Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WICKED WOMEN ON THE WEB - Beanie Designs!

 Beanie Designs recently asked me if I'd like to review one of their handmade beanies.
I said of course, I would!  
Winter is here and it's getting pretty chilly in the mornings.  
And since this little ning nong let her sister cut off all her hair, she needed something to keep her head warm.
So I clicked onto their website and picked one out. 


Jordy in her new beanie - just in time for winter!  

I was also happy to find out that the creator of beanie designs is a fellow mumpreneur and I jumped at the chance to interview her for 

Warning - the photos in this interview are so cute they'll make your uterus hurt!

Who is the woman behind Beanie Designs?

I'm Yacine, a stay at home mom to 3 beautiful children.  I'm from Senegal, a country in West Africa where you will find the most loving and kindest people.  Came here when I was a child, grew up here, fell in love with the US.  When I'm not working you'll find me in the kitchen cooking a lot.  I love food.  I speak four languages, love to read, love to search about anything on Google when I'm bored.  Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?

How did you come up with the idea for Beanie Designs?
Not many people can say that their husband taught them to crochet.  Well I can!  My wonderful husband took the time to teach me the intricate art of crochet and I have been addicted ever since.

At first I crocheted to relax.  That was before my baby girl was born.  I became obsessed with crocheting her adorable little hats and blankets.  Then I realized the total satisfaction of sharing my one-of-a-kind creations with other mothers and Beanie Designs was born!

Crocheting is more than a hobby or even a business to me.  It's a passion, and that passion comes across in each special hat I offer you.  I look forward to crafting a special hat just for you and your baby!

Is this your first business?  Was it a big investment financially?

This is actually not my first business.  I was an ebay seller selling cartridges.  I was making a lot of money with that but I was more passionate about selling my handmade hats.  I spent a lot of that ebay money buying yarns!

I sold my hats on etsy at first which did not require much money.  When I decided to start my own web site I realised a serious online business does cost money.  It's a big investment if you are serious about the site design and marketing.

How did you create your web presence?  Do you spend a lot of time on the internet?

I strongly believe the saying that good products sell themselves.  Our website, facebook page and twitter help make it easy for people to find us.  I must say, I also have some of the sweetest customers, they help get the word out about Beanie Designs.

I spent a lot of time on the internet just learning about the basics of online business.  After a lot of research I realized it was best, for me, to hire some help while I focus on what I do best, providing the products.

A helpful websites for ecommerce owners is http://practicalecommerce.com/

I also like the etsy forums business section.  I used to spend a lot of time there reading and answering questions.  On the forum you just feel like you are among people who understand you.  It's a great community for handmakers to share ideas and get help.

Is Beanie Designs now your full time job?

I will say I have two full time jobs.  The first is the kids and Beanie Designs comes second.  I work early in the morning when the kids are not up yet and late at night when the kids are asleep.

How do you create the work/ life balance?

I will say this is the hardest part with working at home.  It takes a lot of discipline to balance it and I'm still working on it.  My biggest help on this is my husband who sometimes just takes a day off work for me to catch up with my work.  

One thing I will advise work at home mothers is no matter how busy you are, make it a goal to never let the TV babysit for you.  Once I made that decision I found it easier to take time away from the computer and work to play with the kids or to find them healthy activities to do while I work.

A downside to being a busy work at home mom is the lack of a social life outside of the home.  Most times the only adult conversation I have excluding my husband are with people online.  Some friends just quit calling me because I didn't even have time to return phone calls.  I hope to win them back soon :)

What inspires you and keeps you motivated?

Online women business owners, who've been there, done it and are doing it.  My kids and yes, my husband, make keep me happy.  Right now my 2 year old is hugging and kissing me.  At the end of the day that is all that matters.

There are so many gorgeous hats on the Beanie Designs web site.  What are some of your favourites?

I love the cable style earflap hats not only because my son is modeling them (how gorgeous is he!) but during winter they wear it a lot and we get lots of compliments.

Another favourite is this white knitted hat.  When you see this hat in real life is when you appreciate it's true beauty.  

                                                  It's so simple yet so cute.  

When we're packing orders I often find myself staring at this hat.  Our customers are usually impressed when they receive them.  The quality is quite impressive and I'm honestly not just saying this because I'm the owner. :)

Beanie Designs has an ongoing 10% discount for their facebook fans.  Become a fan and get the discount.


Tracy Anderson 30 Day Method Review




The Tracy Anderson 30 Day Method comes with a book written by Tracy (duh) that explains how she developed her method.
It also features an explanation of the mat work in the included DVD and a 30 day diet plan.

I found this video on You Tube and it gives you a pretty good idea of what the mat work on the DVD entails.


Tracy recommends that if you want the fastest and best possible results you stick to her plan and her plan only for 30 days.
Two days into the program I realised I couldn't be that strict for 30 days for 2 different reasons.

1.  I'm 5'8", a busy mother of 4 kids and I need to eat.  Her meal plan isn't that restrictive but I'm pretty bad at sticking to any sort of organised diet.  I recommend just cutting processed food out of your diet, eating wholegrains for breakfast, boosting your fruits/vegies/lean protein and eating 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day.

2. I just couldn't make myself do the recommended 40 minutes of the dance cardio.  It's not that it's complicated, it's just a tad...dull.  Tracy just bops and spins in two 10 minute sessions that you are expected to extend to 40 minutes.  Even Tracy looks bored while she's doing it.

As for the mat work out?

I LOVED IT.  Yup, absolutely loved it.

It takes about an hour and 10 minutes to complete.

It looks deceptively simple (watch the above clip to get the gist of it) but each movement needs to be performed 40 times on each side.  You're targeting all the trouble spots - your butt, side saddles, saggy belly and batwing arms.  Within a week, my side saddles were significantly smaller.

To all the naysayers who believe you can't get toned without using weights - if you can't feel it and don't see results quickly, then you're not doing it right.

How to incorporate the Tracy Anderson 30 Day Method into your work out routine -

If you need to change your body shape in 30 Days and have the will power to stick to the meal plan, time to do the dance cardio and mat work then you will definitely see significant changes in your body shape.

For me - 
I won't be doing the dance cardio work outs again.  For cardio, I like to run or ride my bike or do stair work outs at the beach.  
The mat workouts on her DVDS I will definitely keep using.  They are the only routines that have visibly changed the shape of my legs without the torture of endless lunges and squats. 


Other Tracy Anderson DVDs include: 
Post Pregnancy Workout DVD

Mat Workout DVD

Perfect Design Series

Sunday, May 15, 2011

WICKED WOMEN ON THE WEB - Busting Out!

You know that here at Whoa Mumma I'm all about celebrating girls with curves.


So this week's featured facebook
business
for 
is 
the totally boobalicious



I've been a facebook fan of Busting Out! for the longest time.

Busting Out! brings you the ultimate 40s / 50s style with a modern twist.  With lingerie, corsets, accessories, killer heels, fascinators and jewellery, they're always on the search for new pieces so that you're always 'busting out' in style!

Busting out! also offer clothing/ photography parties, so if you've ever wanted to unleash your inner pin up girl, here's your chance!


I spoke to the company's founder Jamie Larken to find out more about her and her  business.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and why you started your company Busting Out?

When I was 18 I worked in bars and bottle shops for my family's business.  I bought a house at 18.  The stress of having a mortgage and a job I didn't like made me rethink my situation.  When I turned 21 I sold the house, quit my job, bought a burnt orange '76 Kombi and camped by the banks of rivers, beaches and headlands on the East Coast of Australia for about a year.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but I knew I didn't want to be working in a job I hated 9 - 5 for the rest of my life.  So I decided to just chill for a while and think about it.  I fell in love, had 2 babies and I still didn't know what it was that I wanted to do!

I always had a fascination with capturing moments on camera and I loved to create a  quirky, vintage atmosphere. 

So in 2009, after the birth of my second baby and splitting with my husband, Busting Out was formed as an extension from my photography business - House of Phoenix Eleven. 

It was a bit of an outlet to share my love of corsets, clothing and photography and to get back into the working world!  I originally started buying corsets for outfit options in photo shoots and photo parties. 


I decided to start the Busting Out! facebook page specifically for corsets, underwear, shoes, wigs, accessories and all other fun lady things like photo parties which are a great hit!  I didn't want to get in to debt to start my business so I started small and worked at it weekly.  

I'm a single mum of two little bubbas.  Phoenix James is 4 and little Zahara is 3.  They are a huge part of the business.  AS mummy's little helpers they are quite switched on and in-the-know about corsetry and they both instantly pull the 'Blue Steele' move when they see the camera.  They are usually by my side except for two days at kindy.

Busting Out! now has over 8,000 fans. What made you choose facebook as your main web presence?

After playing with a few social networking sites I decided to stick solely to facebook.  This seemed to be the most personal and useful of the sites when it came to creating a solid network, fast.

The early stages of Busting Out consisted mainly of spending a whole lot of time online on the facebook page creating a presence.  Networking, regularly uploading photos and having sales, competitions, discounts and giveaways.  Anything that would attract peoples attention.  

I was overwhelmed with the popularity of the corsets.  I also noticed that the page formed a small community feel to it.  It was a place for women to have a chat and share pics of them looking amazing in their new corsets.  Busting Out! makes women feel amazing and sexy which instils confidence...confidence is precious!

How has your company grown?

I live in Murwillumbah in Northern NSW and I was referred to a lady named Leanne who has a store in Prospero Street, Murwillumbah.  I approached her to put some items in her shop.  She greatly obliged.  We now work together designing 40s and 50s and burlesque inspired skirts to go with the wide range of corsets.  I love that Busting Out!  can now offer some Australian made, owned and designed products.

We currently have a Gold Coast representative - Tazza Martin who gave birth to her first baby Isabelle last year.  Tazza deals with the online auctions and queries which are a main part of the business.  Tazza also hosts the Gold and Tweed Coast parties with me.  Busting Out! has a fantastic mother/ daughter team Lauren Flint and Tracey Gordon who run from Lismore to Armidale and surrounding regions doing Busting Out! parties, markets, and also contribute to the facebook page. 


What are your future dreams for the business?
I have huge plans, dreams and goals for Busting Out!  My 'House of Phoenix Eleven' plan will largely feature Busting Out! and also an in-house photography studio, a stage and a cafe (and maybe some dancing monkeys ha ha ha!).  I'd love to combine live entertainment and performance with local art and artists, food, shopping and photography into one big gallery/ museum type of 'shoppe'....

With a successful business and two small children, how do you maintain your work/ life balance?

I try to stay motivated, continually grow my dream, have goals and grab each opportunity with both hands.  It's great to be able to attempt it with my kids by my side as they are what truly makes me happy.  Sometimes balance can be hard but I heed the words of Bruno Mars in 'The Lazy Song' to bring back some balance when I find things are getting too crazy!

I find that if the kids are working all day with me, grabbing fish and chips at the beach for dinner and having an evening play at the park on the way home makes a pretty good end to the day!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get motivation and inspiration for my photography and clothing from playing dress ups with different vintage/ op shop garments and altering them.  Also from movies, books and magazines.  Mae West is my idol and her wisest words for me were -
"It's not what you say but how you say it, and how you look when you do it and say it."
and
"It  is far better to be looked-over than overlooked."

She's so cheeky! 

Busting Out! holds regular auctions on facebook where you can purchase some of their saucy burlesque/ vintage inspired pieces.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

FOOT FETISH FRIDAY!

So yesterday this happened.


Some old dude wouldn't move and I ate concrete.

Universe?

F.U.  

Enough with the frickin' injuries already.

It's not like I go around kicking cats or old people.  

Much.

So since it's that time of the week
I present to you this week's battered and bruised edition of

FOOT FETISH FRIDAY!

Lately, it may be hormonal, I've had the urge to bedazzle the bejesus out of everything.

Bling, bling is my thing.

So check out these babies from the
DivaLicious boutique on FB.

And for the ultimate bling...


Serious shoe orgasm.

I would be happy to just wear these while lying on the couch watching DWTS.

Since I've always been a DIY type of girl
after seeing those pimped out pumps on facebook 
I grabbed some shoes, 
bought some crystals
and started 
bedazzling.



And after glueing on 2800 of those crystals....

I figured out I probably needed another 6000.

Doh!

Doesn't matter.  

I love fiddly projects.
I love shoes.
I love bling.

If you are after some SPECTACULAR
blinged out shoes

It's my new foot fetish.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quantum Finish Powerball throws down an Easter Brownie Challenge.

I hate housework.

Seriously, it blows.

I'd much rather spend my days off
dicking around on facebook or watching TMZ 
 doing charity work for homeless cats.

But the peeps at Finish discovered 
my one weakness.

They threw down a challenge.

An Easter Chocolate Brownie Bazillion Calorie Challenge.

The bastards.

Whoa Mumma aka me never says no to a challenge.

I am a 12 week challenge regular.

I regularly forget about it in week 2.

So this arrived on my doorstep.


They even included the baking dish.
AWESOME!
If you're going to pimp your product, pimp it right!


Insert cute child who I had do all the dirty work.


A few Easter eggs were inhaled during the process.
And spat out.
Then used in the batter anyway.


Other child innocently pinching a few.


Turning into a demon as soon as the sugar kicked in.


Catapulting the eggs into the brownie mix.
Masterchef we are not.


The end result.

So here I am ready to throw the dish in the dishwasher to see if their 


will clean the baked on goo off.


Glamorous I know.


Upon figuring out I don't know how to turn the bloody dishwasher on.

Up until now I have been the dishwasher.

So I quit the frickin' challenge and made my husband do it.

Cue the husband.


Disclosure: May or may not be the real husband.


What were we talking about?

Oh yeah.

Here.  

Look.

A clean dish.


If you would like to try Finish Quantum for yourself, email your name and postal address to 

Let's get back to this.  

Cue Al Green.
"Let's get it onnnnnnn......."


Wicked Women On The Web - Shoe Bling!

It's time to show case talented small business women.

Remember - if you're fabulous and on facebook I will find you!

I love shoes. I love bling.

So you know I went a little ga-ga when I discovered this facebook page.


Shoe Bling is the perfect accessory for women who are addicted to shoes.  

Guilty!

You can buy shoe clips to match an outfit or to glam up your old shoes.  I spoke to Sharyn Van der Veeken about the inspiration for Shoe Bling and how their business is growing.

Who are the women behind Shoe Bling?

Shelley Morrish and I have been friends for over three decades. We met as 12 year olds on curriculum day for Blackburn Secondary School and we have been best friends ever since.

We have always had a love for fashion, shopping and shoes. We grew up appreciating girly wiles - Shelley's mother ran the Miss Teenage Quest of Victoria and we watched Shelley's older sister model with youthful envy.

How did you come up with the idea for Shoe Bling?

Shelley, a mother of three boys, had always been inspired to start her own business. She'd had a few business ideas in the past but it was not until she was going out one night and wanted to wear her favourite comfortable shoes that the idea for Shoe Bling evolved.

Shelley pulled out her favourite pair of black wedges and attached a couple of hair clips to dress up the shoes. She instantly realised that any pair of shoes could be accessorised to match an outfit. One style of shoes could be so versatile. Filled with endless ideas and excited at the opportunities ahead, Shelley's creative abilities were put to good use and she began to create her own designs for shoe gems.

I was also raising my children from home, had a business background and over five years experience in running my own beauty business. I believed I had the business acumen to make things happen while Shelley had the creative flair. We were convinced that with these combined strengths and a great idea, we were onto a winner.

Was it a big investment financially?

When my children were quite small I wanted the flexibility of running my own business, so we tried our hand at a franchise. After watching most of my money be paid in franchise fees I quickly realised that this wasn't the way to go. Shelley and I wanted to also be able to run a business from our home, eliminating the costs for premises (a great expense). We really only had to cover stock and the set up of a website.

Is Shoe Bling now your full time job?

Yes, Shoe Bling is now our full time job. As we work from home we are available 24/7 (thus me doing this interview at 8.30am on a Sunday!).

How did you create your web presence?

This has been the hardest thing to achieve. We were very fortunate that we launched near Christmas, so the Today show ran an article on 'gift ideas for Mum' in which we were included.  This started the ball rolling. Twelve months later we decided to wholesale our product to small boutiques to get our product known.

After another 12 months Myer decided to take a chance on us and a small line went into 15 stores nationally. Our web presence has now really started to take shape. We have a Shoe Bling facebook page which is growing every day and our website which also continues to grow.

What are your hopes for Shoe Bling in the future?                                                                                                                     

We would love David Jones to stock a small range of Shoe Bling, and obviously grow our wholesale presence in small boutiques nationally. I really believe the web is the way of the future, so our online presence is my focus at the moment. 

 We have noticed that there is a definite lack of 'plain' shoes in the market so we would really love to become a one-stop-shop where you could buy your plain court/t-bar/ballet flat and then as many accessories as you would like to go on those shoes - watch this space!

How do you create the work/ life balance?


With great difficulty!

As I mentioned before, we run the business from home so we are available 24/7.  I do find myself working at all hours of the day. When you have your own business you are the only one in control of it's success (no one to blame if things go wrong!) so you need to grasp every opportunity when it appears. I do try to limit most of the everyday duties to school hours and I guess with small children that is a huge bonus to be able to have that flexibility.

What inspires you?

My greatest inspiration is my family. I have a very supportive husband (which you need when your house often looks like a warehouse) and two beautiful kids. At the end of the day that is what's important in life. Today is Mother's Day - that is pure happiness. I received two fantastic cards from my children that said I was the best Mum in the world. That's all I can ask for.

What are some of your favourite pieces of Shoe Bling that you've created?


We have some fantastic new styles for winter - my favourite being the fur with crystal trim. Our best seller though is our Jewelled Bow with Swarovski trim. It is a gorgeous piece that looks great on all types of shoes. I actually wear this on a t-bar sandal in summer also.

Thanks Sharon!


Shoe Bling has some great 'sale' items at the moment - 50% off some discontinued lines.   Check out their website and get some bling for your tootsies.