(HealthPod) Baby

Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Moms Who Inspire

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Meet Sarah Milne. Sarah is the creatively cool mom behind True Cuddles, a Canadian-based online community and store that sells hip, non-mainstream, hard-to-find baby gear that moms are searching for.  Once a week, True Cuddles highlights and sells a Cuddle of the Week at a deep discount until they are all sold out.  We  asked Sarah a few questions recently so we could learn from her experiences in business and being a mompreneur!  Here is our conversation with Sarah:

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True Cuddles is such a little fire engine!  Congratulations on your success so far. Because you’ve inspired us and other small business owners across Canada and the U.S, we thought it would be a great idea to do a feature on you, Sarah, the brains behind True Cuddles, leading up to Mother’s Day.

1. Can you provide some background on your company? When was it founded, by whom, where, achievements thus far, etc.

True Cuddles is a Calgary-based mom-run company!  Our community consists of thousands of hip moms across North America, who loyally read, share, and shop with us.  We’re a fun, unique shopping experience for modern moms to buy high quality products at extremely affordable prices, in a stress free, always open environment.  We’ve been kickin’ since October 2008 and we continue to grow!

Every Monday morning, True Cuddles offers a limited quantity of one baby or toddler product, at a discounted price {35% to 70% off!}, until it sells out.  We call it our “Cuddle of the Week”.  Along with our Cuddles, we also feature other creatively cool mom-runs and offer fabulous giveaways and promotions.

True Cuddles is the brainchild of myself, a web and graphic designer, and a friend, Julie Baron, a marketing misfit.  As moms, we loved searching for products that helped us celebrate motherhood, outfit and nurture our little ones, and of course, keep them safe.  We waded through the clutter of mainstream baby products and were able to find so many uncovered gems, many created by moms just like us.  We wanted to share these gems with other moms…  and the True Cuddles community was born.

2. What inspired you to go into business for yourself?

I’ve owned a web and graphic design studio for nearly 7 years, well before my mommy days.  Back then, I was young, driven, and possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit.  I wanted to be my own boss.  My husband and I moved to Arizona and I set up shop there.

Seven years, a move back to Calgary, another business, and a baby and a half later… I’m still going strong, though my motivations have changed considerably.

My family is my inspiration. I am lucky and grateful for the opportunity to work from home and also be able to contribute to my little family.

3. What were some of your biggest challenges in starting your business?

Knowing my limits. I often remind myself not to get too ahead of the game.  With a million ideas floating - taking on too much at once is unproductive.  Work becomes overwhelming, ideas, often incomplete, and the fun is stripped.

Making sense of cents. With any small start-up, funds are always an object.  Balancing cash flow and inventory levels bares a challenge.

Having clarity. Identifying a purpose and remaining focused on my goals and objectives, both personal and business.

Managing time. Keeping priorities in check and maintaining a balance between home and business.

4. What have been some of the biggest rewards?

Freedom of time. Having the opportunity to share my days at home {and work} with my daughter takes the cake. It’s allowed me to indulge my raging creativity and business mind, granted me freedom to manage my schedule, and blessed me with time to spend with my little one.  And, with another little one on the way, it’s a refreshing thought that I’ll be able to pick up where I left off when I feel the time is right after life adjusts.

Spreading the love. I enjoy helping other small businesses and mom-preneurs gain exposure and product awareness. And, bringing True Cuddles customers unbelievable deals is equally rewarding.

Watching it grow. Each and every subscriber, Facebook Fan, Twitter Follower is still just as important as they were in the wee beginnings.  The growth of a company is truly rewarding.

5. What are some of the lessons you’ve learned over the past couple of years as a new entrepreneur?

Since May, I’ve been managing True Cuddles on my own.  I had my doubts whether I’d be able to balance this business along with a plate of design work… hours packaging and at the mail… endless emails… and home life…

I made the decision that I wanted to keep it going to see what I could make of it.  I’ve definitely learned a lot in making this decision.  Sticking with something pays off.  Maybe not financially, necessarily, but the personal satisfaction, growth, and positive feedback is well worth it.  I learned that I COULD do it.

6. What do you think it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

Planning, preparation and research coupled with drive and determination.  An open mind and a willingness to learn. Belief in your ideas and your passions, and remaining true to your goals and objectives.

7. What have been your most important “tools” in starting your business?

Support and motivation from family and friends has been the most valuable “tool”.   Also, having a clear vision and purpose established from the get-go is key and has helped me remain focused and driven.

8. What advice/lessons would you have for a new entrepreneur?

You can never be too prepared - do your research.
Keep an open mind.
Build on your ideas and set clear goals and objectives.
Take your time.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Sarah! Thanks for continuing to inspiring us.

Visit True Cuddles on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

Let us know if there are some Moms Who Inspire in your life!  We’d love to hear about them.

KM

Connecting with Friends

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Still going strong after 5 years!

Since the birth of my second baby 7 months ago, I’ve been somewhat negligent when it comes to taking care of myself.  As most new moms experience, sleep deprivation continues to play a role in my life, and my menu typically consists of meals that are easiest to make - not necessarily the healthiest meals.  So, I decided to treat my body to a little TLC last weekend.  I checked into the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel with some friends, spent a day being pampered at the spa and had a fabulous meal in town, complete with dessert!  But the most indulgent part of the weekend was the company.  I didn’t go away with just any friends, but with girls I met more than 5 years ago in a prenatal class for our first babies.

At the time I had hoped to meet a friend that I could hang out in the park with while our kids slept in their car seats.  But I was lucky enough to get more than I had hoped for.  Five years later, I have 4 great friends that I still go out for dinner with every month (dragging our husbands along once or twice a year), still have yearly birthday parties for our kids, have ventured on camping trips together, and as of last weekend, are now attending annual spa weekends!

Although in the early days we thought it was important to get together so our kids could learn to socialize, our get-togethers now are all about us.    We have spent countless hours sharing advice on eating, sleeping, pooping and sickness, as well as the hilarious moments and the frustrating, self-doubting, tearful moments we’ve all experienced as moms.  At the end of each of our get-togethers, we walk away feeling normal, relieved, and so thankful to have friends who know exactly what we are each going through.  And all this happens without judging each other.

Being able to share all these moments of parenthood with friends and other moms helps put perspective into our lives when we are doubting ourselves, helps us feel good about how we are managing the most important job we have, and lets us laugh at the crazy mommy moments we all experience.  

I am hoping that by starting this blog this becomes a place where moms can connect, share their stories and experiences, and feel great about what they do at the end of each day.  Every mom deserves at least that - and a spa day if you can fit it in!   Please visit regularly as I’ll be writing about a variety of topics, from a health perspective and a mom perspective.  I would love to hear your questions, comments and suggestions - and I look forward to connecting with you all!

For the month of February, HealthPod Baby is taking a poll on what the top 3 gifts are that moms would love to receive.  If you haven’t submitted your votes, please take a second and let us know what your favourite gifts would be to make your life a little easier.  (Can you guess one of my votes was a spa day?)  Visit: http://www.healthpod.ca/love/

Have a great day everyone!

Jana

 
 
 

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