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New Year, Better You?

January 06 2017 , No Comments on New Year, Better You?

Isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves?

The beauty of a New Year is to reflect on the past while rejuvenating for what lies ahead. This transition is an opportunity to refocus life and set new goals, which can be an extremely powerful process.

As business owners of our four-year startup company, Monkey Mat, we’re certainly going through this important time of both reflection and looking ahead. As with our personal lives, there are both highs and lows, but we are thrilled to be heading into another year in the challenging startup world.  From the outside looking in, creating a business seems like a fun, easy, “make lots of money” idea, but it takes more blood, sweat and tears than anything we’ve ever done. And, as any small business owner can attest, each ringing in of a new year with growth on the horizon is a milestone to celebrate.

We are so grateful to be building Monkey Mat and have confidence that 2017 is going to be a HUGE year.  Keep following us, as we look forward to sharing our new retail partners and more innovative products coming soon!

Thank YOU for your support throughout our crazy journey – we couldn’t do it without you!

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Reference: https://john.do/emotional-journey-creating/

Much love,

The Monkey Mat Mamas


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Summer Kickoff Giveaway

June 30 2016 , No Comments on Summer Kickoff Giveaway

We are so honored to be included in Mark Cuban’s top picks for the summer!!!  Now here is your chance to WIN his favorites in the Red, White and Beach Barbecue Giveaway!

  • The $1000+ GRAND PRIZE features a product from each company, including $250 handmade wooden Tower sunglasses and a $200 Slyde Handboard package!!!
  • Two $300+ RUNNER-UP PRIZES contains various highly valued products from all companies, including solar lights, battery packs and handmade scarves!!!! 

Learn more about the products in the giveaway, and details about the competition by clicking here

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Our Favorite Summer Beauty Products

July 28 2015 , No Comments on Our Favorite Summer Beauty Products

It is no secret our skin (and not just ours, we have our kiddos to worry about too!) is put through a lot during fun summer activities! We know you probably have the sunscreen covered, but we recommend integrating a few more items into your current beauty regimen. It is crucial to use products that combat chlorine and sun damage, as well as, some that simply cool you down. Here we have compiled a list of our favorite summer remedies for your skin and hair!

  • Aveda Sun Care Hair and Body Cleanser – This color-safe formula made with organic sunflower seed oil and vitamin E can be used both on your body and your hair to remove chlorine, salt, and anything else you’ve picked up by the pool.
  • Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel – An ultra-cooling cream gel that provides long-lasting freshness and comfort to the face and body. Ideal for after sun exposure, yogurt hydrates the skin, instantly relieving excessive heat and stinging.
  • Dermaquest ZinClear SPF 30 Tinted – A brilliant sunscreen for sensitized and acne-prone skin, also suitable for use during professional treatments. Available in three shades.
  • Roden and Fields Reverse Package – We are still trying this one out and so far we approve! Reverse Regimen exfoliates, visibly brightens, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and defends against sun exposure for a long-term solution for a radiant complexion.
  • Thinksport KIDS Safe Sunscreen – Free of biologically harmful chemicals. No Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbers, this sunscreen will keep the kiddos extra protected and is produced in the USA,
  • Baby Banz – These stylish kid sungless will keep your little ones looking fabulous and protected since they offer high sunglare reduction and good UV protection
  • Fekkai Pre-Soleil Hair Mist – Ideal for preventing faded highlights, this mist combines two layers—one part shine-enhancing oil, one part UV filter—which, when shaken to blend, offer both sun protection and glossy, better-moisturized strands.

We sincerely hope you can give some of these products a try, because they have saved us many times! As always, we are wishing you many happy Monkey Mat moments!

XO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ

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Summer Days Outdoors!

June 11 2015 , No Comments on Summer Days Outdoors!

Summer is here at last! The kids are out of school and it sure is hot outside (at least if you are in Texas!). So how do you keep the kids away from the TV and video games? Make these summer days more fun and exciting with crafts, activities, and games they can do all do outdoors! From water balloons to outdoor picnics, we have great ideas that will have kids begging to stay outside all day long!

  1. Make a slip ‘n slide – This is a classic! You can make one at home with a plastic sheet or purchase one at a local department store, but you can be sure this will keep your kids occupied for hours!
  2. Body Paint – let your kids paint themselves with body paint! When they are all done they can spend plenty of time running through the sprinkler to get clean.
  3. Take a hike – You would be surprised how much energy kids can get out on a scenic hike. Also, a great way to teach the kiddos about nature.
  4. Sidewalk Chalk – The possibilities are endless with a bucket of sidewalk chalk. You can draw board games, create masterpieces of art, use for learning opportunities with spelling or math, etc.
  5. Sun Tea – When its really hot outside, brew up some sun tea. It super simple and super delicious. Check out this Southern Sun Tea recipe
  6. Water Fight – Get the water balloons ready, turn on the sprinklers, and fill up those water guns, because it’s time for a water fight!
  7. Treasure Hunt – Send your kids on a real life treasure hunt! You can include costumes, but sometimes it is just too hot! Create a treasure map by staining paper with tea and burning the edges. Just be sure to have a prize and plenty of candy at the end.
  8. Plant a Garden – There is nothing better than learning how to grow your own food. Planting a garden teaches children responsibility and how to care for something in a big way.
  9. Picnic – One of our favorites! Plan for a picnic and head to the park! Just be sure to bring your Monkey Mat!
  10. Camp in Your own Backyard – Summer would not be complete without a night of backyard camping. Pitch a tent, lay down some Monkey Mats and let the campfire stories roll!

Summer is one of our favorite seasons! It is a great time when the kids are out of school and you can spend your days bonding under the sun!

XO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ
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The Art of Giving

May 05 2015 , No Comments on The Art of Giving

Monkey Mat was recently honored to help sponsor Girls Night Out: an event to celebrate The Art of Giving for Dell Children’s Medical Center! It was a fabulous evening filled with friends, yummy food (generously provided by St. Philip), and Stubborn Foodie cupcakes (they are to die for)!

The Art of Giving offers a unique opportunity to teach children about philanthropy through their creation of one-of-a-kind works of art. Being able to have families participate means they learn more and see giving back in progress; making it a truly rewarding experience. Children are encouraged to use their hands or brushes to create extremely beautiful pieces of art that will ultimately help those inside the hospital. Each masterpiece created monetarily benefits the Child Life Art and Music Therapies Endowments at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

The Art of Giving is a cause that is so near and dear to our hearts. My oldest daughter was born prematurely so the first few months of her life were spent in the hallway (literally the hallway, extension cord and all!) of a hospital. After that experience, I was forever changed and understood the importance of an environment that makes you and your child feel safe.

The Art of Giving is such a great cause and we would sincerely appreciate all the help we can get to improve these children’s lives! To learn more please go to: https://www.supportdellchildrens.org/dell-childrens-trust-art-of-giving 

XOXO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ

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The Austinite’s Guide to Surviving SXSW 2015

March 19 2015 , No Comments on The Austinite’s Guide to Surviving SXSW 2015

Every year around mid March, the city of Austin transforms itself to welcome everyone from tech moguls to musicians for a music/film/interactive festival. That’s right; SXSW is upon us again! SXSW is truly a special time for Austin where innovation, film, music, and tech all collide in a city that is truly like no other. And as true Austinite’s we feel very confident in saying we know a couple of tricks to surviving the next 10 days!!!

Rule # 1 — Carry a Monkey Mat with you at all times: Of course this item tops our list, but honestly it is ESSENTIAL! SXSW is a festival, which means there are very few places to sit. The festival is known for impromptu concerts and shows popping up unexpectedly so you don’t want to be left sitting down in questionable environments or not being able to sit down at all. Be sure to take your Monkey Mat and feel free to camp out wherever and whenever you feel!
Rule # 2 — Download the SXSW GO app: SXSW GO is the official mobile app for attending the 2015 festival. You can browse the lineup, create a personal schedule, find your friends, see what shows they are attending, and you can also find your way around Austin! This app keeps you connected to the social world and your information will always be up to date.
Rule # 3 — Keep yourself charged: There is rarely ever time during the day to stop and charge your phone so be ready and use a Mophie! A Mophie can provide you with up to 120% extra battery. This will allow you to power through festival while still using your phone to capture every moment!
Rule # 4 — Keep your thirst at bay: Staying hydrated is a must and the Camelbak has become a festival staple. The Camelbak is much like a fanny pack but for water and it has the added advantage of providing you another way to store your valuables at the festival. Be prepared and avoid long lines for refillable water or paying ridiculous amounts for bottled water.
Rule # 5 — Think outside the box for transportation: Any festivalgoer knows that getting around can be difficult once the city is packed so be prepared to think on your feet. SXSW has fittingly partnered with the ride sharing app, Lyft. Download the app, and then request a ride to get picked up within minutes. Bonus, Lyft will have designated pickup and drop-off zones around downtown Austin, so finding your driver and getting to events will be easy!
The most important rule is to remember to have fun and enjoy the city where it’s normal to be weird! Don’t forget to follow us on twitter, instagram, and facebook where we will be posting all throughout SXSW our favorite local gems for good eats, drinks, and fun.

XO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ

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What’s Cooking Kiddos???

March 19 2015 , No Comments on What’s Cooking Kiddos???

The kitchen is a wondrous place for young children, but do they know all that goes on in there? They see adults using all kinds of different tools, smell new and familiar ingredients, and hear the sounds of the oven timer beeping or the sauté pan sizzling. Children of all ages are intrigued to know how meals come together so why not invite them to kitchen to help!

There are so many advantages to allowing children to participate in the kitchen. Kids can discover new foods, learn about nutrition, and improve math and reading skills as they measure and read directions. Also, cooking with your child reinforces feelings of responsibility and being an important member of the team (teamwork makes the dream work!), which forms memories to last a lifetime and strengthens the bond you share. Above all, you are enjoying quality time working together!

So…. How do you get kids more involved? Here are our tips for a successful and tasty time together in the kitchen:

Pick the right time. You don’t want to be rushing to get dinner on the table instead enlist there help when you are not crunched for time.
Let your child pick the recipe or plan a meal then make a list of ingredients and pull together all that you need. Here children learn how to organize and plan effectively.
Read the recipe together and delegate what tasks your child can do independently. (Side note: prep work makes the process much more simple and carefree!)
Stress the importance of safety and set up clear rules. Explain to them that extra caution must be taken around sharp tools and hot objects. Also, remember to turn all handles to the back of the stove!
Lastly, be spontaneous. Allow for substitutions wherever possible. Why not use M&M’s in place of chocolate chips in your pancakes??? YUM. Teach your children that possibilities are endless!
When all is done be sure to compliment the chef on a job well done! Then you have the pleasure of sitting down at the table together to enjoy what you’ve prepared!

XO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ

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Don’t Forget to Live

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Don’t Forget to Live

How does technology affect interaction in our society? No doubt about it that we have all been in situations where ultimately our cell phones have taken precedence over the person in front of us. Does this mean that over time face-to-face communication will cease to exist?

While technology claims to connect us it can often lead us to feeling disconnected. We live in a world where our self-esteem depends on how many followers we have, how many likes we get, and how often someone texts us back. When our phone lights up it validates our narcissism and provides this false sense happiness.

However, technology has become such an important part of our society that looking at it in a negative way will only set us back. Instead we should remember to not become consumed by our smartphones or the appearance of our lives on social media. As a society, we should become more aware and continue to incorporate technology in more positive ways.

It is important for us to remember that what truly matters is our relationships with others. Once you put your phone down you begin notice things you never saw before. You can start having real conversations with loved ones. You can begin to self reflect on who you are and not rely on others comments to substantiate your self worth. Above all you begin to live.

XO,

The Monkey Mat Mamas and CJ
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A Resolution a Day Keeps the Negativity Away

March 19 2015 , No Comments on A Resolution a Day Keeps the Negativity Away

Happy New Year Monkey Mat Family! With 2015 arriving so soon, the daunting question of “what are your New Years resolutions?” is just around the corner.

While setting large goals for the New Year is a great way to make positive changes in your life, it can also be overwhelming and difficult to stay motivated. Therefore, we would like to propose a different way of adding positivity to your life! A 365-day resolution jar!

The jar encompasses 365 positive challenges or goals on strips of paper and you simply pick one out each morning before you start your day. The goals can be big or small; it is all up to you! If you still want to work towards a large goal, adjust the daily goals to be specific to that big goal. Then the jar acts as a daily reminder/motivator to keep you focused on that finish line. Not only will this help make you feel happier throughout the year, it will also be something fun and exciting that can help change up the daily routine!

Directions:

Find a jar or container
Decorate it to your hearts desire
Write down your goals on small strips of paper
Fill the jar!
Each day pick out one goal or challenge (preferably before you start your day)
Enjoy adding positivity to your life each day!
Here are some of our ideas for the goals that you can set! Just remember, the possibilities are endless!

Give a stranger a compliment
Tell a friend why you are thankful for them
Pay for a stranger’s coffee
Go for a run
Call an old friend
Learn about something new
Take your monkey mat to the park and enjoy some fresh air J
We at Monkey Mat hope all of you have had the best holidays and will have an even better New Year!

XO

The Monkey Mat Mamas and Courtney J.

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Presence is the Best Present

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Presence is the Best Present

Hi Monkey Mat Family! If you are going to give a gift this holiday season, why not give your undivided time and attention first?

Family and friends mean much more to us than any material gift (no matter how shiny it is).  Yet, so many of us settle for purchasing gifts to make up for the time we don’t spend with the loved ones in our lives.  When will we see that presents don’t make up for lost time?

When you give your full attention and are IN the moment (no phones, iPad, TV, internet, no DISTRACTIONS) it makes a profound difference in the lives of the people around you. Presence is the only gift that is guaranteed to be long lasting. Presence shows that you truly and deeply care about someone.  When you are present, your love and energy exude.

So the next time somebody asks what you want for the holidays, as Mariah Carey sang it best, consider saying “All I want for Christmas is you.”  Because presence is precisely all that matters.

Wishing you a happy holidays and many happy Monkey Mat moments!

XO,

Monkey Mat Mamas and Courtney J.

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To workout or eat? That is the question! Our tips for maintaining a healthy balance during the holidays…

March 19 2015 , No Comments on To workout or eat? That is the question! Our tips for maintaining a healthy balance during the holidays…

Happy Holidays Monkey Mat Family!  Or as I like to say, “Tis the season for eating!”  In the upcoming weeks, I must prepare myself to be faced with every culinary temptation imaginable. From holiday dinners to a schedule filled with holiday parties, it can be increasingly difficult to fight off the dreaded “holiday bulge.”

I consider the holidays the most difficult time to maintain a healthy balance between eating and exercise.  However, I firmly believe that there are many ways to stay fit and healthy while still eating that slice of pie (okay, maybe two… yolo)!

From us to you we would like to share our tips for keeping off the extra holiday pounds:

Invite others to exercise with you: take your #MonkeyMat to a local park or outside in your backyard and lead your own workout class amongst family and friends full of burpees, crunches, jumping jacks, and other simple exercises involving only your body weight.
Download a fitness app: use technology to keep track of your steps, calories burned, and set workout goals or create food diaries of your meals. There are many free apps to choose from and are just a click away from keeping you motivated and aware.
Act like a kid: run around outside, ride your bike around the neighborhood, play touch football, have a snowball fight (here in Texas they are fake snowballs), go sledding, etc.
Eat breakfast everyday: especially on the big days and before any event. Starting out on an empty stomach only promotes binge eating so be sure to start out on the right foot.
Lastly, please remember to SLOW DOWN while eating…you will truly enjoy it more when you get to TASTE every bite!
Most importantly, enjoy the season, savor the festive flavors and the time with family, and just keep movin’ so guilt doesn’t overpower the enjoyment of this special time of year!

As always, wishing you happy holidays and many happy Monkey Mat moments!

XO,

Monkey Mat Mamas and Courtney J.

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First there were two, now there are three…adding a “C”!

March 19 2015 , No Comments on First there were two, now there are three…adding a “C”!

Hi Monkey Mat Family! My name is Courtney Jones, and I’ve just joined Monkey Mat as the new Director of Sales and Marketing. I’m beyond excited to be part of the Monkey Mat team and very much look forward to getting to know y’all!

Just a few fun facts about me:

Born and raised in the Lone Star state (keepin’ it weird Austin style!), and happy to be back home after a stint in NYC (which I did love too!)
Worked for Rosie Pope while in the Big Apple and loved helping to expand her brand and help new parents in their wild and wonderful journeys!
Fashion addict and dance-a-holic (can bust out Britney Spears choreography at a moment’s notice!)
Always on the go…with my Monkey Mat, of course! :)
And here’s a totally unique one for you: collect all the covers of Pride & Prejudice
Here at Monkey Mat we are full swing into the holidays. Which got me thinking that while Monkey Mat is wonderful for Spring/Summer, it is also perfect for this time of year – for holiday travel (dirty airport floors were the original inspiration!), to cover the back of your car while transporting holiday plants, as a stocking stuffer or unique gift, and more!

As always, we’d love to see your holiday use of the Monkey Mat so don’t hesitate to send us or post your photos using the #MonkeyMat!

I wish you many happy Monkey Mat moments and look forward to hearing from you all!

XO,

Courtney

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Why are Life’s Hardest Lessons Usually the Most Important?

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Why are Life’s Hardest Lessons Usually the Most Important?

Today began with unexpected reflection upon the REAL inspiration for the start of #MonkeyMat…

Before diving into our mound of TO DO’s, we received a call from a friend whose Mom has been diagnosed with the same cancer (ovarian) that took Christie’s mom (Sue Cullen) away way too soon.

Talk about perspective to start the day.

While, as you’ve heard in prior posts, some days on the #MonkeyMat front are stressful and seem overwhelming at times, the reality is that we are blessed beyond words to have this opportunity to work our hardest at pursuing our dream. The “problems” and challenges we face in this journey are all relative, and though we never want anyone’s REAL problems to be the force behind our gut check, today’s phone call was an important reminder.

People often ask us how we got started. We had an idea for a seemingly simple solution to an everyday problem…and we decided to take action. Sue’s mantra had always been to follow your passions – personally, philanthropically and professionally. It’s one thing to say it, another to live it. And while we were passionate about Monkey Mat (still are of course!), the devastating life event made clear to both of us that we just had to DO and start following our dream.

Scary? Yes. (ok, terrifying!) People thought we were crazy? Yes. (ok, they still do… :) ) But don’t a lot of great ideas and the most rewarding of experiences start that way??

Remember: We only get one life, there are no re-do’s.

A life-changing low was the catalyst for us to actually move forward with #MonkeyMat, ultimately leading to the excitement we are now experiencing (and hope only continues to build) as we continue to give our all to make our vision a reality.

And we strive (some days more successfully than others, admittedly) to keep things in perspective along the way…

It’s so crucial to take a moment, even in the “rough” days, to reflect upon and keep in mind what’s truly important.

Please know that we are truly grateful for your support and honored to be able to share our journey with you. We hope you’ll tune in tomorrow (Friday, 9/26/14) at 8/7c on #ABC for our big #SharkTank Update…!
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Life After the “Tank” (Part 3)

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Life After the “Tank” (Part 3)

Just like the sales, the emails and phone calls started rolling in like crazy! Any work/life balance we “might” have had (well, not really, but we had grand aspirations…) was officially lost. For how long we weren’t sure, but we tried to enjoy every minute of it as it was reflective of the excitement around #Monkey Mat! Luckily one of us is a morning bird, and the other is a night owl, so we covered the emails virtually ‘round the clock (literally). Our families (and friends!) were amazingly supportive during this exceptionally insane time (which we are also ever grateful for!)…even if a balanced meal didn’t reappear on anyone’s plate for months. :) (you KNOW it’s bad when a 5 year old is *begging* for fresh vegetables because grocery store trips are so far in between!)

The part we didn’t anticipate at all was the combustion of our local shipping “solution” – a local business we’d been working with since the inception of Monkey Mat. With a number of issues surfacing quickly, including an abrupt increase to us on pricing just when we needed a dependable partner most, we were forced to make a rapid decision to part ways. We literally picked up (by hand, carload at a time) every single case (thousands of Monkey Mats had been delivered!), brought them in-house (literally, to Courtney’s house) and personally shipped out the remaining thousands of outstanding orders ourselves.

As for the staggering backorder, we had *incredibly* supportive customers who held out 2-3 months for their Monkey Mats to arrive. We can’t THANK YOU enough for your support and patience during that crazy, wild, fun, stressful, exhilarating time! And please know that, despite delays, lot of love from us went into each shipment! :)

Again, bottom line: NO ONE can anticipate or fully prepare for the #SharkTank effect – both the highs and the challenges. It’s a ride we savor every day and we thank you for sharing the journey with us!

Stay tuned next week to hear about the excitement that came AFTER we came up for air post-airing!…

(And, don’t forget, next Friday 9/26 is Season Premiere of #SharkTank – please tune in!)
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Life After the “Tank” (Part 2)

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Life After the “Tank” (Part 2)

*WOW*, what a wild year it’s been!  We’ve experienced *every* emotion, from highs to lows…but isn’t that what entrepreneurship is ALL about, the thrill of the ride?! :)  For those of you who missed our previous blog we taped in July 2013 but didn’t air until April, 4th 2014.

It’s been over a year since we taped our intense, fun, stressful, wild, bigger than life dream, but here we are *OFFICIALLY* biz partners with the two Sharks we wanted the most, Mark Cuban & Lori Greiner (yes, we still pinch ourselves, lol!).

The question we get asked most often, and one we had actually pondered ourselves at the beginning of the #Shark Tank adventure, is “Are the #SHARKS really involved?”  The answer is YES!!  Entering into the partnership with them has been the best thing we could have done for our business and is absolutely worth the percentage of Monkey Mat they now own!

Mark Cuban has been extraordinary, providing a team of resources that we have access too…any small company’s dream!  The opportunity to work with his incredibly talented folks on web design, accounting, new product innovation and business development is *AMAZING*!  Lori Greiner has such an impressive network of relationships with retailers, and she’s helped energize conversations with some that otherwise might have been hesitant to take a risk on a new company.  The combination of Mark and Lori has led to unique and exciting opportunities for Monkey Mat, which we are *SO* grateful for…and we’re just getting going!….

Please don’t mistake any of this as other people doing the work for us or running Monkey Mat, as that’s not by any means the case (though a misconception by some we chat with along the way)!  We can honestly that say since April 4, 2014 we’re working *HARDER* than ever, and as is the case with every entrepreneur we never turn it off…but we are loving every minute of it (ok, you got us there, yes we have “those” days every now and then, but the good definitely outweigh the bad!).

As Thomas Edison said: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Our days/nights aren’t always pretty – our overalls (aka, Monkey Mat tees!) are worn hard -, but we are grateful for and loving the opportunity we are giving our all to.

Remember, nothing is *EVER* handed to you – even if an opportunity presents itself you have to fight and work for it every step of the way!

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post for the *BIG* developments with #MonkeyMat that have evolved since #SharkTank! :) …
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Life after the “Tank” (Part 1)

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Life after the “Tank” (Part 1)

*WOW*, what a wild year it’s been!  We’ve experienced *every* emotion, from highs to lows…but isn’t that what entrepreneurship is ALL about, the thrill of the ride?! :)  For those of you who missed our previous blog we taped in July 2013 but didn’t air until April, 4th 2014.

It’s been over a year since we taped our intense, fun, stressful, wild, bigger than life dream, but here we are *OFFICIALLY* biz partners with the two Sharks we wanted the most, Mark Cuban & Lori Greiner (yes, we still pinch ourselves, lol!).

The question we get asked most often, and one we had actually pondered ourselves at the beginning of the #Shark Tank adventure, is “Are the #SHARKS really involved?”  The answer is YES!!  Entering into the partnership with them has been the best thing we could have done for our business and is absolutely worth the percentage of Monkey Mat they now own!

Mark Cuban has been extraordinary, providing a team of resources that we have access too…any small company’s dream!  The opportunity to work with his incredibly talented folks on web design, accounting, new product innovation and business development is *AMAZING*!  Lori Greiner has such an impressive network of relationships with retailers, and she’s helped energize conversations with some that otherwise might have been hesitant to take a risk on a new company.  The combination of Mark and Lori has led to unique and exciting opportunities for Monkey Mat, which we are *SO* grateful for…and we’re just getting going!….

Please don’t mistake any of this as other people doing the work for us or running Monkey Mat, as that’s not by any means the case (though a misconception by some we chat with along the way)!  We can honestly that say since April 4, 2014 we’re working *HARDER* than ever, and as is the case with every entrepreneur we never turn it off…but we are loving every minute of it (ok, you got us there, yes we have “those” days every now and then, but the good definitely outweigh the bad!).

As Thomas Edison said: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

Our days/nights aren’t always pretty – our overalls (aka, Monkey Mat tees!) are worn hard -, but we are grateful for and loving the opportunity we are giving our all to.

Remember, nothing is *EVER* handed to you – even if an opportunity presents itself you have to fight and work for it every step of the way!

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post for the *BIG* developments with #MonkeyMat that have evolved since #SharkTank! :) …
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All about *healthy living*? Make your way to Central Market!

March 19 2015 , No Comments on All about *healthy living*? Make your way to Central Market!

Are you all about *healthy living*? Ready to get up and go?

Monkey Mat makes it easy! Whether making the most of the final days of summer by maximizing time outdoors (did you know studies show that those who spend more time outside are more likely to be physically active and less likely to be overweight? and that outdoor time can relieve stress and boost your overall sense of well-being?) OR gearing up for holiday travel (Labor Day, turkey time, winter wonderlands await…!) and just trying to stay off those dirty airport and hotel floors, #MonkeyMat is a must have for life on the go.

Designed for all ages, all places, #MonkeyMat is your portable floor – a clean surface you can take everywhere. This 5’x5’ soft, durable, water repellant mat folds into an attached ultra compact pouch and can be clipped onto your backpack, cooler handle, diaper bag, bike handle, stroller, belt loop or even wrist. Whether for yoga in the park, an impromptu picnic, hiking, camping, traveling or getting out and about with the kiddos, thanks to Monkey Mat there’s now no need to lug around bulky towels or blankets!

Not only does #MonkeyMat make healthy living easier, but it’s also going to be easier than ever to find us! We’re excited to announce that #MonkeyMat will be joining Mark Cuban (live!) and 3 other Shark Tank companies for a premier launch into Central Market Thursday August 27, 2014. Being a Texas company ourselves, we are thrilled to be part of this great event and as part of inspiration for healthy living!

Alyssa’s Healthy Cookies – Healthy oatmeal and vegan cookies use natural ingredients with no refined sugar, no GMOs, and additives. (Can’t wait to try ourselves!)
Chapul – The Original Cricket Bar! Gourmet edible insect bars with protein derived from cricket flour. (Alright, we are ready for the cricket challenge…we’ll keep you posted!)
Simple Sugars – Handmade, all-natural skincare products especially formulated for sensitive skin. (The founder, Lannie Lazzari, is an inspiration and she’s only 20!)
Monkey Mat – Your portable floor. A clean portable surface you can take EVERYwhere! (We think this is an amazing product! Of course we would, right?!)
LOCATIONS/TIMES:

Central Market-DALLAS (5750 E Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75206)
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Product demos with Mark Cuban
Central Market-SOUTHLAKE (1425 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake, TX 76092)
2 – 4:00 p.m.: Product demos with Mark Cuban
Central Market-FORT WORTH (4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76107)
5 – 7:00 p.m.: Product demos with Mark Cuban
 Well…should we say more…COME SEE US!!!

 


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Our Dip in the Tank – #SharkTank

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Our Dip in the Tank – #SharkTank

So it’s been a little over a year since we taped our Shark Tank episode in July 2013, and it’s only natural to ask how this all happened???

Well, let’s *REWIND* to December 2012 when we submitted #MonkeyMat to ABC’s #SharkTank casting website, which felt like hitting send into a cyber black hole…!

We had cemented Shark Tank as a Monkey Mat goal for 2013 so, not thinking our online submission would ever even be read by human eyes, we started checking the website regularly for the in-person casting schedule to pick a city to go stand in line.  We were shocked, not to mention ecstatic, when we received that unexpected phone call from #SharkTank casting late March 2013.  Still pinching ourselves that we got the first call, we were almost in disbelief when we got a second call from a #SharkTank producer who found us on a blog! Thrilled to say the least, we diligently (and sometimes frantically given short turnaround times!) working through the various rounds of paperwork, video submissions and other hoops and challenges presented to make this dream a *REALITY*.

We waited patiently (not!) for the final call to come film, and we were over the moon when we found out that all of the prep had gotten us to that next critical step in the process.  Just one minor detail…Courtney needed to pop out a baby and then make it to LA for the taping!!  *Luckily* the producers were kind enough to accommodate these exceptional circumstances, so Courtney had all of 6 weeks after baby Max made his debut before packing up for LA. (Christie is still in awe reflecting back!)

The time around filming was a total whirlwind.  We both agreed that, no matter what happened, it would be the *BEST* learning experience and we would be proud of what we had already accomplished (even it we got eaten alive by the Sharks)!

From the moment the doors opened and we walked down the hallway and into the “tank”, the whole experience felt just surreal.  To actually BE in the setting we’d watched on tv countless times was indescribable…there wasn’t even time to absorb it all fully and realize that whatever happened as the cameras rolled (no pauses, no re-takes!) would (hopefully!) be watched by millions.  The Sharks knew nothing about us, our product, our business until the questions started firing from all angles – intense to say the least. :)  But, as always, we did our best to have fun with it!

The outcome of our swim was exactly what we had defined in advance as our ideal scenario – wild as it played out during filming!  Becoming business partners with the two #Sharks we admired most, Mark Cuban & Lori Greiner, certainly checked the box on our 2013 Shark Tank goal!

After months of due diligence (not to mention constant replays in our head of the filming – almost an hour, versus the 10 minute segment that aired!) we finally closed our deal in November 2013.  The most challenging part of the entire journey (ok, childbirth aside…) was actually keeping our secret until airing on April 4, 2014 (almost one year later!)!

We are so *EXCITED* to continue sharing our journey with those who have so graciously supported us…so please stay tuned for our update next week on “Life After the #Tank”!

Fun factoids about our #SharkTank filming:

Matching pink dresses (made of neoprene – yes, we were ready to swim! J ) were not purchased together; rather, one purchased in Austin and the other literally found on Craigslist in NYC and express mailed to us (thank you whoever we bought from, if you’re reading this!!)
Matching earrings were to represent Courtney’s sweet baby Max, all of six weeks old at the time of filming.
The sunflowers on the set were in honor of Christie’s Mom, Sue Cullen, who passed away suddenly from ovarian cancer in 2010 but was an inspiration and a catalyst for Christie and Courtney to follow their Monkey Mat dreams.  (There were even sunflower picture outside our hotel room…it was a sign!)
When the doors opened into the hallway, Christie shot out of the gates and Courtney kicked into speed walking mode to catch up.
We’d been sitting in our trailer dressed and ready, hair and makeup done, since ~8am and didn’t film until very end of day talk about an extra layer of nerves!
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Red Wine on a White Shirt?

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Red Wine on a White Shirt?

Yes, that is how our friendship began…with me (Courtney) spilling red wine all over Christie 10+ years ago.

Little did we know that small encounter would be the beginning of an *unbelievable* amazing* adventurous* loving* crazy* wild* supportive* friendship that would change our lives forever.

And so the story begins….

Working in a male dominated industry at a fortune 500 medical device company we quickly realized there was no choice but to stick together and rise through the ranks.  I could honestly go on and on about this experience, but more importantly this is where our professional synergy was born.

After working this time together, our lives took different paths but the core was always there.  You name it we experienced it…highs, lows, almost like death do us part…no seriously! :)

I’ll stop boring you all with the details, but it was from our experience above that helped us bring #MonkeyMat to life.  We are *extremely* thrilled that we can share our invention, and hope to *inspire* other women to do the same.

As it is the holidays, I want to take a moment to thank, Christie, for being my business partner, friend, sister, and confidant.  This is only the beginning, I am grateful to have you in my life. XOXO
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Women Inventorz Network + Monkey Mat + Vegas = CRAZY

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Women Inventorz Network + Monkey Mat + Vegas = CRAZY

Well, maybe I’m taking *CRAZY* a little overboard but it’s all relative, right?! :)

We had the opportunity to meet up with several other women inventors to discuss the wild journey of making your ideas a reality.

The consensus was the same across the board…it is a roller coaster, with many highs and lows, but *strangely* provides a sense of excitement to all of us, and therefore we can call the night *CRAZY* (plus Christie and I always dress alike at events, so we are double crazy!)

More than anything it was truly inspiring to meet all these incredible women, and we want to thank the Women Inventorz Network for  allowing women to shine for their innovations!

If you have an idea or your own invention, check out the womeninventorznetwork.com.
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Baby Gifts, Registry, Scary…OH MY!

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Baby Gifts, Registry, Scary…OH MY!

The Question:  What do I need?  What do I want?  Where do I go?

All of these things come to mind when you are an expecting *NEW* mom, and not knowing the answer can be very *OVERWHELMING*, but the reality is (unfortunately) “There is no right answer”!  However I will *WARN* you that *EVERY* mother has their own *VINDICTIVE* opinion (again, just want to keep it honest with you all…be prepared)!

Ok with that being said (with warning) it’s time for me to give you my *fantastic*, *vindictive*, *amazing*, *over-the-top*, “mother opinion”….watch out here I come!  Without trying to be overwhelming, I’m honestly a very basic person, with very basic needs when it comes to my little angel (by the way, just in case you didn’t know, he is the smartest, best, most amazing, and cutest child on this earth…blah, blah, blah, LOL)

Boppy http://www.boppy.com
Whether you are nursing or simply feeding a bottle, this has been a daily essential for me and my husband.  It seems so mundane, but trust me, you will use it everyday!

Aden and Anais (swaddles, burp clothes, bibs, etc.) http://www.adenandanais.com
I LOVE this brand!!  Muslin breathable blankets, and very well designed burp cloths and bibs.  Truly an amazing line of products.  Granted they can be a little pricey, but very worth the investment and you can never have too many!

Lillebaby Baby Carrier http://lillebaby.com
This carrier comes with the philosophy of functionality and style (sounds a little familiar, like another cool product I love #MonkeyMat, LOL).  No matter what, a carrier is an essential in many ways, such as traveling, freeing up your hands while holding your baby, and just giving them an overall feeling of security.

Monkey Mat http://www.monkeymat.com
Believe it or not, this has come in handy,in more ways than one with my little man.  (yes I’m biased but this is very true!).  From traveling at the airport and needing an impromptu seat to feed (as no seats were available) to visiting friends and needing to spread out on the floor with all my “luggage”. :)  The other great thing is the #MonkeyMat will be able to grow with me and my child through all ages. It really is versatile, functional, and stylish!


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Unusual Uses for the Monkey Mat

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Unusual Uses for the Monkey Mat

Needless to say, it’s been a fun filled first year of business with the Monkey Mat. We have seen and heard many unique, random ways that the Monkey Mat has helped with impromptu family outings. As you know the Monkey Mat is a clean portable surface….but as we’ve seen it can provide much more! With that in mind we wanted to share, as keeping these secrets to ourselves wouldn’t be fun! So here we go….

*SUNSHIELD*

We’ve always thought of the Monkey Mat being for those with an active lifestyle, however we were honored to be used as a sunshield to help professional cyclists warm up before a big race in Colorado.

*PICNIC TABLE COVER*

Not sure about you, but I’ve always stayed away from the “dirty” park picnic tables, but now with the Monkey Mat you can have an impromptu table cloth! Plus it’s water repellant….water and messes shake right off! TAH DAH!

*HOMEMADE FORT*

Heavy blankets, pillows, and sheets no more! Give the kids the Monkey Mat to provide easy fort making materials, which also allows for easy clean up all around.

*SUPERHERO CAPE*

Ok, I’m not sure what it is about Superman but the kids are always intrigued with taking the Monkey Mat and running around with the air blowing the cape like a true Superhero!

*SHOPPING CART COVER*

Who needs to lug around any dedicated single use item when Monkey Mat provides quick, easy protection from those nasty, germy shopping carts!

*TEA PARTY CENTRAL*

We’ve gotten more comments, especially from parents of little girls, that the first thing that happens upon arrival of Monkey Mat into a new home is a tea party!

*MOVIE NIGHT MESS CATCHER*

Nothing more fun than movie night at home with the kids…but the remnants of dinner, popcorn and candy, or even worse spilled drinks, can dampen the experience for sure. Have no fear, Monkey Mat is here, saving the sanity of parents everywhere!
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Pumpkin Patch, Carving, and Monkey Mat Fun

March 19 2015 , No Comments on Pumpkin Patch, Carving, and Monkey Mat Fun

There is no one more excited than my two children for Halloween. They want to fully experience every aspect of it- picking out costumes, trick or treating, and of course carving the pumpkin. We went out to the local pumpkin patch to pick the winning pumpkins. My daughter found one that was a little bigger than I imagined and we had to get a cart to take it to the car. After we loaded it, we took our Monkey Mat and had a picnic amongst the freshly fallen leaves. The crisp fall air and the sunny day defined the season to perfection. We laid our Monkey Mat down over the dew covered grass, and immediately had a clean, sanitary environment for our meal. We enjoyed a lunch of country chicken soup, corn bread, and caramel apples for our meal. We quickly put the mat back in its attached pouch, cleaned up and headed home for our pumpkin carving excursion.

Ready to start carving, the thought of pumpkin on our new carpet sounded like not the best idea. Usually we would use newspaper down to collect the insides and the seeds. But considering we now use our computers to read the paper, I didn’t know what else we could use. As I searched my mind for answers, my eyes were drawn to the Monkey Mat on the table that we had taken out of the car. We laid it out on the kitchen table, and the material ended up being a better drop cloth for all of the mess that is created by carving a pumpkin. Our jack-o-lantern glowed majestically on our porch Halloween night, and our Monkey Mat seemed like it was with us every step of the way!


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Holiday Travel

February 09 2015 , No Comments on Holiday Travel

Holiday travel is always an ominous experience. But venturing out this past Labor Day had a new variable added to it. My husband and I welcomed a baby boy into this world in May, and this would be his first excursion onto a plane.
We had no idea what to expect, but to our credit, it seemed like we were prepared for any situation or obstacle that presented itself. When we got to Midway Airport in Chicago to come home after a long, exhausting weekend, and we just wanted to sit down and wait for our plane. But not only were there absolutely no seats, floor space was at a premium and only the heavy traffic areas were available. Without even blinking, we walked up to our gate and put our Monkey Mat down, which was perfect for the impromptu bottle feeding our baby boy demanded! Not only were we getting inquiring glances from the seated passengers who were waiting, but also the people who were walking off the plane that had just arrived to take us home. We were all extremely comfortable on the spacious mat, and in my opinion looked like a happy, healthy, resourceful family.
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Holiday travel is always an ominous experience. But venturing out this past Labor Day had a

new variable added to it. My husband and I welcomed a baby boy into this world in May, and

this would be his first excursion onto a plane. We had no idea what to expect, but to our credit,

it seemed like we were prepared for any situation or obstacle that presented itself. When we

got to Midway Airport in Chicago to come home after a long, exhausting weekend, and we just

wanted to sit down and wait for our plane. But not only were there absolutely no seats, floor

space was at a premium and only the heavy traffic areas were available. Without even blinking,

we walked up to our gate and put our Monkey Mat down, which was perfect for the impromptu

bottle feeding our baby boy demanded! Not only were we getting inquiring glances from the

seated passengers who were waiting, but also the people who were walking off the plane that

had just arrived to take us home. We were all extremely comfortable on the spacious mat, and

in my opinion looked like a happy, healthy, resourceful family.


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Essentials of a Picnic

February 09 2015 , 3 Comments on Essentials of a Picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic?

Spontaneous or planned, indoor or outdoor, romantic or full of family chaos…all good!

A few tips for making picnics extra special:

● If outside, find a great shaded tree, and don’t forget your sunscreen

● Make sure you’ve got a great Monkey Mat (of course, I have to mention..perfect to shake

off food, wipe messes, and then throw in the wash when done!)

● Wine opener (yes, I put this as a top priority…you can see where my minds at, ha!)

● Prepare foods that are easily eatable without silverware, to keep it simple. Some ideas that come to mind are: cheese/crackers, hummus/veggies, lunch meat roll ups, juicy watermelon, cookies/brownies, or check out more ideas via Pinterest (love this site, but boy it’s addicting!)

● Juice Boxes, water (frozen water bottles are great if it’s hot outside), oh and of course the wine!

● Sanitary hand wipes (also great to wipe messes off your Monkey Mat)

● Various games for after the meal: playing cards, frisbee, football, etc

● Last…HAVE FUN and CREATE MANY MEMORIES!


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