Peggy Vincent Explains What Aspiring Work-at-Home Moms Need to Know about Pricing, Promotion and the Loneliness Factor | Podcast #006

comfy-cozy-3Peggy Vincent is the innovator of the glow in the dark pillowcase.  She was a young, single professional when she launched her company, Comfy Cozy, Inc. in the mid-1990s.  Peggy shares how her products, company and expectations all changed with marriage and children.

Common Threads

Peggy and I first met around the year 2000.  We belonged to a small, online mastermind of work-at-home moms we called SuperWAHMz.   Lynn Korff, of Korff Ceramic Originals, hand-picked our group who provided support and camaraderie as we each grew our businesses.  Lynn also created the The Mom Pack.

If you are just starting out, I can not stress enough how important it is to find a tribe.  You need other work-at-home-moms, like you, to bounce ideas off.

Both Peggy and myself have backgrounds in merchandising and national sales, so we speak the same language, and sometimes finish each others’ sentences.    In the podcast, we offers tips for creative moms on how to launch a product and run a business from home with small children including proper pricing, promotion and dealing with the loneliness factor.  Plus, Peggy offers insight on how the work at home experience changes when the kids become teens.

Be Willing to Change Direction

Kandas:  Sum up your business in three sentences or less.

Peggy:   Comfy Cozy,inc creates whimsical and inspirational gifts featuring the “original” Glow in the Dark Pillowcases. We also offer Custom Screen Printing for businesses, schools and organizations. Our focus is creating fun and functional products that meet the needs of our customers.

Kandas: Why did you choose to start your business – do what you do?

Peggy:  Always had a goal to start my own company. Created first pillowcases and decided they were the product to form new company around.

Kandas:  Where do you find inspiration?

Peggy:  Originally from my nieces & nephews, other family members. Trends & personal interest took over when I started to market the product.

comfy-cozy-2Kandas:  What makes you different from other people in your industry?

Peggy:  Comfy Cozy,inc. is the only line of pillowcases with the type of “magically” transforming Glow in the Dark images. My line is also cross generational and is not just for kids.

Kandas:   Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?

Peggy:  Our print quality, dedication to detail and selection.

Kandas:  For whom are you thankful? Who do you appreciate?

Peggy:  My husband, children, parents and extended family.

Kandas: What are some of your favorite books?

Peggy:  Easier to give authors: JRR Tolkein, Katrina Kennison, Robert Ludlum to name a few. Genres: Irish history, espionage, autobiography & inspiration.

Kandas:   Define your style?

Peggy:  Home decor – leaning toward some version of country chic but you wouldn’t know that if you walked into my house;) personal – comfortable without looking dowdy!

Kandas:   Tell me about your typical day.

Peggy:  Up at 5:30 w/ kids. #2 out the door at 7. Coffee w/ husband til 8/9. In my office by 9. Work til 1. Have a part time job t/w/th so I’m out the door by 1:15. Home by 6:15. Dinner, finalize homework check, relax with kids for a bit before bed. Wait for Scott to get home, usually by 9/10 ok 11. Bed. With 4 of 5 trips outside with our adorable Beagle:)
How do you juggle work and family? Carefully. Some days are better than others. Primarily I only “work” when our children are in school. There are times when I work in the evenings but try to not go back and forth from office to “family” space. It’s difficult to shut down your business brain, shut the office door and not go back in, but it’s important to let your family know you can separate the two.

comfy-cozy-1Kandas:   Three tips you would like to give to people who are thinking about starting a business in your industry?

Peggy:  Comfy Cozy, inc. is not in just one specific industry so answering that question won’t be direct.

  1. What I would tell anyone is to research other products on the market, examine every aspect of product development that goes into pricing and to establish a retail price that the sell on the market. Many people just say “this will sell at ‘x’” then realize that they either can’t cover the cost or their profit margin is not enough to sustain the business.
  2. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to your business AND more importantly, what you will need to do if suddenly you need to dedicate more. Can you and your family support the changes and what will the effect be.
  3.  Be willing to change direction. I realize that I should have made some changes to my product line, marketing strategy and business plan several years ago.

Kandas:   How have you grown as a person since starting your company?

Peggy:  I’ve learned that I did NOT know everything about running a business, should have minored in business and that I’m not as organized as I thought I was. I also started this company before I was married with kids. I would never have guessed that the professional, aggressive and all work/no play me would prefer building blocks and playing in the mud! I’d call that “personal” growth that required an acceptance that my “professional” growth would take a back seat for a while.

Kandas:   Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Peggy:   More productive on a day to day basis since our boys will both be in college – ACK! No longer selling pillowcases but doing more custom printing without carrying an inventory. Possibly be out of this business completely. Be able to call myself an author and have written a book or 2.

Kandas:   What else would you like to add?

Peggy:   At this time I am assessing where I am, my business plan and if this is what i want to do anymore. The “thrill” is leaving and determining what that means and where the road will take me is a huge door to open, walk over the thresh hold and shut the door with a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment but eyes focused on the future and NOT looking back.

Wrap Up

Your definition of success is your own and you cannot let anyone else define it for you.   Businesses, like children, grow and evolve.  Sometimes you need to coddle the baby and sometimes you need to stand back and watch it play.

Connect with Peggy Vincent

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Leave a comment with your tips for aspiring work-at-home-moms.

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Interview with Cynthia Powell, Chicks and Cubs Baby Shoe Bronzing

Cynthia Powell, is the mother of three boys ages 8 to 16, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Her business, Chicks and Cubs, offers HEIRLOOM quality Baby Shoe Bronzing and Pewtering.

“I just keep juggling keep going and it all gets done one way or another…” – Cynthia Powell, Chicks and Cubs

MG: Sum up your business in three sentences or less.

YOU: We offer HEIRLOOM quality Baby Shoe Bronzing and Pewtering. We focus on the best value (best quality for the best price). We have been in business since 1999 and in the top 15 of sales for the company for the last 5 years.

MG: Where do you sell your products?

CP: All of my marketing for the Baby Shoe Bronzing is based on being in the top 3 of Google when someone searches for our services. I interact with my prospective clients using email, mail and phone. My clients send in their children’s precious shoes to me via mail from all over the country. I process there order, the plant preserves the shoes and ships them directly back to the customer.

MG: Why did you choose to start your business?

CP: I am a former Chemical Engineer turned entrepreneur in order to be home with my kids. Although I love my boys and want to be home for them, I need my business to fulfill a drive in me to be productive and active and interacting with people (adult people that is).

MG: What makes your product or service different? Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?

CP: VALUE. I provide the best quality product for the best price I can, with great service to boot. I have very LOW COST “competition”. And I understand that everyone much choose how to spend their hard earned dollars. Often their price is under my costs so that is just NOT where I compete. Yet, on the other end of the spectrum, there are those offer the exact same product as I do yet charging 3 times what I do. So this industry has a huge range and I encourage my client to do their homework.

Bronze Baby Shoe with Photo Frame by Chicks and Cubs

Bronze Baby Shoe with Photo Frame
by Chicks and Cubs

MG: For whom are you thankful?

CP: I am thankful for so many. Good and Bad experiences – they all make me who I am. If I boiled it down I would have to say my MOM, whom I lost in January of 2012 – she was a business owner, an entrepreneur and she inspires me to be and do whatever I dream. And my husband that allows me to follow my dreams instead of doing laundry and cooking dinner.

MG: What are some of your favorite books?

CP: I LOVE The Compound Effect by Darrin Hardy.

MG: Define your style?

CP:  I’m NOT a girly girl (I was a Chemical Engineer remember). I am very detailed. I am logical. I am thorough. Yet on my softer side I am an encourager. I strive to be an inspiration to others.

MG: Tell me about your typical day.

CP:  WILD. Up by 6:30, kids to school, work in the home office, get kids from school, homework, food from some place, some sort of activities (baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming, orchestra, scouts, band….) the bed time fight, and usually some more work. ALL the time shifting and changing and flexing due to the unexpected that always happens (a sick cat, a sick child, a special errand that has to be done today, ….)

MG:  How do you juggle work and family?

CP: I just keep juggling keep going and it all gets done one way or another and if not – well no one died so we will be ok if we missed a second semester open house …

MG: Three tips you would like to give to moms who are thinking about starting their own business?

CP:

1. IT IS HARD WORK, don’t try to fool yourself.
2. Get family buy in to help and support.
3. find a few mentors to help you cut down your learning curve.

MG: How have you grown as a person since starting your company?

CP: I am more confident. I have grown my leadership skills. I have a larger respect for those that run any kind of business, what it really takes!!

MG: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

CP: My goal is to be the top in sales for my company and I hope to be able to hire someone to help me.


headshot

Connect with Cynthia Powell:

Website:  http://ChicksAndCubs.com

Blog:   http://Growing-Up-Fast.com

Facebook:   http://facebook.com/babyshoebronzing

Pinterest:   http://pinterest.com/cynthiadpowell

V011 The 5 Essential Oils You Need in your Medicine Cabinet with Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor is a Certified Herbalist and Aromatherapist in Montgomery, Texas.  Her aromatherapy blends are available in her online store, Cassia Aromatics.

According to Kelly, the 5 oils you need in your medicine cabinet are:

  • Lavender
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Grave Robber’s Blend

Watch the video to learn why.

Be sure to connect with Kelly Taylor online via Facebook and Twitter.  Leave her a comment below and share this video.

 

 

 

V004 Jenny Siemonsma, Independent Mary Kay Director, Shares Her Secret to Success in Direct Sales

“The things we learn in corporate America are different than when you are working for yourself because you are no longer working to build a legacy or a lifestyle or a dream for someone else, it really becomes your own.”

Jenny Siemonsma is an Independent Mary Kay Director.  She was recently one of only 200 Mary Kay Directors to earn an all-expenses paid trip to China.  Watch as Jenny shares how she became so successful in her direct sales business.

 

 

Connect with Jenny Siemonsma online:  http://www.marykay.com/jsiemonsma