Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
Going from eBay to .com, The Pitter Patter Boutique has been able to see much growth and success since it began. Offering great products for the busy family that any parent could appreciate, Sarah Ellis has been lucky in finding the niche she needed to start a business.
With two children, six and one, this mom is someone to look towards if you’re in need of a good example for what success can be had from a computer in your own home.
Sarah is offering up a chance for 4 people to win some great baby products. If you’d like your chance at being one of those winners, go to the giveaway post for more information.
What is ‘The Pitter Patter Boutique’?
The Pitter Patter Boutique is a stylish .com baby boutique that offers custom baby travel gear and mommy gear for the duo on-the-go! We bring unique and trendy gear to one great place at affordable “Mom on a budget” prices.
The name of the store came to me while my husband and I were on a road trip to visit family. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due, my husband did come up with “The” as in The Pitter Patter Boutique. If it weren’t for him, where would I be? At the time, I didn’t have a website and I was just trying to come up with a unique and catchy name for my eBay store. I whipped out the computer and prayed for internet service as we drove down the dark streets of some small town in Alabama. I thought, “Surely, someone else at this exact moment and time is also logging on to eBay and they’re going to steal my name before I can register it.” Yes, you are correct to assume that I have no patience. I entered, Pitter Patter Boutique, and my heart was crushed to see that it was already taken. Seconds later, “what about The Pitter Patter Boutique?” I remember looking at my husband and thinking, “you’re a genius!” I entered the new name and tah-dah!!! The Pitter Patter Boutique was born.
What is your #1 selling product?
The Toss-Me-Not Sippy Cup Holder™ is by far my best seller. This product is so simple to use and you can keep your little one from launching that sippy cup or baby bottle clear across the room. It saves mom from some embarrassing moments and also keeps the drinking spout germ-free. When my daughter was just starting out on the sippy cup, she loved to hear the SMACK! sound that it made when hitting the floor. Soon after that, we learned what it sounded like when it hit a kind, older gentleman right in the chest. And as you can probably guess, my mind starting moving and within a few weeks we had this great new item added to our product line. I love it and I use it everyday. This product design is currently in the patent process.
How many kinds of products are offered on your website?
There are currently 20 different products on our site but you can customize a large majority of those items. The Pitter Patter Boutique offers over 250 different fabric options for all custom orders. With this many choices, you’re sure to find the style you want, categorized by collection for our shoppers convenience.
What was your inspiration?
My daughter is the inspiration behind The Pitter Patter Boutique but both of my children and my husband are what drive me to be better everyday.
How long has it been since you launched?
The Pitter Patter Boutique was “officially” launched in November of 2007. I did quite a bit of selling on eBay prior to this time but didn’t make the big leap into my own website until a little less then a year ago.
What kind of steps were necessary to get your business to where it is today?
I think the number one and most important step is committing to it. Owning your own business can be very scary but there is also a sense of achievement that is involved with it. You need to be willing to sacrifice a little “me time” and maybe some “hubby time” to get it to where you want it to be. I am far from the top but I am well on my way there and I won’t stop until I can see my long journey from way up high.
What is your favorite piece of advice you’ve read or heard?
I can’t think of one piece that is my absolute favorite. To be completely honest, my customer comments are my best piece of advice. Every time someone goes out of their way to send me a message about how much they love my product or to thank me for my customer care, that takes me a long way.
How do you handle advertising? What have you found most and least effective?
I’m still trying to figure this one out. I don’t have a lot of money to invest in the magazine ads and billboards so I am always on the look out for cheap or free advertising. I have my own blog that is not only business but personal too! It’s a way for me to showcase some new products and show off my adorable children at the same time. I think people like to see that I am a real mom and that’s what my blog helps me to accomplish. Your products can be your best advertising tool, so if you can, offer a giveaway. I personally love giveaways, although it’s hard to track whether or not a sale came from a previous giveaway unless you include a coupon code. But don’t you feel good for doing it? I just wish there was more I could giveaway.
Do your children get involved?
My son is 6 (nicknamed “D”) and my daughter (nicknamed “J. Bean”) will be 1 on June 15th. They’re each involved in their own way. J. Bean has been my little test dummy since before she was born. She is also the reason for a few of my products and the reason for a few improvements on existing products. If she doesn’t like it or if it’s uncomfortable, she’ll let me know. She enjoys rummaging through my fabric scraps and throwing them over her head. And often times, she is the model in many of the photo’s on my website.
My son is only interested in joining me when I have to go to the fabric shop. The shop has become our second home so he spends most of our time there hiding under the tables, sliding his race cars down the hallway and putting fake cockroaches on J. Beans back so I would freak out. Every now and then I try to see if he would be interested in cutting some fabric or organizing some papers for me but he’s hip to my game.
How have you been able to handle work around family time?
Family time is number one in our household. There are times when I am really busy but I try to only work when my youngest is sleeping and my son is at school. If my husband is at home, then I’ll sneak away for an hour or two and try to get some things done. Most days, I end up working quite a bit in the evenings. This allows me the peace and quiet I need but I am also able to spend plenty of time with my children during the day.
What advice do you have to offer to other moms who would like to start up their own online store?
You can achieve all your dreams if you just try. It’s kind of like dieting, it’s a tough journey but if you really want it and really believe, anything is possible.