Thursday, August 26, 2010

iVi Scents is Giving You a Piece of Our Business

iVi Scents is a community oriented company.  We wouldn't be here if it weren't for our loyal customers and fans!  To give back to all the people who have given so much to us, we are offering you a piece of our business.  Our new program, iVi Scents Affiliates, will be an opportunity for us to share the wealth with you.  It's simple and requires little to no work!

Here's how it goes:
  1. Sign up for an iVi Scents Affiliate account
  2. Post a link or banner on your website, blog, email, YouTube channel, or Facebook Page
  3. Earn 10% commission on all orders that come to us from your links.
We'll give you everything you need to get started, including banners and links.  These banners will be specifically assigned to you.  All you have to do is cut and paste the html code from your iVi Scents account into your website.  When you login to your account, you will be able to see your sales commissions and orders that came to us via your links.

A Young Girl's Business Advice:
Affiliate programs and referral programs are a powerful method of marketing, because they come from fellow consumers, and therefore carry much more weight than if they had come from the company. How can you harness the power of word of mouth marketing in your business?  Can you start an affiliate program or a referral program to get the word out about your company and help others to make some extra income at the same time?

Aarin Elizabeth is the founder of iVi Scents | Nontoxic Bath and Body
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Feedback Converts to An Increase In Sales

We hired a graphic designer and are working towards a cool new design for our soaps.  To the left are the new concepts that she came up with.

We have to change our soap packaging for two reasons: 1) Wrapping each soap is a time consuming process that is hindering us from mass production, and 2) Many of our customers were complaining on their YouTube channels and blogs that they loved the look of the zebra print tissue paper, but they didn't like the functionality of it.  The reason why the wrapping is not functional is due to the fact that most of our customers like to cut their soaps into slices in order to conserve them longer.  However, after cutting the soaps, they had no where to store them.

Now that the cost of the soap boxes is no longer an issue, we have solved both problems.  The soaps are now scalable for mass production and our customers have a cute, yet functional, soap box

A Young Girl's Guide To the Old Boys' Club:
There is no way we could have known that our customers used slices in order to prolong the life of the soap.  Fortunately, we have a feedback system in place.  Every single one of our products has been reviewed dozens of times, because we have an active YouTube Beauty Guru Community.  These girls (and guys) buy our products and post their thoughts for the world to see.  This may seem scary at first, however their feedback has been invaluable to our company and we would not be where we are today without them.  What processes do you have in place to get instant feedback from your customers, clients, colleagues, and management?  Don't take their criticism personally -- even when it hurts. Think of it as a way to help you grow stronger and make your products better.  I have so much confidence when I show my products to others now, because I know that hundreds of people around the world agree with me.  It also forces you to make some critical business decisions like stocking up on products and services that people love, and axing the ones they hate.  You'd be surprised how hard it is to give up on a product that no one likes but you.  Surrender it as a failure and devote your time and attention to better things.  Don't ever cling onto something like it's your firstborn child, when other people wish you'd rid yourself of it. I'll leave you with this little story: I created a body oil called Oil Sliq and literally only one person bought it.  I tried to market it in so many ways, but no one wanted it.  After I accepted its defeat, I focused my attention on creating a lotion and that's how my iCing Body Frosting was created.  It became a success almost instantly and remains so today.

Aarin Elizabeth is the founder of iVi Scents | Nontoxic Bath and Body
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tradeshow Exhibition to Enter the Wholesale Market

I just booked our spot at the California Gift Show in Los Angeles on January 21-24!  This is probably the biggest thing that has happened to my business to date.  The Gift Show is an international trade show that matches retailer buyers with wholesale sellers. We are going as a wholesaler.  This will give iVi Scents the opportunity to get into shops, boutiques, spas, department stores, hotels, amusement parks, etc.

Usually, new exhibitors are relegated to the back of the convention center, because the prime real estate is reserved for more senior exhibitors.  However, the Git Show sales representative told me that I called at exactly the right time, because she was about to give this booth away to someone with more clout.  Instead, she gave it to me.  Favor. The iVi Scents booth is going to be towards the front of the L.A. Convention Center along the main pathway.  In fact, buyers will have to pass my booth in order to get to all the other booths.  The sales representative also told me that we should pick up at least 20 to 30 vendor accounts if we set up our booth well. That means iVi Scents could be coming to a store near you!

I could have chosen a booth with the bare necessities, namely drapes and piping.  But I opted for the next package up, which means that my booth comes with hard white walls, black carpet, and a light installation.  I chose this option for two reasons: 1) the location is better, and 2) the booth is move in ready.  I can paint, install shelves, and decorate if I want, but I don't HAVE to.   Having options is key for me.

Since I've never set up a tradeshow booth before you have the opportunity to learn with me. I'll have to scour the internet trying to find good ideas.  I've been working with a graphic designer to create my new website and product packaging, so maybe she can help me out.  She'll have to design some really big posters, brochures, and fliers! 

Tradeshows are a unique opportunity to put your products in front of people who will buy them in mass amounts on behalf of their stores.  Are your products scalable for this kind of purchasing?  For instance, I wanted to make my soaps in fun shapes and colors, but then I realized that they could not be mass produced easily (scalable).  So I had to employ a simpler shape that could be reproduced quickly and easily.  Scalability is what's going to separate the men from the boys in business.  It's also what determines who gets into the department stores and who stays at the flea market.

Aarin Elizabeth is the founder of iVi Scents | Nontoxic Bath and Body
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Monday, August 23, 2010

How First Impressions Can Make or Break a Sale

So I've been shopping around for new labels to package the iCing Body Frostings and iShine Sugar Scrubs.  I'm looking for something that is waterproof, chic, and durable. Professional labels has always been a goal for my company.  However, you have to be realistic about your budget constraints.  When  I first started this company, I used to print the labels myself on my home computer.  Then I moved to a digital printer who could print lots of labels quickly (short run) without expensive minimum amount requirements.  However, I am moving the business towards wholesale and cannot get by any longer without having professional labels.

The first step in this process is to find out what the labeling requirements are in your industry.  Soaps and cosmetic products are regulated by the FDA.  So I read through all the legal jargon in order to find out what the required items were, where to display them, and how to arrange them on the package.  Then I had to create all of the words on the package (copy) and give that to my graphic designer.  The next step is to figure out the circumference of the jar and for her to create a template from that.

I had been looking all around for a label company when I came across one that I was really impressed with.  They sent me a beautiful portfolio with lots of different label samples inside.  The portfolio was completed with brochures and a business card.  This was a stark contrast to what some of the other companies have sent. The majority of companies sent me shoddy labels in a plain envelope with my name handwritten on the front -- literally, with nothing else inside.  If a company can't even do their sample presentation correctly, how do you think the rest of the job is going to turn out?

Nothing gets my goat more than a sloppy presentation.  Just because you are a small company doesn't mean that you can't do things the right way.  Work with the limited budget you have to create something that you can be proud of.  Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so put your best foot forward.  If you don't, you could get the boot!

Aarin Elizabeth is the founder of iVi Scents | Nontoxic Bath and Body
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