Archive for January, 2010

Distributor basics

Posted by at 29 January, 2010, 9:37 am

Bringing a product to market is one of hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done but like most folks who have never done (or tried to do) something before I had some misconceptions about what to expect.  Now that I have little bit more experience and know so many fellow Mompreneurs® and inventors, I want to share with you a general rule of thumb if you are thinking about taking the plunge.  Now I’m not sharing this with you as any sort of discouragement, but I just feel that if people are more prepared, they won’t be disappointed or be too hard on themselves later when things don’t go the way they THOUGHT they should.  (Because what you thought, is probably wrong!).  Okay… here goes…. This is short and sweet:  The first year on the market, expect to HEMORRHAGE money.  The second year, you are doing well if you break even.  The third year, you should be making a profit.  There are always exceptions, but if you go into it with your eyes wide open, you won’t be nearly as disappointed when your QuickBooks reveals the ugly truth every December 31st


I did turn a modest profit in year two but that was entirely because of Shark Tank.  I was extremely fortunate.  Now again, I’m still standing by what I have always said about media…I CAN NOT rely on that (or any other media hit to come) to carry me through year 3.  This time next year do you think anyone will remember me from that show?  NO.  Sales sales sales is where the money comes from.  What’s a little discouraging to me is that what I really SHOULD be doing right now is hitting the tradeshow circuit hard, but I just can’t.  With my husband’s job as a pilot, he’s only home 15 days a month, and so child care is a HUGE issue.   Last year Pa helped out TREMENDOUSLY because he was retired and he would pick the kids up from school etc… but now what he’s gone, it just puts too much stain on my family.  So now, I need to work on a plan B. 


I’ve got a new sales rep that I have high hopes for and I just signed on with a distributor for the state of Hawaii.  I’m really excited about that!  I’m hoping for great success out there.  They grill all year round and if they do well enough, maybe it will warrant a family / business trip out there to visit J  hee hee.  I grew up on Oahu (Pa was stationed at Pearl Harbor) so I have a very special place in my heart for the island.  Since moving away in 3rd grade I have been back 3 times, but that was BC.  (Before Children). 


Here’s a short little lesson on Distributor basics: Distributors are companies that buy and store inventory and sell to retailers.  They are “middle men” so to speak.  They buy your product is bulk (for less than wholesale) and are responsible for a certain geographic area. FYI, distributors will usually require a gross margin between 20-40%. When working with a distributor, there are many things to take into consideration.  Most will want exclusivity for their territory.  In my case, it was just Hawaii, so exclusivity was not a problem for me.  I don’t have tons of Hawaiian stores beating down my door right now, so that was fine.  I do feel it is important to put in writing the annual or quarterly sales or purchasing “quota”.  It needs to be reasonable and attainable and something you both come up with together.  If the quota is not met after the specified time period, then the “exclusivity” becomes null and void.  Also the terms should be able to be reevaluated and adjusted as both parties see fit every year or two to insure it is still a win-win for both parties.  That’s the only way a relationship works.  Well, I think that’s all I have for now.  Chat with you soon :)


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Inventing | Media Coverage | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Get PR Inquiries in Your Email Inbox

Posted by at 28 January, 2010, 6:00 pm

As mompreneurs we are ever so busy that doing something proactive in marketing can seem like a lot of work.  Especially when it is something you are new at (like getting PR), it can be intimidating to even start.  If you haven’t heard of HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or Journalist Source (for Canadian companies) yet, you’re in for a treat.

Both are free services where you sign up and several times a day an email is sent out with 10 – 20 reporters looking for experts or “journalist sources” to interview and quote for their story.  By signing up, you can have hot PR inquiries delivered to your mailbox and it makes it easier for you proactively contact reporters and get PR for your company.

It’s a great way to learn what types of stories are being written about, magazines that may be reaching your target market that you didn’t know about, and make personal connections with reporters who may write about you and your company.

So you don’t get overwhelmed, I suggest creating a mailbox filter where these emails automatically get filed.  That way you can look at them at your leisure, during the time you have blocked out for marketing and getting buzz for your business.


Serial Entrepreneur, PR, Marketing and Lifestyle Strategist

PR in Your Pajamas

If you’ve had experience and/or success with either HARO or Journalist Source, I’d love to hear about it.  Let me know on:




Category : PR Mom

A brief year in review

Posted by at 22 January, 2010, 10:30 am

Hello folks!  I’ll get the “news” stuff and links out of the way then I think it’s time for a year in review don’t you?  (Radio interview will Heath, follow Shark Tank Alumni with Pork Barrel BBQ)–Regarding-Appearance-On-ABCs-Shark-Tank  (Radio interview with Steven Key)


To listen to behind the scenes commentary on Shark Tank about Grill Charms, hit play:  THIS IS REALLY COOL!  Daymond gives a total behind the scenes view of Shark Tank.  Video from @The_Grilldog


I’m not really sure what to say about 2009 other then… It was “Interesting”.  I feel like I not even remotely the same person I was 1 year ago in just about every aspect of my life.  My first year on the market (2008) I felt like I was really just dipping my toes in the entrepreneurial waters.  I made sales calls on stores, tried to build up my brand and gain some product awareness.  2009 I really jumped in with both feet.  I did my first tradeshow in January then a second (one of the largest in the housewares industry) in March.  I secured my biggest wholesale account and due them going into bankruptcy, lost that same biggest account. I more than tripled the amount of stores I was in and to my surprise actually turned a profit for 2009.  (which is almost unheard of 2nd year after launch!) I had the biggest triumph in my professional career with Shark Tank and was devastated by the worst personal tragedy of my life.  It has been a complete whirlwind of emotions, new experiences, excitement and grief all rolled into 1 little package called 2009.  Looking at where I started January 1st it seems like 2009 was MUCH longer than 365 days.  I’m more experienced, more jaded, more hopeful and more hopeless.  I’m more appreciative of the life I have and in the same breath a little bitter and hardened by the cold hard facts of it all.  If you were to ask me 1 word that best describes 2009, it’d say it was “growth”, in every sense of the word.


Leslie Haywood, Founder and President of Charmed Life Products, Inventor of Grill Charms™

Category : Growing Your Biz | Inspirational Stories | Inventing | The Journey of Grill Charms!

Clarifying Your Social Media Strategy with the POST Method

Posted by at 12 January, 2010, 1:05 pm

It sounds obvious, but before you implement a new marketing strategy in your business, you need to first know what your objectives are. That is, what is it that you are trying to accomplish? Social media is no different. It’s not enough to want to add it to your marketing mix just because “everyone else is doing it.”

Luckily Forrester Research came up with a really useful acronym called the POST Method₁, and it’s a really easy way to frame your social media strategy. Here’s what it stands for:

P: Who are the PEOPLE you would most like to attract in social media For example–mentors, colleagues, potential clients, strategic alliance partners, raving fans, local connections? Or a combination of these?

O: What are your primary OBJECTIVES for your Social Media presence? For example, is it to get found by those who are looking for your services or products, building a community around your business, finding and interacting with current and potential clients and customers, creating awareness of your content and offerings, building relationships with potential strategic alliance and referral partners, learning from mentors?

S: What Social Media STRATEGIES do you plan to implement? Will you have a LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, a Facebook Fan Page, join a Facebook Group, start a blog? Which ones have priority over others?

T: What TECHNOLOGIES will you use? For example–Twellow, Hootsuite,, Twitpic, YouTube, for link shortening?

Finally, for bonus points, you could also include “M” as in “how will you MEASURE your results?” Understandably, businesspeople still want to know the ROI of their activities–and although this is not as cut and dry to measure in social media, there are still certain numbers that you can look to: your number of newsletter or blog subscribers, number of followers and fans, your website traffic, the amount of comments on your blog, how many purchases made, etc.

The POST method is a good basic structure for starting to define your social media plan, objectives, and priorities. By identifying all the relevant parts of the structure you are creating a clearer vision and purpose–as well as implementing goals, strategies, and tools that will best enable you to effectively reach the people you are looking to connect with through social media.

~Christine Gallagher, Mompreneurs Social Media Expert

₁Source : Forrester Research/Groundswell:

Category : Social Media