Interview: Aki Summers, Founder, Simply Affordable LLC

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Meet Mom Entrepreneur Aki Summers of Simply Affordable, LLC and Anamazees Pacifier

 Anamazees

“Know your complete areas. Sure I have baby products and safety testing and requirements are important (i.e., ASTM & CFR) but also know the simple things such as product labeling requirements.

There are certain things that MUST be displayed on the retail packaging when selling pacifiers. I learned this through trial & error. It’s funny now but it wasn’t at the time.

My products were on hold by Customs and CPSA because of a few labeling issues. They weren’t released either until I had them all correctly resolved.

Needless to say, the Consumer Product Safety representative and I are on a first name basis now (smile). “

What does your business offer?
My product is Anamazees, The First 5-in-1 Pacifier®. They are the first sensory development pacifier that stimulates and engages four out of the five senses.

1. These amazing plush animals hold a pacifier (pacifier holder).
2. Includes a pacifier & top.
3. They rattle when shaken.
4. They squeak when squeezed.
5. They even play the ABC song for little ones to sing along!

My target consumers are Moms, Aunts, Cousins, and Grand Ma’s. I’ve been trying my best to reach them through FB and Amazon Ads.

What was your AHA moment?
Retiring from the US Air Force

How has PR and Marketing helped your business?
I did a couple of PR releases through fiverr but sadly saw nothing of those results. I currently run FB and Amazon and campaigns and hope to get a radio ad slot started next month or shortly after. Lastly, I had a 30 second jingle created for my products and it can be heard/seen here: https://youtu.be/ckfDHczfLKQ

What’s your greatest success to date?
My greatest success to date overall is making 5 years remission in Feb of this year. I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer 5 years 3 months ago while stationed overseas in Seoul, Korea. It was a HUGE milestones for me, especially previously being told I “might” make it to 5 years (with a 70-80% chance).

My next to greatest accomplishment is being issued my very first patent. It was issued on 3 May for Carrie the Caterpillar and I’m anxiously checking the mail box daily in anticipation of receiving it.

What’s been challenging and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge to date would be making my product known. It’s so many people who have never heard of it. Marketing on a strict shoe string budget doesn’t help but I still try and do what I’m able to since sales are currently a direct reflection of that..

It’s still challenging but I have put my products on sale today for only $15 each in hopes of luring some of the on the edge of the fence customers. While I won’t make hardly anything it at leasts gets my products into the homes of moms and babies/toddlers, so hopefully in time the word will spread and as my next shipment is en-route and I’m hoping that will give me a jumpstart. These have a couple of new features I’m very excited about.

I have also looked into on and off page SEO and hope to be starting that soon so I can finally get some traffic and sales on my website.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?
I’m constantly reaching out to company’s via email and Linked in hopes of one day getting that break. I went in twice yesterday and met with the managers at our local ToyRUs store. She said she would speak with the district manager about researching the process on how to simply start me off in a few of their local stores in the area.

I remain hopeful. Until then I’ll keep plugging away at it. I applied online with Walmart over a year ago and met with the local manager here. I finally heard back from them and they requested samples. They have received them and again, I remain hopeful and keep pressing forward in the mean time.

What are your best tips on managing family and business?
I’m still managing that one. With a 6 year old and an 11 year old it’s just all about priorities and the balancing act. My business is dear to me and without saying I love my boys… Being in military for 21 years also helps me in achieving that. Most of my military career was as a single parent so staying focused, determined, unwavering perseverance and the discipline ALL play important parts to keeping the scales balanced.

You see I have no employees and I manage all aspects of my company, from marketing, finance, product development, communications, you name it, I’m it! : ) so at the end of the day being able to remember both personal and professional goals and most importantly the reasons behind those goals, family.

What are your favorite tools and resources?
I love to watch Shark Tank and follow Daymond John (the Peoples Shark). I learn a lot from that show and I enjoy all the nuggets Daymond shares via his live sessions. He keeps it simple and puts it on a level that we all can understand and learn from.

If you could wave a magic wand right now, what would you wish for?
Purchase orders from retailers.

Where can readers go to learn more about you and your business?
www.Anamazees.com

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