This last week has been stocked full of decisions. I think my brain is on overload and seriously can't function properly!! So, it seems that in this business everything comes all or nothing. We'll be slow for a month or two and then we get a flood of business over the course of a few weeks. PR and advertising will run with little response for a month or two and then bam, we receive calls from numerous publications. Maybe this is just God's way of keeping me grounded and hungry for success. Well, I'm hungry alright, as I'm sure many retailers are at this time. Business was just plain rough in Q4 and I, for one, am ready for the flood in 2009!
So, back to those decisions...this past week alone has been one of various opportunities and therefore decisions. We were approached with a last minute opportunity to return to the Boom Boom Room celebrity gifting suite. We had made the decision to pass this year purely due to the cost and lack of budget. Turns out we may be able to pull it off after all. Crazy thing is, Emily and I will have to leave on a flight in one week to head out to LA (Daddy is staying home to hang out with his pumpkin)! We have a lot to do to pull this one off!
Simultaneously, I was trying to make a decision on the Atlanta apparel market next month. I was planning to attend the show, working our Stella Jane & Friends Showroom, when I found out that my husband is actually in a wedding that same weekend. Since our little one is still so young and breastfeeding, we decided that it wasn't really feasible for us both to go to the wedding (out of town and a flight away)...so, off I will be going to Atlanta in a few weeks, with Aubrey in tow! I always said I didn't know how all you mompreneurs made it all happen, but I am quickly figuring out that you just do what you've gotta do, and we just find a balance in there somewhere!
On top of all that, I am trying to finalize our market plans for Fall 09. Booker & Company has a fabulous co-op opportunity for the upcoming Vegas KIDShow, which we attended last year. As a new company, this show was not a profitable one for us, but with Gemma's sales skills and our current brand awareness, I think this would be a good opportunity for us. Trade shows are always a tough one, as it is always a gamble and with the recent turn in the economy, attendance has been down overall. With that said, I feel that we have been so well received over this past year, but what we need is exposure. The stores that know about us are pretty loyal. Their customers buy our products and therefore they buy our products. It is the thousands of stores out there that don't know about us yet, that I am trying to reach. I know this happens over time through PR and brand awareness, but I think that trade shows are sometimes just a necessary evil. I don't mean this in a bad way, it's just that fine balance of cost, ROI, and publicity, and that big question...is it worth it?
I have also been working on our marketing plan/budget for 2009, which is also always a tough one. As a business owner and CEO, I want to make good business decisions, but so many marketing opportunities are again still such a gamble. We finally took the leap and placed some national magazine ads in Q4, but with the turn in the economy, those turned out to have extremely low ROI. Was it the publication, the timing, the ad, or a combination of the three? With sales low as a industry, we just don't have the funds to gamble, but we are also in a prime position for growth and understand the "spend money to make money" situation. My goal this week is to finalize this marketing plan, really analyzing the numbers, and hope that I make the best decisions for our brand. I have a really great feeling about 2009 and am not getting off this roller coaster any time soon!!