HER STORY : JULIE COLE OF MABEL'S LABELS

Julie Cole, Co-founder of Mabel's Labels and a busy mama of six, shares her entrepreneurial journey and will inspire you with her business advice!

What motivated and inspired you to start this business/choose this profession...how did you come up with this idea?

There were two main reasons Mabel’s Labels came to life. The first was that we had a great product idea. We noticed there was a product missing from the market and like many clever moms, if it doesn’t exist, we might as well create it! Our great idea nagged away at us until we couldn’t ignore it any longer. Another catalyst for starting Mabel’s Labels for me was that around the time that we were considering launching our business, my eldest child was diagnosed with autism. I decided that it would be best for me to leave the traditional workforce (I’m a recovered lawyer) and pursue a career that would offer a little more flexibility so I could better manage my son’s therapy program. 14 years later, I’m delighted to report that both Mabel’s Labels and my son have THRIVED!

What steps did you take to get things done during the start‐up process?

First of all, we had a great mindset. Our business was not treated like a hobby, but a business. As such, we created a business plan, marketing plan, and delegated the to-do list among the business partners. Being able to divide and conquer the start-up duties contributed to our early growth. There is so much to get done in those early days. If you have business partners, don’t forget to draft a Shareholders Agreement. You want to make sure you get all your business in order while everyone is still friends!

What has been the most effective way(s) to create awareness of your business/brand?

Without question, word of mouth has been our most powerful tool. Our market is moms, and we know moms! Moms don’t tend to trust traditional advertising, but do trust their mom influencers. We launched years before social media existed, but once social media arrived, we were quick adopters. We knew that it would be a vehicle for word of mouth – now moms could talk about our products in their online communities, in their blogs, on the Facebook pages and Pinterest boards. By creating an amazing product and an engaged community, our brand awareness has been exceptional.

What you love most about your job/company/journey?

There are many scary things about starting a business – this is not for those who are risk adverse. However, the benefits are many. I have had some much needed flexibility while raising my six kids. I also love working hard on something that I created. There is so much energy and rush in being an entrepreneur. I would also say the best parts of this journey has been the people – it has been so enjoyable to work closely with my business partners, our amazing staff and our loyal community of customers. Business IS about relationships.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made for your business?

Sacrifice is about perspective. I don’t see things as sacrifices as much as I see them as investments. I suppose in the traditional sense the biggest sacrifice I’ve made is sleep! I’d suggest that if sleep is a priority, then I would not recommend starting a business and having six babies!

What is/has been your biggest struggle aka mountain to climb and how you deal with it?

A difficulty with a growing business is that as soon as you get comfortable understanding where your business is, it grows and it’s needs change. You have to get very comfortable with being uncomfortable when you are a business owner.

Your favourite quote

My favourite quote and definition of success are the same thing. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”  - Maya Angelou

Great business advice you received when you were starting out?

We got so much advice when we started out – everyone has opinions. I’m not sure that there is any one gem that sticks with me, but if I were to give advice, this is what I would say:

-       If you have a spouse, make sure they completely understand and support your start-up. Working long hours for no money for years on end can be a deal breaker for some people. Make sure everyone has eyes wide open about the impact starting a business will have on your family.

-       Invest in your staff. You are nothing without a great staff team. Hire people for culture fit, hire people smarter than you and make sure you fill talent gaps. Get the right people on the bus. Hire slow, fire fast. A bad employee can cost you a lot of money and damage team morale.

What is the best thing about your workspace?

Our workspace is not fancy, but it is fun and funky. I love the way the Mabel’s Labels headquarters FEELS. Best thing about the workspace? The people in it!

HER STORY: TUTI DO

A great friend, mommy, and entrepreneur!  Today we are featuring the story of Tuti Do, President and owner of Rev Communications, a boutique PR & marketing agency, and founder of TheWowMom.com, a mom blog that profiles inspirational moms and shares their stories.

Between her two kids, a hubby, the agency, the clients, the website, the house...combined with the lack of help or babysitters, she is usually running on overdrive, forsaking sleep and mostly sanity. As a publicist, Tuti specializes in making things look good. So her happy beautiful smile is what you'll see most of the time, but in reality Tuti admits that she is in serious need of a hug, ice cream, and about 2 weeks of sleep.  
We can definitely help with the hug and ice cream Tuti!! xxo, Renee

What motivated you to start this business/choose this profession...how did you come up with the idea?

When I was on maternity leave with my firstborn, I realized I wanted to control my own destiny. My exuberant son gave me a new perspective and inspired me to go outside my comfort zone. My last corporate job was being the Marketing & Communications Director at an international denim company.  I ran my department like my own company, however, the reality was it was not mine. After 10 years experience of building up other companies and brands, it was time to build my own.

My son was really the spark for it all. He wasn't even a year old yet, we were playing in our condo parking lot. Every little thing was a source of excitement and happiness for him. Wow pebbles! Wow blade of grass! Oooo dirt! Didn't matter what we had or didn't have. He was happy because he had love...and some rocks and grass. I realized in that moment I'd never been happier too. Along with the support and encouragement of my hubby, this little guy gave me the courage to take the leap of faith to start my own company. Didn't matter if I failed, I already had it all...right there in my parking lot.

What steps did you take during the start-up process?

New business development was a key part of my previous work experiences.  After a decade of building new businesses and brands, it was a natural transition as I already went through the trials and tribulations. 

The most valuable part of my start-up process was my network.  Venturing out on your own is a huge undertaking, and having the support and resources of many people was vital.  To this day, I am so grateful for these guardian angels who lit the way for me. They gave me insight, shared their own expertise and even rolled up their sleeves to help me get Rev off the ground.

What has been the most effective way to create awareness for your business/brand?

It’s no coincidence that public relations has been the most valuable. Not only do we accomplish positive publicity for our clients, but we have been blessed by the same good fortune of positive word of mouth.  By just being hardworking and sincere, we have built a strong network who have referred us to amazing new clients and opportunities.  Having that unbiased testimonial from a respected individual has unlimited value.  That’s the power of PR.

What do you love most about your company/journey/business?

The people who've shared the journey with me. Throughout the years I've had the privilege to work with and meet so many incredible people.  That's what's made it all worthwhile.  Countless people have inspired me, touched my heart and have made such a difference in not only my career but also in my life. We've shared some memorable experiences and great laughs along the way.

What's the biggest sacrifice you've made for your business

Me time. Sleep. Between running an agency and having a family, the last on my list is often me (and some plants that I've killed). In keeping work and family a priority, it leaves little time for anything else. Sometimes I feel like I'm from another planet as I don't know anything about the latest TV shows or movies anymore. I am still learning the valuable lesson of self care.

Your favourite quote

"I am not about being perfect, I am about living a life of purpose"

I love this quote because it reminds me to keep a perspective.  I often struggle as I want to achieve this unattainable perfection in my life and work. This quote reminds me of the bigger picture.

What does success mean to you?

This has changed so many times throughout the years. Success is ever changing as we grow and continue on our journey.  At one time, it meant to have a certain amount of clients, targeted sales or a high-profile project. Now my definition of success is to simply be happy.

What do you celebrate most about life?

The beauty of simple things. A good cup of tea. Snuggling my kids at bedtime. Sharing a meal with a friend. Bringing people together. Enjoying nature. Ice cream. Oops, that's three food things...

How do you build yourself back up in moments of self-doubt?

I remind myself of all the blessings in my life and the things I've already accomplished.  It's human nature to get caught up in what we're missing in life, it takes conscious effort to remind ourselves what we already have.

What is your biggest struggle aka mountain to climb and how do you deal with it?

The juggle. It's a constant never-ending juggle between my ambition and being a mom. Being present and hands-on in my kids' lives is of utmost priority.  By the same token I'm just not "mom", I have my own dreams and ambition.  Trying to do both has its daily challenges.  Some days I have it all under control, others days it's total chaos. My attempt to manage this includes strict time management. When it's family time, it's their time. I try not to work until they're back in bed...which is shift 3 of my day.

HER STORY: TIFFANY, THE ARTIST

I adored her when I was little, listened to her first record (yes, record!) and then bought her tapes.  I danced around in the living room and pretended I was on stage, singing along with her songs.  An artist that grew up and continues to inspire others with her heart, authentic spirit and beautiful voice.  It was an honor to get to know Tiffany better! xxo, Renee

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Tiffany: I wanted to be an entertainer and I wanted to be a singer.  I used to sing in my room as a little kid and I was a dancer before that. I have always loved the stage.

What do you love most about your job?
Tiffany: I mostly love the people I come across in this industry including the musicians and the fans because they’re like an extended family. I love creating music, learning and growing, and having a good time with them on the road, it’s an adventure everyday.

photo by Ron Davis

photo by Ron Davis

What is your biggest fear?
Tiffany: I think probably my biggest fear is not having a balanced life. Being to involved in my job and not having a personal life is a fear, or having a personal life and letting your career aspect go. It’s very hard to balance it all but that is something that is very important to me. Keeping on top of it is hard!

What are 3 things on your bucket list?
Tiffany: I want to go to Greece because I love Greek mythology. I want to produce other artists, and I definitely want to have my own management company someday.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Tiffany: Well, that would be Stevie Nicks, she has been my favorite singer since I was 10 years old and she’s the one who inspires me the most musically. From song writing to stage presence, to wardrobe, and everything else about her, I love it.

What is your favorite spot for coffee, brunch, or cocktails?
Tiffany: My favorite place for coffee, brunch, or cocktails would be Urban Grub in Nashville. No doubt about it.

What is one thing you do to take care of yourself?
Tiffany: I love the spa! I also love having people around me and having a good time. I love entertaining people at my house, putting on dinner parties, and just being in the company of good friends with lots of laughter.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned running your own business?
Tiffany: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is the social media aspect and how everyday something is changing, You have to stay on top of it and you’re learning all the time, it’s a full time job. I definitely know owning my own management company that social media will take at least 5-6 hours to do it right. It’s hard, but I’m up for the challenge. With the artists, especially independent artists, you not only have to be truly committed to them, but also with the business, management, and the social media side of things.

What is your best business advice?
Tiffany: I think the greatest business advice I’ve received is to be resilient. This business is all about praise and rejection. When I was 15 or 14 I learned the hard knocks early on. People didn’t hide the critics from me, so I had to have thicker skin and resilience. Sometimes those critics are right. You have to be honest with yourself and say, “Okay, do I have to make adjustments? Did I blow it?” and I think that in this business you have to be translucent in that area, and if you do that, I think you will grow. Sometimes people will give you a hard time and you’ll have to be ok with who you are and what you do and feel confident with that.

And that's a wrap!  Show Tiffany some love by visiting her Facebook page or visit the website and check out her latest album and tour dates.

April Mood Board

We love April.  We love April showers because we know they will bring May flowers.  Here are some things (from shops, artists, creatives, recipes, Easter fun) on our mood board.

flowers_april_creative_Easter_entrepreneur_lifestyle_business

one. healthy eating

A seasonal produce guide for April which is so helpful when you visit the farmers markets soon.

two. handmade art

We adore this floral wall art to inspire you for the month of April. 

three. diy craft

Make this Rain Boot Vase project with your favourite spring flower for a personalized entrance to your home. 

four. beautiful sweet treats

How gorgeous are these orange infused sweet ricotta peach cookies!

five. cake
A beautiful colourful Easter Ombre Pinata Cake.

six. rain boots
For those puddle jumping days of course!  For her, for little boys who love to hunt for worms and for the little fashionista.
Joules Women's Welly Print Rain Boot
Rain Boots Stripes by BOGS
Mini Sugar Rain Boot by Mini Melissa

seven. umbrellas
Brighten up those cloudy days with a green umbrella and fun stripes by Kate Spade.

EIGHT. GRILLED CHEESE DAY
Celebrate April 12 with a delicious Avocado Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

NINE. BOOKS
Read a book in the park and learn about clearing up the clutter, adding to your Spring cleaning routine!

TEN. COLOR PALETTES
And of course, we can't resist gorgeous colours such as this ranunculous hues palette.

the book club: for the entrepreneur

We have compiled five books we think will educate, motivate and inspire the entrepreneur in you.

 

Think and Grow Rich: Unabridged by Napoleon Hill

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Gary Vaynerchuk