Ep. 177 – Getting Your Products Into The Hands Of Celebrities With Sarah Shaw | On The Shelf Now

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products

A successful business starts with an idea and the ability to execute the essence of that idea. Celebrity designer and CEO of Sarah Shaw Consulting, Sarah Shaw is an experienced business owner who has propelled numerous businesses and products into celebrity hands. Sarah sits with Timothy Bush to do what she does best; teach you how to turn your product ideas from concepts to reality. Sarah shares how she went from a struggling handbag designer who made every mistake in the book to running three multimillion-dollar product lines all through her grit and passion. Listen in and learn more as Sarah shares her secret on making your product a celebrity favorite.

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I’m hoping that you guys are all doing well. I’m glad to be with you. There are a ton of things that we could talk about. We could talk about COVID, Omicron, retail and a million different things. I’m interested in how you are doing and how your journey into retail is going. It’s never been a better time to talk to retailers about your product because retailers are scrambling to fill the shelves and meet the needs of the consumer.

Consumers are going into retail now more than they ever have. The press wants you to think that that’s something different and there are people out there saying, “Amazon is going to take over the world.” Maybe so, but why is Amazon opening up retail stores? If Amazon eCommerce is going to take over the world, why are they investing in opening up brick-and-mortar stores? I’ll tell you why. It’s because people want to go into brick-and-mortar stores. If you were considering, wondering and thinking about getting your products into big-box retail, you’re on the right track. It’s never been a better time.

We are going to talk about a couple of things. I want you to think about it. I’m speaking to all those Amazon sellers and people that have their products on Amazon because I’ve seen this trend. A lot of our clients are Amazon sellers that want to diversify into retail. A couple of things I noticed after talking to a lot of these people are exactly this. I’m going to throw these out there for you to ponder. If you feel differently, please feel free to leave me a note make a comment. I’m happy to have a discussion about it.

Number one, I talk to people when their Amazon business is in trouble. They’re scaling everything. It’s great and then they plateau. They then make a decision. Once you plateau, there are only a couple of decisions you can make. One is, “I’m going to spend more money on PPC,” or two, “I’m going to lower my price.” Neither of those is a great option, but you pick one or you pick both and you do it and your product keeps going up. Eventually, it plateaus again. You either think about lowering your price again or you think about more PPC. When you do nothing, your business starts to decline. People call me and say, “I need to get into retail,” hoping that retail is going to save their overall business.

Retail is a long-term play. It’s not going to save you in the next month if your business is declining. It is a long-term strategy that you need to employ. What I always tell my clients is, “When your business is scaling, it’s like a rocket ship and it’s on the way up, it’s when you need to diversify into retail.” Don’t wait for it to plateau and lower the price or spend more on PPC. You should start getting it in front of retailers because Amazon is not your whole business. It is a channel on your way into retail.

If you treat it like your whole business, it’s like putting all your money into one stock and hoping that that stock grows. It may grow for a while and then it may crash. You’re not in control of it. You don’t run the company that that stock is in. You’re betting on the people that do run it. You’re betting on Amazon. Why not make Amazon a channel in your retail strategy? Big box, specialty, club stores, groceries, selling it to distributors and selling outside the US are channels. All of these channels make up a tremendously diverse retail strategy that can do far more for you than you could ever do selling on Amazon. That’s one thing to consider. The second thing to consider is your competition in Amazon.

I lost a couple of clients to aggregators that bought their business, so they no longer needed my services. While all these aggregators are calling you to wonder about buying your business, you have to start to think that these aggregators are buying a business on an accelerated level to become big and have these huge portfolios. What can you do when you have a huge portfolio? You can cost average across your whole portfolio.

You may have one product that’s losing money and one product is making a ton of money, but you cost average all these different products that you have to get to one margin. If they happen to be competing with you in a certain category, that category may be a loss leader for them. They’re crushing you on price, but it doesn’t affect them as it affects you because this is your only product category. For them, this is one category in a bucket of hundreds of categories.

Aggregators are knocking down your door saying, “Your business is great. I want to buy it.” As long as you hold onto it, you’re competing against them. You’re not competing with other people like yourself. You’re competing with these aggregators that hold a portfolio of hundreds of companies. That’s more difficult than other people in your same position. What they’re not good at doing is getting into retail. That’s not their wheelhouse.

I want you to consider that because you’ve all been there where your product plateaus and you all have to come up with whose two questions. “Should I lower my price or should I pay more in PPC? Should I do both?” I don’t want you to have to make that choice. I don’t want you waking up in the morning, wondering if something happened to your listing overnight. I know that you do that. You go to bed at night going, “I hope my listing is still active in the morning. I hope it didn’t get shut down. I hope hijackers didn’t take it. I hope all these things didn’t happen.” I don’t want you to have to do that. Think about that.

In the meantime, I want to introduce you guys to Sarah Shaw. We had a great conversation. She’s an unbelievable human. She has this niche. She’s a consultant like me. She helps people get into retail like I do. Why am I having her on my show? It’s because she has some skills that I don’t have. I don’t want to hold you back because I don’t have those.

You’re not going to be able to master everything, so master at least one thing at a time. Don’t just dabble in everything because then you’re not going to be very effective. Click To Tweet

Sarah is a celebrity designer. She’s had a couple of companies. She had a big handbag that was huge and was featured in a couple of movies and a lot of celebrities took it. She’s also had a successful closet organizational line. She’s the CEO of Sarah Shaw Consulting. She’s on the show to talk specifically about what she does best, which is to teach people how to get their products in the hands of celebrities.

If you’re like me and you’ve been thinking to yourself, “Celebrities don’t want to look at my product. I’m sure celebrities get gazillion products and I’m never going to get my product in front of them.” I learned that’s not true and I only learned that by talking to Sarah. It’s a lot easier than you think it is. It’s a lot more streamlined than you might have considered.

If you’ve ever thought, “If so-and-so wore my glasses, drank from my cup, wore my blouse, used my backpack or had my handbag, that would be it for me.” One, two things can happen, but two, it all depends on what you do after that happens. One time, I had a client who had Kylie Jenner on a video and was wearing his glasses. What do you do when that happens? What do you do when you find out that a celebrity got ahold of your product you didn’t even know? They’re out there using and showing it. There are videos of it. What do you do then? Sarah is going to walk us through that, too, because what you do after they get ahold of your product is as important as them getting ahold of it. I’m pumped to introduce you to Sarah. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Sarah Shaw, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m good, Tim. Thanks for having me.

It’s my pleasure. I was excited about this show. I haven’t done an interview in a while. Before we jump into things, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’ve been doing. You have a very interesting past and have done some cool things. Give us the nutshell version of that. Give us who you are in a short synopsis

Way back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth in 1997, I left the film industry. I did costumes for movies for a while after college. I left to start a handbag company. I had this crazy idea. I worked on this project on the weekends like many of you. I ended up getting it into the hands of the Anthropologie buyers. They only had about thirteen stores back then, but they did have an online presence already, which was a little early.

They decided to place an 800-bag order. I was like, “I’m quitting my job. This is it.” I threw caution to the wind and I started this handbag company. I knew nothing about manufacturing or making bags or running a business or anything like that. I’d had a paycheck from the film industry and I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. I got the bug bite. I learned the hard way, but I was selling in 1,200 stores over the years. Mostly all higher-end boutiques across the country. I’m selling my bags into Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Bloomingdales Saks and Barneys, different stints at different department stores.

A couple of years in, I started getting my bags to celebrities and nobody was doing it. I got the idea from a costume designer friend who was complaining that she had to use Donna Karan clothes on a movie and it wasn’t right. I’m thinking, “This is genius. Why didn’t I think of this before?” I went to the office the next day. I was like, “We’re going to get stuff to celebrities.” I didn’t even know how to do it or what was entailed in it. It was a lot of phone calls and nobody was online or on the internet back then in the movie business.

We started sending products to celebrities and then months later, they started showing up in magazines and I didn’t even know what to do with it because nobody was doing this. It didn’t even have my name in it. It would be a picture of a celebrity in a movie opening holding my bag and I was like, “There it is.” We cut and Xeroxed it. There was no going viral. Photoshop was $1 million, so only special people had it. These were those cut-and-paste jobs, waiting it out and getting it through the copier. We started sending it to stores and other magazines.

People went crazy for it. It helped my business grow from $500,000 to $1 million in sales in a couple of years. We got bags to movies like Legally Blonde, Ocean’s Eleven and America’s Sweethearts. We were on tons of TV shows, Friends, Will and Grace and other shows. All of those publicity moments got us more sales, more publicity and more magazine placements. Each of those things is built on each other, but then 9/11 hit and my investors pulled out. I ended up closing the company at the end of the next year in 2002.

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products
Celebrity Products: Sometimes, you may love that celebrity or admire them, but maybe they aren’t going to attract your target market because only you care about them.

I then patented a closet organizer for handbags. That was my one and only patented product and I sold that like crazy. It did $500,000 in the first two years. We were around 400 stores and people started asking how I did it because there was the internet. People could see websites and all that stuff. I started teaching these little women’s entrepreneurial classes at night through Ladies Who Launch. My classes were packed and more people kept asking, “How do you do this?” I could only do so much in a couple of hours.

Someone said, “You should teach people how to do this.” I ended up thinking that was a silly idea, but they convinced me. They’re like, “Life coaches are big now. They’re teaching people how to figure out what they want to do with their life. These people already know they want to create products. They need all your shortcuts.” I started consulting in 2009 and here I am and it’s 2021.

We have so many similarities and the start date is one of those. I started my consulting business in 2009 also. It was very interesting that we both started the same year. Tell me a little bit about your bag. What was it about your bag that people liked the most?

I created this little shopping tote-style bag that was cut with pinking shears on the edges. That’s the exact scissors and it was stitched on the outside, so you could see the zigzags and it was this little felt tote and people went crazy for it. It was super simple. No one had ever seen anything like it. Magazines wanted to write about it and people wanted to buy it.

That whole thing could have been nothing. It’s the right place and time. You had your eye on something nobody had ever done before. I always put products into two categories. It’s either enhancement or groundbreaking. It sounds very simplistic, but pretty much every consumer product will fit into one of those two categories.

What’s hard about groundbreaking is that nobody’s ever seen and done it. It’s never been around before. You’re trying to convince people that there’s a space or place for it. At least with purses, there’s already a category, but if nobody’s ever seen anything like it, retailers want to jump into the stream that’s already moving or at least that’s what they want to do now. Not so much, back when you were starting out. Congratulations on that. That’s amazing.

The fact that you got into Anthropologie is interesting to me because I’ve never gotten a product into Anthropologie. I’ve had them on the hook multiple times, but they always seem very aloof. The only reason I want to get something in there is because it’s my wife’s favorite store. I’m dying to get something into a store that I know my wife shops in all the time. I have some good product, but it seems to be elusive for me. What’s the secret there?

Something unique and different. I see people who will say, “I want to pitch my pajamas.” They already sell their own brand of pajamas. One of the things that a lot of people don’t know about Anthropologie is a lot of the brands that are sold in there are their own brands. I don’t know these days what percentage of non-Anthropologie-owned brands they sell, but it’s not as big as people think because so much of it is their own brand with different names on it.

It’s a treasure hunt. The cool thing about Anthropologie is they make it so that people wander around in there, but I will slay that dragon at some point. I get this question a lot. I’m interested in your take on it. In fact, I had a coaching call on this. Somebody was asked, “We’d like to private label your product.” Their initial response was going to be no. I know what I told them, but what do you say when people come and say, “Should I private label my product or not?”

I’m all about the money. When I have a product line to me, there is the fame factor. For you, the other side is you’d want to get your product into Anthropologie because your wife shops there and it has meaning for you. I tell people it’s the same thing with celebrities. Sometimes a celebrity might be for your own ego because you love that celebrity or admire them or something about them clicks for you, but maybe they aren’t going to attract your target market because only you care about them.

Whereas with licensing, no one’s going to know that it’s your product. You don’t have to tell anyone. You can put it in the contract. When I had my patented closet organizer for handbags, I licensed it to a big company and I retained the rights to sell it myself. The same product, different packaging, different prints, two different names on it, but if you looked tiny on the bottom, it said, “Licensed from Sarah Shaw, Inc.”

People are too afraid to even make an attempt at their dreams because they can’t take the rejection that comes with it. Click To Tweet

To me, cashflow is cashflow. They get to do the things they want to do by having a business that makes money. It’s getting my clients stuff into Anthropologie. If they came to me and said, “I like this, but we want to do it under our brand.” I would be like, “Go for that.” Sometimes people get a little precious about their product. “I’m trying to grow my brand.” How are you going to grow your brand with no money?

The other thing too is that if you’re getting that money in, it’s free because you’re not spending money to promote the product and sell it. You’re getting whatever the profit is on that. Even if it might be less than what you might sell for yourself, you’re not putting any effort into it anymore.

No marketing dollars. A lot of times, you don’t have to deal with return percentage. It’s almost like getting a distributor in another country that has exclusivity. I call it that exact thing. It’s free money.

I did that with my patented product. It goes straight from China to Japan or other countries. All I did was shuffled invoices around and release the letters of credit and stuff.

Going back a little bit, where did you grow up? Did you grow up in Colorado?

I was born in New York City and when I was six, my family moved to Berkeley, California. I grew up in Berkeley. My dad was done with New York and the snow. We all went to Berkeley High and then I left for college and went back East to Vermont.

Had you maybe have been in high school when you made that shift, the Berkeley area would have been mind-blowing compared to New York City on so many levels. Did you always think that you wanted to be an entrepreneur? What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I’m a fourth-generation entrepreneur that we know of. All my siblings are entrepreneurs. I never wanted to be one. As a kid, I didn’t have a career in mind, but when I was sixteen and a junior in high school, my parents sent me to France to go live with a family because it sounded like a good idea because I was failing French. I spent a year in France and came home fluent in French and thought, “I’m going to be a simultaneous translator at the UN. It sounds like a super sexy job, traveling the world and speaking for somebody.

I then went to college and somehow stumbled into Costume Design. I took that class and loved it. I double-majored in Costume Design and in French at that point. After college, I moved to LA because my sister was living there. I got a job working in film and thought I’d go to graduate school and get my master’s and do Broadway Theater. I was having so much fun in film and no one seemed to even care, I went to college, let alone had a Master’s. I bailed on a full scholarship to NYU, stayed in Los Angeles, and worked in film until I got the bug to start my handbag company.

To you, what’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur and then what’s the worst thing?

The best thing for me is self-organization and allot my time as I want on the structural side, but the real value is that I love helping women. I do have a few male clients, but mostly women. I jumped that curve that I never had access to. I started in the dark ages with no email, internet, or Google. My kids are like, “How did you survive without Google?” Sometimes they’ll say, “Was that pre-Google or post-Google?”

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products
Celebrity Products: There’s so much to think about these days that if you’re not well organized and don’t have this streamlined plan, Friday can roll around, and you’ll realize you forgot to make money this week.

I have twin girls. For me, the ease of business these days with Zoom. We’re talking to each other from across the country, doing international business, being able to email millions of people or however many are on your list. With one stroke of a key, send. It’s still mesmerizing at times. I’m still in awe at times in my life when I am at a crossroads, either with a client or with my own business and looking at what’s the next step.

There are so many opportunities now. I don’t like all the opportunities because sometimes it was easier when there was less availability. There are no social media. It’s one less thing to do. You don’t have to send so many emails all the time. It’s not as competitive. There aren’t as many businesses. It’s easier to stand out. There are pros and cons to the way the world is changing so rapidly. I love that Zoom has brought the world closer. I love that you can go on YouTube and find out how to do anything, any time of day. If you don’t know how to change your battery and something, you can look it up and someone’s going to show you how to do it.

You can find how to do Google ads, Facebook ads and how to run your business. There’s a way to do things yourself these days that was never available before. Some people choose to go that path and then there are other people who choose to call me or you to shorten that learning curve and be able to say, “What did you do? How did you deal with this? What should I do?” Have you been on speed dial where they don’t have to go watch 50 YouTubes to get the answer you could give them in two minutes?

I have some people in a group of mine that are onboarding to Walmart. They do have me on speed dial, “What does this mean? What does that mean?” The answers to those questions they couldn’t even find on YouTube. If they did, they would be wrong. There are a lot of, “I learned from somebody else and now I’m trying to teach it as my own thing.” As opposed to, “I’ve done it. I’ve been at the Walmart offices. I sat across the table with the Walmart buyers. I’ve been there.” That’s why I’m asking you, how do you get into Anthropologie? It’s because you’ve done it. To me, that’s the fun part.

The other fun part is whatever’s on my whiteboard, an idea I decide, new service I’m going to launch, I can launch it. It’s not like back in the day where if you had a brick-and-mortar building and you’re maybe a consultant or whatever, maybe you had to put a newspaper ad or this. Now you have a following. You want to launch a new service, you do it and it’s not so hard.

I love technology, but I’m also glad that technology came on a little later because I think back about my college years and if I would have had an iPhone, nobody needs to see those videos. That would have been a nightmare. I’m glad that it all came a little bit after that. You’re saying the thing you don’t like as much about it is that there’s just too much?

Sometimes I find that there’s just too much. I noticed that people get very overwhelmed these days. It’s a catch-22 because you have to do all these things, but not everybody loves doing them. Some people are like, “I don’t even know what to post on social media.” I’m like, “Let me give you a list of 300 things you can post.” They’re like, “How do you come up with that?” I’m like, “I’ve been doing it for a long time.” They don’t know what to blog about or they don’t know how to think of their company outside the box. A lot of creators or creative types get stuck in the little box of their business.

It’s like, “I make iPhone cases,” or something simple. They don’t know how to talk about 150 different styles that they make or the 42 different phones it fits or whatever. You go and look at the description on their website and it says, “Cell phone case, iPhone 12.” It doesn’t say what color it is, what it’s made out of, and the warranty. There are so many things that people have to look at and if they don’t know, it can be super overwhelming. If you have a Shopify store, there are eight gazillion apps you could be using. Which ones are you supposed to be using? Which one of these 27 that does the same things is the best?

You’re going down these rabbit holes of looking. What are the reviews? Who’s recommending it? Is this person credible? There can be so many rabbit holes to go down. Back in the day, the only rabbit hole I ever went down was somebody’s blog roll when blogging first came out. It’s like, “Here are more blogs like this.” You could find more people to write about your product or interview you or whatever. Now it sounds antiquated, but at the same time, you’re Googling something like, “The ten best fashion influencers.” It’s the same situation. You’re just looking for it on Google now, hashtags on Instagram or different ways. However, you do your research to find these other openings for yourself.

It is a double-edged sword. There isn’t anything I hate about being an entrepreneur or dislike. I find that there are so much to think about these days that if you’re not well-organized and don’t have this streamlined plan or little bits in your calendar that you do every day for all these things, like Friday can roll around and you’re like, “I forgot to make money this week.”

Like, “I was doing all these other things that I’m supposed to be doing.” They don’t know how long they’re supposed to spend on social media or is it more prudent to hire someone to do it for you? There are so many different jobs available now than there were even a few years ago. The whole process is fascinating to me. I never stopped learning. I always have a coach myself. I’m always learning something, whether it’s Facebook ads, Google ads or how to start a different part of my business. Also, somebody I can call and ask for advice too because advertising is a whole other business I’m not getting into, but you still need to know how to do it yourself.

Cash flow is cash flow, and the way you get to do the things you really want to do is by having a business that makes money. Click To Tweet

I always tell my clients, “Before you go hire somebody, you got to know at least a little bit about what it is, so that you know whether they’re helping you or not.” I have a lot of people that they immediately say, “I don’t know anything about that. I want to hire somebody.” You don’t know whether they’re doing it or not or they’re just, “I’m up 30% on Amazon. I hired this company.” “How much are you spending on paid advertising now?” “I don’t know.” “You should check that out because you could be paying like nine times the amount that you thought you were paying to get you that 30%.”

You’re not going to be able to master it all. Master at least one thing at a time. If you’re working on Facebook, then master that and then don’t dabble in everything because then you’re not going to be very effective. How do you get your products into celebrity hands? Is that still the same as when you did it with your handbag?

It’s a six-step process. You want to think about who your customer is, looking at your own customer profile and then seeing which celebrities fit into that. As I was saying, you might personally admire a celebrity, but if your target market sees the celebrity holding up your cell phone case, they might be like, “Whatever, who cares.” You want that person who’s holding your cell phone case to make people get their wallets out.

Whether you have a baby product and look at celebrities who just had a kid in your product’s age range. If you’re a chef or whatever, making cooking products or sweatshirts, it doesn’t matter what it is. If you feel like this list of celebrities that you put together after Googling them, seeing what they look like, seeing what their life is like, making sure that your product fits in with their lifestyle, then there’s a website called ContactAnyCelebrity.com and you can get a membership there.

They didn’t have that back in the day. I would say this is probably a few years old or something like that. You can go on there, get a membership, find everybody’s contact information and start your own Excel doc with your contact list. You can then write your pitch, “Why do you want to send them the product?” Don’t go on too much about how much of a fan you are of them. It’s already implied. What you’d like to get to them like, “I make baby blankets and celebrity name just had a baby girl and I’d love to send her a couple of our baby blankets. Could you have her choose one or this is the one we’d like to send?” However, you want to do it.

You email that to the gatekeepers and stay on top of it, following up every few days. If they say yes, then, which they often do, it’s not a rarity. You’re going to package it up, make it pretty like a present, put it in a box and ship it out. I usually suggest that people put a letter to the celebrity inside the gift, all wrapped up like, “I wanted to get this to you. We hope you enjoy it. If you want any more, let me know.”

The thing that is great is if they do ask for more, it immediately becomes a story even if they haven’t posted it on Instagram or anything because then you can go to celebrity magazine editors, The People magazine, OK and Us Weekly. “Celebrity name, we sent her some stuff and she loved our stuff so much, so she asked for four more.” It’s showing interest. “Sorry, I don’t have a photo or here’s a picture she posted on Instagram.” A lot of celebrities will post pictures on Instagram. Not all of them. Some do, some don’t. Sometimes you never hear back. You don’t even get a thank you note. It’s a gamble, but the only actual cost involved is the physical cost, your cost of goods sold on your product.

On this website, are these A-list celebrities or B-list celebrities?

It’s everybody. There are like 60,000 or 70,000 people.

If you are an A-list celebrity, how much stuff are people pitching them in a week? Is it like a retail buyer where they’re getting hundreds and hundreds of stuff sent to them?

I don’t think so. Most people, probably everybody reading this, have never tried this.

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products
Celebrity Products: The first thing you want to think about is who your customer is, looking at your customer profile and seeing which celebrities fit into that.

They think like what I said. They’re like, “They would never even look at this.”

They’re getting a pile of packages every day, but they’re not. The reason is most people either are too afraid to do it. “Why would it celebrity name want my stuff?” Other people are too afraid to even make an attempt. Some people can’t take the rejection. You got to have some tough skin because you will get rejections. You will get yeses and do the victory dance around your house.

There are going to be times where you’re sitting there, googling this person all the time and checking their Instagram feed twenty times a day and there’s never anything. All of a sudden, there’s an unboxing video and they tagged you and then you can freak out again. You want to be sure to use those immediately. There’s no, “I’m too busy. I had to go wash my hair or something.” Throw everything to the wind, cancel the rest of your day, get a photo or take a screenshot of the Instagram post or the video, the thank you note or whatever you get back.

Make a quick little one sheet with your company’s name, the picture of the celebrity picture of the product, “So-and-so has our product,” or if they said something in a video or you could quote them from what they wrote in the Instagram post. You can make that bigger, pop it out, do something fun and then get that out to all the magazines right away.

If you’re in fashion, you want to send it out to all the fashion magazines, whatever it is that relates to your brand, children’s products, but get it to the celebrity magazine editors. Before you get too deep in this, you also want to build your celebrity editor lists and make sure that you’re not scrambling for three weeks to get the contact names.

Old news is no news. If you’re posting something three weeks later from when the celebrity posted it, the moment has passed. If you were trying to sell to stores, you want to send an email. Same with your online shoppers. The hope is that the person’s holding up your cell phone case or a baby blanket and then everyone who’s on your mailing list. It’s like, “Give me one.”

It’s interesting the way you’re saying it. I would have thought it would have been better if you found your product worn like you did by celebrity, but maybe not so much. I have a client and one day, he saw a video on Instagram of Will.I.Am and Kylie Jenner. He had these neon glasses. She pulled them off his head and put them on and they were talking about them and those were his glasses. He snapshotted this video and he shared it, but they weren’t talking about his brand. They weren’t saying his brand. They weren’t mentioning his brand. They were talking about the glasses.

He had to convince people that these were his own patented glasses. That would be a lot harder than if they were like, “Check these new glasses I got. They’re so amazing.” You say the name and then boom. A lot of people are waiting to strike gold and wouldn’t it be great if a celebrity used my stuff. Maybe it’s better to do what you’re saying so that when they do talk about it, they’re talking about you or your product and your brand.

I think both works. When celebrities would be in magazines with my stuff, candid shots, it never had my name. Whether it was Liv Tyler from Party of Five or Kristin Davis from Sex and the City, they’re standing there holding your bag and you’re like, “I’m going to make as much money off this photo as I can.” It’s showing your force at that point, getting it out to the magazine editors and your online shoppers.

If it’s something stylish like glasses, you could even write to the gatekeepers and say, “These people are wearing my glasses. I’d love to send it to so-and-so.” Put a link to the video that you’ve put on your website under your press section. There are a lot of ways to promote this. If they’ve got a little video running on an iPad or they’ve got a photo of someone, it doesn’t matter if it has your name on it. You can stick your logo on the photo.

As I always say, getting into retail seems hard, but it’s not the hardest part. The hardest part is getting your product to sell through and getting a reorder. It sounds to me that getting the celebrity to wear your stuff is not the hardest part, even though it’s hard. The hardest part is making sure you get it to the right people so the right people see it.

There are pros and cons to how the world is changing so rapidly. There are so many opportunities now, but it felt easier when there was less availability, and there weren’t as many businesses because it was easier to stand out. Click To Tweet

That’s where this one client went all wrong because he tried to promote it himself, but he doesn’t have the same reach as People magazine or somebody like that. If you’re going to go down this path, like Sarah said, make sure that you know who you’re going to immediately send it to so that they can blow it up and make a big deal out of it. You were telling me that you have a group. What does your group do?

It’s a group coaching program, but it’s a hybrid between DIY like watching videos and learning everything that I have up here. I’m teaching you how to get into stores, get into magazines, pitch to celebrities, what to do with your online shoppers, promotions, emails, how to do trade shows and trunk shows, pop-ups, home parties and how to work with sales reps. It’s all the things that you might not know. We also give you access to our thousands of store contacts, media contacts, celebrity contacts, and lifetime access.

The hybrid part is I do two group coaching calls every week. You can hop on a Zoom. I can answer your questions and help you with a private Facebook group to help you edit your letters. People who take advantage of my generosity do get ahead. The people on the calls at least once a week, getting me to review their letters and pitches and get my two cents into it. “Does this sound good? Is it clear?” Those are the people who are getting ahead.

If somebody joined your group, they’re not necessarily jumping in where everything’s at. They can start back at the beginning, catch themselves up as fast or as slow as their pace and then they can jump into your biweekly Zoom calls. That’s pretty amazing. Do you have international people that are in here too from other countries into your group?

I have a few women from England in the group, some Canadians and one person from India.

It sounds to me a little bit like when my wife told me to come and have a mani-pedi. She told me, “There are guys in there. You can go in there.” When I went in there, there were no guys, although, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. When she would be like, “My nail appointment took so long,” I’m like, “People are rubbing your hand and your arm. Is that so horrible?”

Sarah is saying that there are some guys in the group, but it sounded like it’s more women. “Guys, if you want to join, please connect with Sarah. Being the minority is never a bad thing. Perspective is everything. Getting a little male perspective in there is going to be a good thing. I have enjoyed knowing your story. Thank you for coming to the show and sharing. We would love to have you back.

I’d love to come back.

Sarah, thank you so much. We’ll connect again.

I can’t wait.

She is amazing. I know that you think it too. I know you are now all thinking to yourself, “What celebrities do I want to go after? Who do I want to put my products in front of? How can Sarah help me bring my product to the masses through the eyes of people who watch celebrities?” It’s not about getting the notoriety of having a celebrity use your product. It’s about the massive people that they can bring to bear as far as eyeballs on your product. That’s what we all want. We want to change the world with our products. People need our products. They need what we have to sell. They need what you have to sell.

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products
Celebrity Products: Getting the celebrity to wear your stuff is not the hardest part. The hardest part is making sure you get it to the right people, so they see it and get it to sell through and reorder it.

One of the ways that we can get those out to the masses is through the eyes of a celebrity and the notoriety of a celebrity, based on the amount of people that they can reach with a simple sentence that they can write into social media. I’m glad that Sarah was here. Thank you, Sarah, for being on the show, sharing your wealth of knowledge and all the things that you have learned on your journey. You continue to learn and share with people with the same goal that I have to help people change the world with their products.

To help achieve their dreams, become self-sustainable, get out of the unpredictable corporate world, and become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is hard. It’s sometimes lonely, but it’s also so much more than you could ever imagine when you are in control of how much money you make. You are in control of when you make it, your time and effort. If you want to make more money, you put in more effort.

It’s different when you have a job that has a salary. No matter how much effort you put in, your salary is still going to be the same. You don’t get overtime. Whether you put in 80 or 40 hours a week, you’re still going to make $100,000 a year unless you have some big bonus structure, but that’s still probably capped. We want to help you guys understand. Whether it’s a side gig or not, you have the option and the opportunity to do something great, recession-proof and doesn’t require you to count on somebody else to make your life decisions for you. That’s what entrepreneurship is.

It’s not for everybody. A person in my family passed away and she worked for Kimberly-Clark for 33 years, on the assembly line making toilet paper, paper towels and all this stuff that Kimberly-Clark makes. She loved it. She loved it because she went to work and knew what to do. It wasn’t difficult work when she learned it, but when she left work, she left it. She never had to think about it again. Nobody was calling her on the phone. There are no disasters.

She didn’t have to work on her days off. She only had to think about it once she got to work, put on her stuff and went out onto the line. For some people, that’s what they love. That’s not me. If you’re reading this, it’s not you either. I’m super glad that you’re here. I’m glad that you got a chance to be introduced to Sarah. I look forward to the next time and until then, I look forward to seeing your products on the shelf.

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About Sarah Shaw

OTS 177 Sara Shaw | Celebrity Products

Sarah Shaw, celebrity designer and Entreprenette CEO is an experienced business owner who has created and nurtured many businesses. Sarah understands not only the complexity of a start-up, but also the thrill of it: “I love coaching people and teaching the steps to take, in the right order, so they can save time and money and shorten their learning curve, which means they can stay focused on the creativity and fun of being an entreprenette,” says Sarah.

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