Archive for the ‘Mamapreneur’ Category

We Want You… To Vote for Us!

Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 12:06 PM
posted by mrscaz
Vote for Toddler Tech USA!

Vote for Toddler Tech USA to get a $250k grant!

We are participating in a program to win a grant for our Dapper Snappers kids belts and we need your votes! I hate asking for votes from our fans, friends, and family, but this one is super important to us and could mean amazing things for our company if we win.  Mission: Small Business℠ is a program sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial to help small businesses across the US by awarding up to 12 individual $250,000 Grants.

VOTE – It’s Easy!

It’s easy to vote (literally 30 seconds of your time), go to, log in using your Facebook page, and in the search box, type “Toddler Tech USA”. Then you just click vote! That’s it! No DNA sample, no signing away your first-born, it’s just a couple of clicks that could mean the world for us!

We have plans to grow this small business even further, provide more local jobs, and produce quality products at a fair price. With more success comes more opportunities to help our community, raise funds for good causes, and make our contribution to the economy. We need this grant to get there!

So, what are you waiting for? VOTE FOR DAPPER SNAPPERS!! You can only vote once, but you can help spread the word and get your friends, family, children, pets, friend’s pets, friend’s kids, neighbors and so on and so on to vote!

Thank you all for your help and your continued support of our Dapper Snappers Brand!!



Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Help Save a Small Business!

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 07:03 PM
posted by admin

I’m not going to get into details here, but you can read more about this issue here. The important thing is that this fundraising effort is in support of a fellow mamapreneur who could use your help. Please read the stories, decide for yourself, discover the truth, and donate if you can.


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Are you smoking crack?

I usually try to keep my opinions to myself. As I’ve said before, I can’t always say what I want to say. But after the first communication from ABC Expo after the flop that was the 2011 Louisville ABC Expo, I just can’t help myself… (I’m just going to apologize for this extremely long and cranky post upfront.) Also, I started this post 2 months ago. Sometimes it just takes a couple months to get it all down.

We attended a recent trade show, one that used to be the largest in the juvenile industry, All Baby & Children Kids Expo. The trip didn’t get started off on the right foot. I don’t blame the trade show for that. My stupid ticket didn’t help. Other not-so-fun stuff happened… Upon unloading our trade show stuff from the trailer, after we got the cart loaded with 400 lbs of stands, product, and marketing collateral, the caster on one of the wheels broke in half. How did this happen??? Just our Kentucky luck I guess.

broken caster wheel

My list of complaints is long, especially when it comes to Fern, the company hired by ABC to be in charge of setting up everything from carpets to electricity to food services. They had to be one of the worst companies I’ve ever had to deal with.

  • They left everything a mess after they set up and didn’t clean up after themselves. They didn’t bother to vacuum any of the carpeting they laid down.Our poor neighbors had the whole border of their flooring torn up because the Fern staff felt they couldn’t possibly lift it up out of their way, but instead threw pieces of it all over the booth.
  • Their idea of an apology for leaving a mess all over our booth, as well as many others, was to tell us that we didn’t ask them to clean up after themselves. If we wanted them to do that, we would have to pay $200 extra…per day! I have a hard time believing that it would take that long to vacuum a 20×10 carpet that was 30% covered in furniture. But hey, they’re better than the GES staff we had to deal with in Vegas, right? WRONG!!! The guy in charge said that since I was so unhappy about the mess they left, they would vacuum our booth every morning of the show free of charge. And then they didn’t do it. You all know how I feel about poor customer service.
  • They didn’t offer empty bin service (this is for empty boxes to be saved and repacked after the show) without outrageous storage fees. So much for Fern being cost effective because they are non-union.
  • The carpets didn’t match. We counted 5 different colors of blue carpeting in our area, all smushed together like some bad patchwork quilt. It looked horribly unprofessional. And it stunk. Badly.
  • Power cords were run arbitrarily under carpets. We had the privilege of having the center of our booth host a spiderweb of power cords under our carpet to share with everyone else in our row and could do nothing about it. We did our best to lay the lines flat and close together (after pulling the carpet back up) so that there would be less to trip on. Then we had to arrange our booth so that the lump under the carpet wasn’t so obvious, and so no one would trip on it.
  • We were offered a great way to save money on parking so we could come and go as we pleased. Instead of paying $8 every time we parked our car (not per day, but per parking), a 24 hour expo parking pass was offered to exhibitors for $24. But the pass stopped selling 1/2 way through the first day. We don’t know if they ran out and couldn’t figure out how to print more, or if Fern was just being greedy. But we ended up paying way too much for parking!
  • The food was a joke. A really bad one. My quest started off with a desire for coffee. An hour wait in line was met with 2 elderly “baristas” who had no idea what they were doing. We jokingly decided along with some other customers that we were going to start a support group for the Survivors of Kentucky Grind. About the time that lunch time rolled around the lines for food were impossibly long. There were only a few places to get anything to eat on that first day. And what was really sad? They ran out of food! People were being turned away as they closed up shop. I waited 45 minutes in one line only to watch them put up a sign claiming they were sorry but they could not accept anything but cash. I guess their credit card readers decided to stop working. Those of us without cash were out of luck. We could leave the expo center, but we would have to pay another $8 to park again. The next day more food vendors showed up. Big trucks outside claimed you could have the best pork chop sandwich ever, or a “taco” salad (yeah, that isn’t what you think it is), or deluxe potato chips (like nachos with potato chips instead of tortilla chips). The food was awful and the prices were worse. For what they were charging, you could almost go out to eat and pay for parking all over again. For as much as it cost us for the booth and travel, should we really have to pay super-inflated county fair prices for something to eat?

Of course, not the fair expo people’s fault, but our hotel (one set up with ABC housing) was not a good experience. Normally I’m not picky about hotels. As long as they provide what they say they are going to, we are good to go.

  • The first night there, we had no air conditioning. So after a really long stressful day of setting up and getting our booth ready for the show, we spent our night tossing and turning and sweating. Mind you, we called the hotel management before we went to bed at 1 am to get someone to fix it. The poor night manager (on her 3rd night working for the hotel) had to put up with plenty of discontent, not just ours. She got our AC working again…for a short while. And then by 4 am it was hot again.
  • Lack of promised amenities. Where was the free wireless? Every day they would get it working and then a half hour later it was off again. The poor night manager had her hands full with this one as customers yelled at her for it not working when they got up in the morning, not like she had any control over it. Can you tell I really felt bad for her? Poor thing…
  • The continental breakfast was a whole lotta not good; much like salmonella looking for a place to propagate. I think I’ll take my chances with the county fair food at the expo.
  • Hubby would like me to also mention the total lack of water pressure to even have a decent shower, also not mentioned in the list of amenities.

That pretty much leaves me with what I know to be ABC’s fault directly.

      • I fault them for going for the lowest bidder and hiring Fern.
      • I also fault them for providing housing that not only did not meet standards, but was overpriced as well (and we were in one of the least expensive hotels).
      • They obviously did not know enough about Louisville (and neither did we until we spent time with a friend who lives there) to know that the expo and the hotel we stayed in, and really a 2 mile radius of the expo, is known to all as the “bad part of town.” Although I think maybe they did, but didn’t really care since they weren’t paying for the expo space anyway. Rumor has it that it was free the first year, but they are under contract to pay next year. Apparently Louisville, like every other city in the country, is struggling with jobs lost, housing foreclosures, and poverty. The more visitors they can get into the city, the more income is raised with overpriced lodging and food. Seems like a win-win for everyone except the exhibitors.
      • Uniformed police officers walked around the exhibit hall constantly. They didn’t make me feel safe. They actually put me on edge. I was waiting for a take-down or something crazy like that. What was up with the police presence? Well, just say hi to them and they will spend an hour in your booth telling you tales of thievery and deceit right there in our very own trade show. Ugh…
      • Ever been to a mall on a Monday morning? That was pretty much how the show felt the entire time. 54% of the people walking around were other exhibitors. Only 14% were actual buyers. Not sure how many of those were undercover police posing as buyers from Violet’s Playhouse. Yes, the uniformed police told us about the undercovers. Your secret is out!
      • The highlight of the trade show, the party/concert held for all exhibitors and buyers was very badly done. I spent so much time talking this thing up to so many people only to feel embarrassed and let down. You see, every year (when it was in Vegas) the party would have some stupid theme and an old decrepit band, whose members we all thought were long passed, would play the night away (well at least the 3 hours the party was on) while we ate and drank our fill from the free buffets and open bars. It was the one night that didn’t cost us anything except cab fair to get back to our hotels. What did Louisville have to offer?
            • Their cocktail and appetizer (don’t want to confuse them with a big word like Hors d’oeuvres) servers were completely unknowledgeable about what they were serving unless it was fried. Deep fried bacon on a stick? Umm…no thanks. My assistant Jen asked a server what kind of wine he had on his tray. His response was, “Char? Char nay? Char? Don? Um…uh…White wine.” Thank you master sommelier. The dinner served was marginally better than the expo fare. What’s that saying about lipstick on a pig?
            • And the open bar? Well, if you were at all late, you were screwed. They had the bar open for a total of 45 minutes and they ran out of Cabernet Sauvignon before I could get a second glass. As soon as they announced the closing of the bar, people crowded in droves around the bartenders and ordered as many drinks as they could carry back to the carpeted section they were sitting on.
            • Did I forget to mention to utter lack of tables and chairs? Yeah… Besides a couch and love seat, there was no furniture except high tables to stand at. Wanna sit? Cop a squat!
            • The concert was held in another part of the building, so really, no where near the food or drinks. And you could still drink after they closed the open bar if you wanted to pay an outrageous amount for small servings.
            • The concert, while well done for the price, was featuring KC and the Sunshine Band. KC is now a fat old guy that is trying desperately to hold on to his glory days but has to keep walking off stage for a rest (and probably an oxygen mask) between songs. I give him credit for trying. But no, KC, I don’t think you’re sexy. Just for fun, here’s a video clip from the show. The funniest part is around 6:28 when he’s trying to hide his butt crack.

The part that infuriates me the most about the whole thing? They sent out this press release:

ABC Kids Expo Completes First Louisville Show,

Looks to 10th Anniversary Celebration in 2012

The world’s largest juvenile products trade show reports on its 9th annual exposition at its new location at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

San Antonio, TX – All Baby & Child, Inc., the parent company and organizer of ABC Kids Expo®, has released a post-show statement regarding their ninth annual trade show, held for the first time at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, KY, on September 23 – 26, 2011.

Preliminary stats showed an overall decrease of about 2,200 after last year’s record-breaking attendance and a venue change for this year’s show. Retail buyers, mostly from the West Coast, were down by about 400. Final numbers are expected in the next few weeks.

Attendance figures from the Midwest and East Coast, media, government and special services were up from last year. Although slightly less than last year, the number of exhibitors was about 7% higher than at the 2009 show, and net square footage for exhibit space was 4% above the mean for the last three years.

“Most exhibitors we have talked with had good shows. Some indicated that the show was the best ever in terms of order writing and quality of buyer attendance,” according to Larry Schur, president of All Baby & Child, Inc. “We were very pleased to see that our international buyer attendance was the second highest in the event’s history, with 62 countries represented. Total event attendance was down from last year, but it is consistent with prior show years and understandable with the current economy and the number of retailers who have had to close their doors.”

He continues: “While we understand that some found it difficult to get to Louisville and there are always issues to be resolved in moving a show of this magnitude to a new city and a new venue with all new contract suppliers, the issues are easily remedied. We are pleased with the results of the show and the amount of orders it generated for our exhibitors. Retailers indicated that the layout of the show floor by category, all on a single level, made the show easily navigable and was the best in the history of the show.”

Virtually every significant manufacturer or distributor of products for infants and small children exhibits at this private industry event, showcasing their latest products, networking with established customers, and working to land new accounts from among the retailer attendees. Here are some of this year’s exhibitor comments:

As you can see, they are smoking some kind of marketing crack! I removed the comments because I know for a fact that it’s all crap. One of the quoted exhibitors told everyone how awful it was and then gave a glowing review to ABC. What a lot of hooey!

As if things hadn’t gone badly enough, my poor over-worked car decided that day 3 of the expo from hell was a good time to kick the bucket. We thought we had it figured out, but it wasn’t going to go anywhere without a major repair. When we finally had everything packed up and ready to go, we still had to stay one more day to get the car fixed. The radiator had to be replaced. All in all, the cost of the trip was more than if we had all taken first class flights to the trade show and had everything shipped. And we still didn’t make enough in sales to cover it.

Wanna know what makes me laugh about this all now? This recent press release from ABC Expo:

ABC Maintains Booth Pricing for 10th Year in a Row,

Announces Move Back to Las Vegas in 2013

San Antonio, TX – All Baby & Child, Inc. (ABC), the parent company and organizer of ABC Kids Expo®, is pleased to announce that it is maintaining booth pricing for its 2012 show at the Kentucky Exposition Center on October 14-17. ABC has not increased booth pricing for the ABC Kids Expo since its inception 10 years ago.

Floor space for the 2012 show is already 75% sold. Booth layouts will begin shortly after the first of the year. Once this is underway, major booth increases or decreases will be extremely difficult to accommodate. For that reason, early bird discounts will be forfeited for booth decreases of 25% or more after January 31, 2012.

The official deposit deadline for the 2012 show is January 31, 2012. JPMA members of record as of that date will receive an extension to March 1, 2012.

After careful review of feedback received from industry participants at the 2011 show, ABC is working closely with Louisville officials and vendors to address concerns for the 2012 event in Louisville, such as improved healthy food options and reduction in wait times, re-construction of the expo centers wifi system, and greater availability of restaurant options in the city on Sunday.

ABC is also pleased to announce that a move back to Las Vegas is planned for 2013 and is tentatively scheduled for October 15-18, 2013. Along with this announcement comes some great news for participating manufacturers. Exhibitors at the 2012 show will receive a $2-per-square-foot loyalty credit to use toward their 2013 booths of the same or larger size.

It is not too late to take advantage of this loyalty discount offer. Exhibitor registration is available online at or by calling the ABC Hotline at (210) 691-4848.

Well ain’t that somethin? Seems they can’t just say everything was wonderful after all. When ABC goes back to Vegas, we will come back to ABC. In the meantime, plans are in the works to exhibit at KIDShow and ENK.


Nuts and Berries

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 @ 08:09 AM
posted by mrscaz

I’ve talked to a lot of fellow Mamapreneurs and the same subject keeps coming up. What’s strange is that it’s a topic that’s mostly ignored. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s of a personal nature, or that it’s too complicated, but there’s not much out there about it. What am I talking about? Mamapreneurs frustrated because they aren’t getting the encouragement and support from their husbands to “go for it” in their business ventures. This issue is, thankfully, not one that I have to battle. My husband has always been my biggest cheerleader throughout this whole kids belts business process.

But why are so many husbands opposed to the mother of their children starting her own business? There are too many reasons to count. Maybe, as my Hubby explained to me, it’s more primitive than just a fear that Mama will abandon him and the kids or that there’s some sense of inadequacy. Hubby believes that it may be as simple as this…

Starting a business is an investment of both time and money.  Many “home” businesses are started during a time a financial need and while men are more likely to take risks with money, they will weigh that risk with the potential gain. Starting and growing a business is more like gardening than hunting in that it takes patience, passion, and cultivation to see any results.  Unless the crop is expected to be big at the end of the season, I would not expect the hunter in the family to spend much time in the garden.

When I asked around, I got a very good response from Dr. Kasmin Boswell-Delgado..

When working with clients I usually probe to understand the dynamics of the relationship. What usually present’s is challenges in the couples communication, insensitivity, time management concerns and underlying fear in one or both of the spouses.

To effectively tackle the challenge, its imperative “mamapreneurs” learn to clearly communicate with their spouse, manage their time, self-talk & subconscious desire to gain spouse approval, as well as  surround themselves with a supportive group of individuals (more than ONE) who will provide fair feedback, encouragement and guidance.

It’s imperative for the “mamapreneur” to “get a grip” on personal thinking & need for approval. By understanding “_just because you think something or are told something unsupportive doesn’t make it true_,” you position yourself light years ahead of your spouse and other counterparts who are developing their businesses.

In addition, this clarity will increase “mamapreneurs” self-confidence, communication skills and assertiveness with her spouse. It also creates the necessary mental space to make real, sustainable change in their lives, celebrate their victories and encourage them to continue their new, good habits that will contribute to the imminent success of their company.

To deal with their spouse I suggest “mamapreneurs” share with their husband, what makes them passionate about their endeavor, the target population (which has or will favorably respond to the business,) the changes you’ll be making and the reasoning behind them.
Often, allowing the spouse to see the excitement, commitment and interest you have, they’re probably more likely to offer more support or at least less resistance. Next, I’d work out the details of the ways you need them to be supportive or pitch in i.e. shopping, cleaning, baby-sitting, picking up the kids, ditching the negative comments, sarcasm, judgment.

Since more than likely, your spouse may be wondering (and even skeptical about) how your change will affect them since they’re used to “mamapreneurs”  carrying the load in every respect of the relationship, that usually is the perfect time to explore your iPad “Priority Matrix” app or “TaskTask HD iPad app. These two apps provides a SIMPLE way for my clients to remain on task by looking at what needs to be done today, in what order, the future, a look at what’s scheduled, as well as an overview of projects and what’s going on with their children, to see the big picture. This tool helps clients easily keep many goals organized in one place and also affords the ability to share this information with their spouse, support system, nanny,

Get a support system that’s truly supportive in ways that are relevant to your situation. For instance, if you need someone who will run errands, watch your kids while you go to business appointments, then make sure that type of person is apart of your network & you reciprocate in a way they will appreciate it even if they act like they want NOTHING in return. Not only will “diversifying” your support base put less pressure on your relationship with your spouse, the “mamapreneur” will benefit from the affirmation and perspectives of others who are “in the trenches of their own lives” making changes themselves.

Finally, I suggest “mamapreneurs” invest in an app such as iThoughtsHD.  It’s a mind-map system that puts all the tasks in one place so “mamapreneur” can always see where all of the tasks listed in Priority Matrix or TaskTask HD apps are headed. It’s a minimal investment ($9.99), yet essential to keep “mamapreneurs” internally and externally motivated.

More important, by following the advice provided, “mamapreneurs” have a tangible process with built in support that enables them to purposefully become involved in every aspect of their lives, whether or not their spouse signs on. They are able to set their own goals, which enable them to a) take small actions to begin solving problems as they arise; b) properly evaluate negative perceptions of events and high expectations of others as they arise; & c) consciously choose to let go of unhealthy or unattainable goals and develop multiple sources of self-esteem while building the business of their dreams. Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions or concerns you wish to address.

I feel like those all really good tips and truthfully, the key to any relationship (marriage, friendship, business, family, etc…) is communication. Both people in the relationship need to express their concerns in a constructive manner. Yes, I said constructive, no yelling or name calling. I’m as much of a fan of calling someone a knucklehead as the next guy, but really, that’s not effective and chances are it’s going to make that person shut down.
Here’s to communication! Good luck mama’s!!
Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

I Feel Like Such a Fool!

Thursday, September 1, 2011 @ 08:09 AM
posted by mrscaz

I should’ve moved this post over from my old blog a very long time ago, but I forgot about it until the topic came up in a mamapreneurs group I belong to. I was young in the toddler belts realm back then and didn’t know any better, but I should’ve. This was originally posted June 10, 2009.

I feel like such a fool. I am disappointed. Beyond disappointed really. Part of me thinks I shouldn’t write this post because a) I will look like a fool to everyone else, b) I should have known better. You be the judge… (all names have been omitted or changed to x’s to protect all involved…well except me that is.)

I couple months ago, I got on a website to help me get contact info for celebrities. My hope of course was to send Dapper Snappers to these people and either have my product spotted on their children or at least have something from them saying how wonderful they think my product is. I still haven’t sent any out…ugh. Anyway… I saw the Celebrity Gifting Opportunities and thought, Hey! This could work. I send them product and for a nominal fee I get the opportunity I’m hoping for…right?
I contacted the celebrity gifting company and got caught up in the excitement of gifting an Anonymous celebrity (no, they wouldn’t tell us who it was for – just adding to the suspense) who was expecting a baby boy. I did the works with customizing and quadruple checking quality of the Dapper Snappers. I sent special packaging with it and a self addressed stamped envelope with nice blank note card so they could write back those words I longed for (I just LOVE the Dapper Snappers! Thank you so much!!! etc). And I paid the not so nominal fee of $75.00 that I really couldn’t afford, but I was taking a gamble. Anyone who knows me, knows I do not gamble…ever.
The possibilities were endless. I just didn’t think about the other extreme “possibilities”. So imagine my disappointment today when I finally got my note back, and it was signed by some guy I’d never heard of. I looked him up and he’s one step above an extra. He’s not even a B-list celebrity. I feel cheated, misled, and stupid.
What was I thinking? I won’t put a quarter in a slot machine, but I give this company $75?
I decided to write an email. I haven’t sent this email yet and am not sure it would even do any good. When I started the email, I was very angry. I rewrote it until I came across as more sensible and understandably upset. Hubby said it sounds like I’m acting as an upset mom and not a business. I’m not sure it matters. They didn’t make any promises other than I was guaranteed a response. I have no legal recourse. All I can do is be angry.
Here’s the email. Again, name’s protected, etc.
I received the reply today. Who is Sxxxx Txxx? I thought all the secrecy was because it was an A list celebrity. I can’t use his autograph for anything. I basically wasted $75 and product for this note back to me:
Toddler Tech,
Thank you for your lovely gift.
All the best.
Scribbled autograph
That is unacceptable. I, like other product-based businesses that gift celebrities, had hopes that Dapper Snappers would be given to someone well-known, and that maybe someday their child would be spotted wearing a Dapper Snapper, thus promoting my brand, and of course all the wonderful success that follows a product spotting. I also had hoped for a better response (something I could use immediately on my press page) than “Thank you for your lovely gift.” It doesn’t even mention what I gave him. I am so disappointed.
No one knows who he is. I can’t even find any information about his family, or any new baby boy. Your service has done nothing for me but waste my money. I feel like such a fool.
Needless to say, I won’t be doing business with your company again.
So I am a fool. It was a dumb thing to do. I am going to go kick myself for a while. And maybe pout a bit. Yeah…pouting sounds good. Sigh…
toddler belts gift
Update: Just so you know, the company that scammed me was…
I did write them and they never replied to me. They ignored every attempt to contact them. They’ve got their money, why would they want to give it back? Whatever…
The celebrity I had gifted has since become a B+ish celeb, but he never takes his son out in public. I’m not even sure he has a son. I can’t even find any evidence that he and his wife have had any children. So what was that gifting worth to me? Absolutely nothing!
But since then, I have used another company; KT Giftings. While I still got a generic note back (from Alyssa Milano), I knew who I was gifting and the price was very reasonable. I’m not sure she’ll ever use the Dapper Snappers Moms belts or the Dapper Snappers Toddler Belts I sent, but she did get them.  And I’m pretty sure she’ll be out and about with her little boy a lot. I will gift through them again. If you want to get in on the action, check out the KT Giftings Facebook page. I’m hoping to gift more celebs that take their kids out a lot. Maybe eventually, someone will notice a Dapper Snapper on a mini-celeb and a photographer will get a snapshot to put on the front of People Magazine so I can put a little blurb on my Press Page for “As Seen On” blah, blah, blah. Maybe it’s all just for bragging rights.
What do you think?
Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

One of my Mentors

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

It’s not good enough just to invent Dapper Snappers Kids Belts. In order for it to mean something I had to turn it into a business and make it successful so others could benefit from this amazing product. Over the years, there have been many people who have inspired me in business, both by mentoring me and just being someone awesome and I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce all of you to one of those individuals. He was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his schedule to let me ask him a few questions. Here is my interview with Mike Michalowicz, the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I officially consider myself grown up, because I am doing what I love.  I am absolutely passionate about being an advocate for and empowerer of entrepreneurs.  In regards to the rest of the growing up part, I am still waiting for my voice change to finally be over.

Why did you choose to pursue this career?

Because someone once told me that most people try to make a lot of money so they can be happy one day.  But that is wrong.  He explained you need to be happy now and always, and that yields financial freedom.  It clicked with me… and by golly, it works.

What is the one action you have taken that has accounted for most of your success?

I have always 100% of the time been 100% me.  I don’t aspire to be anyone else, I aspire to be 100% true to who I am.  That is the key to success.

How do you handle defeat and/or failure?

I hate it, and I think it sucks.  But I realize it is the necessary part of life… but I still hate it.  If I ever get to the point where i think defeat is ok and become comfortable with it, you can stick a fork in me, because I’m done.

When is breaking the rules okay?

Um… like, always.  Beg for forgiveness, don’t ask for permission.  Of course, breaking the law is totally different – I suggest you don’t do that.

How do you keep your feelings from clouding your decision-making?

I don’t.  Feelings cloud EVERYONE’S vision, and if someone says that they can extract feelings 100% they are lying (or they are a robot).  The core part of being a person is feelings.  And those feelings are key. Trust your instincts they seem (at least for me) be right way more often then “logic” is.

How would you describe your personal style?

A little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll.

What do you do to live a balanced life?

I don’t live a balanced life, I live an integrated life.  Sometimes work comes home, and sometimes my family comes to work.  It is all a big blend.  But I ping pong around.  I am NOT texting, while playing with my children or watching a soccer game.  But, but, sometimes that same little soccer player is here at my office, stuffing envelopes.

Who is your hero?

Dale Carnegie.

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with?

I just want to hang out with real people.  I don’t care if someone has the same interests as me, or agrees with me… I just like people who are “real” and fully themselves.  Arrogance and falsity need not apply.

If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas, how would you go about it?

Ask questions.  Every day, everything I look at, I ask “How could that be done better?”  Just a few days ago, I figured out a better way to run a road-side vegetable stand by asking that question when I drove by one.

What magazines, newspapers and/or informational periodicals do you study?

I read tons and tons of books, and look forward to flying because I get tons of reading done during those times.  It is astonishing how much knowledge are in books.  I don’t read newspapers (99% of news is sensationalism), but I do read magazines – current favorites are Psychology Today, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Inc..

What books have influenced your ideas and thoughts the most?

OMG… I could go on for ever.  Here are just a few that I read in the past month.  What The Dog Saw / Don’t Make Me Think / Culture Code / Moonwalking With Einstein.

What are 5 key books you feel I should read, and why?

Here are the must reads: Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber, Purple Cow by Seth Godin, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends & Influence People by “my boy” Dale Carnegie.

More info on Mike:

Who inspires you?


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

New Routine = New Found Free Time

Monday, August 29, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

Super Dude has been back at school for a week now, but Bug just started today. Pre-K better watch out, they may have met their match!

Now that they are both back in school, a new routine has emerged. They both have new bed times, new times to wake up, and new times to get out the door. We wake up and have breakfast, get lunches ready and backpacks packed. After that, we all load up in the car and head out to school. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that smooth, yet, but we are working on it.

There were a few tears this morning as I dropped off Bug, just from me though. She is glad to be back in school. I will miss her. I won’t miss her telling me every 5 minutes that she’s hungry though.

The one thing I am noticing so far today is that once I dropped them both off, an amazing thing happened… SILENCE! Yes, that blessed sound (or lack there of) that comes from being alone and do you know what that means? Less distractions which in turn means a more productive day! Hallelujah! Let the new found free time prevail!

Free time? Yeah right! The kids belts world is a busy one and yes, this new routine of dropping the kids off is a huge time freer upper, but that new free time is quickly filled with projects and deadlines. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. Having a business that I have built from the ground up and one that is growing by leaps and bounds daily is an amazing accomplishment that is worth every minute I have invested into it.

So I guess I should have changed the title of this post to New Routine = New Found Sanity… Hmmm… that’s probably not right either. Stupid deadlines…

Hope your Monday is being awesome to you!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Do Me a HUGE Favor? Pretty Please??

Monday, August 22, 2011 @ 05:08 PM
posted by mrscaz
It's ON!

It's ON!!!

So I need your help. The story below is the long of it, but if you don’t have time to read it, I totally understand. The short of it is this:

I’m trying to get an audition for Dapper Snappers Kids Belts for a new tv show called Born By Moms with Ali Landry.

The TOP 10 Mompreneurs with the most “likes” for their products on Spokesmoms wall will be guaranteed to be auditioned!

Please help out by:

1) “Like” fan page

2) “Like” my post

3) Tell your friends!

Thank you!!

Now here’s the long of it…
First, I received this email press release on Friday:
For Immediate Release
ABC Kids Expo Partners with Creators of “Biggest Loser” and to Launch New Reality Series at 2011 Show
All Baby & Child, Inc. and the ABC Kids Expo® are excited to announce the launch of a new reality TV show, “Born by Moms,” at the 2011 ABC Kids Expo in Louisville, KY., in association with seasoned veteran TV producer Mark Koops (creator and executive producer of “Biggest Loser”) will be holding their first open casting calls for the series at the tradeshow.
This new television production focuses on products invented by mompreneurs—entrepreneurs who happen to be moms. The show will be hosted by Ali Landry, who is expecting her second child, and will create an unprecedented opportunity for new companies to spotlight their products and generate immediate interest as only national television coverage can.
Unlike other shows that discover new products, “Born by Moms” will focus on the vision and story of the mom behind the product. “Born by Moms” is the brainchild of Anthony Samadani and Ali Landry, founders of, a new web site launching in early October to provide intuitive product reviews and help moms make better informed choices when buying baby and child products.
One lucky mompreneur will win a $5000 investment to help her build on her dream simply for auditioning for the series at the 2011 ABC Kids Expo. For information about auditioning, contact SpokesMoms Productions at or (310) 405-9100.
For information about the tradeshow, visit or call the ABC Hotline at (210) 691-4848.

Can you guess what happened? Within the 1/2 hour, the email box was full. Within an hour, the voicemail box was full. So what did they do?

Emailed 5 hours later stating this:

Due to the amazing and overwhelming response to Born by Moms press release from the ABC Kids Expo on 8/19/2011, the phone lines and email have been swamped and many people have been unable to get through to the phone number listed.

As a result the producers are requesting that you PLEASE visit their Facebook page: and then “LIKE” them. Then post your product and background information and the producers will follow up with you individually regarding auditions. If you do not have a Facebook account, please continue to email SpokesMoms Productions at

After doing as requested, along with hundreds of other mamapreneurs, SpokesMoms posted this as an official announcement on their facebook page:


The TOP 10 Mompreneurs with the most “likes” for their products on the Spokesmoms wall on will be guaranteed to be auditioned, and then be qualified to win the Born From Moms $5,000 Grand Prize!

So start promoting now and Guarantee your opportunity to audition for Born By Moms

Thank you!

It seems to me that they are making it up as they go along. But that’s okay. I do that too! Of course, now its ON!

So now it’s my turn to beg of you to PRETTY PLEASE WITH SUGAR ON TOP “Like” my post at so that I can qualify to be auditioned for the show. I would really Really REALLY appreciate it.  (You won’t be able to like my post until you like the fan page.

Thank you. Big Hugs. :)


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Don’t Get Greedy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 @ 03:08 PM
posted by mrscaz

Is greed good? Not for business it's not!

Alas, poor Netflix, you served me well…But your split plans? Um…no…

My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed hours of unlimited streaming (I think that’s the only thing that has kept Bug from being bored out of her mind here at the office while we schlep kids belts) and the DVD’s have been great, but I have to say that a 60% price increase seems a bit excessive. I’m not sure what school of business you attended that said such a drastic increase all at one time is a smart one.

It seems as though the rapid (seemingly overnight) popularity of Netflix all but hastened the demise of Blockbuster, Movie Gallery (in case you don’t remember those, click here) and the like. I mean, really, we saw those stores going by the wayside eventually thanks to cable companies offering “On Demand” programming and more and more Redbox vending machines popping up all over the place and the endless places that you can stream movies online, but I’m pretty sure that Netflix was the straw that broke the camels back.

While all of these new options are convenient, there is something to be said about walking into a video store, picking up a VHS tape (yes, that dates me, I know) reading the description on the back of the box and moving on to the next. Call me nostalgic, but it was exciting to see the “New Releases” and all of the fancy cover art. Ok, so I’m a geek, but I’m ok with that.

Then, there were all of those glorious late fees. By the time we actually returned the movie and paid the late fees, we probably could have just bought the movie, but all those tapes just took up too much room.

Ah… Squirrel!

Back to Netflix, I think it was a major mistake to raise your prices so drastically and no matter how much I love you, it’s now the principle of it… I will not pay a 60% price increase, for no additional return. I guess our life will consist on trips to the nearest Redbox vending machines. Maybe we will now just have to check out Epix for our online streaming. It’s free for the time being, anyway. And if we stick with you? Well, I will be saving $2/month by only getting streaming. Thanks for saving me money.

The lesson: Don’t mess with a good thing by getting greedy. It’s bad for business.


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

I’ve Got Someone New!

Monday, August 15, 2011 @ 08:08 AM
posted by mrscaz

multitasking office assistant

In a world where desks are cluttered, mail is unopened, and to do lists get pushed over until tomorrow, one thing just got a little easier… I hired a new assistant! Yes, another one, don’t judge me. The kids belts industry is a cutthroat one.

Her name is Jen, she’s fantastic and I love her! Sure, it helps that she appreciates my sense of humor and is already finishing my sentences, but the most important thing is I can delegate again! Yay for me! I know what you are thinking… “But, Michelle, what’s in it for me? Sure, you get a super cool assistant to make your life easier, but what do I get?”

Well, for one, I have way more time on may hands (ha ha, note the sarcasm) to share my ramblings with you and lets face it, you’ve been lonely without me.

Secondly, you can be comforted to know that I may, now, just finally get some of my sanity back. Reassuring, huh? I thought so.

So back to Jen. She dreams of world peace and she likes long walks on the beach… doesn’t everyone? Seriously though, she is a native to Daytona Beach (I know, I didn’t think those existed either), is married to her high school sweetheart, and the mother of a two year old. She is very excited to join the Dapper Snappers crew and is jumping in with both feet.

The amazing assistant Jen and her son

There she is! And her little boy is rockin' a Dapper Snappers toddler belt!

Her first task is to become my personal nag. Yes, I need a nag to keep me on task and I have told her as much. I’m not sure how she feels about her new job description, but I am sure she will adapt to it beautifully! (Not to say that she is a nag, but that she adapts to change well).

Now that I am slowly solving the overworked problem, does anyone want a puppy? Or a 4 year old? I’m willing to negotiate. Ah, who am I kidding, I am way too attached to the puppy… ;)

So what’s new with you?


Common Cents Mama - Queen of Kids Belts