It's been a little while (too long) since I last posted on the RuffleBlog. While I love sharing our journey, time just gets away from me. I relate it a bit to having kids. I remember the 1st day coming home from the hospital and grandmothers literally stopping me on my out to tell me to cherish every moment, time will fly by. While I appreciated the advice, I couldn't really wrap my mind around the reality. Not only were they so right in that advice, the same warp speed world has trickled over to RuffleButts too. I don't know where the time has gone, but my "baby" is about to turn 10 this year and I have no idea how that happened!
Anyhow, this last week has been a growing up kinda week. You know those weeks with your kiddos where they start Monday as a regular 5 year old, but grow so much in their experiences through the week that they just seem a little older by Friday. Ok, maybe that's just me...anyhow, it's been one of those weeks here at RuffleButts. Our customers have been AMAZING and our company is experiencing awesome growth. We are beyond grateful to the people that are making that possible. With that said, it required an upgrade to our website to make it possible to keep up. We are 100% committed to our customers and their experience shopping with our company, so we were determined to do whatever necessary to make that happen this week. You can watch the video to hear the full story...
So, since starting this blog in 2007 till today, I will continue to share my truth, my journey, and our RuffleButts story. I hope that in some crazy way, my words will benefit or touch your life in some positive way. That was my hope and reason for starting this in the 1st place. I am honored that you take the time to read my words and to follow our company. There is so much to say, but "thank you" says it all. ~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!
If you are a fellow mom, you will completely empathize with me here...my children have entered the age of never-ending birthday parties! Don't get me wrong, this means loads of fun for my kiddos and a nice opportunity to meet new parents, but it also means a never-ending to-do list of birthday gift buying.
So you would think as the CEO of a children's apparel company, we would just gift our own stuff, but the reality is that most 7 year old girls and 4 year old boys don't get all that psyched when they open their new pair of shorts (or other everyday apparel). I also feel a little self-promoting at times giving out RB goodies. So, I have found a happy blend of the RuffleButts & RuggedButts stuff that always scores major points for my kiddos, along with a few go-to add-ons that fit the bill. I know how tough it is for me to get creative, so I thought I would share my top 5 go-to's here:
Cute and easy birthday gifts for girls:
- RuffleButts Rash Guards ($26.50-$29.50) are always a huge hit. Want bonus points? Add their monogram. I don't know about you, but monograms are SUPER popular with my daughter's friends at the moment. We offer our swimsuits as small as size 3-6m and go all the way up to size 8. Want to go for the stand-out gift that everyone is talking about? Find a simple beach tote at Amazon, throw in the monogrammed rash guard, add a monogrammed beach towel and a pair of RuffleButts sunglasses ($14.50). While perfect year-round, it's extra perfect for a summer pool-themed birthday party!
- For our younger friends, girls ages 2 to 5, we often opt for a RuffleButts Petti Dress. Those were prime dress-up years and their little faces light up at the sight of these massively fluffy and feminine creations! I typically receive cell phone photos within a week of the party with the little lady twirling in her present and the text "she won't take it off!" Of course Aubrey always loves when her friends tell her that she brought their favorite present. I don't know where she gets that competitive side...wink, wink.
- This one can be in addition to #2 above, or a part of a collection of gifts. For Aubrey's 6th birthday, we invited their 18" friends to the party as well, and provided each of them a miniature version of the petti dress (above) to take home as a party favor. This was a BIG hit with the girls! If looking for a simple gift, you could pair the RuffleButts doll dress with some Our Generation accessories from Target, all for under $25-30. If you are looking for a more extravagant gift, put them inside this Wooden Wardrobe and cover your ears for the girly scream!
- When it comes to 1st birthdays, these are the easy ones. From what I have found, kiddos usually have more than enough toys at this age, so some over-the-top clothes usually work perfectly. Our go-to is this First Birthday Tutu Set ($39.50) and we usually add her name to make it extra special.
- For the Southern Girls (we live in Texas now, but it was always a hit in North Carolina too!), seersucker is almost always a winner. For little ones turning age 1 or 2, we usually opt for a monogrammed Seersucker Swing Top ($34 with the monogram) and the matching RuffleButt ($19). For the older girls, we have TONS of new seersucker styles coming in the Spring 2016 Collection!
Popular and easy birthday gifts for boys:
- My go-to for pretty much every age is our Rugged Butts Birthday Number Tee. Funny enough, most little guys get pretty psyched to wear their new age plastered on a new tee! Sometimes I'll pair the tee with our Rocker Gray Wash Jeans to make a great outfit, other times I pair it with a sweet lego set. Really depends on the child here.
- Legos, legos, legos. I don't know about you, but my little guy is pretty much obsessed with legos and has been for a few years now. This is my easy go-to on Amazon Prime for any upcoming birthday bash.
- For 1st birthdays, I am usually thinking more about the parents than I am the kids, let's be honest. So, for the football fans, I usually go this route with themed apparel. From Rugged Butts, I know it will come all wrapped up and ready for me to throw in a birthday gift bag, which works extra well for moms with no time...well, that's all moms really!
- One of the best birthday gifts we gave was put together in a mad rush, but the mom raved and raved about how much she loved it. I combined one of our Rugged Butt fedoras with a coordinating bow tie, short sleeve dress shirt and chino shorts. If you are looking to keep it under $30, a fedora and coordinating bow tie works great!
- In more of the $50 range (which is more than we spend on just a regular classmate friend), the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam has been a huge hit. Jonas received this as a gift at Christmas and has really enjoyed it. A little pricey for a kiddie toy, but certainly less than a real Go Pro!