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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reality Bites

From that moment on, we knew we were really in business. It wasn't just an idea floating around in our heads, it was real and taking up all the space my living room (I never realized how big 10 wrought iron cribs are). At one point in my pre Bratt career, I had a small marketing firm. I knew how to stage and sell a product, be it with words, photos or events. All of my clients were artists of one sort or another, so I felt confident I could sell this crib, because it was, after all, a work of art. The first thing I needed to do was take a decent photo. Second thing, find my market. Third thing, present the goods, and money would flow like the mighty Mississippi. So, I took a great photo. I bought a very expensive list consisting of affluent pregnant women in their second trimester and interior designers who had done high end nurseries in the past. Again, pre internet, so everything had to be snail mailed. Now, at this point, we were young parents with a fairly new mortgage, making ends meet, but not a lot more. Both Stephen and I had managed to save a little money, and we decided this was a good investment, so we blew almost our entire nest egg on the photography, printing, procurement of the list, and the mailing. We bought 10,000 names, and I personally addressed and mailed 10,000 postcards. The cribs cost us about $1000 each when it was all said and done, so we decided we sell them for $2000. If we only got 1% of our list (which is what statistics say you can count on), we'd make $100,000. Not bad. Not bad at all. And, after seeing the competition we felt sure we'd make that, and if not, at least we'd sell a few and make our money back and have enough to try again. We were so excited as we sent out those little postcards of promise. I remember eagerly sitting by the phone, imagining what our very first client would look like. How excited they'd be when they saw what we had done for them. How thankful they'd be when their ideal dream crib just showed up in the mail. And, I waited. Around the bottom of the first week, I remember feeling my first pang of what if .. . . But, ever the optimist, I was sure they were just deliberating. After all, one doesn't just plunk down 2G's without a bit of consideration, a purchase of that requires some thought. And, so I waited with a bit more understanding about the time, because of the magnitude of the decision my soon to be customers were faced with. And, I waited some more. I think it was week 3 when I began to realize we not become the overnight success I had envisioned. In the end, we never received one single phone call. Not one! I still can't believe that.

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