I have ironed out most of the manufacturing issues and gotten my people here to start thinking about what we are going to need to do if we suddenly find ourselves in the envious position of literally having to turn up the volume.

And I have firmed up the design of our products; establishing a few designs of leather quality uppers all built on the same reliable infrastructure of a comfortable mid-sole coupled to an indestructible sole of recycled airplane tire. Quality benchmarks have been reached (and the expectations firmly understood) although quality control protocols won’t be rolled out until we get our first volume order.

My current conundrum, as I explained in a recent post entitled ‘Problem Statement’, is sales and marketing. And while I was in Miami I was confronted heads on with what appeared to be two unescapable realities: one, that our sandals fell outside the bounds of traditional markets and two, I was way in over my head.

At the end of my trip while perusing the Android operating system books in the local Barnes and Noble I wandered through some of the magazines in the culture and business  sections as an idea occurred to me. I thought, ‘What if I was thinking about my sales and marketing problem in the wrong way? What if there was a solution that my non-sales and marketing self couldn’t see?’

So in addition to an Android book, I bought a current copy of the magazine, Monocle; subtitled A Briefing On Global Affairs, Business, Culture, and Design. I’d bought this magazine before and although I find the format a bit annoying (too small of print, baffling layout, choppy ‘what exactly is your point?’ kind of articles, and a not to hidden agenda of pushing the bespoke lifestyle) I knew deep down inside that I would find something of value nestled amongst its pages.

And loh (play on word intended) and behold, I found not one but two possible solutions to my sales and marketing problem. As such the problem isn’t so much a problem anymore as I can see now a coherent strategy emerging.

First, there is a Slow Wear (remember Slow Food?) movement of sorts (I am not alone!) demonstrated in a two page ad promoting ‘The Slowear family of brands…designed to live longer’.  So I either need to find a point of entry into the people behind www.slowear.com or find a way to leverage this concept in another way.

Second, there was an article on Mexico’s mescal industry and how the Ministry of Economy is working side by side with the mescal producers in the impoverished state of Oaxaca to promote brand awareness and their business worldwide. So when I meet with my guys yesterday I said that we needed to find a way to engage this same ministry to help promote our brand and what we are trying to do. And they saw my seriousness and commitment when I said (again) that we are attempting to create a handmade luxury goods industry (of sorts) in Mexico and that the Ministry of Economy stands to gain a lot by way of job creation and new market potentials. Why can’t Mexico grab a sliver of the LVMH dominated markets? Look at what Japan accomplished in the ‘70s. They went from making cheap shit in the ‘60s to positively dominating the automobile and electronic industries in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

The patriarch of the group knows the district chairman (his title is President) and so City Hall is where we are going to start. I figure that if I frame my presentation around the current discussions that we have on the table with a certain large Asian conglomerate then (hopefully) the president and his staff will push us further up the food chain.

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