It’s been a busy week – between a business trip (more on that later) and Halloween, life has been full. The most important thing for the kids was HHalloween Jamisen asked, “Why do people just give us candy on Halloween?” He was confused, but delighted. Miss Lily went as a pink poodle and I went as a Elphaba-inspired witch. I’m glad I didn’t go for the full green face paint because the little bit I did indulge in took quite some time to wash off. I still have glitters in all the crevices of my wrinkles today!
Baby Alise joined us for the fun as well. We are so happy to have a new baby in the family that when Cheriss and Erik bring her over for a visit, neither of them get to hold her because Jamisen and I have stolen her away. =) Jamisen was a very happy Clifford the Dog – though when people on the street complimented him on being Clifford, he would shout, “No! My name is Jamisen!” He didn’t seem to “get” the whole idea of the costume.
The kids didn’t make it longer than 90 minutes of trick’or’treating and also didn’t want to walk much more. Thank goodness for Daddy’s strong arms, right?
Jamisen got his school photos taken this week. The smile that the photographer got out of him is impressive considering that the smile he’s exhibiting below is his typical smile when you ask him to pose for the camera.
Apparently the awesome grimace smile is totally normal and natural for kids this age so we’re not saying a word about it. According to this crowd sourced blog post, he’ll totally grow out of it (probably right about the time his sister is growing into it).
I spent part of the week in Las Vegas at the Fortune Magazine Growth Conference. The Fortune Growth Summit brings together many of the top business book authors and speakers to inspire, share and teach entrepreneurs and their teams about business, managing teams, customer service and marketing. One of the speakers was Kevin Harrington, from Shark Tank. He spoke on the importance of brainstorming and innovation with teams – and laid out how to use a Shark Tank ‘like’ process at your company.
Fortune magazine interviewed me. It was fun to talk about Bramble Berry and how the company got started, trials and successes along the way and where we are going as a company. If you don’t know the Bramble Berry story, you can find it here.
Thank goodness for technology. I was able to Facetime with the kids daily. Lily wasn’t so thrilled I was gone. This is an actual screenshot of our ‘conversation.’ She’s getting some good words down now, blurting out things like “diaper” and “hot” and getting her points across well. Jamisen is more used to my travel and seemed to take it in stride. Thank goodness for a husband that keeps it all going while I’m gone.
We launched the Handmade Beauty Box Kickstarter on the last day of the conference. I was in constant communication with the team and when we had met our goal and blew past it in the first 11 hours (You like us! You really really like us!), the Fortune team asked me to talk about how we had priced the Kickstarter and why we had a $1000 option on the Kickstarter menu. The answer? We had the $1000 option because of the Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin research about pricing strategy and the importance of having an ‘anchor’. There’s a great podcast of Robert Cialdini describing this principle here or skim this blog post and pay attention to #2.
Then it was home to my little ones to reconnect, laugh, play on the floor and yes, also have lots of time outs for Jamisen who remains in the throes of the ‘Terrifically Terrifying Threes!’ Also, the photo may look super idyllic and happy but Lily squirmed out of there about 15 seconds later because she still has the attention span of a gnat, or a typical 18 month old.
Back at work, our superwoman-of-an-accountant, Shon, had also gotten in on the soapmaking bug while I was gone. While she was cleaning up the books, she also had a heyday cleaning up credit cards and making this awesome bar of soap to present to our operations-manager-with-the-mostest, Norman. It made us all smile and made me feel lucky to have a team with such a great sense of humor. It’s great to feel supported at home and at work; right now, I’m brimming with gratitude for our customers (❤ our Facebook and Soap Queen community!) and my amazing husband (best fiberglass engineer in the world and the best dad!) and the team at work.
I’d love to hear how you’re doing on your business and family balancing this year – the end of the year is coming up and it’s time to start thinking about goals and how to finish strong. If I or the community here can be of any help with that, please let me know =)
mary mcmanis says
What is the Hand Made Beauty Box?
I have been soaping for about 1 1/2 yrs. I started with the suggestion of a friend in our knitting group. We soaped together for about a year and now we do it on our own . We still compare notes on our soaping. I am so glad she suggested we learn this craft. I have since taught my niece and she has taken off like gang busters with it. I learn from her. I am still learning as I continue to soap. I will have my first soap sale coming up next week. Thanks so much for Bramble Berry. You have answered a lot of questions for me and I have ordered so many good products from your company. Thanks again!
Ditto to Olivia’s wonderful words!
If I could pledge again, I would as I need A LOT of advice. 😉
When Camille was 4, we went to a super fun Halloween Party/Fair that had a cake walk. She stopped on number 11 and won, but when the announcer (he was a pirate) would say, “Number 11, you’re the winner little girl!” She would say, “I’m not 11, I’m 4!” Finally, after several back and forths, she got her piece of cake, but it took awhile… (the pirate had 4 legged kiddos, but none with 2 legs) 😉
You are amazing and I thank you and the BB Team for all that you do!
Anne-Marie Faiola says
That is the funniest story, Jill! =) I bet you tell it with quite a twinkle in your eye now that she’s older. Lucky girl with a piece of cake. Lily and Jamisen BOTH love frosting so very much.
Thank you for being a member of the Soap Queen community – and for reading and commenting =)
Wow, you are such an inspiration Anne-Marie! Not only to soapers but to any small business owner. I love how you’re constantly expanding into new territory, such as with the DIY Beauty Box (which I hope is a big success!). And how awesome to meet someone from Shark Tank (love that show!). It is amazing how successful of a business woman you have become. But no matter how successful you get, you never elevate yourself so much that you can’t personally answer the questions of the most newbie of soap makers who wants to make just the occasional bar on the weekend. For that, I thank you, because I was that newbie soap maker once (perhaps still am!). You are an incredible person!
And thank you SO MUCH to all of you awesome Bramble Berry customer service peoples!! Megen, Rachel, Kelsey, Courtney, Amanda, Kirsten, Becky, all of you!! I know I’m leaving out someone, but I do mean all of you!! Bramble Berry is an amazing company, the best soap company there is, maybe even the best small business in the whole country!! And it wouldn’t be that way if it wasn’t for you amazing people who answer all of us soapers’ questions! You rock so much!!
Lots of love! 😀
Anne-Marie Faiola says
Your note absolutely MADE the customer service team’s day! I love that you remembered all of their names. Thank you, thank you, thank you! =) As you can imagine, Mondays are a little hectic around here so that happy break really made a difference in everyones’ day.
I love doing what I do – and customers/soapers/friends/fans on FB are a huge part of that. Interacting and chatting soap and small business is a dream come true for me.
I can’t wait to see what the Handmade Beauty Box does. I’m super hopeful about it after seeing how well it’s been received on Kickstarter. Fingers crossed =)
Aww, that makes me happy!
Oh, and Kari, too! I know she answered some lye questions I had once. I’m sure I missed someone, but I mean it to all of you!
I can see why you love your job, Anne-Marie! I dream of having a small (probably tiny, lol) business one day.
Cassandra Manuel Fanlser says
LOVE your costume Anne Marie! Love all that you do! What an inspiration you are!
Anne-Marie Faiola says
Aw, thanks Cassandra.
I love the whipped peak soaps you’re making at Bleu Soap Company. You really have an eye for it and quite the amount of patience to get all those lovely touches in your bars. =)
melissa :) says
WOW! Way to go A-M! 🙂 —- on all of that! 🙂 Thanks for all you do!
Anne-Marie Faiola says
Thanks for popping in.
Good luck at your sale on Nov 15 – though I’m betting you won’t need luck since hard work generally takes the place of luck! =)
Anne-Marie Faiola says
And best of luck at your November 15 show – but I’m betting you won’t need luck since hard work will/is taking the place of luck in this case =)