Thursday, September 11, 2008
Sophia was incredibly lucky enough to receive a Blue Waltz Dress featuring the music of the Blue Danube from this hip new company called Acting Out Dress Up. Ok, I have to say, at first I was wary. I thought this dress up may be annoying, itchy, poorly made. Man, was I wrong. This is the coolest dress up product out there. I was completely impressed with the quality of the items. They are not cheaply made. They aren't itchy. They are satiny smooth and well stitched. The colors are bright and modern, and there is attention to detail. So right there, it's worth it. But as a bonus, this dress up line plays music - and it's not that tinny sounding music box music either, it sounds like a CD playing inside the dress. Granted a small CD, but the song is good quality, which was also really impressive.
Upon further research, I found that the story of its inventors was pretty interesting too. Anna and Andrea began Acting Out five years ago as an "ah ha" idea while watching their "princess" girls dancing around in their dress-up. Why not add music to the skirts? Anna ever the dreamer and idea person forged ahead with turning the dream into reality. At the time, Andrea was winding down her career as the Director of New Business for a musical instrument company. While commuting to work, Anna would call to discuss her idea of the day. Valuing Andrea's opinion, Anna knew that Andrea would be truthful about each invention and when Andrea loved the musical dress-up idea it was "game on". Anna was extremely persistent in asking Andrea to be her partner. She knew without Andrea this idea could only go so far. Well one month later, Andrea gave into Anna's persuasion and came on as a full partner and has never looked back.
Turning the idea into reality involved sourcing manufacturers in China. Andrea will never forget the day; Anna wrote that $15,000 check against her personal line of credit for the first order. They had never met their skirt manufacturer. He was sourced over the Internet and all communication was via email and one phone conversation. This was a huge amount of money for her and her family -but it sealed the deal of their commitment of turning this from an "expensive hobby into a profitable business".
When Acting Out began Anna was working part-time as a hairdresser. It was tricky business, maintaining a career, being a mom and starting a business. They made many mistakes along the way. One of the reasons the partnership works is they both buoy each other up when one person is down. They never dwell on the mistakes and do their best to learn from them (and hopefully not repeat them) and most of all, they have fun!
Andrea and Anna are both NJ natives (I'm a Jersey girl myself now!) and residents. Andrea has two daughters Haley (10) and Anja (7). Anna has three children Max (9), Carolyn (7) and Ava (5).
In the beginning, they sold our products through craft shows and out of the back of their cars. By December of that year (after only two months of business) they had 100 accounts. They are in almost 1,000 stores, six countries and major retailers such as Target online, Costco.com, QVC, Toys r Us online, Hearthsong, Highlights, Young Explorers, Toys to Grow on and Sensational Beginnings.
The ladies have won and come close to winning many awards such as Family Fun Magazine Toy of the Year Finalist 2005, Finalist in Family Fun Toy of the Year, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum winner. They have appeared on HSN, QVC, and were featured on The View – Mom Inventors.
I know there are alot of you out there who have great ideas like this, savy minds for business, and a knack for getting things done. It can happen for you too, moms. These ladies put their minds to it and their hearts into it, and created and marketed a sensational product that I would be proud to give as a gift to even the pickiest little princesses. Is it time for you to get your ideas out there and make them work for you? Think about it.
Heres a silly video of the kids dancing to Blue Danube. That is actually the dress playing right on Sophia's body!