What if I put positive affirmations on the toes of socks . . . then at least twice a day, the person wearing them would see those words and improve his or her well-being without even trying?
Always a believer in the power of positive affirmations, Laura Schmidt asked this question while on a family road trip with her feet on the car dashboard, and notes to self, llc was conceptualized. Through market research, Schmidt confirmed that the subconscious mind is most accessible first thing in the morning and late at night; she also recognized that these are the times when people put on and take off socks.
Schmidt started actively working on the sock line in April 2011. She designed her first prototype labeled “I am awesome” that summer, and the first pair was sold in August 2011. The growing sock line shares messages including “I am smart,” “I am awesome,” “I am strong,” and “I am perfectly me.”
The notes to self® line is currently sold in more than 1,000 retail locations nationwide plus online at www.notestoself.com. While notes to self® socks are popular among students, athletes, and adults, Schmidt’s original goal has always been to get the socks on the feet of those who are not routinely guided by positive thinking coaches, such as at-risk and impoverished youth as well as those battling serious illness who need to rely on positive thinking. The company has had the privilege of partnering with and donating thousands of socks to nonprofit organizations.
The company has grown dramatically since 2011, and Schmidt has faced many tough business decisions along the way.
The operation started as a home-based business, but quickly outgrew the Schmidt household. Schmidt hoped that using a fulfillment company would allow notes to self® to remain in her home; after trying that option, she decided to bring daily operations in-house so that she could have more control and flexibility with order fulfillment. With orders increasing weekly, Schmidt opened “Socks Central,” a warehouse which employs seven people and allows Schmidt to offer unparalleled customer service.
Recognizing the need for a formal business plan and financial projections, Schmidt contacted the Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at Johnson County Community College in July 2011. Since then Schmidt has met monthly with Elisa Waldman of the KSBDC at JCCC to review cash flow, quality issues, inventory questions, human resource challenges, marketing opportunities, and expansion. Schmidt explains that “there were many times when I was at a ‘Y’ in the road…and Elisa listened, asked questions, and helped me think through whether I should turn left or right. She has been, and continues to be, a huge help to me in my business growth.”
The company’s goal is to get 1 million pairs of notes to self® socks on people’s feet by the end of 2014. “Just think about all the power that could be unleashed by people who are thinking positively,” Schmidt says. While Schmidt’s mission to improve people’s lives through the use of positive affirmations began with socks, she is hard at work developing new positive notes to self™ product lines to be released in the near future.
Assisted by Elisa Waldman, KSBDC Consultant | KSBDC at JCCC | Overland Park. JCCC KSBDC | 913.469.3878 | jccc.edu/ksbdc | firstname.lastname@example.org
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