As we look forward to what 2014 has in store for us, we want to reflect on and appreciate the highlights of 2013. The Snugabellas had a busy year full of growth, learning moments, and a lot of fun.
1. We started the year on a high note with the news that PumpEase was a finalist for a 2013 About.com Reader's Choice Award for Favourite Breastfeeding Product. While we didn't win top prize, it was an honour to be nominated (that phrase is a cliché because it's true!).
2. Early 2013 saw Snugabell bring our US Wholesale business back in house. There have been a few bumps in the road but the decision to bring our US Retail Partners back under our wing has felt right from Day One. We value the opportunity to connect with our retailers on a more personal level, and love that we can once again provide customer service and order assistance on a wholesale level.
3. We were excited to introduce PumpEase to Babies R Us in the Spring.
5. In July the Snugabellas left their worries (and kids and partners!) behind for three fun-filled days in Seattle. We filled our bellies with delicious food, walked all over the city (including a fascinating tour of the underground) and saw Paul McCartney at Safeco Field! It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend that really reinforced the friendships we have "outside the office."
6. We spent the summer and autumn months polling YOU, our wonderful Facebook and Twitter followers, for input on what our new print should look like and what it should be named. We had so much fun interacting with all of you and considering your suggestions. The end result of our creative collaboration was, of course, our cheeky new print: TaTa Turquoise! The process was so much fun that we hope to repeat it in the (not so distant!) future. (Maybe it will become an annual thing? Stay tuned to find out!)
8. After the hustle and bustle of our Thanksgiving/Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, we paid tribute to the late Dr John Kennell by donating a portion of our sales to La Leche League Canada as part of our Giving Tuesday Canada initiative. We're already brainstorming how we can participate in Giving Tuesday Canada again this year!
9. We said a fond farewell to the old and welcomed the new... branding, that is. We've been slowly rolling out our new look and are happy to say that the Snugabell re-brand is almost complete! If you're a retailer, please feel free to contact us for updated images and logos to use.
It's so nice to mull over the previous year and move forward with a sure step and a head full of ideas! We're excited to welcome 2014 and can't wait to share our successes and adventures with you. We are so grateful for you, our vibrant community of mamas and mamas-to-be, for lending your voice and your support to the beauty of breastfeeding. If you haven't already, join us on Facebook or Twitter; we'd love to say hello!
We care about the environment here at Snugabell. We want to make sure our babies and their babies (and so on and so forth) inherit a healthy planet from us. We have been making changes to ensure that Snugabell is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Instead of printing a paper receipt to include with our products (a paper receipt that, let's be honest, is most likely immediately thrown into the trashcan or recycling bin), we email our receipts to our customers. It's a simple but effective way to reduce waste on every single sale we make.
When we do need to print something, we have recently made the decision to start using tree-free sugarcane paper. Paper made from sugarcane uses waste that would otherwise be land-filled; is cleaner to produce than traditional paper; and biodegrades more quickly. Being aware of whether or not something really needs to be printed and then printing on sugarcane paper (double-sided of course!) are steps we're taking to help protect our trees.
We also cut any white space off of paper that is headed for our blue boxes and create our own scratch pads from these trimmings. You'd be surprised at how much usable paper is diverted, at least for a while from our blue boxes. This of course, in turn, reduces the number of scratch pads we're purchasing from our office supplies vendor.
Here at Snugabell headquarters, we take our mission to be green seriously. We use only washable mugs and cutlery and have a recycling station set up to ensure that we are throwing out as little waste as possible. It takes a little more time and effort than using disposable kitchenware and throwing everything out but we feel it's our responsibility to be as "green" as possible.
What changes have you made to be kinder to the earth?
I was about 10 years old when my family first went to Disneyland and I remember it being a huge deal. I wanted to give that same sense of excitement to my girls, to make their first time at Disneyland really special. Mike and I devised a plan: we told the girls I was going on a business trip and they were just dropping me off at the airport (nothing out of the ordinary). Then, at the last minute, sitting in the airport, we broke the news. We were going to Disneyland!
Our cover story was so well-rehearsed (I had so much luggage with me because I had extra samples to ship; Grandma came to the airport so Daddy could take her to a nearby plant nursery after dropping me off; I had to show their passports to that man because they have to keep track of who is at the airport) that it took a minute or two to properly sink in. Michaela (my youngest) had cried the whole way there because she doesn't like it when I go away and now here we were, minutes away from going on our first big family vacation. I was so happy that we had managed to pull off such an elaborate surprise. I felt like the best mom in the world!
The last time I went to Disneyland was with my parents, and my older sister and her family. My dad was already pretty ill (he passed away in 2007) so the memories are bittersweet. This trip gave us the opportunity to create some new Disney memories with my mom. The girls loved sharing the trip with their grandma and it was nice to have another adult around as another set of eyes and an extra pair of hands!
My favourite part of the trip was Cars Land because the main attraction - Radiator Springs Racers - is set up like a slot car race. My dad used to race slot cars and I know he would have loved the 50's feel. We finally managed to get a Fastpass on our last day but when we showed up for the ride, it was shut down. I was so disappointed. We went for dinner and then decided to try our luck one last time. We were happy to find that the ride had re-opened while we had been gone and we were able to enjoy a "race." It was nice to feel that closeness to my dad while enjoying the ride with my girls.
The low point of our trip came in Tomorrowland. My youngest was tired and cranky; the long days and excitement had taken their toll on her and we'd been dealing with tantrums and whining all afternoon. The long days had affected me as well; finally I snapped and spanked her bottom. I felt like the worse mom in the world. Now, I can count on one hand the number of times I've spanked my kids; it's just not something that Mike or I use to parent. I instantly felt like I'd turned from *good* mommy into *bad* mommy in that one moment of exhaustion and frustration. I felt incredibly guilty for losing my temper. Days later, when we were back home, I sat down with Michaela to talk about what had happened. I was surprised when she said that she didn't remember me spanking her! In her mind it was like it had never happened but there I was, punishing myself by reliving the moment over and over in my mind. It also drove home just how exhausted she truly was.
In retrospect, the four-day pass may have been a bit much to push into five days but we (meaning me) wanted to get the most out of our time. I was so excited to share all of my past Disney experiences with my girls that I found myself pushing us from one attraction to the next (it's difficult not to get caught up in the excitement!). If there's one thing I learned from our trip it's that you don't have to see everything, especially since the girls would have had no idea what they were missing.
If I could back and do things differently, I would have stayed for at least a week - having a few relaxing days to just hang out at the hotel pool or go shopping would have provided some much needed rejuvenation and could have prevented the meltdowns. Our days were long (on average we were gone from the hotel for twelve-hour stretches) and that's hard on kids (my girls were 8 and almost 6 when we went and still sleep 11 and 12 hours respectively). Another thing I would change is staying closer to the park. We booked last minute (and got a great deal!) but that meant we didn't have much choice when it came to our accommodations. Our hotel was about a 30 minute walk from the park and at the end of a long day that 30 minutes felt like 30 hours. The main thing I would do differently, though, is try to be less Type-A and just relax and enjoy the moment instead of trying to push to see everything.
On the flip side, one of the areas where I feel we were successful was with our meal budget. Our hotel room had a fridge so we stocked up on items like yogurt, bread, cereal and fruit, and ate breakfast in our room every morning. We packed lunches and snacks so that we didn't have to stand in line at the busy park restaurants or pay their exorbitant prices. I don't know that bringing your own food into the park is encouraged but we were never stopped or told we couldn't when they checked our bags. We ate our dinners at one of the many restaurants across the street from the main entrance. It was nice to have a break from the hustle and bustle of the park and a lot of the restaurants offer free meals for kids under the age of twelve. We were able to stick to a fairly manageable food budget and we will definitely do the same on any future trips.
I'm so happy that Mike and I were able to surprise our girls and I love that we have started our own family Disney memories. I can't wait to go back in a few years!
Have you ever had a similar good mom/bad mom moment during your family vacation? Do you have any Disney tips to share?
UPDATE: WE'RE MAKING IT EVEN EASIER! (Updated February 9, 2014)
If you're more comfortable with a simple selfie than a shot of pumping in action... that works, too! All we need is a shot of you by yourself, with your babe, showing off your pumping setup, or anything else that makes you feel like a powerful pumping mama. Our goal is simply to create a video montage of 50 moms (one from each state in the USA) celebrating pumping with a candid photo. Text on screen will indicate your name, state, and how many months you pumped or if you're still pumping, how many months you've pumped "so far".
Be sure to check out Facebook for updated maps* to see if we're still hunting for a mom from YOUR state. We hope we'll hear from you soon! *Pink-filled states indicate we've already found a mama for that area.
Guess what, Pumpin’ Mamas? Snugabell needs your help!
A little while ago, we set out to create a video that would help tell the story of PumpEase -- our hands-free pumping bra that for years has helped countless moms take back their pumping time by letting us spend less time holding flanges and more time doing, well... whatever! From holding babies to checking email to catching up on reading, moms from all over have told us about how PumpEase has freed them up to do all kinds of things while they pump.
Well it occurred to us at Snugabell that the best way to tell our story was actually to tell your story. That’s why we’re creating Pump Across America. We want to collect pictures of pumping moms from coast-to-coast, showing real PumpEase customers pumping in style and doing their thing (with both hands off the flanges!). We want to represent pumpers from every state, showing their pumping pride and sending a message to moms everywhere that shows how empowering, practical, and even fun pumping can be.
So we’re asking that you send us your pumping selfies -- candid shots of you doing your thing with the help of your PumpEase. You can be playing with your little one or playing with your computer. You can be reading a book or knitting a sweater. You can be smiling with pumpin’ confidence, or just giving the camera that “Oh yes I can!” look that shows just how powerful a pumping mom can be.
(Heather gets the idea.)
Your photos don’t have to be super-high resolution (a decent camera phone will do the trick). If we were looking for polished and shiny, we’d use models and a photographer. But we’d rather have REAL moms give us a glimpse into their REAL lives. Then we want to share it with the world.
So what do you say, ladies? Will you help us tell the story of Pumpin’ Mamas across the country? All you have to do is snap a photo and drop it on our Facebook wall or send it to us via email -- we’ll take it from there. When we compile the photo montage for our video, we’ll share only your first name and home state or province. That’s all there is to it!
Hi! My name is Hillary (with two Ls please) and I run Snugabell's Facebook page. I met Wendy last year when she put out a call on the Facebook page for local breastfeeding mamas to model pieces from the Toni Collection. Check out the banner on Snugabell's Facebook page - I'm the mama on the far right.
My job is to post interesting, informative content on the Facebook page every day to help Snugabell connect with their customers and supporters in an online space. I love the conversations that can build out of a post and I really enjoy interacting with the Snugabell community.
I became interested in the world of breastfeeding (and pregnancy, birthing, mothering, etc) after the birth of my son in 2011. I had very set ideas about what my life with a child would look like; I'm happy to report that my life looks nothing like what I thought it would/should. I went back to my corporate job when my son was six months old but found the strength to walk away six months later when the stressful environment, long hours, and horrendous commute were making me miserable. I don't regret leaving at all. I am currently a work-at-home mom (WAHM) who is studying to become a DONA-certified birth doula. I spend my days chasing after a spirited toddler and my nights in front of a laptop. My life has never been so busy - or so full -and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Come say hi to me on the Facebook page; I'd love to chat with you!