In 1997, I founded Three Custom Color Specialists, a color cosmetics line specializing in the duplication of discontinued shades and beauty for everyday women of all skin tones. The retail climate then was rife with opportunity - very different than it is now.
These days, with traditional and online retail struggling like it is, many entrepreneurs are looking for more effective ways to reach the consumer. A lot of us are having success with social networking and marketing directly from our proprietary Web sites, but it’s still a challenge to effectively build your client base so people are actually reading the blogs posts, tweets and e-mail blasts that you so painstakingly compose and design. What’s the point if you only have a handful of loyal followers?
So, how to reach new consumers in large numbers?
Television sales networks, like QVC (Stock Quote: LINTA), continue to have high viewership and sales despite the economic downturn. Sales have dipped a bit, but they are not feeling the economic crunch like many department stores and boutiques. And the cost to do business with them can be much lower than traditional retail and can require less staff. The downside is that in many categories, QVC is pure consignment, and you have to ship them all the product you plan on selling in advance of your appearance. So if you do manage to get on the network and don’t do well during your sell, all your meticulously packaged product comes sailing right back to you.
Worth the risk? It can be.
Ten years ago, QVC may not have been the ideal place for a makeup artist brand like ours, but over the years, QVC has really come into its own especially in beauty, featuring high-end brands like Prescriptives (Stock Quote: EL) , YSL, Smashbox, Clinique and others (some of which have been resurrected from a slow death and are once again at the top of their game due to their QVC business).
My partners and have been watching the progression of QVC and became interested in approaching them a couple years ago. We were hesitant because we knew how competitive it was, so we wanted to wait for the right moment.
Getting a meeting with a buyer at QVC is no easy task. They are bombarded with pitches so we chose to work with a Brand Strategist (we worked with Nadia Yousif and we love her!) who was familiar with the inner workings of QVC and had a track record with bringing other brands like ours to the network. The buyers are very busy so even though the beauty buyer knew Nadia and had worked with her before, it took a couple months to secure a meeting for us – I say this merely to let you know that patience, in the case of QVC, is a virtue.
For our pitch meeting, Nadia created a Powerpoint (Stock Quote: MSFT) presentation and we spent time together strategizing what products to show the best way to introduce our brand to the buyer.