Interview: Staci Ericson, Founder, Golly Gee-pers

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Meet Mom Entrepreneur – Staci Ericson, Golly Gee-pers

“Don’t rely on friends and family to motivate/validate you. In the beginning those closest to you can be the least supportive. Family can feel threatened that this thing is going to take you away from them. Friends might feel jealous that you are pursuing your dream and subconsciously withhold support. Reach out to others doing the same thing. There you will find enthusiasm and honest feedback.”

 

What does your business offer?
Table Manners Cards are used at mealtime to makes it fun for kids to learn and use table manners.

Benefits:
– No more nagging by parents as kids monitor themselves
– Provides engaging fun with a purpose.
– Children learn an important social skill and build self-esteem

Parents of children 4-12 who are busy and maybe don’t get to sit down together every day so manners are not being taught/practiced regularly (that’s pretty much everyone these days). Just discovered that homeschooling parents love my product. I have used social media such as Facebook and twitter. I’ve also done some blogging but heard crickets in response. I’ve applied for and won awards. I’ve gone to fairs and festivals, hired PR prior to the holidays. I’ve sent samples to bloggers for reviews. Would love to advertise but find it cost prohibitive.

What was your AHA moment?
I had not just solved a problem for myself but for moms everywhere.

How has PR and Marketing helped your business?
I’ve done celebrity gifting. This was not too successful as my product is not likely to be seen in public with the celebrity so as to gain notoriety.

I’ve hired PR with some success. Mostly, they just get you bloggers to review your product. This is something I can do for myself. I’m looking for magazine/tv features.

What have you learned from being an entrepreneur?

The most important lesson I have learned is to refrain from making last minute adjustments to well thought out plans (whether in business or in my personal life). I have a picture of The Vasa over my desk to remind me of this. It was a famous Swedish ship that was to be the ships to end all ships. Shortly before it was set to launch the King of Sweden decided it didn’t have enough cannons and so demanded more be added. Dutifully the ship builders made the last minute change. The ship set sail with much fan fare went a quarter of a mile, tipped from the excess weight and sunk! This almost happened to me when I was first manufacturing my game. Fortunately my graphic designer woke up in the middle of the night having realized that my last minute change was not going to work! That mistake would either of ruined the credibility of my game or cost me thousands of dollars to re-do. Lesson learned!

What’s your greatest success to date?
Greatest success is that I’ve made one job a lot easier for parents while teaching children an important social skill.

I also love that my own children watched me take an idea and without any experience or background in business bring it to fruition. My kids have worked my booth, assembled media kits, acted in our commercial and my oldest has even made sales calls. So the business has had exponential benefits for them beyond the financial gains.

What’s been challenging and how did you overcome it?
My product requires an explanation, therefore it doesn’t do well in brick and mortar stores. When most people see my product on a shelf they assume that they are flash cards. When they see it on my website or through Amazon, where there is more of a visual display, they get it.

I have focused more on selling through distributors that are already successful at reaching my customers. For example distributor who sell specifically resource material for teaching social skills, Amazon.com and hopefully in the near future through a home schooling resource distributor.

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?
Making personal appearances, working booths, utilizing social media. Also, have created a companion activity book and written/published a children’s picture book about what motivates kids to use good manners. I have donated Table Manners Cards for school auction fundraising events. I have sent samples to magazines with some success locally but none yet of the big ones nationally.

What are your best tips on managing family and business?
You have to show your family that the business is good for everyone. Even if it’s not bringing in money yet…mom is happy pursuing a dream and a happy mom makes for a happy family. Get the family involved so that they are invested. Stop doing things for spouses/children that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. Cut ourselves some slack…moms. Don’t try to do it all…prioritize.

What are your favorite tools and resources?
The internet. I can google just about anything and find an answer, solution, or instructions needed to get a job done. It’s all there!

If you could wave a magic wand right now, what would you wish for?
Financial support.
1. I can see how I can improve my game and packaging but I don’t have the resources to do this and reorder in high volume
2. Access to advertising
3. Can’t be on the big TV shows (Martha Stewart etc.) if I can’t meet demand.

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

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