Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tippie Toads is Moving!

It is time to say "Good-Bye" to Tippie Toads.  I am amazed at the path that the Lord put before me to lead me to where I am today.  In  hind sight....there is really no other explanation than God's purposes for me.

When we first moved to The Woodlands, I sat in our rent house, not knowing a soul and started Penelope's Pitstop:  Praiseworthy Paraphernalia.  It was a fun little kick off for me to learn more than I ever thought I would know about the word of blogging, give-aways, affiliates, social media...and the list goes on.    I really had no direction and taught myself everything I knew.  I researched even the littlest things about how to write simple code, creating links (new for me then!) and I became an affiliate for several companies.

Next, based on the relationships I developed thru Penelope's Pitstop, I became a wholesaler for a couple companies and a rep for Write Away in order to have a boutique show in my home.  This was so successful, that I felt led to start an online business to sell these items and thus began Tippie Toads.  I learned even more here and spent HOURS upon HOURS researching the Internet and learning about the world of wholesaling.  From the Write Away experience, I was determined to learn how to create my own stationery and set out to teach myself Photoshop.  THAT was painful, but I did it!  At that point, I let go of Write Away and started creating my own things.

In the midst of my perusing the Internet, I discovered Stationery Academy, which further prepared me for the craziest email...the email I received  asking if I wanted to buy Write Away.  As you can read in that post, I didn't receive it with open arms, my health was in the toilet and I was not looking for this opportunity.  All that said....

I am having the time of my life!  Having Write Away has been challenging, hard work, more time than I ever thought, but life-changing.  I love the people I have met (or cyber-met) and work with.  I love what I have learned and how it has pushed me to grow.  I continue to learn and grow.

With all the time that Write Away has become, it is time to let my baby, Tippie Toads, go.  If it weren't for Tippie Toads, I wouldn't be where I am today.  It is just the time, I believe, to merge the two.  So, I will be moving the products over to Write Away from Tippie Toads.  It has taken baby steps and steps that were indeed preparing me for something bigger and better each time.  Who's to say that Write Away is the final step?  Thrilled to be on this ride and even more thrilled to have God in the driver's seat for it all.

So, come see us at www.writeaway.com!

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Write Away Stationery

Hey Tippie Toads fans! October has been a whirlwind of a month for me, but I am going to survive! Woohoo!  THANK YOU for all your sweet messages and prayers and support, as they meant the WORLD to me and to my family.  In the midst of all this, I was in the process of buying a stationery company.  Could everything happen at once? :)  Here is the story re-posted from my personal blog...Would love to see you over at Write Away, too!

My New Business Adventure:  The Back Story

Three years ago I wanted to have a boutique party in my home for Christmas.  Having my blog, Penelope's Pitstop, at the time, I had great relationships with some really cute vendors.  I asked a few of my favorites if they did trunk shows and one even suggested I become a wholesaler.  I remember that feeling of dread that hit me when I heard the word "Wholesaler."  I had no idea what that entailed!  But...I did it.  I applied for my first EIN number and little did I know what my future held!  While searching for other cute vendors a friend suggested Write Away.  She told me they had really cute stationery and would be perfect for my party.  I contacted the owners and before I knew it, I was signed up as a rep.  Who says "No" to cute paper?  Not only did I love the products, but I loved the girls that owned the company.  They were so nice, strong Christians and they both had a great story to tell.

After my party, which was a success, I continued to have people calling to buy more paper and more t-shirts.  Around that time, I heard about being a vendor in the schools and started making visits to a few of the elementary schools.  As that grew, I was asked repeatedly for a website.  "Huh?" I hadn't thought about that.  I didn't even have a name...I was just peddling cute paper and t-shirts for fun.  I decided it was time to figure it out.  In April of 2011 I launched my online store as Tippie Toads.  I only sold T-shirts and Write Away Stationery.  As that grew, I REALLY wanted to learn how to design my own stationery and taught myself how to use Photoshop. {Not an easy task!}  As I grew with my own things, I had less time to focus on Write Away and I hit some bumps in my health.  I was sad to do it, but at that point, I let my Write Away relationship go.

{Fast forward 7 months.}

The day I left The Stationery Academy in July, which now that I think about it, it was my BIRTHDAY!  I received an email from Meredith, one of the owners of Write Away Stationery, asking if I would be interested in purchasing Write Away.  I was sitting in my hotel room furiously designing orders before I left for the airport and laughed out loud.  "No way!"  I didn't have time, my health, of course, was a thorn in my side.  Money?  Babe was looking for a job and I didn't think we could take a risk like that.  Not to mention, "HOW do I buy a business?"  Reps?  They have reps to manage?  How do I do that?  The thoughts that came to my head were endless and a resounding N.O.

As I flew home, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Going on 7 months, Babe and I had been praying intently for his job situation.  In those 7 months our priorities had changed in that Babe was TIRED of the commute, TIRED of the stress and ready to be closer to home, spend MORE time at home and refocus our lives on what was important to us.  We were ready to sell our house, move where the Lord wanted us, change our lifestyle.  We were ready and willing, we just needed to be pointed in the right direction.  After all those prayers for our job situation, it never occurred to me that maybe God was providing a job opportunity for ME.  I had already been approached about going back into OT on a part-time basis, but we really worried about my ability to take care of my body and work outside of the house.  In hind-site, my decline in health has been gradual over a long period of time and REALLY started affecting me!

That night I mentioned it to Babe and he was surprisingly receptive.  He said what I was thinking.  "Penny, after all the time we have spent praying about jobs, maybe we should at least look into it."  My sentiments exactly.  So began our discussions with Meredith and Sarah at Write Away.  Babe did most of the talking as I sat in a corner holding my stomach.  I really wasn't feeling well and just couldn't fathom taking this on.  But my desire and excitement continued to grow.  I started really worrying about the added stress simply because Babe was believing in me to make this a success...with a pretty penny attached.  I would be responsible for paying for a business at the expense of our savings account at a time when we were not even sure that Babe would have a job by the end of the year.  From stay-at-home mom to risk-taker....that only added to my stress!

At one point, we actually walked away from it.  From my health perspective, I breathed a sigh of relief on that Friday.  But, by Monday morning we had a deal.  AHHH!  And my ideas started flowing again...

So much has happened since then, but I am sure that was sometime in August or September?  We set a closing date for the middle of October.  I was buying a real business.  Somehow, it was different than Tippie Toads, as I grew Tippie Toads slowly.  Now, this was a big deal!  Then, on October 2nd I went to the ER and everything changed.  I spent the month of October in and out of doctors offices and the hospital and LOTS of time in bed.  UGH.  Meredith and Sarah were amazing, sympathetic, understanding, prayerful.  At the time I spoke with them about my status, I thought I was having surgery and they prayed for me over the phone.  These girls are beyond amazing.  The kind of friends I like to keep and yet I have never met them in person.  We decided to delay closing until the end of the year to allow for a full recovery on my part.

GRATEFULLY, when surgery was avoided, after a couple weeks of recovery at home we rescheduled our closing, yet again, for November 7th.  As I started getting a handle on my health and having more pain-free time, my ideas started flowing again and my excitement started building!  This actually gave me something to think about and motivate me thru my days at home.

So...on Wednesday, November 7th, I arrived at my lawyer's office and closed on Write Away.  I am officially on a new trek in my life and thrilled to be here.

Check it out!  And buy lots of Christmas gifts :) www.writeaway.com

 And if you are on Facebook...become a fan HERE!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Monogrammed Stadium Cups

Dear friends of Tippie Toads!  I have managed to squeak (and I mean squeak) around surgery...woohoo!  While I am still recovering from a hospital stay, I am slowly gearing up for the Christmas season and BEYOND excited to show you my newest stadium cups.

Stadium Cups are some of my biggest sellers and I am now offering them in simply perfect monograms.  Perfect for every party or event, perfect for the pool or as a party favor.  You just can't lose with Stadium Cups!  I hope you like them as much as I do!  Simply pick your monogram style, your cup color (MANY colors available) and your font color.  It's easy!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Temporarily Closed

Hello sweet friends and fans of Tippie Toads!  I am so very sorry to tell you that I have to close my store temporarily.  I will be having surgery next week.  I have Crohn's Disease, which I have battled for almost 15 years.  Unfortunately, my disease in in my stomach and causes ulcers and causes my stomach to swell to the point that it is now swollen shut.  To spare you all the lovely details, I will just say I am having major abdominal surgery next week which will leave me in the hospital for two weeks and down for six.

I am a "one-woman" show and unfortunately, will not be able to fill orders for at least 6 weeks, possibly more.  I have some help filling and completing orders from Groopdealz and Very Jane during this time.  However, any new orders on Tippie Toads site will not be fulfilled as of today October 3, 2012.  I am so sorry for the inconvenience and hope you will stick with me thru it all :)   I covet your prayers for me and for my family as we figure out how to survive six weeks without mom in charge.  We are so grateful for the scores of friends and family that have already rallied around us to love us and support us in any way that we need. We are so humbled and so appreciative.

Thank you so much for your understanding and I look forward to seeing you on the other side with excellent health! :)


(You can follow more of my story here: http://myintestinemony.blogspot.com)

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Monday, August 27, 2012

New Partnership

I am so excited about all the buzz going around the Tippie Toads world.  We have been busy busy little elves in our workshop filling orders, creating new gifts for Christmas {yes! Christmas!} and building new relationships with great companies!

In addition to Embossed Graphics, Tippie Toads has partnered with Printswell to bring you beautiful invitations, announcements and paper gifts from fabulous designers like Starfish Art, Stacie Claire Boyd, Roseanne Beck, Modern Posh and many more!

Here are just a few of my MANY favorites...

So, hop on over to Tippie Toads to check out the latest new items and while you are there, click over to Embossed Graphics by Tippie Toads and Printswell by Tippie Toads for hundreds of ideas for parties, Christmas cards, invitations and more!

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Stationery Academy

Pha-ew!  The last 10 days have been a whirlwind, but a fun whirlwind indeed!  Last Thursday, I boarded a plane to Pensacola, Florida on my way to attend The Stationery Academy.  Since the inception of Tippie Toads, I have spent hours upon hours researching, googling, reading and digging, learning all that I could about manufacturers, products, digital information, and the list goes on.  Having begun this adventure out of a love of monograms and all things cute, it was my curiosity that drove me to this point.  Everything I have learned has been through lots of trial and error on my part and hours upon hours of computer time.  Going to The Stationery Academy was my first opportunity to be taught by the experts.  I was surrounded by 20 other creative women at all stages in their business adventures and I absorbed.  Not only did I play my part as a sponge, but I met 20 amazing women who became wonderful friends in a matter of three days.  The weekend was worth every penny and definitely an experience to remember!

When we arrived, we were greeted with a fabulous "Welcome Bucket" that I, of course, failed to take a picture of.  I was so engrossed in the weekend that I didn't even begin to take pictures until the second day.  At that point, I became a fan of Instagram, too :)

We entered our conference room at 7:45am to a room full of swag.  At every turn, we had a personalized place setting with a new and beautiful place card made by none other than Natalie Cheng, event planner and swag creator extraordinaire.  I don't know about the other girls, but I never make gifts for myself, so it was so fun receiving our own monogrammed gifts!

We received our Stationery Academy binder and began with valuable branding information from Whitney English.

We had wonderful guest speakers in Amber Housely, a Nashville wedding planner, Rachel Shingleton of Pencil Shavings Studio and Emily McCarthy, of Emma J Design and Twist.

Stationery Trends gave everyone a complimentary subscription!  Wahoo!

Of course, we arrived to a beautiful place setting at our first lunch.

And at our graduation dinner...

 And our final night's good-bye gift...

The swag was obviously so much fun, but the information and inspiration has already gone miles in our small group of ladies in our first week back home.  And the community we now have among each other is invaluable.  THANK YOU Whitney and Natalie for creating such a wonderful opportunity.

Here's to the Stationery Academy Class of 2012!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Embossed Graphics

Holy Hannah, am I excited!  Tippie Toads has joined forces with Embossed Graphics to provide Tippie Toads customers with MORE monograms, MORE personalization and MORE products!  I love the fun and colorful styles from Tippie Toads, but I am also an All-American girl who loves the classics.  Growing up, we received an envelope full of samples of personalized stationery every quarter in the mail and I COULD. NOT. WAIT. for the day it came.  I spent hours looking through that stack of custom paper to pick my very favorite font and paper.  Now, you can buy all those things, with a little bit of simplicity and class through Tippie Toads!  Go check it out!  For all customers who make a purchase through Tippie Toads at Embossed Graphics, you will receive a $5 credit to be used on any future orders on the Original Tippie Toads Site. {Code will be E-mailed after the purchase.}

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

4 Inch Round Bag Tags

I have had Round Bag Tags on my list to create for some time and it took a friend asking me to make her some that finally got my rear in gear.  She is a Stella & Dot rep and wanted them made for her team.  I absolutely love making custom things for groups like this.  She just said, "Make it cute!"  I was so excited with the design and even more thrilled when the tags arrived.  They were AWESOME and I think a perfect gift for a group of cute Stella & Dot jewelry reps.

Each double-sided tag is made on a high-gloss acrylic tag with a plastic loop included.  These are great for diaper bags, lunch boxes, bag tags and more!  Fantastic gifts!

A couple close-ups...

I removed her phone number, of course, but my friend made these luggage tags for her team, The Hope Diamonds, and included their name and cell phone on the back.

So excited to be selling these and more designs on the site!

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Family Rules

I have been working long hours trying to update the Tippie Toads website and I am SO excited about it.  I am still making some tweaks, but you can take a sneak peek now before I make a big announcement.  Would love to hear if you like it!

I figured as long as I posted my Pinterest wreath, I would post this project I completed last summer.  I didn't get it from Pinterest, but I posted it to Pinterest.   I first saw it on www.Wearethatfamily.com.  As it turns out she lives in my town AND her children go to my VERY small school.  She referred me to the www.thePleatedPoppy.com where she got the idea.  So, I took both of their ideas and merged them together and added my own flair to come up with this:

I hung this in my kitchen and to my amazement, my 8 year-old almost has it memorized...AND he references it sometimes!  Any time I have people over they snap a picture to make one for themselves.  I love it!  Thanks to We Are That Family we have our Family Rules posted, too!

If you are interested...I bought the largest canvas at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off.  I painted that canvas brown.  Then, I cut 2 inch strips of scrapbook paper and glued them to the canvas.  The other ladies used their own handwriting, that of which I have no confidence in my own.  So, I bought several fonts of black sticker letters at Hobby Lobby. I borrowed some of their rules and created some of my own.  When it was all how I liked it, I Mod Podged...probably 3 or 4 thin layers.  Voila!

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