Sunday, January 27, 2013

Learning, learning, always learning...

Going to jump right in with today's little life lesson, epiphany, whatever you'd like to call it. I have mentioned, in past posts, how this process of inventing something and getting it to market was brand new to me and the best friend. I mean we had ZERO clue as to what to do from one moment to the next. My risk averse, super concerned self has always said that it was of utmost importance to try to avoid making HUGE mistakes. I didn't want to lose my money. I didn't want to lose the best friend's money. I didn't want to make a decision that we'd have to pay for, for years to come. Imagine what a mental drain it is to be spinning in circles, desperate not to make any mistakes, when you have NO idea what you're doing. It's like getting behind the wheel for the first time ever, jumping right on a busy highway and stressing and challenging yourself to remember every turn signal, every road rule and not ram into another car. It's crazy stressful. So, a part of my growth through all of this is to cut myself a doggone break if I don't do something JUST right; if I forget something or if I flat out mess something up. I will say though that we have put things in place to mitigate this desperate need not to make mistakes and that's where our business advisors, various attorneys, accountant and insurance agent comes in. They guide us, with their wealth of knowledge, and allow us to be creative, while lifting some of the business stress off of us. So, the new thing that the best friend and I are neck deep in, but also learning about every day is Marketing. She has more knowledge than I because she already owns a business but hers is service related as opposed to product related so this is different. We have advisors on Marketing but it is on us to execute the strategy. So, we're looking for bloggers to get the word out, we're sending Wands to magazines, we're sending Wands to Home Shopping shows. We are executing a ground swell campaign and we've had successes. Word of mouth is SO very powerful and when you couple it with a tool like Facebook, it makes you wonder how anyone ever sold anything before. We have recently been trying to connect with make-up artists because we feel that if we can get Wands in their hands and they use them regularly, they will see just how much make-up they can retrieve and hopefully spread the word for us. As I mentioned the last time, we have managed to get ourselves in two retail establishments and so now we're charged with checking up on sales there.  The best friend and I have put in major cash, time, sweat and tears (mine, she's not much of a crier :)) and we are SO serious about making this a BIG success and BLOWING UP! We need that FIRST BIG break, but we are loving the breaks we've been having along the way. We are running a slow and steady race and we are determined to win. So, I know it seems like there were multiple little messages in here: cut yourself a break, get some advisors in place to lift some of that business stress and always remember that you're going to learn something every day. It's past my bedtime, but I promise to flashback next time. I've still got plenty to tell you about this invention thang. :)

As always, thanks for reading...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One amazing, remarkable, surprising, busy month...

I know it's been a while  since I last posted (my goal is to do a blog entry once a week or so) but I got some kind of cold bug that knocked me down and out. The cough lingers but I'm back in the mix and ready to chat again. There have been SO many things cookin' with Nikki's Magic Wand. We opened the website for pre-orders exactly one month ago today, December 16, 2012 and what a month it's been. Orders have been coming in steadily, sometimes a monsoon and sometimes a drizzle, but consistently. The business consultant asked if we'd been noticing that orders were coming from people we did not know and I am happy to say, yes, we have started to get orders from total strangers. I want to take a moment to thank those folks, who don't know us personally, but are intrigued and willing to try a brand new product. Of course my love continues to go out  to those friends and family who have been buying and buying and buying. You may never know what your support means to me.

We are laser focused on ways to grow sales on, while simultaneously chasing down retail establishments. I have a few dream scenarios, that include exploding online sales, selling out on HSN and/or QVC and of course being picked up by a major retailer, nationally and shoot, globally. There are so many things to consider. The best friend/business partner and I have been in constant talks about wholesale and retail prices; insurance and accountants. There is literally ALWAYS something to do and decide. As I mentioned in my very first post, since I'd never had any previous interest in pursuing entrepreneurship, this is all super new to me. I am learning to adjust and fit my life into it because I quickly realized that there is no fitting it into your life. But I will confirm something that I'd heard but never really believed. The constant movement: worth it. The racing mind: worth it. The non-stop work: worth it. The need to think outside the box: worth it. The bottom line is that, the business/product is your baby, under your charge, to keep safe and help grow. Do I bemoan ALL that I have to do to take care of my actual children (well, ok sometimes:)) but do I LOVE that I get to do it? Absolutely.

Since went live one month ago, we've been featured in two newspapers, had a well attended, flawless launch party, were highly recommended by the Fashion and Beauty Director of a magazine, were placed in our very first retail establishment, reviewed by a heavily followed glamour girl on Youtube, and sent Wand packages all over the country to spread the word and hopefully attract the attention of the powers that be.

As they say, we are on our grind and working hard. We're either collapsing in bed or staying up late, managing Nikki's Magic Wand stuff.

2012-- I want to give you a  flashback, but a quick one, because, yep, you guessed it, I'm exhausted.  Last we spoke, I was carting my crazy looking Wand prototype around, asking folks if they liked it, would they use it, etc. The results were good. They had the same problem I had when I thought of this. They would buy it and they shared what they'd be willing to pay for it. I was fortified that it wasn't a loony idea, although I never once for a moment doubted it. There aren't many things I've been able to say that about but it's true here. I have NEVER wavered about whether this idea was a good one. I have NEVER second guessed its usefulness, NEVER.  And I'm telling you, some days that was the ONLY thing that kept me going, when there was no money and no idea of what to do next. So, back to Vince we went and said, "Ok,  it works. The tip is perfect and it works like a dream. Now, let's talk about what the real one will look like."

Ok, let's stop there for now. Please know that I think you are the cat's pajamas for reading my thoughts...a chick raised in a row home in Philadelphia who decided to try to solve a problem for the masses.

Chat soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Closed Mouths Don't Get Fed...

As you found out in the last post, I was flying high just after the Launch. It really was one of the very best nights of my life. Since that time, I have been on a holiday break with the family and had some time to regroup. I basked in the afterglow of the Launch, while being fully aware that it was time to REALLY get to work growing this business. Now I have to share something about myself with you. Sales has always intimidated me. I was never the chick who sold Mary Kay or Avon, Tupperware or candles. Just never did it. Went to the parties, bought the stuff, never sold it. If my kid got two school fundraisers close together, you'd never know about the second one. I'd just write a check. Scared of being a pest. Now think of where I am now. My SOLE purpose in life (well you know, in addition to working my 9 to 5 and rearing children) is to SELL something. That's pretty hilarious. It's like God saying, "Oh you WILL learn to be a salesperson yet!" I've discovered something, however. This is very different from Mary Kay or Avon. MY name is first in the title of the product. This is MY baby, birthed from my brain (sounds all Science-Fiction-ish) :). I am finding that the sales part is coming naturally to me. Well, folks are still pushing me a bit, saying, "Nikki, tell them about the Wand!" I don't enter a room talking about it because who wants to be THAT chick? But let me tell you where I thrive....Facebook! It's like I'm in my sales element there. I write my little posts, take testimonials from my personal page and scoot them over to the Nikki's Magic Wand page...I love it. It's easy and feels natural. Just last night, I wrote a post thanking my friends for being so generous with their time and enthusiasm by spreading the word, my website link ( and pictures. I also mentioned that our business consultants want us to have 250 Facebook "Likes" by the end of January 2013. You should have seen these folks take action. There were 20 new "Likes" in under an hour. I was being tagged in messages to THEIR friends  AND orders started coming in too. My post, expressing thanks and making a request was the "sales" push I needed to make. That's what the title of this post means. I opened my mouth, instead of sitting on the sidelines, hoping with crossed fingers, that someone would ask for a wand and look what happened....I got "fed" additional "Likes" and orders. The "take away" for me and for you is that you MUST step out of your comfort zone to grow. Sales has always felt uncomfortable, but I'm finding that when it's something that means something to me, it's not hard at all. I could stand up in front of people and talk about Nikki's Magic Wand all day and then tell people exactly why they should own one. I'm going to be a salesperson yet!!!!

Preparing for the Launch had taken so much energy that I haven't flashed you back in awhile but there's no time like the present...

Early 2012--When we last chatted about this journey, Julie had designed the logo and we were planning the "look" of the product and brand. Also, the very first prototype came in the mail and worked like a charm. So, what to do next???? Nope, I didn't know either so I sort of just walked around with the thing, marveling at it. But, someone had the bright idea, Vince maybe, and said, "We need to test it. Have people hold it, try it, see if they like it." So, we crafted a survey of sorts--a list of questions to ask people when they saw it. We asked people if they had any trouble getting their make-up out, would they use this, what they'd be willing to pay. Before I could really get going with the testing, guess what happened. My beautiful prototype snapped right in half. Turns out prototype material is FAR different from final materials so it was on the brittle side and snapped. Trust me, this was devastating for many reasons, not the least of which was that this little brittle thing cost $400. Yes, you read that correctly. $400! Thank goodness I was the one to break it because that could have ended a friendship on the spot. I'd like to tell you I'm joking but I'm not sure. :) So, I took my 1/2 of wand, stuck it down into the internal part of an ink pen that holds the ink and had people use that. Thinking back, I know my testers were thinking, "What is this mess this chick is trying to convince me to like and then buy?" But, I kept showing it around, with the caveat that it was not the best looking, but worked great.  I'll stop here now...but I've got plenty more to share.

As always, thanks for reading and remember, if you want something, you'd better speak up!