Looking ahead, looking back #2

IMG_0185Back in late 2011, I was trying to figure out the direction of this blog. I wanted it to be less “me” and more “we” so I made a conscious effort to shift things from pure whining to whining with a lesson behind it.

One of my favorite posts from 2011/2012 is something that I actually forgot to do this year. Actually there are 2 favorite posts: Looking ahead, Looking Back and my Favorite Posts of 2011

And so, the incredibly late (as always) recap of 2012 starting with my favorite posts:


When to Stand Up and Say “No.”
The Trunk Show at Henri Bendel
Target Marketing and the Popular Girls at School
Was it Me? Maybe (NYIGF Recap. Not a favorite because of the result, but a favorite because of where I went after that post. It’s a good place to notice a big change of direction in Metropolis)
It’s OK to say “No.” (Apparently, I was big into “No” in 2012)
A Good Problem to Have
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

And my top 5 good/bad ideas of 2012:

The Good

1. Changing the Aesthetic. Again.

Metropolis is now officially 4 years old. In 4 years it’s had 4 aesthetics: Big city, Pulp Noir, Simple, and the Current which I’ll refer to as “Swirly.” “Simple” was a good version, but I wanted to move away from the intensely-colored logo to something more, um, simple (apparently “simple” wasn’t simple enough) and text-based, which would possibly make branding easier and cheaper for labels, etc. In June it will be 1 year that “Swirly” has been around, which is good and I hope I can stick to it because its received a lot of attention.

2. Bringing on professionals to handle parts of the business

No one is an island. Despite my repeated attempts to learn the tools of the trade, I consistently knew what my weaknesses in business were: sales and PR. Pretty large aspects of business, too. So instead of wasting more of my time, I outsourced to talented professionals who will do it for a fee and are 100% worth their price. Knowing that sales and PR are in the hands of people who know what they’re doing has freed up my time to dedicate on production and formulating.

3. Asked for help

I put it out there on my personal facebook page that I was looking for information on buyers for 2 larger corporations. I know colleagues that work with these companies, but I’ve found that business etiquette means understanding that buyer info is sacred and not to be asked for directly. Anyhow, from that post on Facebook I found out that there are some people that I went to high school with that work for the companys. I put it out there just to see what happened and found out I’m more networked than I knew.

4. Stopped formulating

February 2013 is an important month for Metropolis: It will be the only month that new products will be released this year. I had a plan to cull my line significantly and add new products but now I’ve decided that since I have a dedicated sales team I’m going to let them work with the full line and give all of the products a chance. At the end of the year, the line will be culled based on their sales numbers. I will also introduce a new line in 2014…it’s so hard for me to wait! But I made myself promise that I wouldn’t launch it until then and just give Metropolis a year of stagnant products and see what moves.

5. Tried.

Look, some times it didn’t go so well. Sometimes it did. But even though some of the attempts were complete failures, I’m glad I gave it a go. Trying new things that seemed so out of reach before really knocked them off of their pedestal for me and gave me a new insight into things.

The Bad

1. Constant Comparison

I said it last year and it’s still sticking this year, despite my attempts. I don’t know my competitors struggles, all I know is when they publicize their successes. I have to learn to realize that they probably face 10 struggles for every 1 success and that I’m not the only one having bad days.

2. Craft Show Panic

I said I wouldn’t do shows last year, and then I panicked at holiday season and signed up for some. I got some quick cash, I guess, but there wasn’t any great payoff….which I totally knew was going to happen, despite my attempts to be optimistic. I should have stuck to my guns.

3.  No follow-ups

This is something I’m truly terrible at. If I get a sales lead from a store, I send an email once and maybe another if there’s something new to promote, but that’s it. I am truly terrible at keeping a relationship with a potential vendor, which is something I need to work on (also why I hired more sales reps)

4. Rejected my target audience without knowing it

NYIGF was horrible. Natural Products Expo was much better. Unfortunately, they seem to be completely different audiences and something that I didn’t know until after trade shows. I’ve been trying so hard to get in to boutiques, when it seems it would’ve been much easier to push into natural grocery stores. (Minus the distributor part, but that’s another story)

5. Hurried up and waited

Some days were insane. Some days were filled with Facebook. I know some times that’s the way it goes, but I feel like there should be a better middle ground of productivity that I need to strive for.

2012s theme was:

Listen. Learn. Plan.

So I think that, in light of my struggles to stick to 1. Schedules and 2. Budgets,  2013s theme will be:

Wait and Grow.

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