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Laura Schmidt: Words are Powerful!”

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When business owners look at their bottom line, they’re checking for numbers that are in the black. Kansas City-metro entrepreneur Laura Schmidt is looking at feet, more precisely, toes that are sporting positive affirmations from her business, notes to self®. She’s focused on engaging in the power of positive thinking by helping others simply put one foot in front of the other on their journey to becoming a better person.

“The real thing that we’re doing here has so little to do with socks, even though they’re the best socks you’ll ever wear, but it’s the words,” stated Laura. “Our tagline is ‘words make all the difference.’ The thoughts you think to yourself, the words you utter about yourself and the words other people say to you are so important. All of those things make such a difference.”

Whether it’s “I am confident,” “I am awesome,” “I am smiling” or even “I am smart,” notes to self features a daily dose of positivity, right down to your toes. The company offers over 30 registered trademarks for different phrases, including its brand and tagline. Notes to self are the perfect gift for anyone on your special list or even a purchase to lift your own spirits. The Prairie Village, Kansas, enterprise certainly knows how to “toe the line” with its impressive lineup of products.

“They’re all ‘Made in the USA’ and that’s important to me, but I also wanted to create the highest-quality socks that I could at a price point that’s reasonable, and we’ve done that. Reviewers describe them as the best socks you’ll ever wear with arch support and a breathable mesh top,” said Laura. “They are marathon tested by a lot of people and one lady sent us a picture after she did an Ironman. With all that said, the most important thing is the words. Our customers say they love the giftability and the words, but these are really good socks that you can give to others going through a tough time.”

Sharing Their Notes
Given the messages these socks carry, it’s not surprising that customers share their stories with Laura of perseverance and hope and how the simple act of looking down at their notes to self socks has helped them through their dark times or reminded them of wonderful love others have for them.

Laura tells the story of a customer who wrote to her after suffering debilitating health setbacks that put her in the hospital for weeks. While recuperating, friends gave her socks from notes to self. “She was in the bed for so long, and every day she looked at the toes of her socks. She believed that focusing on those positive words helped her reconnect neurons in the brain. I think that’s how deep it is,” Laura recalled. “Many times, people don’t understand how powerful these are until they glance down at their feet and see the words. And then they get it.”

From the littlest piggies to the biggest toes, notes to self has all the bases covered with clever sayings and cozy threads. Sold throughout the nation at various boutiques and shops, which can be located on the notes to self website, online sales drive the bulk of purchases. Of course, socks are the favorite purchase, but Laura also offers pillowcases, beanies, notebooks, baby clothing, notecards, gift sets and so much more. They’re all opportunities to share positivity, encouragement and reassurance to those you care for and love, no matter if you’re wearing these socks or you were the giver of these socks. “When you look down at the words, you think about the person who gave you the socks and know how much they believe in you,” she added.

How the Power of Positivity Works
Even before notes to self became a successful company, Laura was always fascinated by the topic of positive affirmations and the power they can have on an individual. Her research led her to learn that these words can render an even deeper impact when the subconscious mind is more receptive to information such as early in the morning and late at night. And that’s the perfect time to be wearing socks. With that data rolling around in her brain, everything magically clicked into place during a trip to Western Kansas with her family on New Year’s Day 2011. She was looking at her feet propped up on the dashboard and that’s when the rubber met the road for Laura. She turned to her husband, Garret, and said, “I think I’m going to put positive affirmations on the toes of socks.” With his favorable response, she knew that her dream could soon cross the finish line.

That summer, prototypes came off the manufacturing line from sock mills located in the Eastern United States. Her daughter wore one of the first designs, “I am confident,” to volleyball practice, and the feedback was outstanding. Today, ten years later, Laura has grown the company to employ ten people, four full time. In the last decade, millions of people have sported her socks and sayings across the world. In addition to those sales, notes to self has donated 100,000 pairs of socks to homeless shelters, women’s shelters and children in great need, primarily to Kansas City metro locations but also across the country. Over the last year, she’s partnered with the American Heart Association and each sale through its link results in a percentage donation to that organization.

“I thought it was a really good idea that could help a lot of people. I just put one foot in front of the other throughout the whole journey,” Laura commented. “As I look back over ten years, it seems like only two. It’s been a good time. It’s about the people, their stories and the relationships.”

Which is Your Favorite Child
With so many phrases of loving words of encouragement featured on her socks, it’s hard to pin down Laura when asked to name her favorite. But eventually, it comes down to a tie. “‘I am confident’ is a personal favorite because I believe that so many of us could use more confidence. I believe that if we had more confidence, the world would be a more beautiful place. Everyone would be using their God-given gifts because they’d have the confidence to do so. My other favorite is ‘I am smart’ because we can get these to kids at an early age and help them realize that they are smart,” she shared. “The whole company is about confidence because if you’re confident, you can be brave, smart and courageous.”

With ten years running a successful business under her feet, and other business ventures that brought her stellar accolades, Laura knows a thing or two about staying on your toes in this competitive business environment. “One of the things that helped me the most was getting support from other people who had more experience than I did in that area. One of the most helpful organizations was the Kansas Small Business Development Center. There’s one in Missouri as well,” she advised. “They provide free assistance for small businesses. For years, I met with them every month. I would be at a Y in the road and didn’t know which way to turn and I’d talk it out with them. They either had the experience to say turn left or connected me with people who could help.” Laura adds that her goal now is to pass her knowledge and experience on to other entrepreneurs.

Head to Toe Encouragement
Empowering people, especially those experiencing doubt or challenging times, with positive self-talk is at the core of notes to self’s mission. Laura is committed to making a difference for as many people as she can touch, especially when her socks wind up on their feet. “We’re at a moment in time with what we’ve been through in the last year or so that people are more introspective now as they think about what they want to do next and how they want to spend their time on this earth,” remarked Laura. “My wish for the world is that people really do believe in themselves. You do have everything you need to live out your best life. I feel what we’re doing here with notes to self is a ministry. I want to produce products that add value to people and are tools to help them live in an elevated level, especially in their thoughts, and have a wonderful life.”

An old Irish proverb says, “Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.” For Laura Schmidt, toes covered with notes to self socks and their special sayings will guide them on their journey.