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Entries in Business Advice (19)

Monday
Oct152012

Why Travel-Tot is at the ABC Kids Expo

 We recently had the opportunity to interview the moms at Travel-Tot before they headed to Louisville for this year's ABC Kids Expo. If you've been wondering about displaying at a large tradeshow, the investment, and how it can help your business, this post is for you!

Market Mommy:: Tell us a little bit about your business.

Travel-Tot:: At Travel-Tot, we produce an award winning travel childproofing kit. It is an affordable, temporary, all-in-one childproofing kit that provides a layer of protection as well as peace of mind for families wherever they travel... hotels, motels and even grandma’s house!

What makes our product unique to the market is that it is temporary and completely non-damaging to furniture, yet provides everything necessary for childproofing on the go. Hotel rooms are comfortable and convenient for adults and now they will address basic childproofing needs and create an instantly safer environment for children.

This is a product that takes some consumer education. It’s critical and even essential that families childproof when they are away from home and it is a thought that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of travel planning often gets lost. This is one of our marketing challanges, and we've found some great ways to get the word out there.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited at the ABC show before?

Travel-Tot:: We have! We launched our product, the Travel Childproofing Kit there 2 years ago. It was a huge deal for us and the response was amazing.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited elsewhere?

Travel-Tot:: We've done a few trade shows, the biggest being the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant show in NYC. We exhibited there because not only are we selling to retailers nationwide, but we are also working with hotels and lodging providers to provide basic safety and peace of mind for families who stay with them. At the IHMRS we were thrilled to win the Editor's Choice award for Best New Amenity!

Market Mommy:: Why did you choose to exhibit this year?

Travel-Tot:: Last year was all about logistics and production for us, as well as solidifying our partnerships with the hotel industry. It's been a huge learning curve. Our team has a ton of experience in sales and marketing but we've had a lot to pick up on the other side.

The ABC Show helps us take the temperature of the industry in a few short days. It helps us maximize our travel budget and fortify retail relationships that we are just building. Since this is a new industry for us, this step is crucial.

Market Mommy:: What are your goals for the show, what do you hope to accomplish?

Travel-Tot:: We'd like to make sure that every buyer, rep and media outlet attending the show knows our name and what Travel-Tot is all about. We aim high over here!

Market Mommy:: How big of a financial investment is this for you?

Travel-Tot:: Anytime you talk about undertaking a trade show it's going to be a big investment. It's worth it though for the exposure alone.

Market Mommy:: How big of an hour/time investment is this for the business?

Travel-Tot:: The prep work for a show like this is huge. We would never want to show up and WISH we'd done something different so we're constantly making lists of must haves and nice to haves, and split up the responsibilities to make sure everything we need done is addressed.

Market Mommy:: What are you doing to prepare? What are you taking? media kits, products, samples, takeaways?

Travel-Tot:: So much of what we do is about what the take-away is. So yes, it's our media kit that outlines who we are, what awards we've won and the fantastic press we've garnered over the last two years. We'll also have product in the booth to demo and display, plenty of marketing materials and always good snacks!

Market Mommy:: Did you have to invest in a display? How are you designing your space?

Travel-Tot:: We did invest in a display. We're in a 10x10 space (booth #1944, come on by!) and we have a fantastic graphic backdrop. It's so important at an event like this to catch someone's eye. From the beginning we have put a lot of stock in our branding, so we want to show it off in all of it's finest!

Market Mommy:: Why is the ABC expo part of your marketing plan? What efforts are you doing in conjunction with this?

Travel-Tot:: The ABC show is the only event of it's kind and size in the US. Bang for your buck you really can't find a better way to touch more retailers in one space in such a short period of time. Yes it's an investment in time, money and effort but the end result is fantastic exposure and tons of personal relationships you might not have made via phone or email.

The ABC Kids Expo is currently going on in Louisville! If you'd like to hear more about Travel-Tot's experience there this year, watch our blog in the next two weeks for the follow-up interview!

 

Tuesday
Jun052012

A Humble Piece of Boogie Pie 

By Mindee Doney

It’s been fantastic to share the news recently of my little idea (Boogie Wipes) being acquired by an awesome big company, Nehemiah Manufacturing out of Cincinnati, OH.  Not only do they bring experienced management for the Boogie brand but they also contribute tremendous amounts of social value and goodwill into their community.  They will no doubt take good care of our consumers and retailers the same way they do with their other wipe product, Pampers Kandoo Wipes

It's truly wonderful to know I built a solid brand they saw value in AND they will give back to those in need with the revenue they generate from it. Dream come true for this Mompreneur! As the news begins to circulate of the acquisition I find many people surprised to know I am not a Mommy Millionaire.  I thought it would be good to share a little about what happened to me and how deals like this often work (until I find the time to write a book about it.) I know there are many entrepreneurs out there just like me, growing their ideas into booming businesses with the hopes of big dollar signs at the end of their journey. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome motivation and definitely something to strive for. It’s also good to know that it might not happen that way and that’s Ok too. You’re a dreamer and your going to survive no matter what happens! 

I’m hoping maybe this little dose of my reality can help you plan a bit better than I did. I wasn’t prepared to be left unemployed and without income when Boogie Wipes sold and it’s been a tough adjustment for me, a bit of a blow to my ego and definitely a story I know sharing will help others not to make the same mistakes I did.

If you are able to maintain 100% control and equity in your company when it is acquired or licensed, you may in fact live out the dream of some long term financial security for you and your family.  For me, I simply didn’t have the millions it took to fund the company in the beginning, so my slice of the pie was much, much smaller. I took on a business partner (which is another topic I can share a lot of lessons learned on) and that cut my share in half, we needed investors which took another chunk.  The acquisition moved our company, Little Busy Bodies, Inc to Cincinnati, our local Oregon office was closed and many of the employees had to be let go. 

While the deal itself had lots of zeros in it, there were many people in line for one of them and by the time it was said and done, I had lost all control of who got what. I had made the choice early on to stay focused on my role in marketing.  I was creating brand awareness, responding to consumers, developing new products, creating retail sales programs and managing the marketing team I put together. I felt blessed to be able to do that work and I didn’t particularly like the numbers game so I didn’t pay much attention to how the company was being run and how the money was being spent. 

By the time I realized the importance of staying in touch with it and having a voice with our financial choices, it was too late for my opinion to matter to anyone.  We had a board of advisors making those decisions, investors, creditors, attorneys and all the usual characters. When the acquisition happened, we had lots of outstanding debt we had to pay back.  The product took off so fast, we could hardly keep up with the demand and needed to take in lots of outside money to fund the inventory cycle. Next in line for the payday were all those fancy business men in suits it takes to do valuations and spreadsheets and fill out the paperwork in a deal like this. They too get a nice piece of the pie. And, of course, we needed to pay back the answered prayers that invested in Boogie Wipes when it was not much more than a shot in the dark. Those guys get their money back plus a little more and I must say that part  does feel good, considering they did risk their own hard earned money on a somewhat quirky nose wipe idea. 

At the end of it all, despite a multi-million dollar payout on my idea….I got nothing. 

It was a bummer but definitely something I had a role in contributing to and ultimately something I had to accept.  The good news is that I DO still have those shares and possibly, down the road, they will be worth something.  For today, they are just worth the pride and credibility I have for all I contributed. I always have my fingers crossed that maybe someday, I really will get to put away some money for my kids college funds but it certainly hasn’t happened yet. In the meantime, I’m moving on to what’s next and trying to learn all I can from what’s happened.

It was definitely a hard thing to see my hard work pad everyone else’s pockets. I’ve had more than a few meltdowns and frustrating moments. I recognize my contributions and the ignorance I had to end up here and vow never to let it happen again. Ultimately, I can’t change what’s done thou and fighting it only seems to makes things worse,  I’ve chosen to focus on the silver lining, half full glass.  For 4 years I got to develop my idea, share it with grateful consumers who loved it and I got to do work I truly LOVED and was passionate about. I got paid well for that work and that helped fund my kids little league, yearly check-ups, and dance camps and created many smiles for them. The memories I made and the people I met were magical. My family, my career, my priorities and my spirit are much stronger after having been through all I did at Boogie Wipes. 

I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Hopefully you will click away from my story with a sense of empowerment and a new awareness for your situation, your own visions and the value of a positive attitude.  An acceptance that really none of us are secure in anything in business or life.  As an entrepreneur or in a stable 9-5, stay at home Mom, single, divorced, health issues, family changes, business, accidents, lotteries and love loss.  Suddenly, the life we dream of and plan for can shift significantly and we can all be left starting over with fear, worry and wonder of what’s next? 

Use it for the better. Use that understanding to fuel the courage you need to stand up for what’s yours, be present in every moment, keep an eye on the parts of your business you don’t always love (we all have them) and never stop dreaming of better days ahead.  I have used what I learned to start my new consulting business  where I’m helping other idea people test their concepts with consumers and retailers.  I can help them replicate the sales and awareness I created at Boogie Wipes and now because of all I learned in the acquisition, I can give them some tips on protecting their idea and their financial security as their company grows.

We live in an amazing time where anything is possible.  Big paydays at the end of it all or not…. to be grateful for where you have been, excited for where you are going and love what you do is truly a beautiful life. Thank you for letting me share my story here Market Mommy. It’s something I have wanted to do for a while and this was the perfect chance. 

Be Well and Boogie On!

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

Friday
Feb172012

What to Expect When You're Expecting (For Business)

From Mindee Doney (Boogie Wipes® and Juicebox Idea Consulting)

I occasionally run into a Mom so disappointed with her business results, she can hardly muster the energy for another email, another sales call or another tweet.  Typically, after some analysis of her character, where she is, where she was and where she wants to go, I discover without fail her disappointment stems from expectations that did not hit her target.

All too often it’s the target's fault, not hers.  We spend some time reviewing what she thought would happen when she spent her mad money on business cards and a postage machine.  Her expectations are through the roof and unrealistic for a small business just starting out. She has usually had many moments of guts and glory to be proud of and yet they did not line up to where she thought she would be leading her to feel defeated.

Unfortunately, there are more glorified stories of Moms in business than there is truth of how they got there. The media, blogs and events you attend show Moms smiling and sugar filled with their moments of success and reward. They tell of selling a product or service online, at a tradeshow, on etsy, through friends. Then landing a storefront, a local chain and then a retail giant like Babies”R”Us.  Their intentions are admirable to the moon and back!  They want to encourage YOU to try, to start to enjoy and give what you have to offer with your business idea.

It’s a wonderful thing that we do all need to hear from time to time.  Usually, however, these Mompreneurs are often not given the time or the platform to share details of the “other side” of the story.  Every action has an equal opposite reaction. They ALL had their own moments of disappointment, shifting gears, re-thinking and head scratching about how exactly they ended up on their dining room floor stuffing packages at 1:30 in the morning…..and still not making a profit.  

We can’t change the fact that everyone wants to hear the happy side of running your own business. We don’t really want to change that anyway. It’s good stuff. What we can change, however, is our level of discouragement and disappointment while moving through these inevitable tough spots.  I usually find it’s a  pretty easy fix with most of the clients I work with.  We start by making an “I Expect” list like this one:

-          I expect to be up late at night a few nights a week working on my business.

-          I expect to spend $1200 on a tradeshow and maybe only generate a sale or two.

-          I expect it will take me at least a year to be able to pay myself a salary.

-          I expect my family and friends will help me work in the business sometimes.

-          I expect to be selling in 3 local boutiques within 3 months of receiving my first order.

-          I expect to have 10 repeat customers within the first 6 months.

-          I expect to meet a lot of new people and take in many new experiences.

-          I expect to have my product featured on 4 blogs by the end of the year.

-          I expect to have 300 facebook likes by this summer.

These are just examples but you get the idea. Each business model is different. This exercise will help align your expectations going into your journey so when you hit the speed bumps you feel prepared. You were ready, you can understand what you need to do to push through them and move onto the next step. It will also give you some goals to go back and reflect on and you will no doubt find some places to feel accomplished and proud. 

Especially the first few years, focus on the personal rewards for you and your family, and your career as much as the monetary.   I expect if you align your expectations often enough, you just might find yourself on the shelves of Target® …with a smile on your face.

Mindee Doney: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids (May, 2012) and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting. 

Friday
Apr152011

Save the Sleeve!

Have you tried Boogie Wipes? What are they? Boogie Wipes are made with natural saline to dissolve boogies (mucus) caused by the common cold, allergies or otherwise booger-filled kid moments. The gentle saline wipes come in Great Grape, Magic Menthol, Original – Fresh and Simply Unscented. They are alcohol free, extra soft and moisturize with vitamin E and aloe to keep noses from chapping when blowing and wiping all of the time.

Boogie Wipes were created by the Boogie Moms, Mindee Doney & Julie Pickens.

Not only has the pair developed the first ever saline nose wipe, they are also using their success to promote education among parents and kids with their Save the Sleeve campaign. The fun, interactive site shows kids ways that they can stop the spread of germs. It features educational games, gross facts, jokes along with the Boogie Wipes characters, Amy Allergy, Chilly Chuck and more.

Kids can become an official Boogie Kid when they take the pledge to Save the Sleeve and even earn a backpack badge. Boogie Wipes were developed as a solution for Doney and Pickens’ kids’ runny, red and sore noses. They are a great way to fight colds and ease the discomfort of allergies.

Save the Sleeve also has a special section for teachers, encouraging them to practice healthy habits in their classrooms. Entire classrooms can take the pledge to stop the spread of germs!

As successful mom entrepreneurs, Doney and Pickens have taken their knowledge and used it to help other mom business owners and inventors through speaking engagements and other media. They have created a blog, The Business of Being a Mom, to document their entrepreneurial journey while inspiring and educating others.

In addition to Boogie Wipes, Save the Sleeve and The Business of Being a Mom, the pair can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. Join the Boogie Bunch now and get an instant coupon!

*This is a sponsored post purchased as part of an advertising package by Boogie Wipes.

 

 

Saturday
Jan082011

Time Savers!

Who doesn’t need to save time? We’re all so busy with work, kids, husband, errands and our plethora of other responsibilities that it’s no wonder we crave any little tid bit that can help us save time, become more productive or multitask just a little bit better!

Here are five quick time savers that you may not have thought of. Have fun implementing them into your daily routines. Let me know how it goes!

  1. Prepare as much food and as many meals as you can for the upcoming week on the weekend. Chop vegetables for dinners or snacks and store them in the refrigerator. Freeze a dish that you can pop into the oven later in the week. Gather your supplies for an easy crock pot meal.
  2. Mornings rough? Make sure you have the kids’ school clothes out and ready the night before. Same with backpacks and homework; make sure it’s all packed up and ready to go the next morning before  you hit the hay the night before.
  3. Being organized can help you accomplish more while the kids are at school or napping. Keeping your to-do list prioritized will help you get more done when it’s time to sit down and get some work done.
  4. Save time by combining tasks. Don’t make extra trips to the bank or post office in the middle of the day. Stop before you pick up the kids from school or some other time when you already need to be out and about.
  5. Delegate. Have an assistant? Make sure you’re using her to her potential. Have your hubby run an errand for you or have your kids help stuff envelopes. Others are usually more than willing to help if you just ask!