Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indie Business Breakfast Atlanta GA

On July 18th 2009, I had the opportunity to attend the Indie Business Breakfast Meeting in Atlanta Ga hosted by Donna Maria Johnson Coles of Indie Business. The speakers of this event were Jo Ann Hines known as the Packaging Diva and Jim DeBetta of DeBetta Enterprises.

Jo Ann's gave us the low down on what the trends are in packaging from a retail standpoint and how that affects the small business owner. As well as making us aware that what drives your product into the consumer’s hands is the way it looks. Your product could be the best thing since sliced bread but if it is not presented in a way that would make someone want to buy, it will be passed by for the next great thing.

The key points I came away with:
- Will your product be able to go from point A to B in the same condition it left - is it protected.
- Think about the consumer - what do they want.
- Think about the unknown or unexpected situation that your product could be faced with - will it be ready to handle it.
- Look at what you have and use what you have - Great point here. I know I became overwhelmed hearing all the new packaging innovations from Eco, to Green to Carbonfoot prints etc. :) But the small business owner can only afford to deal with the tools and materials they already have available. This was encouraging and a reminder to continue to use what you have and the if the rest are needed are necessary, they will be made available.
- Think about repurposing your packaging - this lends to our rapid push for everything "Green, Organic and Biodegradable"; again do what you can with what you have.
- The last point that still sticks with me and makes sense - If a consumer looks at your product from 10 feet away and doesn't pick it up in 3 seconds, they will move on to the next thing. Marketing executives are paid top dollar for you to buy a product that they packaged with an attractiveness that would make you want to pick it up and buy it. This fact holds true for anyone in any business not just bath and body products. We know what is in the package is great; we created it and believe in what is “in” the package. Now we have to make the package attractive to the consumer to want to buy our fabulous product.

Jim also gave us points on presenting your product and its sale ability. His background and expertise come from the inventor/patent arena. But I came away with several key points that would help any business owner:

-Remove the emotional attachment from your invention or idea. Once you can do that you are able to move ahead whether you receive 100 no's or that ultimate yes that someone wants what you have to offer.
-Find out what the consumer wants by doing the following:
- Online consumer surveys
- Focus Groups
- Get objective opinions about your product - family does not count because they are going to
tell you that your product is the bomb. Strangers work better than family.
- Do a patent search on - to ensure there are no infringement lawsuits down the line.
- Get with a designer or design engineer so you have the right materials needed for your

So to wrap up:

Who did I help/inspire today? I met a young lady by the name of Sevella Lary who is just starting out in the business such as myself. But I did give some encouragement and information such as a referral for a logo design (look out Marr) that would help in moving her to her next step. When I encourage people like Sevella, it encourages me to continue to dream. Even though, I feel like I am far away from my dream and where I want to be, I know and remember the excitement when I could not sleep all night because I had this new blend I wanted to try. Or the new strategy I wanted to use the next day. Encouraging someone else, encourages me.

I also met Kisha Solomon of Sage Small Business Solutions, who spoke with me after the meeting. We discussed her love for shea butter and the fact that I make everything with shea butter. Talk about an instant connect and a future customer for me. :)

What am I going to next? The motto this year is NO MORE EXCUSES. I am going to use what I have already available to me and I am going to put myself I out there. I am going to carve out the time, get in the creative studio (for me it would be my kitchen) and get busy. Then I am going to get that standalone website launched that has been sitting idle for way too long. Last but not least, I am going to put myself out there and do something I would not dream about doing and keep going from there. Whether it flops or is a success, I can only learn from what I have experienced.

With that being said, I want to thank Donna Maria again for hosting the event. She knows that the people in Atlanta, heck Georgia have an entrepeneurial mentality and are ready to hear about ways they can be prosperous working for themselves. I look forward to Donna Maria having more Indie events here in the ATL.

Shout outs to the following business owners I either spoke with or received business cards from. It was a pleasure meeting all of you and I look forward to patronizing your business on networking on the social circuit.

Ishmael Holmes of Booth Outfitters who created his business in a week. Inspirational hear about it here

Kisha Solomon of AtlantaBusinessAdvisor

Shermaine Davis Founder and CEO of The Body Patisserie and her support system Darrell :)

Angela Harris President and CEO of Jahyah's Beauty and her support system, Mr. Harris :)

Arleen Harkness President and Director of R & D of Alysamari, LLC TM

Robert Schmidt - whose company Brand Builders specializes in helping you find your brand and funneling that into your products and business.

Inspired by the next 2 business owners because they live in Georgia and have their own brick and mortar.

Kenya Calloway Owner of Jai's

Jane Benjamin Bonner Owner of Taylor's Corner L.L.C.

Become friends with me on facebook here and you can view the pictures here

Shea Bath Products
Learn More About Shea Bath


Donna Maria @ Indie Business said...

Hey there! Thanks for sharing what you learned at the Indie Business Revolution! I so enjoyed (finally) meeting you in person and I'm thrilled to hear of your new specific goals! Please keep me posted on your progress and let me know when that standalone website launches. I love Atlanta and hope to return soon!

dcyrill said...

Thank you Donna Maria. I look forward to more events from you in Atlanta and I will definitely keep you abreast of my next move. :)

kisha solomon said...

Hey Diana -
Just stumbled across this blog post. I really enjoyed the Indie Business Breakfast - what a great group of go-getters! I didn't even see you snap that pic!

Let me know if there's anything I can help you with in getting your site set up. I'm working on a less-expensive DIY version of Sage's 'Ready Set Sell' product, and some real-life insights might be useful....


dcyrill said...

@kisha - Thanks for viewing my blog.
I have a site that is parked on GoDaddy. I have been thinking about changing the pictures. I will definitely holla at you if I need some guidance. :)

Atlanta Events said...

"Jo Ann's gave us the low down on what the trends are in packaging from a retail standpoint and how that affects the small business owner" ... you're right about that