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Last Update: Tuesday December 10, 2019

Key Idea: Develop Multiple Sales Channels

Donna was patient and used her own market to test and validate her products before she expanded. She also discovered that sales can come from surprising places.

Key Question:

A: 

Donna's plan for her first product, Cowgirl Cream, was to sell it in stores that carry natural products. Boulder is the bedrock of this retail category. As a customer of these stores there, she knew the product selection and the people who run the stores. Her confidence was high because making and marketing an all natural moisturizer in Boulder is like making wine in Napa Valley. You are surrounded by the gurus, plenty of users and in general the best of breed which means you have a sophisticated test market. If you can sell this stuff in Boulder, you'll probably be able to break into all of the country's natural products stores.

Q:
Just a few short years after seeing Cowgirl Cream flow into production, you can find it in gift shops, spas and online in addition to the natural products stores where Donna envisioned it originally. How did she get into the other markets?

A:
She cranked out news releases which generated inquiries. She went to a gift market in the Denver Merchandise Mart. She couldn't afford to rent a room at this mart, but she met some people selling western wear who loved the name of her company. They thought they could sell her products even though they didn't care one bit about the perfectly balanced botanical ingredients. This was the surprise. Donna was making all natural products which she knew would have appeal to a certain market segment. She didn't realize that when she named her company, the name alone would open doors for her.

There is a robust market around the world's fascination with the American West. Novels such as Lonesome Dove, television Westerns, and the late 60s Clint Eastwood Westerns, Fistful of Dollars and Hang 'Em High, all combine to form in millions of minds a magical mythical bigger-than-life West. You can see the video here and read about Sundance Catalog which is Robert Redford's company that sells western chic. Redford's "Sundance Empire" all sprang out of his role in the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Q:
Could she have made her way into the spa market with only her first product?
A:
She says it was her herbal rub that opened the spa door for her, not Cowgirl Cream.


Donna's plan for her first product, Cowgirl Cream, was to sell it in stores that carry natural products. Boulder is the bedrock of this retail category. As a customer of these stores there, she knew the product selection and the people who run the stores. Her confidence was high because making and marketing an all natural moisturizer in Boulder is like making wine in Napa Valley. You are surrounded by the gurus, plenty of users and in general the best of breed which means you have a sophisticated test market. If you can sell this stuff in Boulder, you'll probably be able to break into all of the country's natural products stores.

You think back: Just a few short years after seeing Cowgirl Cream flow into production, you can find it in gift shops, spas and online in addition to the natural products stores where Donna envisioned it originally. How did she get into the other markets?

A: She cranked out news releases which generated inquiries. She went to a gift market in the Denver Merchandise Mart. She couldn't afford to rent a room at this mart, but she met some people selling western wear who loved the name of her company. They thought they could sell her products even though they didn't care one bit about the perfectly balanced botanical ingredients. This was the surprise. Donna was making all natural products which she knew would have appeal to a certain market segment. She didn't realize that when she named her company, the name alone would open doors for her.

There is a robust market around the world's fascination with the American West. Novels such as Lonesome Dove, television Westerns, and the late 60s Clint Eastwood Westerns, Fistful of Dollars and Hang 'Em High, all combine to form in millions of minds a magical mythical bigger-than-life West. You can see the video here and read about Sundance Catalog which is Robert Redford's company that sells western chic. Redford's "Sundance Empire" all sprang out of his role in the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Q: Could she have made her way into the spa market with only her first product?

A: She says it was her herbal rub that opened the spa door for her, not Cowgirl Cream.

True to her virtual self, Donna outsourced the construction of her web site. It is lovely, simple and it generates 20% of her total sales. Have a look at her site, cowgirlenterprises.com.

Q:  Why does this site work?

A:   Quality products sell from simple sites.  We think she has the 10 reasons sites sell.   The visitor finds:
l. Contact information
2. Branding
3. Concise description of the business
4. Easy navigation
5. Sharp graphics
6. FAQ's answered
7. Products presented
8. Service provided
9. Product differentiation
10. Helpful tips.


.

Think about it

What markets could you expand into?  Are there markets that exist now that did not exist when you launched your business?  What percentage of your sales come from the web today?

Clip from: Cowgirl Enterprises: Just Do it! Take charge!

Boulder, Colorado: In this episode of the show we visit with all American cowgirls. They actually ride horses and Harleys. They know how to sweat, roll up their sleeves and get the work done. There are no prima donnas here. They stand in sharp contrast to so many woman in the world. And because they embody the American spirit for freedom and adventure, we encourage the vision, "Take it global, Donna!" Encourage all woman who are held back or in the dark.

So many of our viewers ask, "How do you get a business started?" Here is a good story to study.

Donna Baase had a vision about skincare products that come from botanicals -- herbs, flowers, roots, etc. In the dry air of Colorado, especially in this mile high city, she knows women need and want skin moisturizers that really work.

Go to all the key ideas and videos of this episode...
Go to the homepage for this episode of the show...

Cowgirl Skincare

Donna Baase, Founder

833 W. South Boulder Road
Building A Tel: 303-440-7549
Louisville, CO 80027

Visit our web site: http://www.cowgirlskincare.com/

Toll Free: 888-440-7549

Business Classification:
Personal Products

Year Founded: 1987

Develop Multiple Sales Channels

HATTIE: With independent sales reps, contacts from trade shows and cold-calling, Cowgirl has developed three retail channels of distribution.

DONNA: First of all, I initially opened my products at local Boulder, Colorado, natural product stores and their branches around the Denver area. And then it went into Santa Fe. Those are natural products markets. I had, really, some terrific sales reps that got out there and said, `Hey, I'll take it on the road for you.' And then we would--we sent press releases. I tried to call a lot of people. I would make presentations when I went on the road with the product myself in the local area. Then we started getting into the gift market. We found a showroom down at the Denver Merchandise Mart and these ladies said, `We sell a bunch of Western hats, Western wear, jewelry, we'll put it in there. We don't have much time to sell it, but we'll put it there.' That started generating sales. So that suddenly took us to a gift market and...

HATTIE: Which was a whole new world.

DONNA: A whole new world. They didn't even know how great the ingredients were. They just thought they were adorable little boxes. And they liked the name. Then we found out, wow, you know, these are decent products. They're really good, in fact. And we still have some of our original gift stores.

The other group of people are the spa market. Now they wouldn't use it as their primary skin line, but they certainly use it in the auxiliary gift area. And it fits because once people truly understand the ingredients, they realizethis is what people want. This is great for the skin.

The third product we developed was called Trail Boss Bar. And that's the herbal rub for sore muscles. We called it the Trail Boss Bar because she would be the one on a trail ride who would have the medicine kit. And if someone fell or, you know, had a bruised or sore area, she'd get out that old, little cake of trail boss.

And that's the same concept as the Ranchhand Cream. It's the beeswax base, sunflower oil, but we added to that some wonderful herbal ingredients that are known, have a long history in promoting circulation and wound healing. And it's the natural BenGay, doesn't--it's not greasy, it doesn't have that heavy aroma, and instead of feeling cool to the skin, it feels warming. It brings warmth and circulation.

___________


HATTIE: (Voiceover) On popular Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, we found a gift shop that carries Donna's products.

ROBIN COLLIER: Well, about five minutes ago, I walked into the store and I went, `Oh, my gosh. I'm out of Cowgirl Cream.' And they go, that's funny because they're coming to film it here right now.

HATTIE: I want you to meet Donna Baase.

ROBIN: Hi. It's nice to meet you. I'm Robin Collier.

DONNA: Hi. (To Hattie) Thank you! I get to meet a customer.

ROBIN: I am a fan. I swear. I even...

DONNA: Well, thank you.

ROBIN: I took it with me to Greece and it saved my skin. I mean, it's very dry and hot there. I send it to my boyfriend in California. He's hooked now, too.

STORE OWNER:  We're fortunate to carry Cowgirl products because we have a customer demand for it. Especially living here in Boulder, I think you've noticed how dry it is and the women do need it. And, at first, they're attracted to the package. I mean, the packaging is beautiful. And so they give it as gifts or take it home. But once they try it, they're back for more.

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