Monday, November 23, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Cara from Pocket Full of Posey

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This week I am featuring Cara from A Pocket Full of Posey.  She makes the cutest, personalized, hand-stitched clothing and you can custom make something with her too.  Check out her post and then go shop!

I'm Cara and I run A Pocket Full of Posey, named after my crazy daughter Posey. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook. I make hand stitched appliqué shirts and other items. If you can appliqué it, I'm all about it. I've always loved to embroider and do appliqué, and have made my kid's birthday shirts since they were born. 

Last winter I decided, what the heck, I should open a shop and sell stuff. I specialize in custom kid's birthday shirts, and think it is beyond awesome to get an order from a kid who wants a unicorn and their name and lots of purple and a bunny - and know I can make that happen. Every item I make is drawn, cut, and sewn by me, completely by hand. I prefer the look of hand-made vs. machine appliqué or embroidery. I love that each item I make takes time, attention and is unique. Even if someone orders a shirt that I have made before, it will never be completely the same because each item I make is made-to-order. 

I grew up in Milwaukee but I've lived in Austin for over 10 years now. I've been married to my best friend for 7 years and have a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. I received a degree in Math from a tiny college in Milwaukee named Alverno, then moved down to Austin where I taught high school Math for 7 years.  {I teach high school English!}  

I quit teaching full time when I had my son; but, in addition to my shop, I also mentor new Statistics teachers and teach weekend math sessions for AP students. I love math, sewing, my family, and Scandal . . . not necessarily in that order. If you would have told me when I was younger I would spend my days doing laundry and sewing, I may have not believed you. But man am I happy about it!

A Pocket Full of Posey is 100% me. I put my kids to bed at night and then I usually sew for 2-3 hours while I watch bad TV. Sometimes I sew at the park while my kids play, or at the bounce house while my son goes up and down the slide 500 times. I'm lucky that I am able to still be a full time mom and also do something that I totally love. Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am. My favorite part of what I do is becoming a part of someone's special event. I love getting an order for a birthday or holiday shirt, or a new baby, or a grandma who wants a matching shirt with their grandkid, and being able to create something with love that will become a part of those memories. If I can make a shirt for a little girl turning 6 that is exactly what she wants and she's full of joy wearing it on her birthday, well . . . that's just so lovely!

I look forward to the next year and growing my little business. I plan to start an Etsy shop and have more ready-to-wear items. My favorite orders are custom orders, however, so what that will look like is yet to be seen. I want to learn to quilt as well, so that's on my list of goals for the next year as well. Mostly, I just want to keep making my customers happy and creating unique items for wonderful people everywhere. 

Thanks Cara, I hope you continue to live your dream!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Cindy from Ruthie Box

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Today on Moms on Mondays I am happy to feature Cindy from Ruthie Box!  I've never met Cindy but she lives in my neighborhood, and I was referred to her business by another mama, also a neighbor.  She started this awesome business to lift up other mamas/women, and I think it is just fabulous.  Give her social media a follow and order a box for a friend today!

What is the name of your business and how can we find you? 

My business is called Ruthie Box and you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  (If you check out the website everything is linked there, to make your life easier!)

Tell us about what you sell.

I sell unique, high-end care packages! Each box contains a bar of dark, craft chocolate made in New York (Mast Brothers chocolate), super cute colored elastic hair ties, the best lip balm on the market, a charm necklace on an inspirational card and a guaranteed favorite mug designed in France. There are different flavors of chocolate, different colors and patterns of the hair ties, and different charms on the necklaces - so every box is a little bit different and has an element of surprise! They are hand-packaged and each box comes with a customized note. They are perfect for when you want to send someone a gift that is more thoughtful than flowers (or just something off of Amazon), but you don’t have the time to put a care package together yourself! 

People have sent Ruthie boxes for many different occasions - for a friend who is pregnant or just had a baby (things like chocolate and a mug are perfect when you are sleep deprived, hormonal and feel like nothing fits, trust me I know), to commemorate a new job, a move, an engagement, for someone recovering from surgery or illness, a birthday, or even just to brighten someone else’s day! The best part is, unlike flowers, your Ruthie box won’t wither and die!

Why did you decide to start this business?

A few years ago one of my best friends was going through a breakup and she lived across the country. I couldn’t stand not being around to comfort her, and I wanted to send her a care package to cheer her up, but I didn’t have the time to shop around and put a good one together. So, I consulted Google for a care package company that could help me out and I was shocked that all I could find were care packages of junk food. So, that was when I thought there was a real need for this type of thing. Of course I never got around to sending my friend something, but once I had the business up and running I was sure to send her a Ruthie Box! And now she is happily married with a baby so don’t worry, it all worked out! 

How long have you been in business?

I launched in June of 2014. I took a break after I had a baby, our third bundle of joy, because I wanted to focus on figuring out life with 3 littles. Also, I figured if I was going to be running a business I wanted to run it well (which meant actually sleeping a little bit). Now I am back in business and couldn’t be more excited about it! I love knowing that I am helping make someone else’s day and spreading a little joy in the world. 

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I went to a small, Catholic liberal arts school in Texas called the University of Dallas. It is a great school and I loved going there! I got my degree in Psychology and Pre-Law, but by the end of my senior year I decided I didn’t want to go to law school. After graduation, I married my best friend and we both got jobs working in Italy, and we had our first child there - talk about an adventure! We moved back to the states and have loved raising our children near family.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband, Steve, and I have 3 kids. A daughter, who is 5 and two boys, aged 2 and 8 months. Steve has been unbelievably supportive of my business venture and I’m grateful my kids are always happy to lend a helping hand (even if sometimes it’s a sticky one!).  

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

I am so lucky and blessed to be able to run this business from home. It has been great to pour myself into an endeavor that is business oriented, and have something in addition to family life. It is nice to have work while also not having a boss! I guess that is the best case scenario for anyone. I really enjoy researching and finding fun, quality products to put in Ruthie boxes. When we were choosing the chocolate to put into the care packages my husband and I cracked open a bottle of wine one night and ‘taste-tested’ a bunch, so the job does come with perks.  :)

How do you find time to run your business?

I do most of my work at night, after the kids have all gone to bed. My husband is actually an artist in his free time and spends many evenings painting or sculpting, so it is pretty fun. We put music on and create together. I work on Ruthie box stuff and he makes beautiful art, so it is a nice groove we have going. Whenever I’m extra busy and need to get stuff done during the day, I must confess I have been known to resort to Netflix to keep the kids entertained.

What do you love about this business?

I named my business Ruthie Box after my Grandma Ruth who passed away a couple of years ago. I chose her name because she could always bring me comfort when I needed it most, and I wanted my care packages to do that for people - to bring them a piece of comfort. I love being a part of brightening up someone’s day or celebrating special occasions. Also, who doesn’t love mail? I have always loved getting mail and being surprised by a thoughtful gesture via snail mail, so providing that joy for others is great.

Where do you see your business in the future?

I hope to expand our boxes and carry more options! Also, I am now offering customized boxes for groups, for something like an office wide appreciation gift at your place of work, or for a way to ask your best friends to be bridesmaids; so I’m hoping to see growth in those areas. At this point, the entire business is just me. I made and run the website, the packaging, everything from the top down; so if one day I am at the point where I need more employees that would be amazing (and make the office meetings a little more exciting). 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

My main piece of advice would be to just go for it! Pursue whatever dream you may have. I know that sounds super cheesy, but it’s true. That is how Ruthie box originated, I had this idea and I thought “I just want to see how far I can take it." I love being able to see my hard work pay off, and feel like I am helping contribute to our family. It has also made me feel a renewed love of our country, where if you work hard enough anyone can enter the business realm, and most of the people you encounter along the way are encouraging and want you to succeed as well. So, enjoy living in this great country that encourages anyone to be an entrepreneur and truly take advantage of it! 

Thank you Cindy, I loved having you today!

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