On January 27th of this year we participated in our very first consumer trade show - Westcoast Moms’ Vancouver’s Largest Baby Shower. It was a ton of fun, we made a lot of great new contacts and PumpEase™ hands-free pumping supports were very well-received.
We interrupt this blog post for a very important message: A big thank you to my hubby for staying up until 3 am with me the night before! Those “little” give-aways take a long time to make! And also to my bff Lorelei for riding shotgun the day of. We now return to our regularly scheduled blog post.
The morning of the show, I woke-up to 2 feet of snow here in Coquitlam (the show was in East Vancouver - about a 30 minute drive west). Now some of you might be thinking, “Two feet of snow….big deal!” However, if you are saying that, I would guess that YOU don’t live here in the lower mainland where a mere dusting of snow causes sheer panic and chaos. We never get snow = people don’t know how to drive in snow = sheer panic and chaos.
I had to work really hard not to let all the negative thoughts into my head… a much harder task when you’ve only had 3-1/2 hours of sleep!
no one is going to show-up
we’re going to get into an accident on the way there and there will be pumping supports strewn all over the freeway
Lorelei, my bff, won’t make it to ride shotgun (Lorelei doesn’t like to drive in the best of weather, let alone snow!)
Well positive thinking prevailed once again: it was sunny with absolutely no trace of snow in East Vancouver, the people were lined-up around Heritage Hall to get in and Lorelei beat me there!
The Westcoast Moms Baby Shower format is primarily targeted to first-time parents, most of which are still expecting. I have a display on my table at trade shows: a woman’s torso with a nursing bra, a PumpEase™ hands-free pumping support and breast pump horns - pretty much the works. It always cracks me up watching the expressions of people, especially the “Dads to Be” as they walk past my display. It ranges from giggles and nervous laughter, to disbelief and shock, to pure and utter horror. If I get the chance, I always make light of the display and make a point to assure the Mom or Dad-to-be that after experiencing the miracle of childbirth, a breast pumping display is “old hat”. “You’ll get over it!”, I say to them with a big smile on my face (it is so true)!
So Lorelei and I notice Shaw Cable making their rounds at the show. Bianca and her cameraman approach me because of the display. She said it was a “good visual”. Well the rest is history. Watch the clip below.
Here at Snugabell™ we have just gone through the onerous task of re-branding our product. We thought we had the perfect name: Mike & Toni’s hands-free pumping supports. Then we started to get feedback from people indicating that they were confused by the masculine-sounding names for a product that was targeted primarily to women. Moms of boys also didn’t like the pink colour on the packaging. I was selling to women, so I thought pink would work. Apparently I was wrong…. I had girls….. so shoot me!
For the record, Mike and Toni are our two darling daughters, Michaela and Antonia, 1 and 3 years old respectively.
Because our whole approach is one of lighthearted humour, we wanted a lighthearted name. As I’ve mentioned before, we feel people are WAY too serious about the most natural thing we can do for our babies - feed them as nature intended.
We tried to have a focus group to brainstorm a new name, however it was a scheduling nightmare. Most of the members of my target market were too busy (with their families) to attend. I thought a Facebook Group would work……but not much happened there - people joined, but didn’t really discuss…hmmmm. So we turned to our old friend Survey Monkey. We LOVE Survey Monkey yes-indeedy-do! We got a fantastic response to our itty-bitty survey. Thank you so much to everyone that participated!
I would like to share some of the suggestions we got for naming the pumping support. I’ve never laughed so hard! I was once again reminded that I know some wonderfully creative people! And for the record, I REALLY wanted to use Boob Tube - thank you Kim!
Here are some of my faves: Titty Taps, Deliver-Eze, Meloneez (too bad my name wasn’t Melanie), Juggies, Plug ’n’ Play, Milk-a-Matic, Mammy Milker, Num Nums, Nummies, Pump’ems, Suckies…..you get the idea.
And I know you can’t make everyone happy. There is ALWAYS going to be someone who doesn’t like the name. And there is ALWAYS going to be someone that you offend. Oh well, it’s good for press!
Did you know in the 1970’s there were as many as 23 milk banks in Canada? In the 80’s however, fears of HIV transmissions led to the closure of all but the Vancouver bank, located at BC Women’s Hospital.
Breast milk banks - there are currently 10 in the United States as well - provide supplies to mothers who cannot produce enough milk or are not able to produce their own due to illness or being on medication. Banks are also used by parents of adopted and foster children.
Many Canadian communities are pleading for more milk banks to be opened, however few hospitals are willing to supply the required funding and resources and the government isn’t stepping up to the plate to help (surprise, surprise).
Here at Mike & Toni’s™, we are committed to raising awareness around the need for donations (both breast milk and monetary) through our website, blog J and promotional materials. And of course we will talk about it with everyone we meet!
We will also donate at least 1% of our profits to the BC Women’s Milk Bank to assist mothers and babies in need.
How can you help? If you are nursing and have an abundance of milk, please consider donating! If you are in the Greater Vancouver area, they will even come to pick it up. Then they pasteurize, test, freeze and ship it out to those in need. Of course, you can use your Mike & Toni’s™ hands-free pumping support while collecting the milk!
If you can’t help with a milk donation, you can help by donating monetarily. Currently the milk bank cannot pay for the inward shipping of donations outside of their cachement. A donation could help to change this!
For more information, you can visit the Human Milk Banking Association of North America at www.hmbana.org. Our very own Frances Jones, Coordinator of the Vancouver Bank, is the Chairperson of the Board. It is actually a pretty interesting read!
You can also find information about the Vancouver Bank here.
Thank you for your support (pun most definitely intended)!
I’m a real stickler when it comes to customer service. Sadly, more often than not, I am frustrated and shocked by the customer service (or perhaps I should say the lack thereof) that I receive these days. However, I’d like to share a few delightful stories that have restored my belief that yes Wendy, there is a Santa, I mean, great customer service out there after all!
The first one that comes to mind is a lighting company by the name of Kichler. The previous owner of our house had some lamp posts built, but had not gotten around to installing the carriage post lights and so they were included in the sale (in their boxes). When we had our electrician install them, we were dismayed to find one of the finials missing. I contacted my local Kichler retailer, however, they informed me that we couldn’t buy “just the finial”, but would have to buy the whole light ($200). After mulling over this for a while, I decided to email the parent company. The fellow I corresponded with told me that he would check if he could send me a finial. He told me exactly when he would get back to me and that’s exactly when I heard from him. He then told me that he unfortunately could not send me just the finial and in the same breath offered to send me an entire light FREE OF CHARGE - he even covered the shipping! Of course I was ecstatic…. I would have been happy to get it wholesale! I wasn’t even the original purchaser of the lighting (and he knew that). But I tell you….I sure will buy Kichler lighting in the future!
Just telling you this story has exuded in me the same excited feeling that I had on that day and that was over 2 years ago! This just goes to show that providing exceptional customer service is worth every cent of your money and every minute of your time.
Here at Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear we strive to provide the same exceptional customer service to each and every customer - the kind that takes your breath away and makes you say, “Wow!”
Stay tuned for another great customer service story….
I am always thinking….my brain never stops: in the shower, making the beds, brushing my teeth, doing laundry, getting the kids dressed, driving (I do a LOT of thinking while I’m driving).
Unfortunately, I also have a really bad memory. It never used to be bad, however has steadily declined ever since I went back to school in my late 20’s and started using a DayTimer to keep track of all my assignments. Of course this has now turned into a Palm Pilot and may soon turn into a BlackBerry. My advice to you is to keep using your BRAIN and don’t be tempted by teeth that are blue, berries that are black and phones called “Chocolate” or “i” ….. it’s a conspiracy! I used to be able to retain a list of 20 (yes T-W-E-N-T-Y) tasks in my head and now I can’t remember anything! And then I went and had 2 babies over the course of 3 years just to really make sure my brain was mush!
So while I’m doing the laundry or making the beds or brushing my teeth and all these thoughts and ideas are popping into my head, I have to stop what I’m doing and run out to the kitchen to write them down. Sometimes I find myself running back and forth like a crazy woman! I’m paranoid that if I don’t write my fantastic thought or idea down, that I’ll remember later in the day that I had the fantastic thought or idea, but I won’t remember what the fantastic thought or idea was! Then I stress about the fact that I’ll probably never have that same fantastic thought or idea again!
If I’m in the shower or some other “penless” place, I chant the thoughts or ideas in my head over and over until I can make note of them. I’ve even resorted to keeping a Dictaphone recorder in my car so that when (not if) the ideas come to me while I’m driving, I can record them without causing a 10 car pile-up!
But now I have a blog - a means to record and share my fantastic thoughts and ideas with the whole universe! OK, maybe not the WHOLE universe….but hopefully you will find humour, insight and useful information in these posts. I plan to blog about being a WAHM, mompreneur, wife, parent, consumer, breastfeeding advocate and much, much more “as the mood strikes”. Come to think of it, this blog is pretty much destined to become one of life’s little instruction books because as you now know, “I am always thinking….my brain never stops.”
Welcome inside my mind, er blog. I hope you enjoy the ride!