Today was a whirlwind of an adventure! We finished up the last of the California Crafty Chica tour appearances last night in San Diego (more on those soon!), but that was just the segue way into the next assignment for the week. This afternoon we were scheduled to present our mugs to be a part of a really big and awesome opportunity. The time and day were set in stone. Think Shark Tank-ish. We’d have to set up our display and serve facts and figures about the Crafty Chica mug business. I’d been thinking about this pitch meeting for weeks. I had so many big plans – a big display case, a video, a skit, oh gosh, the list goes on. None of those happened. In fact, I was lucky I was able to make samples in time. While we were in California, DeAngelo helped make sure they got fired and ready to go. I didn’t even have a price sheet put together. I figured I could do that in the hotel room during the week.
Um, that didn’t quite work out either! Last night I was able to design half of a line sheet and just couldn’t keep my eyelids opened. I prepared Patrick and Maya that we would have to leave Cali by 5 a.m. to make it back to Phoenix by noon to drop off the rental car, give me time to shower, prep and finish my glorious line sheet.
Sounds easy right?
There were a couple unexpected stops home, which delayed our Phoenix arrival time. I didn’t have time to shower, but I did get to make that line sheet. I was able to print ONE before the printer jammed. I had to leave it and go. Patrick and I ended up with the mug samples in a cardboard box, each one wrapped in a plastic grocery bag. We arrive to the location and are led to secret room where a bunch of other people are sitting in there with fancy displays, carrying cases and bags of the items they are going to pitch. One-by-one, each person was led to another room to meet the “panel” and show off the goods.
Patrick and I had… a cardboard box to hold the mugs. Oh gosh, you know where this is going…my heart sank. I wanted to cry. I kept thinking why didn’t I plan better? Why didn’t I hire help? We looked so rookie, we knew better, I talk about this stuff all the time to other artists – be prepared! A million thoughts like that raced through my head. We sat quietly and eavesdropped on the other artists talking about the silver jewelry they designed and so on.
I think Patrick could feel my anxiety bubbling because at one point he leaned over and said, “Inside this box has our secret weapon, have faith.” My heart melted. See why I love him so much? I really needed to hear that. I was also texting some other friends who gave me pep talks as well. I released a deep breath and waited until they called my name.
Here is the room. See that clipboard back there? We had to sign in and I was able to peek at the names of the other artists and the order we would be called. The experience to this point reminded me of sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office.
At one point, the lady walked and said “Mary?”
And I jumped up to go with her. Mary is my first name and it’s only used at the doctor and places like that. I forgot that here I went by KATHY. Duh. I sat back down and winked at Patrick, he just about burst out laughing.
Then it dawned on me – with all the hustle of making it there on time, I forgot to bring a pen and paper. Of course I would need to take notes. How can one attend a business meeting without a pen and paper? I can’t believe how off my game I was up to this point. I slipped out of the room and luckily I found a small bookstore nearby where I was able to score a journal and a decent writing utensil.
If this meeting was a bust, at least I’d have a cool journal!
As we waited we watched as some people came in and out of the other room quickly, looking dejected. They recited the various reasons they were declined. And then I hear, “Kathy?”
Patrick and I gulped, stood up and followed the nice lady out. We went into the other room and had a minute or so to set up our display. Before we even finished, I heard – and felt – a happy gasp.
“Those are beautiful mugs!” a woman said. I knew immediately, this was the decision maker person. And goosebumps sprang up all over my skin because the look of delight on her face was something I’ll remember forever. Her colleagues then came over and had the same reaction. I handed her my line sheet and she wrote notes all over it. We had a very promising conversation and I even learned a few tips from her too!
We have to wait two weeks to find out about what (if anything) happens next, but wow, what an awesome meeting. It was worth all the effort and sweat to get there.
So, you know I always give tips. This times these tips are for me too, I needed these!
Tips for presenting your products and/or art to a VIP:
1. As soon as you find out about a big opportunity, start preparing, don’t put it off.
2. Take pictures of your pieces and make a line sheet (pics and prices and details of what you are selling).
3. Know all about wholesale and retail pricing so you can negotiate to make a win/win situation for everyone.
4. Plan ahead for packaging and presentation.
5. Make sure your samples are polished and finished looking.
6. Know your previous sales, top sellers and be open for variation on themes.
7. Touch on the top highlights of your business, just a couple not to overwhelm!
I’ll keep you posted on what comes from this!
5 thoughts on “My Shark Tank-ish experience!”
Those mugs are gorgeous and I’m sure lots of people would LOVE to own one. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Best of luck mujer, glad to know underneath all that glitter is a mere mortal like us. ; ) Only Better. BB2U
Kathy,I truly love learning from your entrepreneurial journey. You are one of the most successful Latina entrepreneurs, who is also a speaker, author, and blogger!!! Thank you for sharing these awesome tips. 🙂
What a great story…one we can all learn from…and even sounds like it will have a happy ending! Congrats!