It was a great week! My “dogged determination” paid off in a big way! Words and Watercolors is going to be test marketed in 4 Armstrong Garden Center Stores! Armstrong Garden Center has 31 stores in California with the majority in the Southern California market. There is a store in Novato (which is in the North Bay…north of SF) that I popped into last fall. I saw Garden Center and thought they should have my cards so went in to inquire. I noted they had a card rack but it wasn’t that filled and the cards were animals…odd, I thought to myself, they should have florals…this is a garden shop not a pet store. I talked to the Mgr who told me I would have to call Corporate. He gave me the phone number for the Corporate Office but apologized he didn’t know who I would have to talk to. No problem, I assured him I could find out. My many years of Sales gives me the confidence to do things like pop into stores and make cold calls. It’s all a numbers game, I tell myself. I call the Corporate Office, find out who I need to talk to and begin leaving her voice mails. I must’ve called 4-6 times over last fall then stopped calling as the Holidays came. I didn’t begin again till last month after the Gift Show craziness had subsided. I was surprised to catch Laura live on the phone one day and did manage to stutter a bit when first introducing myself and my card company. I was not surprised to hear her say that she wan’t interested, she already had a test market going on in 10 other stores and I’d have to have a rack/rep program to even be considered. I told her I was working on a rack/rep program and would call her in a few weeks when I had that figured out. In the meantime, I mailed her my catalogs and a few sample cards with the headers. This past Wednesday I did my follow up call, fully expecting to again be cast off which was why I was happily surprised to hear her say “Oh, I’ve been meaning to call you”. WooHOO!! She said that she received my cards and agreed that they would go well in their stores!! She said they would do a test market in 4 stores. OMG! I could hardly contain my surprise and excitement at the thought of getting established in a chain store. I do know where I’m going to get the rack and did find a rep for the North LA area so now have coverage throughout SoCal. I had to fill out a form that noted all my UPC codes/titles/numbers and another with basic business info on it. Last thing is Sarah and I need to design signage for the top of the rack. I’ve got to figure that out pronto!
When I called Emily, my daughter, to tell her the good news I stated it was my “dogged determination” that did it. She grew up with me “dialing for dollars” as I would sit in my home office when I was a Commercial Carpet rep making calls. Prior to being a carpet rep and working at home, I worked in the land of Office Furniture. 25 years of Sales taught me that persistence and determination are the keys to success. In the various companies I worked for I was often at the top of the Sales game and it was that never give up attitude that took me to the top. Now I’m employing the same dedication/determination to get me to the success I want for Words and Watercolors.
On top of that good win, I committed to being a vendor for the Atlanta Gift Show in July. Atlanta is the biggest show in the country. I’m hoping it will pay off in that I can write all sorts of orders, meet new stores/people and find reps for the eastern part of the country!!
WooHOO…we’re off and running…….