Sometimes, the best way to learn something is to talk to other people who’ve been there and done what you want to do. This week I invited Lori Caden of Belly Bandit® to talk about her business and share some tips and strategies for selling your products to stores.
Check out my interview with Lori in the video below.
Lori, Jodi, and Kari Caden are three sisters (and best friends) who, together, started the Caden Companies, Inc, a thriving merchandising company that also serves as a parent company to Belly Bandit®, a brand created in 2008 devoted to creating top of the line post-partum compression garments.
A pioneer in the “body after baby” marketplace, the concept for the original Belly Bandit came from reinventing and modernizing the ancient method of post-partum compression binding and hence, revolutionizing today’s shape wear industry. As a family-owned and operated business, Belly Bandit® thrives on the collective strengths, creative energies and entrepreneurial spirits of its three vibrant, young founders.
Each sister has her own specific forte – Jodi spearheads product development and design, Lori manages ALL operations and Kari directs the creative and marketing. Yet they work synergistically on behalf of the millions of post-partum women worldwide anxiously trying to get back into their skinny jeans.
In just four short years, Belly Bandit® has already expanded to over 1,000 retailers in more than 75 countries. Countless celebrities including Jessica Simpson, Melissa Joan Hart, and Kourtney Kardashian, (who collaborated with the sisters to design a limited edition Belly Bandit®) credit Belly Bandit® for helping them get back in shape so quickly after pregnancy.
To build on the success of the original Belly Bandit, the Caden sisters began expanding their product lines and soon the Mother Tucker™ Compression Tanks were on the market along with nursing tanks, pants and a variety of NEW Belly Bandit® styles. What the Cadens soon discovered was that they were not just selling belly wraps: they were selling confidence.
Check out Lori’s interview above to see what’s coming up next for Belly Bandit® and Lori’s tips for getting her products in so many retail stores!
There are over 20,000 wholesalers in the U.S. and less than 3% are at your average trade show. Pretty startling numbers. Thankfully there’s MerchantFuse, an exciting new web platform that takes the travel and time out of attending trade shows and puts your product in front of buyers every day of the year.
Founded by entrepreneurs Dan Merns and Zaki Aziz, the site’s goal is to create build transparency into the home and housewares industry. “The concept for MerchantFuse came out of my experience working in buying at Bed Bath & Beyond, where I was always frustrated with the inefficiencies involved in the business,” says Merns.
The way it works is simple: You create your vendor profile, which introduces wholesale and retail professionals to your company and your product. Through the information and photos you share, retailers can get to know more about what you have to offer. If they’re interested, contacting you through site’s interface cuts out the efforts of digging through your website to find the right address.
But you don’t need to just sit and wait to be found. You, too can browse retailers profiles, identify those you want to work with and contact them directly through MerchantFuse. No more waiting and hoping someone reads your email. You’ll be contacting a pool of retailers who are actively seeking new partnerships.
Today Merchant Fuse offers a roster of 200 retailers and counting, from large to small, online to brick and mortar, and even catalogs. As the number of registered retailers grows, so do the opportunities for you to see your products for sale in new and exciting places.
Now is the time to join Merchant Fuse because it’s completely free to join, contact retailers and be contacted!
When the site reaches over 500 vendors, Merns says some premium features will become exclusive to those who pay the one time $500 fee, but until then every innovative feature is your to experience.
Future features Merns expects to launch include allowing vendors to search for retailers according to the categories of products they sell or the number of stores they own. Another is opportunity for retailers and wholesalers to place order from vendors through the site.
Don’t miss out, joint MerchantFuse today.
Every business owner wants to make more money and get more traffic. But for many entrepreneurs building traffic is a daily struggle. Lisa Cash Hanson wants to help you stop struggling, get more traffic and find more time for your family. Her secret is now available through her Pitch the Media Like a Pro Course.
Journalists are always looking for a story, and once they’ve found you, they want you to be a great source because finding a source fast means getting the story first. Pitch the Media like a Pro will show you how to be that perfect source, craft a winning story that reporters can’t resist and build your empire.
Lisa’s program builds on the idea that if you can get the media interested in your story and win press, you can turn that free publicity into traffic. It’s true. An ad in the Wall Street Journal could cost as much as $4650, but a story featuring you as a source takes up more page space and could earn you upwards of 10,000 visitors– absolutely free.
When you purchase Pitch the Media like a Pro today you’ll recieve over $1295 in bonus content absolutely free. This amazing offer also includes:
Bonus 1: Personal pitches that Lisa actually used to land WSJ, Yahoo Business and more. She’s already done the work so you don’t have to!
Bonus 2: One hour of group coaching with Lisa. Fine tune your pitch and make the media fall in love with you. This is worth $500-$2000 an hour depending on the session, but yours is absolutely free. Lisa will help you craft your message and create eye-catching headlines.
Bonus 3: Email List Building Empire will show you the fastest way to build your list in simple but powerful steps.
Another reason I’m happy to review Pitch the Media Like a Pro on Launch Grow Joy is that Lisa stands behind her product 100%. Lisa walks the walk. She has been featured on major networks, including the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Business and Business Insider. That’s why she’s inviting you to try this package for 60-days before deciding whether it’s for you. If it’s not, you’ll receive a full refund.
Take action and try Pitch the Media Like a Pro today and come back in 60-days to tell us what you’ve done to grow your traffic.
Finding delicious and nutritious food for kids can be a struggle. Greenie Tots makes it easier, whether you’re trying to nourish picky eaters, provide meatless options or simply find something that quick but still tasty. Greenie Tots sent me a few meals to try and my kids loved them. (And so did I!)
This selection of frozen, ready to heat entrees includes a variety of tastes to please everyone. The Mac and Cheese with Peas is made with five creamy organic cheeses and pairs surprisingly well with fresh-frozen peas. The Cheeseburger Quesadillas with Sweet Potato Fries is packed with soy-free meatless ground and iron rich spinach. Other flavors include Cauliflower Rice with Chick’n; Chik’n, Cheese & Spinach Quesadillas with Mixed Vegetables; and Pasta & Spinach Marinara with Meat-Style Grounds.
What attracts me to these meals most (aside from great taste) is that they are designed to be healthy in world where quick meals too often mean high calories and low nutritional content. You won’t find the preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and GMOs of other ready to eat options here. Greenie Tots meals contain less than 350 calories, are 100% meatless and free of hormones. The all-natural ingredients are minimally processed to retain flavor and nutritional value.
Another bonus for me is that Green Tots founders Jilea and Jamie Hemmings are parents too. They started their business to ensure they had nutritious and accessible options for their oldest son who was diagnosed with autism. Between work, therapy and after school activities, finding time to shop for and cook healthy meals was a daily challenge. Jilea wasn’t impressed with the all-natural kids brands available at the time, so she combined her love of cooking with her entrepreneurial spirit to develop and market the Greenie Tots brand.
Currently, the meals can only be found in select stores, largely in the Hemmings’ home state of Florida, but you can order online and have Greenie Tots delivered straight to your door. While they ship frozen (and stay frozen) you don’t need to worry that they’ve been stilling on a freezer shelf for months. These entrepreneurs are parents first and know how important the food choices you make are to the health of your children.
Have you tried Greenie Tots meals? Tell us which flavors and share what your kids thought.
If you own a business or are developing a brand, you undoubtedly have heard the term ‘intellectual property’. Some of you may have efficiently filed the term somewhere in the back of your brain in the ‘Down the Road’ or “Boring But I Guess I Should Take Care of it Someday” file depending on your organizational methods—let’s face it, it is far more interesting and may seem much more pressing to focus on product development, packaging, marketing, or sales.
That being said, intellectual property is a huge asset for your business that should not be overlooked, and working with someone who can establish a solid baseline level of intellectual property protection does not need to be prohibitively expensive and is well worth going through the process to promote longevity of your growing brand. My clients range from at-home one-woman ventures to businesses with many corporate offices around the world, and I firmly believe that a business of any size can work to establish strong intellectual property.
What is Intellectual Property?
Most business assets are tangible things—the products themselves, the office equipment, the packaging. Intellectual property comes from creations of the mind: the name for your goods/services, the logo you came up with, the designs themselves. Intellectual property are intangible assets of your business, and include copyrights, trademarks, trade dress or patents.
A copyright is protection offered for authors of original works to protect the artistic expression of an idea. Copyright protects both published and unpublished works and generally grants the owner the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work.
A trademark protects any symbol name, word, or sound that is used to represent good or services that are derived from a particular source. This is what makes your business distinctive from others out there, and as the face for your brand, it is worth the time, energy, and money to develop a trademark that not only accurately represents the product/service, but one that is protectable (and doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights) as well.
Trade dress is the visual appearance of the product or packaging that helps to identify the goods or services.
Patents protect the unique process of manufacture or design of goods.
In this article, I’m focusing on trademarks, often the most relevant form of intellectual property for small business owners.
How Do I Choose a Protectable Mark?
There are five categories that trademarks are divided into, depending on their level of protectability.
Marks that are not offered intellectual protection are generic; i.e. SOAP COMPANY selling bars of soap.
The least protectable marks are those that are descriptive. As the term suggests, descriptive marks describe the product/service, such as SILKY SMOOTH for yogurt.
The next classification of trademarks, with slightly higher protectability, are marks that are suggestive, indicating the nature or quality of the product/service but require some imagination on the part of the consumer. COPPERTONE for skin tanning products is a suggestive mark.
Arbitrary marks have an increased protectability, and these are marks with recognizable words, but words that have no connection to the products/services offered. APPLE for computers is a perfect example of an arbitrary mark.
Marks with the highest level of protectability are fanciful and have no other meaning other than the term used for the mark. Examples of arbitrary marks are VERIZON, EXXON and XEROX.
While descriptive and/or suggestive marks make sense from a marketing perspective, they are viewed as weaker from an intellectual property perspective. The key to building a strong, lasting brand is striking a balance between the natural tension pulling marketing and legal perspectives in opposite directions.
I Already Have a Brand. How Can I Make My Trademark More Protectable?
The ideal time to think about a trademark’s strength is during the brand development stage, but if you have already invested a considerable amount of time into developing a brand and you find that your mark is in the descriptive or suggestive categories, all hope is not lost! While I have had some business owners decide to engage in a rebranding process and relaunching with a stronger trademark, that isn’t always necessary. I have also guided clients through actions that may increase a mark’s protectability (and therefore, value), such as adding a strong logo/graphic element to the mark, or developing a distinctive tagline that helps to set the brand apart. Working with a knowledgeable attorney in the beginning phases of the process ensures that the steps you are taking are ones that will achieve your intended goal—it is a waste of time, energy and resources to work with a graphic designer and rebrand with a new logo if that logo is infringing one someone else’s trademark.
This is a guest post from Annie Tunheim. If you have intellectual property questions about a brand you are developing, or want to know what you can do to strengthen the intellectual property of the brand you already have, please visit Annie’s website at www.annietunheim.com or call for a consultation.