I received this in an e-mail from Olivia Omega Logan last week:

I am a mom of two small children who left my job in March 2007 to stay home with my son (now 2) due to his health issues at the time. I had an idea of a personalized baby t-shirt company and had just started to formalize my thoughts. During my first couple of weeks as a stay-at-home mom, I was watching The Ellen DeGeneres Show and saw that she was having a Mother’s Day special where her entire audience would be first-time expecting moms. On a whim, I sent her my story and a sample of my shirts. The producers called two days later (on my birthday April 17) and wanted to feature my shirts on the show!! I can’t even express in words how excited and scared I was.

At that time, I had only sold a couple shirts to family and friends. The day that Ellen’s Mother’s Day show aired, my little company that existed only in my head gained national exposure (to over 3 million people) and turned into a REAL children’s clothing line literally overnight. From the initial phone call, I had less than 3 weeks to create a brand, build a credible website, find suppliers, finalize shirt designs, get models and photography (my son and his little friends) and get ready for over 2,000 hits to my site within the first couple hours of the show airing. Not to mention the production of 300 shirts for the show and the amazing amount of orders just on the first day. Oh, and not to mention being a full-time stay-at-home mom to a 1-year-old and 4-year-old. [emphasis is mine].

Talk about good news and bad news: A national TV appearance is golden, wonderful, a stroke of brilliant luck; but not if you blow the opportunity. Olivia had noticed Brent Bowers’ New York Times December 2007 article on the startup company Mamaisms, which I posted about on this blog. She added:

I could immediately relate to the owners when I read that they hadn’t even sold one shirt prior to the NY Times article being published and that the company launched the day the article hit the press.

Logan, happily, made it. Her business is babycandystore.com. It survived and prospered from that first rush of customers, and Logan has clearly learned a lot in the doing:

Exposure like this is something companies only dream about. Ellen can make something popular overnight and has with Baby Candy, but it takes a lot more to continue to carry that momentum and truly build a business model that is successful and that will last the test of time.

I followed Logan’s e-mail with a response asking for more about her business, and I particularly liked this portion of her answer:

There are a lot of scenarios similar to mine out there and furthermore, there are a lot of “mompreneurs”… it seems like a craze. There are so many tiny mommy companies that dream of entrepreneurial success, but many don’t have a business foundation that is needed to survive.

And also, a classic vote of confidence for fundamentals, with which I’ll close this post, quoting Logan:

It has been exactly one year now since the show and my company, Baby Candy, is going strong. Now that I have national exposure and a reputable brand, it is a matter of strategy and taking that leap from a small home business to a profitable organization. This is where my business degree and marketing background really need to kick in.

On our one-year anniversary, we are at a critical stage in our growth, where every move counts. I am feeling the growing pains and occasionally ask myself if I have what it takes to survive this highly competitive and saturated children’s apparel market. But I am very optimistic about our originality, unique packaging, upcoming expansion, new products and continued national exposure.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.