Feature Articles: Business Sense

There’s something motivating about a fresh start. That must be why each year we think about what resolutions we will make for the New Year. We list our aspirations and resolve with confidence to realize these goals. For many, just weeks into the new year we fall back into our old ways and the resolutions seem to fade away until the next new year when we once again make resolutions. Even after a few weeks into January, it’s not too late to start anew and resolve to make positive changes. Those who achieve success are the ones who apply a structure to their efforts, assign accountability to the goals, and define measurable milestones to ensure progress is being made.

Getting a retailer to buy your line is great — and especially exciting if the collection is new to the market — but convincing them to reorder should be your ultimate goal. And reorders are always based on how well your goods sold the previous season. If items flew off the racks, buyers will naturally seek you out the next time around. If too much of your line landed in the sale bin, however, your name will likely plummet from their must-shop list. Despite the importance of sell-throughs, it seems vendors sometimes forget the role they have in ensuring their lines take off at retail. Without you, your products are left to fly solo in the face of whatever headwinds come their way…

Whether you have a great children’s brand that you want to expand, or a great children’s product that could use the powerful boost of a well-known name, a licensing agreement can take your business to the next level of success. But to get the most out of a licensing opportunity, you need to find the right partner who knows the industry and understands your vision and goals for your brand or product. The benefits can be significant, but licensing partnerships are not without risks.

Sound Beginnings
Nomie baby

It’s that time of the year when we all feel the philanthropist in us calling to help others in need. During these tough economic times it is not difficult to find worthy targets for our generous hearts. Most people donate cash, food or even their time to help those in need. We want to do these charitable labors and that’s awesome! Some feel it’s not sincere if our efforts are reciprocal, meaning both sides receive something, but that’s not necessarily true. There are many instances where giving can give back and everybody benefits.

Marketing is filled with commonly used adages, though some of them are clearly half-baked. One that I hear often is, “Consumers are no longer brand loyal.” And while there’s a kernel of truth to that maxim, you could get burned if you simply accepted it on face value. True, most of us will not carry a flame for one store, product or experience from cradle to grave, but that doesn’t mean we can’t form affinities for certain items or shops. So even as marketers bemoan consumers’ fickle tastes, they spend millions of dollars a year trying to cook up ways to stoke our devotion…

Not unlike a hiker who discovers he is lost and begins to panic, some business owners have experienced similar distress when their business fails to perform at an expected level. The hiker hopefully remembers some basic survival tools to help him out of his situation. For example, S.T.O.P. (Sit-Think-Observe-Plan) is an acronym survivalists use to remember how to remain calm and keep a level head when trying to figure out how to get back to safety. Company managers of any business type can use this same acronym if they find themselves in an uncomfortable position and would like to get their business back to a safe place.

KIDShow - Specialty Trade Shows
Phillips Nizer LLP

Recently I took stock of my wardrobe and determined that I really didn’t need anything new for fall. As a result, I’ve spent very little time in stores or on shopping sites. Not exactly music to retailers’ or designers’ ears, I’m sure. But don’t worry. Just because I haven’t been seeking out new products doesn’t mean they haven’t found me. Within the last week alone, I’ve fallen under the spell of two items I didn’t know I needed until I stumbled upon them and they spoke to me, begging me to bring them home. But these enchanted encounters didn’t happen in a store. Nor did they occur in an online shop.

There’s an old fable that goes something like this: A father asked his sons to bring him a bundle of sticks and then challenged each in turn to break the bundle over their knees, which they found impossible. He then split the bundle and showed how each individual stick could easily be broken. “United you are strong; separated you are weak,” he said. I’ve noticed within the children’s business, some companies try to go it alone, and this results in those companies, along with the dreams of their owners, being easily broken.

You’ll often hear President Obama talk about his attempts to get outside “the bubble,” referring to the excessive amount of time presidents spend in the White House and surrounded by Beltway insiders. Living such an insular life, he recognizes, gives one a skewed view of reality. Similarly, the New York Times On the Runway blog featured a post two weeks ago entitled “Bursting the Nutty Bubble” about the fashion bubble that makes those who work in designer and luxury markets forget that the real rainmakers in the garment industry are popularly priced goods, not the $15,000 handbags and $3,000 shoes to which they’ve become accustomed.

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