We sat down with Lindsey and Bret for a Q&A session to get answers to some burning questions from the Cutie Community on Facebook. Check out the video or read along to see what they had to say!
Q: How are LE colors selected?
Bret: We have a twister wheel. You land on the month, you land on the color... there you go. You got it. Just takes all the pressure off. Everybody thinks it’s a long drawn out process.
Lindsey: We take some guidance from the Cutie Community. A lot of times, it’s just me. What do I like? What have we not done yet? It is a long process of picking a pantone, getting a sample made and receiving it. Some times, it doesn’t work out. I have learned through the years how a color is going to change once it’s made into a Cutie PAT or silicone beads. It can be hard but I take a lot of guidance from the Cutie Community, moderators and the makers. I also pray about everything in regards to our business and LE colors are a big part of that business. I personally like a lot of the softer colors and neutrals. For example, if it’s a green, I like a softer, creamier green.
Bret: The hardest part is picking the shade. Say we want a light blue...picking the exact hue is probably the hardest part.
Q: Do you enjoy the process?
Lindsey: I love it! Last week, we ordered 40 samples and it was a stressful week, but it’s fun. We receive samples, I find colors that I like and then I have to go hack and see what we already had samples of. I try not to repeat stuff or replicate colors we have already had or colors that didn’t work out.
Bret: It was easier in the beginning. Everything was new, but now that we’ve got almost a full year of color, you have to go back and look at what’s been done to make sure it’s different. It’s fun though. I enjoy it for sure!
Q: A lot of people are wondering, is a new product coming? Are you guys considering making sippy cups in the future?
Bret: We have tried but we didn’t love the product so we did not go forward with it.
Lindsey: That’s one thing with this brand that I promise. I told myself in the very beginning, I am not going to sell something that I don’t believe in 100%. I just don’t want to put something out there just to put my name on it. We have built this brand on quality. We have been down the road of bibs, we have been down the road of sippy cups, we have been down the road of snack containers. We have paid for molds and have had samples made, it’s just not there yet. I am not going to sell something that’s not way better than what’s already on the market.
Q: Is it still something that’s being considered or just not at the moment?
Bret: Just not right now. We will put it on hold and then reach back a little later. We have a few things up our sleeves right now, but we can’t share yet. Never say never, just not right now.
Q: How do you separate your business and personal life?
Bret: There is very little separation. It’s hard but I think she (Lindsey) does a good job of turning her phone off at a certain time and saying, “this is family time.” But it’s definitely hard.
Lindsey: I think in the beginning when I was teaching and doing Ryan and Rose, at the same time, it was hard. I was at work teaching and I would come home and it was family time and Ryan and Rose. I would spend time with Ryan and then I would stay up until midnight or one o’clock making clips. Then, go to school and work the next day. I had two jobs. I think now I do a better job. I don’t know if it’s just maturity or experience, but I just say “okay, it’s five o’clock and I’m downstairs” and I stay downstairs.
Bret: It helps that we have a team now because looking back, Tuesday was skipping night. So she fulfilled orders and made everything. Back then it was definitely harder.
Lindsey: It has changed but our team makes it where I can disconnect now. But it’s hard to ever truly disconnect. Lately, I have a problem sleeping because it’s like there is always something...I need to contact that person or call Judy since we are on different schedules. But I wouldn’t change it, I love it. But, it is hard to separate family. One thing i have done is, say we are on the playground, I might be on my phone answering emails or texting people back answering questions. Ryan has a rule now, whenever she wants mommy to get off her phone, all she has to do is just ask nicely. If she asks, I will do it. And so, that’s kind of like a mutual respect to let her know I’m always here for you. Just ask. Now that he’s (Bret) home and helping and such a big part of the business, it makes it a lot easier to have that family time. We like to ride every night and we do that as a family and we enjoy it!
Q: What are your love languages and how are those expressed?
Lindsey: I thought this would be hard but it’s actually easy. Cleaning, chores, vacuuming. He’s sexy when he straightens up the kitchen. I like someone taking out the trash. So definitely actions, for me. His (Bret) love language is physical touch. It’s crazy because they are so different. It is so important for husbands and wives to know their love language and know the opposite person’s love language.
Bret: I didn’t know what a love language was six months ago, but she told me.
Q: How has knowing that changed the dynamic of your marriage?
Lindsey: I think just knowing the other person’s needs...life is so busy and something I need to slow down and cuddle or I need to just find time for the other person.
Q: If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
Lindsey: That’s really hard. I would probably say just wait, look, be patient. I would tell myself something about prayer. Like, just keep your heart in it, just keep praying. Maybe even trust; trust the Lord, trust Him 100% because even when I went from teaching to running Ryan and Rose full time, there was still that time in there whereI was still not willing to give 110% to Ryan and Rose. So maybe to trust the Lord, trust your heart and follow your heart.
Q: Did you ever experience a time when you were not sure if this was really going to work out? Was there always steady growth?
Bret: It was steady growth throughout the years, but there were times when it was like, “when are we going to see the fruits of all this labor?”
Lindsey: We were selling but we weren’t paying ourselves. We finally started paying ourselves after four and a half years. So we felt like we were doing great. But everything we got, we put right back into the business. I think that was the hard part. Like for me, teaching, I had a steady income and carried our insurance. I remember going from that to very little. We had somebody who actually worked for us, Keela, when I quit teaching it was like, okay, I can either pay myself or I can pay you. So we had to let her go. But it’s part of growing and I think it made us stronger and brought us to where we are today. A lot of people see us now and they are like, look how successful they are. But this journey took us a long time, this is year six. Just have to have patience and trust the Lord, he’s got you.
Q: So how hard was it, while you were teaching and now paying yourself? What was going through your mind and how was that putting stress on you and your family?
Lindsey: For us, the great thing is Ryan and Rose was never our income. Some people start businesses and their whole lives depend on this. For us, it was kind of a hobby where I was still teaching and He was still doing heating and air. We were bringing home money to cover all the bases. I feel like we were blessed in that. Just have patience, it takes time. A lot of people would be surprised how long it takes to build it. Like this time last year, like with employees, we had like maybe three...it has grown so much.
Q: Taking a turn, the Cutie Community wants to know if you guys sit and laugh about people finding the discount codes during the anniversary sale?
Lindsey: Yes, all night! He’s the creative one. The codes are all him and the games too, we love big brother so a few months ago we started doing Cutie challenges and we were kind of the first to do that. So that’s kind of where it started.
Bret: We joke about members of the Cutie community who will freeze frame a story and zoom in on it. I just said, we can put some codes in there. I mean, if they are going to be that hardcore detective, we can put those in there and utilize it for a game. It just morphed into that but I think they have enjoyed it. We love the Cutie community, we are grateful for them. They always amaze me, we make them extra hard because there are so many people doing it that they figure it out. Like last night, we did a crossword puzzle with no hint, none, and they figured it out within 30 minutes.
Lindsey: A lot of people will say, “why did you make it so hard?” and I am like, because when 20,000 people are playing and you don’t want it to be easy.
Bret: It has been a lot of fun. We are grateful for the Cutie Community and it makes us laugh for sure.
Q: Have you considered monthly subscriptions?
Lindsey: Personally, I have never been a subscription person. I just don’t like it. I feel like we have a small window for babies, like two years and so as soon as they sign up, they would want to cancel.
Bret: I am not against it, but personally, I don’t like subscriptions either. I feel like as soon as I sign up, I don’t want it anymore. If you want something, you will buy it. We may be looking into a rewards program.
Lindsey: I pray about everything and I noticed subscriptions in my prayer journal somewhere. But I just don’t like it, and the same with pop-ups on our website...I don’t like pop-ups. We don’t implement things into the business that I don’t like.
Q: What is one piece of advice that you would give to other entrepreneurs out there? Especially those just starting out.
Bret: Patience. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Lindsey: For me, I would say pray about every aspect. I think that’s one thing people are surprised about, I pray about everything and not just at night. I pray about every detail...how much should I pay this person? What color should we choose? What size should the Cutie PAT be? You have to pray about the big things and that’s what most people think about but it’s also the small things. It’s the people you hire, praying for them too. I think if you invite the Lord into every aspect of your business, He’s going to make known His will for you to have this business and succeed. He will take you there. So yeah, patience and prayer. It’s not just one time and it's done, it’s praying constantly. A lot of times even I’m guilty of this, I might be stressed about something or worried and a few days go by and I’m like, why didn’t I pray about this? Oh my goodness. Like duh, Lindsey, you could have had this fixed a few days ago. Pray about everything.
Q: What is one thing you want most for your girls?
Bret: I think empathy for others. Ryan recently won an award. The Lion’s Pride Award, for helping others in school and putting others first. It was everything I wanted for her.
Lindsey: Yeah, I was so emotional when she won that just because, that’s huge. Putting others over herself. I think for me, it would be loving Jesus, wanting to be like Jesus. I feel like if you do that, then everything else would kind of fall in place. I know just what Jesus brings to my life. I want what I have for them plus more. I want even more for them, you know? I think for both Ryan and Charlie, just love for others and not being selfish. We had no idea she was going to get it. I was just like, cue the tears. Also, we really don’t want them to be spoiled. I mean, they have a lot and we try to harp on that, but it’s all new. Like, we have never been parents before and Ryan’s growing so fast. How do we handle those obstacles to make sure she’s not entitled or spoiled? We have to work through things, the challenges of parenthood for sure.
Q: How do you guys manage? There are so many decisions to be made. Growth is happening and with growth comes more decisions. How do you guys handle or manage being overwhelmed and anxious about the business?
Bret: I know her answer. I have always just been laid back anyways. We compliment each other so well. I definitely try not to worry.
Lindsey: For me, my prayer journal. I feel like it’s gold. There’s just something about it, when you're writing it down. People message me all the time asking, “how do you do that?” and I’m just like, you can pray anytime during the day. You don’t have to close your eyes. It’s anytime, even like in the shower or when you are in the car. I’m a, i think it’s called kinesthetic learner, and I feel like it’s almost like getting things off my heart to write them down. It’s so nice to go back and look at. I have a prayer journal from when we first got married and the worries, it’s almost comical. The things I was stressing about, and now, I’m like what was I complaining about? Oh my goodness. But even to see what God has done in the last year, I always tell people to date it. I think just really give it to the Lord, once you learn to do that, it’s free. It’s hard to explain if you have never felt that before. But it’s just like, why?There’s no reason for me to worry about it. He’s going to take care of it. Sometimes I'll find verses that relate to whatever may I’m worrying about and in my journal, write the verses that declare things like He will provide, He will sustain me, just to support that. Prayer is my answer for everything.
I think just really given it to the Lord, like once, once you learn to do that, like it's free. It's hard to explain if you've never felt that before. But it's just like, why, why? There's no reason for me to worry about it. Like he's going to take care of it. Um, so yeah, I would, I would, I don't know, just prayer and there's, I don't know, but I'm guilty too of getting in those and that's where I feel like we support each other and kind of bring each other back to be like, Lindsey, it's going to take care of it. Stop. Why are you worrying? And one thing I do, yeah. But I like sometimes I'll find verses that relate to whatever maybe I'm worrying about and in my journal, like write the verses that declare, you know, like, um, he will provide, he will sustain me, you know, like just to support that. Yeah. Um, but prayer, I'm sorry, that's my answer for everything.
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