Those of you that know me or have read my posts so kindly in all their roughness know that I do not really mention or talk about my family as part of my writing as a professional. I tend to keep these camps separate. I do however wish to tell a little bit about my wife “accidental” business because I believe it holds tremendous value for both the creative that is too fearful to put herself, her real self and her work out there to be judged as well as the companies/ brands that are the a state of alarm in the wake of recent developments with Amazon and earning trust and delivering in a saturated, connected long tail economy.
Last year my wife walked away from a stressful work situation and with our little girl three years old we made the decision that we would do whatever it took to have her be home. We also realized in today’s world we still required my wife to do something of a job to help out. (btw as a aside, I was a fool to believe that as a infant once Carmella was mobile and speaking it would get easier haha! ) So my wife Dana began working a couple days per week as her friends jewelry shop (which she actually still does). My wife has a background in fashion design and with a little girl was one of those moms dressing her up for mommy and Carmella photo shoots regularly! The packages arrived, and arrived and she developed friends, began to have the discussions and interactions revolving around only things those on the inside would understand. Out of genuine sincerity she became a Insider to the culture of Moms like her and as Seth Godin says “People like us, do things like this” , “Moms like her, they buy couture special designs like this for their children” .
She began. She works harder and more hours than anyone I have ever witnessed and I respect the connection she has continued to develop with her Tribe so much! Everything is literally done by hand- Everything- not a exaggeration at all!
I have not seen my dining room in over 8 months, haha!
The challenge I see before her is the ability to scale Carmellas Couture without losing the connection and trust of the community while increasing her connections and engagement to become a go to for more moms.
It is the same challenge I witness plague many highly connected start ups in the CPG space. The challenge is in the ability to know your loyal customers so much that you can make a reasonable attempt at increasing offerings, at automating production knowing what their level of expectation is (because its yours also). It becomes much less about antiquated and rude demographics and much more about personas and psychographics. The scary part is that their is risk and with that risk comes the reality that it could be over if they do not embrace it, but it could also as easily be new horizons of success!
Amazon and the enormous push with private label products is horrifying every brand executive I have spoken to of late. Yes, I’ll admit its a challenge however has anyone truly viewed Amazon as anything but a competitor? Have we not witnessed Borders books? Maybe I am crazy and a marketer that believes his own stories too much but I believe there is a Silver bullet.
The Silver bullet? Connection! I will dare say boldly that brands that are trusted, that give honestly and generously to their community will not lose. I believe they will win! We cannot control what Amazon or any other retailer does but we can absolutely deliver outstanding levels of joy to our communities.
Is it any wonder that of the Top 60 supplement brands in natural channel, 38 are direct, 4 major direct, 3 hybrid, 15 are in distribution? Top brands realize the ease that distribution places on logistics is overshadowed completely by the loss of genuine connection that comes along with direct relationships. This comes with a great caveat- above and beyond service and experience. Look at the brands like Garden of Life, Ancient Nutrition ( any wonder since it is Jordan Rubin and Jason Dewberry from GOL) and Vega- all with brand culture ambassadors cultivating fans everyday!
“But that is unrealistic for a small brand” , ” we cannot afford to even try” says the startup owner.
You can. It is all about learning to be deliberate and patient.So YES a Pennsylvania based startup would go snake eyes trying to support national directives but what about focusing on the Northeast? Demoing Every account. Vetting each. networking online, collaborating- as Gary Vaynerchuk says “being a practitioner”. seeking the be the best in the world – the world of PA/NJ…..and then drip by drip, state by state, account by account. the ratchet turns. slowly but surely..
So what are you dreaming of doing that you wont do because it doesn’t pay? Is it worth your television time? Surely it wont feel that way tonight or tomorrow but what about drip by drip 1 year? (they go fast) 2 years? , 5 years?
I personally am witnessing love and connection everyday. Don’t put of the generous work you know we need you to do..Start today
Here is Dana’s Instagram for anyone who wants to check her work out