Meet the Ring Leader, Ana Maria Munoz

by Brittany on May 19, 2014

{ANNOUNCEMENT: Stay tuned for a chance to win your own ring cozy.  I’ll be hosting a giveaway later this week!!!}
Meet Ana Maria Munoz, the founder of Ring Cozy!  I discovered Ana Maria as a result of the same circumstance that inspired her to develop her product.  Recently engaged, I knew I never wanted to take my ring off, but also wanted to protect it from scratches at the gym. I did some googling and found Ana Maria and the Ring Cozy.  After reading Ana Mara’s bio, I knew I had to interview her and share her story and product with all of you.  She encountered a problem, solved it, and is sharing her solution with the world.  On top of that, she’s dedicated to living a healthy and active lifestyle.  Read on to learn more about the Ring Leader, Ana Maria, and how you can win a Ring Cozy of your own.
Ring Cozy_Ana Maria Muñoz
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your business, including how it came about?A: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From childhood endeavors with friends, to being in student government in high school, and making handbags and selling them on Etsy after college. The desire to create and make things happen has always been very strong.

When I realized that I needed and wanted something to protect my engagement ring while working out at the gym (I didn’t like taking it off) I searched online for a solution but came up empty-handed.  I decided that I could easily figure out how to create something for myself and take care of the problem.  I was comfortable working with fabrics, a sewing machine, and I knew that I just really wanted to protect my ring ASAP!

Q: How did you know that Ring Cozy was more than just a good idea, and could be turned into a business?  What are some of the first steps you took to move forward?

A: Once I made several prototypes, narrowed down my design, and began using my Ring Cozy on a daily basis, I realized how truly easy and practical it was. I found myself wearing it while swimming, cleaning up around the house, and even slipping it on as extra precaution while on holidays. I figured that I couldn’t be the only woman in the world who was obsessed with her ring and wanted to protect it while enjoying and living life! Online research proved that theory right. It was time for the entrepreneur in me to step up and make something more out of it.

I should backtrack a bit and note that my prototypes involved ace bandages and neoprene iPad cases purchased at the mall! Once I knew that I wanted to make a consumer product out of my design (and ditch the iPad cases), the first steps were to figure out how I was actually going to make and sell them. That meant finding neoprene fabric suppliers, perfecting the design, designing the branding, buying the website domain, filing for my trademark name, etc. I’ve done everything myself, using a lot of the skills and general know-how I picked up from prior jobs and personal endeavors.You may or may not know this but I created a Kickstarter campaign that fortunately did not get fully funded. I say fortunately because in retrospect, I wasn’t ready for the BIG manufacturing order I was pining for. It was a very good experience that forced me to re-think my approach to making the product and business happen with what I already had at hand.

Q: What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in starting his or her own business? 

A: If a lightbulb turns on and the possibilities of the idea excite you day and night, you owe it to yourself to test it out. If it’s a product-based business, make samples with anything you can get your hands on, use it, share it with friends, and even ask strangers about it. If it’s something that takes little capital to do and you can do it from home, even better! You have to start somewhere and there’s nothing wrong with starting small (lesson learned from NOT getting the Kickstarter funding).

If it’s a service based business, offer free sessions to people in your network so you can feel out the flow of client interactions and find out what price people might be willing to pay. This sort of thing can be done at very little to no cost so again, you owe it to your creative and entrepreneurial spirit to test it out!

Q: You live an active lifestyle, what is your exercise of choice?

A: I try to mix things up with zumba, rowing, and barre classes but my usual routine is running outdoors for 15-30 minutes followed by mat exercises and lifting with 5lb dumbbells at home. The dumbbells are all chrome and I LOVE them…I know it’s weird to stay but I think they’re so sexy.

Q: How do you balance staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle with running a business and the rest of lifes demands?

A: Working out at home saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent going to/from the gym. I also work from home so when it comes to meals, eating well is made easier by having my kitchen readily available. If I’m not out for meetings or supply related runs, I make sure to take a proper lunch break to re-fuel. Even when I worked in an office in my past jobs,  I rarely let myself eat at my desk. Taking that break and going outside for some air and vitamin D was/is always a priority in my day. The brain and body need a break.

Q: When you are low on motivation either to workout or complete tasks related to operating/marketing your business, how do you power through and keep your eye on the prize?

A: I’ve learned to not beat myself up over feeling unmotivated for certain tasks on a certain day. I keep an extensive list of action items so I know what absolutely needs attention that moment/day/week and what doesn’t. If there’s something that HAS to be taken care of, I take care of it. If there’s something that could very well be done the next day, great, the next day it is and I focus my time on other action items that my current energy level (and mind space) can take. That way I’m still totally productive and guilt-free. The same applies to working out. I don’t stress over missing a day or two but my body will definitely let me know when day three has passed, and then I just take care of it.

Q: Regarding fitness goals, I stress to my readers the importance of small steps everyday that lead to big rewards down the road.  Do you believe this concept holds true in business as well?  If so can you give an example? 

A: Absolutely. Small steps (or actions items in my case) every day are the best way to get to the bigger picture or reward. Of course, you should have the bigger picture painted in your mind or written out in a journal or business plan, but without breaking down the steps required to get there, it’s going to be a confusing and overwhelming journey. For example, I used to be overwhelmed with figuring out production. But, when I realized that it’s hard to know what you don’t know, I made sure to learn and apply what I could - whenever and wherever I could – and trust that the rest would fall into place. So far, that’s worked out very well. One step and a time.
Q: What is one “thing” that is really working for you right now?  This could be a business tool, a fitness app, a habit, a diet, etc.A: I’m kind of archaic when it comes to business apps as I still much prefer my moleskin notebook and pen for keeping my thoughts and to-do’s organized!

BUT, I have just recently gotten into Evernote (I know, very late to the game). I’m loving it for keeping track of photos and screen shots I take of things I want to remember. I’m a very visual person so creating and organizing notes with images is perfect.

Fitness wise it’s water-rowing. I get lost in the sound of real water swirling around with every pull. For food, I’ve just been introduced to adding granola to pastas – I’m obsessed with the rosemary spice from PUREnola! It’s perfect with a bit of goat cheese and roasted veggies.
Q: Where can Protein and Pumps readers learn more about you and your business? 
A: I used to have a personal lifestyle blog that I devoted a lot of time to but with Ring Cozy keeping me so busy, Instagram has really become my space for sharing. You can find me and Ring Cozy @RingCozy and just me and my daily musings/inspirations @itsanamu. If you’re interested in seeing my other work, you can visit my portfolio at anamariamunoz.com - I hope to get back to more blogging there soon!
Ana Maria, Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your story with Protein and Pumps. Best of luck to you and all your future endeavors!!!
{ANNOUNCEMENT: Stay tuned for a chance to win your own ring cozy.  I’ll be hosting a giveaway later this week!!!}

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