Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WAY cool!!!!

Today, if you type in www.friendlyrooster.com 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 cute...so 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 know....it'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' websites...one 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 joking...you should check them out for a good laugh at www.giantmicrobes.com ).  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 Hen...as 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"...do 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 ideas....so 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!!!