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Mak-a-Boo's Feature on CNN's "Your $$$$$"

February 21, 2011 13:40

We have been so busy for the last few weeks that I haven't had time to post the reason why!

Makaboo had the unbelievably good fortune of being featured on CNN on February 5th.

Watch Makaboo on CNN!

Seeing the Boo on national television was one of the highlights of my professional life (who am I kidding, my *whole* life). I got to watch it with my parents, who have both had some health problems in the last few weeks, so it was so nice to share such a big life moment for me with them.

We immediately saw orders spike, and a hilarious assortment of friends and acquaintances pinged me out of nowhere. And for this, I have to say: I LOVE FACEBOOK. What did we do without Facebook? (If you are not a friend yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Like Makaboo on Facebook. Two people said they saw it at the gym and almost fell off their bike/treadmill. An old college friend said a friend from Mexico had sent her the link and said she thought she'd like the company. I even had a landlord from a stint in Miami circa 2000 ping me to say congrats. I can't believe she even remembered my name! The story has been shared 125 times on Facebook, and we finally broke the 2,000 mark for Facebook fans. We also got a lot of fun requests for special orders, and  inquiries like would we like to open a franchise in Greece.

As for whether it impacted the business: we had our best day ever, our best week ever, and will hopefully have our best month ever. Perhaps most exciting, someone from Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet etc.) is getting us set up with their corporate gifting program for employees, on-air talent and other stakeholders. They placed a great big order last week, and with luck with have only scratched the surface!

A lot of people have asked how it all happened. Like all things in life, it was mostly luck! The gorgeous and talented CNN correspondent Stephanie Elam is married to a St. Louisan, and when they were in town over Thanksgiving they stopped by the shop with their darling baby girl Simone. We got to chatting and Stephanie became intrigued with how Makaboo came to be, the challenges we've overcome and our plans for the future. In January she called me out of the blue and said they'd be coming to town to do a piece on the Boo!

So, that's the whole story. It was so fun to have the CNN team in the shop, and we had a ball sharing our story with them - and the world!!

 


The Truth About Raccoons And Ducks

January 25, 2011 16:43

We've been selling Angel Dear Lovies for more than a year now, and it's been fascinating to see which Animal Lovies are the most popular.

It comes as no surprise to us that the Monkey Lovie is the biggest hit. After all, we are all about Monkeys on Makaboo!

It does, however, surprise us that the Pink Giraffe Lovie comes in a close second. I was so hesitant to carry it - giraffes aren't *pink*?!? But we kept getting calls and emails (and polite suggestions from friends with girls) and I finally relented. It turned out to be one of the best business decisions I made in 2010. I'm happy to repeat that: adding Angel Dears' Pink Giraffe line-up was one of Makaboo's best business decisions of 2010!

The fact that I can use the term "business decision" and "pink giraffe" in the same sentence is why I love my job so much.

Other surprises? It appears that on the Angel Dear front we are selling more baby girl gifts than baby boy gifts. Who'da thunk!

And here's the biggest news: we're adding 3 new Angel Dear Animals this spring - the Purple Hippo, the Pink Zebra and the Pink Monkey!! All three will be featured as Lovies, Pillow Pals and Napping Blankets.

We're sort of embarrassed we didn't think of the Pink Monkey before.

Which animal is the least successful, you ask? Well, if you've read this whole blog then you will understand that it is with a great deal of smug satisfaction that I reveal ... it's the Raccoon. That's right, the CEO-chomping, rabies-positive Batcoon.

I'm thinking of giving the last few we have in stock to the local ASPCA for some large homeless dogs to snack on.

 


Boos On The Move Photo Contest!

January 24, 2011 19:22

We are very excited for what we think will become an annual (or maybe even semi-annual!) contest:

Makaboo's Boos on the Move Photo Contest!

Here's how it works:

1. Find or take a super cute photo of your little one with their favorite boo (a lovie, blanket or stuffed animal - it doesn't have to be a Makaboo one!)

2. Send the photo to info@makaboo.com or post it to our Facebook fan page

3. We'll make sure it's up on our fan page, then you get your friends to vote and comment on it!

It's that simple! Photos must be submitted by Friday 1/28, and we'll announce two winners on Friday 2/4: one for most comments/likes, and one for judges' favorite. Both winners will get $75 Makaboo gift certificates!!

 


Gossip Girl: We Loved Being Gossiped About!

January 24, 2011 19:18

Check out Makaboo's first appearance in St. Louis' go-to gossip column by the one-and-only Deb Peterson! My hubby and mom make an appearance too! It's a family affair.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/deb-peterson/article_73474ff2-2358-11e0-a7e8-00127992bc8b.html

 

GOLDEN GLOBE GIFTIES: Cindy Teasdale McGowan, owner of St. Louis' own Makaboo Personalized Gifts, was in Hollywood last Friday where she had been invited to participate in a kid-focused Golden Globes gifting suite.

Among the 75 or so pregnant and parent stars who stopped by the "Boom Boom Room Golden Globes Gifting Suite" were Jewel, Rhea Durham (Mark Wahlberg's wife and mother of their four children), James Van Der Beek, Tiffani Thiessen, Scott Baio and Nancy O'Dell and Samantha Harris from "Entertainment Tonight."

The Hollywoodites took home such goodies as embroidered Makaboo onesies, fancy pants and baseball caps. McGowan's company had exclusivity in the personalized clothing and gifts space.

This was the sixth year the Golden Globes had a gifting suite for the baby set.

McGowan said she found time while on the Left Coast to catch up with St. Louis native and former St. Louis Art Museum curator, Charlotte Eyerman, who's now American director of the French Regional and American Museum Exchange.

McGowan said she brought along her mom Liz Teasdale (wife of attorney Ken), and her hubby, Bill McGowan (partner with Tim, Sean and Seamus in McGowan Brothers Development and co-owner of Rosalita's, Lucas Park Grille, Flannery's Pub and the Fitness Factory).

 

 


A Weekend in La La Land

January 24, 2011 18:34

Whew! I have just about recovered from our trip to LA for the Boom Boom Room Golden Globes gifting suite. We had so much fun. I took an all-star team - my mother and husband! We met a ton of neat people, learned alot about how to do a gifting suite well, and gave some super cute boos out.

I think these were the highlights:

  • Listening to my mom explain the ins-and-outs of Makaboo to an enthusiastic and adorable Shar Jackson, knowing full-well that mom hadn't the foggiest idea who Shar Jackson is (if Meryl Streep had walked in, my mother would have said "she looks familiar")
  • Bonding with our very fun neighbors from Baby Gourmet, a super cool Canadian organic baby food company that just struck a deal with Walmart
  • Getting a little breathless from James Van Der Beek and his equally stunning wife, whose skin is like Edward Cullen's but more luminescent
  • Meeting Jewel and getting excited about her baby bump
  • Giving the Guncles (from Tori Spellings' Home Sweet Hollywood show) a onesie with a little chick and "power" on it for their gorgeous baby Simone (who really is gorgeous - I'm not kidding!)
  • Catching Samantha Harris days before she gave birth to little Hillary
  • Getting a kick out of Meet the Brown's Denise Boute giggling over a pair of Fancy Pants we had with a skull and crossbones on the bum, along with the word "Booty" - Boute, Booty!

Here are a few photos - check our facebook page for all photos from the 2-day event!

 

Chad Lowe with Cindy Teasdale McGowan at Boom Boom Room

Chad Lowe in a Makaboo Baseball Cap



Constance Marie with Cindy Teasdale McGowan at Boom Boom Room

The George Lopez Show's Constance Marie

 

 

Evan Handler with Cindy Teasdale McGowan at Boom Boom Room

Californication's Evan Handler

 

 

The Guncles with Cindy Teasdale McGowan at the Boom Boom Room

The Guncles with Little Simone!

 

 

Jewel & Cindy Teasdale McGowan at Boom Boom Room

Jewel and Her Bun That Doesn't Show Yet, With Makaboo Piggy Hat


Makaboo's Going to Hollywood!

January 10, 2011 13:04

We're leaving Thursday for our first-ever gifting suite! We're very excited to be co-presenting Jayneoni Moore's Boom Boom Room Golden Globes gifting suite! Attendees so far include Mark Wahlberg, Jane Krakowski (she cracks me up!) and many more. Tons of photos and updates to come - here's the invite!

Makaboo at Golden Globes Boom Boom Room


We Love Happy Customers!

December 14, 2010 16:23

As we have only been open a year, I know most of our "big" customers - the folks who order often are usually friends, friends-of-friends, family, or known to us in some other way.

So I was so thrilled to receive the following email from one of our best customers who is a complete stranger. She found the site last April from a Google search for personalized hooded towels, and has made a very high number of purchases since that time. I have always been aware of her and made sure that her orders were perfect because I valued her as a customer, and we had exchanged minimal emails about shipping times etc. in the past but I hadn't really had a chance to say "thank you" yet. And then she beat me to it!

Here's her email:

Dear Makaboo Team,
 
Thank you!  Once again the gifts I sent through you have been received with such joy that I got a call from the children's parents to let me know how amazing the gifts are!   I really appreciate all the care that goes into the work that you do.  I have never even seen one of the items you create, but I know each time that you make and send them with great care and attention based on all the things I have heard from my friends and family members who have received these gifts.  I am going to buy something personalized for my own daughter for Christmas so that she will also have a special makaboo item all her own.
 
Take care,
Prudence

 

Needless to say, Prudence made our day! Our week, really. It was a perfectly timed reminder of why we started Makaboo - to make it easier to make your loved ones feel loved by you!

As I was writing this I got another cute, short note from a customer and said to Nina our packager, "Most of our customers are really nice." And she said "I know! Because we're doing things that make them happy!"

We have the best jobs in the world.


And Now We Are One

December 13, 2010 14:24

Last Friday December 3rd, we celebrated Makaboo's first birthday - one year (to the day!) earlier, we flipped the switch on www.makaboo.com. Since that time:

- We've shipped to every state in the US

- We've gotten orders from celebrities like Danica McKellar and Ever Carradine

- The UPS man has gone from carrying our orders out under one arm to bringing a hand cart - and sometimes he needs to make two trips

- We've sent more than 1,500 cuddly Angel Dear critters to homes across the country - that's at least 4 a day

- We've grown from 2 part-time employees to 3 full-time employees

It's kind of amazing that it's been a year. On the one-hand, it feels more like a decade. On the other, I can't believe how much we've accomplished in just 365 days. We have a lot to be proud of!

We had a little soiree to celebrate the occasion.

We forgot to snap a photo of the Makaboo team at the party we had to celebrate, but here are some other shots.

It's a bar where you can decorate your own cookies! Get it?

Not Kiddie Cocktails

The Crowd

Playing Pin The Tail On The Monkey

Owner Cindy Teasdale McGowan and Husband Bill

Goodie Bags



I Can Type, I Can Type, I Can Type!

November 29, 2010 18:54

Whew! I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a month! I am a terrible person. But we've been busy!

Here's what's been happening, in chronological order:

- In October I developed a bizarre nerve disorder called CRPS as a result of breaking my hand and it has slowed down my healing and made me a bit of a Debbie Downer, I must admit. The only reason you would have heard of CRPS is because it's what Paula Abdul has. Which of course just makes me feel even weirder about it.

- We did a few Groupons and they have been so much fun! We've loved watching how different markets respond ... shout out to Charleston! Nothin' but love.

- The day before Thanksgiving my two-and-a-half-year-old niece (the same one who got lost at Disney World - twice) fell out of a second story window, 15 feet, on to concrete, and walked away from the hospital with a scratch on her elbow. I'm going to embroider a hoodie with her new nickname, Nine Lives Maren.

- On Thanksgiving Day we were featured in the Seattle Times' Holiday Shopping Guide.

- Tomorrow we will close out our best month ever.

- I am back to typing and driving like the old days. Writing is not stellar (it wasn't very pretty *before* the break), and some bottles have me asking strangers for help. I'd say I'm 70% back to normal. Next stop: yoga!

- Friday Makaboo will turn one. I am such a proud parent! We're going to have a big party. I'm making cookie cutters in the shapes of our favorite icons and we'll have Pin the Tail on the Monkey.

- All in all, I am feeling a little like Wendy - I can type! I can type! I can type! Flying is certainly not out of the question.

 


i broke my hand and i heart makaboo's employees

October 26, 2010 17:42

that's why i've been so quiet... on facebook, on this blog, and even in person. to be perfectly honest, it's been a bit of a downer! but i want to tell the story for posterity's sake and because hopefully some aspects of the story may be amusing to others now, and to me many, many years from now.

so here's what happened:

it was a gorgeous saturday morning, just 8 days after my last trip to the ER for my final rabies vaccination (see raccoon attack posts below for more info), and bill and i decided to go for a bike ride in forest park, just 2 blocks away. it was within those two blocks that i hurled myself over my handlebars, cracked my chin open, and broke my ring and pinky fingers right at the knuckles on my right (dominant) hand.

it's really very simple - and lame: bill is a more comfortable and aggressive biker. he darts in and out of traffic, ignores traffic signals and loves big curbs. i prefer the sidewalk, use the corner ramps as though my life depended on them, and get pretty nervous if any moving object comes within 10 feet of me, whether motorized or human-powered.

but i was following bill, who does everything i just mentioned above. he jumped what appeared to be an enormous curb, and i thought to myself "i can't jump that thing! or should i? maybe -" and then i hit it and went flying.

i remember cars stopping to see if i was ok, which is embarrassing even when you're half a breath away from being unconscious. i remember my hubby pressing a really dirty cloth to my chin. i remember telling him to call my mother to come pick me up, and i remember the ashen look on her face when she saw me. i nearly passed out in the car, but mom opened the windows and cranked the air and made me drink some water and by the time we drove the few blocks back home i had gotten myself together.

our dear friend rob corley the ER doc came over and basically superglued my chin back together. he does great work. on the hand he said that it definitely looked broken and that i'd have to get xrays, so i might as well go to the ER and have them reset it. why not! so back to st. mary's we went, for the 5th time in 22 days.

this time they asked me all kinds of questions like "do you feel safe in your home?" and "have you ever felt that you or a family member was in danger?" i said "you all didn't ask these questions when i was here for the raccoon attack." and they said "of course we did - we ask everyone" which is totally not true. i guess they can tell raccoon bites from human bites. lucky for bill, who was in the room for both interviews.

they xrayed me, confirmed that i had two breaks, put me in a splint, wrote me some scrips and told me to see a hand specialist. in other words, i left without them doing anything to the hand and with no specifics as to how it would get fixed.

i should say now that i am an optimist, and i also have unusually good luck. if i need the last standby seat on an overbooked flight i always manage to get it. if i need a rock-star parking spot in order to make a meeting on time one magically appears. up to this point i'd never broken a bone or spent a night in a hospital. the worst case scenario almost never (knock on wood) happens to me. at this point i was mostly making cracks about vicodin and how to shower one-handed.

in the 5 days following the crash i had a makaboo photo shoot with five kids, an interview and shoot with the Post-Dispatch, and my 34th birthday, all of which which i somehow managed to pull off despite a fair amount of pain and a wooze-inducing amount of meds. i was still assuming that when i finally got in to a hand specialist they'd say it was already healing fine on its own, or would reset the bones and call it a day. which is what i needed them to say because i had 3 straight weeks of travel and six makaboo trunk shows across the country coming up.

so it came as a shock when i finally got in to the specialist and learned that i needed surgery to place pins in my hand in an attempt to properly reset the bones, followed by weeks/months of physical therapy to get the fingers fully functional again. i ended up having the surgery the same day that i saw the dr for the first time. i highly recommend having only 2.5 hours to prep for surgery - there's no time to psych yourself out!

when i woke up from the surgery i was told that it was worse than the dr had anticipated and that he had to put five pins in. the hand was in a temporary cast that would be removed 4 days later when i went to PT for the first time.

there are two huge things that do not occur to people when they hear that your hand is broken and that there are pins in it. the first is that the pins are like sewing needles that are sticking straight out of your hand, with big blue nubs on the end of them. like sewing pins in a pin cushion made of hand flesh. or push pins in a bulletin board, also made of hand flesh. i have to clean the pin sites every day. a good analogy might be when you first get your ears pierced, except that turning these pins would not be a good idea.

the second thing people really don't understand is what a dramatic life change occurs when you lose the use of your dominant hand. here are some of the things i can't do:

  • drive
  • type with my right hand (hence the no caps)
  • write
  • open things, like pill bottles, drinks, food containers, boxes or packages, or anything that requires tearing or scissors
  • dry and brush my hair at the same time
  • put on a necklace
  • open certain doors
  • wear tight clothing (tops can't get over the pins; bottoms can't get on or buttoned/zipped with one hand)
  • cook or eat anything that needs to be cut with a sharp knife
  • cook anything that is in a pot that can't be lifted with just one hand
  • do laundry
  • do dishes

so, i've spent the last 4 weeks mostly at home, mostly by myself. as i said above, it has been mostly a downer, but as an optimist i have to note the positives as well!

  • i am now pretty awesome at typing left-handed
  • i know that i will never become addicted to vicodin - it makes me sleepy and nauseas
  • i get to walk to my twice-weekly PT appointments, which is always a nice break from the at-home workday
  • i will have cool scars on my right hand that will always make it sound like i had this daring bike accident in my 30s
  • i have a new understanding of what disabled people endure every day and of the respect and admiration that they are owed from all of us
  • my hubby felt so guilty that he got me a gorgeous handbag (no pun intended) and wallet for my birthday!
  • said hubby has been unbelievable - he is the ultimate caretaker and i owe him some serious loving and nurturing

the biggest upside by far has been seeing makaboo's incredible employees pick up the slack in my absence, and keep the company humming. i am so, so grateful to my embroidery manager angela and packaging specialist nina for keep everything on track during our busiest month ever. they are incredible assets to the company!

since the surgery i've have PT two times a week (which hurts!!) and have had to exercise the hand myself six times a day. tomorrow i get the pins out, then we pick up the PT hard core. right now my pinky's basically not moving at all (i call it botox of the pinky), and my ring finger will go down but not up. i believe that the worst case scenario is that the pinky doesn't start behaving after 3-6 months and i have to have another surgery to remove the scar tiisue, but to be perfectly honest i don't really know!

more to come. and if you like grody things and want to see photos, i have plenty!

 

 



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