Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stick with it kid!

Ok time to catch up....

One thing I have been told in starting up this project is to "use your resources" and "don't under estimate the importance of market research". In keeping with that, I sent out an email to all my former business professors kindly begging them to allow me 5 mins in their classroom to do a short market research study. Bada Bing! Prof Hoffman of Finance 380 responded right away saying "you can have 'your 5 mins' ". Sweet! I prepared a one page survey with questions like,
"On a scale of 1 to 10 what do you think of the product, 1 being negative and 10 positive" and "What would you expect to pay for something like this?" etc. I also came prepared with a power point presentation to boot. That Monday evening students shuffled into the classroom with review papers in hand, diligently studying for their finance quiz that night. My 5 mins came and went. I thanked the students for their help and thanked Prof Hoffman with his very own ASU frame.

Phew! Glad that was over, I left excited to read what the students had to say. I had 75 responses to evaluate so I sat down on a bench next to the Memorial Union and started reading. I scanned the top sheet and apparently a male, junior, from out-of-state HATES me. He gives the product a 1 on the scale to 10. Ok that sucks. When I passed out the papers, I informed the class "this is completely anonymous so feel free to tell me what you really think" and thats what I get. When asked what you would expect to pay, one guy put $3. Ouch!

Frantically, I call anyone who will listen and finally get ahold of my Papa. Dads are great. Positive Peter, as always, he says to put it in perspective. "What do the other reviews say?," he asks. I respond that most were positive and/or contained constructive criticism. In fact, when asked, "Would you be more likely to purchase the product for yourself or as a gift?" more than a handful responded "Both". That wasn't even an option! Some positive comments included, "Very cute", "Its perfect", and "I hope someone buys me one for graduation."

My dad goes on to inform me of what I already know, but needed to hear. Not everyone is going to like/use my product. If people don't like the product, it doesn't mean they hate me. Take all the responses into consideration, then light fire to the negative ones and post up the positive ones. Thanks daddy, you are the best!

Overall the results of the survey have armed me with very very insightful information on product design and realistic price points. If anything, this has fuelled my fire to keep going even more. Staying positive, I figure, if 1 person out of that class of 75 likes it enough to buy it and their are 55,000 students at ASU, I'll be okay. However, it was definitely a reality check. One of those little bumps in the road I have heard so much about.

Next steps....fulfill P.O., email sororities and athletics teams, and do an event on campus. Woohoo!

Alyson Heineman

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My First Sale!

Well almost my first sale....

The other day I did what I feared the most - talking to retailers. I hit up a few different spots around campus, missing the key decision makers, until I strolled into The Campus Store, off of College and University. There was Mike, a handsome bald man, owner of the two College Store locations, stocking soda in a cooler. I showed him my frame and before if could even finish my spheel he said, "I'll take 12." What? Really? He asked, "Is it collegiate licenced?" Nervously, I replied, "Almost, I am about 2 weeks away." Mike responded, "Well I know Fernando at the licensing office, I will shoot him an email and see if we can speed things up." Okay, great! I left The Campus Store with a big smile on my face and decided to pop in on Fernando in the Trademark office to see how my application was coming along. Fernando walked to greet me with a piece of paper in his hand. Within 15 mins, Mike had already sent him an email! Fernando was able to approve me on the spot!

Now its "go" time. The next day I put in an order for my first production run of 100 mats - my largest monetary investment to date. A rather large problem, however, is I have been so caught up with mat design, I don't have a frame manufacturer!!!! will all work out.

Then today, as I am working on my "Career"(picking out photos for packaging) at the ASU "Career Center", Maryjo, the director of the career service approaches me. "That is really cute," she says, "I would love to get 12 of them for my staff for a year-end present." Okay!

I don't consider them sales yet since I don't have a purchase order in my hand or cash in my bank account but.....yaay!

Other exciting news includes the website is now up and running thanks to Justin

woo hoo! Next steps: finish test marketing by speaking with students on campus, and presenting to a classroom or club, finish product packaging, decide on a frame manufacturer, take and edit new product pics, make a promotional flyer, oh yes and sell these puppies!

Go Devils!

Alyson Heineman