Hi, everyone! My name is Josh and I'm working with Wendy and the rest of the Snugabell team on Press and Public Relations. I ended up on board through my wife, Amy, who you learned a little bit about last month. Since Amy is a Certified Lactation Counselor and does social media work for all sorts of mom-oriented companies like Snugabell, I've been pretty well surrounded by birth, breastfeeding, and all-things-parenthood since our daughter was born three years ago.
I'm a freelance writer with a background in traditional marketing, now collaborating with Wendy to try and get the word out about PumpEase and the Toni Top in fun, creative ways. I spend a lot of my time working for a big, traditional insurance company so it's always refreshing to work with small, nimble companies like Snugabell. The things you can get done with social media, networking, and good-old-fashioned legwork are amazing and always rewarding. Plus I get to tag-team with my wife supporting something that we both really believe in and want to see succeed.
Together we make up West Freelance Communications, focused mostly on social media and blog development. By far one of the greatest things about being in business for yourself is getting to pick and choose which companies you're going to work with. If we don't believe in something, we don't have to do it. That's a great feeling.
It's great to have a chance to introduce myself to everyone. Looking forward to getting to know each other better as time goes on!
I have no words for how I feel amidst the outpouring of support from friends, family, colleagues, vendors, customers and even complete strangers after the airing of our Dragons' Den segment. Just WOW.
I'm still digesting it all.
I was actually quite surprised at how many people were outright angry; they thought I got ripped-off; they thought the Fenis got too much air time and I got too little. (Sorry Ryan and Elizabeth!)
I am flattered by your passionate support for me and my business. Thank you.
I'm not going to lie - I was disappointed that the segment that aired was as short as it was and as a result, not reflective of what happened in The Den. A segment like mine is referred to as an "Also" as in Also in The Den. Interestingly, they find it harder to edit the shorter segments than the full-length ones. Watch it again and note how much of the audio is voice-over courtesy of Diane Buckner - hence they can make up whatever story suits them. But hey, that's the chance you take when you appear on a show like this, and I'm OK with it. OVER 1.5 MILLION people saw my product and very clearly what its function is. And the orders are rolling in. Onwards and upwards I say!
I did have a short chat with my segment producer Molly, who, when I asked what I could have done differently, was nice enough to ask Mike (the fellow who edited my piece) for some feedback. Here is what they had to say...
"I asked my colleague Mike for some feedback for you - he edited your piece. He said it was good, at least you made the cut, about 50% of products taped don't get to air. And 1.5 million viewers saw it! I can only say it's hard to sustain a LONG piece, usually pieces that make it to about 8 minutes were likely in the den for at least 45 minutes. With yours they didn't hate the product, they liked you, but they simply didn't see it as an investable business. It's almost the toughest kind of pitch in the den, cause it's a cool product, people like it, but over the course of your presentation there was no over-arching lesson to be learned by the viewer (meaning a lesson in business because you were either ill-prepared or over valued or what have you). It seems unless you really get a vibrant or heated discussion going, it's hard to sustain the arch of a full piece."
This made total sense to me. And I actually watch the show now from a new perspective ----> the lesson.
I will also add that although I still cannot share any specifics about what happened in The Den outside of what aired on TV, I will tell you that ALL of the Dragons were very kind to me. There was (obviously) a lot of "boob innuendo" flying around the set throughout the 30 plus minutes I was out there, but it was all in good fun. They had a problem with my valuation (as they do with most pitchers); they asked questions and I answered them; they decided not to invest... However, everything happens for a reason <---- I TRULY believe this.
Thank you CBC for the opportunity to present to five amazing entrepreneurs. And thank you Molly and Sam and all the fantastic people at the CBC for guiding me through the process.
Oh! and I was going to call this post "Snugabell Travels the Road to the Dragons' Den Final Chapter", but somehow I don't think that is suitable...
Because I'd do it again in a heartbeat...
Oh and one last thing. See the pic above of Pandora La Glamme and Kevin O'Leary? Kevin actually pulled her back onto the set after we walked-off to have this picture taken. And here is what went down:
KO: "What do you do?"
PLG: "I'm a burlesque performer."
KO: "No really, what do you do?"
Nuff said, here's the pitch:
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the pitch, the model, the product, the Dragons - anything that comes to mind at all. We're all ears (and boobs)! You know the routine - leave your comments below. :-)
Do you know any maternity/baby stores that sell nursing bras and/or breastpumps that you also think should be selling PumpEase? I knew it!
Well you've come to the right place! All you have to do is suggest a new retailer to us (we're looking for independents here - no Motherhood Maternity or Babies R Us stores). Email us the name, address and phone number and you will be automatically entered into a draw for $100 worth of Top-Notch Breastfeeding Products! These products all work so beautifully together - pump with your PumpEase and then freeze your milk in Milk Trays; nurse with a MoBoleez breastfeeding hat and instead of wasting the milk that lets down from your other breast, collect it with Milkies (and then freeze it in Milk Trays).
And here are the deets...
Can you enter more than once? Yes!
Where do you send the information?To contests[at]snugabell[dot]com.
When is the draw date?September 30th.
How will I find out if I've won?Check our Facebook Page, Twitter, right here on this blog post or in next month's eNewsletter <--- follow the link to subscribe if you are not already on our mailing list.
Do NOT leave the retailer information as a comment on this blog post. But if you want to comment to tell us how wonderful we are, please feel free! ;-)
Oh, and please share this post! The more the merrier!
It is with great sadness that I write this blog post. Forget Me Not, one of our best selling prints (shown left), will be no longer available going forward. We still have some stock left (if you've been eyeing it), but consider yourself forewarned: it won't last long. When our fabulous fabric vendor told us that the print was discontinued, we were kind of in denial for a week or so (I've told you before that I don't give up without a fight). We explored a custom print, tried to find out who owned the copyright (turns out they went out of business) and pretty much exhausted any and all other avenues. We then came to the realization that we had to pick another print to replace it. <sigh!>
Prints are really hit and miss in the fashion world. I don't have an official method per se, but I chose our four Classic Collection prints by palette (warm, cool, neutral) and "feel" (conservative, kitschy, forecasted and classic) and even then it wasn't easy. Therefore, I was quite proud of myself when these four prints - Forget Me Not, Snowy Leopard, Verry Cherry and Tuxedo - were ALL successful! Having said that, it was crystal clear pretty quickly that Tuxedo and Forget Me Not were the stars. I wasn't surprised about Tuxedo as historically "black sells" no matter what the trends are and no matter what season it is. Forget Me Not was a bit of a surprise though. It wouldn't be my first choice (as I really don't have a conservative bone in my body), but I "get" why it is popular. It is a very pretty, delicate, "safe" floral in shades of periwinkle and blue, the latter being the #1 most preferred colour in the world. Makes total sense.
So now we needed to repeat our spot-on print choices and replace a best-seller. Hmmm... not so easy. We spent literally hours scouring our vendor's print library - first looking for another floral (and being unsuccessful in finding one with the right palette and scale), then resigning ourselves to finding another print - any print - with the right palette and scale.
So this is what we've come up with ---->
And this is where YOU come in! We need a name for our new print! Leave a comment below with your suggestion for our new Classic Collection print's moniker and if we choose it, you will WIN a PumpEase Prize Pack! That's a PumpEase in the new print, a door hanger of your choice, a Breastmilk Storage Guidelines fridge magnet and a Nursing Mother Goddess Necklace of your choice! This is a retail value of $68.00 USD! And of course we'll ship it worldwide on us!
Now go put on your creative hats and happy naming!
Oh and the contest closes with World Breastfeeding Week at midnight PDT, Saturday August 7th, 2010. LUCK to all!
Finally, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the print... like? No like? Meh? Please share!
I have written about my love affair with The Best for Babes Foundationhere, here, here and here. Bettina and Danielle work tirelessly to help moms like you "beat the booby traps" - the cultural and institutional barriers that prevent moms from achieving their personal breastfeeding goals. Today, however, I am asking YOU to help THEM.
They are currently "sitting pretty" to receive a donation of $20,000 from the Chase Community Giving Program to support their cause, but NEED YOUR VOTE to maintain their position in the top 200 until the contest closes at midnight EDT on Monday, July 12, 2010! This will take no more than two minutes of your time and will benefit moms and babies everywhere today and in the future.
So if you are on Facebook, please add the Chase app so you can vote for them, share the link on your profile and rally your friends any way you can so they will vote too! (I know, I don't like adding apps either, but after voting I just went to Account, Application settings (top right of your FB page) and clicked on the "X" beside the Chase app to remove it - EASY PEASY!)
Why did I vote for Best for Babes? Well aside from the aforementioned love affair, they got my vote (and should get yours too) because they:
inspire, prepare & empower moms - to give breastfeeding a makeover and give moms the solutions they need to make it work!
believe ALL moms deserve to make an informed feeding decision, & to be cheered on, coached and celebrated without pressure, judgment or guilt, whether they breastfeed for 2 days, 2 months 2 years, or not at all.
put pressure on the booby traps, not moms, so that they can achieve their personal breastfeeding goals!
are raising awareness of the WHO Code and how violations hurt both breastfeeding and formula-feeding moms
are building the “mother of all causes” through grassroots and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to restore breastfeeding to its rightful place among highly visible disease foundations like Komen, American Heart Association and the Juvenile Diabetes foundation because breastfeeding lowers the risk of all these diseases and many more, plus it reduces the burden on the environment!
are the only non-profit that is running a modern and innovative ad campaign that has the potential to reach millions of moms. With the CHASE community giving grant, they can leverage donated media space and run the campaign on billboards across the country for a fraction of the regular cost AND get more celebrity interviews that will put this issue on the map of the media and the mainstream in a positive and game-changing way.