Artwork for podcast Gift Biz Unwrapped
324 – Retail – Wholesale – Combo – Let’s Get Advice through 25+ Years in Business with Sue Burns of Baabaazuzu
Episode 32428th June 2021 • Gift Biz Unwrapped • Sue Monhait
00:00:00 00:55:39

Share Episode

Shownotes

Lessons in Business with Sue Burns of Baabaazuzu Sue started her craft 26 years ago due to a laundry error. Yes, you heard me right - a laundry error that reduced Sue's beloved sweaters to a pile of carnage. And since then, she's learned so many lessons in business as she found her own way. What would have brought most to tears, became a lightbulb moment for Sue. Blending her graphic design with her sewing skills, she refashioned the sweaters into new wearables and launched Baabaazuzu. The brand has grown to include hats, mittens, scarves, bags, and more for women and men, all made from post-consumer woolens. The past 25+ years have been a whirlwind of growth, excitement, challenges, and brilliant ideas that have tested her patience, as well as rewarded my efforts. Sue says she’s grateful for the learning curves that are part of the journey as an artist and entrepreneur.

LESSONS IN BUSINESS

  • Know if there’s a market for your product.
  • Stay open to changes in how and where you do business based on where the market and opportunities are.
  • Be available to your customers in different ways.
  • The quality of your product will make you stand out.
  • Your booth design is important as well as the accessibility to your product. Make people fall in love with what you do.
  • Don’t let anything scare you especially if you’re just starting out.
  • Learn from your customers as to which products resonate with them and apply that to your sales technique so you will know which product to sell.
  • Signage is important for people to know more about your brand and to spark their curiosity about what your products are.
  • Engage with customers. Demonstrate how your products work. It’s all about the customer’s experience.
  • See the value in the way you market and sell your products.
  • For wholesale business, deliver products on time.
  • Stay true to the product of what people know you for. Always make your product better.

Resources Mentioned

Sue's Contact Links

WebsiteFacebook | Instagram

Join Our FREE Gift Biz Breeze Facebook Community

Become a Member of Gift Biz Breeze If you found value in this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you automatically get the next episode downloaded for your convenience. Click on your preferred platform below to get started. Also, if you'd like to do me a huge favor - please leave a review. It helps other creators like you find the show and build their businesses too. You can do so right here: Rate This Podcast Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify Thank you so much! Sue

Know someone who needs to hear this episode? Click a button below to share it!

Transcripts

Speaker:

Gift biz unwrapped episode 324.

Speaker:

I Had so many people asking where did I get them?

Speaker:

How could they get one?

Speaker:

And that was that light bulb moment.

Speaker:

And I said,

Speaker:

okay, let's do this Attention.

Speaker:

Gifters bakers,

Speaker:

crafters, and makers pursuing your dream can be fun.

Speaker:

Whether you have an established business or looking to start one.

Speaker:

Now you are in the right place.

Speaker:

This is gift to biz unwrapped,

Speaker:

helping you turn your skill into a flourishing business.

Speaker:

Join us for an episode,

Speaker:

packed full of invaluable guidance,

Speaker:

resources, and the support you need to grow.

Speaker:

Your gift biz here is your host gift biz gal,

Speaker:

Sue moon Heights.

Speaker:

I'm thrilled that you're joining me for this episode.

Speaker:

Today, this past weekend I attended our community fine arts festival.

Speaker:

This is a juried show attracting artisans from all over the

Speaker:

world, even some international entries.

Speaker:

And it's really honestly,

Speaker:

one of my favorite shows of the whole year to go

Speaker:

to as an attendee.

Speaker:

But I wasn't sure what to expect.

Speaker:

Would attendance be down?

Speaker:

Would there be fewer booths because there's residual fear of traveling?

Speaker:

I just didn't know.

Speaker:

Well, I'm happy to report we're back normal as the days

Speaker:

of old normal can be.

Speaker:

At least that's the report from my neck of the woods,

Speaker:

north of Chicago.

Speaker:

I want to remind you that doing events like craft shows

Speaker:

and farmer's markets offers great photo and posting opportunities for social

Speaker:

media. We talked about this in one of our tips and

Speaker:

talk episodes in the podcast just a couple of weeks ago.

Speaker:

And I bring this up because you've told me you're discouraged.

Speaker:

When you don't see any of the time and effort you

Speaker:

put into social media,

Speaker:

moving the needle on your sales.

Speaker:

So given the time we're in right now,

Speaker:

take this as a changing point to do something different,

Speaker:

putting in more time posting in the same way isn't going

Speaker:

to magically bring you results.

Speaker:

You need to change the way you're posting and what you're

Speaker:

posting. You don't need to put in more work.

Speaker:

You need to put in the right work.

Speaker:

That's when things will change.

Speaker:

If you need some help with this,

Speaker:

I've got you covered with the content for maker's program.

Speaker:

Content for makers will enlighten you as to why your social

Speaker:

media activities aren't converting into sales.

Speaker:

It will also show you how to put less time in

Speaker:

and start seeing activity that will increase your sales.

Speaker:

Just imagine a day where you know exactly what to post

Speaker:

and to get it done in five minutes or less,

Speaker:

then you can spend your time interacting with potential customers,

Speaker:

deepening relationships with those you already know too.

Speaker:

And it builds upon itself naturally.

Speaker:

Yes, this is possible.

Speaker:

Content for makers includes a step-by-step strategy to formulating your unique

Speaker:

plan based on your business and your products.

Speaker:

Then you'll have 375 social media prompts over a full year

Speaker:

of ideas.

Speaker:

Along with the 375 prompts come 375 image suggestions.

Speaker:

So you're not left hanging on the creative.

Speaker:

These prompts and image suggestions can be used for all platforms

Speaker:

and all types of posting images,

Speaker:

streaming reels,

Speaker:

even email direction,

Speaker:

but that's not all posts aren't going to work.

Speaker:

If the right people aren't seeing them.

Speaker:

So you'll also receive a video and a worksheet on how

Speaker:

to choose and use hashtags.

Speaker:

This is a way to attract the right people who will

Speaker:

become your customers.

Speaker:

Most people are doing this wrong.

Speaker:

There's more to content for makers to,

Speaker:

to see all the details.

Speaker:

Just jump over to gift biz,

Speaker:

unwrapped.com forward slash content for makers.

Speaker:

But honestly at only $27,

Speaker:

it's a,

Speaker:

no-brainer why carry on posting as you've been doing all along

Speaker:

expecting different results.

Speaker:

Sign up for content for makers now and see the transformation

Speaker:

of your posting experience change before your very eyes gift biz

Speaker:

on wrap.com

Speaker:

forward slash content for makers ready and waiting for your immediate

Speaker:

access. Right now,

Speaker:

our guests today,

Speaker:

I originally met at the Chicago,

Speaker:

one of a kind show several years back now.

Speaker:

So I got to see her in action before I got

Speaker:

to know her on a more personal level.

Speaker:

And let me tell you my friend,

Speaker:

Debbie and I spent a lot of time in her booth

Speaker:

since then,

Speaker:

she's been an exhibitor at the at-home craft and gift show,

Speaker:

and also reports to be back on the road at face-to-face

Speaker:

shows. So that just reconfirms what I was talking about at

Speaker:

the top of this podcast,

Speaker:

you're going to love Sue's origin story,

Speaker:

a business that started through a laundry mishap,

Speaker:

even more you'll hear her growth plan,

Speaker:

her wins and struggles and things that have kept her in

Speaker:

the small business game for over 25 years.

Speaker:

Let's get to our conversation right now today.

Speaker:

I am so excited to introduce you to Sue burns of

Speaker:

Baba Zuzu.

Speaker:

Sue started her craft 26 years ago,

Speaker:

due to a laundry error.

Speaker:

You heard me write a laundry error retreat reduced sous beloved

Speaker:

sweaters to a pile of carnage.

Speaker:

What would've brought most to tears became a light bulb moment

Speaker:

for Sue blending,

Speaker:

her graphic design with her sewing skills.

Speaker:

She refashioned the sweaters into new wearables and launched Baba Zuzu.

Speaker:

The grant has grown into hats,

Speaker:

mittens scarves bags,

Speaker:

and more for men and women all made from post-consumer woolens.

Speaker:

The last 25 plus years have been a whirlwind of growth,

Speaker:

excitement, challenges,

Speaker:

and brilliant ideas that have tested Sue's patients as well as

Speaker:

rewarded her efforts.

Speaker:

Sue says she's grateful for the learning curves that are part

Speaker:

of the journey as an artist and an entrepreneur.

Speaker:

And today we get to talk to her Sue,

Speaker:

welcome to the gift biz on wrapped podcast.

Speaker:

Hi, thank you for having me.

Speaker:

I'm excited to share our story Today.

Speaker:

I know it's such an original creative way you got into

Speaker:

your business.

Speaker:

So I can't wait to share it with everybody as well.

Speaker:

Plus you already know,

Speaker:

I love your products.

Speaker:

I do know that.

Speaker:

Thank you.

Speaker:

But before we go any further,

Speaker:

I want to have you introduce yourself in what's become a

Speaker:

more creative,

Speaker:

traditional way here on the show.

Speaker:

And that is through a motivational candle to share with us

Speaker:

what your candle would look like by color.

Speaker:

And quote,

Speaker:

Color is hard.

Speaker:

I would say to narrow down to one color simply because

Speaker:

I work with color all day long and I really am

Speaker:

sort of forced to use everything.

Speaker:

It doesn't mean I love them all,

Speaker:

but I do find that I gravitate toward the warmer fall

Speaker:

tones. So I would have a color that would kind of

Speaker:

roll through,

Speaker:

say olive greens and chest temp Browns and some deep oranges

Speaker:

and golden yellows.

Speaker:

But if I had to choose one,

Speaker:

I would go of green.

Speaker:

And I don't know why,

Speaker:

but I just really am fond of olive green.

Speaker:

Do you feel like your favorite color will change over the

Speaker:

course of years?

Speaker:

No, because I've been doing this so long and that still

Speaker:

is what speaks to me.

Speaker:

The loudest,

Speaker:

I will say the one that I really can not resonate

Speaker:

with ever is Navy blue and I don't know why,

Speaker:

but we sell an awful lot of it throughout our product

Speaker:

lines. So I really do embrace all of the colors.

Speaker:

They just don't all go home with me.

Speaker:

That's a good way of saying it.

Speaker:

And that's so interesting.

Speaker:

So because I never wear Navy or any shade of blue,

Speaker:

really, maybe an Aqua from time to time.

Speaker:

But I also am not a blue girl.

Speaker:

I'm a total black girl,

Speaker:

for sure.

Speaker:

But anyway,

Speaker:

so that's interesting.

Speaker:

There were wardrobe,

Speaker:

I would say black is just practical and easy.

Speaker:

Yes, I agree.

Speaker:

Okay. So we've got your really warm,

Speaker:

toned otomy color candle and what would be the sane on

Speaker:

the candle?

Speaker:

Okay. So this is a favorite.

Speaker:

If you shoot for the moon,

Speaker:

even if you miss,

Speaker:

you'll still be among the stars,

Speaker:

love it.

Speaker:

And what does that mean to you?

Speaker:

It means to go for it,

Speaker:

go all the way.

Speaker:

And even if you don't get,

Speaker:

as far as you think you've still gone somewhere,

Speaker:

it was worth the while and wherever you've landed,

Speaker:

there was some merit for being in there in that moment,

Speaker:

in that place for you.

Speaker:

So that's What I take from that.

Speaker:

So taking the chance and shooting for the moon,

Speaker:

you gotta,

Speaker:

yeah. I love that.

Speaker:

The big fear I have with people,

Speaker:

especially within this community of makers is someone who thinks and

Speaker:

thinks and thinks about starting a business and just never does

Speaker:

because they're afraid they're standing in their own way.

Speaker:

And so your quote reminds me of that.

Speaker:

That's very drew and I would have to say,

Speaker:

even throughout the progress of business,

Speaker:

growing a business,

Speaker:

each product,

Speaker:

each time you try a product,

Speaker:

you're back in the saddle.

Speaker:

Again, you're still shooting for the moon with that one product

Speaker:

that may or may not be well received.

Speaker:

And it still is putting yourself out there and hoping that

Speaker:

it is successful and the other people also gravitate toward it.

Speaker:

So even every day in everything we do,

Speaker:

I think that this little quote still applies.

Speaker:

I would agree with you.

Speaker:

I'm going to ask you a question a little bit later

Speaker:

because it'll then be in more context,

Speaker:

but I'm going to prepare you for it now of what

Speaker:

product did you put out there that didn't work,

Speaker:

but we're going to do that later.

Speaker:

So that's a little teaser for me and everyone who's listening.

Speaker:

Cause you probably already know your answer might be more than

Speaker:

one. Okay.

Speaker:

Well that's okay too.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So I shared with everybody the start of your business,

Speaker:

but tell us the story a little bit more in your

Speaker:

own words,

Speaker:

the light bulb moment of your sweaters that were now like

Speaker:

the size for a doll.

Speaker:

Right? So my husband who was being helpful and chipping in

Speaker:

to help with the laundry happened to scoop up all of

Speaker:

my wool sweaters and throw them in with a normal load

Speaker:

of laundry.

Speaker:

Like we all have done.

Speaker:

However, it wasn't one favorite sweater.

Speaker:

It was a lot.

Speaker:

And of course they come out exactly.

Speaker:

Like you said,

Speaker:

Dallas thighs when nine years ago,

Speaker:

our daughters were then three and six.

Speaker:

So tiny.

Speaker:

I grew up behind a sewing machine,

Speaker:

literally. And graphic design was my background throughout college and a

Speaker:

short stint with that.

Speaker:

So I kind of blended the two.

Speaker:

I took my graphic design,

Speaker:

my visual skills,

Speaker:

my sewing skills and the concept of the fact that they

Speaker:

were little and looked like they'll fit little kids,

Speaker:

but they're never quite right.

Speaker:

I started to think if I just dismantled them and made

Speaker:

the sleeves a little shorter,

Speaker:

the fit would be better.

Speaker:

Then I got to thinking that sleep,

Speaker:

didn't have to go back on that sweater.

Speaker:

And that's where our blend of color pattern and texture started.

Speaker:

So it was really an evolution just to trial error.

Speaker:

Absolutely. Yes.

Speaker:

And the creations I made for our young daughters,

Speaker:

then I did not plan to start a business with.

Speaker:

It was merely to salvage what was ruined.

Speaker:

And I had so many people asking where did I get

Speaker:

them? How could they get one?

Speaker:

And that was that light bulb moment.

Speaker:

And I said,

Speaker:

okay, there's a calling.

Speaker:

Let's do this.

Speaker:

Okay. So story check,

Speaker:

you took that pile of sweaters after a few tears were

Speaker:

probably shed,

Speaker:

maybe some words spoken.

Speaker:

I don't know.

Speaker:

It's been so long.

Speaker:

Yeah. So then you thought,

Speaker:

well, you know,

Speaker:

he didn't do it on purpose,

Speaker:

but still the result is the same,

Speaker:

all your sweaters that you liked.

Speaker:

Right. So then you thought,

Speaker:

okay, well they are the size that could fit my daughters.

Speaker:

So let me see what I can do with them.

Speaker:

That's when you got to making,

Speaker:

piecing things together that would work,

Speaker:

then people were asking you for them,

Speaker:

which is because you were getting product validation before you were

Speaker:

even thinking about any type of a business.

Speaker:

And clearly nobody was doing this before.

Speaker:

That's right.

Speaker:

Yes. And that's just exactly where we started.

Speaker:

So I had so many people asking and I thought,

Speaker:

okay, well I think we have something here,

Speaker:

a children's line naturally.

Speaker:

And that's what I started with.

Speaker:

And then that very first year that I was out marketing,

Speaker:

these children's creations,

Speaker:

I had so many adult women saying I would wear something

Speaker:

like that.

Speaker:

I don't have young children or grandchildren,

Speaker:

but I would wear that.

Speaker:

And I thought,

Speaker:

okay, now I have a really big audience,

Speaker:

an even bigger calling right now.

Speaker:

However, what I'm shrinking now has to be supersized.

Speaker:

Right? That's right.

Speaker:

That was my first hurdle maybe.

Speaker:

Oh my gosh.

Speaker:

So before we get too far along and I know you've

Speaker:

been in business for quite a while,

Speaker:

so let's see how far back memory goes.

Speaker:

Okay. Okay.

Speaker:

When you decided you were going to start your business,

Speaker:

did you see people interested in the product and it started

Speaker:

promoting the idea for you?

Speaker:

Or did someone come up and say to you,

Speaker:

man, you should start a business.

Speaker:

I would buy this from you.

Speaker:

No, it really was people asking for it.

Speaker:

And then kind of putting that together,

Speaker:

like, okay.

Speaker:

There appears to be a market for this.

Speaker:

And I really liked what I had created.

Speaker:

So I was all gung-ho to go ahead and chase That.

Speaker:

So go for it and see what happens.

Speaker:

That's right.

Speaker:

Okay. And so then what was the very first step you

Speaker:

did? So we've talked about,

Speaker:

okay, so now the concept is here,

Speaker:

people are interested and then you started talking about how now

Speaker:

it wasn't just children,

Speaker:

it was adults,

Speaker:

but what did you actually do in that very beginning time

Speaker:

to get your business started?

Speaker:

So a couple of things.

Speaker:

So with my business,

Speaker:

I started my business.

Speaker:

It didn't take a lot of startup money or space.

Speaker:

So I started in my home in my basement and I

Speaker:

just needed a sewing machine and I needed to buy used

Speaker:

sweaters. Right.

Speaker:

So that was pretty easy to do.

Speaker:

I didn't have to go out and get a loan and

Speaker:

set up a building and buy a lot of equipment and

Speaker:

hire people on.

Speaker:

So I started,

Speaker:

it was just me with a little bit of equipment just

Speaker:

shopping. And it started to grow kind of quickly in that

Speaker:

first year of the children's,

Speaker:

like I said,

Speaker:

morphing that into women's one of the first things I did

Speaker:

that kind of validated the fact that I was going into

Speaker:

business was that I was approached by a rep.

Speaker:

So a sales rep out of Chicago.

Speaker:

And that was the first thing that made me feel like

Speaker:

I was really like,

Speaker:

this was real.

Speaker:

So that was my real connection with selling to a retail

Speaker:

stores in boutiques.

Speaker:

Okay. And so where did this rep see your things?

Speaker:

Were you doing shows already that first year I was Doing

Speaker:

shows? However,

Speaker:

it was somebody locally that had a boutique that thought that

Speaker:

my product was really,

Speaker:

and she thought this person would be a great rep for

Speaker:

what I was producing.

Speaker:

So it was a connection.

Speaker:

So in the beginning,

Speaker:

were you always thinking that you wanted to sell wholesale and

Speaker:

have people stock your product in their shop?

Speaker:

No, I really didn't.

Speaker:

I probably didn't even know that that was a thing I

Speaker:

was direct to consumer because the consumer approached me first.

Speaker:

As soon as that notion was put in my head,

Speaker:

my world got a little bigger and at the end we

Speaker:

kind of just never stopped at the wholesale,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

that became really a focus for us.

Speaker:

So you did make a switch at some point then from

Speaker:

direct to consumer too wholesale,

Speaker:

We really did to the point where,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

we blended the two types of marketing for quite some time,

Speaker:

but we fell away from the direct to consumer just because

Speaker:

our wholesale business girl lie.

Speaker:

And we were plugging ourselves into a lot of venues over

Speaker:

the years.

Speaker:

We started to really push ourselves in that way.

Speaker:

And I just feel like it really validated us as a

Speaker:

business. However,

Speaker:

we've morphed back into a lot of retail again,

Speaker:

and we're back to blending both worlds and it's been good

Speaker:

for us.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So it sounds like over the course of the 25 or

Speaker:

more years or so that the sales channel has changed,

Speaker:

like first it was retail,

Speaker:

then it went more to wholesale.

Speaker:

You were blending,

Speaker:

then now you're back to retail.

Speaker:

So you've just kind of gone with what the signs are

Speaker:

that feel right for the business based on where you're getting

Speaker:

the business and probably also what feels right in terms of

Speaker:

combining it with your production,

Speaker:

whether you want to travel all of those things.

Speaker:

Would that be a correct statement?

Speaker:

Yeah. They're all big considerations.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

when you span almost three decades and business things change,

Speaker:

you have to roll with that.

Speaker:

So we've made those adaptions along the way,

Speaker:

according to where those markets have maybe slimmed out or new

Speaker:

opportunities. Like when we started,

Speaker:

there was no worldwide web.

Speaker:

And so we've just kind of plugged ourselves into places where

Speaker:

we've needed to.

Speaker:

And in the end we feel like there's merit to all

Speaker:

of these venues.

Speaker:

For instance,

Speaker:

my wholesale stores.

Speaker:

So many people know who we are because they found us

Speaker:

in his store.

Speaker:

I can't deny that that's a great way for us to

Speaker:

continue to do business.

Speaker:

And we continue to nurture those accounts and grow that area

Speaker:

of our business.

Speaker:

However, there are lots of places,

Speaker:

little corners of the world that there aren't stores that carry

Speaker:

us and people have heard of us or their friends wearing

Speaker:

us, but they can't get it down the street so we

Speaker:

can become available to people in other ways when we cannot

Speaker:

be in your backyard.

Speaker:

Yeah. I mean,

Speaker:

that's the huge benefit that exists today.

Speaker:

I'd say,

Speaker:

because you've got the web,

Speaker:

you can still go out to shows and you can still

Speaker:

do wholesale and all of them somewhat play into each other

Speaker:

and help each other.

Speaker:

It's not just a one and only,

Speaker:

all right.

Speaker:

So I meant to ask you this way in beginning,

Speaker:

and I have to ask you this,

Speaker:

cause I don't think I ever heard this from you,

Speaker:

but where did the name come from?

Speaker:

It is so creative.

Speaker:

Ha that is always a question.

Speaker:

Zuzu is my nickname for SU and Baba is for the

Speaker:

wool because everything we make is from reclaimed woolens.

Speaker:

So it always is part of our conversation,

Speaker:

which is great.

Speaker:

I don't think that we really thought that would be,

Speaker:

but it doesn't matter if we're at a show or someone

Speaker:

walks into my little retail store here off the beaten path

Speaker:

or you and I are talking,

Speaker:

it's always part of our conversation and it's pretty neat.

Speaker:

Yeah. It's very cool.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So I think to help our listeners and for them to

Speaker:

get as much out of the conversation as possible,

Speaker:

let's talk about two different things.

Speaker:

Let's talk about the retail side first,

Speaker:

and then let's talk a little bit about wholesale and then

Speaker:

I have a couple of just random questions for you.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

So direct to consumer.

Speaker:

So that was what you started with way back when,

Speaker:

before there was website,

Speaker:

before you even knew about wholesale and the potential of getting

Speaker:

your pieces into local boutiques,

Speaker:

bigger, small,

Speaker:

how did you start selling way?

Speaker:

In the beginning,

Speaker:

We would do a lot of holiday markets.

Speaker:

A lot of like junior lewd shows,

Speaker:

holiday markets at a point art fairs,

Speaker:

that sort of thing,

Speaker:

because we are an art full product.

Speaker:

So that's really how we started.

Speaker:

And that's kind of all that was available in terms of

Speaker:

being direct to our consumer being right in their space.

Speaker:

Did you have a good feel for who your consumer was?

Speaker:

So in terms of being able to select the right shows

Speaker:

or was there some trial there?

Speaker:

I don't think so.

Speaker:

Well, I think that we had a product that was so

Speaker:

unique that people gravitated toward it.

Speaker:

I feel like we had success no matter where we went,

Speaker:

because we were pretty eye-popping we were artful in handmade.

Speaker:

So certainly our price reflected that.

Speaker:

So that might've been one thing we had to keep in

Speaker:

mind is the types of shows we were doing.

Speaker:

What was the consumer that would be strolling the show.

Speaker:

Right. For sure.

Speaker:

And so how has the evolution of the shows gone over

Speaker:

the course of this whole time?

Speaker:

Well, we still do a lot of holiday and art fairs.

Speaker:

It just kind of depends on what our schedule is.

Speaker:

Like. I mean,

Speaker:

we really pack it in we're a fourth quarter business.

Speaker:

We start in January making our product to sit on a

Speaker:

shelf for a good eight to nine months and then rolling

Speaker:

it out in the next three months is pretty challenging.

Speaker:

So while we're in our busy,

Speaker:

busy time of stacking our stores and maybe restocking our stores,

Speaker:

it's also the time that we're doing those markets that are

Speaker:

travel. So I sometimes don't know how we do it,

Speaker:

but somehow we do.

Speaker:

Yeah. So how many shows a year do you do approximately?

Speaker:

Gosh, I'm looking at my chalkboard here.

Speaker:

I still do a chalkboard.

Speaker:

Don't look at last year.

Speaker:

It was just,

Speaker:

let's looking at this year.

Speaker:

This is current.

Speaker:

No. And they asked her,

Speaker:

we packed some into honestly,

Speaker:

so, oh,

Speaker:

I'm looking at 10 that are pretty local with the exception

Speaker:

of a few that are out of state.

Speaker:

So those are those art fairs and a few of the

Speaker:

holiday shows there.

Speaker:

In addition to that,

Speaker:

we do the wholesale trade shows.

Speaker:

So typically we would be in New York for the New

Speaker:

York now and give show twice a year.

Speaker:

That would be January and again,

Speaker:

August we also do the Philadelphia used to be the buyer's

Speaker:

market of American craft.

Speaker:

Now all these shows have changed names so many times.

Speaker:

And so recently American handcrafted.

Speaker:

So that's the Philly show that's always in February.

Speaker:

And then we've always done the American craft council,

Speaker:

Baltimore show,

Speaker:

which also lines up with that.

Speaker:

So essentially the month of February,

Speaker:

we go to the east coast and we stay out there

Speaker:

for a month and we do all of those shows.

Speaker:

You are one travel donkey,

Speaker:

For sure.

Speaker:

Yeah. You could say so it's part of it.

Speaker:

And you know,

Speaker:

we enjoy that as much as we enjoy staying right here

Speaker:

and creating.

Speaker:

So, so your year is made out of going to the

Speaker:

shows. Then when the shows aren't in progress,

Speaker:

you're really producing and creating,

Speaker:

but then the real big sales thrust is at the end

Speaker:

of the year and of third and fourth quarter.

Speaker:

You're absolutely right.

Speaker:

Yes. Talk a little bit about the shows in terms of

Speaker:

tips or things that you've seen work best in your booth.

Speaker:

Well, I Obviously your presentations,

Speaker:

so your booth design is really important and I think accessibility

Speaker:

to your product for us,

Speaker:

everything has to be able to be touched,

Speaker:

maybe try it on a mirror,

Speaker:

like making it easy for people to fall in love with

Speaker:

what you do.

Speaker:

Half of that is being able to touch it and maybe

Speaker:

try it on.

Speaker:

So I think those two things are really important.

Speaker:

I love my customer base.

Speaker:

I absolutely love interaction with my customers.

Speaker:

So I just love the platform of being able to talk

Speaker:

directly to my customers.

Speaker:

So I think attitude and just some confidence,

Speaker:

which I wouldn't say I had in the very beginning for

Speaker:

anybody. Who's just starting.

Speaker:

It's hard to put yourself out there and hope that everybody

Speaker:

receives you as well as you want them to.

Speaker:

Probably they will.

Speaker:

But in the beginning,

Speaker:

it's a hard place to throw yourself,

Speaker:

but don't let that scare you.

Speaker:

No, no,

Speaker:

no. Well,

Speaker:

I will tell you that it's very apparent that you enjoy

Speaker:

people. You enjoy talking,

Speaker:

sharing what I'll say,

Speaker:

quote, unquote,

Speaker:

working your booth.

Speaker:

You're not showing up as if it's your job.

Speaker:

You're showing up that you really enjoy it.

Speaker:

But I'm also going to say for people who have a

Speaker:

product like yours,

Speaker:

where you're talking about,

Speaker:

like they have to make a selection,

Speaker:

they want to try it on.

Speaker:

They want to see how it would fit.

Speaker:

Mirrors are really important,

Speaker:

as you said,

Speaker:

because you can see that it fits,

Speaker:

but you want to see how you look in it.

Speaker:

Why I was starting to talk about all of that is

Speaker:

it makes someone who feels like they are an,

Speaker:

and that it would be harder to talk.

Speaker:

It gives you something to talk about because with you you'll

Speaker:

say, well,

Speaker:

you gravitating more to the autumn colors or do you like

Speaker:

bright colors?

Speaker:

Or do you like more of the black,

Speaker:

white, gray blend?

Speaker:

Like you're talking about a product which makes it so much

Speaker:

easier to interact with them.

Speaker:

Yeah, I would agree.

Speaker:

And I think also now you're taking the focus off from

Speaker:

you and you're putting it onto the customer.

Speaker:

Like what color do you like?

Speaker:

Or we have five hit styles here,

Speaker:

which one speaks to you?

Speaker:

What are you looking for in a hat for fit?

Speaker:

Or this is a really feminine style.

Speaker:

This one's a little sportier.

Speaker:

Like suddenly you can get the customer talking about themselves and

Speaker:

you can take that information and apply it to your sales

Speaker:

technique in which product you would sell to that person.

Speaker:

Right. Is there anything that you've learned over time and working

Speaker:

in your booth,

Speaker:

that would be a key tip.

Speaker:

Like I'm thinking signage or something about displays or how much

Speaker:

inventory you have are like,

Speaker:

are there any tips in that arena again,

Speaker:

We've been at it so long and we've changed so much,

Speaker:

I guess,

Speaker:

because some things don't work as well as others,

Speaker:

but yeah,

Speaker:

signage is really important.

Speaker:

There were periods of time where we didn't have signage or

Speaker:

we didn't have good signage And signage with what the product

Speaker:

is or pricing.

Speaker:

Or when you say signage,

Speaker:

what are you thinking there?

Speaker:

I guess I'm talking about our brand because after a while

Speaker:

we did become a brand and people knew our name.

Speaker:

And so we felt it was really important.

Speaker:

If someone were walking down an aisle that from a distance,

Speaker:

they could see our logo and our name.

Speaker:

So that became important to us.

Speaker:

Oh, To make that very visible within the booth,

Speaker:

you mean?

Speaker:

Yes. So a customer who is familiar with your brand and

Speaker:

maybe your logo and your name sees that and says,

Speaker:

oh my gosh,

Speaker:

they're with their friend.

Speaker:

Oh my gosh,

Speaker:

those bounces that we got to go down there or here's

Speaker:

the thing I'll tell you,

Speaker:

like, not booth,

Speaker:

but like I said,

Speaker:

we have a retail store.

Speaker:

We're off the beaten path here where we are in Northern

Speaker:

Michigan. And we have some of the pure Michigan signs that

Speaker:

are out on our highway,

Speaker:

beautiful and 22 corridor.

Speaker:

And it's a directional sign that tells you where we are.

Speaker:

Lots of people will go by that sign.

Speaker:

And they're like,

Speaker:

oh honey,

Speaker:

there's that?

Speaker:

Barboza that had I bought in Des Moines,

Speaker:

Iowa, they're up the road here.

Speaker:

No idea.

Speaker:

Or we get people who pass our sign and go,

Speaker:

what is that?

Speaker:

We have got to go find Out because the name is

Speaker:

so new,

Speaker:

unique. Yeah.

Speaker:

And whether,

Speaker:

you know it or not,

Speaker:

whether you know the name and you can connect with that

Speaker:

or you don't,

Speaker:

and they're curious about who you are because of your name.

Speaker:

I think that's been important for us,

Speaker:

the signage.

Speaker:

And then as far as you were asking,

Speaker:

maybe about like signage for styles or pricing,

Speaker:

we always do pricing because you know what,

Speaker:

when you're busy and you have 30 people on your booth

Speaker:

or whatever,

Speaker:

nobody wants to wait to ask.

Speaker:

So we try to make things like that,

Speaker:

a parent.

Speaker:

And then I feel like I do want to interact with

Speaker:

my customers.

Speaker:

Maybe we leave a little bit of things to question like

Speaker:

the hat styles.

Speaker:

I expect to engage with my customer all the time.

Speaker:

So if there are some questions laughed or because I haven't

Speaker:

put signage or something,

Speaker:

like, I think it's important to have the interaction with the

Speaker:

customer. So do you intentionally leave a little bit of something

Speaker:

out so that they'll talk with you?

Speaker:

I don't know that I leave anything out,

Speaker:

but maybe our product does take some explaining.

Speaker:

So we have like a half dozen hat styles.

Speaker:

We have three different types of mittens down to different types

Speaker:

of fingerless gloves.

Speaker:

We have,

Speaker:

I don't know,

Speaker:

a half dozen different scars.

Speaker:

I feel like they all take some explaining and you've maybe

Speaker:

you got well mittens or mittens.

Speaker:

Well, there are things that are different.

Speaker:

Maybe about our mittens are two types of fingerless gloves.

Speaker:

And I couldn't put all that into written words.

Speaker:

I feel like it takes some explaining.

Speaker:

And the other thing is demonstrating.

Speaker:

There were some of our products that I can sell hand

Speaker:

over fist all day long because I put it on.

Speaker:

And I think you have to be willing to do that.

Speaker:

I was going to get to that.

Speaker:

I'm so glad you said that because you always are wearing

Speaker:

something of yours.

Speaker:

Yes. And you know,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

that's tough because if I made an indoor venue,

Speaker:

I can't because we're outdoor,

Speaker:

but I will take anything and put it on.

Speaker:

If I'm at an art show and it's 90 degrees out,

Speaker:

I will put a hoodie scar fun because somebody's asking about

Speaker:

it. And all I have to do is show how it

Speaker:

works and I'd probably have a customer.

Speaker:

Yeah. I think that's true.

Speaker:

But demonstrate,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

that's almost signage in and of itself,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

actually wearing the product.

Speaker:

Yes. The thing like a website,

Speaker:

you don't have the opportunity to do what I was just

Speaker:

explaining. So when you're in that place and space where you

Speaker:

can do that,

Speaker:

you had to take advantage of that.

Speaker:

I agree with you totally let's stick with direct to consumer

Speaker:

for a second.

Speaker:

What happened when you had an opportunity now to go online,

Speaker:

enter in the game,

Speaker:

changing worldwide web.

Speaker:

Sue's going to share with us how she integrated this into

Speaker:

our business,

Speaker:

right after a quick break to hear from our sponsor.

Speaker:

Yes. It's possible increase your sales without adding a single customer.

Speaker:

How you ask by offering personalization with your products,

Speaker:

rapid cake box with a ribbon saying happy 30th birthday,

Speaker:

Annie, or at a special message and date to wedding or

Speaker:

party favors for an extra meaningful touch.

Speaker:

Where else can you get customization with a creatively spelled name

Speaker:

or find packaging?

Speaker:

That includes a saying whose meaning is known to a select

Speaker:

to not only are customers willing to pay for these special

Speaker:

touches. They'll tell their friends and word will spread about your

Speaker:

company and products.

Speaker:

You can create personalized ribbons and labels in seconds,

Speaker:

make just one or thousands without waiting weeks or having to

Speaker:

spend money to order yards and yards print words in any

Speaker:

language or font,

Speaker:

add logos,

Speaker:

images, even photos,

Speaker:

perfect for branding or adding ingredient and flavor labels.

Speaker:

To, for more information,

Speaker:

go to the ribbon print company.com

Speaker:

in the beginning,

Speaker:

our Wholesalers,

Speaker:

our stores that we sold to were especially unhappy about that.

Speaker:

It was a really challenging transition.

Speaker:

And as you can imagine,

Speaker:

because it's been really tough for the retail industry to go

Speaker:

to battle with online sales.

Speaker:

So it was tough for us to kind of mollycoddle our

Speaker:

customers and go into this new way of selling though.

Speaker:

We absolutely had to,

Speaker:

we could not ignore that there's a customer over here.

Speaker:

And we had to be part of this evolution and this

Speaker:

new way that our old way was still so important to

Speaker:

us. So the first thing that we did was we put

Speaker:

our website on our hang tags one year,

Speaker:

that year that we had a website.

Speaker:

And I remember some of our stores were really pretty outraged

Speaker:

and oh,

Speaker:

they would come back to me and they'd say,

Speaker:

I'm going to tell you right now that the second we

Speaker:

get your product in,

Speaker:

we cut that part of your hang tag off right away.

Speaker:

So I knew it was a tough road,

Speaker:

but it also was a new time for everyone.

Speaker:

So in that period of time,

Speaker:

and there was all this resistance here,

Speaker:

we are fast forward now,

Speaker:

15 years or 20 years.

Speaker:

And there isn't anybody in the world that wouldn't have a

Speaker:

product without a website.

Speaker:

Right. It was kind of some rough water there.

Speaker:

Yeah. I mean,

Speaker:

you could see,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

there are definitely feeling that it's threatening their ability to sell

Speaker:

your product too.

Speaker:

But I would imagine like once they actually got going,

Speaker:

I mean your product,

Speaker:

because they're all one of a kind for the most part

Speaker:

and every one of them is just a little bit different.

Speaker:

There is such an advantage of picking out that exact one

Speaker:

that you want in person.

Speaker:

And that was our selling point.

Speaker:

That's what our kind of rebuttal was.

Speaker:

Look, I understand your frustration,

Speaker:

but I will tell you that the 12 pair of mittens

Speaker:

that are coming to your store September 15th are the only

Speaker:

12 pair that looked like that.

Speaker:

So I think that smooth things over a little bit for

Speaker:

us and other people didn't have the same luxury,

Speaker:

but it piece some and not so much of those.

Speaker:

And then time softened that.

Speaker:

Yeah. And you're right.

Speaker:

Time did soften that and now we're all used to it.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

it's just accepted,

Speaker:

but it's a good example of the way business changes and

Speaker:

evolves and you have to accommodate and adjust with it,

Speaker:

I guess I'd say.

Speaker:

Yes. All right.

Speaker:

So you have also been an exhibitor at the at-home craft

Speaker:

and gift show.

Speaker:

That's right.

Speaker:

So this whole new segment of opportunity,

Speaker:

and I'm actually calling this too.

Speaker:

I don't know if you,

Speaker:

and I've had this conversation,

Speaker:

maybe we have,

Speaker:

but I'm really feeling like these virtual shows are a category

Speaker:

unto themselves.

Speaker:

So there obviously it's a direct to consumer.

Speaker:

So it would either be instead of going into someone's store

Speaker:

or going to a show or online,

Speaker:

like I'm looking at this as not just an option as

Speaker:

a different version of a craft show,

Speaker:

I'm looking at it as something entirely different.

Speaker:

I'd love for you to share with us your experience.

Speaker:

You were in the December show,

Speaker:

the holiday show,

Speaker:

cause you already told us you're a seasonal product with all

Speaker:

of that wall.

Speaker:

And it would be great to hear because you've had a

Speaker:

lot of experience with all different types of shows.

Speaker:

So share with us a little bit about what happened for

Speaker:

you at the at-home show.

Speaker:

Okay. So the highlight of that show for us was the

Speaker:

fact that there was a live portion of the show.

Speaker:

So I'll just have to back up a little bit to

Speaker:

COVID and what that did to us as far as shows,

Speaker:

which is no surprise,

Speaker:

they were all canceled and immediately some of the art fairs

Speaker:

that we would do,

Speaker:

and especially all of our wholesale shows started to offer virtual

Speaker:

shows, which we thought was a great,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

what are we going to do?

Speaker:

It's all there is.

Speaker:

And one of the venues for a wholesale virtual show,

Speaker:

they have been in the tech,

Speaker:

I guess,

Speaker:

tech, digital marketing for quite some time.

Speaker:

And I was sure they would have a live portion of

Speaker:

the show.

Speaker:

I was so disappointed when they didn't,

Speaker:

all of those shows have yielded little to no results.

Speaker:

And I was so excited about the at-home show because of

Speaker:

that live portion.

Speaker:

And it just felt like all the things I've been talking

Speaker:

about about being able to interact with our customer became available.

Speaker:

Again, even though we had to be remote,

Speaker:

we could be in touch with people.

Speaker:

So I had people call during the show.

Speaker:

They came into our booth,

Speaker:

virtually came in.

Speaker:

So they're live on my screen.

Speaker:

They bought my product for years.

Speaker:

They were from out east,

Speaker:

but they've never met me.

Speaker:

They've never been to a show that I've been at now,

Speaker:

suddenly somebody who knows me because they bought my product maybe

Speaker:

at a store and they're loyal to my product.

Speaker:

They love it.

Speaker:

They bought it off my website.

Speaker:

They were so delighted to be able to meet me as

Speaker:

if we were standing in my 10 by 10 booth somewhere.

Speaker:

I think that that is such a valuable tool to any

Speaker:

digital marketing and digital shows that will happen or virtual shows

Speaker:

that will happen.

Speaker:

That live portion is just it's essential.

Speaker:

Yeah. It's really key.

Speaker:

It was so fun with you and your product specifically too,

Speaker:

because of course I did my share shopping and we could

Speaker:

go through and I could say,

Speaker:

oh, for my son.

Speaker:

And then you could ask me,

Speaker:

and then you could show me,

Speaker:

like you just held up because remember,

Speaker:

and I'm talking to people who are listening now,

Speaker:

not used to obviously,

Speaker:

but all of Sue's products look different.

Speaker:

You can hold up then Sue,

Speaker:

like, okay,

Speaker:

well, do you think he'd like this pair and you show

Speaker:

me the left and the right hand glove or this pair,

Speaker:

right. Left-hand glove.

Speaker:

And then I'd say,

Speaker:

oh, I like the ones on the right.

Speaker:

And you say,

Speaker:

okay, so olden,

Speaker:

you would start making me my pile of things.

Speaker:

Yes. So it was a really experience,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

how we talk about how retail shops now it's all about

Speaker:

experience. This was kind of like being in an online retail

Speaker:

shop combined,

Speaker:

because I was looking at you,

Speaker:

you were showing me pieces that were available.

Speaker:

I was making decisions was kind of like that.

Speaker:

Okay. You were putting them at the checkout counter.

Speaker:

For me.

Speaker:

It really Was the closest thing to being in a store

Speaker:

or a booth for me as well.

Speaker:

It just really,

Speaker:

really did emulate that experience.

Speaker:

Wonderful. And I know you're going to be there this coming

Speaker:

year too.

Speaker:

Right? The holiday show.

Speaker:

I am yes.

Speaker:

One more time.

Speaker:

So anyone who wants to see Sue's things it's going to

Speaker:

be end of November,

Speaker:

December, you'll definitely want to come.

Speaker:

That's the at home craft and gift show.

Speaker:

We're looking forward to it.

Speaker:

Yeah. We've already talked a lot on the podcast about that

Speaker:

show. So we're not going to go into more of that.

Speaker:

Now. I want to continue on with your story because I

Speaker:

see my list of questions and I see the time going

Speaker:

by. So let's talk a little bit just to address your

Speaker:

wholesale portion of the business.

Speaker:

So at what point did that enter in,

Speaker:

if you were thinking number of years in,

Speaker:

when did you start selling wholesale?

Speaker:

So Probably two years in,

Speaker:

we hooked up with that rep out of Chicago,

Speaker:

as I explained to you.

Speaker:

And then we had a friend in a local store,

Speaker:

he had a gift store and he attended what was then,

Speaker:

as I said,

Speaker:

the buyer's market of American craft in Philadelphia,

Speaker:

which was all handcrafted American made products.

Speaker:

And we thought that would be a good fit for us.

Speaker:

So we put that on our list.

Speaker:

I guess we juried in,

Speaker:

we got into that show and I always say that show

Speaker:

was the gateway to wholesale business for us.

Speaker:

We just had immediate success.

Speaker:

All of the top galleries in the country attended that show.

Speaker:

And it was,

Speaker:

oh my gosh,

Speaker:

those were the days like they say,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

it was shoulder to shoulder buyers,

Speaker:

the enthusiasm and our product was just so fresh and do,

Speaker:

and there was nothing like it.

Speaker:

Like I said,

Speaker:

our success out of the starting gate was pretty immediate.

Speaker:

We were lucky for that.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

we continued there for years and then we started to add

Speaker:

things like the New York now.

Speaker:

And we would be in their American made handcrafted section.

Speaker:

And we just grew into other formats or venues that catered

Speaker:

to that as we grew our production About any adjustments you

Speaker:

had to make in the business to accommodate wholesale,

Speaker:

like pricing or production,

Speaker:

anything on that end because We started with our children's wear.

Speaker:

And then we almost,

Speaker:

at the time that we morphed into the adult,

Speaker:

we had started off with our connection in Chicago and we

Speaker:

had our wholesale pricing we started with right away.

Speaker:

So I think that that's always hard though.

Speaker:

I think that pricing your own product is very hard.

Speaker:

I think you get scared of pricing yourself out of the

Speaker:

market. You want your cut yourself.

Speaker:

We deal with it.

Speaker:

Even still today we go,

Speaker:

how much can you sell a pair of mittens for?

Speaker:

So the price of polar tech going up like crazy,

Speaker:

our liner,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

that labor is always going up.

Speaker:

We have employees that have been here for a good long

Speaker:

time. We have to reward them for that.

Speaker:

So I would say pricing is always really hard,

Speaker:

especially when you have to jump your price for the same

Speaker:

product that gets tough.

Speaker:

I'm not the only one.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

everybody has to do that.

Speaker:

I think that's a hard place in wholesale,

Speaker:

but again,

Speaker:

the number of years we've been at it where you get

Speaker:

wiser and you do what you have to do.

Speaker:

Yeah. You know,

Speaker:

it sounds like you didn't have too much of a struggle

Speaker:

cause you were instilled a little bit product development because you

Speaker:

were also now creating an adult line,

Speaker:

correct me if I'm wrong,

Speaker:

but you weren't having as much of a comparison to past

Speaker:

products because you didn't have a full established line of adult

Speaker:

yet you were still in the develop,

Speaker:

right. You're exactly right.

Speaker:

Yes. Yeah.

Speaker:

But it's something that I think everyone,

Speaker:

if you're thinking about eventually your interest is doing wholesale because

Speaker:

some people,

Speaker:

it isn't,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

it's a whole different animal.

Speaker:

It's a whole different way of running business.

Speaker:

It puts different pressures on different areas of the business.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

employees with production.

Speaker:

If you're running a lot,

Speaker:

the pricing is different.

Speaker:

It's just a different animal.

Speaker:

You can do one or the other or both.

Speaker:

There's lots of options there.

Speaker:

Yeah. You know,

Speaker:

we wouldn't dream of omitting either.

Speaker:

I just think that we see value in all of the

Speaker:

ways that we market and sell our products.

Speaker:

That's good input,

Speaker:

really good.

Speaker:

But having that plan and thinking about that and considering those

Speaker:

different avenues upfront,

Speaker:

and then you don't get caught with pricing.

Speaker:

Like if you price too low,

Speaker:

direct to consumer,

Speaker:

and then you have a wholesale opportunity,

Speaker:

then your pricing is going to be way off.

Speaker:

If you didn't plan for it initially.

Speaker:

Yes. And obviously you don't want to undercut your retailers.

Speaker:

And I know some people make the mistake of doing that.

Speaker:

Maybe some people starting out.

Speaker:

So it is really important to set your price so that

Speaker:

if you expect to get into wholesale,

Speaker:

you have the buffer to do that.

Speaker:

Right. The other thing I would say that's really important with

Speaker:

wholesale business is on-time delivery.

Speaker:

We just have never not delivered on time.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

you will burn a bridge so fast.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

you are better off saying you can't have those for three

Speaker:

months, then you can have at one month from now and

Speaker:

not until the ring.

Speaker:

So be really fair to yourself about what you will promise.

Speaker:

And if you can deliver that promise,

Speaker:

that's Really good input for sure.

Speaker:

So what role does social media play in your business?

Speaker:

So I would say a lot and I am not a

Speaker:

big social media fan.

Speaker:

Like the tone of your voice when you said that.

Speaker:

Well, You know why?

Speaker:

Because I feel like it's a big time consumer and I

Speaker:

don't have that kind of time.

Speaker:

So honestly I pay someone to do mine and it's not

Speaker:

inexpensive, but I feel like we cannot live without it for

Speaker:

a while.

Speaker:

This is why I said that the way I said it

Speaker:

for the longest time,

Speaker:

I feel like we spend money and there's no way to

Speaker:

what it does for us.

Speaker:

So what that you get likes or do you know what

Speaker:

I mean?

Speaker:

So what that you have followers,

Speaker:

does it transfer to dollars?

Speaker:

And it is really hard to say that it does or

Speaker:

doesn't. So for me,

Speaker:

the girl that I use or the marketing team that I

Speaker:

use, she does a lot more than that for us.

Speaker:

So not only does she post on our Instagram and Facebook

Speaker:

is what we use.

Speaker:

Not only does she does our post three times a week,

Speaker:

she actually comes and chooses the product.

Speaker:

She finds models,

Speaker:

she styles shots in the models.

Speaker:

And so if it were me and I were directing my

Speaker:

own social marketing,

Speaker:

I would be the girl in every shot because where am

Speaker:

I going to get a model every three days?

Speaker:

And I would be in front of the red barn,

Speaker:

outside of my facility.

Speaker:

So I just felt like even if it didn't turn into

Speaker:

direct dollars,

Speaker:

I was getting something over here.

Speaker:

And then I had this beautiful photo library that I could

Speaker:

use for lots of other marketing.

Speaker:

So I feel like I had to make it work for

Speaker:

me in more ways than just what we know to be

Speaker:

Facebook and Instagram postings.

Speaker:

And then last year,

Speaker:

again, with all of our crazy changes,

Speaker:

I had her do a Facebook advertising campaign for us that

Speaker:

was super successful.

Speaker:

And if you want to details for me,

Speaker:

I couldn't tell you because I don't understand all of that,

Speaker:

but I feel better about social marketing than I used to

Speaker:

in terms of money spent.

Speaker:

So I'm more of a believer,

Speaker:

but I think it's hard to throw money at that and

Speaker:

feel okay about it in terms of what will come back

Speaker:

at you for that.

Speaker:

Well, when you start doing ads,

Speaker:

then you're able to measure much better.

Speaker:

Correct? I think it's the evolution of social overall too,

Speaker:

because social initially was free.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

all you did was post.

Speaker:

You could get a lot of attention for nothing and all

Speaker:

of that has now changed.

Speaker:

And so now you have to do ads,

Speaker:

but before social media,

Speaker:

we would put money in promoting through newspapers years,

Speaker:

talking about outdoor,

Speaker:

that you do all different types of things.

Speaker:

So it's just another version of that.

Speaker:

And once you spend start doing ads,

Speaker:

then you can track.

Speaker:

And like you,

Speaker:

I see success with Facebook ads and you know,

Speaker:

and I just look at it as it's just a different

Speaker:

way to promote your business.

Speaker:

You've got to get people out there seeing what you're doing

Speaker:

before they can even think of making a purchase,

Speaker:

whether it's driving them to your website,

Speaker:

driving them to a show you're going to be at selling

Speaker:

directly through the platforms,

Speaker:

all of that.

Speaker:

Yeah. In the last year we switched over to the Shopify

Speaker:

website platform.

Speaker:

My favorite there's So much information behind the scenes there about

Speaker:

where your sales are coming from and or your visitors on

Speaker:

your site.

Speaker:

And so again,

Speaker:

we were able to track our Facebook or Instagram sales or

Speaker:

website visitors,

Speaker:

and I felt more comfortable about throwing money at it when

Speaker:

I could really see what it was doing for us.

Speaker:

Right. I mean,

Speaker:

this has been a common challenge,

Speaker:

even through the huge brands that spend millions and millions of

Speaker:

dollars, you know,

Speaker:

and people trying to justify their positions in the beginning,

Speaker:

when there'd be social media departments,

Speaker:

it's like,

Speaker:

okay, we're spending all this money.

Speaker:

We've hired you,

Speaker:

you're spending weeks.

Speaker:

How do we track it back?

Speaker:

Like what portion of the sales is attributable to that?

Speaker:

And I mean,

Speaker:

it continues to be a challenge.

Speaker:

So I agree with you you're right on with your assessment

Speaker:

with that.

Speaker:

Yeah. I'm happy to be a little bit on the other

Speaker:

side of it because yeah.

Speaker:

You heard me start out with the hesitation and yeah,

Speaker:

No, it was cute.

Speaker:

I had to call it out cause it was just so

Speaker:

cute. It was fun.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

when The girl that we work with,

Speaker:

when we approached her,

Speaker:

I just said flat out,

Speaker:

I was like,

Speaker:

I just have to tell you hands down.

Speaker:

I am a skeptic,

Speaker:

but here I am sell me Well.

Speaker:

And she clearly did that.

Speaker:

So that's awesome.

Speaker:

All right.

Speaker:

We have to approach this one other question that we were

Speaker:

talking about earlier,

Speaker:

I'm dying to know and one or two or whatever you

Speaker:

want to respond to this,

Speaker:

let's talk about one of the products that you put out

Speaker:

in the market that you saw,

Speaker:

just wasn't going to get traction.

Speaker:

Give us one of those stories.

Speaker:

Okay. So I probably did this,

Speaker:

not once,

Speaker:

not twice,

Speaker:

but three times a spring line.

Speaker:

So we're all winter.

Speaker:

And I actually,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

yesterday I had a phone call from somebody.

Speaker:

Do we make a spring jacket?

Speaker:

And I tried it three different ways and failure,

Speaker:

failure, failure.

Speaker:

So, you know,

Speaker:

I just couldn't find things that would resonate with what we

Speaker:

are known for,

Speaker:

which is wool,

Speaker:

winter, and recycled.

Speaker:

And I tried recycled kimonos.

Speaker:

I tried recycled upholstery sample fabrics.

Speaker:

It just didn't resonate with our customer.

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

it was a flop every single time.

Speaker:

And I,

Speaker:

at this point and not really unhappy about that,

Speaker:

I'm thrilled because I never have to say yes to that

Speaker:

again. Right.

Speaker:

You could ask me all day long to do is bring

Speaker:

nine. And I would tell you no with ease.

Speaker:

So I'm happy to be in that place.

Speaker:

And that's sometimes what failure or little non successes that's sometimes

Speaker:

what they're for is to get you back on track or

Speaker:

I'm happy to say I tried it and I don't have

Speaker:

to go there again.

Speaker:

Yeah, strategically it would make sense if there is a hole

Speaker:

in your year of selling and you could fill it with

Speaker:

a product with your existing audience,

Speaker:

why would you not try and do that?

Speaker:

Absolutely. If people had loved it,

Speaker:

if they had eaten it up,

Speaker:

I would be so happy to be turning.

Speaker:

I say,

Speaker:

I wouldn't be happy though.

Speaker:

I didn't love doing it as much as I love what

Speaker:

we do,

Speaker:

but I would do it,

Speaker:

but you're absolutely right.

Speaker:

I would do it if people were clamoring for it.

Speaker:

But now,

Speaker:

you know,

Speaker:

I mean,

Speaker:

people are very clear in what you offer,

Speaker:

right? There's no question about what you offer.

Speaker:

And if you had a spring line,

Speaker:

it would a little bit dilute the brand that you have

Speaker:

now, You know,

Speaker:

and honestly it did.

Speaker:

It took us away from that.

Speaker:

And you know,

Speaker:

in hindsight it wasn't the best direction for us to go

Speaker:

in. But like I said,

Speaker:

we had to try it more than once.

Speaker:

And the results not working was probably the best thing for

Speaker:

you. As you said,

Speaker:

you tried it now.

Speaker:

You can be very clear that that is not a direction

Speaker:

for you.

Speaker:

So now you can be true,

Speaker:

solid, streamlined,

Speaker:

focused on what you're doing.

Speaker:

Absolutely recognizing exactly what time of the year is for sales.

Speaker:

What time of the year is for more production.

Speaker:

What time of the year is going out to trade shows

Speaker:

to get your product into the stores in time for your

Speaker:

sales period?

Speaker:

Like all of that is so clean and clear.

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker:

You're right.

Speaker:

The breakdown of how you put that as exactly how we

Speaker:

break down our time in a calendar year.

Speaker:

So yes.

Speaker:

Beautiful. Wonderful.

Speaker:

So give us peek into what you think the future holds

Speaker:

for you.

Speaker:

Oh boy,

Speaker:

It's not a spring line.

Speaker:

I can tell you that.

Speaker:

I think just Expanding our markets,

Speaker:

I feel like we have a pretty good product line size,

Speaker:

so almost 50 products.

Speaker:

And I would like to see us in more markets and

Speaker:

I'm not really sure with the wholesale industry is pretty challenging

Speaker:

right now,

Speaker:

as far as growing into that.

Speaker:

Not sure how to do that,

Speaker:

but I know that in our digital marketing and sales will

Speaker:

continue. We put into place some new tools last year that

Speaker:

were really successful for us.

Speaker:

I'm excited to see those take off and drive more website

Speaker:

traffic to us.

Speaker:

If you recall,

Speaker:

the Bernie Sanders mittens.

Speaker:

Yep. That Thing did wonders for us.

Speaker:

Paperwork, Googling sweater mittens,

Speaker:

and our girl that monitors our website does our SEO does

Speaker:

a great job.

Speaker:

And she has us out there front and center and people

Speaker:

landed on our site and I'm telling you our sales in

Speaker:

January and February and half of March were like December all

Speaker:

over again.

Speaker:

And I know that's where they stemmed from.

Speaker:

So we grew our audience.

Speaker:

Most of those contacts,

Speaker:

they were first-time buyers.

Speaker:

And four days later we were shipping to them again.

Speaker:

And seven days later,

Speaker:

they be taking another shipment.

Speaker:

So I love expanding our customer base and getting our product

Speaker:

out there further.

Speaker:

We probably don't have any new products this year.

Speaker:

We had a couple of pieces last year that we didn't

Speaker:

get a chance to throw out there.

Speaker:

So they're a little bit new to our customer base this

Speaker:

year. It's tough for us to come up with completely new

Speaker:

product. When we are breaking down the post-consumer sweaters that we

Speaker:

use, we have a lot of limitations.

Speaker:

So we're cutting around arm holes and side scenes.

Speaker:

And it's not like yards of fabric on a roll.

Speaker:

The sky's not the limit.

Speaker:

So when we kind of tool a way to break down

Speaker:

those sweaters into our new product,

Speaker:

it takes a lot to get that product or that process

Speaker:

into place.

Speaker:

So completely new product is tough for us.

Speaker:

We try to come out with one or two things a

Speaker:

year. We hardly retire anything every,

Speaker:

and then something is slow and we'll take it off from

Speaker:

our list of things.

Speaker:

But then our line grows pretty big and it's kind of

Speaker:

hard to continue to make an all of our color ways

Speaker:

and right.

Speaker:

No, I mean,

Speaker:

what I'm hearing from you is you're staying in your lane.

Speaker:

You know,

Speaker:

you know what you offer,

Speaker:

couple of style variations are fine.

Speaker:

Still every single piece is unique unto itself.

Speaker:

Anyway, even if it's the same basic pattern of how the

Speaker:

size is and everything.

Speaker:

So you almost have a built in uniqueness.

Speaker:

Every single piece is different.

Speaker:

Yeah. I mean coffee,

Speaker:

cause we want to stay fresh with our customers.

Speaker:

However, there are things like,

Speaker:

okay, so they are fingerless gloves,

Speaker:

which is our number one seller alongside of our mittens.

Speaker:

People will come into our store and say,

Speaker:

oh my gosh,

Speaker:

I'm buying my sips pair of these.

Speaker:

And we feel like,

Speaker:

oh, we need to offer a different styles.

Speaker:

So we do,

Speaker:

we have a second style.

Speaker:

But with other things it's tough.

Speaker:

Like our mittens,

Speaker:

you can't add a second thumb and call it a new

Speaker:

style, but we've done little things like we offer our classic.

Speaker:

Woman's now with the option of a buckskin Palm for driving.

Speaker:

And that's another thing a lot of our customers ask for

Speaker:

something. And when we hear it enough,

Speaker:

we know it's go time to maybe try something or it

Speaker:

spawns a new idea.

Speaker:

So we get a lot of our ideas from customers that

Speaker:

we run with.

Speaker:

And that is one of them.

Speaker:

The other thing is we have a nice little men's line.

Speaker:

Guys were coming in all the time.

Speaker:

What about us?

Speaker:

And we're like,

Speaker:

what about them?

Speaker:

Why don't we do so we can make some small,

Speaker:

like you said,

Speaker:

adjustments to some of our products to expand our line without

Speaker:

it being too much of a challenge,

Speaker:

Right? You're staying true to the product and what people know

Speaker:

you for.

Speaker:

You're just making some adjustments within the whole product range.

Speaker:

Correct. And you know,

Speaker:

I would say over the course of our time,

Speaker:

our practice has just gotten better,

Speaker:

more better made.

Speaker:

And our quality is just really top notch.

Speaker:

And not that we didn't always sell a good product,

Speaker:

but we're always looking for ways to tweak the quality and

Speaker:

the fit.

Speaker:

So even little things like that,

Speaker:

little changes that don't make it a completely new product,

Speaker:

we feel we've made it a better product.

Speaker:

Well, I can endorse the product quality for sure.

Speaker:

Thank you.

Speaker:

If people who are listening want to go check out your

Speaker:

products, where would you send them?

Speaker:

So we are@babazuzu.com

Speaker:

and that's B a B a Z U Z u.com.

Speaker:

You can check in with us right here and ask if

Speaker:

there's somebody who sells our product in your backyard.

Speaker:

We had to do a little zip code check here,

Speaker:

but we're having to do that for you.

Speaker:

We also have an Amazon store and an Etsy store,

Speaker:

so you can find us there under as well.

Speaker:

Well, Sue,

Speaker:

thank you so much.

Speaker:

I really appreciate you being on the show,

Speaker:

pulling back the curtain a little bit and letting us see

Speaker:

what goes on at Baba Zuzu from start to where you

Speaker:

are now.

Speaker:

That's the opportunity.

Speaker:

Good stuff.

Speaker:

Yes. I talk in my makers MBA program about,

Speaker:

you need to make sure that your product and business practices

Speaker:

stay relevant with the times Sue's leadership and direction of the

Speaker:

bapa Zuzu brand is a perfect demonstration of this next week.

Speaker:

I'm taking you to the movies,

Speaker:

think the Sundance channel and HBO,

Speaker:

any ideas on what the topic is.

Speaker:

Find out.

Speaker:

First thing Monday morning,

Speaker:

when this episode goes live,

Speaker:

I'm also curious,

Speaker:

how do you like my Thursday tips and talk segment?

Speaker:

I can't believe that they've been earring for over four months

Speaker:

already. Gosh,

Speaker:

does time fly by comments on this topics that you'd like

Speaker:

me to cover DME over on Instagram at gift biz on

Speaker:

wrapped with your thoughts?

Speaker:

And if you're feeling generous today,

Speaker:

a review over on apple podcasts would be amazing doing that

Speaker:

helps the show get seen by more makers.

Speaker:

So it's a great way to pay it forward.

Speaker:

Did you see the new layout in the apple podcast app?

Speaker:

It's entirely different.

Speaker:

The subscribe button is now gone and what you do instead

Speaker:

is follow a show.

Speaker:

You do that by tapping the check mark that's right up

Speaker:

on the right-hand side at the top.

Speaker:

Just something new to get used to and now be safe

Speaker:

and well.

Speaker:

And I'll see you again next week on the gift biz

Speaker:

unwrapped podcasts.

Speaker:

I want to make sure you're familiar with my free Facebook

Speaker:

group called gift is breeze.

Speaker:

It's a place where we all gather and our community to

Speaker:

support each other.

Speaker:

Got a really fun post in there.

Speaker:

That's my favorite of the week.

Speaker:

I have to say where I invite all of you to

Speaker:

share what you're doing to show pictures of your product,

Speaker:

to show what you're working on for the week to get

Speaker:

reaction from other people and just for fun,

Speaker:

because we all get to see the wonderful products that everybody

Speaker:

in the community is making my favorite post every single week,

Speaker:

without doubt.

Speaker:

Wait, what aren't you part of the group already,

Speaker:

if not make sure to jump over to Facebook and search

Speaker:

for the group gift biz breeze don't delay.