Friday, December 21, 2012

"You never know who will be your CHAMPION"

We spent this Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  My father-in-law being the kind hearted man that he is had heard a woman in his rotary group mention that she would be having Thanksgiving alone this year as both of her children were too far away to come this year (one lives overseas and the other back east).

To be honest at first I wasn't all that excited about having an unfamiliar person joining us in our Thanksgiving feast... but it turned out to be wonderful.  She was extremely knowledgeable and very interesting to talk to.  We exchanged stories about places in the world we have traveled as we enjoyed our dinner.  She was curious to learn about my puzzles and after hearing about different people and ways that have helped me have success she said something that has stuck with me since --

"You never know who will end up being your champion."

So very true.  I have thought about this a lot as different people who I never expected have done wonderful things to promote FLIPZLES without even being asked.  I'd like to share a few of those --

My Mom --
I guess you kind of expect your mom to be your champion, but I can't write this post without mentioning her.  She has made her small town in Wyoming the place where I believe there is the highest percentage of puzzles per capita.  She loves my product and isn't afraid to promote to stores, friends, coworkers -- or anyone else she can get to listen!

My Son's Kindergarten Teacher --
My daughter had the same teacher a couple years ago and since the time I brought in a guinea pig for her show-and-tell I was pretty convinced that this teacher did not like me... The kids have always loved her.. but I must admit I was always a bit nervous to talk to her.  Well -- I feel a bit bad about that now because she definitely has been one of my champions.  She loves the puzzles, and when Thurston brought one in to donate to the school PE toy drive she emailed me right away and wanted one of each for her classroom and told me she thought I should be on Shark Tank.  After that she sent out an email and shared my puzzles and story with all the other teachers and kindergarten parents.  Somehow the email also went to one of the other schools in town and because of it I have had many sales.

A Soccer Mom -
At one of Natasha's soccer games I was discussing work with another mom.  When this mom learned about Flipzles she was so excited to share.  She posted links on Facebook, mentioned me in links and had lots of ideas of shows and other ways I could market.

My Aunt -
With out ever even mentioning it -- my aunt borrowed a Flipzles puzzle that my grandma had at her house and took it to a few schools where she works to show it to people and then collected orders.  The first order she sent me was for 27 puzzles!  the second was nearly as big, and since then I have sent her even more!  I never asked -- she just did it.

A Stranger from The Victorian Country Christmas -
During my 5 days at the VCC I met a lot of people.  Lots of people say they will order online, or call or come back -- but it is rare that anyone every actually does.  One lovely lady who I actually remembered a face with the name called me on my birthday (she didn't know it was my birthday) and put in an order.  I remembered that the day she had been shopping at the VCC her daughter had mentioned it was her birthday and if she wanted to spend her birthday money buying something for her granddaughter that was her prerogative.  Anyway, she took my card and said she would be calling -- When she actually did I decided to toss in another puzzle since it was my birthday and mention what I recalled about her birthday -- so the extra puzzle was to celebrate both.  Just a few days ago she called me to thank me and told me that she was a minister's wife and that she wanted to help me promote my puzzles, so could I please send her some fliers for her to share.  Another unsuspected champion.

There are so many more -- friends taking puzzles to show their family and friends, some even taking them to stores, people I don't even know searching for the puzzles and supporting me via the Internet, or finding the puzzles on facebook and loving them and wanting to share with their friends, siblings making calls on stores in their areas or connecting me with other small businesses, friends helping me get connected with bloggers they know, people hosting parties and on and on.

It is so  true -- You never know who may end up being your champion.
I am so grateful for all of you -- and for the love and support I have felt during these first few months.
Thanks You Thank You Thank You!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Geyser Gifts!

Running Flipzles has kept me super busy -- so this year for neighbor gifts we wanted to do something simple but with a kick :)

I bought a couple of cases of Mentos thinking I would use them in little gift bags. When my daughter Natasha saw them she said "all you need now is a bottle of diet coke!" -- We went to "Wreck it Ralph" over Thanksgiving break, so I am sure that is why the idea came so quickly.

"Brilliant!" -- I responded.  That is just what we are going to do.  Now let's think up something clever to say on the cards.

After tossing lots of corny puns and other sayings around this is what we came up with --

We think you "GEYSER" awesome!
Hope you have a "BLAST" this Christmas

We then printed out some instructions from the Steve Spangler Science website and a demonstration picture to attach to the bottles.

It was something everyone could help with during the assembly process and oh-so much fun for the kiddos to deliver.  We delivered our first round of Geyser Making Kits tonight and will do more in the next few days.

We definitely got a few confused looks, several Wreck it Ralf comments and lots of thank you's.  It is definitely not your traditional plate of cookies, but hopefully it gets some ooh's and ahh's or gives the less adventureous souls their daily diet coke fix :)

I think it is a fun idea -- the question is -- will it get pinned?  I am crossing my fingers -- so please feel welcome to PINTEREST away.  We definitely wouldn't mind having this idea copied.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Go For It

I have been thinking a lot about where I was in January and where I am now.

I decided to make a go with this business without really knowing how to do any of the things I would need to do.  I was SCARED.... but I didn't let that fear keep me from trying.

I have come an extremely long way with my small FLIPZLES company, but I still have a lot farther to travel and not an easy road ahead of me.  It is clear to me that this is going to take hours and hours of work.

The designing is the fun part that I look forward to, but I am not very good at marketing. Everything I do in that area is something I haven't done before.  I don't know if it will work or not. I still get scared and sick to my stomach everytime I have to make a telephone call.

I am rejected or ignored everyday -- but I know with all of the no's there come a few yes's and when I get those happy replies it makes it all worth it.  And on days when no positive replies come, I just keep sending out more emails and messages so that more people can learn about my product.

I don't know what the future holds.  I hope that I get to make more puzzles.
That is what I am working for -- if that doesn't happen though I know I won't feel like I didn't succeed.
This week I made phone calls that I wouldn't have had the guts to just a month ago.
After I made the calls I read a book to my 2 year old and sang songs with him.
Next week I will be trying new things and learning even more.
For me that is a wonderful thing and a success in itself.

Remember  -Nobody who is currently doing anything knew how to do it when they started out.
They had to start somewhere...

So -- I guess the point of this post is....

If there is something you are dreaming about trying/making/doing/being --
DON'T LET FEAR WIN!  Go for it :)
You'll be amazed at how the PIECES start to FIT TOGETHER.


PS-- I would love to have some new followers of this blog -- subscribe on the side bar!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

FLIPZLES - In the Works!

If you know me, you know my favorite part of FLIPZLES is designing them -- Right now with the launch of the new company and trying to get the word out about what FLIPZLES are -- I spend most of my day fulfilling orders and trying to learn how to market and sell my puzzles.

So I wanted to take a moment today to show you the next two puzzles that will be coming out in 2013. They are a bit smaller, square in shape and have fewer pieces so they are a bit easier to solve.   I think they both will be so much fun!

Here are few pictures of the artwork -
Let me know what you think and what design you would like to see on future FLIPZLES!

The artwork for this was based off of a barn in Wyoming that my husband and I both played in when we were kids. I remember swinging on the rope up in the loft, looking for randomly layed chicken eggs in the hay and playing basketball on rainy days. I love being able to incorporate things that have meaning to me in my puzzles

Now my friend who took the photos for me told me I should use a green tractor -- but my father-in-law owned a tractor dealership for years and it was the type that didn't sell green tractors so I had to take that into account when making my color choice for the tractor :)


This puzzle came about because one of my daughters often says she would rather be an animal than a person.  I know that she will absolutely LOVE to play with this puzzle when it comes out.  I am keeping the inside a surprise.

Yes -- this part is definitely my favorite!  Can't wait to do more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Giveaway WINNERS!

First I must say thank you to everyone that helped spread the word about my puzzles!  I had a record number of hits yesterday on my website and it is all thanks to you.

I wish I could send a free puzzle out to everyone who entered... but of course if I did that I would never make enough money to be able to afford to have my new designs produced.

53 different individuals participated with 147 total entries!

The first place winner of the Haunted House nesting doll and a FLIPZLE of her choice is --

The second place winner of a FLIPZLE of her choice is
Donna West

Congratulations!  Please send me an email with your mailing address and I will ship out your prizes right away.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spread the Word - FLIPZLES Halloween Giveaway


I absolutely love this time of year and can't wait for the costumes and the treats! So I want to give a special treat to one of you.

Right now one of my major focuses is letting the world know about my new product. 
People who don't know FLIPZLES exist can't know how cool they are.  I want people to see and hear about my new product so that they know there are toymakers out there who care about creating toys that stimulate both sides of children's brains and don't need all the flashing lights and electronic features. 

As a small company based out of my garage word of mouth is a wonderful starting point to let people know about FLIPZLES.

As you can tell from my puzzles -- I love toys -- and besides painting puzzle designs for my FLIPZLES I also have a love for painting Nesting Dolls.  I currently am not selling any of my nesting dolls or taking orders since I am focusing on my puzzles but---
I am giving away this Haunted House nesting doll that I painted  along with a FLIPZLE to the winner of of this Spread the Word Giveaway.

How to Enter:
Simply comment on this post and include how you helped spread the word about FLIPZLES.  A few options might be to send out and email to friends about FLIPZLES, share the link to the FLIPZLES website ( or blog, encourage others to enter the contest. Be creative and SHARE AWAY!  Just make sure to list all the different ways you helped spread the word in your comment.

Each method of sharing you list will get you one entry in the giveaway. 
(Added later - so if you missed this no worries -- Please number your methods to make it easier for me to award you your entries.  Thanks!)
5 bonus entries will be given to anyone who also purchases FLIPZLES during the duration of the contest.

Entries will be accepted until midnight of October 23rd.
Entries will be numbered and the winners will be chosen at random through

First prize is the Haunted Hous Nesting Doll pictured above along with a FLIPZLE of the winner's choice.
Second prize is a FLIPZLE of the winner's choice. 

Thanks for helping me tell the world about my puzzles! and Good Luck!

See below for complete official rules

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Time

So -- I decided that I need a place to host giveaways and promotions from.  I could use one of my other blogs -- but that didn't seem fitting.  So here goes -- One more blog :)