Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What Needs To Happen Before You Start Selling

This question was posed by hailey’s mom through a comment on my “Getting Your Name Out There” post.

Did you wait to 1) register your trademark 2) design graphics, print materials, packaging, etc. before you approached any retail opportunities?

What needs to happen before launching your business can vary vastly by business and owner. When opening businesses, I’ve seen entrepreneurs take one of two approaches to start-up costs: The Minimalist or The Big Spender. I’d like to think I was somewhere in the middle but honestly I was more of a minimalist. I was a new mom without a job and I wanted to make sure Robeez would produce sales before I invested more money. Here’s a look at the approach I took:

My first priority was to measure market response to Robeez so I did not register the trademark immediately. Once I had been in business for close to a year, sales were growing and I knew that it was long past the time when I should have registered the trademark. In hindsight, I would recommend registering your trademark early on. You can learn more about trademarks through a local small business or entrepreneur resource center. The web is also a good place to research trademarks.

The Vancouver Gift Show was really my first public showing of Robeez. To prepare for this show, I needed to have packaging to display the shoes. I worked with a freelance artist to design my packaging. Then, I approached a local print shop that catered to low volume print runs. My stepmother even made a “Robeez” quilt to use as signage. You can see my minimalist approach in the photo . This was my booth at the Vancouver Gift Show.

Would you be able to recommend some good sources for non-toxic leather?
When you are starting out, you need to find a supplier who offers a good price on small volumes of leather. I recommend checking your local yellow pages for a distributor; that’s how I found the original supplier for Robeez. (As time went on and production increased, our sourcing team found international distributors who specialize in higher volumes.) Select a supplier who will ensure the health and safety of their leathers through testing and documentation. For example, Robeez requires tests for heavy metals and harmful substances to ensure our leather is absolutely safe and non-toxic for babies, and we regularly audit our suppliers with random sampling.add to sk*rt

1 comment:

Hailey's Mom said...

Sandra, Thank you so much! I too am a new mom, and am starting this business so I can be home to raise my daughter. I'm sitting hear with tears in my eyes. You have no idea what your candor has done for us. I recently heard a speaker on starting a business say that the research shows that those people who do not have all the things in place Before they launch are the ones who do not make it beg. So, I have been sitting up nights thinking of all the companies I have to hire just to get ready to sell: graphic designer; photographer; web design (tag specialists, flash specialists) and wondering how I will pull this off. Wow, so GREAT to hear that it also works to take a more minimal approach. Thank you Sandra for answering my question so thoroughly and candidly!!