Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Saying "No" to Business

The most liked picture on our Facebook fan page to date has been of the below doll who participated in our Focus Group.  Her mom sent the picture to me and told me her daughter "LOVES them" and she specifically chose her outfit to match her MagnifiCuffs. 

A month after sharing this picture with our Facebook community this darling's mom let me know that she shared the picture with groups she belongs to for parents of children with limb differences.  

The messages started to flow in within hours of her heads up message to us.  A lot of messages! 

The parents were so excited to find something special for their daughters and sons.  Something new to the market that could be functional for their children while also adding a little flair. 

It was with a very heavy heart that I had to respond to the majority of the requests with a "no" because of the children's ages. 

I responded to the messages from parents with young children that magnets are lethal if swallowed.  The magnets can get stuck in digestive and intestinal tracks with no way to pass and result in loss of life. 

As a small business owner in a company's infancy (5 months at that time!) I can assure you that one of the hardest things to do was say no to customers requesting to order our product. 

While it was difficult to say no to orders and to growing our business one customer or potential word-of-mouth advocate at a time, the thought of us hearing a child passed away from using our product was unbearable.

We didn't seek legal counsel to determine that our MagnifiCuffs should not be purchased for children under age 5, it comes from Ryan and I being parents ourselves.  Having a three year old son who still puts stuff in his mouth (seriously...3!) we cant risk it.  Call us overcautious but as parents we know there really is no such thing...right?! 

Once we receive our stamp in the mail, each set will have this warning.  Until the stamp arrives, we will have it on labels on the boxes.  We also have the warning on each description in the Etsy store. 

Hopefully this message doesn't have you question the quality of our product.  Each set has both sides of the magnet hot glued to the ribbon and is then hand sewn (because magnets get caught on the sewing machine metal lip...oh the dedication) by me to ensure the sets wont come apart.  See pics below for a close up of the craftswomanship.  

We have promised you from the beginning to be honest and treat you as we would like to be treated so this is one of our ways of upholding that promise to you. 

From one Mama to Another,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Real Mom Style #2

On Sunday morning I tweeted my girl (who I just realized I've only met virtually...God bless the internet!) María José Ovalle:

I really enjoyed participating in the first #RealMomStyle hosted by Very Busy Mama a few weeks ago so wanted to partake again.  María is such a doll to share and support her mompreneur friends that I totally want to support her efforts for which she thinks I'm a good fit. 

Sunday afternoon my older sister and I stopped for a few pizzas before we hit one of her local parks in Gainesville, VA with our four kids.

When our girlfriend Brett arrived she looked ahmazing so I asked if I could take some pics of her after she took some of me.  She obliged and we found a perfect set of MagnifiCuffs to compliment her outfit.  *We both liked how well the MagnifiCuffs went with the outfit that they became her newest permanent (and hopefully favorite) accessories.* 

Later this week I will be posting the pics of Brett on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (if you don't follow along on those pages, please click on each link to do so) along with some of the shop collages with our youngest and cutest ever models!!! YES!     

Here are a couple pictures in the 60+ degree weather (to the right of me, that's snow!):

Photo by Brett Nicole Bowen
The boot's heels may have been a bit much for the park but whateves, mama had modeling to do.

We started out the photo sesh with me facing the sun.  That is the reason my head to toe shot is more of a chin to toe shot.  My face looks mean... or old...wait, confused?  Ok, maybe all three! 

Let's just say I will be learning a bit more about photography than "use natural sunlight" for the next shoot. 

After about 10 mediocre shots we migrated to a better spot with shading (where we couldn't see the kids, thanks for watching them Aa!) and got this shot.

Photo by Brett Nicole Bowen

Very nice!  Great job, Brett! 

Did you notice in both pics I am holding a super cute mini briefcase?  Do you wonder what it is? 

Well it is nothing other than my MagnifiCuffs carrying case! 

A while back I gave my mentor a play by play of a very frazzled meet up.  I explained to her that the meet up was very awkward because I was unsure how to handle the setting, circumstances, and how it was scheduled.  I erred on the side of being too casual and didn't make a deal nor had any idea how a deal would have even been possible to make.

She told me I needed to have a compact display (for lack of a better word) case that I could easily carry with me.  That although I know my product in and out and have all the deets in my mind, it's invaluable to have actual product that the interested party can put their hands on and pictures of displays, packaging, etc.   

After the meeting I spent weeks online looking for something that could work.  I finally gave up and settled on a pleather iPad cover from an Etsy shop.  Still waiting on the delivery of my soon to be repurposed iPad case I stumbled upon the case below.  It was at Ross on a bottom shelf in a large box that said in large letters "BIBLE CASE".  I didn't need a bible case but the word "case" and the handle jumped out at me.  Upon further inspection, I fell in love.  It was perfect!    

With my handy dandy carrying case I am now prepared for a professional presentation anywhere!  For anyone! 

At the recommendation of my mentor I also carry the Square credit card reader with me so I can take orders on the spot.  You've been warned! ;)  JK!  *Remember from above I do pay people in product for letting me take pics of them...mama loves to barter!  Email me if you are interested info*at*magnificuffs(.)com*
Serioulsy though, isn't this case perfect for when I start pounding the pavement for more shop deals now that our first shop deal should be finalized by the end of this week!? 
Ok, about the outfit:
Black V-neck 3/4 sleeve wrap shirt with side ruching from Express (8 - 10 years old)
Baby blue scarf from Ann Taylor (12/2013 birthday gift from my lil sister <3)
Baby blue with white polka dot and pearl adornment MagnifiCuffs
Tan skinny jeans from Ross (last summer)
Black boots (gift from a girlfriend)
Please visit Very Busy Mama's blog for more details on #RealMomStyle and join us if you are so inclined.  Trust me, it is SO fun to get all gussied up with a girlfriend and take pics of each other!  Yay!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our First Shop Deal!

Last week started off fabulous with my participation in #RealMomStyle on Monday.  I showcased a new top in which the sleeves were held up by MagnifiCuffs for a wine glass painting party the previous weekend. 

The week ended with me on Alexandria Stylebook as their Street Style feature!  I got the opportunity to showcase an outfit from Zoe Boutique (I also wrote about them here) while being photographed on the waterfront of Old Town Alexandria.  What an awesome experience it was to work with the gals from Zoe Boutique and Alexandria Stylebook and be featured on their website!   

This week has been all business. 

Early this Tuesday morning my mentor made me role play sales calls/visits with her.  Although I have a history in sales (I sold computer hardware for a couple years), the idea of face to face sales of my handmade product is very difficult to stomach.   

After many rehearsals (many of me walking in, making eye contact, laughing, turning around and walking back out), she finally said I was prepared. 

That afternoon I called one of the shops that had been referred to me by a repeat customer.  It went way better than I could have ever imagined!  The owner was an absolute gem and made the process so easy and straightforward. 

In the coming weeks (we will totally let you know the exact date on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) we will have a display with 30 (!) sets at Steppin' Up Children's Boutique in Springfield, Va. 

Later Tuesday evening I was giddy when I realized that we got our first shop deal exactly 7 months after we started MagnifiCuffs!  Can you believe it?

My sincerest thanks to everyone who has helped us to accomplish everything to date.  The recommendations, referrals, babysitting, clothes, models, social media shout outs, excitement, listening ears, household help, taxes, etc...  We are so humbled by the amazing people we are surrounded by and promise we will do you all proud! 

What an awesome couple weeks!   Stay safe and warm! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Real Mom Style

I was invited by María José Ovalle of Very Busy Mama to participate in a new series called "Real Mom Style".

María instructed the interested participants to upload a couple pictures of an outfit or item we want to showcase, say what we did while we were dressed up, and then link up through her site. 

This is the outfit I wore:

photo by Matt Lim

Here's the same outfit without the purse and with a pose (legs, not shmeyez) I learned on Pinterest:

Photo by Matt Lim

So what did I wear this outfit to? 

My girlfriend Allison (you may remember her from this post) had friends over on Saturday evening for a wine glass painting party.  Never heard of that type of party?  No one has! 

Allison and a friend participated in a Living Social deal at a studio and brought the idea home with them! 

Invitations were sent out about a month ago and guests arrived to their own box of 4 Ikea wine glasses, paints, paint brushes, stencils, and delicious food and wine.  It was a very thoughtful and well planned evening.  Everyone (9 painters!) had a great time. 

What do you think of the finished product:

About the outfit: 

The shirt I wore was less than a day old.  I bought it from the StyleRide Boutique when I went by the owner's WearHouse the day before.

When I saw the shirt on the rack it jumped out at me.  I loved the lace detailing on the back and the scoop neck. 

I went through the rest of the racks and paused and hemmed and hawed over the blacks and greys.  As I told you in María's feature of me, Mama Style: Marcia Sheehan Wears Animal Print and Subtle Pinstripes, my style is typically dark colors in masculine cuts.  

I was pulled back to the delicious sherbet shirt shown.  It was a size large and the price tag was $52 but it was 50% off.  I stared a little too long so was encouraged to try it on.  I tried it on and both the owner and I loved how it looked. 

Because the shirt was a size large the sleeves were a little long so the MagnifiCuffs shown above weren't just for fashion, but also functioned to keep my cuffs pulled up while I painted. 


Earrings by JhenSunshine, Infinity ring by The Bangle, lip gloss by Clinique, "Pink Lemonade" magnetic fashion accessories by MagnifiCuffs
Shirt by "Others Follow" sold by StyleRide Boutique, jeans by "declaration by Democracy" (Ross find a couple summers ago), metallic boots unlabeled (given to me by a friend), purse by "Mossimo" (2012 birthday present from a bestie)

photo by Matt Lim