I am just not a person who is able to concede that something is not possible. I always used to say to my team 'man has walked on the moon, we can find a way....'. I must have said it so often that it became a group chant whenever I would open my mouth to say it again. Another time, my American boss said ' just for the record Maleka, it was not a Brit that walked on the moon first'. (to which I said, 'neither was it an American'. Remember that Bob?)
Nothing is impossible!![/caption] It is never more important to be persistent than when you are starting your own business and I will give you some recent examples in my quest to create MERUMAYA, Integrative Effective Skincare. I decided I wanted to add a sample of the Icon product into the cartons of all saleable products, just for the first run. The costs came back inhibitively high, I mean it cost more than the actual product!!! I went back and forth with the manufacturer's for days, to discover that one of the factors affecting the cost was that it was adding an extra process. I asked if the line could be slowed down so that a sample could be popped into the carton and was told there was not enough room for the palette of samples and the additional person/people. Small inroads were made into the reduction of costs but nowhere near enough to make it viable and I refused to raise the RRP of the product to compensate. Thinking it might be Health and Safety minimum space demands, I offered to work the production line myself. Finally, I said I would go to the plant and take a look at the manufacturing floor and see if I could (with fresh eyes) find a way. When I arrived for the meeting, one of the first things I was told was that they had found a way to use belt number 7 and slow it down sufficiently, make space for the person and samples and therefore, she would re cost the job. Result is, I might be able to fund the cost of including the sample. What are your thoughts? Sample in the carton means extra value and chance to try serum for every purchaser of the brand and easy in self select sales environment. Sample seperate to product means non purchasers can try the Serum before they buy if they want to and those purchasing other products can also have a sample. Which do you think I should go with? Let me know by commenting on the blog please. Effective was of paramount importance to me and I was absolutely clear on numerous occasions with my formulator, that I wanted key integrative active ingredients used at concentrations levels that were supported in the manufacturer's data - this was not to be a labelling exercise. At a point when most of the formulae were pretty much final, I discovered that there were a few cases where this had not been followed. I went through each data sheet and each formula to check. That resulted in reformulating to levels that met my criteria even though it delayed the launch of the brand. I know I have done the right thing though. Another issue I faced is that I am using a number of very effective and exclusive anti ageing ingredients that my manufacturing plant does not use in other brands.
This means that I would become responsible for the cost of the excess raw materials that were not used in the first batch. The total of that amounted to well over £28,000!!! This is not good for cashflow. I had to find a way to reduce this but did not want to compromise the formula's integrity by removing key actives, that make the products so effective. I went to all the manufacturer's of those ingredients and explained my start up status and the excess issue. I implored them to find a way to reduce their minimum order quantities (MOQ's). I appealed to them with charm, humour, pleading (no room for pride when you are starting a business) and most were helpful. Some gave me sample quantities enough for the initial run, others split packs, some asked other customers of theirs if they would share a quantity with me. Others increased the price per kilo by up to 80% in which case you have to decide which way to purchase. Over a period of two months and with some help from the manufacturing plant who joined this crusade (that is how it felt), we managed to get that excess down to about £5,000. This required persistence and a huge effort but it was worth it. My thanks to all who supported me in this endeavour.
Lesson - Man has walked on the moon........you can find a way to get most things done with persistence, imagination and belief in possibilities
Lesson - Do not tie up a penny that you do not absolutely have to; you will need it to support the sell through of your product/services (whatever that is). And in the end, that will benefit you and everyone who supplies you because you will be in business to place another order with them.
Lesson - Ask why? How? If you can understand what the issue is for your supplier, you will have more success finding a solution that works for all