How much ink has been spilled writing about marketing for small business? As small businesses with limited resources, we are constantly trying to find ways to creatively stretch our budgets to reach as many customers as we can. If you’ve had a chance to glance at our book, Mom Inc., you’ll know that we’re huge fans of PR for small businesses because there are a lot of creative things you can do that don’t have to cost a ton of money.
This week, U.S. discount retailer Target delivered a master class in creative PR by setting up shop in Toronto…for a few hours.
Fifteen hundred shoppers flocked to the pop-up shop to scoop up cheap fashions and meet Vancouver-born designer (and couturier to Michelle Obama) Jason Wu.
Not slated to hit Canadian soil for another year, Target came up with the pop-up idea to promote brand awareness and generate some hype. In the world of PR, how clever was this idea? It was brilliant. There were line ups several hours before the doors opened and the event received national news coverage. (Mostly) women scrambled to snap up Wu-designed frocks. The sold out collection generated $60,000 in sales, all of which was donated to the United Way of Toronto. That’s a pretty darn good news story.
Clearly, most small businesses don’t have the kinds of budgets that would allow for the kind of splashy event that Target threw this week. But instead of being intimidated by this kind of marketing, let’s be inspired by it. Last year Canadian company Snugabye got creative by launching its adult Lounge Wear collection with a slumber party in a downtown hotel. And lots of companies are now hosting relatively low cost Tweet-ups to promote their brands.
So even though it may be hard to relate to the marketing budget of Tar-jay, they sure did teach us all a thing or two about clever marketing this week. Target managed to get us all talking about their store more than 12 months before they’ll be here. They are creating pent up demand in the market to ensure an explosive launch. What a great reminder about how it pays to think outside the box.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, and a love-filled week, we’re introducing the first of our Mompreneurs We Love series.
Now we love all mompreneurs, you understand, so let's start with one of our faves…
Mompreneur: Candace Alper
Company: Name Your Tune (www.nameyourtune.com)
What she does: Founded in 2003, Name Your Tune makes personalized CDs for kids. Think, “Little Charlie had a farm,” etc. The two volumes of CDs contain all your kids’ favourite songs, with their names inserted seamlessly right in the middle. Name Your Tune also has tons of other great personalized items for kids on its web site.
Why we love her: Name Your Tune CDs were huge hits with our kids. Many an hour was spent rocking out (okay, kids in the back of the car on the way to the sewer – but still, rocking out) to Candace’s compilations. Candace is also a mompreneurs’ mompreneur, if you know what we mean. She’s experienced all aspects of balancing a successful business and motherhood, she’s incredibly well connected (find her @NameYourTuneCDs) and knows everyone, and is a huge supporter of other entrepreneurial moms. We’re not the only ones who are fans, either: Babble.com picked her as one of their Top 50 Mompreneurs.
Good to know: Candace is now blogging right here at Yummy Mummy Club! Her blog, aptly called Name Dropping, lets Candace share her vast knowledge of all things baby-name related. After all, nine years of personalizing all kinds of products for new babies has taught her a thing or two about what kids are called. Go on and check it out. We know you’ll love Candace Alper too.
Are you a mompreneur? Please let us know. We’d love to feature you here.
One of the hardest things about working for yourself is staying focused. When you have no boss and no one to provide you with direction, it’s easy to get distracted by projects that pull you away from the core of your business and the activities that generate revenue.
This week on Dragons’ Den we met Larry Finnson and Chris Emery who introduced their product, OMG Candy. They started the company in 2010 and have no sales yet. But back in 1996, these guys founded Clodhoppers, another candy company which they grew to $9 million in sales. Unfortunately, when it came time to sell Clodhoppers, their investors made way more money than they did. So this time, with OMG, they want to do it all again—but do it right.
There is a trend I’ve noticed recently—people have multiple businesses at the same time. Just look at their Twitter bios and they’ll refer you to multiple blogs, web sites, and Facebook pages. Have you noticed this? I’ve been thinking a lot about being involved in multiple businesses and projects and the problem with this was articulated for me when I heard Laura-Jean Bernhardson, founder of Fresh Collective, speak at a recent event. Laura-Jean is a successful entrepreneur who owns three retail clothing stores. She is also devotee of Michael Gerber of E-Myth fame. In her talk, Laura-Jean referred to what Gerber calls the “entrepreneurial seizure.” She described that moment when you realize that what you’re doing is no longer the right thing, so, seized by an impulse, you run off and try something else; something new that you may not be qualified to do that involves a whole host of issues that you don't think through beforehand.
It seems to me like people are having entrepreneurial seizures all over the place. And although it was an entrepreneurial seizure that led Larry and Chris to start up OMG, I hope they keep their eyes on the prize this time. They have the benefit of past experiences: They know where they want to go with this product and what they want to accomplish. They seem determined to stay focused, which I have no doubt will be the key to their success. I can’t wait to try OMG when it hits the shelves—it looks delicious!