Launching at Pool pt.4

Today Daniel’s saga continues from parts one, two and three. In response to requests, Daniel has started a thread in the forum where he will feel more comfortable discussing proprietary issues. There’s just certain things that one does not post in a public blog.

August 1st, 2007: Pool -26 days
Got a crazy idea. Since I want to get my jeans in to stores, I should look at sending out information to stores who sell jeans! Being a bit lazy, I go to the MAGIC site and subsequently visit all of the jean company websites. I spend portions of the next two days getting together a list of 8000 retailers in the US that sell jeans.

Still making changes to the Rep and Retail Guides.

August 3rd, 2007: Pool -24 days
My list of the retailers is complete. I really like the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”. Earlier in the year a friend turned me on to two sites for sourcing independent off shore workers. There, I found someone to do internet research for me. So now she is going to have a new project.

I want her to go through all 8000 retailers (I have as much information about the stores as possible including websites) and find email addresses. Ideally I want the addresses for the manager or buyer (if possible) otherwise a generic address is fine.

Decide on a relatively local company to make the shirts for me. I’ve seen their work before and it’s good. They can get the shirts done in about two weeks. Email them the logo and tell them the details of the shirts and logo size.

August 6th, 2007: Pool -21 days
Got an email about Pool putting together a Goodie Bag for the press. They want to know if I’d like to include 100 gift certificates. Could be worth it if they are actually expecting 100 journalists showing up. I want to do this but I need more information.

I want to get more buzz from the retailers so I decide to do one more give away – I call it the Starter Package. Basically I am giving away a “minimum order” of 12 pairs of jeans and my fabric/options book to one lucky retailer. The retail value is almost $1800.

August 7th, 2007: Pool -20 days
Since I’m on this email marketing blitz, I ask Wear Canada if they can help me out too. Lucky me! They can. It’ll take a few days to get the contacts together.

The list of 8000 retailers has been whittled down to about 1500 contacts with email addresses. Not too bad. I can use these addresses with the one from POOL.

I send the new contacts my press release from last week and the older contacts an email about the Starter Pack. Traffic on the site is up about 25% from the week before and people are entering the contest.

August 8th, 2007: Pool -19 days
Commit to making 100 gift certificates for the press. I’ve got to create a special insert in the packaging to entice them to write about the product.

August 9th, 2007: Pool -18 days
Start to put together the press goodie bags. I redesign the cover of the CD and create a special “gift card” for the media. The card is basically a sample and asks them to contact me for a real code should they be interested in writing a review.

The new CD label has the POOL logo and has been cleaned up a bit. One “toy” that I invested in was a CD duplicator and printer. Basically I tell it how many copies I want and it goes on its merry way. There is a spindle for blank disks and a spindle fro completed disks. Disks are burned then printed all without my intervention.

Many months ago I had to complete an order for several hundred Denim Packs. The CD’s were burned with my laptop, on at a time over a period of several days. The labels took only a half hour to print, but they too took several days to be placed on the CDs.

Again, work smarter, not harder. Went to eBay and found this great duplicator from a company called Amtren. If you’re looking for a duplicator, these are good.

August 10th, 2007: Pool -17 days
I’m getting a nice flow of people emailing wanting to know more about the line at POOL. I’ve even made a few appointments.

Start to put together the individual elements of the press goodie bags together into the final product. Finally after a few hours its done.

August 13th, 2007: Pool -14 days
I’ve made a second notice to send out to the stores. The press release was to introduce them to the products. This one mentions the consignment option that is being offered.

Usually consignment options are high risk for a manufacturer. You are giving your merchandise that you’ve already made and paid suppliers to a retailer for little or no upfront money. DEs run a number of risks with consignment including the possibility of a retailer going under. I’m fortunate that the product we are selling is something that doesn’t exist yet; the idea of custom, made-to-measure jeans. So for me consignment can be ideal. The stores pay a small amount upfront. It is enough that I weed out those who are not serious, but low enough that its not a cumbersome investment on the part of the retailer. I leave the consignment option open to “qualified” stores. Generally I want smaller and newer boutiques to have this option available. It is not intended for larger or more established stores.

August 14th, 2007: Pool -13 days
Finished my informational brochure and send it to Miracle. See her comment about Microsofting your product to get an idea of what she though about it! :)

Got my new business card design finalized from the graphic artist.

August 15th, 2007: Pool -12 days
Wear Canada sends me a list of qualified buyers that they can supply me. I add them to the Constant Contact list and send them the press release.

August 16th, 2007: Pool -11 days
I pack the media kits (for the goodie bag) along with 200 other UDP for shipment to Las Vegas. Fill another box with sample jeans and another 50 or so denim mailing bags. There will be more delivered to Vegas via my manufacturer.

I need to allow for an extra day or two in case there are any shipping delays. UPS is the most reasonable shipment choice and the boxes should get there in five business days. To save a bit extra time and money, I drive to Buffalo to send out the boxes. $150 and 170 pounds later, I’m done.

August 17th. 2007: Pool -10 days
I was online looking at my credit card statement when I noticed a charge from the MGM Grand Business Center for $35.00. I called them up asking what the change was for. It was a handling charge for accepting by package. Now I’ve been to other hotels (not in Las Vegas) where I’ve shipped some packages in advance, only to have the package waiting for me in my room upon arrival and no fees. They then told me that the charge is based on the weight of the shipment.

Oh boy….$…$…$…

August 20th, 2007: Pool -7 days
Send out confirmation to steel company that the metal will be delivered before I arrive.

Email to models to confirm that everyone is still available.

Researched some other photo shoot pictures that I like and send them to the photographer.

My FedEx shipment from the manufacturer got delayed because the lack of specific documentation. Got the info and sent it to FedEx.

Finished the second version of my line sheet. Now I’m wondering how many line sheets I should take with me. The show is expecting 20,000 so I’m guessing between 200 and 500. Posted the question on F-I to see what everyone else thinks.

August 21st, 2007: Pool -6 days
Got a list from Pool and from Pure Consulting (PR company) of the media that will be covering the show. Start to locate email addresses and see who will be attending and would be interested in learning about the line.

Send out reminder notice to the models of the show times.

Send out my line sheet to Miracle to review.

I went to get my business cards and they were printed incorrectly. The top of the card has a bleed to the edge of the card and they cut the cards too high so it looks like my logo is wrong. They can print them again and the *should* be ready for Friday. I hope they are!

August 22nd, 2007: Pool -5 days
Still locating media email addresses and sending messages.

Send out email to models telling them of the meeting day and time, Aug 26 @ 19:00

August 24th, 2007: Pool -3 days
Got my business cards and though they are much better than the other ones there are still a few issues about how they cut them. However the cards are acceptable for use at this point. I ordered 2000 so I should have a few left over!

Okay, I’ve finally finished printing out all of my line sheets (300 copies) and my informational brochure (500 copies).

Press Kit. I got to make a press kit. Just in case anyone from the media that I’ve contacted or that Pool has invited show up in the booth. It’s late in the evening so I don’t get fancy. I just string together a PDF file with some of the better know articles that have written about the line. I print out 20 copies and use a modified cover from the informational brochure (trying to keep a consistent corporate image).

Look book. I forgot to print out my “look book”. Since these are custom, there are lots of combinations (more styles than there are people on the planet). I already picked out the jeans that are “samples” and had them sent to Las Vegas. All I did was print out a one page per pair of the jean details (like rise, fit, leg types, individual jean measurements and fabric/wash type).

Took all of the pages and bound them (I have a binding machine at home, very useful!) with a modified cover based on the information brochure. The title is “The Not a Look Book, Look Book”

Up next…Arriving in Las Vegas
Feel free to post comments and questions but if you think your question is of a sensitive nature, please post it in the thread in the member’s forum.

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  1. Bethany says:

    I am really enjoying these entries. I am always curious about ‘what people do all day long’. Now I have a day by day account of one person’s lead up to Pool. Very cool. Plus, I can see how my lead ups to trade shows compare. So far the only difference I see is in expense. Kid’s clothing is so much less expensive, but the revenue is also much less. Also, I still have yet to do my ‘press kit’. No one has ever asked for one, so I havent bothered, but I am getting ready to start, so all the notes on what you do is fabu. Thanks!

  2. Daniel,

    I am loving your entries. When I wrote about my own wholesale show experience, I felt there was so much more, but I didn’t have good notes.

    What you are writing is exactly what it’s like all day getting ready. My friends think I am designing and sewing, but have no idea of the thousands of details that have to get done. And it’s so easy to underestimate all the expenses (as you noted with hotel receiving). The bottom line can be quite a shock.

    Thank you for some great ideas on gathering email addresses and contacting people in advance. That’s something I’m working on now. I’ll check out constant contact and if we use them, I’ll credit you.

    One more thing: Please do write about how the models worked out. It’s something I have thought about (no one does that at the wholesale craft shows so it would be fun to do). What I hadn’t thought about was using them to sell as well as look good!

    Thank you so much for all your work on these articles.


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