My Gift To You

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My Gift To You

You may remember the Velecta Paramount social media campaign I led in 2011. I was literally obsessed with the idea of having every Canadian woman own the translucid hair dryer in one of seven snazzy shades.

“it was only a hair dryer”. Why did I crusade over 20 salons, why did I have hairstylists try it for 2 days at a time, why did I survey my online social groups, why did I post on every social platform,? Why,  you ask.

I believed there was a market. And was I going to be the only woman in Canada to own this truly unique model? Not if I could help it.

Why did I engage with the Canadian representative of  Velecta

It was a long journey. Sure, the market cried out “we want it”, professionals, social media influencers, fashionistas and consumers. But I learnt quite a few lessons on the way, perhaps more in a few months time than I would have in a five year retail career. Entrepreneurship does that to you.

The (Many) Lessons Learned 

I learnt that the largest distributor in Canada (the “monopole”, no pun intended) had privileged relations with the French (European) Velecta manufacturer. I learnt that every other distributor in Quebec had a slim chance to sign a distribution agreement with Velecta directly and that traditionally they would continue buying their inventory through the Canadian monopole. I learnt that Velecta had its own rep in Vancouver that I have never met but have written to often and that adamantly refused to import the colourful designs for no rational reason.

I embrace change and can not leave it at that.

I pursued my path, evangelizing the merits both technical and aesthetic. Then, one day, in the Fall of 2011, I got a call from the Velecta head office near Paris and I quote “Hi Diana, I don’t know what you did but it worked. They [the monopole] have agreed to start distribution in two shades (blue and red) early 2012!”. I was ecstatic and let every know of course.

I embrace change and could not leave it at that.

Why only two shades? Why not the most vivid colours that my social networks have been asking for, such as fuchsia,  canari, lime green?  I asked to meet the CEO of this family-run monopole. His wife agreed to meet with me.

The Meeting

I prepared a slide deck as I would for a client pitch, and off I went.

After walking them through my 4-month crusade, a certain sentiment of shock overcame her and her assistant. They were not aware of my campaign let alone my discussion with the B.C. rep.

I learnt that they did not wish to cannibalize their own colourful range of hairdryers and hence chose to import only blue and red Velecta models. I learnt that the monopole had no short term intention of joining the social network era and that consumer preferences were the salons’ business. I learnt that if consumers really wanted this, they would have to ask their hairstylist who would then ask their distributor who would then pass it on the monopole. All in all, 4-6 weeks waiting period. This is a far cry from online retail expedite delivery. I realized right there and then that they were beginning to understand the power of social media and were frightened by it. I thanked them for their time and offered to help them in their social media strategy next time around.

I embrace change and could not leave it at that.

Going back to my awareness campaign, I met up with a successful  all-in-one retailer-wholesaler-hairstyler franchise owner. He was immediately sold to the idea. When I informed him that Velecta blue and red were coming to Canada, he was first to carry them in his stores early 2012 without going through the traditional salon-dealer-importer model. He did state however that quantity was controlled and that he did not have a say.

Here you have it. When you offer this gift to the woman of your life, you could tell the story behind it. It’s sure to entertain.

Available here and other Mat&Max retail outlets.

Cheers! And Happy Holidays.

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