Today we celebrate the thousands of small business retailers that are such an important part of the RuffleButts family! There are many paths in life and the path of small business ownership is not for the faint of heart, but without those that choose to take it on, our communities would be much different. Here are a few stats from Entrepreneur.com:
- Almost half of U.S. jobs are held in companies of fewer than 500 employees.
- 54% of U.S. sales happen at small businesses.
- Small business donate 250% more than larger business to nonprofits and community causes.
At RuffleButts, we work with the most amazing boutiques all around the world. These boutiques contribute to their communities, from jobs, to relationships with the neighborhood, to giving back in so many ways. The people that we work with on a daily basis at these stores touch our lives regularly, many of them carrying RuffleButts since the very beginning. So, today we would like to share with you 5 reasons you should shop your local boutiques this Small Business Saturday:
1. Because the owner is likely your neighbor and maybe even your friend. Small business owners are not those Executives working to purchase a 3rd lake house and 10th car. They are your neighbor, working to put their kids through college and pay off their home. Small business owners wear many, many hats, and their work is often never done, but they do their jobs with passion and commitment, dedicated to their business.
2. Because boutique owners, unlike most big box chains, often spend time talking with their customers and discussing their needs. They then find the best brands to carry in their stores to fill these needs. These brands may not be the cheapest options out there, but they are often small businesses themselves and many, many of them create goods of a quality level that far surpass those of the big box retailer...like RuffleButts =)
3. Because local boutiques create local jobs employing local residents. It is likely that your teenager will someday be looking for a part-time job and these local boutiques are the places they will work and grow. I worked in a local dance shop called Not Just Dancewear as a teenager and learned so much about running an apparel store. I also used the money to purchase my 1st car. I will never forget that experience.
4. Because most local boutiques give back to the communities that support their business. As noted above, small businesses donate significantly more to community causes than large business. Many of the boutique owners we work with here at RuffleButts sit on boards of local nonprofits and organize community events for local charities. At RuffleButts, childhood cancer is something near and dear to our hearts. While today, we are talking about local boutiques, RuffleButts is also a small business. We are involved with our local community here in Dallas/Fort Worth, and are currently working with Cook's Children's Hospital to pay it forward and touch as many lives as we possibly can. Like many other entrepreneurs and small business owners, I started RuffleButts with big dreams, but very high up the list of those dreams was using this business to do something bigger than myself. Our customers enable us to pursue that dream daily.
5. Because they care. I can't speak for every single boutique out there, but I can speak for many of the boutiques that are a part of the RuffleButt family. These boutiques care about their customers. They work hard to ensure they stock the best brands and that those brands meet the quality expectations of their customers. They will go above and beyond to ensure a fabulous experience for their customers. When we come out with new styles, our boutiques will select styles based on individual customers, and they often even know them by name. There is something wonderful about buying from someone who knows your name!
With all of the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, today, we celebrate Small Business Saturday and the RuffleButts Retailers that are a part of it. Without them, our dreams would not be possible and your communities would not be the same. We celebrate the small business owners, their determination, commitment, generosity, and love for their communities. To find your local boutique that carries RuffleButts and/or RuggedButts click here. If your local boutique doesn't yet carry the brands, please send us a quick message here and we'll reach out to them. Happy Small Business Saturday!
No matter how long I do this, it is always surprising to me when people look to me as an 'expert' in the industry or entrepreneurship. Although I feel like I've been doing this forever in some ways, I still feel like a total newbie in others. I remember so clearly in the beginning...
I sat at my little make-shift desk in my little make-shift office in our 2-bdrm Ft. Lauderdale condo. I was in full blown fake-it-till-you-make-it mode. I don't think I would have survived otherwise. Completely intimidated, but even more determined, I picked up the phone and pretended to know what they were talking about...I had no clue! Sure, a full package manufacturing quote is what I wanted...no idea what full package meant. Was there a partial-package? Oh sure, HTS codes, of course I knew what category I was producing...not really! Interlock vs jersey...yes, that one. I just rolled with it, and then as soon as I got off the phone, I would scour the internet and books trying to figure out what the heck they were saying.
Is this you?? Do you sometimes question whether you are good enough, know enough, or are strong enough to pursue your idea? I may not know you personally, but I am telling you, dig deep, you already know the answer. When it comes down to it, you (and no one else) know if you are strong enough. As for the good enough and know enough, that is up to you. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out?? Then you know enough! Here's the fact...for every single expert out there, at some point, they were a newbie. At some point they didn't know as much as others in their industry. They were willing to put in the work. Are you?
Although I have come a long way when it comes to what I do, I still know that I have miles and miles to go on my journey to becoming a successful business leader and entrepreneur. I am really just like so many other people out there. I have a dream; I have faith in God; I have love in my heart; I am determined to create something bigger than myself; I want to pay it forward; I yearn to leave a legacy for my children. The only thing that makes me a little different from some is that I am willing to sacrifice and work more hours than some to make it happen. If this sounds familiar. If you are one of those people, don't you dare let them make you feel like a newbie.
I am constantly inspired by other successful people. Mark Cuban is often one of them. I met him at the Dallas W Hotel launch event I worked back in 2006, and as I have pursued my dream of entrepreneurship, I often turn to him to figure things out (of course I don't mean personally...I wish!).
What he says usually just makes sense to me. I think we're both stubborn as all get out. He's got the gift of being social, which I missed out on, but I think we're alike in various ways...minus the billions of dollars and private jet ;) Anyhow, in his book How to Win at the Sport of Business, he tells the story of when he was a newbie. He just dove in, determined to know more than the people he was selling to, so he read the manuals. Seriously, he would spend hours pouring through the manuals that come with the software. Seems basic right? I think it's genius! He took the information that was available to him and put in the hours to learn it. It is just my opinion, but I think that is a characteristic of many successful people, they are just willing to work and put in the hours to figure it out. So, we're all newbies in one way or another and it repeats itself over and over again. Life is boring if we aren't challenged. It's the only way to grow, so embrace being a newbie, but don't ever allow yourself to feel not good enough just because you may not be as tenured. Put in the work to become an expert, go for your dreams, and love what you do.
Following your gut is no way to make business decisions...or is it? What is needed when making an educated business decision? Sound data, detailed analysis, a solid framework and working foundation...right? Big wig business people don't make multi-million dollar decisions on a gut-feel, I'm sure. Well, after 6 years of running this business, I beg to differ. I may not be a "big wig business person" and may not be Ivy-league educated, but over the years, I have found myself making some pretty major, life-altering (and business changing) decisions.
I remember years back when I would turn to Oprah for my daily dose of inspiration (I DVRed her, as there was no chance of watching a daily afternoon tv show). Anyhow, there are many episodes that come to mind when the guest would reference this 'voice in their head', 'just a feeling' or intuition. So many of them saying they wished they would have listened, but shook it off as it wasn't logical. Which brings me to something my husband would say it SUPER important, logic (defined by Wikipedia as the use of valid reasoning in some activity). Of course you would use valid reasoning when making a huge, life-changing decision. But what if there is good reasoning for either decision? What if the logic says one thing, but your gut says the other?
I speak for me personally, as I know this statement is likely to garner criticism, but in business, I have learned that my gut wins. In retrospect, when my gut has told me not do to something and I decided otherwise, I paid the price...and vice versa. Take for instance the decision to follow my dream and start a business. I was employed in real estate (in 2006...the heyday!). My work day started at 10am, who gets to do that?? The money was ridiculous and my opportunities were limitless. I should be loving life. The logic says stay. My gut said run, run, as far as you can...and just go for it. All through college when my friends wanted to be doctors & lawyers, my little voice kept telling me to do something different, I just couldn't quite understand what. My path was not clear, which made logical decision making a bit difficult. It was when I finally listened to my gut, and did A LOT of prayer, that my answer was crystal clear.
Sometimes in life, your answer does not seem logical. Do you have the opportunity to move hundreds of miles away? Leave your friends, family, and everything you have worked so hard to build? Your parents think it is the wrong decision, but your gut keeps telling you it is right? How to you clear the noise and make the 'right' decision? I remember when I was on the Anderson Show with Sara Blakely. She was telling the story of when she started Spanx. She said she waited for a year before telling anyone her idea. She knew this is what she was supposed to do and did not want to hear their opinions. While I did not go that route, it makes so much sense. Clearly there are major life decisions when you need the opinion of your loved ones, but I truly think sometimes your gut is so clear that you just have to listen. When I told my dad that I wanted to start RuffleButts, his 1st response was "Why on Earth would you want to start an apparel company? What's to stop anyone from copying what you do?" He was completely right and I knew it, but I still knew, deep down, that this is what I was supposed to do. Sometimes our best decisions are not the most logical; sometimes the very best decisions are the ones that come from within.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm certainly not saying to throw logic out the window and make brash decisions doing whatever you want. I'm also not saying to disregard the opinion of your loved ones. I think logic is super important, as is family. What I am saying is that sometimes the gut tells us exactly what to do. Just be sure you are listening.