Archive for Andrea Baxter

Andrea Baxter Launches Bratface

Posted in Bended Bow with tags , , , , on July 6, 2009 by genennis

Bratface: [brat-feys] noun – a term of endearment used towards the people in your life that you love that just seem to drive you a little batty every now and then.

Urban Dictionary

Andrea Baxter

We first spoke with Andrea Baxter last year about the remarkable story of Smart Cookies, the first company that she co-founded.  Today, she’s back to talk about her latest business venture, Bratface Marketing.

Andrea knows the importance of investing in your story, brand and identity, and understands the exponential benefits of pulling a great team together to do so.  She is passionate about marketing as an outlet for her creativity and her ability to connect others.  Here, Andrea tells us about branching out on her own.
Bratface Marketing

Loaded Bow: How did Bratface come to be?

Andrea Baxter: Prior to Smart Cookies, I worked in marketing and I was painfully missing it.  It’s a real creative outlet for me.  Also, an important part of the Smart Cookies philosophy is about making more dough, so I thought what better way then to work in my area of expertise?  I still had contacts in the industry, and was doing projects here and there, so creating a marketing company just made sense.  I love working in a team, but it is also really exciting to be able to make decisions independently and one I can call all my own.

Inevitably, I’m asked about the name!  I wanted a name that would reflect my personality, my culture and my history.  Bratface is a term commonly used in Newfoundland where I was born.  It’s actually in the Newfoundland Dictionary (yes, we have our own dictionary)!  Bratface was one of the nicknames my father called me when I was being a bit cheeky.  That’s special to me because my father is not only my business mentor, but someone who I am very close with and have a great deal of respect for.  He was very successful by 28, but he was always very fair and very modest. Bratface was a good fit because it balanced being conservative, having fun and was true to my playful nature.  It adds just a touch of smartass as well!

LB: How will you market Bratface?

AB: It has been a very organic process.  My contacts have been a really valuable source, and I have been able to benefit from word-of-mouth marketing.  I am so thankful that I kept my foot in the door, while staying under the radar!  Networking continues to be really important.  And of course, it’s important to implement social media marketing initiatives through bloggingFacebook and Twitter. For any small business getting off the ground, these are great outlets to use where you can get access to so many business people.

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Loaded Bow Hits the Metro as a Mentor

Posted in Loaded Bow: Following Our Story with tags , , , , , , on August 20, 2008 by genennis

This morning I woke up to a big spike in our number of visitors.  It was a nice way to start the day, but I didn’t have a clue where the sudden interest was coming from.  It turns out that LOADED BOW was featured in the Smart Cookies’ column in the Metro

Smart Cookies

The Cookies are a force to be reckoned with.  This group of 5 young friends formed a money group, pulled themselves out of debt and built an impressive list of assets in under 2 years.  They were featured on Oprah, and have gone on to have their own television show, newspaper column, and book.  They are breaking down the taboo of talking about money, and provide solid advice on how to take control of your finances.

So where does LOADED BOW figure into this?  Well, besides the fact that the Smart Cookies’ tag line is: be smart. be rich. be fabulous. (kidding!), the latest Cookie column was focused on factors to think about when you are searching out a mentor.  In addition to advising seeking out a traditional mentorship program and tapping into your network, they also suggested turning to blogs – in this case LOADED BOW – for information and inspiration.  I agree. 

I believe that mentorship relationships can exist on multiple levels and in multiple directions, and that we can – and should – turn to different people for different needs.  I also feel that the value of peer mentoring is often overlooked and undervalued.  By hopping online and searching for blogs that are relevant to your interests and industry, you can often find the advice that you are looking for.  If you find a blogger that you really connect with, don’t hesitate to contact them and say as much, because virtual relationships frequently go “offline” and you never know what doors may be opened for you.

I was honoured to be able to interview Andrea and Robyn of the Smart Cookies earlier this year, and will stay tuned for the launch of their blog, because lord I could use more of their advice!

gen+loadedbow

Smart Cookies Interview

Posted in The Great Launch with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by loadedbow

The Smart Cookies

If you have not yet heard of this amazing group of women, please let me introduce you! Andrea Baxter, Katie Dunsworth, Robyn Gunn, Sandra Hanna and Angela Self are the Smart Cookies. Consider these numbers:

$45,000. The debt they collectively paid off.
$42,000. The savings they collectively accrued.
$140,000. The collective increase in their salaries.

Impressive, indeed. Mind blowing when you consider that they did all of this in less than 2 years. In 2006, these ladies came together to form a money group and take control of their finances. Their personal achievements are clearly admirable, but the Smart Cookies have taken their club a step further to create their own thriving company.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Andrea and Robyn to discuss the Smart Cookies business.

Loaded Bow:  Smart Cookies had a very public debut with your appearance on Oprah! This was not the beginning of Smart Cookies as a business though. What would you consider your launch? How did you transition from a personal money group to a formal business?

Smart Cookies: Well, I’m not sure that we ever had an official launch! We incorporated last summer, but we had made the decision to treat Smart Cookies as a business right from the beginning. We were always brainstorming how we could bring in revenue for the group and actually turn it into a viable business. There was a point at which we were talking about starting to walk dogs to make money for Smart Cookies!

We also talked about being on Oprah – joking, but serious – right from the start. We would say things like, “Oh, when we’re on Oprah, we must remember to tell her this…”!

Katie secretly submitted our story to Oprah. Her background is in PR and so she really excels at clearly and persuasively outlining the main points. Katie described how we had been inspired by an Oprah episode called America’s Debt Diet in 2006, and the results that we achieved from coming together as a group after that.

Three of us were working at the same company, and when Katie mentioned that Oprah’s producers had called, we just assumed that they had wanted to talk about our employer! We were so excited when we found out that they were actually calling about Smart Cookies!

Smart Cookies on Oprah

Smart Cookies on Oprah

LB: How did that experience affect your business?

SC: Things moved so quickly after that! Jean Chatzky, an Oprah financial contributor, was on the show that day and she invited us to speak on her Oprah XFM radio show. Afterwards, she suggested that we write a book and that she would put us in touch with her literary agent, who has worked on some major projects including the South Beach Diet publications and the Shopoholics series. We weren’t sure if she was serious. But sure enough, she connected us!

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