Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Many people like to imagine how companies work. They think running a business is easy – lots of money coming in, lounging around, interesting business lunches etc. etc. etc. Actually, it’s not that easy and I thought it might be fun to record for you a typical day’s activities of the two dynamic ladies who run the Five Enchanted Mermaids.
On the East coast, Jackie manages the product line through her LifeMadeSimple company. Her background has been in marketing consulting and financial services, and she left the corporate world to raise her two children. On the west coast, Lois has also retired from the corporate world in marketing, fashion and managing websites.
Lois is a children’s picture book author who has been friends with Jackie for nearly forty years. She wrote the acclaimed Lulu and Lainey books and a few years back agreed to direct her talents to the Five Enchanted Mermaids. She and Jackie wanted to use the Mermaids to assist families entertain and teach socio emotional developmental skills to 3–7-year-olds. The Mermaids are racially diverse and team together to address issues that this children’s age range faces – independence, confidence, honesty, courage, and kindness. The two dynamic ladies decided that Jackie would develop and manage gifts – dolls, toddler blankets, and backpacks as well as party supplies and decorations for mermaid parties, while Lois would write books about the Mermaids.
Let’s see what Jackie is up to first.
First thing in the morning, she logs on to her computer and checks the sales from the previous day. She accesses the Amazon site, along with that of Walmart.com, eBay and Wish. She also checks her emails to see if eBay has any sales which she needs to address differently. A sale on Amazon is handled by Amazon who takes the product that Jackie has previously shipped to their warehouse and ships it to the customer. Walmart does the same, so Jackie’s role is monitoring to make sure this happens rather than having to go to ship from our own warehouse. Alerts from Amazon also show her when new customer reviews have been received. She reads each one of these to understand what customers like and do not like about the products.
After the early morning review, and the first coffee of the day, she shifts to longer term issues. Today, she is facing a concern that a shipment of dolls and hardcover books has still not reached our warehouse in LA. She sends a new set of emails to the shipping company and the replies indicate that some have landed and are in customs, some have cleared customs and need to be collected by a US shipper to ferry them to a warehouse, and some are somewhere (but no one seems to know where) in the Pacific Ocean. Those that have cleared customs are now with the US shipper and attempts to contact them go to an Interactive Voice Response system which does not recognize the specific term “where is my damn shipment?”. We are running up towards the Holidays and the products that were ordered in May have been delayed by the global shipping crisis. They were expected in September but so far, we have not been able to ship them to Amazon’s warehouse. Fingers crossed!
She next turns her mind to promotion of the new Five Enchanted Mermaid’s doll, Emily. Emily should be available in the next few weeks so there needs to be an advertising campaign to introduce her to potential customers. Some of this is achieved though Amazon programs, but the team has found that social media, independent of Amazon, has also been fruitful. Jackie and her colleague, Lois work on these together.
Another activity today comprises review of a Holiday video. Videos are developed in house and the two ladies review and make changes as appropriate. The music needs to be changed and a few graphics amended.
Over to the West Coast where Lois lives and works.
Lois’ day starts out in a similar fashion to Jackie’s - including the coffee. First of all, she checks email to see if Jackie has checked in with any fires to put out. Then she collects sales numbers for the paperbacks, checks the social media accounts relating to the mermaids (We’re on all of them! Join us if you are too!), book reviews and advertising.
Then it’s on to all the other ongoing projects: creating graphics for various social media and email campaigns, working on new and translation books, or working on book-related Amazon elements.
Today, she is reviewing images from the illustrator for the fifth book in the Meet the Mermaid series. This one is about Anna, the Irish mermaid. The script is drafted, and Lois has been communicating with her illustrator to ensure that the images for the book are sufficiently vibrant and match the story line. This can be a long, iterative process as each page is fine tuned. In parallel, she is working with her cover designer where different skills are required to create a cover image that best reflects the book.
Lois currently has seven Five Enchanted Mermaid picture books in English as well as a coloring and activity book. In addition, all the main books have been translated into Spanish. All books are available in paperback format as well as Kindle. Hard cover versions of three of these have also been created and available as collector items for gift purposes.
As well as operating independently, Jackie and Lois work together on social media and advertising campaigns. They agree on themes and then, Jackie uses her skills to craft social media messages and Lois using her great artist skills develops the artwork to support these. Today, they are working on a set of Holiday related themes. Lois is creating a holiday design that includes Santa hats on the mermaids and an animated snow effect. Jackie has written the text for the artwork.
At the end of the day, Jackie leaves her computer and settles down with a glass of Chardonnay before dinner but afterwards, she goes back and checks the sales for the day and if there are any fires which need to be put out. On the west coast, Lois follows a similar pattern which the time change means it is three hours later. It’s not quite a 24/7 operation, but close and trust me there is never a dull moment!
It’s hard work but ultimately very satisfying. The Five mermaids now feel like family; they are “our girls” and we love that children are thrilled by them and can always find a mermaid that looks like them!
The Five Enchanted Mermaids celebrate diversity in our world and the belief that each child deserves to have a mermaid that looks like them. Through their individual personalities and traits, they weave stories that help teach skills for children in this age group.
The idea for the Five Enchanted Mermaids was born to provide a fun but educational backdrop for girls aged 3 to 7 years. The characters address emotional skills (making friends, resolving conflicts, coping with change, making their own choices, and “being good people”) and educational skills (learning to read, the alphabet, counting, symmetrical shapes, time, the value of monetary coins/notes) that are important at that age in the development of young girls.
The stories use each of the diverse mermaids as a role model for behavior and values.
LifeMadeSimple, LLC and acclaimed children’s book author, Lois Petren, are collaborating to provide a series of books, party accessories, and other appropriate items as mermaid gifts for girls to support these goals.
Visit us at www.fiveenchantedmermaids.com