Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Fashionable, Be Fabulous, Be Yourself!

When I free-lanced for La Palma, of the Palm Beach Post, I was very fortunate to feature Monica Kennedy, founder and owner of TuffCooki Handbags. She came across as a positive, passionate and strong woman, determined to make her business soar despite being pregnant with her second baby.
Born in Madrid, Spain, she moved to the U.S. when she was 16 and obtained a BA in Business Administration. That was not her calling, however, and Monica realized she was in fact passionate about design. She launched her line of TuffCooki (her own nickname) Handbags in 2004 and 6 years and 2 children later, she is still going strong!
“Be Fashionable, Be Fabulous, Be Yourself” is her tagline. Monica started out designing and sewing a few handbags in her own home, and since then has positioned her product in online stores and brick-and-mortar boutiques. She custom-designs in small or large quantities, and enjoys what she does.
“It has been a great trip so far, with its ups and slow times, never downs to me”, says Monica. “So far I have done it alone, with my family´s support and friends who believe in the idea. I love a challenge and the harder it gets, the more I want to make it. Quitting is for losers and I am NOT a loser”, she adds with a smile. “My husband Caleb has been a great support”.
When she launched her business Monica had no experience, but she quickly learned everything from ordering, shipping and accounting to website launching, designing, sewing and selling. She says she is a one woman-shop and intends to keep it this way until the orders overwhelm her and she is no longer able to do it on her own. Monica Kennedy is living her dream, every single day.
“Before being the mother of two, I always worked and the idea of staying at home with my kids scared me in the sense that I feared I would be bored and would have too much time on my hands. So far, everything has turned out to be the opposite”, shares Monica. “Olivia, our second child, is still too young to go to school, so I take care of her, the house, the family and I work on my business. Being extra busy keeps me sane”.
Monica claims that never giving up, being organized and knowing her limits and that she has the support of her family have been key to her success. Concerning how she manages any down moments, Monica says: “I don´t waste my time dwelling on failures, there is no point. What is done, is done. My business is based on customer feedback so if there is any problem with an item I encourage them to send it back and I will fix it”.
Tuffcooki started out with just handbags and has extended her line to include embellished T-shirts, jewelry, cosmetic bags and eye pillows.
Monica Kennedy´s motto: “Life is short, never give up, dreaming is free. DO IT or you will regret it. If I did it you can (do it) too!”

To visit her store: http://www.tuffcooki.com/

To e-mail her: monica@tuffcooki.com

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