepreneur.com as a great place to get ideas. This answer will be different for everyone, but really comes down to your ultimate goal/business plan and what makes the most sense.
I am definitely not an expert in business, but I am purely sharing my personal experience. What worked for me, may or may not work for you, but if one ounce of my experience helps others in theirs, then it is worth it.
For me, I am by nature, super frugal. So, when I started RuffleButts, I was trying to save every last penny. It was my worst nightmare watching the business bank account with all of those numbers listed on the debit side. I felt so much weight on my shoulders to make this work, for my own self pride, as well as for the future of my family. I was willing to do anything myself to not have to source it out and write a check. It took me about a year to understand that I needed to think much bigger. Sometimes it took me spending a little money to make more money. With that said, the decisions to spend money had to be made from a business only perspective. I am not a numbers person, but Mark certainly is, and sometimes it took him taking a basic cost, dividing that my our profit on an average sale, to come up with a break-even. This made my decisions much easier.
I'm sorry to say that I don't have any secrets here for you on funding, but I will say that with rational thought, and long-term goals, there is always an answer. If this is your dream, there is going to be a way to get there, one path just may take longer than the other. The only thing I will warn you, is to be sure that the numbers make sense 1st. Since Jennifer has already found success in her business, this decision may be easier than for some others, but as entrepreneurs, hopefully you are always on a path of growth. Just make sure you stay focused on that path and keep your compass nearby.
I started this blog as a means to inspire and encourage others, especially those starting on this crazy journey of entrepreneurship. It has turned out to be a bit of everything, from my personal experiences, to the struggles of starting a business, to the celebrations along the way. As the business has grown, I find myself falling behind in the stories that I want to share. Getting caught up in all of the craziness from day to day, sometimes can be a bit distracting. I also receive emails from other aspiring entrepreneurs on a regular basis, and although I would desperately love to take the time to respond to each one individually, I often just can't seem manage this. So, this morning, I wanted to take just a few minutes to respond to a few questions I have received recently, and to let you know, that I am truly inspired by you, those of you on this journey, fighting to achieve your dream! Your emails do not go unread, just a little delayed in response.
The first question that I wanted to address, as this is probably the #1 inquiry that I receive, is how on earth to find a manufacturer for your products. Honestly, I wish I had the magical answer. This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis. We have been fortunate to find a few wonderful factories, but as you grow, so do your obstacles. We have found that some of our factories can't seem to meet our demands as we are growing. Believe it or not, we have an order that we placed back in October of last year, with a promised SHIP date of January 15th, which is still not here. And get this, not only is it not here, they haven't even produced them yet. These are the things that not only make me crazy, but also make me realize that we are not working with the right factories. We used to give all of our business to one person, I quickly learned a hard lesson that this is not a good idea. It only makes sense, but you can not have all of your eggs in one basket. Even a small delay penalty does not come close to affecting any factory the way that a serious delay will affect your business. I don't think they understand the massive costs that go into delays and errors, and realistically many of them don't care. This is where you just have to do your diligence. So, if you are at the start of this very long road, here are just a few tips I have to share:
1) Research, research, research. Get in touch with as many factories as you can, communicate with them and start to get a feel for who they are.
2) You can tell a lot about how a factory will treat you purely by their response time with your inquiry emails. Do they seem like they are willing to work for your business? Are they willing to start small with you? Do they take 2-3 days to get back with you consistently...then this is what will happen when there is an urgent issue and you need their help.
3) Give them a test order. Don't give a new factory your full production. Give them a small starter order of 1-2 styles and see how they do. Do they put the effort into your small order that you would expect on your larger order? Do they treat you like you are two small to deserve their attention? If so, they are not someone you want to grow with. Do you feel as though they try to take advantage of you...run!! This has to be a partnership in some way. They have to be willing to work for you and you must be willing to bend for them. If they are not in it with you, then find someone who will be.
4) If you have the feeling that you should find a new factory, but are overwhelming by the work involved, then you just have to suck it up. The process is so long, that if you put it off, you will find yourself in a place where you NEED a new factory, and don't have time to venture through the process of finding them. Then, you end up working with someone by necessity instead of by choice, which is never good.
5) A few places to look...obviously manufacturers are not going to tell you where they make their garments. When I was first starting out, I didn't fully understand this. Why didn't anyone want to give me a hand? They had been at this place at one time too. I vowed that I would be different, I would help others. Well, a few years later, having been copied by numerous companies, one of which that had the audacity to call me personally asking for advice before launching her own line of ruffled bloomers. Funny enough when I addressed this little incidence, she denied everything, got nasty, and then went and copied our website design. I want to trust everyone, but this has been something that I have personally had to deal with over the years. I learned that I can not trust everyone, but I have also learned that I still want to remain true to who I am. So, back to where to look...start with websites like www.Alibaba.com, www.apparelsearch.com, and www.tradett.com. If you find someone that you like, but they are not able to do your product, ask for recommendations. Be cautious and ask lots of questions - if they seem bothered, move on. No question is a dumb question, even if you are new.
6) Follow your gut and don't give up. This is my last time on this subject. If you get a bad feeling, don't force it. If they convince you that no one else will take your order since it is so small, walk away. If your samples arrive and look awful, then start over with someone else. If they ship your first order late, know this will probably be the norm for them.
This is a very tough piece of the puzzle, but you will get there. It takes time, patience, and a ton of lessons learned, but you will eventually arrive at a place where it all starts to come together. But let me tell you, at least for me personally, it never ends. There will always be issues to work through when it comes to manufacturing, they just become a lot easier to handle as you start to put together a team of people that you trust and can count on.