larabryn’s Blog

This is one of my favorite times of year. It’s warm, beautiful and green outside and instead of going Back-to-School, I start Part II of my bi-annual trade show circuit. Current count: 2 down, 6 to go.

Trade show season is in my top 3 “Things I Love about my Job.” It starts with unpacking box after box of Spring 2010 samples and continues with meeting new clients, networking with colleagues and visiting beautiful cities all over the US. It’s crazy, it’s busy and I occasionally feel like I’ll never “get it all done” by October 31st but… I’m happily addicted to this time of year. We can always sleep in November, right?

Overall sentiment country-wide is that trade shows from Atlanta to Chicago to Dallas are trending down in both foot traffic and written sales. But can’t we all use some good news? Here it is: Buyers, reps and manufacturers are still attending trade shows, planning for the future and working together to make it through a tough retail environment.

A few weeks ago I wrote about key factors that influence why sales reps choose to represent your brand.

Those factors include:
• Good marketing; Branding
• Exclusivity of product
• Appropriate price points
• Focus
• “It” factor

Those points focus on your product. Some other key points that influence why a rep might work with you, or might continue to work with you, focus on, well… you.

The Rep Relationship

RuffleButts / RuggedButts
Teeny Tiny Optics
Itzy Ritzy

I often receive phone calls from people in the kid’s industry. Usually from recruiters, sales managers, entrepreneurs or moms soliciting advice and ostensibly, building their network. These callers speed through the “niceties” portion of the call and, after their lightning-fast self-introduction, I often don’t know the name of who’s calling me, or why they’re calling.

I spent this past weekend with my family and while I intended to write a blog about networking, it never happened. Instead, as the weekend progressed, I thought a lot about the funny things my family says that have turned into our own personal catch phrases. I thought I’d share some of our family favorites with you today.

Mom: “I’m a little chilly.” (usually said when everyone else is sweating bullets)

Dad: “What?” (whenever anyone tells a joke related to being hard of hearing, which he is)

Lately I get calls almost daily asking me to rep a line. Most often, my answer is “No Thanks,” followed by a genuine “Good Luck!” This response leaves a lot of frustrated designer/manufacturers out there who often hang up the phone maybe feeling a little bitter at yet another refusal.

Fairy Finery Inc
bINK'd Pierce-free Temporary Tattoo Earrings & More™
J. Austin Ryan Designs

Almost every Web site I visit has an About Us page. It’s a personal touch on a website and one that I visit on almost every site I browse. What most small business owners or marketing directors forget when they create this page is that this page is for a specific, targeted audience. The About Us page is a concise summary for your brand, explaining why you felt compelled to start a business, why your products should get a piece of a consumer’s disposable income and why you should be trusted to deliver on your promise.

Finding a sales rep—the right rep—isn’t easy. Here are a few suggestions to help make your search a success.

Online resources in your industry are a great way to find reps. In the kid’s industry, the following websites are terrific resources that give vital information about regional sales reps including contact information, the territory that they cover, trade shows that they attend and other lines that they represent:

www.jamesgirone.com
www.earnshaws.com
www.thegiggleguide.com

Thanks for reading, and for all your answers. Since all answers were essentailly “correct” the winner of the Baby Prize Pack from LJBryn&Co. including: Doctor T’s Super Goop SPF 30 organic sunscreen, Scout Baby Organics bodysuit and an Itzy Ritzy wet bag is… JCB, who responded on May 25th. Congrats JCB and please email me your contact info!

These “intended answers” were:

  1. SBO small business owner
  2. COB close of business
  3. ROI return on investment
  4. NLT no later than
  5. TTYL talk to you later
  6. ABC All Baby & Child

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