Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It's been a while since my last post, but not from a lack of thoughts to share. Admittedly being a mom running a business doesn't mean I can do it all; and my plate has been so full that there just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to tweet and blog about it all. 

I end this year, as I try to end each day, with humility and gratitude. Just as every stage of parenting poses its own unique challenges, so does every stage of a growing business. So thanks to all my loyal customers, for doing such a great job spreading the word about us; and thanks to my retailers, suppliers, production partners and to my wonderful team who make it all happen. Friends and Fans of Bamboobino, I wish you a fantastic 2010!



Monday, August 3, 2009

What the Mompreneur didn't ask me

As some of you may already know, Bamboobino is the cover feature of the latest annual green issue of Mompreneur magazine. When editor Kathryn Bechthold called me up for the feature, I was trembling with excitement - I've been a longtime fan of the Mompreneur. Familiar with the magazine's Q & A format, I drafted several Q & A's of my own for the interview. She had so many great questions and was genuinely interested in our company's commitment to environmental and social responsibility. One question often asked of Q & A interviewees is tips for entrepreneurial women starting out. I didn't get asked this question as we focused on carbon emissions issues - and I'm glad she did. So here is how I would have answered the question:

Q: What advice would you give for women wanting to start a successful business?
  1. Be honest with yourself.  So many fall in love with an idea (or even the idea of running their own business), but you MUST calculate feasibility. Do the market research, and be realistic. Are you ready to start a business and are you prepared for the hard work?
  2. Take an entrepreneurial training course. You may be a talented lawyer, a gifted artesan, but have no idea about how to run a business. Then write out a business plan - in any shape or form to start - and revisit regularly.
  3. Network – either by attending events or through online social networking. Never underestimate what doors may open from networking. 
  4. Know your numbers, and keep track of your cash flow. What profit or loss are you making – if you're making a loss, when will you be making profit?
  5. Visualize where your business will be in 5, then in 10 years. It'll help determine what you do today.
  6. Find a mentor. S/He does not necessarily have to be in the same business or industry, just someone who has "been there, done that" and can offer insight, inspiration, focus and advice. 
  7. At the beginning, do your own PR. Online resources are out there to help. For example, Elena Verlee's ebook "PR in your Pajamas" is a great tool for mompreneurs wanting to get started on their own PR.
  8. Don’t spend money unnecessarily. Ask yourself over and over again if you really need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on, for example, advertising, trade shows, or volume purchases. You may have to do all at some point - and assess if it will meet your objectives and if the benefits (financial and/or nonfinancial) outweigh the costs.
  9. Balance. It’s easy to be "obsessed" with the business when it’s gaining momentum. Do something active, really spend quality time with your kids and "turn off" the business several times during the day. You need that mental coffee break, and you'll have a fresh view to a problem when you're taken away from it. And don't sweat the small stuff - chances are, in a week you won't be worrying about it.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Bamboobino!

Can you believe we're already 2? Can you believe we're only 2?!

On May 9th, 2007, we made our first deliveries to 4 stores in Vancouver who (and I'm very thankful) took a risk and decided to give this industry newbie a chance. 

This date is a milestone, the result of a full year's work of sourcing, designing, and research. I set out designing bath and swim robes at first, but the mother in me got carried away and made washcloths, after-bath hats and nursing pads. 

We've reached many more milestones since, and to celebrate the beginning of our 3rd year in retail stores, we're having a very special customer appreciation sale. We didn't have one last year, so we're not letting you miss out on one this year. It'll be announced on Twitter and Facebook, I hope you take advantage of it!



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Blog Debut

It's Earth Day, and I'm finally taking the plunge to start my blog. What better landmark to remember the birth of a blog? I have to admit, I have reservations about promoted events such as Earth Day and Earth Hour, as I prefer that green practices are done on an ongoing basis. However, as I Twittered today, one can take these media-hyped events and turn them into events of personal meaning. Earth Day could be a start of a "Green New Year" - perhaps an annual visitation of eco-resolutions. Earth Hour last year started a fun activity for my kids - now we have several "Earth Hours" throughout the year, resulting in spontaneous family bonding time.
I spent the last few days with the Environmental Club of Brock Elementary School, helping prepare for their second Earth Day assembly. Today I spoke briefly to the school about how families could reduce greenhouse gases, and the kids had a grand time educating the school about their projects, and presented a mini fashion show of eco-friendly clothing. The kids from the Environmental Club are a wonderful group - and they have already achieved gold status (100 projects)  for their school and are well on their way to becoming a "Green School." If Earth Day is an excuse to educate, entertain and involve the kids about contributing to a greener planet, I'm all for it. For the rest of us, we know what we have to do, and a motivating reminder once (or twice) a year doesn't hurt.