Wednesday, July 18, 2007

OM home in Canadian Home and Country

Thanks to Canadian Home and Country magazine for featuring me in their summer issue. OM home was listed in the first story, a milestone for us! We're especially grateful to be introduced to a whole new crowd, many thanks!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

OM home in Flare

Thanks to Flare magazine for featuring me in their must have section last month. I really like how they put the bright carmine rose C.C.F.C. pillow in their tropical section. It's a whole new setting to an old favorite. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Marketing Tips

Since my interview on the DesiConnect, I've received a lot of inquiries from fellow entrepreneurs for marketing tips. Rather then write everyone back individually, I thought I’d share my experiences here. I'm incredibly flattered by the response I've received since the interview and I'd like to thank the DesiConnect Magazine, especially Sheena Singh, for allowing me the forum to showcase OM home to my peers.

Although this is specifically geared towards designers based on my own experiences, hopefully it’s relevant to any small business owner. But be sure to research your specific industry to see how others gain momentum and don’t be afraid to contact people in comparable industries for advice as well. Chances are they’ll be flattered!

The advice I received from other entrepreneurs has been invaluable and continues to be eye opening. But I think it took me more than a year of stumbling around somewhat aimlessly to really absorb their insight: If you want to be taken seriously, you have to look serious.

Here's what I did:

1. Professional Pictures: For people in the design industry, this is perhaps the single most important marketing investment. Even if you have a very limited amount of money, make it a must! Also, make sure to take two sets of pictures, one with a white background and one in a setting. The two sets can work together on your website and for the media.

Tip: I went to the websites of local small businesses to find a photographer in the area and was very fortunate to discover Darren Curtis of Actaeon Photo, an awesome photographer with reasonable rates. Other people have put up fliers in trade schools to find talented students at very reasonable prices. There are a lot of affordable options!

2. Where to Buy: Media outlets won’t feature you unless there is an easy way for their readers to find your products. Either in a store or online, this one is crucial.

Tip: is a website for designers to sell their wares for a very modest fee. Even a fax order form on your website will go a long way. You don't have to spend a lot of money to jump start your business.

3. Website: This one isn’t vital but it helps (a lot). But you should definitely have a front page with a picture of your products, some contact info, links to press and how to buy.

Tip: There's no need to waste a lot of time and money building a fancy website, that can come as your company grows. Setting up a simple blog showcasing your company with links to an online shop on will be a manageable way to start up your business and give you the necessary online presence.

4. Press Release: Everyone is busy and people in the media are no exception. They receive dozens of inquiries a day so make it easier for them by doing some of the legwork. More likely than not, if you’re a small business owner your story is interesting. How did you get into business? When did you start learning your craft? What makes your company stand out?

Tip: Ask a friend what they admire about you, your business and your craft. Start telling people your story and see how they react, see what catches their attention and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to create a cohesive press release based on their feedback.

5. Marketing Kit: Create a compilation of your business card, pictures, press release, press pieces and any other promotional material into a folder and/or online. Media outlets often need information very quickly and you may not be able to keep up with the demand. If you already have an online section for them to access or a kit to send them, you’ll be prepared and they’ll be grateful.

Tip: If you’re creating an online section for the media, make a password protected section with hi-res images available. Make sure to include the name, color and price of the product as well. For a marketing kit, create a folder that stands out amongst the many other kits they receive. It can be fun and creative but make sure it still looks professional.

6. Target and Timing: Be sure to target your efforts to the right audience at the right time. If you create Christmas country wreaths don’t waste your time contacting Metropolitan Home in April, it’s just wasted time and you’ll have disappointing results.

Tip: Often, someone will love your stuff but may not be able to find the right fit for it at that particular time. If they've replied to you, don’t be afraid to contact them again in a few months or when you have new products, they might have a space for you!

7. Think Big but Start Small: It’s ok to start out in some of the local or smaller magazines or up and coming blogs and work towards the bigger outlets. It’s harder for magazines with large advertising budgets and corporate ownership to take a chance on an unknown artist. The smaller ones have more freedom and take chances, start there and you'll likely get positive results.

Finally, I am incredibly grateful for each and every person interested in my products or story, including other entrepreneurs, the media, stores, buyers, customers, family and friends. The feedback inspires me to continue and keeps me focused on growing my business. I’m never shy about my gratitude and express this freely to people I encounter. It is possible to be friendly and professional - it’s exciting to build a business! Make sure your personality and enthusiasm shines through every time you reach out to someone.

If you find this helpful or even if you don't, please drop me a note and I would be thrilled to hear how it's going for you.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

OM home at EyeSpy Gifts

We're super excited to have our first retail outlet in Toronto, EyeSpy Gifts. A super chic and colorful store combining Adler and Mid Century Modern with eclectic gifts and quirky books, Eye Spy stands out in the up and coming Leslieville. The ladies over at EyeSpy are super down to earth and design saavy, they all love the business which makes it a pleasure to be there.

They have a wide range of OM home pillows, so pay them a visit if you're in the Queen Street East area:
1100 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M4M 1K8

Happy Fourth of July and Canada Day!