Tag Archives: business owners

The Accidental Entrepreneur

Owner & founder of CastCoverz!, Annette Giacomazzi, started out just like any other empathetic mom… wanting to make her daughter’s 6th broken bone a little more bearable. Annette began creating cute & fun covers for Elli’s casts, which quickly evolved into slings, seasonally themed cast covers– you name it! The ideas just kept coming!  Friends and family are supposed to “ooh” and “aah” and be supportive of an injured child or a mom with an idea.  But, it’s when strangers stopped them on the street that Annette had her “AHA!” moment and CastCoverz! was born.

First, Annette’s family contributed as the hands and feet of the business, out of their home.  The first employees even worked out of their home!  Eventually, CastCoverz! expanded to a warehouse that required a full team of sewists, shippers and customer service gems! Having found a unique niche in the orthopedic retail market, Annette created a flourishing business.

Fast forward 13 years, CastCoverz! is now the largest online retailer for orthopedic products and has earned its title by providing fun & functional products to comfort orthopedic patients. We are proud to have served hundreds of thousands of customers and retailers around the world.

Share Your Story!

Our customers are the heart & soul of our success! We LOVE seeing how CastCoverz! has helped you Feel Better so you can Heal Better! Share your family-friendly stories with us at cs@castcoverz.com for a chance to be featured on our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/castcoverz)

More Info

Questions about sizing or custom cast covers? Give us a call 1-800-CASTCOVER (1-800-227-8268)

New Year! New You?

Happy New Year!

Annette Giacomazzi and CastCoverZ! products

I am so blessed.  I get to help people feel better, so they heal better with CastCoverz! products AND I get to answer questions about starting a business.  The proverbial question, “How did you do it?” referring to building a business, is asked a couple of dozen times per week!  So, in response to the people that dare to dream, I thought I would periodically answer some common questions.  So, here goes…

Today’s post is oh, so, important!  Not just because the new year often means recommitting, renewal,    Goal setting.  It can also be described as making resolutions or defining your priorities.   Regardless, it is your vision, your dream for your future.  Whether you’re a mom or an entrepreneur, or both!  I recognize planning the future for some people may be challenging given the nation’s economic uncertainty, relationship issues you may be struggling with, or just living an overwhelmed life.  With that in mind, I drilled down my goal setting process into a 1-2 punch for you:

Goal Setting Maxim #1  Before you know where you’re going, you

need to know where you’ve been.  Planning for hopes, dreams and goals is vital to our vision and mission, whether it be as the CEO of my family or my

company.  But, more important than that is taking a critical look at the year. This task is vital to give your goals, vision and mission a dose of reality.   And there is no better time, than at year’s end.  I set aside some time without distractions (I go off-site), bring the necessary numbers/information, bring a pad of pretty paper, and a sharpened pencil with a great eraser.

The first macro question I ask myself, “What are the top 5 things that worked this year?”  With regards to the success of CCZ!, it was publicity/brand awareness, customer service experience, innovation (8 new

Elli, her collection of casts and Annette (Mother and Daughter)

products!), my employees (retained and added!), and a four fold increase in sales (!!).   Answering the next question, “What are the top 5 things that didn’t work?” can be painful because it looks at your weaknesses.   For example, inventory controls tops that list (I don’t have a [reliable] process to manage the fabric, webbing, thread, snaps, boxes, labels, etc…).  Not knowing exactly what I have and don’t have allows for leakage and that means lost dollars.  Not to mention, you can’t manage something if you don’t know what it is.   Now take each of those lists and ask, “Why?”  In other words, “Why did innovation work?” Another example, “Why don’t I have a reliable inventory management process?”   If you’re just starting a business/thinking about inventing a product, the same questions apply, just re-frame them.  For example, if you have an idea for a product, what top 5 things worked (met with a graphic designer, signed up for Tamara’s Power Mentoring Class, etc…) and the top 5 that didn’t (I didn’t call the plastics molding company contact back, I didn’t conduct the market research [beyond my friends and family] I need to do, etc.).

Goal Setting Maxim #2:  Focus on your strengths
 
This goes against everything we’re taught.  How many times does that voice in your head (god forbid it’s your spouse or friends) say, “you need to shore up your weaknesses,” or “you can’t do that because you don’t know how to do…”  So, you commit yourself to learning, doing “X”.   Instead, focus on what you do well.  For example, I knew a woman that was in a dark, deep depression and didn’t think she could do anything.  But she made her bed, every morning.  She started building on that success.    Now you can really plan for next year.  At this time, next year you’ll have an effective tool to build on.  Psst, I have a secret.  I conduct quarterly and semi-annual (off-site) reviews, too.  Weekly and monthly are done at my desk.  
Next blog post:  Help!  I can’t find my commitment!  
CAVEAT to Goal Setting: Though you need to always look at your life and see if it is heading in the right direction, the first of the year for me means rebirth, renewal and new beginnings.  I love this time of year.