Archive for the ‘Mamapreneur’ Category
We’re lucky to be located very close to East Coast Roasters a.k.a. “Christopher Bean Coffee“. I can tell you this, on a good day, or maybe when the wind is just right, we can smell those beans roasting and it is awesome!
Toddler Tech USA (Dapper Snappers) is a small family owned and run business. These unique toddler belts were invented by a Mom, who saw a need and filled it! My favorite line from the movie Robots! “See a need, fill a need”.
See our Inventor’s story here > CLICK HERE!
We’re also about 10 minutes from “The Worlds Most Famous Beach“! Most people think that it’d be hard to work, living in a vacation destination but, you get used it, and pretty soon you take it for granted, seeing as how it is always there and we can go anytime. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful place to spend your downtime. We do enjoy it when we get the chance!
We’re also about 20 minutes away from Once Upon a Child Daytona Beach. They’re one of our Dapper Snapper Retailers! So if you ever need one and you’re in that neck of the woods, you can always grab it there!
We’re also 20 minutes from the “Daytona International Speedway“! During race times, we can hear the cars racing from our offices and warehouses. I must admit, it’s kinda cool.
So there you have it, a few little things you may not have known about us here at Dapper Snappers! Hope you enjoyed.
The above image of “robots”, “Daytona Beach” and the “Daytona Speedway” are not our images.
I nursed all three of my boys for the first 6 months then incorporated the formula to satisfy the need for constant feeding while growing constantly out of their britches. Because I chose to breastfeed, I was able to save money, apply convenience because it is always accessible, comforting for the baby and very healthy for the mother mentally and physically. I believe the economic benefit of breastfeeding would be for the social services and assistance programs such as WIC (Women Infants & Children Program) and the EBT Food Stamp Program by decreasing the amount spent on formula and allow those funds to be spent on food for the mom to keep up a healthy milk supply for an ever-growing infant when ready to feed.
Dapper Snappers are important accessories in your collection. Moms have to have them! Not only do they prevent droopy pants, they add a unique sense of fashion to the wardrobe and make an outfit more interesting. SAVE MONEY with the Dapper Snapper accessories by having the ability to adjust as your child grows through infancy and toddler years. Trending the seasons collection, patterns or solids, our family has been very creative with your toddlers in mind. By incorporating new designs, parents can celebrate a cause or a holiday, a favorite memory or a ignite a collective fashion statement. Every wardrobe needs at least one universal belt and one for personal trending.
Here are some of my personal favorites. Happy Holidays!
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MOMMY-TO-BE and MY PANTS DON’T FIT ME!!! It wasn’t long ago you found out the exciting news, you’re going to be a mommy! There’s a bun in the oven and you’ve got a whole nine months of baking. Now, we face the changes of our bodies, our moods and maybe what we invest. Whether this is your first baby or your fourth our wardrobe will change. Then there’s the shopping for some maternity clothes, cause we still have to get dressed. Depending on how your body handles the pregnancy we may start to get a little bloated around 9-12 weeks. Shortly after our belly’s get a little tougher and start to expand. It’s hard letting those favorite pants go for the next six months, especially if they are your comfy pair. But what if… you could keep them on for at least another month or two? When our family designed the Dapper Snapper for toddlers, we kept you mommy-to-be in mind. By creating a front end belt that allows an expandable support for the belly, you can wear your favorite pants for another month or so. Boy? Girl? Both? lol, we have all boy and girly girl designs that will suite your trending themes for expanding accessories. Congratulations!
Sort of, but not really… Ok, so we aren’t on the cover of the magazine, but our kids belts are on the inside of the magazine!
You can see our spread in Baby Maternity Retailer here on page 28. You can also see it by simply scrolling down a little bit…
See how easy I made that for you? I’m such a giver! I’m really excited about the exposure we will gain from this magazine. You know me, I’m all about branding. I want Dapper Snappers to be a household name (aren’t you shocked that it isn’t already, me too) and this puts us another step closer to that dream. And really, what better market than baby & maternity? I mean we do make a pretty awesome baby/toddler product and… ahem… we also make a fantastic maternity belt as well!
In this article, we chose to talk about how we are making this product in the USA. That’s always been one thing that has been very important to me. I have always wanted everything that we produce to come from the USA so that we would be helping out the economy. In addition to our day to day employees, we also work with a local behavioral health service to help package our product. How cool is that?
It still amazes me when I sit back and think about how we started this in our garage. I was in charge of sourcing materials, manufacturing, shipping, distribution, etc, and by that I mean I went to the store and bought the elastic and snaps, came home sewed, capped and packaged everything in the garage, boxed it up and then delivered them to local stores. My… we’ve come a long way, baby!
You know me, I’m always looking for the best way to spend our kids belts marketing/advertising budget (not that there is much of one, that’s how we keep our costs lower so we can still make Dapper Snappers in the USA), and yesterday I got an email. It looked like your average spammy type email, which I usually just delete, but then the subject line caught my eye, “ABC Kids vs PLUSH – The Truth“. Hmm… We have never been to Plush, but I have always wondered (and you know how I feel about the ABC Expo, as I discussed here and here). So, I opened the email and read.
ABC Kids vs PLUSH
My Take and What I See As The Future
Ok – I admit it “the truth” as stated in the subject line is only seen through my observations; however the amount of phone calls, emails and talks I have received and or participated in within the last few months prompts me to pen a letter that I hope shares my opinion on how I see the industry as a whole
So that everyone is up to speed, and forgive me to those that have been following my emails in the past, I proudly state that I am a veteran in this industry. 47 years to be exact. Proud owner of what we in the east call a mom and pop store. I grew up in the industry helped build the industry and look forward to a few more years in the industry. I stay anonymous through these email chains because I speak the truth and know the players on all sides. My friends this is a small industry – let’s not kid ourselves to that fact.
The Question at Hand
Like I stated in my prior paragraph I have received inquiry after inquiry on what I see as THE SHOW to attend for the manufacturer and for the buyer, so let’s focus on the two shows that seem to be at each other’s neck and simplify the question thus bringing about a an easier, if any, solution.
ABC Kids - Good show, simple and bland but really all I need when it comes to finding my manufacturers, there does in lie the problem. 4-5 days of sifting through mountains of booths to only see 200-300 of my actual clients is a real downer. Like I stated above, I know the players of ABC and understand there determined goal to make themselves the largest show the industry has
seen…(que echo..seen..seen…seen) but let’s be frank, the million of $$$ that the show brings in does very little to help my store or the manufacturers that purchase the booth space. Due to little loyalty within the ranks of ABC and previous committees and boards the facts always make their way to my doorstep.The industry seems to have come to grips with the fact that inflated salaries, lush “non show” excursions and an ultimately bland show is the new norm for the industry. Now don’t pick up the phone and call ABC right away to complain about me… there is a flip side to this coin. This IS the show you have to go to place your product in front of buyers. Heed what I say when I tell anyone that is planning on attending ABC Kids that they made smart decision and I look forward to seeing them there. Oh and ABC – one more thing. KY C’mon???
PLUSH - this seems to be the biggest point of contention for most people that I talk to so I spent last week on the west coast visiting the show learning all I could and seeing some of my manufacturers. I’ll give you the good with the bad and then hopefully have a solution to the ongoing question later in this email.
THE GOOD – the bland went away. As a buyer this show was more appealing to my senses than any other show I have ever been at. From the moment you walked in the doors to the networking events, you felt as if you were the most important person there. I like that every once in a while. The manufacturers were great to talk with and the mood of the show made me proud to be in the industry.
THE BAD – It was very expensive to attend the show and beyond the networking events, a hamburger cost me $30.00. I did have the luxury of staying the 3 days for the show so the cost is partly my fault however seeing the consumer aspect of the show was interesting, CROWDED and worth the extra night stay and $40.00 breakfast. I have to throw the speakers for what I assume was the educational side under the bus for a second. I would rate them as a 30 on a scale of 0- 100 mostly because of “self proclaimed industry expert” Jamie Grayson. I was able to attend both of his seminars and was bored with both. Now don’t crucify me yet. I know he has a following of about 60 women in the industry that hate their husbands and are looking for a sensitive man in their life, but seriously this young man is a perfect example of how the industry needs NOT TO BE. (This may be the bulk of my next email blast) As a side note to my side note, I also attended the panel at ABC Spring which was very similar to the panel at PLUSH and was happy with what I came away with. So maybe Jamie you send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss why you flamed out at PLUSH.The decor atmosphere and management was charming and down-home for a west coast show and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this young show.
SO MY PROGNOSIS DOCTOR
If you skipped the above just to see what I think, well, you didn’t miss much, but I must ask you to be very serious in reading what I see as the solution. There DOES need to be a change in the industry. ABC shaking hands with foreign entities sends red flags all over my mind and PLUSH being high end yet high dollar also strikes fear to my inner wallet. So Larry Schur, Jina Parks (Show managers of both ABC and PLUSH) – if you are reading this head my below advice and please know that I speak for a great many.
Larry (ABC Kids) – The show is too big – you forgot what the industry is all about and instead filled the bank accounts. Please remember that we are who you fought many years for and I hope you continue to fight for. Please please please reconsider your relationships with other countries. You know this will end bad for many.
Jina Parks (PLUSH) you have the future of show/events in the industry. If ABC had an ounce of courage they would pull your show into their fold and together make the industry unshakable. Bring your pricing for all attendees to an acceptable place and you have my business going forward and many of those that read this blog/email.
To The Reader (that’s you) watch these shows very carefully – one is for you and one could very well be against you. If I had to make my choice now…it would be for PLUSH. They are what the industry needs to be healthy and they radiate that in their show, management and there perseverance.
Talk with everyone soon,
The Juvenile World Old Guy
I enjoyed reading his perspective. There isn’t enough information about worthwhile trade shows and we end up spending thousands of dollars to attend shows in which we make few contacts (simply because of lack of attendance), like ENK this spring. And I couldn’t agree more with him about ABC at KY. As I stated earlier, we went the first time it was in KY and it was just awful. We heard that last years was better, though we refused to attend. However, from what I gathered, even though the entertainment was better, orders were still down because the buyers didn’t want to go to KY and really, that’s what we are there for orders and connections, not entertainment.
All of this being said, I don’t know who this guy is but I appreciated hearing a buyers point of view. Like I said, normally I skip over emails like this, but since we haven’t attended Plush and I was told it would be a good show to attend, I felt “called” to read it. We will be at the ABC Kids Expo in Vegas this year, but next year we may look into Plush!
I hope it helps you with your trade show decisions!
Won what? You ask? Well, we won the Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) Award!
PTPA Media announced that Dapper Snappers earned the PTPA Media seal of approval. PTPA Media has North America’s largest volunteer parent testing community, with over 40,000 parents and was rated the Most Trusted Seal by 22,000 parents.
When I invented Dapper Snappers kids belts, I had not only the child in mind, but also the parent, so this award, selected by parents, is a huge honor. I am thrilled that so many parents love our product. I never dreamed we would come this far! I mean, really, I started sewing these in my garage, but then again, Hawaiian Tropic was also started in a garage and look how far they have come!
When you see the PTPA Winner’s Seal you know that it is evidence of a products excellence from having been evaluated by unbiased parent testers. Dapper Snappers was among many entries from across North America competing to earn the PTPA™ Seal. Independent parent volunteers evaluate products in their own homes to ensure that PTPA winners are chosen based on merit and consumer experience – not on commercial considerations. As a result, the PTPA Media™ Seal has quickly gained recognition as an international leader in certifying consumer products for quality, effectiveness and value.
Last week I got the surprise of a lifetime when a reporter from the Daytona Beach News Journal asked to interview me. How exciting! I thought I would share the article with you.
Michelle Cazella, inventor of Dapper Snappers, displays the prototype that started her business.
Published: Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.
PORT ORANGE — It all started because a toddler couldn’t keep his pants up.
Frustrated by the situation, Michelle Cazella, the mother of that toddler, developed a partial belt that fastens through the back belt loops of children’s pants and keeps the waist snug.
She showed her prototype to other mothers and asked, “Is this something you would buy?” The answer was a resounding yes, and in 2008 a home-based business was born.
Today, Cazella’s Toddler Tech USA, which moved from Oregon to Port Orange in 2009, has grown into a thriving company that employs 10 workers and manufactures Dapper Snappers, which are sold in more than a dozen countries.
After deciding to make and sell her product back in 2008, Cazella spent the next nearly two years researching the market and materials, a decision that experts say contributes to the success of any small business.
“You’ve got to do your due diligence,” said Doris “Connie” Bernal, site manager of the Volusia County-funded UCF Business Incubator at Daytona Beach International Airport. “Then if you discover a need, find the solution and create a product that will fill that need, it will succeed.”
Cazella said details are important to her and that she was determined that all the materials in her products, down to the staples in the packaging, would be made in the United States, which, she said, “is an amazing selling point.”
Much of her research time was spent hunting American manufacturers and suppliers who would meet her standards.
A friend suggested naming her product Dapper Snappers. Cazella bought a 1970s heavy-duty sewing machine off craigslist.com and her husband designed the packaging. “It’s interesting how all this has come together,” she said.
At first, she and her husband made and shipped Dapper Snappers from the garage of their then-home in Oregon. After moving to Port Orange to be closer to her husband’s family, Cazella and her husband attended a trade show in Las Vegas to increase the visibility of their startup business.
“We learned a lot at that trade show — how to place our product to get noticed — and we got orders, including from South America,” she said.
After the trade show they moved the business into a Port Orange warehouse, at 413 Oak Place. They have sinced doubled their space in that warehouse.
Now with three full-time and seven part-time employees, Cazella’s company does everything in-house — manufacturing, packaging and shipping. She designs the patterns for the Dapper Snappers, and they dye the material in-house as well.
Most of the marketing is done online, and Cazella uses innovative ways to reach potential customers.
“Word of mom is incredible,” she said. She said she often picks out popular “mom” bloggers and sends them free samples. They write about the product, and the orders roll in.
That’s another way entrepreneurs can succeed, Bernal said — finding new ways of reaching their target markets. Many small businesses fail because they don’t become familiar with resources for marketing. “You need to know all the ways you can market your product,” Bernal said.
Dapper Snappers, which has expanded to include products aimed at older kids, expectant mothers and elderly and special needs customers, sells online to individuals and to retail stores and outlets around the country and the world.
The business ships an average of approximately 5,000 pieces per month, she said, and is approaching $500,000 in annual revenue, which makes Cazella proud.
“We never took out a loan. Everything we made from the business we put back into the business,” she said. “Now we’re to the point where it supports us, but we’re not rich. To have all this and not owe anybody anything – I just love it. … It’s been an incredible ride.”