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I Have 23 Nieces and Nephews

July 14, 2010 19:42

It's true. 23.

Only 6 of them are boys. And only 3 of them are over the age of 7.

In other words, we have a whole lot of girls goin' on.

We have a Finley Rose and a Flannery Rose. We have two Avas and two sets of twins.

Some day I'm going to have to get all of them to come to the shop for a group photo.

Until then, you'll have to see them on their own on the site. Right now there are only two kids on the site who are not related to me. That's going to change in the next few weeks, but there will still be plenty of Teasdales and McGowans on Makaboo, believe you me! There's nothing like free labor. ;-)

My Favorite Lovie: Hoot Hoot the Passion Rug III

July 9, 2010 17:37

One of my close friends Elise lives 2 blocks from the Makaboo shop, and she and her pups, Jack and Bootsie, often make Makaboo a stop on their neighborhood walks. (I have a major puppy crush on Jack and Boots. I like to think it's mutual.)

From the beginning, Elise has been one of our very best customers, and that was before she gave birth to her son Drew last winter.

Elise's hubby Dan has quite a sense of humor and as soon as they learned that the baby was a boy, he began referring to the unborn child as "The Senator". I thought an Owl Lovie fit perfectly with the scholarly nickname, and gave them one embroidered with "The Senator's Lovie" before Drew arrived.

Drew took to the Owl almost immediately. Unfortunately, so did Bootsie.

At some point before Boots got her paws on the first owl's ears, Dan and Elise had an exchange that went something like this:

"What are these things called? Passion rugs?"

No Dan, they are not called passion rugs and I never, ever, want to hear those words come out of your mouth again."

And so, of course, Passion Rug stuck.

We embroidered the second owl "Hoot Hoot", which I found both appropriate and cute, even if it was colloquially referred to as Hoot Hoot the Passion Rug at home.

Then Bootsie struck again. I told Elise Boots was just expressing her loyalty. Then I said Boots was contractually obligated to obliterate a lovie every 3 weeks until Drew turns seven.

The third lovie has been my favorite thing we've ever embroidered. It's the third picture below.

Elise, thanks for being a great customer and an even better friend.

Boots, come pick up your paycheck anytime.


Angel Dear Brown Lovie

Hoot Hoot I


Baby with Angel Dear Owl Lovie

Hoot Hoot II


Personalized Angel Dear Owl Lovie

Hoot Hoot III

Sneak Peak at "Models" Shoot

June 14, 2010 16:57

I have a big thing about using kids with no modeling experience in our photo shoots. This is primarily because I think the photos are more genuine and captivating when the kids are just being their silly, goofy selves. It's also because we are a start-up and I know plenty of cute kids who will "work" in exchange for an afternoon of swimming.

OK, some of them are also related to me. Actually in the last shoot we did, all but two were related to me. Yes, as of right now, every single child with the exception of one on is either a Teasdale or a McGowan. Shoestring budget people! And good genes - I have 23 to choose from, what can I say.

So it was a real pleasure to get some non-family smiles into the mix last week. Our unbelievable photographer Dawn Shields came in for two days and we assembled 12 kids in multiple locations, with every single product we carry. I am on pins and needles to see everything and get the new shots up, but here's a sneak peek!

Story on the 4th shot: Max and Kate (who is my niece) are in preschool together, and one might have a wee crush on the other. Can you guess which one? Hint: she takes after her aunt - and he *is* quite a looker! Right now Kate's interest seems to register the same reaction as Max's scary old Aunt Marge who pinches his cheeks too hard. He literally hid from her for most of the shoot, and she finally accused him of preferring her 6-year-old sister (which I can assure you from observation is not the case). It probably didn't help that in our effort to loosen Kate up we asked her who her favorite classmate was (Max), who the cutest boy in school was (Max), and whether she wanted to kiss him (yes). *She* is the one who brought up marriage.

Max, I promise, some day you're gonna thank me.



Kissy Kissy Hooded Towel

Monogrammed Myself Belts

Monogrammed Bella Bliss Toddler Robes

Personalized Wee Ones Head Band Wrap

Photo Shoots Are Phun

June 14, 2010 14:02

We spent 4 of 7 days last week shooting all of our products, both on their own AND with some hilarious and adorable kids. I have to say, I had an absolute ball. Also, it made me really tired.

The first shoot was last Saturday and Sunday, and was product-only. On day one we were able to sneak into one of the most gorgeous homes in St. Louis thanks to my great friend and interior design phenom Amie Corley, and boy did her home do our products justice! The shots are truly beautiful. One shot was of hooded towels hanging in the Corleys' master shower and I *swear* we will be getting emails asking how to order the shower, not the towels.

The second day we camped out at Bill's and my house, which was a sad substitution for the Corley household, but lucky for us, the shots are very tight so hopefully we can crop out the dust bunnies and Ritz Carleton liquidation furniture. I will be fascinated to see the difference in conversion rates between the shots taken at the Corley's home and the shots taken at ours.

Our photographer also does all the straight product images for the site (the images you see when you design your own gifts), and it was remarkable to see him work his magic outside of the studio. His assistantwas equally adept, and the addition of a gifted local stylist rounded out an all-star team that produced some unbelievable shots that are going to put the big guys' sites to shame. The entire weekend was a great reminder of why I started Makaboo, and in addition, was an even bigger reminder that I am SO grateful to be in the company of so many talented, smart people who have been able to listen to my meanderings and turn them into something beautiful. That beauty will be bouncing out of your monitors in just a few weeks!

In the meantime, he's a pre-post-production sneak peek.


Bella Bliss Toddler Swim Trunks

SwaddleDesigns Personalized Organic Burp Cloths

Kissy Kissy Personalized Baby Hat

SwaddleDesigns Personalized Fuzzy Lovie


Kissy Kissy Personalized Converter Gowns

Kissy Kissy Personalized Baby Bibs

My CMO (Chief Mothering Officer)

June 4, 2010 17:40

My mom Liz came down to the shop today with a childhood friend who now resides in Manhattan, and mom's unbridled enthusiasm for Makaboo and its goodies made me realize I've never blogged about her remarkable transformation from wary parent to CMO (Chief Mothering Officer).

My parents started out dubious (to put it politely) of the entire notion of Makaboo. I'm their youngest child, and I'd just moved back to St. Louis from San Francisco to marry my hometown sweetheart. All I needed to do to fulfill my role as perfect adult child was pop out a couple of attractive, well-behaved grandchildren. And instead what do I do? Risk my entire nest egg on an online venture. At 31. With no partner. And no experience running a business.

I should preface this by saying that my parents are conservative by nature. They are products of the Depression and the War, and their (perhaps their generation's) MO seems to be that anything out of the ordinary is inherently risky. My father worked at a law firm named after *his* father for 45 years. My mother uses phrases like "pray tell" and "SHE is the cat" (i.e. a woman in one's presence should be referred to by name, not by pronoun).

But I seemed to pop out of the womb anything but ordinary. At three, when my father yelled at me for running out into traffic, I turned on my heel, put both hands on my hips and yelled "Don't you talk to me like that!" I decided to go to boarding school at 14. I decided to move to Miami for a fisherman. I decided to move to San Francisco for a company with the word "fish" in its name (no relation to the fisherman). And yes, at 31, I decided to start a company instead of starting a family (not counting my amazing husband Bill and my very special cat Me).

All of these decisions were labeled - with love and concern - "risky" by my parents, or, if not risky, "irresponsible" or, my all-time favorite for its distance from the truth, "impetuous". I am the biggest overthinker/overanalyst on the planet - I can't make an "impetuous" decision at the grocery store, let alone in life!

So, to see my mother go from skeptical about Makaboo's fate to certain of its success is pretty cool. And I have to say, it started when she started *seeing* what we were doing - the products, the embroidery, and of course the site.

She's never said that she's proud of me, but the fact that she now carries her CMO business cards with her wherever she goes (and that she even asked for them!), makes me feel pretty good. She's given them out to all of her friends, to passengers next to her on flights, to pregnant strangers at the mall.

I hope she, like me, thinks the risks have been worth it.

Wee Ones and Bella Bliss to Premier on Makaboo in June

May 26, 2010 14:20

We are so thrilled to be adding two gorgeous new brands to Makaboo this summer.

Bella Bliss makes the most adorable gingham collection, including terry coverups, hooded towels, and our very favorite swim trunks and matching sun hats. We know they'll be big hit this summer, from the Hamptons to the shores of Lake Michigan.


Personalized Bella Bliss Sun Hats

Personalized Bella Bliss Swim Trunks


We're also proud to start carrying Wee Ones, a St. Louis-based brand that I grew up wearing! Their darling ribbons and bows are unparalelled, in my opinion. Look for them on the site in time for summer!


Monogrammed Wee Ones Hair Bows

Great Day St. Louis Stops By Makaboo

May 26, 2010 14:07

We had a great time this week when Great Day St. Louis stopped by our St. Louis location to talk about great gifts for multiples!

Check out the clip - skip to minute 4:30 to see me and the shop!

Fantastic Frugal Novice Review

May 26, 2010 13:52

I want to thank the Frugal Novice for posting a glowing review of Makaboo! Christi really took the time to explain why Makaboo is so special, showing screen shots of an Angel Dear Pillow Pal embroidered both for a boy and a girl. She also took photos of our adorable packaging. And I especially love that little C took to his new Makaboo Owl lovie!

In Christi's own words:

When I review a site, I always try to be completely honest. If I see a problem, I’ll mention it because I don’t want other people to encounter the same thing. With, I can wholeheartedly say I’ll use this site again for gifts and would recommend it to friends. Everything from start to finish was great quality, from the website to the product in hand. On top of that, prices are reasonable.

Angel Dear Personalized Owl Lovie


Thanks Christi!

Makaboo Teams Up with Aim High

May 23, 2010 14:01

Yesterday we had our second event here at the shop, this one to benefit Aim High St. Louis, a wonderful organization whose board I joined a couple of years ago. Friends and family came down and checked out our latest and greatest gifts, including a few that aren't even on the site yet! The best part was that 30% of all sales went directly to the organization, and we raised a healthy chunk of change in just four hours.

Many thanks to all of you who came down! We forgot to take photos of the event, but we did take a photo of some of the gifts we had on-hand as samples.


Personalized Baby Gift Ideas



Personalized Baby Gift Ideas

I'm Still Twignorant

May 15, 2010 10:26

At the urging of some new friends in the world of social media in St. Louis, I went to my first Tweetup the other night. I was late, and by myself, and hungry and thirsty. I was also one of only two women, among a group of 12 or so.

Here's what I observed:

  • Everyone introduced themselves by pulling out their phones and making sure we were following each other on Twitter; I assured them that we were not
  • People treated my business card as though it were a floppy disc (though a very cute floppy disc, printed on great stock and featuring a monkey!)
  • I was the only person who didn't know anyone else there; others were already connected, whether in the tangible world or the virtual one
  • I believe I was the only business owner where that business was my only source of income (i.e. not a side job)

I mean this in the absolute kindest way, but it felt a bit like Twitter was the new Dungeons and Dragons. I became entangled in a lengthy debate about whether superheros without innate talents - Batman, Ironman - are more valiant than those with skillz - Spiderman... see I can't even come up with a second. Needless to say, I felt out of my element.

I have a number of really fascinating friends who are running their own businesses, working for huge and teeny technology companies, living all across the country and the world. And I have to say that *very few* of them are on Twitter. Like, fewer than 30. Facebook: yes. Twitter: not unless they've been asked to for work or they are a male under 35 at a super high-tech company.

So: tell me again why I should focus on Twitter? We get orders from Facebook all the time. My friends are on Facebook; my friends' friends are on Facebook. Moms who already love or will love Makaboo are on Facebook. Are the folks I'm trying to reach ever on Twitter but NOT on Facebook? I'm guessing no.

I did meet one very neat person, doing some very interesting things both online and in real life. He has - get this - 39,000 followers on Twitter!! I've tweeted with him a bit (and friended him on Facebook), but you know what I'd like to do most? Grab another drink with him.


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