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Archive for December, 2011

3 Sisters Restorasis® Announces Appointment of Mumbai-Based Market Makers to Manage Asian Launch

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

December 31, 2011

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

3 Sisters Restorasis® Announces Appointment of Mumbai-Based Market Makers to Manage Asian Launch

Medical Aesthetic Skin Care Range to Begin Distribution in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal in 2012

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager of award winning international Consumer Product Development, Marketing and Branding Consulting group
Duquesa Marketing announced today that her firm has engaged the services of Mumbai, India-based Market Makers to co-ordinate all distribution elements for
the 2012 launch of 3 Sisters Restorasis in southern Asia.

“Acting as Managing Consultants for 3 Sisters Restorasis we launched the brand at the recent COSMOPROF Hong Kong cosmetic expo”, said Mrs. Ficke. “Because of the Medical
Aesthetic provenance of the product, there was unusual interest from agents and distributors from every country in the hyper-sophisticated Asian skin care market. Market Makers particularly impressed us with their disciplined, experienced approach”.

“The Indian market for upscale treatment brands that are supported with  science and technology has grown exponentially”, said Rajesh Iyer, Principal of Market Makers. “We were very excited by 3 Sisters Restorasis on every level and felt it was the breakthrough Skin Care Brand we reviewed at COSMOPROF Hong Kong”.

“Penetrating markets like India requires special knowledge and relationships”, said Dr. Jeanne O’Connell, Developer and Founder of 3 Sisters Restorasis. “We discussed distribution options on many levels but settling on Market Makers as our guide in these countries was an easily made choice. We look forward to a strong 2012 launch under their astute guidance”.

Duquesa Marketing Announces Appointment of Mumbai Agent to Co-ordinate Skin Care Client’s Asian Launch

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

December 31, 2011

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Duquesa Marketing Announces Appointment of Mumbai Agent to Co-ordinate Skin Care Client’s Asian Launch

3 Sisters Restorasis® Hydro-BioMimetic Skin Care Regimen to Be Introduced by Market Makers to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

Florence, KY  Alexis Bruning, V.P. of Product Development for award winning international Branding and Consumer Product Marketing Consulting group
Duquesa marketing announced today that her firm has teamed with Mumbai, India based Market Makers to co-ordinate the 2012 launch of 3 Sisters Restorasis in the
key south Asian markets of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

“The logistics and bureaucracy that must be negotiated to successfully distribute luxury skin care products in some Asian markets requires someone to be in-country
looking out for our clients interest at all times”, said Mrs. Bruning. “Rajesh Iyer and his Market Makers group have great experience in pioneering and growing luxuryproducts and we are excited to announce this collaboration”.

“We met the Duquesa Marketing and 3 Sisters Restorasis group at COSMOPROF Hong Kong last month”, said Rajesh Iyer, Principal of Market Makers. “Market
Makers was specifically searching for an upscale Skin Care brand with strong science and clinical support, an exciting marketing strategy and a unique
proprietary technology, all of which Restorasis possesses in great abundance”.

“We reviewed all distribution options for India most carefully with our managing consultants Duquesa Marketing“, said Dr. Jeanne O’Connell founder of the famous Frederick,
MD based Sylvana Institute and developer of 3 Sisters Restorasis. ‘The decision to utilize Market Makers to pioneer our technology in these key markets became
much easier after we weighed the many options we had at hand”.

3 Sisters Restorasis® Appoints Mumbai based Market Makers to Co-ordinate 2012 Asian Product Introduction

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Duquesa Marketing

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Contact Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

December 29, 2011
gficke@msn.com

3 Sisters Restorasis® Appoints Mumbai based Market Makers to Co-ordinate 2012 Asian Product Introduction

Hydro-BioMimetic Skin Repair Complex Developed for Consumer Use at the Sylvana Institute after Amazing Patient Healing
Successes

Frederick, MD,     Dr. Jeanne O’Connell, founder of the famous Sylvana Institute Wellness Clinic and developer of the Hydro-BioMimetic 3 Sisters Restorasis Skin Care Complex anounced today that her advanced Anti-Aging product line will be introduced in the rapidly growing Southern Asia marketplace by a joint collaboration between
Duquesa Marketing and Market Makers.

“The development of the Restorasis retail program has been managed by Duquesa Marketing, and we introduced the brand with them at the recent Hong
Kong COSMOPROF”, said Dr. O’Connell. “The response to the products, technology and performance demonstration was gratifying and though we had numerous
options, it was an easy choice to utilize the services of Market Makers”.

“3 Sisters Restorasis stood out to our group as being the most serious, advanced and demonstrable Skin Care Brand we viewed at the huge COSMOPROF Hong
Kong”, said Rajesh Iyer, Managing Partner of Mumbai India based Market Makers. “India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are becoming serious Skin Care
consuming markets and we are excited to pioneer this launch in 2012”.

“The logistics of doing business in these countries can be daunting for new companies”, said Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa
Marketing. “Rajesh Iyer’s team at Market Makers understands luxury, upscale products and how to negotiate the nooks and crannies of the bureaucracies to ensure
that distribution can develop in a fruitful fashion. We are very excited about the future in these growing markets under Mr. Iyer’s steady hand”.

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page December 15, 2011, “A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism”

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Wall Street Journal Opinion Page December 15, 2011

A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism

by Geoff Ficke

I read, then re-read with incredulity Al Gore’s, and his minions, treatise on a new, improved sustainable capitalism (WSJ, Dec 14, 2011 A Manifesto for Sustainable Capitalism). After considering the ponderous, plodding abstractions proferred by this well-know entrenched team of career politicians and professors I was struck by one missing piece of data omitted from this centrally planned theorem: They did not name or cite a single example of any enterprise that is successfully following their enlightened path to sustainable riches. Luddite that I am, I will continue to seek lessons from capitalism from those old dinosaurs Hayek, Friedman and Adam Smith.

The Most Under-Utilized Resource Entrepreneurs Neglect to Take Advantage of Is Local Universities

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

The Most Under-Utilized Resource Entrepreneurs Neglect to Take Advantage of Is Local Universities 

Inventors, Entrepreneurs, Artisans and Small Businesses are very often bereft of funds needed to secure professional help that would be beneficial in leveraging their projects to success. Lawyers, Engineers, Graphic Artists, Logistics Specialists, Packaging Designers, Web-site Masters, Marketing Consultants and many other qualified experts are much needed but difficult to afford for those starting a new enterprise. This is understandable but there are other sources for obtaining qualified help. 

We refer many under-funded prospective Entrepreneur’s to the nearest major University. Colleges are places of learning, often fully funded by taxpayers. There are many areas of study in each university’s core curriculum. Business schools, Design colleges, art programs, marketing majors, Engineering departments, etc. house a motivated, ambitious horde of students seeking to gain practical experience in their field of study. 

College Deans and Professors are often a wonderful source of inspiration when approached by small businesses and inventors seeking guidance. They will often assign a student, or team of students to assist on a project. Not only is this resume building experience invaluable for the undergraduate but it often leads to internships or post-graduate employment for those who successfully complete the assigned project. 

Many Universities have become very active in a commercialization process that they call “Technology Transfer”. When a school discovers a new technology, product or science that can be perfected in their facilities, they are being very aggressive in commercializing the process and attempting to create recurring income streams. We are currently involved with several major Universities in this type of product development and the concept is growing rapidly as colleges seek to leverage the invaluable resources that are housed in their intellectual property facilities. Technology Transfer can work for many more inventors. 

One of the fastest growing areas of study in Business Schools is Entrepreneurship. I have been a mentor, lecturer and Fellow at several colleges in this program. At some schools the course in Entrepreneurial Studies has become a capstone course, essential to complete before becoming eligible for receipt of a degree. These courses are often available as laboratories for inventors and small businesses wishing to perfect a Business Plan, create a Sales Model, customize a Marketing Strategy or design a Production Quality Prototype.   

These courses can be very useful. They are free for those willing to pursue the assets they can offer. Actually, most Professors love to match students with real world projects as opposed to an abstract fantasy project that the student designs on their own. 

On any number of occasions my Consumer Product Development and Marketing Consulting firm has mated entrepreneurial projects with students eager to obtain real world experience. We have done this with Gourmet Food (Nutrition Science), Footwear (Fashion Design), Skin Care and Aromatherapy (Marketing and Chemistry), DIY Product (Engineering), Packaging (Graphic Arts) and more. 

Obviously, it is preferable to utilize the most qualified, experienced talent available if it can be afforded. Students do not have an extensive body of work that can be tapped to quickly solve problems. However, what they lack in experience, they can make up for in energy and hunger. 

The job of a professional consultant or service provider is to save the client time, money and mistakes. If the client has limited monies available pursuit of assistance from a motivated student can provide a reasonable alternative. Many Small Business people often root for the local schools sports teams. It can be much more satisfying to use the college academic departments as part of your own team.

What Is 3-F Funding and Why Do Entrepreneurs Need to Understand the Vetting Process for Securing Funding?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

What Is 3-F Funding and Why Do Entrepreneurs Need to Understand the Vetting Process for Securing Funding? 

Many years ago, when I was a young, ambitious, aspiring entrepreneur I was imbued with the conceit that venture capitalists, investment banks or angel investors would fall over themselves to invest in my first project. I was passionate about my product. I quickly discovered that investors were decidedly not.  

Though disappointed at my lack of success in securing the sought after funding, I was able to learn a lesson that has been a truism in my entrepreneurial career, and one I share frequently with prospective clients in my Consumer Product Branding, Product Development, Marketing and Funding Consulting group. Simply stated the lesson is this: Start-up funding for almost all enterprises is 3-F funding. It comes from Friends, Family or Fools. 

I am approached almost daily by aspiring Inventors and Entrepreneurs seeking a funding round for their proposed new project. They ask and I respond that this type of funding, and in the relatively small amounts requested, comes from Friends, Family or Fools. This adage is to Venture Capital as “Going, Going, Gone” is to baseball or “Hooah” is the 82nd Airborne Dvision. 

Most start-up business opportunities do not qualify for an initial investment round because they cannot stand the vetting process applied by sophisticated investors. There are many reasons for this barrier to entry. The amount that can be justified by the Business Plan is too small for consideration. The plan itself is not compelling. The inventor or entrepreneur is not compelling owing to their background or history. There is a lack of due diligence that is easily recognized in the strategy proposed. 

I regularly find myself counseling prospective small business owners that if failure to secure a funding round will kill their project, then the project probably should die. It is the successful entrepreneur’s responsibility to find a way to overcome every obstacle placed in their path, including raising seed money from unorthodox sources. If this roadblock proves fatal, then the owner is not driven, passionate, creative or clever enough to succeed in the endeavor. 

Are their funding alternatives? Yes. Many projects can be bootstrapped utilizing very limited funds and a great deal of leverage. Strategic alliances can be developed for many projects. Many projects are proposed on large scale launch and distribution strategies that can be downsized, localized and then regionalized as sales traction occurs. Money is always available for funding projects that demonstrate sales traction, and, most crucially, re-orders! Receivable funding and factoring are methods we utilize often to finance client growth.

Recently I consulted with a young man who was developing a juvenile Toy product line. He presented me with a plan that was built on a $750,000 funding requirement. As I vetted his Business Plan assumptions, I deduced, and he agreed, that he really needed about $100,000 to develop, Brand and Pre-Sell the line. I laid out a Gantt Chart for the project and detailed how this could happen and options for funding, after he had received orders from retailers. He had never considered Pre-Selling. We always consider a Pre-Sell strategy for new product launches

The $100,000 stumped my Toy entrepreneur. He did not want to ask Friends or Family for support. This is understandable. He did not want to take equity out of his home, also understandable. He wanted me to reach out to my investment sources. I replied, “Why would a stranger invest in the product if you are not willing to invest in yourself, and Family or Friends do not believe in the Toys and you”? I received no response.

 Starting a business or launching a new product or service has never been easy. It is not meant to be. The successful entrepreneur is a valued minority. Most prospective entrepreneurs do not have the ability to overcome obstacles that the markets place in the way of their progress. This culling of the herd, or “Survival of the Fittest”, is the reason that so many people want to operate a small business but so few actually accomplish the feat. Funding, or lack thereof, is the canard that most failed entrepreneurs posit as the reason they are held back. Sourcing seed money from Friends, Family or Fools must be considered as the “alpha” resource to go to first.

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on WDRC 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut Radio Show on December 21, 2011 at 11:20amET

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Duquesa Marketing, Inc.

www.duquesamarketing.com

 

Press Release

For Immediate Release

December 20, 2011

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

gficke@msn.com

Geoff Ficke to Be Interviewed on WDRC 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut Radio Show on December 21, 2011 at 11:20amET

Duquesa Marketing Founder and Expert to Discuss How to Create Entrepreneurial Opportunities During a Tough Economy 

Florence, KY  Nancy Ficke, General Manager, announced today that her Branding and Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing has scheduled another in a series of national radio interviews for Company President and Founder Geoff Ficke. 

“Geoff Ficke will appear on WDRC Mary Jones Show 1360 AM Talk of Connecticut radio show with Host Mary Jones December 21st at 11:20am eastern time”, said Mrs Ficke. “The discussion will be about the opportunity to take hold of your life and career options by exploring Entrepreneurial opportunities that people find around themselves in their hobbies, homes or jobs”. 

“We work with hundreds of inventors, small and micro-businesses and entrepreneurs every year”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Business Development at Duquesa Marketing. “Many of these people carve out successful enterprises by capitalizing on things they experience in their environment. This is a topic that Geoff is passionate about and is always happy to share with an audience”. 

Duquesa Marketing has assisted numerous individuals and enterprises start and expand Consumer Product opportunities over the past four decades. The award winning firm has vast experience in all Sales and distribution channels in the United States and internationally.

5 Questions That Must Be Answered Before Attempting to Fund or Launch Your Consumer Product

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

5 Questions That Must Be Answered Before Attempting to Fund or Launch Your Consumer Product

I am constantly amazed at the naivety of first time entrepreneurs and inventors when it comes to the due diligence they must conduct in order to get their idea, concept or prototype to market. Even with the amazing information tools at hand in the 21st century, so many still try to fake out the marketplace by taking shortcuts. This is the equivalent of death by neglect. 

There are 5 questions that must be organized and perfected before a new product can be considered ready for preparation of a fully documented, well-crafted, customized Business Plan.

Question 1: Do you have a production quality prototype built, a unit that can demonstrate the full functionality, features and benefits of your product? 

This provides the base template of everything that must follow in pursuing accurate assumptions on which to base your strategy for investment, marketing strategies, sales model and financial projections.

Question 2: Have you assembled and distributed Release Packets to multiple manufacturing/production sources? 

The Release Packet is the blue print and content map that producers will utilize to conduct proper time, assembly protocols, manufacturing standards required, and estimate production costs for your products build out.

Question 3: After choosing the factory that provides best service, lead times and quality control, have you been given a dead-net Cost of Goods to produce your item in mass production volume? 

Dead-net Cost of Goods means cost to produce, package, handle, ship (by ship and container if off-shore production), freight-customs-duties, local freight from port of landing to your destination for product fulfillment, all inclusive. This is the real Cost of Goods that is the first and most crucial element necessary to create an exciting, well-documented Business Plan.

Question 4: Have you created a Sales Model that works for your enterprise, and for all up-channel re-sellers of your product? 

Different Consumer Product categories must utilize Sales Models that factor many variables into the pricing equation. Some product categories require heavier Sales promotion budgets (Cosmetics, Skin Care, Toys, Games, etc.). Others require strong levels of store support for display, co-op advertising and point of purchase signage (food, drinks, oral care). Limited distribution, exclusivity models are built on a low volume, high retail model. 

Question 5: Why is the Sales Model so important, and why do so few Entrepreneurs devote enough time, energy and research to perfecting this crucial building block of their Business Plan?

The second half of this question is easily answered: Some do not know how to detail their Sales Model, some do not want to put in the effort, and others do not understand the process required to achieve investment, licensing opportunities, partnerships or sales traction in a brutal marketplace.

The Sales Model (based on Question 3: Cost of Goods) is so very important because it is the “alpha” assumption that supports every declaration built into a Business Plan. If the cost to produce, and thus the selling basis for a product cannot be torturously defended every other element and assumption included in the plan will fall of its own weight. Investors will see this immediately and bail.

 I write this after a particularly busy month of reading and hearing elevator pitches for projects that have been almost uniformly under-vetted. Some of the concepts might have even been commercially viable. However, when I ask these 5 questions and hear crickets on the other end of the phone line, I know I am not dealing with a serious, committed, driven entrepreneur, and I am not alone. Every other investor, venture capitalist, licensee and buyer I know experiences the same disappointment when exposed to plans built on quicksand.

Customizing Products and Services Presents Entrepreneurs a Great Way to Bootstrap a Business

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

Customizing Products and Services Presents Entrepreneurs a Great Way to Bootstrap a Business

We live in a world where mass production and scalability have enabled consumers around the world the opportunity to enjoy a wider range of Consumer Products and Services than ever before. Large scale production drives down prices. Items that were once luxuries are now within reach of masses of consumers on every continent.

Overwhelmingly the benefits of scale and industrialization are beneficial to society. Jobs, distribution opportunities, global trade and finance have all thrived in large part because of the benefits of a consumer driven world. The Benetton sweater or MAC cosmetic that is purchased in Denver is the same as a unit of either sold in Sydney.

There is a downside to mass production, a downside that presents opportunities for those seeking to position their enterprise successfully within the whirl of this hyper–competitive consumer marketplace. Most mass produced products are impersonal. They offer value, utility and uniform performance features. They do not, however, differentiate themselves significantly from competitors. This is where the creative and craft minded producers can maximize their offerings.

Hermes purses and scarves are famous, but simple examples of a Brand that has been built from scratch, painstakingly over time and by being extremely protective of distribution channels for their limited production, hand crafted products. Hermes controls the price and design of each unit produced with a discipline that borders on fanaticism. When a design becomes popular and demand soars, the family owned Company caps production far short of maximum sales potential. This is a classic example of a limited distribution strategy that serves to increase Hermes’ product desirability among discerning consumers.

Ferrari automobiles, Zegna menswear, Piaget watches, Tory Burch fashions and La Prairie Skin Care and Cosmetics are other examples of Brands that have created world-wide franchises by avoiding any taint of a mass production model. They sell service, customization and personalized product that elite customers demand. The strategy does not need to be limited to exclusive couture brands, however!

The Branding and Marketing Consulting firm that we manage utilizes many different forms of personalized service or customized product assembly to differentiate our clients. In order to be able to compete with behemoth, multi-national brands a new company must be able to identify their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). A better ingredient story or a better mousetrap design will not suffice.

Recently a prospective client approached us with a Perfume concept. The Fragrance world is huge and brutally competitive. The perfumer we met with was keen to commercialize a range of scents, mainly by utilizing generic top notes. We spent a good deal of time trying to define a USP that would differentiate her product, while creating a niche she could occupy. The final, agreed suggestion was to sell a value added personalized blending service with each offering customized, value added and unique to each client. There are a number of added special service features which insure that the Brand will be perceived as unique by her “alpha” clientele.

We have utilized one form or another of this strategy for Gourmet Food products, Toys, Cosmetics, Wellness regimens, Service Providers and many other client projects. An important feature of this strategy is the opportunity to bootstrap the product or service when limited resources are at hand. Local sales can be leveraged to regional sales and beyond. The enterprise can be grown at a pace that is more easily handled by thinly resourced entrepreneurs.

Red Bull, Snapple and Arizona Iced Tea did not start as national and international brands. They were bootstrapped. They found holes in saturated, developed marketplaces and they filled niches. This model is available to creative entrepreneurs who are driven to compete, but understand that they must deal from a different, smaller deck of cards.

Why Is Laser-Like Focus So Crucial and Yet So Difficult for Entrepreneurs to Maintain

Monday, December 26th, 2011

by: Geoff Ficke

Why Is Laser-Like Focus So Crucial and Yet So Difficult for Entrepreneurs to Maintain 

When we work with small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors in our Consumer Product Marketing and Branding Consulting group we constantly find ourselves using and reinforcing the importance of the word “focus” to prospective clients. It is crucial to their success. It is also, often in the shortest of supply. 

By their very nature, people who create products and attempt to start businesses have some level of creativity. They envision possibilities for their ideas and endeavor to turn their vision into a commercial entity. However, this creativity often handicaps their efforts because they cannot maintain total focus and apply it to the job at hand. This manifests itself in different ways, usually by comingling work elements from multiple concepts and straying from the alpha plan that must be executed to get their initial idea to market. 

Recently we reviewed a Pet Product for dog and cat wellness. The products were well developed from a clinical standpoint. The Entrepreneur had conducted bountiful lab research. The Marketing Strategy and Business Plan were unformed but that could be easily fixed. After a thorough review process, and much debate, we passed on the opportunity to proceed and engage on this project. Why? 

Simply put, the creator of this interesting line of Pet Care Products was unable to focus on this one, high potential group of products. During the meeting, and on subsequent conference calls, he would divert his attention to human oral care products he was developing, or a horse liniment, or an arthritis spray treatment, or a cancer patch. On numerous occasions we asked him to identify the most market ready product in this vast arsenal. He would respond the “pet products” and then ramble on endlessly about other cures he envisioned.

This lack of laser-like focus is the Achilles Heel for far too many aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs. It is paramount that success be achieved on at least one project before investors, partners or licensees will want to participate in subsequent ventures. By muddying the waters with bits and pieces from multiple, diversified concepts a signal is powerfully given that the owner lacks focus, and thus discipline and commitment.

The experience I describe with the creator of the dog and cat wellness product range is not an anomaly. It is too often the norm. It is also a red flag that the presenter is not serious. A creative mind is a wonderful asset, if it can be harnessed. Projects must be prioritized and nurtured with care and full attention to every detail.

If you believe in your idea and opportunity give it a chance to be seriously and fully considered. A great concept is minimized if the owner is not equally strong in presenting themselves and their total commitment to achieving success. Do not make a hash of your introductory meeting by confusing your audience with multiple, non-connected concepts. Too often this is done as a simple act of narcissism. The breadth of your creative instincts will become apparent soon enough, if you can get past the introduction and excite interest from partners or investors.