Monday, March 19, 2012

HSN Series: 3...2...1 and you're LIVE

In reflecting on my recent trip to Tampa with Jenn Furr of PictureThatSound I thought I would provide some insights to the world of live television.  Jenn was a radio DJ back in the day, so she knows something of cues, dead-air (you NEVER want that) and of getting into character as your on-air personality.

As you read in one of my previous HSN posts, my biggest fear if I were ever put in front of a camera would be to freeze up like Cindy Brady in an episode of the Brady Bunch.  It would be easy to do. You're in unfamiliar territory, you have 3 or more camera's on you at any given time, you are wired with a mic pack and an ear piece where you can hear the director giving cues, and all the while you need to be on-point with your messaging.

Our first air time was 2:30am. So while many of you, dear readers, were packing it in for the night, we were headed to the studio to begin our night. We set up our product tables so that it would be visually appealing and allow for a good flow of conversation, sent Jenn off to be beautified by the hair and makeup team and ensured we were ready to live-tweet from the green room.  It's a 24hour a day operation at HSN. So while we were pulling an all-nighter, this is old hat for the likes of Production Assistants, Lighting Crew, Directors and Camera operators.

There were home shopping veterans amongst us- crafters who have been in the business and promoting products live for YEARS.  Very proudly we sent Jenn off to set in "the zone" where she met up with HSN host Suzanne Runyan.  When she's not on-air hosting, Suzanne is a world-traveler and an avid scrapbooker. She loved PictureThatSound from the moment she discovered it and suggested we play as many samples as we could during the segment to showcase how versatile the product is for so many different occasions, recipients and applications.  Suzanne even suggested that a crafter could paint the PictureThatSound card with chalkboard paint and family members could leave messages (audio and chalked) to each other back and forth. Such a great application idea!

After a hugely successful 230am hour (wow, a lot of crafters shop in the wee hours of the morning!) we relaxed in the green room until our next segment in the 8am hour.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I was awake for 30 hours straight.  More than a few times I daydreamed about the thrilling experience of laying my head down back at the hotel.  The funny part? When we finally retired back at the hotel, I was pumped. The adrenaline was flowing and it was hard to calm down.  I can only imagine how it was for Jenn who was actually the one on-air!

I hope you were able to see the segments live, but if not here is a link to the product page on where you can click on "VIDEO" beneath the product pictures.  We still have some quantity left at this fantastic price for a package of 3. Snatch it up while they last!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Censorship: A personal consideration

Brave Little Blogger Contest

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Tangela Craft and the Go Pillow!

This month we'd like to introduce you to Tangela Craft, President of Simply Necessary Incorporated. As many women inventors discover, building a business can happen organically when you create a solution to an every day problem you face as a mother. Tangela's first product is the Go Pillow! What I loved about the product when I heard about it was that it is not obsolete once your child grows out of infancy.  The Go Pillow! is also functional for toddlers which means you can reap the benefits of it's functionality for years!

1- Tangela, you are the President of Simply Necessary Incorporated. What
inspired you to launch this business?  
Simply Necessary, Incorporated was founded because I was a breastfeeding mom that wanted a comfortable way to cradle my baby for an extended period of time. I started toying around with creating a solution to my problem. The result was the first incarnation of the GoPillow! The idea for adding the privacy blanket to the GoPillow! came later. It was added after I was caught in a crowded area during a rainstorm at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. My husband took off his shirt and gave it to me so that I could use it to nurse my daughter discreetly. We realized that a built-in privacy blanket or cover would separate our pillow from any other nursing pillow on the market.

2- You filed a patent application for the Go Pillow!. What can other inventors learn from you about the patent-process?
Filing a thorough application can save inventors time and money. They should start out by visiting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Being familiar with products that are similar to theirs and knowing which claims make their product truly unique and worthy of a patent will help the patent application go through on the first filing. The more accurate claims that an inventor can make about a product the better.

3- Where are your products sold?
The GoPillow! can be purchased from the Simply Necessary, Incorporated

They are also available for purchase in the Philippines via the Babies

4- Tell us about Get On the Shelf.
Walmart launched an online contest that allowed anyone with a product
for sale to pitch it to the public. Contestants could submit a YouTube
video telling potential voters why their product is worthy of a place on
Walmart store shelves. Voting in the first round of the contest began on
March 7, 2102 and will continue until April 3, 2012. The 10 products with the most votes in the first round will move forward to a second round. The grand prize winning product will be sold online at and will be featured at select Walmart stores.

The GoPillow! is one of about 4,000 products that entered the contest. People can vote for the GoPillow! by visiting our page. Votes can be cast in the contest by texting or via Facebook. Videos can also be tagged with three labels (Innovative, Fun, or Cute). When voters visit the Get on the Shelf video submission pages they can share their favorite product's page links with their Twitter followers, on Pinterest, and by
sending an automatic email by clicking a button provided on each product's page.

5- What is the biggest challenge that you face daily as an entrepreneur?
I have to fight off frustration on a daily basis. I have had moms from
Australia, Germany, the U.K., Sweden, and all across the United States
send me messages about how much they love the GoPillow! Yet, most of
the big named retailers will not even consider putting the GoPillow! on
their store shelves because they're not familiar with the product. It's
a vicious circle because most national retail stores will not accept direct submissions from unknown inventors. Even though it has endorsements from nurses, lactation consultants, travel experts, and moms all over the world, the GoPillow! is still available online only.

6- The concept for the Go Pillow originated in 2002. 10 years later, what motivates you to continue to grow your business?
I invented the GoPillow! because I needed to be able to breastfeed discreetly and comfortably no matter where I went. I know other moms would love to solve that same problem by having a GoPillow! Both breast and bottle feeding moms can use the GoPillow! It's multipurpose and can be used from birth and beyond. My product makes being on the go easier for moms and their kids. I am selling something that I would buy and that I would use. Simply Necessary, Incorporated is just getting started. I believe in the GoPillow!

Tangela's entrepreneurial spirit is undeniable. It's this drive and dedication that sparks many an entrepreneur when launching a business. Let's help Tangela and the Go Pillow! Get On the Shelf!

To learn more about Tangela Craft, Simply Necessary Incorporated or the Go Pillow!, please visit her website: 

Connect with Tangela:
Twitter: @TangelaWCraft
Facebook: Tangela Walker-Craft

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review: The Championship Formula

I'd like to consider myself an athlete even though I haven't played a team sport in approximately 15 years. But I believe once you have trained with an athletic mindset, you are always an athlete. Which is why I can relate to Jack Stark and his book, The Championship Formula: How to Transform Your Team Into a Dynasty.

Stark, a clinical psychologist has consulted and mentored leaders of top Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous sports teams that have gone on to win championships.  He is the authority on understanding what it takes to dominate a playing field and create a dynasty whether it's on the field or in the board room.

Stark says, "Leaders of teams need to inspire hope but always remain vigilant of what causes can happen quickly." The first time I felt like a true leader was middle-school softball.  I tried out in the 7th grade and was cut. Coach Walsh implored those who were cut to return and try again next year. I don't know what made me do it after the bruise to my ego, but I did- I tried out in 8th grade and not only made the team, but was chosen as Captain.  Coach couldn't believe the transformation in one year.  (Turns out I was too proud to wear my glasses the previous year).  It's amazing what vision can do for hand-eye coordination.

Chapter 3 is titled: Dynastic Leaders are Caring & Honest and begins with a quote by Flavia Weedn "Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." When I read this quote it brought me back to my days on the softball field. I was ecstatic that when I moved up to high school that Coach Walsh was transferred to a coaching job with the Varsity softball team.  He was my first mentor. The first man in my life to sit and talk with me, ask me how I was feeling and what I wanted to do with my life. I felt like when I talked to him that he saw through all the teen-age bull shit and truly understood me.  I asked Coach to write me a college recommendation.  The best present he could have done was to leave the envelope unsealed. He wanted me to read it before it was sealed and sent off to the University.  I only wish I had made a copy so that I could read it again after all these years.

Was our softball team a sports dynasty? Nah. But the lessons I learned, my competitive spirit and my desire to mentor others has carried through to my career.  Thank you Coach.

The Championship Formula can be found on as well as Barnes and  A great read if you are looking to get in touch with your inner-champion.