It seems to be happening again! As you know, Mabel has been celebrating her 5th Birthday. It has been a huge time for us. Wonderful cards and emails have been pouring in from fans, friends, customers and strangers. Check out the amazing hand-made puppet sent to us by our dear friend Linda Leffler of Nova Scotia! Thank you Linda!! We LOVE her! “Flat Mabel” is going to start travelling with us. We’ll send you updates!
Five years ago today, we had our first production day. We spent more than a year researching how to make labels, but when we finally had orders to fill – that was the real thrill! It seems hilarious looking back. Everything was an experiment. Our idea of “busy” was hilarious. We’ve definitely learned a lot. These are some of the things I’ve learned:
If you don’t love it – don’t do it. If you don’t LOVE a design, a product, a sales pitch, a colour, a sentence, a photo.. anything – don’t do it! There have been times when we thought “I don’t really like this, but some people might like this”. Turns out – we are our best test market and we can’t stand behind anything we don’t love.
Authenticity can’t be faked. We know this is true because as consumers we can spot it in other companies. Being honest, being true and being authentic has served us well.
Sleep is a waste of time, but so precious. Should have learned this as a student. Should have learned this as a Mom. But babies + growing business brought us a whole new perspective on sleep!
Women ROCK. We are still amazed, warmed and propelled by the power of women to support each other. Bloggers, journalists, our staff, teachers, friends, moms, mompreneurs, retailers, strangers… we owe everything to the power of Women and their kind word-of-mouth.
Quality will get you everywhere. That’s just so obvious – but so many companies miss the mark!
There is a lot of Karma in business. Can’t explain it. There just is. It works for us every day. This is a lesson learned for me, because I really didn’t understand Karma before starting this business and meeting with so many incredible opportunities.
There are many more things I’ve learned, but these are the things I need to keep learning and keep practicing (along with ‘how does Google work?’ and ‘how do I get on Oprah‘?).
The EB usually brings springy outdoor stuff to our house (bubbles, skipping ropes and sidewalk chalk). This year I told the three bigger ones (ages 5, 7, 8) that I (not the EB) was going to get them cool Easter presents, namely toys with wheels. The five year old is getting a scooter, seven-year-old gets some roller blades, and big boy is getting a skateboard. They are actually doing in-line skating and skateboarding at summer camp this year so from my perspective it was a no-brainer….had to buy the big ticket items anyways. But, you don’t want to start setting precedent. When I go back to bubbles and skipping ropes, there could be an uproar, a revolution, children taking to the streets demanding toys with wheels! What if the next Easter gift with wheels they expect is a Porche?
Truth is, this is not a real concern for me. I’ve got a quiet comeback that shuts my kids down on the spot. They can transform from Captain Greedy Guts to humble selfless creatures within moments of hearing only two words come out of my mouth. What are those two magic words you may ask? Veruca Salt. Do you remember good ol’ Veruca? My kids can’t bare being compared to that obnoxious spoiled child from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I only have to whisper her name under my breath and it’s game over.
But I do have one annoying Easter issue. On Good Friday we have our neighbourhood Easter Egg Hunt at the local park. Parents fill up a dozen of those plastic eggs for each of their children, then hide them in the park in the age designated location about an hour before the hunt. Kids arrive with their baskets and get to collect a dozen random eggs resulting in a mix of Easter goodies. Happy kids, friendly neighbours….ahhhhh suburbia.
First issue for me is that I have five kids which means there are an outrageous number of stupid plastic eggs that need filling. Tonight I was out with all the kids so called Daddy-O and gave him the project while the house was quiet. Instructions were simple: get the items from my home office and put them in the eggs. When I arrived home, I discovered that he put ONE little foil wrapped chocolate egg in each plastic egg. ONE! So not only do I have a bunch of stuff hanging around that was supposed to go in the plastic eggs, this act of cheapness is likely to get traced back to us…I’m not sure how, but I’m convinced it will. I was momentarily struck with a ‘what will the neighbours think?’ It made me feel all dirty and yuk….don’t know how anyone can live with that feeling on an on-going basis.
I felt rage. You know the rage I’m talking about – when it is so obvious that your husband just didn’t listen to you. I have five little people who are already masters of selective hearing, I had hoped that the grown-up in the house would be capable of following my simple two-step instruction. Seems I was mistaken.
When my rage cleared, I looked at the bags of colourful environmentally-damaging plastic eggs. I then realized that no amount of shame or embarrassment was going to get me to crack open 60 of them to re-fill!