Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sundance Film Festival

Talent.  It's a quality that takes time to manifest; a combination of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.  Once unleashed it can take you on a wild ride of exhilarating proportions. 

Last month I was at the Sundance Film Festival where I found an overwhelming amount of talent.  Everyone you meet or talk with has a story worth listening to.  A story that is unique yet similar to all the other stories of talent rising to the top.  For example, consider the cast of Fruitvale.  Most of them are first time actors with the exception of the main characters.  They were drawn to this film because of it's message and the films ability to humanize a person whom some people considered completely lost.  Yet with the directing talent of Ryan Coogler not only does the film bring out the amazing talent of each individual involved in the project; more importantly it presents a troubled youth as a fellow human and challenges your sense of right and wrong.  

Sundanace Winner of the U. S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic:
Fruitvale, directed by Ryan Coogler
Coogler upon acceptance... "David Lowery, stand up for me man. We formed crazy relationships with people in the labs, and at this festival. At the end of the day, when I first made this project, it was about humanity, and how we treat the people we love most and the people we don’t know. To get this means that this film made a powerful impact. This goes back to my home, the Bay area, where Oscar Grant lived for 22 years. I can’t wait to see you all when this is said and done and I’m more articulate and not so emotional.”

Each month I hope to highlight a different aspect of the creative arts to extend my journey into the world of makers and creatives.  It's my passion and love of the creative process that propels me forward each day; conceptualizing and bringing to life one FUNctional modern accessory at a time.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

txtRng;) s One Year Anniversary

One year ago this month (December) I began shipping txtRng;) s.  It was an amazing step forward in my journey as an entrepreneur / mompreneur / startup; but truly just the beginning.

My village of support from family, friends, and early adopters has propelled me forward and kept me going as I build my company one product at a time.  For a great read on how the txtRng;) came to life take a look at J.D. Harrison's article in the Washington Post,  "How a village raised a start-up"... he did a fabulous job describing my start-up process.

Here is Idea Incubator Inc.'s Year in Review..... as told by me;*

Jan 2012....The Launch - We started at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.  I had my "booth babes" lined up and was ready to show the world my first product.  I had worked tradeshows before and knew my goals:
  • Generate Buzz.. get people excited about our product
  • Get the word out... romance the media
  • Make contacts that would help with distribution and retail sales
  • Sell whatever we brought.. take nothing home...
Along with Karita and Dawn, my very gifted sales team, we succeeded in every goal... Including an amazing amount of international press and orders.  (Karita is Brazilian and used her native tongue to create an almost overwhelming amount of buzz.. had to increase our website data transfer just to keep up.)

Feb-Jun 2012 ... The Follow-up/Marketing Journey - Bringing your own product to market, or starting a new business is not for the faint of heart.  You are susceptible to more rejection then an actor.  My goal for the months following CES was to get the txtRng;) distributed internationally, and nationally in retail stores. It didn't happen; despite tirelessly trying every lead I had.  I came to realize (or maybe just needed to be reminded) there are always several paths to your goal.  If the first path is blocked find the next.. and so on.  

I found the next path.  I have now partnered with several small boutique retailers and with one of my fellow entrepreneurs from CES to help get the txtRng;)s on peoples fingers.  I also started doing small targeted trade shows to sell the txtRng;) directly.  Going forward I may try direct marketing. 

The push back I received from the big box retailers was based on two ideas... 
   1 - they don't want to deal with a one "sku" company .. it's just as much work for them to work with me.. a single "sku"er as it is to work with someone with 1000 skus, and..
   2 - they don't want to take chances.. they want guarantees... not very entrepreneurial huh?

May 2012 ... Find a "Good Cause"... A good friend and well connected public relations guru, Kim Marshall, introduced me to the Nancy Davis Foundation and the Race to Erase MS.  It was a perfect fit for us since the txtRng;)s help those with limited hand control use a touchscreen.  We donated several hundred txtRng;)s to their expo and have established a year round partnership to help them raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research.   If everyone focuses on ways they can help others, they will gain a satisfaction that is unparalleled.
Also in May... just to add a little fun and adventure to my life...  I attended the LA Shark Tank casting call.  Even though I knew it was a long shot I made the journey west and stood in line for 5 hours to give a 30 second presentation.  The best part of the whole day were the 7 new entrepreneurial friends I made.  All with great ideas.  All on the same path of passion.

Jun 2012... Celebrity sightings..   The Tony Awards.  I received a last minute invitation to join a friend in the guesting suite of the Tony Awards.  Celebrities get to go "shopping" and we get to pitch our products or services hoping that some of their magic wears off on our brand.  Ben Vereen, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters were just a few of the amazing talents that we got to meet.

Jul 2012.. Time to recharge... It was time to recharge MY battery and take a little time to not think about the txtRng;).   I took the kids to the beach.. we played, visited friends, ate great food and explored new places...(and yes.. talked about the txtRng;) just a little)  It was just what I needed to figure out the next step for iii and the txtRng;)

Aug-Dec 2012... The Cff... the txtRng;) is paying for itself now and so it is time to start working on the next piece in our line of Tech Jewelry.  The Cff is in prototype stage and could not have made it this far without the help of Brent and Ben Messner of Gastonia NC.  As this piece of Tech Jewelry moves forward I will keep you posted.  It is going to be a beautiful addition to any arm and will make everyone's life a little more enjoyable.  Can't wait to share more!!!

Sept 2012.. txtRng:) travels to Burning Man... With a little help from my friend Ty.

Oct-Dec 2012.. Time to partner... I called one of my fellow CESers to ask his advice on something and ended up with an excellent partner.  Chris Moyer of Dockem offered to try and sell the txtRng;)s on e-bay and amazon (something which I had not been successful doing, nor was I particularly interested in pursuing).  Not only has he found the best way to optimize keyword searches, but he also has managed to get the reviews that I have longed for.. and they are ALL GOOD... whew.. 

Nov 2012.. Inventors Digest.. We hit the Radar in the Inventors Digest and are celebrating another media hit.  

Going forward... In Early 2013... we will continue to search and find the best ways to get the txtRng;) stylus rings onto everyone's fingers, and then.... we will introduce the Cff.

I'm a Creative (and grateful).  Being a creative makes everyday special.  We are always working on new and interesting ideas,  but when we start introducing those ideas to the world it can be a little scary.  Not everyone will love our ideas and some will criticize them, but in the end it's the process of making and creating that brings us joy.  So for all the creative makers out there... keep on making, enjoy the process and share your passion.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life Lessons From Teaching My Kids To Ski

I just got back from my annual family ski/snowboard trip to 7-Springs Mountain Resort in PA.  We have been taking this trip for 35 years and it's where I learned to ski when I was seven.  This year I had the opportunity to share the thrill, excitement and love of everything cold, white, and steep with my two children. 

My daughter is 4 years old and my son is almost 3 years old.  They both got to experience the amazing adrenaline rush from sliding gleefully down the mountain on 2 fiberglass planks, and I got to experience the amazing happiness from being able to share my love of the mountain.   But instead of waxing on about how "amazing" it was I want to present what I learned from sharing my love.  

1. Be open to try new things
2. Stay positive
3. When you fall down, laugh first, then get up
4. Be well rested
5. Eat
6. Sing with the wind
7. Be in awe 
8. Pay attention to your surroundings, and enjoy them.
9. Smile
10.Scream with joy

I hope everyone has the opportunity the share something they love with someone they love.  There is no better feeling.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

To Blog or not to Blog....

I was having lunch with a colleague yesterday mulling over the pros and cons of blogging, knowing that I'm a creative writer, but a poor grammatical writer.  I told her I would love to share what I'm learning during this start-up phase of my business especially because the process has been so challenging, rewarding, frustrating and exhilarating, but didn't want to have my editor critique every post.... she gave me some very good advice which I will share here....
Bald Eagles Over the Potomac... Not the
Robins outside my window....

She said... give your disclaimer and start blogging!!!!!

So here I am sitting in my beautiful sun/cloud room enjoying the birds bathing in their bath giving my disclaimer... I love to write and am going to put my "start-up" entrepreneurial experience out there.. and hope someone gleans something useful from it.... but don't critique my grammar.. I already know it's not perfect.  Well at least if you do critique it... just be nice ( as I tell my children everyday ).  So on that note enjoy the ride as I share the amazing MOMpreneur experience.

Thursday, December 8, 2011