November 21st, 2009

The Power of Dooce

Wednesday, after blowing out my tire on a curb and waiting for hours for help, all I had to look forward to was taking my dog, Pilot, to training school graduation. If you have seen the pictures of my dog, you might understand why dragging that small horse into a “sit-stay” is not my idea of fun.

As I was settling in, I heard my laptop dinging with email notifications every couple minutes. My first unread message said “I saw your baby sleepers on dooce.com and thought they were so cute…..” I scrolled down to find the subject line of one email after another reading ‘Notification of payment received’ Forty two in all. WHAT!!!! OMG!!!!

My marketing team introduced me to the blogging world. Dooce.com was the first blog I ever followed. Not being a blogger myself, nor ever reading one, I had very little understanding of the marketing impact of blogs. I was getting ready to launch my website, and was being advised that I should include my own blog on my site to help drive traffic. What started as a study exercise, became a need for a daily fix.

For those of you who don’t know, dooce.com is a blog written by Heather B. Armstrong. She is a brilliant writer. When you read her, you feel like you are sitting across the table having coffee with your best friend. Or at least somebody you wish was your best friend. She is blunt, open, humorous, entertaining, compassionate, and real.

When her second child Marlo was born, I sent the blogger extraordinaire my SmartZip™ Sleeper. I felt like I had gotten to know her so well. I mean she tells the world what some of us don’t even tell our friends. I needed to thank her for being a bright spot in my life every day and congratulate her on the new family member. I was so glad I had the perfect baby gift to send a working mom who was about to relive those fun diaper changing moments.

I immediately received a “Chuck” postcard thanking me for the baby sleeper. I was thrilled she got it, figuring thousands of people send her things every day, there was a good chance it might get lost in the shuffle.

A couple of months passed and business was growing slowly. Local boutiques were re-ordering. I got some local printed press in the Current in Carmel and even an interview with a local news station Fox 59, (which will air Nov. 23 at 4pm.) Online orders started trickling in. A couple a day. And I was happy with the progress.

When I saw forty two orders in my inbox on Wednesday….Let’s just say, I am glad I don’t have nanny cameras in my house and there is no possible way anyone could see my reaction. I now know what it feels like to hyperventilate. I was screaming, shaking with excitement. Lightheaded, I started sweating and holding on to the counter. I faintly remember my kids in the background worrying about my well being, and thanking GOD that my six year old can dial 911.

The SmartZip™ Sleeper was the FEATURE in the Daily Style at dooce.com.

It’s been two days and I have received so many orders, that I had to enlist my neighbor to help with the shipping. This was literally my first free moment to tell the world my amazing news….

Pilot successfully completed his training class, AND

Hello World™ Clothing Company is now on the map thanks to Heather B. Armstrong and the power of dooce.

November 18th, 2009

SmartZip. Smart Choice?

If you are anything like me, you shop for value. Price is, of course, the most obvious characteristic of a good value. Quality is a close second.

Case in point, the price of the SmartZip™ Sleeper. I bet you are wondering, why would I buy the SmartZip™ Sleeper for $28 when I can get three baby sleepers at Children’s Place for $30. Umm Hello World?! Oh, and, I can get a good quality one at the Gap or Old Navy for about $16-$18. Yeah, Yeah. Believe me, when I developed the SmartZip™ Sleeper, I knew this competition was out there.

So, I set out to develop a baby sleeper that not only had a unique function to make parent’s lives a bit easier, but one that also had exceptional quality. Being a mom, I had used the competitions baby sleepers. I wanted softer material, more durable material and better all-over design.

The SmartZip™ Sleeper is all of these.

Let’s review.

The SmartZip™ Sleeper is 100% interlock cotton. Most sleepers are a ribbed cotton, which gives the product added stretch, but it also causes it to lose it’s shape. The SmartZip™ Sleeper is still flexible, but holds it’s shape better. No more baggy knees or elbows.

The SmartZip™ Sleeper is also a slightly heavier cotton. This gives it added softness and comfort. It also makes it more durable. Several uses and washings of my competitors sleepers resulted in holes in the knees and my son’s toes popping out. An added bonus to this material, as reported by moms who have used the SmartZip™ Sleeper, is that its quality keeps it from fading and shrinking. This is good news, if you are planning on expanding your family.

The SmartZip™ Sleeper uses a two way zipper, that means, a zipper pull at the neckline and a zipper pull at the ankle. No other baby sleeper on the market has this added convenience. Traditional sleepers that only zip from the neckline down are a great invention. But, if your baby is anything like mine was, unzip at the top and risk him/her wiggling out of the arms too. My son also faired better during a diaper change drinking a bottle. Try keeping the bottle in his mouth while trying to get to the snap and the zipper pull under his chin. My diaper changes became such a frustrating task. The two way zipper is the same idea as the snap baby sleeper. The snap baby sleeper allows you to open only as far as you need it from the bottom. By using an additional zipper pull at the bottom of the SmartZip™ Sleeper, you can unzip as far as you need to, without having to fumble with realigning snaps. The result is a simpler, quicker, easier diaper change.

Finally, the SmartZip™ Sleeper doesn’t look like a sleeper. It is trendy enough to keep your little one in while running those morning errands. Most mornings I found myself rushing my older child off to school and then realizing I need to make a stop at the grocery store before my 10am appointment and I was already late! How I wish I could find a sleeper that wasn’t covered with trucks or busy patterns that screamed I LEFT MY KID IN HIS SLEEPER BECAUSE I CAN’T GET MY S*#T TOGETHER IN THE MORNING. So think of the SmartZip Sleeper as a baby sleeper and baby outfit in one. Now the SmartZip is a STEAL!

The SmartZip™ is a one-of-kind baby sleeper. A lot of effort went into making what is proving to be a better baby sleeper. (Which is not to say it doesn’t have room for improvement.) Though, I’ve been told, once you use it, you will wish you bought it sooner. The SmartZip™ is a Smart Choice. And if you don’t agree, don’t worry, I’ll refund your money no questions asked.

November 6th, 2009

The Letter to My Mother

I am not sure if you have heard of the Mother Letter Project. It has been around since 2007. The founder of the project is helping Lichinga, Mozambique. You can help make a difference too. If you have a need for some inspiration or support, take an afternoon and read some of them www.motherletter.com. There is even a book compiling them published around Mother’s Day. What an awesome gift.

So two years later, I have finally discovered it. Ironically, I stumbled across it on my brother’s birthday. And now I struggle to write it on the anniversary of his death. I must say I wrote this letter without really thinking my mom would ever see it. I submitted it on the Mother Letter Project site. I am not sure I would have the courage to give it to her or how she would feel about it. But, I love her immensely and here is why….

Mother,

Twenty six years ago you lost your son. As a young girl, I observed the discord and depression in your life. The way you and daddy cried and prayed. I felt you left me somewhere back there. Not intentionally, of course. You couldn’t bear to be close to someone, not ever again. You continued through life with a heavy weight on your shoulder that you couldn’t shrug off. You rarely spent time with a friend. You hid inside yourself. But, most days you smiled. Until I had my own son, I never realized how hard it was for you to smile.

The day my son was born, I cried so hard. Not because of joy, but because of your sadness, that I finally felt. I do not go a day in my life without missing my brother or being amazed at the fact that you faced every day whether you wanted to or not. I feel a special connection growing between you and your grandson. Thank you for embracing him. Mostly, thank you, for showing me that a person can continue to live even after one of the most important things you had to live for was gone. You are an inspiration.

Your Daughter