Stay-at-home moms, in Colorado Springs and all over the country, often have many other stay-at-home moms as friends. Often times those moms are adding to their families. When a friend is having a baby, you often want to get them the nicest baby gift you can at the most reasonable price you can manage.
When shopping for a baby shower gift, stay-at-home moms also like to support other stay-at-home moms who run their own businesses; the income may mean they can continue to be a stay-at-home mom.
There is a way you can get an amazing baby shower for a friend as well as help to support a stay-at-home mom; shop for the baby shower gift you need from Maddisin and Mason Gifts which is owned and run by a stay-at-home mom: Stephanie Nugent.
Stephanie, please tell us about yourself.
I am a 33 year old mother with two fabulous kiddos and one fantastic husband of five and half years! My daughter is 4.5 years old and will be starting kindergarten this coming September. My son is 18 months old and, we are convinced, must be part monkey. He loves to climb and I’m forever finding him hanging and swinging from the rafters! His energy is boundless but yet one of his favorite activities is hugging and cuddling. A paralegal by trade, I was laid off immediately after the birth of my daughter and ended up being a stay-at-home mom. Only recently did I have to work part-time because my husband had to go on medical leave from his job.
Tell us about your business.
My company, Maddisin and Mason Gifts, was started almost by accident. My best friend was having her first baby and I was looking for a way to creatively present her with all the little goodies I had for her. Presentation is everything and I wanted to walk into her shower carrying something that would make people say, ‘wow’! I ended up taking all of the clothing type items and rolling them up and putting them into a clay pot, the idea was to have it look like a floral arrangement. People went crazy for it and started asking me to make them. I gave the gift a name – the Baby Bloom. I started selling them to people who were asking for them. Over the last two years our Baby Bloom has evolved exponentially from a rudimentary creation to a well thought out design, easily becoming our signature gift and most popular item. In addition to being a great gift for any new mommy, people order them to use as centerpieces at baby showers, preferring our beautiful designs to typical flowers which are expensive and useless once the shower is over. Our Baby Blooms are a fantastic value with our medium size, which includes twenty-two pieces of baby goodness for just $58.00! Each is designed and created when it is ordered so no two are ever alike…each is its own beautiful piece. Customers can tailor their order by choosing the onesie size and specific colors, etc.
Early last year we expanded from exclusively selling our Baby Blooms and added other in-studio creations such as diaper cakes and baby topiaries. We always try to stay away from the ‘norm’ so in place of a typical diaper cake filled with rattles and binkies we’ve taken a diaper base and created designs like our Romper Cake which incorporates fourteen onesies, fourteen washcloths and a burp cloth. There is also our Garden Fairy Baby Cake which is topped with a wooden picket fence planter that mom can use after disassembly to grow her favorite flowers in. Our latest in-studio creation is our Sibling Paint Can Gift Set. A very special gift to show the new big brother or big sister that they are still loved even though there is a new little munchkin around! Ordering a Sibling Gift in conjunction with a Baby Bloom will save you $10.00 and shipping!
As the requests for baby shower items become more and more frequent we have begun another overhaul of the company to focus more on baby shower gifts and decor. When this overhaul is complete, Maddisin and Mason Gifts will be a premiere shop for all things baby shower. From elegant decor and unique favors to invitations and guest books, you’ll be able to purchase everything you need to host an amazing baby shower all in one stop! We will even eventually be offering chair covers, organza sashes and gorgeous linens for the more upscale baby showers.
As a part of this overhaul, we are also adding an amazing line of infant bedding and nursery decor, unique infant toys and snuggie blankies, along with a line of rockin’ organic infant clothes. We already have our baby registry up and running but soon the mommy-to-be will be able to register for the most astounding nursery decor, toys and clothing like nothing you can find in the big chain stores!
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge has been finding ways to help my family understand that this company is a job and have them give me credit for the amount of time it takes to start and successfully run and grow a business. When it’s just you and you’re responsible for creating/maintaining a website, filling orders, marketing, accounting…basically all aspects of running a start-up business (and in my particular case I make most items by hand with a Baby Bloom taking approximately two to two and half hours to make start to finish). Even though I am a stay-at-home mom I am also a work-at-home mom. I work dozens of hours each week, usually late night after the kids go to bed. Getting recognition for the sheer number of hours and sleepless nights it took (and still takes) has easily been my biggest challenge. Trying to have people understand how busy life is when you’re running a family, a house and a business is a tall order when they’ve never walked in your shoes.
What has come the easiest for you?
As strange as it sounds the desire to make my company a success is what comes easiest. I’m not a self-confident person in many aspects of life, but when it comes to my company I transform into this super business woman ready to put myself out there if it means taking Maddisin and Mason Gifts one step closer to big-time success.
Where do you advertise…or do you?
When Maddisin and Mason Gifts first began, before I even had a webstie, I was very lucky to be able to put a Baby Bloom on display at a very busy restaurant in a local affluent town. Even to this day I receive dozens of orders from people who have seen the Baby Bloom there. I’ve landed several corporate accounts from HR Directors or business owners going there for lunch, seeing the Bloom and deciding it was a better and much more personal gift from their employees who have babies. From there, I’ve been able to place display Baby Blooms in various locations (hair salons, country clubs, etc.) and derive a good deal of business from people seeing them.
Outside of that I use the free social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to promote my company and announce the specials and maintain a mailing list which I use to email specials and new product announcements to my existing customers.
I have paid for various sites in the past, I’ve also used Google Adwords but those paid methods have always netted next to nothing and my ROI has been awful. So for now, I’m sticking with my free options. The hope is by the end of the year to pay a PR/marketing company to develop and implement a marketing strategy for me since finding ways to target the proper audience and achieving a good ROI has been a challenge for me.
What would you like to suggest to a mom who is interested in starting her own business?
Be serious about it, be ready to work, have a passion for what you are doing and do it for the right reasons. To start a successful business takes a large time commitment that means time away from your kids/husband or working late nights regardless of what’s going on the next morning. The devotion and desire has to be there or you will burn out and give up. For me, I know I am doing this for my kids…to be able to provide them with what I didn’t have growing up, to be able to send them to college, to allow them to participate in activities that we would otherwise be unable to afford. I try to keep the bulk of my working to late night hours to maximize the time I get to spend with them during the day but even this comes with its own downfalls…working all night on Maddisin and Mason Gifts and then working mornings at my part time job leaves me tired…but at the end of the day I know it’s worth it and my kid’s lives will be better in the long run because of all my hard work now. They are what give me the drive to do this. Any mom starting a new business will need something to pull that energy from when they feel they’ve reached their breaking point.
I would also suggest finding a group of ‘mompreneurs’, I have joined several groups and find them all amazing. A good active group can be a great source of information, provide support and suggestions when you need it and help pick you up when you feel like giving up.
Many thanks to Stephanie Nugent of Maddisin and Mason Gifts for sharing her passion and her advice. Make sure to visit her website and bookmark it for when you need a baby shower gift. You can also find Maddisin and Mason Gifts on Facebook and Twitter so you can keep up with the latest!
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.