Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Things are happening so fast that my brain simply can't keep track of it all. August was a great month for us in many ways. We continue to get lots of press attention, both from the industry trade magazines and consumer magazines. The photo on the left is in Imbibe magazine. I got no less than 7 trade inquiries out of that, which is unusual because the accounts and distributors are generally tired of new vodkas, but they are all excited about an organic vodka!
Because of all the attention and the fact that some great customers in SF and NYC are talking about how much they like Square One, we are now moving to Stage 2 of our distribution strategy in our top two markets - CA and NY - and are appointing what I call "real" distributors. So the hand-selling stage is behind us, and we were quite successful with it. Now we will have wholesaler partners to help us get into more stores and restaurants. Yea!
In the meantime, we continued to expand to other, smaller markets and will be in 9 states by the end of the year. We hoped to be in a few more, but legal registration in some states takes much longer than we thought. But we are on board with some great distibutors.
We kicked off our direct e-marketing to our consumers and trade partners in August and have seen that people are passing it on to their friends and more and more people are signing up every day on our site. I would love to really ramp up this part of our marketing as it is effective and so inexpensive, so it is moving up on our priority list. As part of our newsletter that is taken from our website, we showcase two editorial pieces, one called "Singular Spirits" where we highlight the efforts of individuals or groups that are doing really amazing things with passion. While a lot of it is in the "green" space in some way, not all of it is, such as this month's feature on an incredible couple in Montana that started an Animal Sanctuary for disabled animals. We also feature a "Mixologist of the Month" and their recipes. Very cool . . .
We also launched a blog on our website (not the same as the M3 one). We talk about more than just organic vodka and mixology, and post on "Green" happenings, cool places we've visited (restaurants and the like on our travels) and other stuff. Check it out if you want and if you want to send a comment, please do! It is called "Circle in the Square" - http://http://www.squareonevodka.com/TownSquare/circleinthesquare/
The big news of the month was the supposed placement on a certain famous person's product recommendations in her magazine. I can't actually bring myself to mention it publicly on a blog because I'm afraid we are going to jinx it. So we'll just have to wait until it actually hits the newsstands! So what does this placement really mean? Basically, uh oh . . . you better be ready. While it is never a sure thing until it hits the magazine, this PR placement is the Holy Grail of PR placements, so we took the risk and ordered more product. The #1 business challenge we are going to face (and my CPA confirms it!) is that we have a horrifically long cash flow cycle thanks in large part to the fact that our custom glass bottle comes from Italy. So to order more product for this magazine hit is really putting the squeeze on us. But as many advisors said, well, at least it is inventory, not a capital asset, and it IS going to sell, so be thankful it is just a cash flow problem and not a permanent investment when you don't have the $$. So we ran our numbers again and it will be tight, but we'll make it!
Q4 is going to be a big one for us so stay tuned!