Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wedding Buzz

Recently I've had the pleasure of getting to know Antoinette Robinson of After All Is Said And Done By Antoinette.  Antoinette has agreed to participate in our Spotlight Entrepreneur series, so I don't want to give away too much about her before her feature!

What I would like to share today is a great piece that we worked on together. As a wedding and event planner, Antoinette was a great resource for an article published in Vows Magazine, a bimonthly publication for the bridal industry. For over 20 years Vows has provided the information bridal consultants need to deliver top quality products while creating memorable customer service for brides and grooms.  We are honored that they used so much of the information Antoinette provided in their latest edition.

What great buzz for a growing woman-owned business!

Please check out the great tips Antoinette provided to bridal salon owners on how best to service brides!  We think she is spot-on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's 3am, do you know where your wife is?

At 3:00 a.m. I turn into a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  In the quiet of the pre-dawn hour I can weave layered themes of written word from the comfort of my bed.  The work is genius I tell you.  The only problem? I don’t remember a damn thing in the morning. 

I started leaving a notebook and pen by my bedside so that the next time inspiration struck I would be ready.  Inspiration strikes! Oh shoot… I really should have chosen a simple notebook and not one that has a Velcro closure.  The distinct ripping sound will surely wake my husband who is a notoriously light sleeper.  No problem- I’ve committed my thoughts to memory so I’ll skip the attempt to write them down tonight.

Next morning: Remember anything? Not so much.

Inspiration: Take 2.  Awake and have fabulous thoughts ready to scribe.  This time I’m prepared. Velcro is already opened and tucked neatly so that I have easy and quiet access to the page.  I’m all ready… but then I felt guilty. Do I turn on the light? I’ve got it!  I’ll scribble the main themes down in the pitch dark and expand on it when there is daylight. 

Next morning: Can you imagine what your handwriting looks like when you’ve written in the dark?  My penmanship has taken a nose dive over the years.  I guess it’s from all that typing.  Cursive writing isn’t even taught in elementary school anymore.  They start kids on computers in Kindergarten and away they go.  Makes me want to buy pen and ink sets for all my nieces and nephews and start teaching a class on Old English calligraphy.

I’m starting to think that sleep is getting in the way of my productivity.  My next plan of attack is to get up, go downstairs, brew coffee and write until my carpel tunnel kicks in. Who needs sleep anyway?

writers' week

Friday, September 9, 2011

A lesson learned from 9/11

I spent a lot of time this weekend reminiscing about the events of 9/11.  We lived in Arlington, VA at the time- just a few miles from the Pentagon.  In fact, when we tried to go home that day, police had barricaded the street that led to our apartment because we were within such close proximity.

Soon we were able to return home and huddle around the television wondering what would happen next. Would life ever be the same?

One year later, on the first anniversary of the events I took the day off of work.  I remember walking through the neighborhood with our dog- another crisp, cloudless day just as it had been a year earlier.  My mind was clear and yet my actions were anything but.  After some soul searching I decided on a bold move: I quit my job.  I'm not sure who it shocked more. My husband? My boss? Me?

It's very unlike me to make such a drastic change without a plan in place.  I had no idea what I was going to do- I just knew that where I was, and what I was doing was not right.  I needed to live.  I needed to wake up and want to go to work. I didn't just want to collect a paycheck, wait for my 401k to vest and bide time until the next round of bonuses.  I wanted to take control of my future in honor of all of those who were robbed of theirs.
Twin Towers under construction, John J. Harvey fireboat: Alban Schlesier, Chief Engineer

I am a big proponent for planning, but in this instance, impulse is what made the most sense for me. Years later I look back and realize my bold move was the best decision I could have made.  My career propelled to levels I never knew it could.

10 years post- 9/11, my thoughts are best summed up by this quote " are not the product of your circumstances.  You are a composite of all the things you believe, and all the places you believe you can go.  Your past does not define you.  You can step out of your history and create a new day for yourself.  Even if the entire culture is saying, "You can't."  Even if every single possible bad thing that can happen to you does.  You can keep going forward."

The John J. Harvey is a fireboat formerly of the New York City Fire Department in New York City, famed for returning to service following theSeptember 11, 2001 attacks.[1][2]

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Rochelle Drumm, babychix

We’re thrilled to Spotlight Rochelle Drumm as September’s Spotlight Entrepreneur. Rochelle left a successful corporate career in the fashion industry to launch her own business. Inspired by her niece and nephew and determined to make ONE CHANGE AT A TIME in the lives of children, babychix® was hatched. 

If you are a reality-TV junkie like me, you may have already seen one of her products swaddled around baby Bryn in an episode of Bethenny Getting Married?.

Rochelle's challenges are familiar to other woman-owned small businesses. Its how Rochelle chooses to harness her fear and persevere that makes her and her business unique.

Tell us about the babychix brand and how you were inspired to start your company.
I always wanted five children but I struggled with infertility. I began forming babychix after spending time at my mom’s house. For as long as I can remember, she would always make these flannel and paraffin wax diapers for baby showers. I took one home with me and began researching if there was anything like it on the market. I came to realize that there was not a ceramic diaper. I found booties, strollers, blocks, etc., but not a diaper shape. After years of working with a variety of prototypes, different materials and manufacturers, I finalized the samples and went into production.

Not only do we offer the signature ceramic diapers, but we now are able to personalize them with the babys’ names, initials, phrase and even the company logo. As we have expanded our product categories, we remain true to creating unique products such as our babyopoly blanket and humorous onesies
. My goal is to become a multi-product company, brand name, baby shower favorite and make ONE CHANGE AT A TIME in the lives of children.

What was your biggest fear in leaving Corporate America and how did you overcome it? Leaving behind a secure career, steady paycheck and making the decision to take the risk and leap of faith to follow my passions. But once I really started to believe in myself and put everything I had in to babychix, the fear went away and the excitement and energy just kept building. Doors continued to open.

For many entrepreneurs, there aren't enough hours in the day to focus on their business; however BabyChix also spends time on charitable giving. How do you do it all?
For me, this is the most important journey in my and life and if it takes me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to build babychix and continue to give to others, then that is what I will do.

The most important part of starting this company was to stay true to my personal mission to give back and help others. Lending a helping hand, donating to causes and participating in charitable organizations such as Celebrate the Military Child is a gift.

I’ve been very blessed in many ways and to see a child without even the basics for survival is far too hard for me to sit back and do nothing. I have come to realize that it takes very little to make a difference and very little bit adds up.

What is your advice for women who are thinking about starting their own business?
1. Do your homework, understand your market, who is your customer, understand the demographics for your product and research your competition.
2. Put together a timeline so you are aware of how you are progressing and be aware of any setbacks which could cost you more money.
3. Hire an intellectual property attorney. Why?
a. You want to make sure that your company name is available before you begin selling your products.
b. Once you have the green light, file for the trademark so you have
the rights and intent to use so you can proceed with your business.

c. Consider a design patent if you cannot afford a patent. Your attorney will be able to determine which is best or if required, based on the product.
d. If working with outside manufactures, do not discuss any details until they sign a Non-disclosure agreement. If they will not sign you need to find another resource. Protect your business first.
4.When working with any manufacturer, I highly suggest you ask for references. If they can’t produce your product and ship on time, you are already out of business before you’re out of the gate.
5.Have a clear vision as to how you want to get your product out into the market. Whether it be sales reps, e-commerce, showrooms etc., depending on your strategy you will want to make sure you have the tools they need to be successful.

I’ve consulted for other startup businesses and the biggest tip I can share with entrepreneurs is to always stay true to your vision. Not everyone will like your product, get used to the words “it’s not right for our business,” and keep going. It takes one person to change the dynamics of your company.

How do you stay motivated?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there are days where I just want to throw my hands in the air or just cry. This is the hardest thing that I have ever tackled but yet, the most rewarding. So many things keep me motivated but it’s my drive, my family and friends cheering me on and most important, I have met so many wonderful men and women a long the way. As a business owner, it is important to offer outstanding customer service which is why I hard to talk with our customers, retail partners/buyers, write a personal note and if I can help others I do. I get all fired up and charged when I can help a vendor, a client or women who are seeking a business. There is not a better feeling for me than watching other people become successful in their own endeavors. It keeps me balanced, focused and motivated. It’s who you know, not what you know.

The babychix brand is growing, product lines are expanding and distribution is steadily increasing. babychix can be found on and CSN (which is changing to and will soon be available on and

To contact Rochelle or learn more about babychix, visit them here:

Twitter – @babychix_

Email – or

877.367.4608 | toll free