“Company Cleaning”

It’s hard for me to let the whole world know, but I’m probably one of the laziest people I know about housework- I hate washing dishes, and oh the laundry- it’s clean but piled everywhere and if one more person tells me to “just do one load every day,” I’m going to shoot them.  The point is I don’t want to do laundry every day- duh!  How would that help me?!  I do pretty much the bare minimum of everything- until someone’s coming over, then I throw the laundry in a closet & deep clean what shows with a toothbrush because God forbid they know how I actually live!  Company’s coming- let’s put a bow on this shit show.  What a phony I am!  I can be mostly ok with an imperfect house until my mom’s on her way or until I go to a play date at your house & instantly decide you’re never allowed to come see my mess.  My house isn’t dirty dirty- it’s clean enough not to alert the health department, but it’s definitely lived in.  I would honestly love to have a Martha Stewart home, to have it look like someone was coming over every day.  I just don’t like doing the work to get it there every day!

I have no problem putting my dishes in the dishwasher or my laundry in the washer/dryer, but most days it’s just too much for me to actually put all that clean shit away!  I’ve literally thrown away dishes & clothing rather than wash it again- I mean, we obviously didn’t need all that stuff anyway!  I almost never make my bed.  Look at my instagram and you’ll undoubtedly see a pile of laundry lurking in the background on any given day.  That’s just how I am and I’m not really committed to bettering myself today.

Laundry Couch



But every now and then, I get going.  We’ve got one room in the house I used to be able to leave messy- my craft/sewing/office/wrapping/catch all room.  I could go in there & play and just close the door when I was through.  It was like my hidden dungeon of crap.  But over the last few weeks, my room has been taken from me.  It will soon be our son’s room (he’s moving out of our bedroom at 16 months old) and I guess it just wouldn’t be right to have him living in that squalor.  So I’ve had to find places for all that crap to go.  And when I get organizing, watch me fuckin move- every once in a while when something like this spurs me, I get a hair up my ass and go Martha clean on everything- I mean, I’m throwing shit out, I’m consolidating, I’m cleaning closets, and junk drawers, I’m steam cleaning the carpets, I’m getting down & dirty with the floorboards & the doorknobs.  My husband stands back scared at what all I’m going to ask him to move or put away in the garage and my daughter starts hiding her favorite toys lest I put them in my donation pile.  I love those little fits- I figure it’s not gonna come often so I might as well tweak out on cleaning while I’ve got the burst of motivation.  I get a lot done, and our home looks so lovely for like 30 minutes.  That’s literally it- I’ll spend 2 or 3 days cleaning like a mofo & I get to enjoy it for half a friggin hour before it’s right back to our regular every day mess.  So fuck that- why would I want to do that every day?  No one in our house cares but me and no one’s coming over today.

And how much time must you other moms with tidy houses spend cleaning?  It can’t be worth it!  Or maybe you’re just cleaning for company, too.  If so, let’s give up this damn charade and let our dirty little secrets out.  Let’s let all that messy, ugly, unorganized crap show through.  Because I’m insecure enough to judge myself by how you look and who knows- maybe I’ve got you fooled into thinking I look pretty good too.  (if so, YES- major accomplishment for me!) So today, I’ll be lazy.  I’ll color with my kids and not pick up the crayons, I’ll cook & leave the dishes for tomorrow.  I’ll leave the laundry in the dryer and I’ll enjoy myself.

Just give me notice before you stop by and don’t dare open my closets!

Holy Shit, We’re Famous!

So, I know I’ve pasted it all over this website, but we went viral last week and this is huge for us. I think our story is pretty remarkable and I’d like to share the excitement we have.  For those of you that don’t know much about our story, let me tell you a bit more. In January of this year (yes, that’s 2017), I saw a news story about a new American Chemical Society study that showed all major plastic teethers were tested and had things like BPA, parabens & antimicrobials even when they were labeled free of these things. I freaked out and next thing I knew, my husband, Jon, had made a wooden teether shaped like brass knuckles.  His brother in law had just handed him down an ancient bandsaw (like so old he couldn’t even find blades for it at first!) and Jon was experimenting with woodworking.   It was amazing- he had this talent I never even knew about.  He casually asked if I thought any friends on Facebook would want to buy one. I thought they would, so I posted it on some local B/S/T groups. Right away 10 people wanted one, then 50 people wanted them and we started realizing we had something.  Jon made a rattle shaped like a baseball diamond and a friend suggested we make a heart which turned out to be equally popular.  I was dropping them off all over the county.  One day, I went to mail one out and the guy at the UPS store saw the return address and asked if this was one of those teethers shaped like brass knuckles everyone was talking about on the internet.  What?  Us?!  I was in shock.  I literally felt famous!

One night about a week into it, I told Jon of tow local children’s stores, The Luxe Baby, and Little Birdy Lane where I would try to get us into if we ever really got going. To my amazement, that very same night, the owner of The Luxe Baby messaged me on Facebook asking to carry our teethers. The next day, a woman came to pick up a teether and said she worked at Little Birdy Lane and could help us get in there if we wanted.  I was blown away. I met the owner of The Luxe Baby and she said we had something really unique and high quality.  It was a good fit, so we started consigning there and she became my mentor. I quickly taught myself how to design a website, an Etsy store, a Facebook business page, and started marketing our teethers left and right.

I posted on Facebook again asking if anyone I knew could design us a logo and my brother, Matthew Burke, came to the rescue right away.  He worked with one of his friends at Marnetta Cards to design us a logo and took some kick ass professional shots of our teethers to make us look legit.  Knowing nothing about business (I majored in psychology and have worked mainly in behavior modification with kids with developmental disabilities), I signed up for a 14 week entrepreneurial crash course at WEV (Women’s Economic Ventures and if you’ve never heard of this, you’ve got to check it out).  The class conveniently started right away, so I was off.  Someone posted in one of the Facebook groups looking for vendors for a roller derby event and a woman in my WEV class was a member of the roller derby league (coincidence?  I think not!).  This opened up the so far successful avenue of vendor fairs for us.  We got lots of good feedback about our beautifully made toys and started selling steadily.  A local La Leche League leader contacted me and offered to feature us at their Live, Love, Latch over the summer with over 300 people expected to attend.  We gobbled it all up.

My WEV graduating class- what a great group of supportive, creative, driven entrepreneurs!!

My plan was to finish my 14 week business course and then really work on marketing Tough Love Teethers.  Well, as soon as I finished the class, I emailed the editors of the super cool site for all things dad, Fatherly, requesting info on how to get on their site.  Right away, they took me up on it and wrote a little piece about us in their gear section.  They then offered to make a video for us.  Of course we jumped at the opportunity- this site has over 2 million followers on Facebook, including many of my coolest guy friends.  They didn’t ask for money, just some more footage.  They released the video on June 8 (super inconveniently while we were in Northern California for my brother’s wedding- aye!) and it literally went viral.  I was sneaking to the bathroom during my brother’s rehearsal dinner to answer chats from our website!  I was wondering how we were going to get all this done.  I awoke early the next morning to almost 100 orders.  Before the article and video, we had steadily been selling about one teether a day, which we were happy with.  I had just told my mom long term goal was to be able to pay our monthly mortgage with Tough Love Teethers’ income, but that that was a long, long way off.  Now, we’ve had over 600K views and hundreds of orders in just over a week.  We earned enough to pay our mortgage payment in under 24 hours.  It’s been nuts.

Our big video debut!

We are pinching ourselves and thanking our lucky stars.  We are currently working our butts off, recruiting our 18 & 19 year old nieces, our parents, sisters and brothers to help us make teethers in their free time.  We hand sand all of our teethers, hand cut our tags and handle all the packaging and distribution while parenting our 4 year old who never stops and our almost one year old who started it all.  Needless to say, it’s a lot, but it’s a blessing for sure.All along this adventure, things have just come to us so coincidentally that we feel like this was meant to be.  Jon and I have had a hard road the last few years not just financially, but personally- in our marriage and with our children so to have this opportunity come knocking at our door and be so successful without really meaning to feels like a true gift from the universe.  We never even intended to make a business out of this.  What started out as a fun toy for our son has turned into a real fledgling business and has opened up doors we never dreamt of.  I feel like we’re the little family that could.  We cannot believe that only six months ago, we made our first teether, finished it in our kitchen with our kids and now over half a million people know about us.  So, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone of you for making this possible.  We are riding this wave of success and we hope you’ll ride the tide right along with us!

Jumping for joy at our first boutique sale in The Luxe Baby