24 Jun Maybe I’ve lost my mind….then again, maybe I haven’t??
It’s been a while since I made a blog post for L’il Monkeys. It’s not because I didn’t have anything to say, believe me that is NEVER the case. When I started L’il Monkeys eleven years ago when our twins were born, I never could have imagined being where I am today. Both personally and professionally as a Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend, Business Owner, Entrepreneur and most recently, venturing into an entirely new business (more about that later).
First, I want to express how truly lucky I feel. When L’il Monkeys was born, I was very skeptical about how it would actually become a business that would enable me to earn an income. I was never interested in sewing. In fact, I almost failed home economics in high school because my sewing project was a dress that turned out with three arm holes. Oops! I was pregnant with our twins, and off on sick leave from my corporate job as a Recruiter. I knew we were having two girls and I wanted them to have a special blanket of their very own. After many attempts, I was finally able to figure out how to use my $100 sewing machine and make them each, what is now the very first L’il Monkeys blankets. I also made a blanket for one of my closest friends’ daughter when she was born. Quite frankly, I was bored out of my mind and not able to go to work so I was looking for projects to fill my days in between the all day nausea, vomiting and trying to understand why it’s called morning sickness when it never went away. When my friend received the blanket, she called me and said “why are you not selling these blankets?”
The first year of our girls’ lives is pretty much a blur for me. They were born five weeks early on Halloween and thankfully, we welcomed them home from the hospital just four days later. At 4lbs, 3oz they were sooo tiny. Waking them to feed every three hours, trying to recover from an emergency c-section, and navigate the insanity of being new parents to not one, but two babies was a bit of a gong show to say the least. Somehow, we all managed to survive that first year and it became time to plan my return to work. We began visiting daycares in our area and interviewing nannies. On more than one occasion, the day care center said “We have room for one of your girls. Is that ok?” Sure, I’ll drop one off and the other can hang out on her own. We interviewed countless nannies and just never felt like we had found the one who would fit into our family and care for our babies as we would. Also, when we started crunching the numbers, the cost for childcare would almost be the same as my salary at the time.
Starting a home-based business was never something I considered, and certainly not a business that required me to sew! My intention was to get through the pregnancy, enjoy a year of maternity leave and then return to work as a Recruiter. That phone call from my friend caught me totally by surprise and I started to really wonder if I could actually find people who would be interested in buying my blankets. What if I could become a stay-at-home Mom AND earn an income? What if I didn’t have to stress about finding a day care for our girls, let alone one that had room for both of them? What if I could choose my own hours, be my own boss, stay in my pajamas all day because all of my clothes were covered in baby vomit, and be there to see our girls reach all of their milestones (usually within a week of each other)? So many what if’s!
So, while our girls napped I started making blankets for my friends’ babies and very slowly started selling them to people who saw the ones that I had made for our girls. Within a year, I was back and forth to our local fabric store more times than I can count. When I could no longer find the fabric in the stores, we decided it was time to place bulk order and began having it milled especially for L’il Monkeys. That first shipment of fabric was very intimidating. It took up half of our double garage piled all the way to the ceiling. I knew I was in it for the long haul, or at least until we could park in the garage again! We created a very basic website and began taking orders for L’il Monkeys Personalized Baby Gifts.
Fast forward to now. I cannot believe that our girls are nearing the end of 6th grade, and L’il Monkeys has grown into the company it is today. That initial shipment of fabric is long gone and we have since ordered several more container loads, changing the colours to keep up with our customer requests and colour trends. Most of our orders are still for baby blankets, but now we get several orders for pet blankets, camp blankets, adult and family blankets and orders for all of the babies who love their original blankets but are moving into bigger beds. I have also sent MANY blankets to Hollywood babies as I am contacted regularly to contribute to celebrity gift bags. NEVER did I see any of this coming! I cannot thank our loyal customers enough. I am always incredibly humbled when I receive a photo of a new baby snuggling with their blanket, or a message after someone has received their order/gift. To this day, our girls will only sleep with a L’il Monkeys blanket covering them (then their duvet covers). They even take one to sleep away camp!
To all of our loyal customers: THANK YOU!!! Thanks for continuing to place your orders either for your own family, or for gifts. Thank you for allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom and balance my business around the ever changing needs of my family. Thank you for all of your kind words, feedback and for allowing us to continue making our Personalized Blankets. From the bottom of my heart, Thank YOU.
And now……I have some very exciting news! While L’il Monkeys will always hold a very special place in my heart, and we will absolutely continue to provide you with our soft, snuggly blankets, I have also started a new business. Again, totally NOT on my radar, but I was presented with an opportunity that I simply could not ignore. I did not make the decision easily, and made sure to do my due diligence before jumping in.
As of May 6, 2016 I am now an Independent Executive Consultant for Rodan + Fields Skincare! Rodan + Fields Skincare is a dermatology-based premium skincare brand. In fact, it is the #1 premium anti-aging brand in the USA, the #1 fastest growing skincare brand over the last five years and the #1 premium acne brand. I have seen first hand how it has changed my skin, and have been loving all of the positive feedback from my customers who have been trying it for the first time. The best part is, the company offers a 60 day, full money back guarantee on all products. You never know unless you try it!
You may be wondering how this all happened? As I mentioned, I was not looking for another business. My plate is full. BUT, since having our girls I have been very self conscious about my skin. Sure, the bags under my eyes were expected from the sheer exhaustion in the beginning, but they never went away. Yes, my skincare routine consisted of a baby wipe and whatever water fell on my face in the shower. And, yes, I would sometimes fall into bed after a long day with all of my makeup on (if I had any time to apply it). I turned the big 4-0 this year (yikes) and really started seeing wrinkles popping up and noticing that the tone and texture of my skin was just dull. I started using a skincare regimen myself and was totally mind blown. Within just TEN days of starting my regimen, I saw a huge improvement in the tone and texture of my skin, and for the first time in my adult life, I am concealer, powder and foundation free! I began hearing about the success others were achieving as consultants, and after several conversations with a friend of my husband’s who is an incredibly successful consultant, I decided to join her team. Since day one, the coaching and support that she has given me along with the company’s marketing material, website, and support, I have been amazed. Of course, it also helps that my husband is extremely supportive and loves seeing how excited I am!
Over the last month, several of my friends and family members have reached out and congratulated me on this new venture. Others have been skeptical and quite frankly, have been asking me if I have lost my mind. I have made the conscious decision to ignore the negativity and focus on building, what I believe can be a very successful second business. There are two sides to this new venture. One part of it is sharing information about the products and building my customer base. The other side is building my team with other consultants. Both aspects have been very rewarding so far. I actually have the tools to help change someone’s skin and self confidence AND offer an opportunity for someone to earn an income while choosing their own hours and being their own boss. I truly believe in both. As I continue to navigate through the R+F world, I have already made some amazing connections with other consultants who have figured out how to succeed in reaching their goals and I am looking forward to achieving mine. I am also very excited about helping others achieve their financial goals. If either the products OR business opportunity are of any interest to you, I would love to tell you more!
So now what? L’il Monkeys will continue to grow along side my R+F business and neither will define who I am. They are my businesses and a way for me to contribute to our personal and family goals. I am still the Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend, Business Owner, and Entrepreneur that I have always been and I look forward to sharing my story as it unfolds. As always, L’il Monkeys blankets can be ordered through our website: www.lilmonkeys.ca AND you can learn more about Rodan + Fields at http://andiaizer.myrandf.com/ca
That’s all for now…thanks for letting me share my story…time for a drink!