Friday, December 16, 2011


Starting a new company, we are finding, is much like nurturing a newborn child.  All of you mothers out there can relate (and some dads, too).  All the site is doing at this point is sleeping, since it's not up and walking around yet (ie-available for the public to shop).  But we are finding that as a collective group, we are not sleeping, either.  We're working on the blog.  We're working on the assortment.  We're working to pay the bills... The site actually wakes us in the middle of the night with ideas (ie-needs fed).

Someday, when we are rich and famous from how gloriously successful this site is going to be, we will look back fondly on this time in Friendly Rooster's life.  For now, we need to catch some zzzz' this kid, here...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

I, the head Buyer for Friendly Rooster, was sometimes a sneaky child.  There were things in life I wanted, and all that stood in the way were my parents.  Case in point:  For several years I asked the Santa at our local mall to bring me a new puppy.  I had several failed attempts of trying to bring home stray animals, and in every case I was sent away to take the animal back to where I found it.  However, I figured that if SANTA brought me a puppy, then my folks would have to let me keep it.  Needless to say, Santa didn’t bring me a puppy…and I’m still bitter about it.

Another way I tried to get something I wanted through a mythical creature was with the tooth fairy.  In Kindergarten, I desperately tried to pull one over on our tooth collecting friend.  All of my classmates had lost a tooth, and in return a generous fairy showed up at night, took their tooth from under their pillow, and left these lucky kids with money.  I was dying to get my hands on some cash of my own.  So in November we were working with dried, colorful cobs of corn for an art project.  One of the kernels had fallen off, and it looked like a tooth.  I grabbed that kernel and placed it under my pillow at bedtime.  The next morning I woke up to that same dried corn kernel under my pillow.  To my dismay, the tooth fairy was smart and did not fall for my ploy.  Now…had I had one of these super cute tooth fairy pillows, maybe she would have made an exception.  They are made of soft corduroy, come in pink or blue as a nod to each gender, and it has a tiny pocket on the back…just large enough to fit a small tooth (and a dollar bill!).

So cute!  Anyway, these are of course not my most upstanding childhood memories, but they’re part of my past nonetheless.  And because of that, I will always respect the tooth fairy and Santa for standing their ground and for me not being able to outsmart them J.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WAY cool!!!!

Today, if you type in you will see this:


Ok, maybe the Hawaiian shirt is a question mark, seeing that we won’t be carrying those on the site.  But still, we all got super excited when we saw it.  Our web guy rocks!!!!

So, what else is happening?  Mostly it is a bunch of not so exciting stuff, but necessary at the same time.  Bank account is set up.  Credit card and line of credit is in works.  Following up with vendors on product shots and any product info they can send our way.  Writing copy (which will be exciting at some point, but for now not so much...).  Filing paper work, setting up the office, finishing up assortments, talking to accountants, researching merchant services, and procrastinating where we can still get away with it.  Oh…add to that:  Holiday shopping, taking care of our own kids (trying to get them to do ANYTHING that doesn’t involve video games…unless we need a break…then it’s “game on”), trying to have a social lives..etc, etc, etc.

Whew...we're gonna need a vacation!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ode to old animal friends...

(As told through the eyes of our head Buyer...)

I was just thinking (which is always dangerous)...I absolutely LOVE stuffed animals.  This may not seem like such a revelation to others, but to me it is both a surprise and it makes perfect sense at the same time.

As a kid, I was a stuffed animal collector.  When I got allowance or birthday money, I bought stuffed animals.  When I was in girl scouts, I would always be sure to sell enough cookies to get the free stuffed animal.  And when family asked what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas, a stuffed animal was always included in the list.  I could not get enough of them.

What would I do with them?  I mean, really...they would just kind of sit there and look what's the point?  To me, as an only child, they were my friends (we hung out and drank tea together), my patients (I was frequently a vet during playtime), and my audience.  Audience?  Yes...I would line them up on my parents' couch and dance for them.  Or I would do magic tricks.  Or I would tell jokes.  And they would always sit there with smiles on their faces and look on approvingly :).

So the reason this struck me as "ah-ha!" is because I plan on buying them as part of the assortment in the spring (as noted in previous blog posts).  I wondered how this venture into "shoes and fun stuff" brought me to stuffed animals.  Well now I's been there all along.

In tribute to my friends from the 70's and 80's, I downloaded some pictures from the internet of some of the more memorable stuffed animals I had (mind you, these were not my favorites...but I am sure they were best sellers at the time...enjoy).


I have no idea what this is...a yellow mop, perhaps?

E.T. (with hearlight included)

Figment...I am still bitter over the fact that he never took off for Disney :(

Lucky Care Bear

Last but not least...Alf!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How to know we exist...

This week has been all about advertising and marketing.  First we learned about a cool marketing tool on Facebook.  We also took a free class, eloquently titled "Demystifying Google Adwords and Adsense".  Stupid title, but most informative class (and entertaining one) yet!

We found a way to list surveys on our site.  One of our goals with this company is to make it more "democratic". We like the idea of showing potential buys to our customers and Facebook "fans" to get their feedback before placing a buy.  Naturally, we want to offer them what it is that they want to buy.  Luckily, Facebook allows us to do that.  We can create surveys with pictures, showing product and asking folks to vote on it.  Awesome!  Now the key is to get our vendors to allow us to show their product prior to a season starting.  We got two of them to agree to it.  Hopefully more will soon follow.

In addition, the Google class was great.  The instructor was very knowledgeable, hilariously entertaining (let's just say that he used real life examples from one of his clients' that sold "natural male stimulants"), and was approachable/open to our annoying questions.  He showed us how to use Google analytics and gave us tips on the best (and least expensive) ways to build our sites to allow ease of marketing within google.

Both Facebook and Google are tools that we are going to have to become very knowledgeable about in the coming months.  They are definitely going to help get the word about our online business.  It's a world we are not yet familiar with, but it's so exciting to learn!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken has a hangover!

So, we were walking around NYC this week and came across the most amazing plush line ever known to man (well, that is besides the stuffed diseases spotted at FAO Schwartz a few years back...we are not should check them out for a good laugh at ).  Anyway, the stuffed animal line we saw and fell in love with is called Jellycat London. The first one was spotted at a local store in Soho, and it is a stuffed hen that looks like it had a rough night.  Turns out its name is Matilda seen here...

How flippin hysterical is this?!?!?!

We inquired about the line to the sales associate, and she said they are amazing and showed us some other models in the store.  The information was taken note of, and we went on our merry way.  Later that night we popped into one of our favorite stores...Anthropologie.  Now, the Anthro we stopped in is not normal.  It's the Rockefeller Plaza Anthro.  Think...Anthropologie on steroids!  So, while walking in the gifting section what do we find???  Jellycat stuffed animals.  That night we went back to the hotel and looked up the plush dolls on line and contacted the USA sales rep.  We're communicating back and forth, and hopefully they will make an appearance on Friendly Rooster (it looks favorable...yay!).

Here are some more of our favorites that we saw in store and on line....enjoy!

Stuffed Aardvark anyone???

If we said "stuffed Jackass" you think mom's would still buy it?

Stuffed spider?  Or torture device for your 2 year old?

An owl pretending to be a 150 year old man...

Hope you enjoyed these as much as we did when we first saw them....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

web hosting, and layouts, and time lines..oh my!

We just met in person with our "web guy", Ben.  We met at a cool wine bar down the street..and we got to expense it...whaaat???  Anyway, lots of far we're very happy :).

At first we talked through different web design sites (Big Commerce, Shopify, etc).  Great sites, but there are alot of fees that are hidden that are kind of a bummer.  So we decided to go with Open Cart.  A slight more bit of cash up front, but much less on a monthly basis...thus not eating as far into our profits.  Yay!  Also, we host the site ourselves (and no...we didn't know what that meant before last night, either).  It basically means that with the other sites your website is hosted through them and you pay your fees to them.  If something happened and they shut down...what happens to your site?  Instead, we get more control...and for a control freaks like us...priceless!

So, layout is decided on.  Hosting is set up.  Domain has been done.  Just need the logo back from the design guy (who is doing if for free!!!)...and we are on our way.  Now on to all of the small little details that we are sure to mess up!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

As the head Buyer at Friendly Rooster, I get to look at shoes quite often.  And I must admit I have a bit of a baby shoe fetish (thus, my reason for joining Friendly Rooster).  I just love baby shoes, especially good quality baby shoes.  That is why I am so excited that we are going to be able to offer Tip Toey Joey shoes to  moms in the US.

Tip Toey Joey is a brand that I carried during my Babystyle years.  This brand continually was one of the top 3 brands I carried.  Unfortunately, when Babystyle closed its doors, Tip Toey Joey no longer had a platform to sell to US customers.  At the same time, the Brazilian economy started to climb, and it took all of the attention away for the owners, Scott and Ana.

I love these shoes.  They are such great quality, and they are wonderful for baby feet.  They look more like an actual shoe (vs Robeez that look like leather socks...albeit very cute leather socks).  Yet they are functional.  As we all know, as baby is beginning to walk it is best to be in bare feet.  However, where is the style in that?

Seriously though, TTJ shoes are made of super soft leather that is non-restrictive and allows baby feet to grow and move.  Good quality footwear is important for babies whose bones are still malleable and growing faster than at any other time.  The shoes also have a padded leather insole that pulls perspiration from their little feet while giving added comfort.  The bottom of the shoes are made with thin, non-skid rubber soles.  They are flexible...allowing for natural development of foot and leg muscles, as well as helping to maintain good balance and posture.

In my opinion, the best part about these shoes (besides style, of course) is that they stay on little baby feet.  They easily slip on, but the elastic ankle band keeps them in place.  This way, baby can't take them off and lose them.  Then again, it will give you a built in excuse to buy a new pair!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gotta have class...

CPCC offers free classes through their entrepreneurial institute for "starting your own business".  So far as a group, we have been to three of them....

First class was about using online profiles to market your business.  NOT their best class.  The instructor spent the first twenty minutes explaining what Facebook is.  Um...think we got that one covered.  One good piece of advice did come from the class.  Many email marketing websites will give you one month free trial.  If we can find 12 of them, we can get a year free of email marketing...score!

Second class was outstanding!  It was called "Getting your Business Started".  The teacher was knowlegable, we got great advice on business plans, discovered a way to get free law services, and most importantly we learned that some of the decisions we had already made involving the business was on the right track.  Go us!

Last night's class was on trademarks, patents, copyrights, etc.  We learned that trademarks, patents, and copyrights are boring.  (Just kidding...we already knew that).  We did learn that protecting our name/logo is uber important with online retailing.  We also learned that until we are up and running, this can move down lower on our to do list.  Moving on...

So, all that is left is:
-Funding your business
-Creating a meaningful brand
-Demystifying google adwords (which luckily we might not need, since our facebook page is already the 6th entry when you Google "Friendly Rooster"...yay!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Website madness...

We JUST got off the phone with the web developer.  Luckily one of us, we're not saying which one, joined a fraternity back in the day and happens to have a bro that does web design/development.  The guy is helping us out on his own time for a nominal fee (and we do mean nominal).  We're am so excited after speaking with him!!!!

So...where are we now???

LLC and Fed ID...check
Logo/Icon in works...check
Business credit card ordered...check
Native, Me in Mind, Neon Eaters, and Mad Pax inventory ordered....check

To do in the near future:
-meet with web design to build template
-meet with logo/icon guy to finalize (in time to show to web design)
-finalize Tip Toey Joey....REALLY want this product on the site!!!
-finalize rest of assortment

Lots to times!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We're official!!

Yesterday Friendly Rooster was given its Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the Federal government.  Basically, this is our business's social security number.  This allows Friendly Rooster to borrow money and pay taxes (doesn't sound like very much fun...does it?!?!).  The funny thing is that it was SUPER exciting when it came through.  We had been trying to apply for it online for over a month, but the IRS system kept kicking us out.  Today, we decided to give it a try...fully expecting to get kicked out for our 51st time...but instead it spit back a number and told us congrats!  Woohoo!

So, we've narrowed our launch date to February 29, 2012.  Gotta love leap year :)

Stay tuned...

Monday, October 10, 2011

The latest

Children's product is amazing....really it is.  We had SO much fun checking out all of the showrooms.  It is nearly impossible to look at the product without ooing and awwing and squealing... We're glad we decided to go for it!

So, the shoe thing we think we have down pat.  Brands we plan to carry:
-Tip Toey Joey (mostly exclusive in US)
-Native (GREAT line!)
-Me in Mind
-Either See Kai Run or Livie and Luca (probably the latter, because they aren't as mainstream)
-Banana Peel flip flops
-Morgan and Milo (maybe...probably not in the beginning)
-Pediped (also probably not out of the gates)

Our goal with the shoes is to have some exclusivity, some known names, and a nice mix of more obscure brands. We're really excited about how it's going to turn out.

Now...on to the "fun stuff".  It is "Shoes and Fun Stuff for Baby and Kids", afterall...  The "fun stuff" is what we had to do some narrowing on in market.  There is so much to choose from that it is mind boggling.  And you really do want all of it.  Here are pics of some of the really great stuff that was out there:

Monster blankie and rattle from Angel Dear

Howdy Cows by Trumpette

Native shoes and Mad Pax

Socks and Bags from Trumpette

Super hero towels

It's going to take a week or two to sort through all of this.  Some will be based on availability.  Some will be based on who will sell to us at this stage in the game.  Either way, we're super stoked on how great the assortment is going to turn out.  Now, if we could just get ourselves together and decide on a web package we'll be on our way :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We are sitting on the plane on our way to LA to visit the showrooms, look at product, reconnect with old vendors, and collect countless email addresses and brochures.  It will be good to see some old business partners.  That being said, we're sure to be surprised at how unimportant we will be to these vendors since we will not have the buying power of a larger store (which has been our experience with past companies).  Offering product online versus in 20 (or 750) stores are completely different ballgames.

We are still all over the board in terms of what the product offering will be.  Considerations?

  • What age span do we want to carry?  Start with Baby and grow into kids?  Start with baby AND      kids?
  • What penetration is boys to girls: (depends on categories carried)
  • How many different vendors do we want to do business with?
  • Which product categories do we want to feature?
- Feet (shoes, sox, tights, leggings, leg warmers)
-Head (hats, clips, bows, bands)
-Bags (back packs, snack bags, diaper bags, slings/carriers, purses for little girls)
-Cold Weather (scarves, hats, mittens, mufflers, boots, ponchos)
-Playtime (books, plush, costumes, toys)

Once we get to touch and feel the product we will have a better idea of which direction to head.  Then once we get back to NC and lay out the product and brochures we'll feel more solid.

Today the LLC paperwork was sent in, so we’re moving along.  We’ve also put together my launch schedule.  Not sharing the details yet, as we also don’t want to jinx the start date..but stay tuned.

(As a side note, would the dude standing up in the back of the plane and running his mouth incessantly PLEASE sit down and stop talking.  Already been in the air 2 hours…if he keeps this up it’s gonna be a looooooong flight!!!!)