Have you ever wanted to just sit and chat with the head of a company you like? You know, pull up a chair like Oprah and dish. That sort of thing. Our Founder and CEO, Jamie Ratner, was recently named one of the 2011 Top 40 Business Leaders Under 40 by the Washington Business Journal. So many of you sent along your congratulations, making the honor that much more special for Jamie and our team. A few of you even sent emails asking what her secret was. Today we thought we’d share a short interview with her about not just Certifikid, or our community, but the wife, mom and business woman behind it all.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Angela Bower from Who's The Boss - she was a strong working mother who had an important job where she could be creative. And now ironically, I do also do a bit of advertising!
How long did it take for your idea to go from "great idea" to Certifikid?
We launched the business about 5 months from having the idea and instantly were selling! Literally, since I was a young girl, I have been coming up with different business ideas and even more since growing up and getting married. With this idea, I mentioned it to my husband and he had an immediate positive reaction and basically got on board fast. We had the name in the week and were off and running.
With two small children, how do you find time for your family and a growing business?
I have absolutely NO time for myself. My life is wake up and take care of the kids, check on the business, take care of kids, check on the business, put kids to bed, work on the business.....7 days a week! That said, I put our family FIRST. I don't want to miss out on being there with my kids. I figure things like being social, catching a movie or going out with my husband can be put on hold while the business is growing so fast. I was lucky, I had many years of traveling, going out to dinner, watching TV, socializing. Right now I am LOVING watching this business grow and it is such a fast moving field, I have to keep it going to make sure we stay in the lead and ahead. (she says that last part with a glint of competitive impishness in her eye)
What do you think sets you, your team and your business apart from others in the field?
I think what sets us apart is we are a small business and have that feel, while delivering a first rate experience and results. We work the deals from start to finish...therefore I have become an "expert" in the daily deal market generally and my businesses and our subscribers in particular. I know exactly what works and what doesn't. I can give advice to a business that they will NEVER get from a 20 year old sales person at one of our billion dollar competitors. I am not just putting them on the calender for a one time deal...but our team is creating long term relationships. We have introduced businesses to one another to help them thrive in other ways. Another thing that sets us apart from these MOM deal sites is we are not just geared to moms but to FAMILIES. It is so important to us that dads, grandparents, extended family feel as welcome with Certifikid as a Mom does. Our goal is create family experiences and memories, not find a mom the latest, greatest thing in Botox treatment.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial side?
I have always had this side to me. I was the kid who made t-shirts and walked around the neighborhood at age 9 selling them to the neighbors. Until Certifikid, I always felt like something had been missing in my life. I had a fantastic job, husband, kids, friends etc, but there was still this void. I had set up a savings account the year before I launched Certifikid as my, "one day dream business account". That $5,000 I had in it carried me through. I knew one day it would happen, I just wasn’t sure what it would be. I could have never imagined, when I finally figured out what I’d do, how fast things would take off.
What was YOUR favorite deal?
I’ve had many, but one that really sticks out is a hand-crafted memory blanket/t-shirt quilt. I was doing some research and found a this amazingly creative mom who takes customers t-shirts and sews them into a quit. Even my husband and mother-in-law purchased this deal. It was such a creative concept and I know there are families who purchased this deal to have a family heirloom -made from their old kids’ shirts or even their own old college shirts- created just for them. I feel great knowing that this deal gave these families something they will cherish forever. Another favorite was the deal I purchased for my son’s 4th birthday party. It was a Jump Zone party for 1/2 price. It was an amazing deal and was seriously one of the best day of his life.
Where do you see yourself - business and personal - in five years?
I couldn’t tell you where I will be tomorrow, let alone in five years. This field is so new and fast-moving. Some people say it won't last. Others say it is just the beginning. I hope we become even more of a fixture in the community as a resource, and the primary and preferred deal site for families. Through measured growth, I also hope we achieve the same success in the same way in other cities so that we become the primary family deal site in the entire mid-Atlantic region. I really believe we can. All I know for sure is, we have a great and growing team, wonderful relationships and I think there will be TONS of opportunities for us to take this to many new levels. I am excited to see where the future takes us.
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