April 29, 2010
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I’ve been hunkered down the last 2 days sending out press releases to media outlets that I think are a good fit for my product. After I sent out a few emails I began to realize that this task was easier than I thought it would be. Then I realized that it reminded me of something very familiar. Job searching!
Every PR person will tell you to personalize a pitch so it shows the recipient that you’ve done your homework and have thought through media and product “fit”. To me this pitch introduction was the same as crafting a compelling cover letter.
Then there’s the actual press release, which is a lot like someone’s resume. It’s a crisp, clear summary of what you do and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
And finally, the job search is most effective when you have the email address of the hiring manager: sending your resume via a generic online submission rarely leads to anything fruitful. In the case of PR, it’s best to hunt down the contact info of the editor or writer who is the most likely to cover your story.
I’ve been pretty lucky and resourceful when it comes to seeking employment. Let’s hope these skills are indeed transferable and I can drum up some PR. Wish me luck!
April 27, 2010
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I spoke to the iPad sleeve manufacturer today, and it looks like I ordered the wrong size of velcro. DOH! I had to spend a nice big chunk of the afternoon talking to the velcro guys at Paiho, and they were really nice about the situation. BTW in case you ever order velcro, be warned that it comes in large wheels that look like the rolls of film you used in the film projectors from grade school.
The good news for me is the new velcro order should arrive in 2 days so the sleeve production can resume again.
On a happy (yet bizarre) note, I got an email from my brother, who said a friend of his was forwarded a link to my website from someone in Brazil! How did someone in Brazil find out about my site?
If my Brazilian fan is reading this, well…”OBRIGADO!”
I just got started today on my PR evangelism. Luckily I outlined my gameplan a few months ago when I had more downtime. Now all I have to do is execute my plan!
Thanks for visiting. See you later!
April 26, 2010
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For those who have followed my journey entire 18 months, thank you again for your support. I can’t believe the Plaid Doctrine brand has finally launched!
I’ve decided to keep my business name Jones Market LLC, for sentimental reasons mostly. My sister found a photo that I took of my dad working at his store, the original Jones Market. I was probably in junior high when I took the picture.
Maybe my dad was more of an inspiration on my business than I thought– check out his tweed coat and his jaunty hat!
What a day…this product launch has been great, but it sure is a lot of work! I’m very happy though, so it’s definitely all worth it. Thank you all for your encouragement!
April 23, 2010
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OK, after a few grueling days of getting security certificates implemented and API configurations fixed, my payment system is now working! As you know, we decided to go with Paypal’s Website Payment Pro, and now that I’ve seen it in action, it’s actually a pretty good payment solution for an e-commerce site. I really dislike the regular, free Paypal payment system, because it takes the customer away from the page they are looking at, and it’s hard for people to remember their email login and/or password. But luckily Paypal now offers a more advanced, integrated payment system for commerce websites, and it seems to be pretty decent.
I found out something very surprising about Paypal today. They called regarding my application status, saying that I needed to submit additional information so my application could be finalized. And then they emailed the remaining paperwork to me and requested that I FAX THEM the completed application! There was no other option available– I need to fax the form back within 7 days, or they will revoke my active Paypal status. Can you believe that Paypal requires faxing?! I thought the fashion and textile industry was backwards…who knew Paypal was so old-school too?
By the way, I have a promotional discount code for my launch: use “launch15″ for purchases on my website by 4/30, and get 15% off your order. And remember– we offer free ground shipping!
And finally, please join my page (or should I say “like” page?) on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Plaid-Doctrine/393621770729
I can’t wait to start my publicity push on Monday. I am so excited :)
Have a terrific weekend!
April 22, 2010
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Right now my website is like a museum: you can look around, but that’s about it! We found out yesterday that we had a problem with the payment processing back-end– booooooooo. My web guy is on-task to fix it though. I am using Paypal’s Website Payment Pro– I chose to pay for the non-ghetto version of Paypal where customers can actually stay on my website when purchasing products and it won’t send you off into another browser window to Paypal-land. Paypal is supposed to be integrated into my backend payment system so you get the assurance that your payment is secure through a known entity, and you don’t have to enter in your paypal login and password information (which I hate).
So the bad news is you won’t be able to purchase anything on my site today–I’ll update my blog and twitter account once the payment issues are resolved. The good news is that if you’ve gone to my wordpress blog in the last 24 hours you’ve noticed it’s been redirected to my website, and you can get a sneak peek at the site at all of the products I’ve been working on the last year-and-a-half. Enjoy your browsing, and I sincerely apologize for the payment processing issues. Yet another “learning experience” as an entrepreneur!
Thanks for stopping by!
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Wow, I feel like I’m back in college and I’ve just pulled an all-nighter. I haven’t felt this much stress in a while! My poor husband has been cranking away on migrating the website from the staging server. He’s also been burning the midnight oil trying to figure out the best way to migrate this blog into my new website, which is not an easy task.
In addition to my ongoing manufacturing woes, I have had had a heck of a time trying to finalize my website because of disagreement with my web team over scope of work. After several rocky days without any promising resolution I had to go back to the original contract and point out things that weren’t implemented. It’s never a good thing when your relationship is so tenuous that you need to use a contract as ammunition.
So if you ever need to hire a developer to build an e-commerce website, make sure you think through all of the components to a website– for example: order notifications, payment processing, shipping rates, tax rates, importing blogs, drop-down menu options, website migration from a staging server, hosting, and security. And make sure you have a contract that outlines all of these important things very clearly! I’ve found out the hard way that ambiguous language in a contract can cause problems down the road.
There are only 2 things left to do on the website for me to officially launch:
- #1: I need to make sure my payment processing is working– via Paypal Website Payment Pro. For some reason it’s hasn’t been working today and we can’t figure out what’s wrong
- #2: My web developer needs to help me get a valid security certificate. If you try to order something on my site right now a scary security warning in ominous red typeface tells you my security certificate is invalid. I hope this doesn’t take too long to fix.
So there you have it. If my web guy pulls through and helps fix the payment processing and security certificate problems asap, we’ll go prime time tomorrow. I’ll let you know via Twitter when we’re ready to go live!
Thanks for readin’!
April 15, 2010
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Wow, I just ordered 50 yards of high-end velcro for my iPad sleeves today. 50 yards! And I also just confirmed an order of 1000 yards of lining fabric for my next production round. Even though I’ve ordered things in bulk in the past, it still seems so crazy to order huge quantities of things…especially weird things like velcro.
My husband has taken some time off of work to work on some personal projects and also to help me get my website ready for launch. Thank goodness he’s around because he has helped me make a ton of progress on my website refinement today. We’re still working on getting the bugs out, but he’s been able to help with some of the more complicated edits, and he’s also acted as a mediator when talking to the web developer to get some of the more difficult things fixed. My husband claims that he doesn’t know what he is doing, but he sure sounds like a smartypants when he’s talking to the web guys. He is smartierpants than I. I’m feeling waaaay better about the website now– it won’t be an embarrassment when we go public to the world next week.
It’s been a good day, I think I’ll end it with an ice cream sandwich.
April 12, 2010
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Well, It’s Monday and it’s finally hitting me that I am launching my products soon. Yikes! I have been busy today pushing some workstreams along and getting updates from vendors.
As expected, the bag manufacturer has let me down again.
I had a status meeting with the bag manufacturer this afternoon, and he let me know that the briefcases would arrive before launch, but the totebags are delayed and wouldn’t be finished in time. I only have a small inventory of tote bags in-house so this is really unfortunate news. It looks like the money incentive wasn’t enough to get the manufacturer to move any faster, which is surprising and disappointing. I spoke to the person who had referred me to this manufacturer in the first place, and after I told him everything that had happened over the last few months, he said he was really surprised because this manufacturer is usually dependable. Luckily he felt sorry for me and was nice enough to give me the name of another manufacturer that might be able to help me out on the next production run. I hope this new lead works out because I’d like to cut my ties to my current manufacturer as soon as possible!
My iPad sleeve sample is being finished right now, and I will get it tomorrow. I have all of the raw materials to make these sleeves, except for the velcro. I was referred to a company called Paiho that manufactures pressure-sensitive hook and loop fasteners. All they do is make velcro! And they have 5 locations worldwide. How crazy is that? My order has been placed so I should be able to put those sleeves into production at the end of the week.
I’ll be working on my website the next 2 days, so if you don’t hear from me, know that I am busy trying to sort out a hot mess. Blech.
April 9, 2010
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Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written. I was busy with uneventful project management tasks this week, and I had a guest visiting from out of town. This week has been pretty frustrating because there is a bit of chaos going on with the website and the bag production, and I’ve been trying to avert disaster on both of those fronts.
I hired a website developer who set up a content management system that is supposed to be easy-to-use. As I am finding out, it’s actually not very easy to use. The default settings aren’t optimal, and the way you upload and edit things isn’t as intuitive as other “do-it-yourself” website dashboards I’ve used in the past. This has caused some strife between my web developer and me, because some of the basic things I thought I’d be able to do myself are not possible without his assistance. Another problem is that there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to pull in my wordpress blog into my website If you have any advice about this– let me know!
And if the website wasn’t causing enough stress, my bag manufacturer let me know that there was a death in his family and consequently the production schedule slipped another few days. I hope you guys like my purse organizers because at this rate that may be all that’s offered on launch day!
As for other things going on, I am working with my lawyer to file a “statement of use” for my trademark, which is the last step before making this trademark official. I sent her pictures of my product and my website layout so she can submit the paperwork to get the mark finalized. I have until June to submit everything, but I figure I should get this out of the way while I can.
Well, it looks like I’ll be spending a lot of my weekend trying to learn my way around the wonky website editing software. And of course it will be sunny all day Saturday and Sunday! Just my luck.
See you next week.
April 5, 2010
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I only worked half day today, but I crammed a lot in those few hours.
- Got the samplemaker started on an iPad sleeve. If I can get this finished in the next week or so, I might move this production up so I have some inventory by the 22nd, launch day. This may mean the netbook sleeve production gets put on the backburner for a short while
- Ordered lining fabric for the next round of production
- Made some more progress on the website. We’re in the final stretch but it feels like every time I look closely at a web page I find something wrong with the layout or the functionality!
- Worked with a photographer to take some extra photos of the purse organizer. Saw a sample photo today and it looked really good. If he works out, he may help me out on some iPad sleeve photos
I spent the rest of the day with a friend who is here from out of town, and we watched “Clash of the Titans” this afternoon. In hindsight, I wish I had allocated that time to just work on my business– that was over 2-hours of my life I’ll never get back, and $14 I could have spent on something more rewarding, like buying discounted Cadbury Mini-eggs.
I have a call with my bag manufacturer tomorrow– wish me luck.
See you tomorrow!
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