Archive for the ‘Monday: What’s New?’ Category

You are beautiful

Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 12:04 PM
posted by mrscaz

This morning, before I got started on kids belts business, I was looking through Facebook and I came across this commercial that my assistant posted. It was from Dove. Have you seen any of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign ads? I have to say, I love them. What a great concept. Instead of focusing on mainstream media’s concept of beauty, Dove is showing us that we are all beautiful.

This ad was just what I needed to see (I’ll share it in a moment). But first, I’m going to take a minute to be a little transparent… This is a little scary, because I don’t like focusing on me. So here goes, I spend so much time either avoiding the mirror or looking at myself and focusing on all the things I don’t like. Like those few extra pounds, or how one of my eyes is bigger than the other, or how my hair isn’t straight enough, or how my clothes don’t flatter me, or how my skin isn’t perfect, or how I have all of this cellulite. It’s terrible, it really is and I know we all spend too much time tearing our selves down instead of focusing on the good. When others see us, they don’t see those things, at least not immediately, not until they get to know us and we bring it to their attentions.

Well, Dove wanted to prove that to us. They produced this commercial where they brought in a police sketch artist. They had a woman behind a curtain describe herself to him while he sketched her. Then they brought in someone she had met earlier that day and had that person describe her to the sketch artist. They they showed the woman the difference in pictures.

Pretty neat, huh? We need to keep things like this going. We need to reject the mainstream media’s version of beauty. YOU are beautiful, I am beautiful, WE are all beautiful and it’s time we embrace it.

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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5 Tips to Tackle Spring Cleaning

Monday, April 8, 2013 @ 12:04 PM
posted by mrscaz

Last week, in my kids belts blog, I shared with you that I am on a spring cleaning kick. After I posted that blog, I got to thinking, I should share with you some tips on how I tackle my spring cleaning. I’m not saying that my way is the only way, but it is the right way… :)

5 Tips for Tackling Spring Cleaning:

  1. One room at a time – I know that sounds simple enough, but I know from experience that it’s easier said than done. I was a wanderer… there, I admit it. I wandered. I would start in one room find something that belonged in another, head to that room and see something that needed to be in another room, so I’d take it there and it would just gone on and on like that with me circling the house and completing nothing. Now I focus on one room at a time.
  2. Clear the floor first – if you can’t navigate the room safely, you aren’t going to accomplish anything. Clear the floor first, put shoes back where they belong, throw away old coloring books and broken crayons. Remove anything else from the floor that doesn’t belong in the room.
  3. Clear the furniture of debris – remove toys, papers, mail, clothes. Here’s the tricky part… throw stuff away. Actually look at what those papers are, is that mail junk, am I going to wear those clothes again? Make a decision and deal with the items appropriately. Now, clean out from under those couch cushions….
  4. Rearrange furniture – Did you know that rearranging your furniture is the cheapest way to redecorate? Just try moving that couch over there and put the recliner in that corner. It’s magic! The room looks totally different! (Plus moving the furniture, makes it to where you have to clean under it!)
  5. Dust/Clean the room from top to bottom – literally, in that order. That way the dust settles on the stuff you haven’t dusted, yet. Eventually, it lands on the floor and you vacuum/mop it up!

Hope that helps you tackle your spring cleaning!

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

Springtime

Monday, April 1, 2013 @ 09:04 PM
posted by mrscaz

It’s springtime! You know what that means? Spring Cleaning! You have no idea how much stuff migrates from the kid belts office to my house. It’s amazing, really. Bits of elastic here, snaps there, thread over there on that table, snap-cessory protoypes (oh wait, you don’t know about those…) on the desk and so on and so on.

I have decided that some cleaning and rearranging is in order. Not so much decided as have this nagging “need” to clean and organize. I seriously feel like I’m 8 months pregnant and nesting. Ok, I don’t really “feel” pregnant, but I was equating the “nesting” feeling that comes with pregnancy. Anyway, the bottom line is I am TIRED of the clutter. I have to do something about.

It’s not just kids belts stuff either. It’s a garage full of toys and clothes that the kids have out grown, it’s my overflowing craft table, it’s my graveyard of malnourished potted plants on my patio and so much more. We just moved less than two years ago, I don’t remember packing this stuff up and bringing it here, but is it possible to accumulate so much stuff in less than two years? How do people do it living in a house for 5 years or 10? I’m afraid we may look like an episode of Hoarders by that point! I joke, of course, but I am ready to clear out closets, clean off desks, purge the cabinets, and deep clean the rest. I think it’s something in the air… It has to be, I’m not usually cleaner or an organizer, I’m more of a free spirit. Like a feather in the wind floating from one point to the next. (See, I can be profound, too!)

On a side note, every time I hear the word springtime, I think of the song from the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (a movie which disturbs me greatly):

“It’s springtime
the only pretty ring time
birds sing
a ding a ding-a ding
sweet lovers
love
the spring”

What are you planning to clean this spring?

Blessings.

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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Hot Off the Press!

Monday, March 18, 2013 @ 03:03 PM
posted by mrscaz

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.

Dapper Snappers Daytona Beach News Journal article

Our little Des, working her fingers to the bone...

Parent’s frustration leads to launch of thriving business

Michelle Cazella, inventor of Dapper Snappers, displays the prototype that started her business.

News-Journal/LAURIE HAHN

LAURIE HAHN
BUSINESS WRITER
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.”

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Vote Tomorrow!

Monday, November 5, 2012 @ 05:11 PM
posted by mrscaz

So, unless you live in a hole you know that tomorrow is Election day!! You know what that means… NO MORE POLITICAL ADS after tomorrow!! I’m super exited about that! Especially because we listen to the radio here at the kids belts factory and it is riddled with political ads.

I’ve had enough of all of the negative ads. I’m not saying one side is worst than the other but I will say, the local races seem to be the worst in general (at least here they are). They seem more like a personal attack on the person running rather than an attack on their platform. It makes it so hard to choose how to vote, but even so, it’s something you need to do, regardless of who or what you are voting for. Can’t we all just vote for gumdrops and lollipops?

I’m not telling you how to vote. I’m just telling you to get out and vote. Let your voice be heard!

PS: A vote for Dapper Snappers is a vote for no more droopy drawers!

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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Tips for Hurricane Preparedness (humor)

Monday, August 27, 2012 @ 08:08 PM
posted by mrscaz

If you don’t live in Florida, you might not get it. I know I didn’t truly get it until I moved to Florida, from Oregon to pursue my kids belts dream. Yea, that was a big change going from the land of no sunshine to the land of never-ending sunshine (except for the daily 3:30 rainstorm that lasts about 30 minutes).

So, in my extensive knowledge of hurricanes and preparedness, I have scoured the internet to find some of the tips to keep you prepared and some that just seem silly…

Tips for Hurricane Preparedness

1.  Decide now who will be responsible for your water supply. You do not need bottled water from the supermarket. Have containers on hand to hold tap water.  You’ll need enough for drinking, bathing and to flush the toilet. Ok, that’s a good tip, water – check. I won’t dehydrate and I can still use the loo! However, here is the last part of that tip. The bathtub is a good place to hold nondrinking water. Use caulking to seal the drain. Hmm… Ok, I guess if you are in a situation that severe that you need to caulk your bathtub, you may have wanted to evacuate. If you didn’t evacuate, and the storm has caused such havoc, you should probably drive until you find a hotel that wasn’t damaged.

2. If you plan to evacuate, do not count on going to the airport and flying out. If the hurricane moves quickly or develops suddenly, there will be no planes available. Duh, I mean really? I don’t want to fly when the weather is nice, let alone when there is a storm a-brewin’. My assistant (who is a native Floridian, yes they do exist) says that if you are going to evacuate, leave early enough to beat the traffic. She has evacuated for 2 separate hurricanes, one in which they left in plenty of time for and hit no traffic and the other took her on a 12 hour trip to Ocala (which is only an hour and a half from where she lived). 

This is probably not the best place to park your vehicle for a hurricane.

3. Decide where you will park your car(s). A garage is best; right next to the house is second best. Plan to move your boat early. Got it, car in the garage, boat in the… uh… boat parked… uh… wherever boats go. People die in every hurricane trying to save their boat. Do not let that happen to you. Ok, geesh! I’ll put my boat up before the storm, now that you have terrified me into thinking that I will die from a horrible hurricane/improperly stored boat disaster. Wait, we don’t have a boat, sweet! I have narrowly escaped that tragedy!

4. Pets are not allowed in evacuation centers and shelters. Only animals such as seeing eye dogs are permitted. Darn it, do you think our cats would pass as seeing eye cats? I can strap a leash on them, but I don’t think they would be very convincing as I am dragging their lifeless bodies across the floor because they are boycotting said leash.

5. Listen to the forecast. This one should probably be number 1 and as simple as it sounds, it’s a biggy. I have to say the last tropical storm that came through, I had no idea about until I was talking to someone and in passing I said “Wow, with all this rain, you’d think it was a tropical storm”. Boy did I feel silly when the person said, it is. Pay attention to any warnings and determine whether to evacuate or ride out the storm.

All jokes aside, hurricanes are serious and should be treated as such. Be safe and take all of the necessary precautions. I pray that everyone in the path of Issac stays safe.

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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Dapper Snappers XL Deluxe Set

Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 11:07 AM
posted by mrscaz

It’s Monday…. (Booo… Hiss…. Boo….) I know, I know, everyone hates Mondays, well, everyone except me, that is. Want to know why? Well, it’s because I get to tell you guys all about whats NEW! That could be what’s new in the world, what’s new with me, what’s new with the kids, but in this case, it’s “What’s New with Dapper Snappers Kids Belts?”

I’m glad you asked! We are not just for the kids anymore! In addition to our line of Mama Snappers, we have added a new product to our line of Dapper Snappers, the Dapper Snappers XL Deluxe Set.

Dapper Snappers XL are designed to fit most sizes from the pre-teen to the grandparent!

The Dapper Snappers XL Deluxe Set includes one half belt and one set of add-on clips. These belts are designed to take the hassle out of wearing a traditional belt. There are no belt buckles to fuss with and once they are in place there is no need to remove them for normal daily activities.

Dapper Snappers XL are:

  •    Elastic to stretch with the pants
  •    Non-Restrictive
  •    Can be used with or without belt loops
  •    One Size Fits All
  •    Adjustable to 5 sizes from 8 ½” to 13 ½” (between belt loops)
  •    Invented by a mom!

The great thing about these belts is that they promote independence for those with special needs because there’s no hassling with buckles and once they are in place there is no need to remove them. The Deluxe XL’s come in every color and pattern that we offer and with the addition of the Add-On clips, they can be used on any bottoms, with or without belt loops.

These belts are also perfect for those taking of an aging or ailing  parent who may need help with getting dressed or undressed.

We are so excited to launch this line and we already know that it’s going to be a huge hit. You should check them out and tell all of your friends… Really… Go Now… what are you waiting for?

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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Heartfelt

Monday, July 2, 2012 @ 03:07 PM
posted by mrscaz

Thank you!

I want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You!” to all our friends, fans, and family for all your love, encouragement, and support. I know I get annoying sometimes with fundraisers and “vote for us” campaigns, but you’ve stuck by us through everything. And yesterday, we got to celebrate our 4th birthday for Dapper Snappers kids belts. It’s been an amazing ride so far and we couldn’t have done it without you. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already. Wowza!

Speaking of “vote for us” campaigns; I would like to thank all of you who voted for us to enter the Mission: Small Business drawing. In the end we were 11 votes short, but it’s okay. The process of submitting Toddler Tech USA for the award has taught and reminded me so much of that which I had lost sight; that my little business is doing what I originally set out to do – support America. It seems so appropriate that while I’m slightly crushed we didn’t make it to the next round (there’s a matter of discrepancy between what the time clock said and the rules said – got 3 automated replies about the issue and not happy about the lack of customer service but not going to dwell), we are celebrating the victory of freedom – and of the small business that could – this week. So I want to share with you my entry so you can read what we are all about.

Mission: Small Business entry

I wish you a happy Independence Day. Please be safe!

 

Blessings,

 

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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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 https://www.missionsmallbusiness.com/, 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!!

Blessings,

 

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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What’s New? Summer, that’s what!

Monday, June 11, 2012 @ 01:06 PM
posted by mrscaz

*singing* Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime, summertiiiiiiiiiiiime!

It’s officially summertime for us. The kids are out of school and we are thinking it’s about time for our annual summer vacation from the wonderful world of kids belts. We are taking the kids to Busch Gardens this year, but instead of driving, we are making the whole vacation an experience including the travel. This year, we are taking a train to our destination. It would have taken almost 3 hours by car, assuming there is no traffic, or 3 hours by train. Well, with gas prices the way they are, the train made the most sense.

The kids are super excited, as am I. The idea of travelling by train instead of car seems so much more relaxing. The kids can get up and move around and we can play games with them. Overall, I think it will be a much more pleasurable time.

I have to say, I am thoroughly excited to see how the kids will like Busch Gardens. They have always loved Disney, but with them both getting a little older, I think they will really enjoy this park. I’m not sure that they will be riding the crazy roller coasters, mama’s heart couldn’t take that, but they will love all of the animals and scenery and all of the other rides.

They hubby and I are so looking forward to getting away, too. Even though it’s only about 3 hours from home, it’s far enough to be away from the office and the dredges of housework… bleh…

What are your summer plans? Anything exciting planned? Do you do keep it low key and plan a “stay-cation” or do you go all out and plan an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas or are you somewhere in between? Whatever you are planning for this summer, I wish you nothing but the best, safe travels and above all, great quality time with the family.

Blessings,

Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor

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