So, 1st let me say, I doubt I’m alone in the fact that I don’t feel old enough to have a 10 year old! I remember when Aubrey, our 1st, started Kindergarten and I couldn’t believe how quickly that day snuck up on us. Now, here she is in 4th grade, a little person in her own right, and I have NO IDEA where the last 10 years went!
So, for those of you who are not familiar with the RuffleButts story, I’ll try to give you a speed version here...so I started RuffleButts before Aubrey, our first daughter, was born. In many ways RuffleButts was my 1st born and when RB turned 10 a few years back, I was pretty much in shock at how crazy fast everything had gone by. In November of 2008, almost 2 years after starting RuffleButts, we were blessed with our 1st child. It has been the craziest, most emotional, most stressful, most amazing 10 years of my life. Launching and growing a business while simultaneously “launching” and growing a family is pure craziness, pure joyful craziness!
All of my RB memories seem to be intertwined with my mom memories. I’ll never forget our 1st trip out to LA for a RB photo shoot with Amanda Elkins! Amanda is an incredible LA-based photographer, who quickly became a friend through RB. I knew I had to elevate our RB photography, and also knew Amanda was the perfect person to do it! My only challenge was the fact that Aubrey was only 9 months old, was barely sleeping through the nights and was having a soy-reaction, unable to keep her food down. I packed up my little 9-month-old and out to LA we went, just the two of us! What was I thinking?!! She screamed the entire 4 hour flight out, threw up all over the clothes we were photographing, and we arrived 30 minutes late to our own shoot (the flight was delayed of course!). Funny enough, they are still some of my very favorite photos to this day.
Fast forward 9+ years and here she is. I could not be more proud of the little lady that she has become. On Black Friday week (Thanksgiving break) she chooses to get up at 3:30 in the morning and come with me to the office, each and every year. She helps with graphics, social videos, fit tests, photo shoots. She endures my endless working and even cheers me on. She is faithful, intelligent, adventurous and never steps down from a challenge. The only thing bigger than her spirit is her ambition, which scares me just a little. She is everything I wish I was at her age, and I dare even guess what kind of life she will create for herself.
As I step back with my mom-wrinkles, dark circles and too-many greys to mention, I smile at the fact that they were all completely worth it. I have had the privilege of watching not only RuffleButts grow up over these years, but also my two amazing children. I have also learned to take in the moments, much more so than I realized in my younger years. I know very well that Jonas is only 2 years behind Aubrey and that they both will be graduating before I know it. In the meantime, I’m going to take a moment to count my blessings and hold on for the ride. Happy birthday my sweet baby girl!
Well with a post title like this, I could go on forever, but I'll try to keep this short and sweet! It was 10 years ago this month that RuffleButts was officially born. I actually started working on the business in March, but it was April that RuffleButts was officially my 1st born. In the past 10 years, to say I have learned a lot would be a bit of an understatement. Entrepreneurship has been a journey of growth, more than I ever could have imagined. A journey of both personal and professional growth! So, here's my quick summary of 10 lessons I've learned over the years:
1. Be thankful. I have learned that when I live and work with an attitude of gratitude, it makes me happier. When you're young, it feels like everything will be here forever and time goes slow. It will not and it does not. Don't take anything for granted, it can change in an instant.
2. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I have operated from this philosophy from the time I was little, but I find that not enough companies apply it to the world of business. I attempt to treat our customers and our team members the way I would want to be treated and I believe over time, it has helped our business earn their trust.
3. If you are not outside your comfort zone, you are not living up to your full potential. I think this one comes with age and experience. If life or work seems easy, you are not growing. If you are not growing, you are just standing still. For me personally, I am bored when standing still.
4. The things most worth having do not come easily. Marriage, kids, business, friendship. The things most valuable in life are the things that take the most effort and commitment. They are also the things totally worth it.
5. You have to give a lot to get a lot. Applies to everything listed in #4.
6. Perspective is a beautiful thing. If you look at everything through a lens of negativity, that is exactly what you will see. Look for the positive and find happiness. Sometimes you need to allow yourself one day of pity-party and then suck it up and deal with it. No one controls your perspective other than you.
7. If you haven't failed a lot, you likely aren't going to win a lot. If you want it, you have to work for it. I have never met anyone super successful that has not failed. I fail daily and I try again. Quitters never win, simple as that.
8. This business means the world to me, but my priorities are #1 God, #2 Family, #3 Work. #2 and #3 are gifts from #1.
9. I can work my tail off, but I can not do it alone. I am so fortunate to be surrounded daily by kind, caring, compassionate, supportive and hard-working individuals. I absolutely could not do this without them. Although, I am still learning how to ask for help when I need it.
10. Always give more than is expected. To your customers, to your boss, to your family. I have been shocked over the years in business by how many people only deliver the minimum and then cross it off their list. It is easy to stand out, go the extra mile. There is a great quote about that...go the extra mile, it's never crowded. This is so true!
I can not put into words the journey that I have experienced over these past 10 years, but I can say that I am beyond grateful to have experienced it! ~Amber
Wow, 9 years! I will never forget the day that my "1st born" was actually born. It was in the kitchen of our little 2 bedroom South Florida condo that Mark and I had the discussion. It was a fairly quick and casual conversation that would change our lives forever.
Mark:So, did you apply for the trademark today?
Amber: I couldn't pull the trigger. It's so much money! I would feel so awful if I wasted that money.
Mark:Amber, it's $400. While it's a lot of money, we will survive either way. Will you regret it if you don't go for it?
Amber: Yes, I will definitely regret it. Ok, I'll do it! Are you ready for this? You know me, once I'm in, I'm in.
Mark:You know I will support you all the way.
Amber: Ok, I'm going to do it right now!
That was the day I made the decision to go all in. The Tony Robbins quote, "If you want to take the island - burn the friggin boats" defined that moment for me. I was all in from that day forward. It took me a few months from that date to actually execute all of the steps necessary to start the business, but it was that day that we made the decision to pursue this dream and more importantly I made the decision that my stubbornness was going to lead the way. I was determined to make this a success.
Well 9 years and an amazing team later (including my super talented husband that nudged me in the 1st place), this dream is a reality! That incredible team has made this day so special for me (see the champagne photo above!), which just reminds me yet again how lucky I am. Let me rephrase that...how blessed I am. I don't really believe in luck.
I don't want to gloss over the road that has paved these past nine years; it has certainly been one heck of a journey, but one that I wished for my entire life. I could not be more grateful for this opportunity. While there are days I think I may fall asleep standing up (I guess not unlike most moms!), it is truly an honor to do what I do. To lead the team that I lead; to clothe adorable kids all over the world; to sell to amazing retailers both here in the US and faraway countries I only dream of visiting; it is all a dream come true. I am beyond grateful for this path and will continue fighting for my team and customers, to become a household name and requirement for every kiddo's closet!
To everyone that has made this journey possible, I extend my sincerest gratitude...our team, my family, my amazing husband, our customers (who are the ones that truly make this possible) and our friends. My 1st born is 9 years old today...wow, it sure flew by!