Thursday, November 26, 2009

In my spare time

You know that scene you see in movies and tv shows – the one where the protagonist is sleeping soundly in her bed when suddenly her eyes spring wide open (roll opening credits…). This was me this morning. At 3:55 a.m. It was the beginning of another day in the life of a mompreneur.

Now I’m a terrible sleeper – have been for years. No amount of stress could derail either my husband or my business partner from their sacred shut-eye. But I’ve been known to literally lose sleep when too much is going on in my days. Moms in general and moms with jobs (other than the full time one where they raise their kids) in particular are multi-tasking superstars. We’ve checked in with several hundred mompreneurs over the past year, and many of them tell us that even they can’t believe just how much they can accomplish in a day.

If Amy or I want to get a laugh out of the other one (or any mompreneur we know), we simply add the phrase, ‘in your spare time’ to the end of the sentence. Something like, “Could you just cut out an extra 100 pieces of fleece dino appliqué, in your spare time?” – gets a chuckle every time. Any mom knows that life is filled with minutiae – endless forms for school, lessons to register for, groceries, meals, laundry. But then throw in the minutiae of running a small business – endless forms for everything, customer inquiries, supplier issues, etc. - it can require a whole lot of mental space.

I’ve long believed that I can deal with my kids and my business – but if you throw anything into the mix I may crack. This weekend it’s my daughter’s 5th birthday party (loot bags, a cake, activities for sugar-hyped 5 year olds, etc.) – followed by cupcakes at school on the actual birthday, not to mention the nagging Christmas list and the cooking and baking that this time of year brings. Believe me, I wouldn’t trade one bit of it – not anything. But I wouldn’t mind sleeping either!

So what’s a busy mompreneur to do? Heck, if you’ve got some suggestions for sustaining sleep when the to-do list becomes unmanageable then please send them on! In the meantime, I’m thinking about developing some kind of sleep aid for crazed mompreneurs – in my spare time, that is.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Admiral Road is All Around

There's lots of fun stuff going on this week:

At Admiral Road, it's the most wonderful time of year. This holiday season, we're giving back. Use the coupon code HOLIDAY09 for $7 off your Admiral Road order at check out. It's valid until December 6.

We're also an Editor's Pick at Glow magazine. You can see our owl baby blanket featured here.

To top it off, the team at SavvyMom chose our Treasure Tees as their Pick of the Week. Thank you, ladies. We think you've made a savvy choice.

Today also begins our appearance at Art Market in Calgary. If you're in the neighbourhood, drop by Booth 524 to say, 'Hi.' Our friends at Mally Designs and Bugalug are Stonz are there too.

Admiral Road will not be exhibiting at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto this year. We'll miss connecting with the many customers who come by to see us. Please stay in touch. We're just a phone call or email away. And if you're wondering how late you can leave your holiday orders, you've got plenty of time. Just click here for our holiday delivery info.

Wishing you Fleece on Earth this holiday season.

Amy & Danielle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reaching out from the basement

For many of the mom entrepreneurs we know, we’re heading into show season. There are baby shows and children’s shows, not to mention the craft shows that define our lives each fall. On the downside, there’s a whole lot of schlepping involved, not to mention long hours on your feet and juggling childcare. But there’s a silver lining to show season as well, and not just the sales and contacts – there’s the meeting of the mom entrepreneurs.

Over the years we’ve been lucky to meet up with amazing women running fabulous companies. But since Amy and I each get to work with our best friend, we’ve found that we can get a bit insular. We can get so caught up in the minutiae of our joint business and home lives that sometimes we forget to reach out to other business moms. Of course we know how important networking is, but it can definitely be put aside in favour of more pressing ‘To Dos.' Sure, we love to talk to our entrepreneurial friends about business. Anyone who owns their own business can relate to the trials and tribulations. But only a mom entrepreneur really understands what our lives look like.

After years in the basement alone or in the company of each other, it was a (delightful) shock to the system when earlier this year we went out chatted with a whole bunch of mom entrepreneurs. Over the course of a couple of months we met with women we knew well, and women we knew of but didn’t really know. Since time was of the essence we split up for the majority of these coffee dates. To a person, each of the women we met with brought up some interesting perspective we’d never thought of. They also shared their amazing stories as well as tips for juggling business and family. The mom entrepreneurs were friendly, helpful and wise. At the end of it, we felt that we’d made some amazing connections and were only disappointed that we hadn’t each been able to connect with everyone!

We learned a lot from the experience of getting out in the world and connecting. And I’m not talking just about what the mom entrepreneurs had to say. We were reminded how essential networking is – for our business and for ourselves.

The path of the mom entrepreneur can be a lonely one – but there are tons of amazing women at the other end of the phone or across the table at Starbucks. We try harder now to reach out and to stay in touch. It’s important and it’s fun.

So, to our mom entrepreneur friends – if we miss you over the next few busy months – let’s make a date soon for a coffee and a chat!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Better late than never

I took a marketing class in business school where I learned that people behave differently when presented with new technologies. According to the Innovation Curve, the population can be divided into five groups: A very few people are innovators – they lead the charge when it comes to change. Then there are the early adopters – they love to try new things. Most people fall into the early majority and late majority categories: These guys aren’t the quickest ones off the blocks, but they’ll dive in if everyone else does too. Finally, there are the laggards – those of us that have a hard time with change altogether.

My father is a classic “early adopter.” He reads Consumers Report like the Bible and loves knowing about the latest and greatest in technology. We were the first ones on the street to own a VCR. (It was the size of a suitcase.) We also enjoyed a very early Apple home computer on which my brother and I spent many happy hours playing Space Invaders and Pong.

Danielle and I freely admit we are not early adopters of technology. Laptops came into our lives only recently. We don’t necessarily embrace change. I am the last person I know to get a DVD player. (I raced out to buy one only when my husband took my children away for the weekend and I had three whole days to myself.)

Although it is late in the game, Danielle and I recently decided that we’d like to have BlackBerrys. It seemed like a good way to make juggling work and family a little easier. And lots of mom entrepreneurs swear by them.
I looked up and realized that I spend a decent amount of time waiting around: Waiting to pick up the kids at school, waiting for the dentist, waiting poolside while the kids are taking swim lessons. I thought that it might make sense to take care of correspondence in these stolen moments, rather than to sit down at my desk at the end of the day to deal with a mountain of work.

I have no intention of sleeping with my BlackBerry under my pillow and I sincerely believe that I’ve got the willpower to fight its addictive qualities.

But it’s red and it’s cute, and even for a laggard like me, I’m happy to accept that it’s in my life.

Now I just have to figure out how to work the darn thing.