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Thursday, December 27, 2018

cuteheads Year in Review

Hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close, and yet here we are. It’s been QUITE a year. So many incredible things happened, and some not-so-good. At the end of each year, I like to take stock, see where I started and where I am now. Taking a step back is always good; it can give us clarity and help us understand what changes we need to make moving forward as well as be grateful for all we’ve accomplish.

Arabella multicolor polka dot tulle party dress -- cuteheads.com

Photo by Katlin Shuherk, Arabella dress 

I’m not one for new years resolutions. Let’s be honest, no one ever keeps them. And there’s no day like today to start or change something you want to start or change. But I am big on goal-setting, and I’d like to share with you the goals I set for myself this year as well as whether I was able to keep (or not keep) them.

One of my main goals for last year was to figure out my “why.” Why were people buying cuteheads? What did this brand mean to them? We zeroed in on why people shop here when they have literally thousands of other options, and we were able to solidify who we are in just a few words: cute, girly and one of a kind.

pink tulle dresses for girls -- cuteheads.com

Photo by Lourdes Camarillo, Happy Everything Collection

The next step was to actually implement them and live them. I knew we weren’t Amazon. We would never be Amazon. We weren’t going to wow people with free overnight delivery and free returns. We weren’t going to get the product to them at the speed of light. But what we could do was create a beautiful, special, locally-made, sustainable product that both kids and parents would love as well as trust.

So we doubled down on that mission, and made gorgeous clothing for girls within our age demographic and we grew from there. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone — and yes, we made some missteps in some of our styles — we stayed in our lane and became even more “cute, girly, and one of a kind.” People started to know and understand who we are just by looking at our dresses. They understood that when they needed something extra-special for a birthday, holiday, school picture or event, we were the place to go. No one else was going to have what they found in our shop. And that’s what kept people coming back.

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Photo by Le Zu Photography of blogger Alice Kerley from Lonestar Looking Glass, Freya romper sold out

Of course, we’ve had some growing pains. Orders shipped late due to high volume, wrong sizes delivered due to shipping too fast, and more. But overall, we focused on making our customers happy by offering great customer service and a product they would love. We definitely didn’t get it right every time, but we will continue to improve and look for new ways to do things better and more seamlessly in 2019.

We also raised thousands of dollars through our Brave, Strong Girls project. Earlier in the year, I was feeling helpless, like the hate and bigotry in our country was growing like a weed you couldn’t kill, getting life and sustenance from all the misinformation that’s available to us. So I created Brave, Strong Girls to combat these feelings and take some ownership in the fight against hate. Are we changing everyone’s minds? No. But we’re changing some. We’re spreading awareness. We’re building girls up and giving them confidence. And I’m very proud of the work we’re doing and will continue to do into next year.

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Brave, Strong Girl Hailey

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Brave, Strong Girl Ellis

Brave, Strong Girls: Maya // Promoting Transgender Awareness. Learn more at blog.cuteheads.com

Brave, Strong Girl Maya

We ended the year by partnering for #yearofjoy with Joy Sewing, the fashion and beauty editor of the Houston Chronicle, to create a beautiful styled shoot for 4 deserving girls from the HYPE Freedom School. We gave each of them a Joy dress and gave them beautiful gifts, sweet treats and both pictures and a short film that they can keep forever. The images from that shoot will be on the blog in the next couple of days, and they ran in last week’s edition of the Houston Chronicle! What a way to end the year.

Esther Freedman and Joy Sewing

Joy green velvet dress -- cuteheads.com

Photos by Le Zu Photography, Joy dresses shown here

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My oldest daughter Naomi is old enough to understand what I do now, and she came with me to multiple shoots and pop-ups, including our shoot with HYPE. I marveled at watching her want to pitch in and help, carry props, welcome the girls and of course, eat cookies. It was fulfilling to see the pride it brought her to see her mom doing something so meaningful. My #tinyintern isn’t so tiny anymore.

Little girls linen dresses with pom pom trim. Photo by Shannon Burdick. Available at cuteheads.com

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On top of all of this, we sold thousands of dresses this year and far exceeded last year. It has been a true joy to see people embrace cuteheads, and seeing how much people love it reminds me of what I always say: a dress is more than just a dress. We worked with tons of new, incredible photographers, we made a conscious effort to focus on representation and inclusion, and we turned many customers into friends.

Personally, this year had its up’s and down’s. Most people know that my mom died of breast cancer when I was 18, but they don’t know that two years ago, I was diagnosed as BRCA2+, meaning I am at a much higher risk for breast cancer. Like 90% chance. So while I figure out how to handle this, I am undergoing high-risk monitoring.

Back in May, during a routine mammogram, my radiologist found something. A biopsy revealed that it was not cancerous, but those two weeks were the scariest of my life. I was sick with worry, wondering whether I would be facing what my own mom faced when I was a kid, wondering if my girls were going to have to see my go through what she went through. I am so lucky that I have access to good healthcare and great doctors, and THANK GOODNESS for early detection. My commitment to free mammograms is strong, and I can’t wait to do a project to raise awareness for organizations like The Rose, where women can get free breast cancer screenings, in 2019.

I also made a commitment at the beginning of this year to try to unclench, to be more patient with my kids, my husband and myself. I wasn’t perfect, but I did make major strides in this arena, and I feel much more inner peace a result. I am definitely not what you would call a “chill mom,” and I have to fight my nature to learn how to relax and go with the flow. I’ll continue to work on that in 2019. Definitely a work in progress.

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I am so honored to have been a small part of your life this year, whether your daughter wore a cuteheads dress for a special occasion, or you’ve just been following this journey for awhile. I look forward to what tomorrow brings for cuteheads, for me and mine, and for you and yours. Cheers.

xo,

Esther

The post cuteheads Year in Review appeared first on The Cuteness.



from The Cuteness http://blog.cuteheads.com/cuteheads-year-review/
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