Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marketing Calendar

One of the tasks I've struggled with since starting my business has been developing products for the season in a timely fashion.  Fortunately, I'm small enough and have suppliers close to me, and I can be nimble in creating new products within a few days. And since a lot of sales come from my Etsy site, and since I refer a lot of local buyers to my Etsy site for a complete product listing, I haven't been adversely affected by this tremendously.

Until I'm ready to prospect into retail.  Just in time production works fine, until I try to promote my products to retailers....I suddenly realize that marketing Valentine products today is useless, as many retailers already have seasonal displays established or at least have their seasonal products purchased.

So I knew I had to establish a marketing calender.  But it couldn't be just a marketing calender, as it's easy to highlight holidays on a planner or electronic device.  I needed to establish a marketing and production calender.

I started with a basic Excel worksheet, labeling the left column with the months of the year and the planning schedule at the top.  For my column headers, I chose "Marketing Trends", "Product Marketing", and "Product Testing."

Completing the Marketing Trends column was easy,

January - New Year
February - Valentine's Day
March - Easter

and so on.  Next, I needed to complete the Product Marketing column.  So, for my established customers, newsletter, and Etsy shop, the Product Marketing column looks something like this:

January -  Valentine's Day; weddings
February - Valentine's Day; Easter
March - Easter; spring

and so on.  Next was the Product Testing column.  Here, most everything backs up another month:

December - Valentine's Day; weddings
January - Easter; Spring

and so on.  What this will do is help me integrate my supply purchases into other orders and help to save on shipping costs.  I can work test pours into my customer pouring schedule.  And if I order early enough, I have plenty of wiggle room if something isn't right, and I can integrate the successful fragrances into other supply orders, as well as watch for sales!

The final calendar looks like this:

This hasn't quite solved my problem of marketing to prospective retail vendors, but it does help me establish a calender through which I can anticipate their marketing plans.  All I have to do is add a column for when the stores would set up their retail displays, another column to anticipate when they will place their product orders, and integrate that into my testing and marketing calendar!

Do you have any planning and marketing strategies you can share?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Etsy shop review, Dell Cove Spices

Happy Wednesday!

One of the things I would like to do in this space is to give thanks to those who have helped me along the way. Just a few months ago, I was invited to join a team on Etsy, the Promotional Frenzy Team. While I will extend a public thanks to our fearless team leader at a later date, I would like to use this opportunity to thank my mentor, Patricia of  Dell Cove Spices .

First, and most important, the shop. If you are a food connoisseur (or even not!), you simply have to try the products Dell Cove Spices offers. So far, I have tried popcorn flavorings Italian Parmesan and White Cheddar, the latter which is the closest to POPCORN NIRVANA I have every found! I was also sent a sample of their Barbeque Rub, which made my Barbeque Chicken Pizza come simply alive! 

And gifts galore! I ordered their cocktail sugars for coworkers and have heard glorious praises for their products!

Second, Patricia is just a jewel. David, I’ve not met you yet, but I can’t wait for the day we convo or email! As a mentor on the team, Patricia has provided not just words of wisdom, but real life centering to make me think about how I’m running my business. So often, we get absorbed in our art that we forget about the business aspect. Even the most educated among us can forget that if we’re not making money, we just have an expensive hobby. Patricia provides that does of realism with a good dose of friendship.

Dell Cove Spices is a company ready to burst at the seams. Terrific products with terrific people behind them. If you’ve not tried their products yet, please do. If you have, please continue to support them.

Thanks so much for all you bring to our team!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

They're here! Votives!

So many people love candles, and it’s been fun to see people’s reactions to what I sell.  I truly listen to the comments and feedback I receive from my customers, vendors, and of course, my friends.  I’m excited to announce that I am now able to expand my product line into another popular candle product...votives!
In order to accomplish this, I needed to take some time to experiment with other wax types.  When I first decided to sell my candles, I had found a commercial brand of wax that I “understood” and could predict.  Unfortunately, this brand was formulated specifically for container candles and not for free standing types such as votives.  I also wanted to ensure I could create a quality candle that would hold the fragrance and color all of you have come to expect.
Creating votive candles has allowed me to expand into soy wax. As many of you know, soy is an eco-friendly wax that is renewable and less harmful to our environment. However, you may not realize that paraffin is the premium wax to hold color and fragrance. I have now created a custom blend of soy and paraffin waxes which accomplishes the best of both worlds.
Fragrances in my votive line are being added slowly so I can thoroughly produce and test each scent for quality purposes before making it available to you. Please see the votive listing on page 2 for what is available as of this publication.
For what is currently available in my votive line, please click here
For the most up-to-date news on what is available and for sales and specials, please “like” my facebook page  at or follow me on Twitter @DLitesbyDorene.

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