Cold to Gold: From Nothin’ to Do to Whatcha Doin’

“High Five” counts down Editorial Director David Gaunt’s personal observations, tips and praise reports about the children’s business. This edition includes five tips about cold calling, The ABC Kids Expo in Kentucky, doing business differently, strollers breaking the glass ceiling again and Coverplay, an example of “Why didn’t someone already think of that?”

Cold Calls are Gold Calls

Shawna Dalton from Twirls & Twigs shared this sales tip with me recently that she got from one of her mentors, Chellie Cambel, who taught her the importance of cold calling: “The money is in making phone calls. Start thinking about it as GOLD calling, not cold calling.” It worked for Shawna. I still freeze when I have to make calls and only get a chilly voice-mail maze, but they may help thaw out the marketing budgets.

“There’s Nothing to Do!” Still Whining After All These Years

When my kids were young, they’d complain, “There’s nothing to do!” Even though they had a house full of toys, and a neighborhood filled with friends. Now, decades later, I’m hearing that same whine from too many retailers about what to do when the ABC Kids Expo is held in Louisville, Kentucky this year! The show is all but sold out. Nothing to do? How about see more vendors at the show? Get there earlier and stay later than you ever did in Las Vegas. If we all worked at the home office as hard as we do at trade shows, all we’d want to do is veg out with take out! I will be going to Louisville in mid-May to preview “things to do” and places to dine! I will report back. Go to and make your reservations to attend early.

Are You Still Doing What You’ve Always Done?

If you’re doing exactly what you’ve done over the past two years, you probably are not doing much good for your business. We all have to do things differently, because we’re working through different times. Retailers have to be event planners in order to get repeat visits. No longer can they go to work, turn the “Open” sign around and wait for business to pick up. Manufacturers have to make goods that are more durable at a more attractive price. They also should use “old school” values of calling, writing and meeting customers to build more productive relationships. Deliver service long after the initial sale. Sales Reps should get out of their showrooms and hit the road to meet buyers where they work. I certainly don’t have all the answers. What are you doing to achieve different results?

A Stroller Over $1600? Not on My Street!

Have you heard about the stroller brand now selling a double-wide stroller for over $1600? The same brand made headlines when they introduced the highest-priced single stroller in the U.S. several years ago. I have admired their marketing savvy and growth plan since their initial U.S. launch. Great people. Great products.

But the latest sticker-shock model, made me think back on the strollers we used for our family as it grew to include three children. We had the bells-and-whistles of the day, but I never did master how to close it. My wife was Houdini-like how she could get the child out and the stroller in the car in practically no time. As the years went along, we both learned that the best stroller for our family was the simplest, and cheapest umbrella stroller. For about $15 it met all of our needs until the last one took his last ride. Make sure retailers give their customer families a choice. The $1600 model is a conversation starter, but given enough time strolling the open sidewalks and you’ll find that every family eventually needs an umbrella!

The Why Didn’t I Think of That Dept.

It does not happen as often as it used to for me, but I love it when I see a product that is so simply brilliant that I either think “It can’t really be the first,” or “Why didn’t someone already think of that!” Coverplay is exactly that type of innovative surprise. It’s a slipcover for portable playards, available in lifestyle designs. Equally impressive is how co-owner Amy Feldman told me that Coverplay was sold with custom fabrics to Disney Cruises and a major hotel chain. Both brilliant distribution ideas! For more information, go to

I was introduced to Coverplay at the “Sip & See” press party held recently at the famous Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. It was a classy, cost-effective way for non-competitive brands to gain synergy and meet the press in a unique setting. Kudos to PR specialist Susan Gerson who coordinated the press preview. Participating brands included timi & leslie, Moms MD, Twirls & Twigs, Little Giraffe and Baby K’tan. Talk about doing business in a different way! These brands and their PR pros all “get it.”

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