Product Development Coach
and Licensing Agent
PERSERVERANCE is always the best solution in business along with POSITIVE EXPECTANCY even when you don't know how it will work out.
SYNCHRONICITY ..... WORKS!
There are many stories that I can share to illustrate the challenges and successes of product development, production, cash flow and distribution from over the years. I will begin with the following story and continue with monthly updates on my newletters to everyone on my Dream Product Guru mailing list.
Collegiate licensed products: The product lines for Wine Things Unlimited of glassware, bottle stoppers and wine charms were getting a bit outdated by 2007 and sales were falling. A customer suggested that we consider adding an artistic version of collegiate logos on drinking glassware. I was very resistant to the idea as I was not a big college football fan and am from California. I did not realize how dedicated the folks in the South and Midwest are to their local college sport teams and the cool stuff they can buy with their favorite college emblems. I did my market research, speaking with other suppliers of collegiate products while at the big Atlanta Gift show along with the owners of a large sales agency. I determined that the collegiate market was HUGE and growing! While I had years of experience in licensing artwork from local artists as well as national brands such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Star Trek, Looney Tunes and Betty Boop for wine accessories, I did not know how to deal with the intense, intimidating requirements that were listed online by the major collegiate licensing company.
We did not have the capital that I calculated would be needed to properly launch this new line of collegiate glassware nor did we have any key investors waiting in line. In addition, we did not have a glassware factory overseas that could do hand painted glassware with the type of details and packaging concept that we felt would be best for a successful launch. I moved forward despite these uncertainties, taking one step at a time to eventually get the approvals for most of the key colleges we wanted to include in our line. During that summer, I was also approached by a young man at the New York Gift Show asking if we might need a new glassware supplier overseas. Given that I had just decided to move forward on the collegiate glassware without having the proper factory, financing or licensing lined up, this was amazing timing! Not only did his small factory specialize in hand painting but they also had years of experience painting similar non collegiate glassware of our competitors.
Another amazing piece of the story occurred later that fall while we were still the in pre-production phase. The customer that initially recommended the collegiate designs of her artist friend was visiting the west coast. Over lunch, she convinced me that we should move forward with a larger faster launch and she had the capital to invest. Another unexpected lesson in Positive Expectancy and Synchronicity!
Trust your instincts, take one step at a time and have Positive Expectancy without needing to know the details of how it will all work out. The collegiate division was very successful and eventually accounted for over half of the company's sales volume at the time of my selling Wine Things to a larger company earlier this year.
I bring a unique, informed perspective with over 42 years of experience in product development, manufacturing, licensing, wholesale marketing and retailing. I have a strong understanding of all aspects of the marketplace and have established long term relationships with factories around the world.
I founded a number of companies including national wholesale gifts, regional sales agency representing 25 vendors and a retail outlet store. Total sales for these companies over the years total more than $100 MILLION.
My passion and expertise in business include product development, overseas production, marketing strategies, art direction, and licensing negotiation. I have traveled extensively throughout Asia and Europe working directly with suppliers as well as attending major trade shows in Canton, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and domestically.
Companies that I have founded over the past 40 years include:
Wine Things Unlimited
For over 25 years, I created wine accessories and houseware products for the national wholesale marketplace with over $60 Million total sales.
We licensed artwork from major brands including Monopoly, Scrabble, Looney Tunes, Star Trek, Cirque du Soleil and unique artists for our products.
In addition, my regional sales agency produced over $35 Million in sales with 15 vendors displayed in 30 booths at the local San Francisco trade show.
Grapevine Press was an earlier venture focused on notecards and printed products with a wine theme.
Visual Creations was my first company started when I was 17 years old specializing in photographic and whimsical greeting cards. I had the opportunity to act as a licensing agent for two key artists in the U.S. and Japan with licensing sales over $50 Million.