Within six months of selling their products online, independent grocers started to show interest. In 2011, the product line earned placement at a number of local, independent — some all-natural — grocery stores. Late last year CARA B Naturally landed placement at Whole Foods. In January of 2012, the brand moved on to national retailers Target and CVS.
“Every retailer is a bit different. It’s a matter of doing independent research; sending them products and creating media kits that introduce the product line to them. With our packaging that showcased ethnically diverse children, we got a lot of positive feedback from the get-go,” Booker said.
“Retailers were excited about the packaging and product, because they hadn’t seen anything like it yet. Part of getting placement is dependent upon the retailer and their system. A lot of it is just getting out there, presenting it online, making sure you’re getting in front of the right people and seizing every opportunity. “
This fall, CARA B Naturally will be sold nationally at yet another major retailer, Walgreens. Trials as simple as calling the retailer’s headquarters and tracking down a specific buyer can lead to getting a large retailer to sell a product. Setting up meetings came come by way of hiring a broker or by tracking down a point person who can be anyone from another broker, a retail buyer or category manager.
Though getting retailers on your side is a major part of the equation, the founders say paying attention to the consumers is what counts most. They’ve analyzed and declined being placed in department stores where the price-point would have been elevated. They’ve traveled to hair and skincare expos, conferences and events from Los Angeles to Boston gaining the trust and appreciation of consumers.
Keeping the price of all products around $9.99 is a commitment that Johnson and Booker want to keep. And even though retailers can sometimes take 35 – 55 percent of product sales, accepting that financial loss is something Johnson says comes with all-around improvement and expansion.
“You don’t want to grow too fast, but if you’re not growing, you’re dying. You not only have to get in the store; you have to stay in the store. We want our consumers to be able to purchase us, so we do what we have to do to offer premium products that are easy to find and that are at a good price point,” said Johnson. “We need to make sure that we’re going to be able to drive consumers to the store to maintain the relationship with the retailers; that’s a bit daunting at times.”
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