Barbara Kantor, a 20-year veteran of the apparel industry where she mass marketed clothing to stores ranging from Sears to Nordstrom to Saks Fifth Avenue, had found her niche: super-reflective accessories for people and pets that make a fashion statement. Anyone conducting physical activities during limited visibility hours, such as walking a dog, or jogging at night, would be well advised to wear reflective clothing, but often do not because it’s not fashionable.
“Quite frankly, most people wouldn’t want to be seen wearing many of the accessories currently on the market,” quipped Kantor observing the associated safety hazards. “As a consequence, if they are walking outside at night, they are in fact not seen.”
With a background, contacts and relationships in the brick-and-mortar apparel business, Kantor set her plan in motion to target that sector and launched a company called Vedante. Then the economy struck: credit markets dried up and the people Kantor had intended to sell her gear to wholesale, pulled back. Not to be dissuaded, she quickly changed course to adjust for the new business conditions, taking her business online with an e-commerce strategy. She implemented a Web site, an account with vendors like Amazon.com and in turn, marketed her business online.
Online Marketing For An Online Business
An online business requires an online approach to marketing and Kantor says that the only marketing she does centers on four things – her Web site, Facebook, a Twitter handle and news distribution services available online through PRWeb. (Interestingly enough, she had no previous experience in online marketing.)
How well do they work? Her Web site has been an obvious staple, but her Facebook page is relatively new, and her Twitter handle is focused on philanthropy rather than for developing business. This means, in her assessment, that nearly every sale she has made in some way, shape or form is attributable to her PRWeb new distribution. And despite the recession, business online has been booming.
Kantor started using PRWeb about 2.5 years ago, distributing news when she’s had something of interest for her community. She started with some help – her personal assistant with a talent for writing – but has since taken to doing it herself when her helper moved on to pursue other opportunities.
“I don’t have tremendous confidence in my writing skills,” said Kantor, “The PRWeb team reviews everything I write and I can call anytime and ask for advice, which for me is often 11:00 p.m. at night.”
PRWeb works for Vedante because of its “viral” nature according to Kantor, and it matches her business model. PRWeb helps her spread news and information about her products on the Web. Even though she has literally received dozens of media placements, as exemplified in her online pressroom, in local broadcast, print and even national media – she says she’s reached out to a reporter directly only on two occasions – more often than not, they found her.
For example, one reporter from the Seattle Times was shopping online, found her site, and bought a reflective leash for walking her dog at night. The reporter liked the product so much, that she referred Vedante to an editor. Vedante wound up being listed in the Seattle Times’ holiday gift guide over the Christmas and holiday season that year. Kantor also noted that bloggers and shopping cart search engine crawlers pay special attention to her PRWeb news releases because she’s moves a lot of product on Amazon.com – and Amazon pays tidy fees for referral traffic. Vedante soon ranked in the top 10 for Amazon’s outdoor gear category during the holiday season and later learned it was #1 in the pet category.
Amazon took note and the company’s outdoor gear buyer approached Kantor about buying product wholesale and “now I sell directly to Amazon and it’s helping Amazon too.” Since then, she’s also been introduced to the outdoor gear buyer for Amazon’s UK market, which may well afford Vedante the chance to expand her international presence.
Pictures Are Good, But Video Tells The Story
Multimedia, including images, photos and videos, are a key component of her PRWeb news releases because they do more than tell people about her products: it shows them.
“I can tell people all day long how reflective our accessories are, but when they see the product in action at night, it sells itself,” said Kantor. “A photo helps, but video really tells a story that’s short and sweet.”
Vedante obtains real customer photos of people using her product. Often they’ll purchase a product and are so impressed that they’ll snap a photo and post it as a customer review on Amazon.com or upload it to the Vedante Facebook fan page. When Kantor spots a good photo, she’ll often contact the customer for permission to use it in conjunction with future promotions and news distribution.
Vedante has been so successful that traditional bricks-and-mortar companies have begun approaching her about possible partnerships. It’s an ironic turn of events given this was the sector she had initially intended to reach but it’s suffice to say she’s happy with the results.
“PRWeb has been a core part of my success,” concludes Kantor. We’d like to think of it as something akin to a news distribution fashion statement.