Archive for May, 2008

So Many Hats!!

Posted by at 30 May, 2008, 6:52 pm

Mercy me, how many hats do we need to wear as mompreneurs? Sometimes I feel like I am in a complete whirlwind – and not because it is tornado season either…we just need to wear so many hats!!

Every day for the past couple of weeks has been different – every hat is out of the closet and piled up in the middle of my office floor. It’s a mess.
- Booking agent hat: Need to get a contract off for a performance, (have to find the right contract) and solidify some other performances.
- PR hat: Have magazines, mastheads and product review blog lists all over my desk. Need to write a Press Release that has to get done ASAP. Like everything else.
- Distributor/Shipper hat: Need to ship off product to several music reviewers at magazines -bubble wrap is being joyfully popped and pranced upon by my 7 year old son as I am typing.
-Performer hat: We sang at a private event Friday eve, a lovely winery Saturday eve and an out of town church service Sunday morn. I LOVE THIS HAT. Next to my Mommy hat, this is my favorite. We’ll be singing at the College World Series Opening Day and just learned we’ll be singing for the US Olympic Swim Trials!
-Record Label hat: Just got all our info on how to submit for the Grammy’s. I’m new to the Academy, so…its all a blur. Contacted a Grammy governor, have three pages of notes – in the middle of my office floor, with all the other hats.
-Vendor hat – sold products at all these events, and am regularly contacting stores and distributors.
-Advisor hat: Helped a client pick out music for an upcoming event. Need to learn two new songs by next Friday.
- Student hat: Spent time on the phone with fellow Mompreneur, beautiful Diana (Dee) Ennen, who is truly one of my mentors. She really helped me get focused today. Helped me pick an outfit to go with a few of those hats, so to speak. ;)
- Mommy hat: My most prized hat!! Son has watched the Looney Tunes DVD so many times this week, he has it memorized. He’s pretending to be the road runner, and running through the piles on my office floor. We’re all getting cabin fever. Need to go swimming with my family – as soon as I’m done with work.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I am not going to work. I am going to clean my office. I will find some space for everyone of these beautiful hats that I truly cherish, and organize them on a shelf.

‘Til Monday.

Category : Meeting Goals | Mompreneur Stories | Organization


Posted by at 30 May, 2008, 11:39 am

Summer is here and the kids are out of school.? It is going to be VERY interesting now that mother’s morning out is done.? I’m going to have to get creative with my time.? For example, we just got back from taking the kids to grab some lunch when the 3 year old fell asleep in the car.? The 5 year old wanted to ride her bike, so I left the garage door open so I could hear the little one still sleeping the car. ?I set out my folding chair in the drive way, got my lap top and no sooner tuned it on to try to get some work done when CRASH!? The 5 year old took a tumble off her bike onto the pavement.? Of course I threw down the lap top, tended to the emergency at hand (it was just a scrape, but my 5 year old doesn’t handle boo boos well).??? There went plan A right out the window!? Now she doesn’t want to ride her bike anymore and wants to just sit on the couch and watch a video while her cleaned up leg gets better.? So, I just packed up my chair, bought my computer up to the house, gathered the little one out of the car and so now here I sit on the couch with my two sweet girls while we get a little “Baby Einstein” in.? Uh-oh…. this one is over… I’ll probably be able to get 1 more video in before the natives get restless and it will be time to move on to a craft or activity.??

Yep, I’ve got about another 30 minutes, so I’ll give you a quick update on the biz before I move on to doing follow up sales calls.? The most exciting news of the week is…. I’m actually in
ALASKA!!? As you may remember, one of my goals for 2008 is to be in at least 1 retail store in all 50 states.? I had thought that
Alaska would be my Everest, but come to find out… not as hard as I thought.? I’ve got 15 down only 35 to go!!? Wanna “see” my newest store???? So if you know of anyone in
Alaska that needs Grill Charms, now you have a place to tell them to shop!? Also, just another little update on Orca.? They got me this mention? Well that’s all for now.? I’ve got about 15 more minutes to try to work on the other 35 states?before I am off to color, cut and paste.??

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

Perfecting my sales presentation

Posted by at 24 May, 2008, 11:26 am

We picked up new boutiques in Orange County yesterday. I do not have a background in sales (beyond waitressing / bartending my way through college), so I have been on quite the roller-coaster ride since walking into my first boutique and making my first pitch.

Two new clients yesterday, one was by appointment, one was a cold-call. The appointment yesterday was the first one I’ve been in where they actually had an area for me “set up”. I was thrilled. It made such a difference to have a few moments to get the line sheets and samples out and arranged in an orderly fashion before giving my spiel.

Luckily, I had quite the drive to get to my appointments and I had spent it thinking of how I would present my line with more of a presentation than I have in the past. I’m used to just launching right in with “Our signature item is..”. Now I start with “Have you heard of Baby Fabulous?” and then “let me tell you a little about the company”. Which is just a two-liner high-lighting the main things about our brand.

As I write this, it sounds weird to me that I haven’t had more of a presentation in the past. But everything is a learning experience. Every single time I make a sales pitch to a buyer, I learn something new about how to improve my pitch the next time…if not quite a few new things.

Our line is finally extensive enough that there is literally something for everyone. I’m completely itching to design the clothing collection I’ve been working on in my mind, but there are a few other things to invest in for the business before launching a new line.

Which is good because it gives me plenty of time to do my visualizing regarding all the buzz there will be around the release of my first seasonal collection. I will get there, all in due time.

We had a rewarding evening out with the kids, doing what THEY love – Chuck E. Cheeze. And we worked so hard all week, meaning our kids sacrificed time with us all week – so we spent a good three hours there letting them run themselves ragged. It was a great way to kick of the three day weekend.

Category : Blogging Mom

Reviews, blogs, PR and a Shrimp boat

Posted by at 21 May, 2008, 12:20 pm

Good afternoon everyone!? Today my little one graduated from Preschool.? I must admit, seeing her up there in her little cap got my a little teary eyed.? They grow up so fast!?

I’ve recently noticed that Grill Charms™ is getting some web attention.? If you don’t have this in your PR and marketing arsenal, put it in.? Submit product reviews to website and bloggers in your industry.? Here are few recent entries…–.html

It’s all about creating a buzz.? Hopefully it will turn into some sales.? If you are not signed up for Google Analytics, do that as well.? It’s free and you can see every time someone on the web mentions your name, product, etc….? (I can’t remember if I have mentioned that before)? Also, I have another contest for you entrepreneurs.? Here’s the info:?

“CALL FOR ENTRIES – In honor of all business owners that have been bold enough to take the leap to believe in themselves, Epic Media Relations announces its “Bold Idea of 2008 Contest.” This contest offers business owners the opportunity to compete for a grand prize of three free months of PR and media placements, valued at $25,000!
Picture yourself being interviewed about your business, product or idea by a famous journalist or TV personality. The Today Show,
CNN, USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine and a score of other publications and broadcast outlets will be buzzing about your idea. Imagine what this will do for your business in just three months!
Business owners are challenged to present their business idea, product or story to our qualified panel of judges. Contestants must send in a 500-word description detailing the purpose and benefits of your business, product or idea and why you believe your idea will take off.
A winner from each of the following categories will be chosen each month and entered as a semi-finalist. At the end of the year, four grand-prize winners will be chosen from among the semi-finalists. Categories include: 1) Startups with an original business idea; 2) Women-owned business owners with a innovative product or idea; 3) Young-entrepreneurs; and 4) Mom entrepreneurs.
? The Bold Idea 2008 Grand Prize is three months of PR services and media placements, valued at $25,000.
? The Bold Idea 2008 Monthly Prize is “PR in a Box,” which is a kit that includes messaging, press release and Internet distribution and a media list with 5-10 contacts. This prize is valued at $1,750.00
The Bold Idea of 2008 was created to find and select inventors with innovative businesses, products or ideas that could take off with some top-tier media placements and PR guidance. We believe in business people who are on the cusp of launching their “bold ideas,” and we are eager to demonstrate the benefits of PR.
How To Enter
The Contest begins on June 1, 2008 and runs every month through December 1, 2008. Each month a winner will be selected from the entries submitted. At the end of 2008, one grand- prize winner will be selected from the four categories among the monthly winners. Monthly entries must be received by the 20th of each month.
Submit a non-confidential written description of your business, idea or invention. The description should include the name of your business, idea and product and why you think your idea is original and bold. Descriptions should be no more than 500 words.
All entries must be received via e-mail at
or via mail at

117 Cameron Parke Place, Alexandria, VA

. Entries delivered to any other address will NOT be considered. The actual business owner or creator must submit all entry. For product submissions the invention must patented, patent pending, or copyrighted. Limit one entry per person per company for the contest.
Epic Media Relations, LLC will not be responsible for late, lost, incomplete, illegible, damaged, technically corrupt, and/or postage-due entries. All e-mail and written information will be securely stored and destroyed of at the end of the contest to ensure confidentiality. In an effort to maintain integrity and fairness to the contest, businesses, ideas and products that have been previously reviewed by the staff of Epic Media Relations, LLC are not eligible for entry. By entering the “Bold Idea of 2008″ Contest the submitter grants Epic Media Relations, LLC and its agents the right to publish, use, adapt, edit and/or modify such entry in any way, in any and all media, without limitation, and without consideration to the entrant. Submission of any entry further constitutes the entrant’s consent to irrevocably assign and transfer to the sponsor any all rights, title and interest in the entry, including, without limitation, all copyrights. Entries: must be the original work of the entrant; may not have won previous awards; may not have been published previously; must not infringe third-party rights, and must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent).
The first 100 entrants will receive a complimentary PR consultation and be considered for a free media placement.
Abbreviated rules: “Bold Idea of 2008″ Contest
No Purchase Necessary. Void in
Puerto Rico and where prohibited. Open to legal
U.S. residents 18 years or older. The Contest begins June 1st, 2008 and ends December 1, 2009. The grand prize will be awarded February 1, 2009.”

I can’t enter because I won the Orca Contest but all you entrepreneurs out there, GET ON IT!

Oh, just a little update on what Orca is doing.? They actually started my campaign a little early.? I got a call (while at the children’s museum yesterday) from Orca saying they had a PR opportunity for me.? My product is going to be featured on a Phoenix NBC affiliate for a Father’s Day segment.? The catch… I had to get 2 samples out to arrive in AZ by today.? OF COURSE I said “OKAY!”? I got in touch with Janene at my handy dandy fulfillment center Trending Solutions and she handled the situation lickity split!? You see… with my “village” there to take care of me, I can run a company from the confines of the “Shrimp boat exhibit” at The Charleston Children’s Museum!? The kicker is… the delivery address for the samples according to FedEx is “remote” and in order to make my deadline it wound up costing me $60.00 in freight charges!? Come on
Phoenix…. BUY SOME GRILL CHARMS!? (That airs Friday)?

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

Setting sales goals and reaching them

Posted by at 19 May, 2008, 2:26 pm

I’ve spent a good part of my morning making sales calls for appointments. I touched base with a couple of our existing retailers and made calls. I met my goal of setting at least two appointments for the OC area this Friday. Last December, I decided to start focusing on sales as if I was training for a marathon. You can read about my training plan on my blog here.

In all honesty, I haven’t focused nearly that amount of time on that I planned to focus. However, everyday I try, try, try again. Plus, we’re picking up a sales rep in the southeast!! *YEAH* I am inspired by Leslie’s goals of all selling in all 50 states by the end of the year. I really believe we can accomplish this.

The girl I just got off the phone with was sure that she had seen Baby Fabulous somewhere…it was great to be able to respond “well, we’re in quite a few boutiques, we’ve participated in celebrity events, and we’ve been featured in quite a few magazines, so it could have been anywhere.”

I still have to remind myself to breathe before I dial and to smile and to keep it conversational. I’m learning more and more by the day. I’m supposed to be taking a business intensive Sales seminar in a week or so. I know I’ve been driving the coordinator nuts with trying to contact me. I’ve been so busy and I’ve had email issues on top of it. I finally realized today that I had somehow managed to set my inbox to 10MB so it was bouncing all sorts of stuff. Ah well, I finally fixed it. He thinks I need a lot more than just sales help though. :-) I do, I need help getting our first sales kit together so somebody else can help with sales!

Right now though, I have to run out the door to pick up my daughter from her Spanish immersion kindergarten…then, when I get back, I’ve really, really, really got to send out all the emails I promised in the sales calls I made today. Fifty states by the end of the year!!!

Category : Blogging Mom

Do you have what it takes?

Posted by at 18 May, 2008, 9:16 pm

Do you have what it takes to be a millionaire?? That was a topic of conversation on a recent Donny Deutsch episode. I thought that these questions from Cynthia good, CEO and founding editor of PINK Magazine, were so great that I wanted to share them to make you decide if you are on the right path.

1.Are you willing to take an honest look at your life

2.Are you willing to say I’m Outta Here

3.Are you willing to have doors slammed in your face

4.Are you willing to go without sleep and sacrifice your personal time

5.Are you willing to be different, and create something unique

6.Are you willing to put everything on the line and risk your personal assets

After doing a study of successful millionaires, Cynthia discovered that they answered YES to all six questions. Can you answer YES to all six?? If not, maybe it’s time to take a look and reevaluate you path.

“Fix your eyes forward on what you can do, not back on what you cannot change” Tom Clancy

Gwen Austin, RC Art Toys, Inventor of the Color Bug

Category : Toy Mom

Dealing with growing pains and wearing a lot of hats

Posted by at 17 May, 2008, 11:17 pm

The main theme this week has been production. We’re growing and it’s raising issues with production – mainly keeping up with orders. The blankets are quite a process – each requiring complete customization, from the placement of each letter to the fabrics to cut the letters out of and all the thread colors in-between. Sales are on the up and up and the contractor is working on bringing on more hands capable of the applique work around the letters. It isn’t easy and requires some practice to keep the letter in place on top of the plush without the letter bunching up.

I have lot of ideas for streamlining the process, but they require more funding and right now, we just don’t have it in the budget. We’ll get it into the budget now that we’ve identified the need, but it’s not there now. I felt so hopeless about the thing because we’re pushing almost every blanket to the end of our four-week time limit and I do not like that. The contractor is very positive and I know it will work out, so we’re just saying our prayers and working for the best. I know we can make it happen!

As a mompreneur(R), I have to wear a lot of hats and fighting the fires with production this week has caused me to get behind on some of the stuff I need to do to bring on our first sales rep. Like getting the sales kit together. I did not slack off on sales this week though. I have some appointments next week – which reminds me, I have more than a few emails to send to warm prospects.

My DH, and partner, is committed to taking over the bookkeeping, which could just save my sanity! Help is on the way because it has to be!!

Category : Blogging Mom

The Economy is Tough: Has it Hit You and Your Customers?

Posted by at 15 May, 2008, 8:08 am

There was a recent conversation on the MompreneursOnline forum about the economy and how it is impacting our business. Since I have been in business for only a year, I am not sure if the slow down many of us our experiencing is due to the time of year or it is a reflection of the unstable economy. So keeping current customers is so important to maintaing our businesses.

There are things that I like to do to help build relationships with our customers. Women especially are very relationship oriented and look to make connections before choosing a company to do business. This definitely the case in my business.
Here are a few things that I do to help maintain my current customers and gain new ones:
Keep the lines of communication open: Be open to suggestions on how you can add or delete services or products. Showing you care about their satisfaction level speaks volumes about your commitment to them. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, touch base to see how things are going.

Methods of Communication: It is best to not rely strictly on e-mail to communicate. Either call or visit. It brings that relationship to another level. Also a handwritten note shows you took time for them and is a welcome surprise when they open their mail.

Turning Bad into Good: So you mess up. Cease the opportunity to take the bad situation (which you can’t change anyway) and show your customer you want to make it right. Address it immediately and go above and beyond to make sure everyone involved is satisfied.

We all love that feeling of connection. If we limit it to just our personal relationships, we are missing out on so much. Letting your customers know you care about them and their business will get you so far – business wise as well as a personal feeling of gaining a new connection.

Category : Customer Service


Posted by at 14 May, 2008, 1:43 pm

Yesterday I had really good time doing a radio interview with my good friend Diana Ennen Publicist / Author / Radio Host/Virtual Word Publishing To hear the interview go to?

What you didn’t see behind the scene was me doing my “Mompreneur Shuffle”.? That’s me trying to do something very “professional” while also taking care of my most important duty, being a mom.? Diana had asked me to do the interview at a very specific time (Tuesday the 13th at 12:00 as that’s when the show airs) and I am not one to ever pass up a good PR opportunity.? I knew that my 5 year old would be in school and I didn’t need to leave the house until 12:35 so that wasn’t a concern, but my 3 year old was going to right there with me.? I had to strategically plan my morning.? I knew that 12:00 was prime lunch time for her so I needed to rearrange her lunch so she would be finished by 11:45.? I also wanted to do a lot of playing and wearing her out, so after her early lunch she would be happy with a nice 40 minute video so mommy could lock herself in her office for a little chat on the phone with Miss Diana.? I had to make sure she went pee pee on the potty before noon because I didn’t want everyone in cyber space to hear “MOMMY…. I NEED TO WIPE!!”? I also needed to make sure that she had her drink right there with her because if she decides it’s time for her orange juice and I’m not there to open the container, the entire world would know it.? It’s no wonder us mompreneurs are so successful.? We have to plan and strategize every detail to the Nth degree, including how to make a 30 minute phone call!? What you also did hear (or maybe you did) was towards the end, my little one got restless and started calling for me from the bottom of the stairs.? (Sometimes even my best attempts fail) I got a little distracted for a second (could you tell?) and put my hand to my lips to her and then gave her the finger… you know, that index finger held straight out that says? “Mommy will be there in just 1 minute so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just be quite for 60 more seconds PLEASE!!!”? She gets that finger probably more then your average kid, so she knows what it means and is normally very good about keeping quiet for a few more seconds.? After I got off the phone we rushed out the door to pick up Madison and we went to the park to play since it was such a beautiful day here in
Charleston.??? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Do you think this is how Trump started???

Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charmsâ„¢?

Category : The Journey of Grill Charms!

Social Networking

Posted by at 10 May, 2008, 8:44 pm

Taking a step away from tradeshows for a moment, the big topic today seems to be about social networking. We have sites like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc that are all about networking and connecting with each other. Through our own connections, we might be able to link two friends together to help in business or social. I’m surprised Kevin Bacon’s name isn’t on the top of these sites to see how we can all be linked some how to him. It’s an interesting concept but I wonder how many of us take advantage of it. Then there are many other review sites: StumbleUpon, Digg, Trend Hunter, Viewpoints .all ways to get the word out about your website, product, service or business.

I’m putting my company out there since I believe it can’t hurt. Even if you get one lead, that lead might turn into another. I am interested to hear about everyone’s experience with this new form of social networking.

“Real obstacles don’t take you in circles. They can be overcome. Invented ones are like a maze.” Barbara Sher

Gwen Austin, RC Art Toys, Inventor of the Color Bug

Category : Toy Mom