Saturday, August 19, 2006

What it is like to own your own business?

A lot of friends and people ask me this question. And it is hard to explain. But I will tell you 10 things about this week that totally exemplify the adventure of business ownership. This is on top of some of my more routine duties at MR. Read on, but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart!
  1. A retailer of ours made a suggestion that we consider having alternative packaging for our ribbons so that it is easier for stores like hers to sell. We typically do bulk, but this is something we had heard before from retailers who do not have space for bulk or the time to manage the cutting. We had considered this for some time, so I kicked off the research on this, and within 72 hours, I made arrangements to have all of our ribbon collections packaged into sets in addition to bulk. This involved designing the packaging materials, ten calls to our partners in Asia, and arranging for the shipment of the goods in our next container. (This is not available yet, but soon...)
  2. Our ribbons from CHA Summer was supposed to arrive today, but there was a small hang up, so they will make it to the warehouse early next week. It took a couple calls to our shipping agent to find the boxes made it to Dallas, but did not get on the truck yet.
  3. I received a FedEx containing our prototype ribbons for Memory Trends. We picked the designs we liked from among the 16 styles (it was really really hard since I loved more than 10 of them) and decided on the top 6. I then took those styles and mocked them up with the 8 color palettes we are considering for our second round prototyping. When those get back, we will pick the top 6. The turn around has to be quick since we need to get them here just after the MT show in October.
  4. Jessica told me that online retailers are asking for images of our CHA Summer items for their websites. I am done with some of them, but it takes hours and hours to do even the most basic line since I need to make sure they are right. So guess what I am up to this weekend?
  5. I placed the order for 6 of our new products for Memory Trends (you will love the new line!). This is in addition to the ones we already have in the works. I usually take our list of ideas and put them into Illustrator. Then I design the exact dimensions, colors, etc. I print it out and make mini mock ups of them to make sure they feel right. Then I share with the team for feedback. I adjust them and then send them into the factory to be prototyped. I have a list of a dozen or more items to finish and this whole process can take up to 2 months, so I am working furiously!
  6. Of course with the new items, I had to place an order for the packaging. It takes a LONG time for them to make tins since some components need to be special ordered. The handles (removable so you can add paper to the tin) and windows (non PVC material) are specially made for us so it requires extra time.
  7. Our velvet ric rac was so popular at the show I had to put in a special order. We also were short on some of the UPC labels for a few of the ribbon rolls, so I spent several hours putting those together and arranging them to get to the factory to make sure we had time to get them on before the shipment next week.
  8. We had an issue where some of the boxes that arrived in the last container was damaged due to packing problems at the loading dock in China. My baby is going through a growth spurt, so he is eating and crying a lot. So there was once where I was holding him to settle him down, on the phone with the partner who did the loading to try to get the items replaced, and IMing with Caroline at the same time since she had seen the damaged items.
  9. There was a problem with our international telephone line which caused reception to be poor, and I had to reach one of our partners in Asia. So she asked me to connect through IM, but she only used MSN Messenger. Another partner across town from her said she wanted us to use Skype. So this week I downloaded both. Then I realized that I had 5 (count them 5!) IM programs running at the same time to get my work done. AIM (friends and co-workers), Yahoo (we use that internally at MR), GoogleTalk (for DH), MSN (for one partner) and Skype (for another partner). It was getting so complex that I just downloaded Trillian that passports you into MSN, Yahoo and AIM. So now I have that and Gtalk and Skype running, but man am I connected. :)
  10. This weekend is Jonathan's Full Month Party with our friends at our house. So we invited most of our friends and 50 (can you believe that?) RSVPed. And of course, I have to clean my house, but my desk is a disaster. And it is in the living room *gasp*. Let's see what I have here:
  • All of our chipboard books from CHA Summer are in front of my monitor because I was working on the photos for the website, and I like to see them as I work on the images in Photoshop.
  • Two RAKs I owe people that are packaged and weighed just waiting to be sent out. You know who you are!
  • A gift I got over 5 years ago that is an inspiration for a new product (I cannot wait until we launch it!)
  • Photos of my parents from their wedding that I am scanning for them.
  • A sample sheet of the epoxy slides for the Inspiration line that my mother in law helped me put together so I could keep track of all 36 of them.
  • Prototypes of our ribbons for Memory Trends as well as the ones from CHA Summer to compare since we had them done slightly differently and I wanted to check the new style.
  • A paper trimmer so that I could measure something for our new line (I lost my ruler somewhere in here).
  • The palette we use to select from which has 400 colors. I keep one here so that I can talk to C about the colors and be on the same page.
  • A box of labels I used to print the UPCs.
  • A fax to FedEx from when they damaged our booth shelves from Memory Trends LAST YEAR that they have yet to reimburse us for after hounding them for 8 months and faxing in the paper work 5 times.
  • Two wedding invitations I need to RSVP for.
  • And... some chipboard in boxes that FedEx damaged in shipping. It was not enough to be worth filing the paperwork with them to get reimbursed, but since you read this far, how about a chance to win one of them??? Just post a comment before next Tuesday and I will ask DH to pick a number and if it is your comment, you win! I have a few boxes, so I will select more than one winner. :)

Ah, the life of an entreprenuer. Man, they did not teach me about this in business school! Jonathan wants to wish you all luck in the RAK. He is sleeping here with me right now as I finish this up....


Blogger Nat said...

Well - I*m sure he won*t pick the number one;-) but I wanted to say hello anyway! Love your products!

8/19/2006 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Megan M said...

And I thought I was busy!!!LOL
How you manage to co-ordinate everything while still being Mum to your wee man is qute inspiring!
Looking forward to seeing your new products when they are released!

8/19/2006 02:57:00 AM  
Blogger Vee said...

WOW...but their are so many that love what you do!
your product is the bomb!
:)...keep up tthe awesome work
you and your sister seem to be on top of everything :)

8/19/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

Geez, pretty much just woke up but after reading your post I wanna go back to bed. You 2 are nuts but we LOVE all of your products so we can't wait to see more!

8/19/2006 05:29:00 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

Forgot to add that he's too cute! Looks like dad....

8/19/2006 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Wowzers...all of that and you still have the energy to write it all in a blog entry??????
I take my hat off to you!
Your products are always top notch so the extra effort you take to make them 'just right' is much appreciated.
I love your wedding photos by the way, they are just gorgeous.

Tamara in Australia :)

8/19/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger RN4JCHRIST said...

WOW!!! and to think I wanted to start an online
Lots of work you got their gal!!
Love the pic of Jonathan!
ah, the life of an Can't wait to see all the new stuff IRL!! ~Dawn

8/19/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger judi said...

ok-I'm exhausted just reading all that. :)

8/19/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica S. said...

Don't put me in the RAK contest, justed to tell you I love the pic of J!! He's getting so big!! You'll have to send some more pictures to me. I had to laugh about your desk!! Take care and wish J a happy month party.

8/19/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger nicole said...

The next time I think I have a busy life, I'm seriously going to come back and read this blog entry!!! That is crazy, but since your heart is totally in it, it is worth all of that and more!!!
And thanks for the opportunity on the RAK - love everything and anything MR!!

8/19/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Claude said...

Wow, so much work!!

Love that pic of Jonathan, what a cutie!!!

8/19/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

Wow! Sounds like a crazy week! :) Hope your next week looks better. Jonathan looks so cute in the pics! :D Yay for free chipboard!

8/19/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Abby the "supermom" of 5 (6 if you count DH) said...

Thanks for giving us a peak into Maya Road. As challenging as running your business is, I have to say that y'all are doing a fantastic job. I love your products (those velvet ribbons rock!!) and I can't wait to see the new stuff!

PS: I can't believe your son is 1 month already. He is so adorable! Congrats--on your company & on becoming a "super" mommy!!

8/20/2006 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger Laura Vigliarolo said...

He is just adorable, one month already it's amazing how time flies.

I can't wait for those velvet ribbons to hit the stores. Even though it's alot of hard work that never seems to end, don't you just love running your business that seems to be very sucessfull.

8/20/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Robyn W said...

The joys of running your own business, i love that pick of Jonathon is just too cute

8/20/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger jeans said...

Wow! You are one busy gal!


8/21/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

Yep, I read it all. I usually do. Oh, and the picture of johnathon is gorgeous. he looks like such a happy baby. I don't know how you're able to do all that and still find time to take pics of him! lol.

8/21/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger fleurie said...

wow..super mum..and your little mand is super cute...not to forget your super cool products (is that too

8/22/2006 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger aimee said...

such a cutie boy! :) btw, just wanted to say you and your sister are such generous, hardworking people. thanks for all you do for the industry!

8/22/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger BethRoot said...

Hi girlie...thank you for the honest post. I am also a brand new business and I needed to know that I am not the oly one goign through these crazy days! I giggled in familiarity at your notes and wish I were there to hug you! Your baby is beautiful and I love that he is sitting beside you as you do this. my son and little neighbor girl help me alot and they have the best time with me. Tney make me laugh as we count our inventory and put it on the shelves!

You do so much for this industry and it is so appreciated!!!!!!!
Thanks YOU!
Beth Root

8/27/2006 10:41:00 PM  

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