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Taking Shortcuts in Order to Secure Investment Funds Is the Pursuit of Fools Gold and Insures Failure

August 29th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Just today, on a single Linked-In group I visit, I have seen at least five naked pitches seeking funding for a new consumer product, concept or invention. This occurs almost every day on these sites. The efforts are always clumsy, transparent, sophomoric, and can only lead to futility.

How do I know these attempts to secure investment funds lead to futility? Because they continue for weeks and typically become more desperate and shrill sounding. As a consultant who has worked in the Venture Capital and Investment Banking space for many years I can state with certainty that if an item or project is as good as claimed, this is not the way to excite a funding round from sophisticated, serious investors.

Social media is a wonderful new vehicle for spreading and gaining knowledge, acquaintances and opening exciting new doors but only if handled professionally. The same steps that must be accomplished when seeking funding from traditional sources must be followed in this new world unless the offer is to be dismissed as that of a carnival barker. Here are just a few tips.

  • Support the appeal for funding with a compelling set of bullet pointed factoids that reflect that you have performed essential due diligence.

This type of support is almost never on offer. Claims to wondrous product benefits are stated with no supporting research offered.

  • Offer to provide a customized Business Plan after completing a Non-Disclosure Agreement that will confirm the assumptions stated in the appeal for funding.

The shortcut most indicative of a project built on dreams and whimsy is one without a well constructed plan that demonstrates how funds will be used and the realistic return on Investment that can potentially be realized.

  • Be very careful not to scare off possible targets of opportunity with claims of scientific breakthroughs.

Just today I read an appeal for $1.5-3 million for a technology that targeted cures for numerous serious physical maladies. These maladies included the “O” word: oncology! Cancer centric treatments require hundreds of millions of dollars to pass unbelievably rigorous testing hurdles. A few million dollars would not buy enough Bunsen burners to start a project.

  • Research and create a customized Marketing Strategy and Sales Model that will support the assumptions needed to interest funding sources in investing in the project.

A perceived good consumer product idea is of no use unless there is a strategy in place to fully commercialize the good or service in the frenetic retail marketplace. This kind of professional service is readily available from consultants, universities and local government agencies. What is the Unique Selling Proposition that separates the item from competition? Who is the competition? What is the needed profit margin necessary to prosper in the space? These and dozens of other questions and issues will ultimately need to be addressed.

  • In order to raise awareness and interest from serious funding sources have perfected prototypes, manufacturing sources, logistics, dead net landed cost of goods per mass production of the item and pricing models available.

Many of the requests I review in social media have one or several of these steps nailed down. However, almost never do they have the full flotilla that would indicate that the prospective entrepreneur is serious and viable. This is a shortcut that we see in every form of funding request that we review.

  • The hardest money to raise, in social media, cloud investing or traditional Venture Capital is small amount requests.

Investors, whether individual or sophisticated groups, like to see sweat equity from entrepreneurs and this includes that they have money on the table. Small requests for $10,000 or $25,000 are referred to as 3-F money. These are funds that come from friends, family or fools. Typically this level of funding is much too small to be of interest to traditional sources of Venture Capital.

There are a near endless number of deals and projects seeking a finite amount of capital. If you seriously believe your project deserves consideration for funding then fully demonstrate your passion. Do not take shortcuts. If you do you simply obviate yourself and your project from any possibility of success.

The Enduring French Haute Couture House that Inspires & Impresses to this Day in Several Fashion Categories

August 27th, 2013

By: Geoff Ficke

The eponymous founder of the House of Lanvin, Madame Jeanne Lanvin was a Parisian couturier who was first admitted to the prestigious Syndicate de la Couture in 1909. At the time, Madame Lanvin had gained a following of wealthy Parisian clients attracted to the children’s clothing she was designing for her own daughter; the future opera star Marie Blanche di Pietro. Her lovely creations were in great demand initially for little upper-crust girls, and then for their gentrified mothers who sought to co-ordinate their dresses and millinery with their daughters style.

Madame Lanvin’s couture business boomed almost immediately and she soon opened a boutique on the ever-fashionable Rue Fauborg St. Honore in Paris. Her modernist styling cues, eye for fabric and color, and elegant detailing appealed to wealthy mothers and daughters from all over Europe. In 1923 the House of Lanvin opened a dye producing factory in Nanterre. This extension of the business accelerated the firm’s ability to provide vivid, novel and the most beautiful fabrics for use in their couture business and for sales to other clothing manufacturers.

As growth continued throughout the 1920’s the House of Lanvin open boutiques dedicated to home décor, fur, menswear and lingerie.

It was in 1924 that Lanvin Parfums SA was formed and in 1927 Madame Lanvin made her most important commercial expansion. It was in that year that she introduced the classic fragrance Arpege. The name was inspired by the sound of Marie Blanche practicing the scales on her piano (Arpege is derived from the word pronounced and spelled “arpeggio” in French). Arpege was an instant commercial success and is still one of the best selling scents in the world.

The great interior designer and artist of the day Armand Albert Rateau had been engaged to decorate Madame Lanvin’s apartment and country homes in the early 1920’s. She was so impressed with his creativity and spatial sensibility that he was commissioned to design the famous La Boule crystal flacon for Arpege perfume. This gorgeous example of luxury packaging has retained its popularity to this day and still enhances the desirability of Arpege as a classic fragrance brand.

In 1907 the well known portrait artist Paul Iribe had been commissioned to paint the likeness of Madame Lanvin and her daughter in a golden image. This rendering has been imprinted on every bottle of world famous Arpege perfume and bath and body products ever sold. The love of mother and daughter is apparent to us over a century later.

The House of Lanvin was successful under the steady guidance and entrepreneurial hand of Jeanne Lanvin for the first half of the 20th century. During this time period, no consumer of haute couture visited Paris without visiting Madame Lanvin’s boutiques to experience first-hand the finest in understated elegance and craftsmanship. The finest department and specialty stores around the world carried her lines of fragrance, couture and fashion accessories on an exclusive basis.

Today, the Lanvin boutique on Rue Fauborg St. Honore is still a fashion shrine. The current head designer Alber Elbaz has maintained the traditions of classicism and excellence demanded by Jeanne Lanvin. Lanvin licensed products are produced to the highest specification and standards of quality and distributed on an exclusive basis. Arpege fragrances are in distribution to better stores around the world and still greatly appreciated by discerning ladies seeking the feminine, understated notes the scent purveys.

Jeanne Lanvin built a timeless brand. She was an entrepreneur with perfect fashion instincts. These sensibilities extended to men’s haberdashery, fur, interior décor,
manufacturing, perfumery, fashion accessories of course her signature fashion house. This innovator was never interested in current trends but always sought to offer design that would convey artistry and elegance for the present as well as the future.

First-Mover Disadvantages Must Be Carefully Guarded Against When a Consumer Product Is Truly Novel

August 22nd, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Every business school student, entrepreneur or consumer product marketer knows and understands the advantages and importance of being the First-Mover in a given
product category. Even those not actively participating in the space instinctively understand that it is best to be first to market with a breakthrough product. First-Mover Advantage (FMA) has become popularized with the dawn of the internet age. However, the concept has been around as long as we have been packaging and selling goods.

An easily explained example of FMA was the introduction of disposable baby diapers to the consumer product marketplace by Proctor & Gamble. P&G discovered a synthetic fiber then only available in Europe. The acquisition of the proprietary fiber enabled disposable diapers to be massed produced at prices that were exceedingly popular with parents. This created a new category and P&G enjoyed a FMA in the disposable diaper space that the Company exploits to this day.

While we instinctively know why a FMA is desirable and of premium value to a product, we often do not anticipate the pressures that can be applied to such a novel new product. This is called a First-Mover Disadvantage (FMD).

One paramount concern is Free-Riders. These are businesses that study a breakthrough product, its Research and Development, manufacturing processes, formula, marketing, etc. and replicate without exposing themselves to the upfront risks that are endemic in launching any breakthrough item. Imitation costs are much lower than
innovation costs. There are successful firms that specialize in this technique.

The Limited was amazingly successful at replicating the style and the detail of couture ladies fashion dress and suit designs, streamlining production, lowering costs and moving customers from boutiques and department stores to their own eponymous shops. RIM, created the Blackberry, a smashing success, only to be almost fully displaced by Apple and Samsung products that studied, improved and advanced on their technology.

Another FMD is the assumption of marketing risk. It can be expensive and difficult to educate retailers and consumers to the features and benefits of a new product.  Innovators often exhaust their resources in the development and introduction of their product(s) only to expire before they can be successfully commercialized. The initial mover assumes all of the market creation risk. Subsequent Free-Riders can often fill the void with a version of the alpha product and often are more successful.

Technology shifts often create a changing consumer. Remember the VHS video player? The cassette tapes these bulky units played were an entertainment tsunami. That was until the DVD format was developed and introduced. The smaller compact DVD discs and superior quality literally crushed the purveyors of VHS products within months. Especially with technology, you are never the greatest only the latest. Brother’s typewriters, Eastman Kodak and Polaroid are examples to consider.

Incumbent inertia is another FMD to be guarded against. Some management’s become inflexible, rigid or content to operate the way they have always operated even as markets change. Simply search the list of national and regional retailers that has disappeared in the last 40 years. It is stunning. Major department stores have been bankrupted or merged into more aggressive groups. Sears, once the largest and most successful retailer in the world, is on life support as I write this. They could easily go the way of Montgomery Ward, Circuit City, Mervyns and countless others.

Another sign of incumbent inertia is the inability, or conscious decision not to cannibalize an existing product. The Ford Motor Company was the most successful industrial enterprise in history in the first third of the 20th century. Henry Ford was brilliant but inflexible. The consumer could buy a Model T in any color, as long as it was black. As a result, his firm was displaced by General Motors and its brilliant maestro Alfred Sloan. Sloan designed a stair step series of marketing and brand platforms that moved
consumers from Chevrolet, to Pontiac, to Buick, then Oldsmobile and ultimately to Cadillac as they moved from various stages of life and success.

Charles Revson did the same with Revlon cosmetic, fragrance and skin care products. Revlon in the mid-20th century was the most successful beauty brand in the world. Rather than sit on his laurels Mr. Revson introduced the higher priced Ultima II line and then, for exclusive specialty stores, Etherea was launched. Estee Lauder Cosmetics has accomplished the same with her brands stepping to Clinique, Bobbi Brown, MAC, and Origins among others to successfully fill market niches. Contemporary beauty product and fragrance lines of the day like Erno Laszlo, Imperial Formula and Frances Denney atrophied to nothing as they did not innovate and adapt to market changes.

We advise many of our clients when customizing their Business Plan to anticipate the cannibalization of their product by themselves. If an item is successful it will be copied by others. It is incumbent on innovative entrepreneurs to maximize all possible returns on their investment, creativity and hard work. Replicate and reposition your product before others do!

By garnering the smallest niche within a huge category a product can be hugely successful. This FMA may be tiny but it can be lucrative. Just remember that success breeds copycats. Anticipate that you will experience Free-Riders and plan the appropriate strategy to maximize and safeguard protection for your hard work.

A Surprising Number of Consumer Products Leap Categories and Discover Multi-Chanel Success

August 21st, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Many, many moons ago, when I was a small child growing up in Kentucky, my mother created her own customized skin care products from items she harvested from our food pantry and refrigerator. These were a type of artisan treatment regimen that had been handed down from her mother and other female relatives. I can clearly remember the distinct and wonderful scent that emanated from the kitchen as my mother milled and blended her olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon and herbal potions.

These products worked. When mom died in her mid-70’s, after a lifetime of outdoor work on a farm and endless hours of self-tanning her skin was flawless. My siblings and I do not believe she ever bought at cleanser, toner, moisturizer, night cream or any other type of cosmetic skin care product from a retail store. Mother was a child of the Depression, and as such, she was raised to be as self-sufficient as possible.

My mother also practiced a form of consumer product category jumping. Her homemade cosmetic skin care treatment was rendered from foodstuffs purchased mainly for consumption by our large brood. I doubt Hellman’s Mayonnaise, A&P Olive Oil or the United Fruit company produced their products with cosmetic usage in mind.

There are actually more examples of this type of product category jumping than one might think. You probably have experienced such multiple uses for products in your own experience. A number of specific products actually have seen sales rise perceptibly as a result of usage that differs from the manufacturer’s original intent.

One of the most famous was the well known hemorrhoid ointment Preparation H. This formula was created by the prolific scientist Dr. Sperti. It was very successful for many years and was considered the leading treatment of its day for this annoying malady. Then a funny thing happened.

Women realized that if it worked on hemorrhoids it might work on facial wrinkles. Voila, they were right and a cult-like following grew to believe Preparation H as the best option on the market to fight wrinkles, fine lines and damaged skin. The product had the added benefit of being inexpensive relative to packaged cosmetic and department skin care treatment lines such as Frances Denney, Germaine Monteil and Orlane.

Another crossover star is equally fascinating. In farm stores in rural communities across America there is a need for a livestock product that can treat horses and cattle that suffer from damage caused by thorns, thickets and rusted barbed wire fencing. The leading product in this space is an ointment called Corona.

A number of years ago I first heard from the mother of newborn baby about Corona. She raved about the creams ability to eliminate her little one’s severe diaper rash. She had tried everything, even doctor prescribed treatments to no avail. Another mom told her to drive 60 miles to the nearest Southern States store and buy a tube of Corona. She did. She was wowed and returned within a week to buy out the stores stock.

I decided to check it out for myself. I visited a Southern States store and asked the clerk how Corona Ointment was selling? He stopped and replied that until a couple years ago it sold only to farmers. But then they began to notice mothers of babies with license plates from distant counties buying multiple tubes of the product. The store was often out of stock on what had been a steady, but unspectacular selling niche product.

We use EZ-Off Oven Cleaner to remove mold from our log home. It works great. It works much better than the much more expensive mold treatment products that the DIY stores stock and advertise.

There are many other examples of products or ingredients that jump categories and enjoy cult status. You probably utilize one or more in your home, work or garden.

Entrepreneurs Should Realize There Are Absolutes in Life Other Than Death and Taxes

August 21st, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

The great Founding Father, Diplomat, Scientist, Inventor and Writer Ben Franklin once so presciently said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain beside death and taxes”. This most famous bromide has been restated endlessly in every possible venue since the great man first uttered the phrase. It is an absolute of the human condition that is so obvious as to seem almost trite.

I used to utilize the quote myself. As my life, experiences and career has entered their fourth quarter, however, I have expanded on the phrase and the paramount certitude of death and taxes in our lives. Several additional phrases that I have regularly encountered have brought me to doubt their veracity and the trustworthiness of those utilizing the lugubrious language contained therein.

The first is “I am an honest man”. Whenever I hear those five words I put my hand on my wallet. An honest person would never have to state these words in order to confirm their honesty.

Next is when adults imply “It’s for the kids”. Virtually never have I ever heard adults beatifically working for the kids unless there is some benefit involved that enhances their position. Think teachers unions. Think government programs. Think foster parent programs that have become income subsidies. There are certainly adults who rejoice at the opportunity to volunteer, mentor and work with kids. Wonderful people all. However, they usually do not self-promote and seek funds that are really for them and not so much “for the kids”.

Finally, I run when I hear the phrase “it’s not about the money”. I hear this one a lot in my work. When I hear these words, it is in actuality almost always about the money. And if it is not it usually should be.

I am a serial entrepreneur. For many years I have helped inventors, entrepreneurs, small businesses and licensors fund, market and develop a wide array of consumer products. I am always amazed when a prospective entrepreneur states that they are not seeking to profit from their idea but want to help society, employee their neighbors, aid their community  or some other vanity they prefer to the pursuit of commercial success.

Do not get me wrong these are admirable sentiments. But only after success is achieved, profits made and growth occurs. Then the opportunity to dispose of the fruits of one’s labor is an option that can bring wonderful personal and societal rewards.

John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Thomas Pew and John T. MacArthur are famous examples of successful industrialists that have been dead for decades. While alive they created vast wealth by driving thriving business empires that employed thousands of people. Their companies prosper to this day. And though long
deceased, their charitable foundations perform inspiring good works in many fields of endeavor such as museums, medical research, cultural entertainment and caring for the less fortunate. Without profit, money, none of these benefits would still be happening today.

I am amazed when a person seeks funding for a project that includes a statement of disinterest in a profit motive. Venture Capital is in the business of profit. The realistic potential for Return on Investment is the tent pole upon which projects are seeded and nurtured to fruition.

Most projects that we review make unrealistic revenue and profit projections on the high side. However, not a small minority seek a funding round with the upfront proposition that the project is about some form of social activism, not the earning of profits. There are other avenues that social entrepreneurs can follow to realize these dreams. But if it’s “not about the money” it is not likely to achieve success.

Problem Solving is Key to Realizing Success In the Hyper-Active Consumer Product Marketplace

August 20th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Many of my students and prospective clients often ask a similar question: “What is the key to successfully launching a new product or service”? While there are many elements that allow for market success there is one that stands out. That is the ability for a product to provide a solution to a problem that consumers readily are able to recognize and understand.

A few years ago a direct response marketing company launched a product called the Snuggy. Initially the short form infomercial that introduced the Snuggy was considered a bit silly. The product after all is a blanket with sleeves and it looked a tad cumbersome to wear. However, as the campaign took hold, and the benefits of the Snuggy became apparent sales took off. Since launch, the Snuggy has sold well over 25 million units and has resulted in the building of a brand that regularly expands with new product
introductions
. The Snuggy offered comfort and freedom of motion.

Direct response marketers are constantly looking for products that solve problems. The items they most prize can seem almost mundane. But, if a better mousetrap can be discovered, and the product works as promised and can be built at the right price, deals will get done.

The best ideas we review almost always are generated from the creator’s personal environment. Work, a hobby, or special interests act as laboratories for the flowering of ideas that enhance the inventor’s tasks. Avid cooks devise the most useful food handling items and kitchen implements. People involved in fashion and design create interesting beauty products, jewelry concepts and other related products. Most of the useful hardware and DIY products we have reviewed evolve from a handyman, or craftsman’s drive to improve their end work product. This truism applies to every area of endeavor.

I have, on many occasions, discovered really clever problem solving gadgets being used in an acquaintances home. The item is almost always jerry-rigged, homemade, often crude but able to solve a specific problem as the creator intended. The designer usually has never considered commercializing and launching their item as a consumer product for sale in the retail marketplace. They simply built the device to solve a problem and are happy that their effort has provided the appropriate solution.

There are numerous variables that are involved in the ultimate success or failure of any consumer product or service. Design, packaging, branding, a customized business
plan
and marketing strategy, research, cost of mass production, and many other elements enter the equation that decides the success or death of a product. However, the one factor that will offer the greatest potential for a successful outcome is the ability of your project to provide a solution to a readily recognizable problem. Does your item solve a problem?

The Story of a Bespoke Tailor, Royalty, Commerce and the Introduction of the Smoking Jacket or Tuxedo

August 20th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

The modern, ubiquitous tuxedo is a staple of most modern gentlemen’s fulsome wardrobes. How the tuxedo, or “dinner jacket”, was initially birthed is an interesting story and entwines a London Saville Row bespoke tailoring house, royalty and an American investment banker. This confluence of influences has influenced how the well-dressed man presents himself for special occasions for a century and a half since the distinctive garment made its first appearance.

Tailless jackets, then called smoking jackets, first became popular in England in the mid-19th century among the landed gentry and royalty as alternatives to tailed suit coats. Distinguished by satin or grosgrain lapels and striping on the outside of pants legs, these suits were much more informal and less cumbersome than the restrictive, uncomfortable waist coated suits worn by gentlemen of that time.

Their popularity was insured when the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, asked his tailor to make him such a suit as an alternative to the waistcoat. Henry Poole & Co., the Prince’s Saville Row bespoke tailors, were tasked with designing and fitting what would become the first formally recognized “smoking jacket’. There are conflicting stories as to the date of the first iteration of what would become known as the tuxedo was crafted. But Henry Poole and Co. has receipts for such a commission dating to the 1860’s. By the 1880’s the Prince was ordering “smoking jackets” from the haberdasher.

During this period the banking firm Brown and Co. was the principal source of letters of credit for international trade payments. In 1886 the Prince of Wales invited the son of the founder of Brown and Co., James Potter Brown a London-based partner in the bank, to visit his estate at Sandringham House for a hunting party. In preparation for the visit Mr. Brown asked the Prince to advise appropriate dress for the various sporting and social functions that were to be enjoyed. The Prince referred Mr. Brown to Henry Poole and Co. where he was fitted for a proper “smoking jacket”.

During a subsequent visit to the fashionable new resort outside New York City called Tuxedo Park James Potter Brown wore his Henry Poole and Co. crafted “smoking jacket” to an elegant soiree. The suit was immediately praised and members of the resort began to demand to be fitted for the garment from their tailors. The connection to Tuxedo Park stuck and the appellation “tuxedo” for the American version of the “smoking jacket” was born.

The introduction of the modern tuxedo drove the creation of an elegant ensemble to be worn for any formal, special occasion from fund raisers to marriage ceremonies. The suit itself has developed a coterie of specialized accessories that have become almost mandatory to complete the classic look of the well dressed gentlemen. Shoes, stylized shirts and collars, studs, the cummerbund, pocket squares and neckwear specific to embellishing the tuxedo are deemed essential to complete the desired sartorial elegance.

Today, the well-dressed gentleman usually owns at least one black tuxedo complete with the requisite array of appropriate accessories. Colors and accompanying accessories now run the gamut from the elegant to the tacky. Nevertheless, whenever a man dresses in a tuxedo he is unwittingly paying a bit of homage to a successful man of  commerce, 19th century British royalty and the ageless craftsmanship purveyed by bespoke tailors.

British Royal Pageantry Would Be Much Less Colorful Without This 300 Year Old Firms Artisan Products

August 20th, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

Many Americans are dazzled by the solemnity, richness and dash of Great Britain’s royalty and landed gentry class and their balls, parades, hunts, weddings and state funerals. From Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in the 1950’s to Princess Diana’s wedding and untimely funeral to the spectacular PBS television series Downton Abbey, we are shown glimpses of a world of etiquette, discipline, heritage and beauty far from our own. One firm, holders of Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Warrant, has been ringside for much of this pageantry for the better part of three centuries.

The Toye family was Huguenot refugees. They had fled religious persecution in France and arrived in 1685, settling near what is now Bethnal Green. In France they had been artisans working and crafting lace, silk, embroidery and gold and silver wiring for garments and military embellishments. They continued this work upon settling near London.

By 1784 Guillaume Henry Toye was well established in the trade and had established the firm’s first shop. His grandson William Toye, expanded the business in 1835. In addition to adding a ribbon works, William opened two retail stores near central London to capitalize on the growing demand for uniform and military parade products.

In 1890 facilities were acquired for the weaving of heavy, double-twilled silk products. The trade union movement, Friendly Societies and the Masonic trade was flourishing and Toye seized on the opportunity to accelerate the Company’s growth by serving these customer bases. A banner department was established. Painting and embroidery of the banners proved to increase the desirability of Toye’s products immensely.

The Company continued to grow under the direction of William Toye’s three sons in the first three decades of the 20th century. Then a seeming disaster, the Great Depression hit the United Kingdom in 1930. Despite massive unemployment, poverty and hunger Toye and Co. maintained full employment throughout the Depression.

In 1937 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Their coronation proved most profitable for the Company as it required six months of overtime work for the artisan craftsman of Toye & Co. to produce the required banners, uniforms, epaulets, robes and regalia required for the regal occasion.

To this very day Toye & Co. produces a wide range of ceremonial and fashion products. The Company operates a number of factories in the United Kingdom, including a jewelry production facility in Birmingham and a textile production plant near Coventry. The firm operates a wonderful retail shop on Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, London. There, much of the firm’s highly crafted product is available for consumer purchase.

Toye & Co. is still managed by descendants of the founder, Guillaume Henry Toye. As Royal Warrant holders the firm has proven over more than 300 years of creative work that quality, detail, and dependability are touchstones that every enterprise should strive to attain and perfect in each product or service on offer.

Any 21st century entrepreneur would do well to study these honored businesses and learn the attributes that separate them from competitors.

When visiting Great Britain I always seek out firms displaying the crested sign that indicates the residence of a Royal Warrant Holder. This award is only given to firm’s possessing the absolute highest standards. Just browsing these purveyors of old world craftsmanship is enthralling and educational.

mybackpacktags® to Unveil at American Montessori Society 2013 Conference, March 14-17 in Orlando

March 13th, 2013

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609
gficke@msn.com

mybackpacktags® to Unveil at American Montessori Society 2013 Conference, March 14-17 in Orlando

Award Winning After School Activity Communication System Product Line to Be Demonstrated at Booth #506

Cincinnati, OH Kristi Vredeveld and Camille Gartner, creators and co-founders of mybackpacktags, announced today that their novel, patent pending, after school activity
communication system product line
will be introduced to attendees at the American Montessori Society 2013 Conference in Orlando, FL.

“We decided to commercialize a concept that we designed as mothers of Montessori students to more easily and accurately communicate with teachers and school
administrators
”, said Mrs. Gartner. “Parents are busy, school staffing is stretched and we saw a need which mybackpacktags addresses in a colorful,
simple and clearly understandable system of tags”.

“Our system is crafted to streamline communication between parents, children and school personnel so that after school activities and transportation directives are presented in a standardized format”, said Mrs. Vredeveld. “Color coded printed activity tags, caribiners, stylized note pads and sharpies are used to create a customized messaging system that is conveyed on every students back pack”.

mybackpacktags will be offered for direct sales at the Montessori show as well as direct to consumers though www.mybackpacktags.com . The line is being readied for retail introduction through a series of trade shows and sales representation. Sales support and strong point of purchase display have been developed to insure strong sell through and consumer awareness.

This 19th Century Cosmetic Industry Pioneer’s Name is Synonymous with the Creation of Safe Mascara

January 22nd, 2013

by: Geoff Ficke

If a consumer walks into almost any mass market retail beauty product counter In the world they will encounter a wide array of cosmetic and skin care products under the Brand name Rimmel. The line seems ubiquitous, common, moderately priced and well-marketed to attract the mid-price shopper. And yet, the Brand has an amazing provenance and is an important pioneering innovator in the creation of the modern cosmetic industry.

Born in France, but reared in London, Eugene Rimmel was the son of the manager of a perfumery on London’s swank Bond Street. As a young man he apprenticed in the shop under the tutelage of his father and became adept at creating scents, lotions and cosmetic products that satisfied the needs of the gentry of the day. In the year 1834 he opened his own perfumery, The House of Rimmel.

In collaboration with his father, Rimmel became one of London’s most successful cosmetic formulators. He quickly became the leading creative force in the emerging beauty
product industry
and was especially appreciated for the advances he developed in the areas of hygiene and product efficacy. Eugene Rimmel became the leader in promoting the still nascent habit of regular bathing.

The House of Rimmel became famous for their “vinegar water, pomades and one of the first effective mouth rinses, the precursor to modern mouthwash. However, it was the development of the still rarely used, expensive and unsafe product called “mascara” that made Eugene Rimmel’s reputation.

Mascara was widely known, and users appreciated the cosmetic effect that mascara provided in embellishing and dramatizing the eye lashes. However, the available compounds of the early 19th century were difficult to apply, unstable and very often lead to eye irritation and even disease. Rimmel developed the first commercial, non-toxic mascara.

Rimmel Mascara was an immediate hit. As sales of the mascara exploded so did sales of the Company’s other products. This lead to the organization of international
distributors
and Rimmel became one of the first cosmetic businesses to be sold in wide international distribution. Because the Rimmel mascara was so popular, this silver bullet product became the appellation for mascara in many languages. In Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, Turkish, Persian and other languages the word used to designate mascara is “Rimmel”.

Not only did Rimmel pioneer safety and hygiene in its research and development, the Company excelled in marketing the Brand. At a time when consumer product Branding and Marketing were primitive, Eugene Rimmel proved to be a master brand builder. He was among the earliest pioneers of the use of direct mail catalogs. A particular effective technique which he developed was to advertise in theatrical play bills wherever Rimmel products were sold.

One of Rimmel’s proudest achievements was being awarded 10 Royal Warrants from European monarchs for his fragrances, toiletry and cosmetic product creations. Great Britain’s Queen Victoria was a particularly avid supporter of The House of Rimmel.

When Eugene Rimmel died in 1887 the New York Times proclaimed him to have been “The Prince of Perfumers”. He was succeeded in managing the Company by his sons and the family held continual control until 1949. Since then the business has been owned by a series of multi-national corporations. Today the world-wide owners of Rimmel are Coty, Inc.

Today, the importance of Eugene Rimmel’s pioneering efforts has lost significance with contemporary consumers. Rimmel cosmetics seem to be a brand name of no unique value, no personality that we can relate to. The mass market products carrying the Rimmel name compete with a host of other low to mid-priced cosmetic lines. This dilutes the historic provenance and importance that this visionary entrepreneur applied to building his Company and his legacy.