Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I think the Christmas spirit is finally upon me. I am ready to spend time finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping and baking cookies with my kids.

I think this came about becuase of some final accomplishments that were completed today. I had my last show for the season this past weekend (and it was awesome!) and I delivered a wholesale order to Palm Beach Zoo! I am very excited to have two zoos as wholesalers. It's a wonderful feeling and I am excited and pumped for the coming year!

I've been thinking about all that I've accomplished and I am very pleased. I have learned much this year and am ready to make new goals for next year. I am eager to finish all this back end work to really see what I accomplished. But as I speak about it, I am also very tired so I'll give it a couple of days and then dig in. The orders are still coming in so I am making the most of the holiday season!

Friday, December 01, 2006

So today I check out the December issue of South Florida Parenting where my friend wrote a rave about Kaboodle Kids and was told it would be in the December issue. I was disappointed to see that it was not in there; however, my friend did get her writeup. She didn't bother to tell me that she wrote in under a few different topics - she couldn't remember what she wrote. Well one of the other topics she wrote was picked. I was bummed a little bit today as I've been on cloud nine thinking I'd get some advertising through this. I called her up this afternoon and told her she was a shmuck! We laughed about it!

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am bloated from Thanksgiving and finally trudged to the gym today. One of my little models just turned 3 a week before Thanksgiving. She had a tea party birthday - "Come for the tea, stay for the potty talk!" So we had a busy holiday season. The guests left this morning.

I found out some great news today! South Florida Parenting magazine is going to rave about me in their December issue. I am so excited! I've been pondering much about marketing this season and I missed a good marketing avenue that was my fault, but the prices are too high in all the others. The holiday shows are doing pretty good. I've got three of them within a 4 day period coming up. Should keep me from shopping at the mall anyway.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am having a blast doing all these shows! No matter if one does well and another doesn't, I am at least having fun. I meet lots of new people and learn something new at each show. Just the other day while coming out of my storage unit, I met two guys giving away new really nice wire racks. I told them I only needed two but they said it was an all or nothing deal. (They wanted them all gone.) So I have 6 of these things when I only needed two. I called my friend who sells fishing equipment and he took the other 4 off my hands, not without negotiating a lobster dinner though. (He goes out and catches them with his buddies.) It's nice to have friends like that. My husband was glad to be on the retrieving end of that one!

So on my last show, the racks really made my display beautiful! I displayed the clothes very well. It was awesome and I got them free! The only thing is that there is more to carry to these shows and it takes me longer to set up. Oh woe is me! ;-)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Crash and Burn on my second "Chic Night" show. I am now realizing that chic night means I am spending money on myself, not my kids. Probably not a good venue for future shows.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Day! I locked in another zoo! Whoooopeeee! I really didn't know what to expect when I went into my second meeting today. All I know is that when they got detailed on ordering I jumped in to help them knock out an order. It's a great feeling to walk away with an order in hand. ;-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

After the grueling 4 days working a vendor booth at Zion Lutheran Octoberfest, I was floored this morning catching up on emails that one of my customers from the festival emailed 20+ friends raving about me and Kaboodle Kids, attaching pics of the clothes she bought and stating how wonderful the clothes are. It made me so proud! I love customers like that! Thank you Robin! (Her name is Robin too.) I am too giddy to work today.

Not only did I meet some great vendors that I will stay in contact with, we all shared our leads for future vendor shows and I got a few more leads that I've been following up on this morning. I was happy to finally be able to help someone else this time. I really liked the camaraderie we had... the beer drinking might have been a big part of it! ;-) (but only at the end of the night.)

Friday, October 27, 2006

I am having fun working as a vendor at this Octoberfest at Zion Lutheran. The music is great and the people are wonderful. The vendors are great too! I've met some really nice people while making some sales as well. People really like these clothes. I feel positively today that I can make this business happen. My husband and I agree that we need to evaluate the business at the end of the year and I feel confident that the results will be promising to continue next year.

I have noticed a difference in my kids by spending more time with them. I need to make this work. I love working for myself too much! I think I am harder on myself than any of my bosses ever were! Funny how that works...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jackpot! I guess the weather change down here got people into thinking about the holidays so this last trunk show brought in some great sales! I met some great people and had a great time selling. Three different customers talked about being in South Africa and two of them knew of the Bug Zoo line. It's becoming an even smaller world.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What a surprise to walk into the gym listening to one of my favorite podcasts: Mommycast, when I heard my voice speaking. Paige and Gretchen are doing an Education Summit and asked if anyone had questions to call them in. I called in my questions and heard me fumbling through my questions (I need to work on organizing my thoughts before making those phone calls) and I heard my answers throughout the half hour podcast. Wow! how cool was that! Next time I need to say Robin from Kaboodle Kids instead of Robin from Florida calling in. I am such a dork. Learn from my mistakes I guess.

Signing off to get a good nights sleep. I have a "Trunk Show" tomorrow monring. During setup I already made 3 sales! Things are looking up! ;-)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My five year old is the newest member to the Kaboodle Kids sales team! I am so proud of her...

Today was picture day at school and of course she was wearing her favorite "Internet" clothes. On the way to school, she surprised me by asking for my business card just in case someone asked about her outfit she wanted to give them the card so they knew where to buy the clothes. I thought what a great idea but didn't think much of it until I picked her up and she told me she gave the card to her girlfriend who said she loved her skirt. The picture I conjoured up was a little girl giving my business card to her mom to go buy the skirt and her mom throwing the card out.
I got the true story tonight at the parent-teacher meeting at school when I met the little girl's mom who received the card from Lauren herself! Her side of the story went like this: Her daughter did in fact like the skirt and they started talking to my daughter about the skirt. My daughter started this elaborate story about how she got the skirt from the internet and proceeded to tell them that she had a card and gave handed her my business card. She said she really didn't believe much of the story until my daughter handed her a business card. Then she realized it wasn't a made-up story.
I've never been more proud of my daughter. It seems I trained her better than I thought! Luckily I haven't taught her about commissions. ;-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

So this week I am back figuring out different marketing strategies. I should always go with my first gut instinct. I missed out on a great advertising plug through one of the podcasts I listen to - Boutique Cafe. They are having a 12 days of Christmas show where they talk to 12 different designers. Since I am not a designer, I thought I didn't qualify. I was wrong. I could have been on the show as a boutique owner. Something else must be in store for me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Strike Two! Not only did the tradeshow not live up to my expectations, I participated in a boutique luncheon - "Shop til you drop" of 250 women that were not really interested in buying kids clothes. It didn't help that I was growing sicker by the minute. That was yesterday. So today I am still in my pajamas dreading picking up my daughter from school in the next hour. She's so energetic. At least I got a nap in this morning. My husband told me it seems I am sounding worse not better. "You should have taken Airborne," he says. Is that like an "I told you so" expression?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I survived my first tradeshow! It went very smoothly actually. I had two of my friends help me out and they made for a perfect team. I had high expectations for the tradeshow so I felt disappointed with the outcome overall. There was not the volume of people from the local public that I had aniticipated would be attending based on what was communicated to me. Now that I have had a few days to reflect, I can see in a more positive light though. I came out with almost 50 new customers that I added to my database, which brings me over 400 to date. If just 10% become loyal customers and return and tell their friends, it would be worth it. When it comes to marketing, it is so hard to find the return as it may not come until much later and can be hard to pinpoint its origin.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I am officially a soccer mom! Monday afternoons are busy with gymnastics and soccer games. I am running up and down the field cheering my little girl, who at first was flouncing around with the group getting a kick in once in a while. Little did I know my pep talk of "pretend that ball is yours and go get it!" would make such an impact on her. She became an agressive little player. I am so proud!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Time is flying! I continued to get hits and orders from The Daily Stroll editorial. It's a great place to learn about the latest stuff out there. I signed up for their weekly email a few months back. I am starting to think about Christmas presents so these email updates keep me posted on the latest stuff.
I am gearing up for my first tradeshow in less than 2 weeks - Christians In Action Trade Show! I am excited, nervous and tired. I am a little run down from a bug I have but I am plugging away to make it a hit. I have two friends helping me that day as well as the tradeshow commission also gave me two volunteers to help out. There are supposed to be thousands there, but the numbers when you whittle away my actual market makes me think it will be a nice size show. I hope sales are good that day - my booth is next to the area where parents and kids will pick up free butterflies so I know I have a target audience arriving. I have stickers and tattoos for the kids. I am working on my banner and flyers - oh so much to do!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Today was a great day! The Daily Stroll wrote a wonderful editorial and I got some mega hits and the orders are coming in. Within two hours of the published article, I received a call from a lady who wants to sell the clothes in her store! Happy days.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I've been busy getting my new stock inventory online. I am excited about the new styles. It was like opening a present to see one beautiful item after another. My daughters were delighted and started wearing the clothes immediately. My 5 year old is total fashion and she has a pretty good eye for it as well. I finally think I have everything up and it's looking pretty good. I am going to take a break and review it once again tomorrow morning.
I am looking forward to an editorial writeup from The Daily Stroll this week. I was very excited to get their response that they wanted to do one. I am glad to have my website complete. This ad was a great incentive to get this done quickly.
I've also been busy cold calling schools in the local area. I've got one trade show and about 9 various school functions like trunk shows, fairs, festivals, luncheons or fund raisers that I will be setting up displays for. I am real excited and have some great ideas. I need some freebies like stickers and tatoos to give away. This is my next todo item on my list.
I am tired. My husband is wondering if I am ever going to come back and spend time with him again. Signing off.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Well I am sure happy that Ernesto never turned into a hurricane, although the chaos was surprising. It took me 1 hour to get gas yesterday and I had to because I was on empty. Luckily there are people who don't pay attention and I found a line only 10 cars deep, whereas around the corner there was another one going back about 50 cars!

So today wasn't a total wasted day. Although I had the kids home today due to the schools closing for the potential storm, I was able to pick up my Fall/Winter stock today. I am excited about the new lines. I can't wait for everyone to see them. I'll get them up as soon as I can.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

So that was the only sale at the kids salon so I'll be picking up my merchandise today. I am going to have to think of something else that works. I have my new Fall line coming in soon so I've been busy putting all that together. I hope the holiday season picks up business for me. I've also been busy lining up with the schools to be a part of their festivals and bazaars to showcase and sell locally.

My oldest started Kindergarten this year with her first tooth missing. I am glad the black eye from our trip to Disney was gone by then! She's growing up so much! After day 3 of dropoff, she asked to walk in by herself. I was so proud and yet I wanted to cry at the same time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Yahoo - Got the first sale at the salon! Maybe the momentum will start now that I substituted girls clothes on the racks.

Just surviving the retail slow season. We went on a small vacation - a family reunion... then on to Disney World! My 5 year old daughter was fooling around with her cousins in the hotel room jumping on the beds when the accident occurred. She bumped her head on the floor - don't know what happened to the inner instinct to use your hands to break a fall, but she smacked her face into the floor. She had a small bump on her forehead and complained that her nose hurt. Seemed like normal damage. After some TLC she fell fast asleep. We woke up the next morning ready for our first day at Disney when our darling daughter awoke to her eye swollen shut! Rush to the doctor finding out she's fine but needs to ice her eye; but needless to say we were hotel bound for the day. I asked my 2 year old what the doctor said? Her reply, "No more Laurens jumping on the bed!" Pretty innovative we thought for a 2 year old! We did get to enjoy 1 day at Magic Kingdom the following day with promises we'd come back in October, when the crowds are gone anyway.

So now you wouldn't believe I also went through some bad luck - and it always comes in 3's. Unloading the car at the hotel for the family reunion (why was I the one unloading?), I totaled the portable DVD player - so how will we survive the car ride home? My husband buys a newer better one - with dual screens for each kid! Sounds pricey doesn't it? He asked me how in the world I did it - I said don't ask.
Round 2 is we get home and I am on my way out the driveway to do errands when I realize I am missing something. I pull back into the driveway (like I've done many times before) to run into the house through the garage with the car running. But I check something out on the passenger seat and while concentrating take my foot off the break... not a problem if I had already put the car in park - or did I? No I did not. I did put my foot on the break very quickly after the slow lurch forward hitting the house. It's not that bad actually, you can't even tell really. I actually only hit the decorative foam casing around the garage. I even thought about not telling my husband but knew I would be in bigger trouble if I didn't. Although he got home before I did and didn't notice the damage at all! So when I told him, he again asked how in the world I did it. I was getting defensive at this point and after explaining myself I told him bad luck comes in 3's and I got one more. He looked at me angrily and said, "That wasn't funny." I tried to explain to him that I wasn't trying to be funny but it is happening. You know we'll have to fix this too as the foam casing is cracked open so it will probably discolor or something and be noticeable within a few months if we don't. Now I am in the doghouse... and we don't have a dog! Number 3 happened last night while I was sleeping. Can it really be my fault then? My husband is on a business trip and doesn't even know yet. I left the hose running to refill the pool all night long! Well not all night actually, my daughter work me up at 3 am so I turned it off then. The water bill will be high this month. I am just glad it's over. Everywhere I drove after number 2 had me going a little crazy. I was quite nervous that I would do some big damage. I am free and clear with no worries.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The kids hair salon had a renovation over the weekend and re-opened today so I had to take out the boys clothes on display last week. We decided to try the girls clothes instead since there were no sales. So today I went back with the girls line and as I was putting up the display, I had more moms walk up and show interest. Why is it that moms will buy more than enough clothes for girls but will not look twice for boys clothes? Boys do need clothes after all.

Monday, July 10, 2006

So I figured out something... I know it takes me awhile but trial and error has lead me here. And don't tell my husband as he's in essence told me this many times and it is slowly sinking in. I hope he doesn't give me the old "I told you so" .

Ads are not necessarily the way to go for the startup. They will be useful down the road, but in the beginning when you don't have the finances, don't put out ads. At least for me, they don't give me any sales anyway. Get people interested in your products to want to talk about them to others. People trust their friends, relatives, etc. and get advice on many products and ideas. But how do you do this on a much larger scale? I am now going to market Kaboodle Kids by participating in giveaways from blogsites, which usually provide editorials of your products, which is in essence your ad, but the difference is it is coming from someone who is trusted. People trust these blogsites as they have set standards and request samples of your product. I know my products are excellent. Many moms have told me so. I just need someone else that other webmoms trust to believe it as I do and tell them. Secondly, the editorials are usually archived so I'll always be linked to them. Ads are only temporary, whereas links from editorials are forever. This will improve my google ranking. Someday I will be ranked higher than zero!

Monday, July 03, 2006

My hot new idea for marketing was a slump the first day. It was on Saturday. I had a display of boys clothes only at a local hair salon, Snipadeedodas. Great shop. The owner even stated that boys are their bread and butter, since they come in so often. I thought what a perfect way to sell the boys clothes, which of course, gets shadowed over by the girls clothes. I've had woman (from previous displays) who only have boys, walk straight over to the girls clothes and browse. So I thought, this is the winner. Only show boys clothes, don't even entice them to a girls section. The shop is where my kids get their hair cuts, always busy.

Well this particular Saturday was steady but not the usual busy I am used to seeing. To top it off, quite a few dads walked in with their boys to get haircuts. Dads never buy. There were a few moms I spoke with that might be internet buyers at a later time though - for their girls. I gave them my flyer, that shows both boys and girls clothes. Maybe my being there was a putoff, although I am not aggressive or pushy, and I'd like to think that I sense those signs of buyer vs non-buyer.

So the clothes will stay there displayed on their own. Maybe the midweek mommies will show up and make a few purchases. It was also a bad weekend, being the weekend before the 4th of July. I am still hopeful. There's other alternatives too... entice with a few girls dresses on one side of the rack! I am sure that will work. ;-)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

One Mom's Quest for a Flexible Work Arrangement - does that sound familiar? Well yes, it's about me. I got an email the other day from another mom who is doing something similar to me and has been reading my blog and getting inspiration. Can you believe it? Who would have thought my little snippets of dialogue would help someone else? I am very honored that she wanted to write about me in her blog... a lovely story about me. I am so touched. So read her blog Boobba Baby Blog, and she also has her website selling products for mommies and babies Boobba Baby.

I need to figure out how to add other people's blogsites to my side panels. Someday I promise to do that.
So yesterday afternoon turned out ok after all. I went back to the preschool for the final portion of the day and the sales kept coming! I hit my lowered adjusted target going $1 over, which I didn't even think I'd get! I suppose God had a hand in that one! So I am happy again.

Today I went back to Lion Country Safari for a replenishment order. It looks like they went through about a quarter of the stock. So that will be a nice order to fill. I'll probably go back next week to bring them the stock. That makes me delightfully happy! I am also pleased to see them sell some stock that I can't seem to sell. I gotta get with Animal Kingdom at Disney and Busch Gardens. Here I come!

Then next week I'll be at the hair cutting place to sell only boys clothing. I hope that goes well. I also have a meeting with a school next week to discuss fund raising options with them. Sounds very promising!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I am disappointed today. My first day care display went so well that I had high hopes for this second one. Today is the final day and it didn't do as well. I did get some sales and have turned hopeful as every sale is a potential second one... and they are on my email list after all!

I do have another possibility next week. Since I am having trouble selling the boys clothes (moms always buy more for the girls), I found a great place to display boys clothes only... a kids salon! The owner reminded me that her bread and butter are the boys that come in to get their hair cut every 4-6 weeks, not like girls who can wait months. And one of the ladies who cuts hair there piped up the fact that it is hard to find unique clothes for boys (she has boys). So there it was settled. We agreed that I will bring in the boys clothes Saturday, July 4 and we'll see how it goes. I am uplifted yet again.

To top it off, I had lunch with not only my old pals from work, but also a boss I had four years ago. It was great to see them. Boy do I need to get out more and socialize!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Today I am feeling disorganized. I have so many different types of advertising going on I can't keep up. So today is organization day where I now have all the on-line marketing written down and organized. Don't get me wrong, I've been organized. All my local advertising and Google/Yahoo ads are on Excel. I am one of those types that calculates the ROI on every advertising type. I won't do it again unless it does something for me. I just didn't have one area complete and that was all these mommy message boards and sites that I am getting from new people I am meeting. Every new person I meet, I check out their website and see what links they have to see if they know about something I don't. I've been getting caught up in joining everything that I am now regrouping and seeing what is paying off. Even these new friends tell me what listed on their site actually works, which is helpful.

Tomorrow starts another 2-day display of my goods in a daycare. This is so far my best marketing. Don't make moms go out to shop, bring it to them where they are, dropping off their kids before work. Get them on that impulse shopping, while other moms are ooohing and aaaahing the clothes, they can't pass it up! I should know, I am a mom too.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A funny thing happened. I was checking my web stats after the radio interview aired and I noticed I had a huge web hit the week before instead, from June 6 - 11 and I couldn't figure out why. Well I had a lovely surprise when I went to the gym and listened to one of the podcasts while working out - 101 Uses For Baby Wipes (a little late)... and heard a free Kaboodle Kids advertising plug! How AWESOME! I had sent in an email tip for dads from the first daddy panel from the week before. I had no idea he was going to read my email and make comments and talk about Kaboodle Kids and give my website address. It really made my day! I would love to thank him by sending a cute outfit for his kid. So

You know the first person I called was my husband and I couldn't reach him by his cell. Now he gets on me all the time for not carrying my cell on me at all times (for when he needs to get a hold of me - like when he wants me to pick up something for him :-) So I nailed him. That was fun!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I am proud most of all in that Kaboodle Kids paid all its own bills for two months in a row! It's a great accomplishment I think.
So last night my interview played on WEXY 1520 radio station. Funny that I couldn't even hear it as I must live too far north. I'll be able to pick up a copy of it today sometime. I wonder how many people heard it and if they felt compelled to check out my site. I didn't get any orders but I am coming to expect that. Most of my marketing ideas don't get orders, just usually exposure, which I am sure will help in the long run.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I like this flexible working schedule. I got to take the kids to the Miami Seaquarium yesterday with a friend and her little girl as well. They had a great time.

Well time has flown by and I have not had a chance to hear the interview that will be playing this evening. I hope I can stay up long enough to hear it live on the radio. It should be fun. I hope it sounds ok. I am a little nervous just thinking about it.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I really wanted to blog yesterday as I had such a great day but the site was down so I am blogging today.

I went in today to pre-record my very first radio broadcast! We were going to do it live but as things turned out, we were delayed and since I was a little bit nervous we had the time to pre-record it. It was a lot of fun! and we were actually live for a while during the testing of the mics, we were just talking and our voices actually came through live underneath the live broadcast. I guess people were calling in saying they could hear people talking and that was me and Ambassador Monzell. That helped to make me feel a little less nervous.

Actually Ambassador Monzell made me feel very comfortable and I found that I have the gift of gab. Yes I couldn't believe it myself! Once I got going, I could talk for hours. It was a good thing I was being interviewed and controlled. So Ambassador Monzell asked me questions like what Kaboodle Kids was about, how I got started, why did I choose South African clothes to sell, my involvement with Feed The Children, etc... He did an excellent job of flowing it all together. He's going to add background jazz and it should be awesome. I'll be able to hear it on Monday. It goes live on WEXY1520 AM on Tuesday night midnight or you could say very early Wednesday morning.

So that reminds me to do something to the website. There is a question at the end of each customer's purchase on the website to state how they heard about me, I am going to now add radio broadcast. Now that is cool!

Don't worry this is not going to my head. Well it can for about a week or so then I am back to being me again.

But my day did not end there... I had just got my flyers completed and I was driving around businesses today to drop off and I was able to get some new business in two different areas that you'll hear about in the coming blogs. It was a great day! Praise God! He's definitely working my business.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Just to let you know that my idea of spending more time with the kids didn't include more poopy pants that I could handle! I love my children but potty training really sucks! I just had to get that out. Yesterday I had to just throw out my daughter's panties at the park. She didn't even look remorseful. I am losing this battle!

Monday, June 05, 2006

I found a neat blog roll last week "So Close" and added my blog onto it as well. Even though I've been bloggin now for awhile, I really am now starting to get involved in the community of bloggers. There are a lot of them out there and I am realizing I need to spruce mine up a bit. I sent an email out to one of the bloggers who I though most identified with me and she responded! How excited I was! There are a lot of great people I am going to meet through all this.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Well I am trying to find that one stop shop organization to belong to that will help me with all my needs. Not sure if there is just one out there, but let me tell you what I found along the way.

I am a member of Ladies Who Launch, which is an organization that helps women launch into the entrepreneurial world. I find it very uplifting to get their emails each week and learn about yet another woman and her success. This week's featured lady gave me some insight that will be very beneficial.

I also met an extremely talented and focused person like myself the other day and we're trying to find a woman's group to join together. She told me about the group Christians In Action and that they had a meeting the very next day but she was out of town and couldn't attend. So I attended and not only did I meet a very nice couple there, they can help me improve my search engine optimization for my website. I'll let you know the outcome once I have the scoop. I also won 15 minutes of free radio time on the Christian radio station 1520 am at 12 midnight next Tuesday night. I figure someone will be out there listening. So as I am organizing my thoughts, the featured lady referenced above talks just on the very topic of public speaking and gave out tips on public speaking. Small world isn't it? Her tips made sense and I am going to use them.

I now think it's good to belong to a few organizations for support.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Today is an awesome day! I met with Lion Country Safari and they are going to sell one of the clothing lines I've imported in their gift shop! We are working quickly to get the stock on display for this weekend, since it's a big holiday weekend. They will get about 10,000 people coming through this weekend! happy days for Kaboodle Kids. The best part is that their website is incluing a link to Kaboodle Kids website. No better way to promote my company.

Now the only bad part of my day was that as I was driving to Lion Country Safari, I passed the entrance and when I doubled back I was pulled over for speeding! Bummer - there went all my profits!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tired from a family vacation and excited to be presenting the Hooligans line of clothes to a well established company. I need God on my side on this one.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Well I've had downs and ups since I last wrote. The home party went well for the few people that showed up. Saturday morning is not a good time to have a home party. I am thinking Thursday night is probably best. I learned that when people see the clothes they do buy them. It was a hit selling to the local daycare last week. Many commented on the uniqueness of the clothes. Lots of sales here. I think they also liked the convenience of the browse in the morning at kid dropoff and at pickup in the afternoon, pick up the clothes and pay. Couldn't shop at any more convenience. I never worked so hard! But it was fun being weary. Uggh! gotta go, child puking in the night!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Marketing is keeping me busy. I am gearing up for my first home party on Saturday. I am also going to have a display for two days at a local daycare next week. I like the ad we're going to publish next week... too busy to shop, we'll bring the shopping to you. Hopefully I can get some quick sales that way. I am realizing that when people touch and feel the clothes, they are interested and I can get them to buy. Not until they have made the first purchase will they be able to feel comfortable going back to the website to make the next purchase because they now know the quality and feel of the clothes. I hope my intuition is right.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I have a new found appreciation for those that are great at marketing. It now consumes my every day life but I don't think I am good at it, which can be quite frustrating. I have a few ideas I am working on. I need to maintain that persistent attitude.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I am tired. The Easter holidays have left me with a bad head cold, congestion, sore throut, etc.... I am having to re-evaluate my marketing avenues and hope these changes work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I have renewed energy today! Two reasons. The first one is that I got two nice sized orders today and the second one came late in the day. I posted in one of the message boards that I now belong to and I received a response. It was from someone starting off just like me only a few weeks earlier. She had me pegged in her email, sheer excitement and complete exhaustion, moving unto the mountain of marketing. It's nice to know others are out there. I hope to meet many more like yourself. We can all help each other in many ways.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I had a great conversation with my account rep at Feed The Children. Kaboodle Kids was approved today under their special projects program. This is an ongoing project to give a percentage of Kaboodle Kids sales to Feed The Children. What I liked about them is that Kaboodle Kids can give specifically to children in South Africa, so that we are helping the children from the country our products are manufactured.
I have the Monday blues. My first feature ad for Kaboodle Kids published on the Mommies with Style blogsite on Friday so I thought over the weekend people will view the site. I was right, over 1,500 people did view my site. However, not one order came in. :-(

So today, I spent all morning looking for other potential sites to put advertisements on. I believe the Mommies with Style blogsite does hit my target audience and will keep advertising there. I also like the exposure to new prouducts the site provides me personally. I just need many more webhits and having multiple advertisements out there is key. In my review today of other potential sites, I noticed the same ads over again. So I am not wrong in my assumption, as this is what everyone else is doing.

I need to remain persistent. I remember the first job I got as a teenager. Had it not been for my persistence, I probably wouldn't have gotten the job. I need that same energy I had back then.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Today my first on-line advertisement went public via mommieswithstyle blogsite. I checked the stats and see almost 400 hits to my website just today! My hopes are high.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My friends and family are really come through for me - they have forwarded to 93 new people that may be interested in Kaboodle Kids! What is wonderful is that it's even moving past just my friends - my friends' friends are even forwarding to their friends! This is awesome!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

My husband introduced me to the blog world and of course the blogs he's interested in. I am really trying to find woman online communities to connect with. I spoke with a friend/neighbor at the park yesterday who mentioned a particular blogsite Mommies with Style that she regularly visits. This particular blog's sole existence is to help moms find products that all moms are interested in, which ranges to just about everything! Can you imagine one stop shopping while the kids are in bed? What a great idea!

Marketing, marketing, marketing! Can't do enough! I sent my first promotional newsletter and I am getting a great response. In two days, I've added 42 potential customers to my database! I knew word of mouth was a powerful tool! I hope the momentum keeps up. I also put an advertisement in my daughter's school spring program that will potentially be seen by 2000 parents/grandparents! More marketing ideas to come!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

This weekend I've learned alot about website ranking and tactics to boost website ranking. We have initiated some of these tactics and from what I've read, it could take up to 6 months to increase your ranking. Consider this part of the marketing process, which is always ongoing anyway. Speaking of marketing, I sent out my Kaboodle Kids launch promotion email today. My hope is that these 100+ people feel an incentive from my promotion to forward my email to at least 5 to 10 friends that would be interested in kids clothes. More marketing ideas in the works. keep posted.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I have my business cards! I am officially marketing now, not that I haven't been before but I have the card to give those people I do talk to. I've been passing them out all weekend. I am sure there will be a few people that wonder how they got my card this weekend. I've also been working on becoming SEO friendly. I want those that search on the internet for unique fun kids clothes see Kaboodle Kids on the first page. I understand this may take some time but that is my goal!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Today I processed my second order! I processed it through the telephone order module for a neighbor friend. It was quite easy and I am glad to have practiced on a friend than a customer I didn't know. I do need to remember that not only do I need information from my customer, but that I need to provide them back information, like the amount of the invoice. I almost forgot to do that so I need to polish that a bit. I am sure it will come with practice.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Today I mailed out the first package to Kaboodle Kids first customer! It was exciting and a day I'll never forget. I even wrote a hand written note to my first customer. It seems so long ago since I left my job 3 months ago to start Kaboodle Kids. I am very proud and happy today.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Today Kaboodle Kids went live!.. accidently! And I am happy as clams it did!

I was working on the test website tweaking the category pages and metatags trying to get everything done so that I could go live soon. Periodically, I was checking emails as I was expecting a specific email to come in when I noticed an email notifying me of an order. I thought that was funny as I hadn't put through a test order so I checked the order menu in the admin panel and sure enough I had my first order of $35.00 which had gone through the credit card authorization process. I realized that I have a real order, but how did it happen? I thought I was in a test region. I realized the domain switch must have occurred and I am finding out that technically it is a live test region once the domain is pointing in the right direction... which did happen today!

So I called my first customer and congratulated her for being my first customer. She was tickled pink and what was great was that she didn't see those pages missing some text that actually stated blah blah blah (those were my reminders to put text there)! So, of course, I took out those blah blah blahs and I am still working on putting that text there. Hopefully I'll have all this completed before I send out my mass email to the 132 people on my mailing list that I hope are still interested in Kaboodle Kids, as I was led to believe.

Friday, March 17, 2006

It has been a whirlwind since I got the first shipment... stock updates, pricing, photo shoots. Lots of tedious and some exciting work. Overall, I am having a blast! Now I feel like I am ready to go live. I've felt this way for the past few days. I am waiting for my domain transfer. The waiting is killing me. I am thinking of all the if onlys as I am retracing the month long process to purchase the domain KaboodleKids.com. For a process that could have taken less than a week, it sure took way too long. This week has given me time to sit back and review the website as it stands. My father-in-law tested the site and a friend in Boston looked it over and gave me some feedback as well. There have been some great tweaking of the website this week, so I shouldn't be as perplexed as I feel. In time, the site will be up and running and I will be busy as a bee processing orders and marketing my company!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

After over a week in customs, I finally picked up my first order of merchandise late yesterday! The freight time was 1 week and it takes longer in customs. The freight and customs process is quite an experience. You definitely need to find the right broker to get the job complete. I tried to find my own broker and compare prices to my suppliers recommended brokers. I found that my suppliers recommended brokers were the same price and they knew what they were talking about. Since I knew this first time would be a learning experience for me, it is worth it. Once I go through this same process with my second supplier, I'll find out which broker I like best and by consolidating to one broker, I can save on a few of the fees. I had a blast looking through all the merchandise last night. The clothes are so cute! I have no doubt the clothes will sell, I just need to market my products well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Although I have a domain name, mykaboodlekids.com, I am looking for the best domain: kaboodlekids.com. It is currently owned by a woman named Catherine but is not being used today. I called her and left a message to see if she was going to renew the domain as it will expire in April of this year. I am hoping she'll give it to me or let me purchase it from her for like $50.00. She called today and did state that she was willing to sell it, although she is going to call me back with a price. She lead me to believe she just wanted to cover the cost of having it. Hopefully that is the case. This could be a great day!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Legal questions... who can I trust to answer my legal type questions? I asked attorneys I knew through my work and others that had connections to give me a reference of someone they know and trust. I came up empty handed. I realized I needed to find one on my own. I went to to the internet of cousre - Martindale-Hubbell as a start and the first one on the list was my own former city mayor Dan Oates. He can be found at www.pompanolaw.com - Oates & Oates, PA. What a coincidence and I had forgotten he was an attorney. So I gave him a call and spoke with Dan concerning some basic corporate stuff from occupational licenses through business continuity plans, which Dan was very helpful. I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't paying for these basic answers. He helped me with all my questions and is researching one last area for me. I am very impressed and pleased with the service.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I am disappointed yet again with the Logo Loft. They sent me all my files, after I called them of course and found two issues with my final product. One of the letters in the logo was missing a few pixels at the top and the gif file was not in the transparent format. I had tested this by putting the logo over a patch of color other than white and noticed how horribly fuzzy the edges were. I probably wouldn't have tested this but since I've been designing my website, through Volusion, I am eagerly anticipating putting my new logo on my test website and have planned to put the logo over a solid color background. The Logo Loft tried to quickly remedy the issue and sent me yet another substandard product... very disappointing. I don't mind mistakes but a thorough recovery is key.

I am very pleased with Volusion however. As I am putting together my website, Volusion's technical customer service is phenomenal! I call them often and they don't seem to mind.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I am actually disappointed with The Logo Loft with the service I am receiving. The reviews I found on the net showed The Logo Loft to have high marks. I am finding that my husband is actually more creative and I continually need to follow up with The Logo Loft on each step of the way.

I first received four different designs. Initially none of them wowed me. So I looked on the net and tried to understand what other companies do to make catchy logos. What I saw in other logos was that there was a design or picture around or using one of the letters of the company name. That's when my husband came in and took one of the original 4 designs and made some high level adjustments using Paint Shop Pro to give us an idea of what his idea could look like. We did like the font on one of the designs, called Happy Happy Joy Joy. I must say, The Logo Loft is very good at following our instructions once you give them the creative changes. It was a dual role on both parts.

I should be getting my final logo very soon and am happy with my final company logo.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The question I had is where do I host and maintain my website? I went to the only resource I knew, my husband. When I went on-line and looked around, I found there are a lot of companies that do just this. But how do I find the right one? I spoke with a contact who had just started her own business and she went with Monstercommerce. I asked what was it about Monstercommerce that made her pick them and she had no reason why. I couldn't understand that answer and felt compelled to look deaper into my decision. I did some research on Monstercommerce and their capabilities and was quite pleased, but I put my husband to the test to ensure I had the right choice. He started googling ecommerce to get answers, but it was an online catalog site that led him to shopping carts and he stumbled on a forum which had all types of merchants giving their reviews of the companies they merchant through. No better site to help in this choice than those that give true testimonies!

In our research, we found out what my true needs were for Kaboodle Kids:
1) visability - SEO (search engine optimization) was important - SEO friendly, meaning that my site is more apt to be picked up by yahoo and google and I need help to get me a higher ranking than other sites.

2) to have an amazon like shopping experience with shopping lists and browsing capabilities, basically a sophisticated on line shopping experience with backend tools to help me understand what panels the customer is viewing.

3) ability to support an affiliate model in the future - which rewards those sites that drive other customers my way.

4) overall quality and support.

These forums told me that other merchants support Volusion. Volusion was started by ex-Del employees that seem to know their technology. As I am finding out, Volusion does what Monstercommerce does and... alittle bit more.

If you are insterested in the forum, check it out at ecartreviews.com\forums.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My logo is coming together. I chose The Logo Loft to help with the creativity of my logo. Wired magazine helped me make my choice based on their reviews. With four different options from The Logo Loft and my husband's bit of creativity, I think I finally have something that represents what my company is all about. It shows a clean professional image with a bit of the kid in us that represents the fact that I am selling children's clothing. It's still being tweaked right now but should be done soon. It's amazing how important a logo is to the image and branding of a company.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth marketing, especially when it comes to small start up companies. It seems that every other day, I am adding a new person to my database of potential customers. I think my excitement is showing through, which intrigues people to want to know more.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I have many decisions to make. It's hard to know what the right decision is. But I think back to a prior VP I worked for and remember his tag line... "It's only a decision." I need to keep remembering that the decision I make is what I considered the right decision at that time. I am stressing about the future and hope I am making decisions that help me with whatever that future may be.
I am working on the logo for my company. Boy is this fun. It's great to think I put this altogether.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The holidays have blown by and a lot has happened. I no longer work for corporate America and am now on my own! I am excited and nervous at the same time. Will I be able to sell all this merchandise I am purchasing? Can this really work? I want to turn this dream into a reality and pray that I am confident and smart enough to pull it off.

I am currently working out the orders for my two suppliers and working on a third supplier. I have a bank account and need to start working on my website. So much to do... I know, don't feel overwhelmed, take one task at a time.