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Archive for September, 2010

Beauty Wonders Appoints dp Design to Create Branding Graphic Arts for Hair Growth Inhibitor Product Launch

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Duquesa Marketing

For Immediate Release
Contact: Geoff Ficke

L’Espoir™ Line Being Developed to Provide Safe Natural
System to Limit Hair Re-growth on Face and Body

London, England May Serhan, President of Beauty Wonders, LLC, announced today that her cosmetic research and development Company has retained the services of dp Design to create and execute the graphic arts elements for the packaging, sales collateral and point-of-purchase display pieces that are being developed for the Spring 2011 launch of the L’Espoir Hair Growth Inhibitor product line.

“We have worked closely with our managing consultants at Duquesa Marketing to develop a product that will work to retard problem hair re-growth in a natural, safe, comfortable way”, said Ms. Serhan. “Now that the product has been tested and clinically proven to be superior to anything on the market, we need to address the branding elements so important for commercial success and Diana Puppin’s firm; dp Design is the best beauty industry graphic arts firm in the field”.

“L’Espoir is a wonderful opportunity to assist in creating graphics for a product that represents a contemporary co-mingling of advanced science and ancient herbal remedies”, said Diana Puppin, President of Cincinnati, OH based dp Design, LLC. “The products perform beautifully in addressing a need that has been largely unaddressed in the beauty world”.

Beauty Wonders has offices in London and New Orleans, LA. The firm develops beauty products that address specific, targeted treatment niches. L’Espoir™ will be launched at trade shows in Europe and the United States in Spring 2011. Pricing will be announced shortly.

We Could Use a Whole Bunch of Mark McCormack-Types About Now

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

by: Geoff Ficke

Mark McCormack was one of the 20th century’s greatest entrepreneurs. Unless you were a sports fan, and had interest in the business side of sports you might not know, or remember much about this visionary genius. Initially trained as a lawyer, he became the entrepreneurial force behind the emergence of the sports agent industry and the endorsement fees and product sponsorship relationships between athletes, celebrities and companies that is ubiquitous today.

Mr. McCormack’s earliest triumph arose from his relationship with the great golfer, Arnold Palmer. His representation of Mr. Palmer, at the dawn of the great triangular golf rivalry between Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player popularized golf and lead to numerous business, endorsement and investment opportunities that extend to this day for the ever popular legendary golfer. Nicklaus and Player, seeing the success that Arnold Palmer enjoyed from having his affairs managed by Mark McCormack quickly became clients.

Today, Mark McCormack’s legacy to the sports world is continued through IMG, the hugely successful international sports and personal management agency he founded and built. From Derek Jeter, to super model Kate Moss, to Pope John Paul ll, to Tiger Woods, hundreds of superstar athletes, celebrities and world figures have been represented by IMG. His firm and the concepts Mark McCormack created to promote and market the careers of the most famous stars in the galaxy have been replicated by hundreds of sports agents who reap the bounty first sown by IMG.

If IMG and the creation of sports marketing was all that Mr. McCormack accomplished he would simply be a giant in his profession. Fortunately he was a terrific and prolific writer. His musings on entrepreneurship and business excellence are a wonderful primer for any small business owner, inventor, entrepreneur or product designer to study and absorb.

In his 1985 book, “McCormack on Managing”, he wrote, “I constantly have to remind people to seize the moment”. In another oft-quoted maxim McCormack wrote, “When in doubt, don’t call a meeting”. Both of these quotes go right to the heart of why only a few people ever become successful entrepreneurs. We meet so many wanna-be entrepreneurs that cannot avoid procrastinating. The perfect time to act is always sooner rather than later. And, “when in doubt”, don’t call a meeting, follow your initial gut instinct.

In his most famous book, “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (1984) Mr. McCormack presciently noted, “If Thomas Edison had gone to business school we would all be reading by larger candles”. Knowledge is wonderful and crucial to all of life’s endeavors, certainly including business. However, instinct, courage, vision, drive and common sense are traits that are developed separately from books and pursuit of degrees. Edison and many more of the world’s great inventors and entrepreneurs possess these acquired traits in abundance.

“The greater you think you are doing, the greater should be your cause for concern”, is another on point observation made in What They Don’t Teach You at the Harvard Business School. This a crucial commandment for every person involved in any competitive endeavor. If you are an athlete and you relax your preparation, practice or conditioning you should know that somewhere there is another athlete working hard to seize your spot on the team. In business, if you stop pushing, innovating, selling, improving your service or product, you should assume that somewhere there is a competitor that is working all out to beat you to market or surpass your market position. Over confidence is a killer in any enterprise.

Mark McCormack died in 2003. I strongly recommend that his life, his business career and his writings be studied by every entrepreneur seeking guidance in pursuing their goals. Professional sports before Mr. McCormack were fun. Today they are big business all over the world, not just during the games, but because of the profound effect their reach has into all aspects of modern life. This is largely due to the pioneering efforts of this driven, talented, creative genius

Fashion Is an Instinctual Art – Straight from the Jungle

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

by: Geoff Ficke

John Fairchild, founder and owner of the fashion publishing empire Fairchild Communications, is considered the arbiter of 20th century style and taste in the fashion, beauty and design world. His many publications provided the last word on the history, trends and forward looking direction that these notoriously fickle categories would follow. Mr. Fairchild was a visionary in a world of creative geniuses and risk takers.

In his 1989 book, Chic Savages, Mr. Fairchild observed the following: “Fashion is a sub-art and is not intellectual. Fashion is a business and operates best when born out of instincts. Fashion appeals to the senses and comes from gut feeling…true fashion comes straight out of the jungle”.

This quote, which summarizes John Fairchild’s observations of the creative instincts essential to become a successful cosmetic, fashion or design entrepreneur are applicable to any form of entrepreneurial endeavor. Any widget invented to fill a market void requires a certain cunning instinct on the part of the creator to not only visualize a product, but to create the thing in reality, sell and market the piece, and fully commercialize their unique creative drive.

The world of high fashion is built on product exclusivity. Most people would love to own a Ferrari, Balenciaga gown or a Rolex, even though it is not realistic given their personal financial circumstance. We aspire to these luxuries. We know of these, and many other limited distribution, high end fashionable brands.

Recently I read a history of the rise and fall of the iconic Ungaro house of fashion. Ungaro, in the 1970’s and 1980’s was one of the leading haute couture brands in the world. Ungaro fashion ensembles were extremely successful in this ultra-competitive, stratospherically priced space. Ungaro himself came to exemplify the ideal of the uber-creative Italian fashion genius. The family was ultra-successful in licensing the brand name to dozens of products including cosmetics, fragrance, bags, jewelry and household goods.

There was a constant look and feel to all goods that carried the Ungaro label. They were of the highest quality, sold only in a few of the best stores, exuded artisan craftsmanship and offered the gorgeous Ugaro-look that emanated from the fashion houses couture lines. Ungaro was the ultimate aspiration-al brand. The more expensive and exclusive the distribution the more consumers sought and desired Ungaro products.

In the mid-1990’s, at the height of the bubble for luxury acquisitions, Ungaro was sold. The family gave up creative control, was paid handsomely and believed that the new investment bankers that had bought the firm would continue the traditions that they had employed to make the brand a world-wide phenomenon. They were soon to be proven wrong on every count.

The new owners brought in a new design team and began to apply modern finance and cost control measures to production and to control overheads. In order to support the debt service incurred in the purchase greater sales volumes needed to be achieved. The result was a classic push-pull between the creative side of the business and the operations side. The need for more sales meant the need for more distribution which began to diminish the exclusivity that had been so important in building Ungaro.

These business pressures resulted in a constant churn on the creative design team and ultimately a lack of direction and loss of the styling edginess that made a garment an Ungaro. Retailers, and more importantly consumers, started to notice these changes and walked away from new Ungaro collections. The family looked on in dismay as sales plummeted from hundreds of millions of dollars in the 1980’s to only a few million dollars at the turn of the 21st century.

Ultimately the House of Ungaro has been bought by a Silicon Valley, tech industry multi-millionaire with no, nada, zero fashion industry experience. The brand was purchased for 85 million dollars and the descent has only accelerated. The outlook, especially in the current economy, is grim for Ungaro.

Investment bankers and technology barons are great at asset utilization, reading balance sheets and designing software to make life easier. But entering the fashion jungles as described by John Fairchild is a completely different universe requiring a completely different set of creative skills.

The instinct for design and fashion greatness possessed by Ungaro, Valentino, Ralph Lauren, Charles Revson, Pininfarina, Enzo Ferrari or Harry Winston is not transferrable like the ability to read a blue print or follow a schematic outline in manufacturing. It comes from the gut, and appeals to the senses in ways that are not easily described. The rise and fall of the House of Ungaro is a cautionary tale that all entrepreneurs can and should learn from. Vision is a rare and beautiful thing that cannot be readily manufactured.