This post is a follow up to Turning No's Into Inventing Success from last week.
In that post, I described the most painful no I ever received – from a large wallet manufacturer who had initially been keenly interested in licensing my product. The second defining no was when in December 2010, QVC elected not to continue with my product and returned over half of my inventory back to me, about 2,000 wallets.
When QVC returned a mountain of wallets to me (after 2 years of success) it felt like they were handing me an ugly rock of rejection. But, as I had experienced before, the rock had a beautiful crystalline geode inside it: a new, and far better direction for my business.
DRTV – a new direction for my product
I realized that my wallets had sold well on QVC – over 5,000 in total. I felt a burning conviction that this was a sell on TV product. I needed to take my wallets to DRTV (direct response TV).
If Savvy Caddy wallets could sell well on QVC, they would be a huge success on DRTV. That conviction blazed in my mind every waking moment for the next 5 years.
Marketing to DRTV: 5 more years of no's
Almost every entrepreneur faces their trial by fire period: a grueling journey during which no one but them believes in their vision, their commitment, their business.
So it was for me also. This is a huge DRTV product, I'd say to myself every day. As I, and a variety of others, presented my wallets to DRTV companies there was a loud chorus of responses from them:
- This product is simply not for us
- Oh, sorry, but wallets have been done before
- This is not a DRTV product
In the meantime, I was working 7 days per week, selling my wallets anywhere and everywhere I could to scrape by and pay my bills every month. My day to day reality of penury looked nothing like my grandiose vision of DRTV success. As months turned into years and I could no longer count the no's, that vision began to dim a bit each year.
My vision of a brighter future as a DRTV success was never inevitable.
Quite the contrary, I knew if I couldn't grow my business a lot, the only certainty was bankruptcy. I couldn't keep doing what I had been doing for much longer. I burned my bridges: I had to find success in DRTV.
And so I did.
After 5 years, I found one person who said maybe instead of no. That person was Bob Greenstone of As Seen on TV Wholesale. Bob liked my slim, flexible wallet. He showed it to his typically skeptical wife and she loved it. That piqued his interest enough to take a financial risk on the product.
He decided to test the wallets with a web test email blast to thousands of potential buyers. The web test was a success. He repeated it and every time it worked. Next, he worked with a production team and they shot a TV commercial, then TV tested the wallets. The TV test went very well.
Last year, I licensed my wallets, now re-christened as Wonder Wallet to Allstar Marketing Group. Wonder Wallet now sells in over 10,000 retail stores across the US, Canada and Australia. I am paid a small royalty on every sale. I now work on other products and help other inventors to succeed, I live off the royalties from Wonder Wallet.
It took a very long time, a great deal of hard work, persistence, a burning conviction my product was destined for success, but I turned no's into invention success. My American Dream.
You can too.