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, 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. :-)
Hi everyone! Please check-out our latest video entitled, "How to Use a PumpEase hands-free pumping bra". Any idea what it's about? OK, just kidding...
I worked with the wonderful Cathrin Witt on this project. I was responsible for taping it and tried my best to follow Cathrin's guidelines for shot angles and such, however I'm no professional in this arena so you can blame the "not so great" lighting on me. Cathrin was in charge of editing - adding music, stills and titles - and making it look all pretty and professional!
The cool thing is, Cathrin (or Cathy as I knew her as in high school) and I reconnected on Facebook a couple of years ago, yet did not meet face-to-face or even speak over the phone to get this video produced. She lives in Bellevue, WA - about two hours south of me AND in a different country!
So just think... if the next time that Cathrin and I venture down the video production road, we actually work together in-person, we could potentially have Oscar material on our hands! Should we clear off our mantles Cathrin?
Anywho, take a gander at the video and let us know what you think. You like? No like? Tell us all about it below!
Tags: 'how to pump', 'hands-free pump', 'nursing bra', 'easy expression'
After our last attempt at being recognized for our product, you may think we were a glutton for punishment, wouldn't you? Well, I dusted off my pants, dried my tears and did some extensive research on the other programs out there before I got back on my horse. And I am pleased to share with you that, after doing said research and narrowing my choices down, I found myself chatting with the people at PTPA Media (before I submitted my product), and my faith in these "awards programs" was somewhat reinstated. At least enough to give it another go.
During my "pre-submission" chat with PTPA Media, they were completely up-front about ALL the fees involved to be evaluated by their product testers as well as the licensing of the Seal of Approval if you indeed are named a winner. Everything we discussed was also clearly outlined on their website on an easy-to-find page.
Let's be blunt here. These awards programs are a business, plain and simple. They are out to make a profit just like the rest of us. Having said that, there are businesses out there that provide a good product/service/customer care and then there are others that.. well.. don't. Guess which one I am going to choose to deal with?
However, I'll admit that I was nonetheless expecting the worst (still licking my wounds I suppose), but was pleasantly surprised with the level of customer service that I received from PTPA Media. Every email, every phonecall, every voicemail and every letter that I was promised, I received. There were no surprises, no delays and no misunderstandings. Everything that I paid for, that was CLEARLY explained to me, I received. This makes Wendy a happy girl! (I love happy endings!) :-)
As you may already know, I am a huge proponent of extraordinary customer service. Not just good, not just excellent, extraordinary. And if you've ever had the occasion to deal with me on a customer service issue, then you already know that I won't stop until you are happy. Really happy. I want to make you say, "Wow!". Aside from the obvious reasons that customer service is so important to us, I believe that this, along with web 2.0 practices (I'll quote Peter Shankman here) transparency, brevity, top-of-mind and relevancy, FLATTENS THE PLAYING FIELD for smaller companies like ours to compete with the "big guys". This is the beauty of doing business in today's world. And I love it!
But let's get back to the award! We received some great feedback (both positive and not so much), all of which is super useful for us going forward with new product development and current product improvements. I will now share some of the accolades with you... *blushing*
"This product more than met my expectations. At first, when wearing the hands free pumping support, I was very stiff and slow in my movements as I was unsure how supportive the product would be in holding my breast pump. In a short period of time, I realized that the breast pump was secure and I was able to move normally without worrying about my breast pump falling off. I inserted batteries in my breast pump so as to not be restricted by the cord length and then attempted various activities. I was able to clean my house, prepare meals, surf the internet, type emails, read books, knit, and interact and play with my 2-1/2 year old and 6 month old, all while pumping. In addition, I pumped with the PumpEase hands-free pumping support while nursing on the other side. With all these activities undertaken while wearing the support, the breast pump was held securely. At no time did it feel like the breast pump felt loose or in danger of falling off. The hands free pumping support held the breast pump on my breast with evenly distributed pressure in such a way that was more consistent and secure than holding the breast pump by hand, resulting in an increased amount of milk being expressed."
"The quality met my requirements. The product appeared very well made and was very easy to care for. It cleaned up very well and dried quickly. I wore the product for lengthy periods on its own and with the breast pump in order to see if it would begin to sag or stretch out. After lengthy and day to day use, the support maintained it's shape, and comfort without stretching out or becoming loose."
"The hands free pumping support is very comfortable to wear. It is supportive enough to hold the breast pump in place securely, while not feeling restrictive. There were no parts of the support that scratched, poked, pulled or pinched the skin. I wore the support both alone and over my nursing bra. The product was just as effective either way."
"I received the "Tuxedo" style which is black with white trim. It is very appealing and classy looking. For others that enjoy more colour, there are other prints available which are just as fashionable."
I could include more, but don't want to bore you.
And here is some of the constructive criticism...
"There were a lot of latches on the front of the bra to close it. Too many for my liking."
"I didn't really care about the style and colour because no one sees it but me."
"Taking the equipment out and apart was a little challenging and sometimes my milk would leak onto the bra as I was taking the equipment off."
"I found it took extra time to set up to pump rather then just pumping like I normally do, it took me some time to get comfortable."
"I think the product is over priced. I think that $30-ish would be fair. I think that the competitors are over-priced as well."
At this point, I'd like to thank all the product evaluators for their thorough and honest opinions. As I've said many times before, we LOVE feedback because that is one of the many ways that we can make things better for YOU, our customer! And isn't that what it's all about?
So keep your eyes peeled for further announcements about PumpEase as this marketing campaign unfolds. If you have any feedback about PumpEase, please leave it in the comments below. Bring it on!
And for the record, I have STILL yet to hear from iParenting Media. I guess they're not calling me back huh?