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Perk Consulting offers innovative thinking, marketplace savvy and strategic direction to entrepreneurs and growing companies to accelerate the journey from new idea to successful product. 
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Welcome To Perk Consulting

Perk Consulting meets the need for fresh thinking, marketplace savvy and strategic direction for toys, games, youth and lifestyle products. As an experienced product and marketing consultant, and startup advisor,  I  help entrepreneurs, product innovators and growing companies to identify new opportunities, analyze your competition, create a unique brand look, or launch and promote your product line. 

I work flexibly and collaboratively with you and your team. Every engagement starts with a conversation. To access my experience developing and launching hundreds of products, let’s start by meeting virtually for coffee.

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Take advantage of 25 years of successful product introductions. 

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By ddesherbinin 28 Jan, 2017

With the New Year comes opportunities to attend Toy Fairs and Gift Shows and pitch your product line to buyers for orders. Once you have the booth space reserved and your sales meetings set up, spend time thinking about your product line presentation and sales pitch.

1. Product Overview – Analyze the competitive set for your product and use this information to inform the buyer how your product compares to the competition and specifically why your product is unique in its competitive set. Communicate who your target users are and how your product has been designed to appeal to this audience. Results from market research either qualitative or quantitative can provide some key selling points for your product.

If your product isn’t in production, develop a ‘looks like, works like’ prototype to showcase your product concept. This prototype should represent the final product design with all of the product features, as well as design and colors of the item. The prototype should perform exactly as the manufactured item in a product demonstration. A video can provide support, but having a reliable ‘looks like/works like’ model is best.

2. Pricing – Buyers want to know the wholesale price and suggested retail price for your new product. To provide a realistic price, you need to know the actual costs to manufacture and package your item at various forecast levels. Suggest a wholesale price for your product that is competitive and achievable, yet generates a profit for you. Otherwise your product isn’t viable.

3. Packaging – Show the buyers production packaging or a great mock-up of the package which best represents the package design, along with the graphic design and copy for the package. Make sure you have priced out the costs of the package and include this in the product cost to insure you have a wholesale price that is viable.

4. Promotion – Share with the buyer your plans for generating awareness and sales for your new product line. If you have a license on this product, like Star Wars, Pokemon, etc. than share plans for how the licensor will be supporting their licensed products. If your new product lacks a license or isn’t a line extension based on an existing well-known brand, make sure to share plans to support the sell-through of this item with planned promotions, social media campaigns or advertising. Buyers are interested in the number of turns your product can get at retail, so they may offer a test in a small number of stores before placing a big order.

5. Sales – Create a sales pitch which succinctly informs the buyer in approximately 5-7 minutes about your product and why it is unique in its category. Make sure to allow for time to address the buyer’s questions. This is a perfect opportunity to gain valuable feedback on your product. The buyer may inform you that the price is too high or the packaging is too large for the location where it will be merchandised in the store. Maybe a buyer will want a special displayer or point of purchase piece. Ask what they think about your product including key likes and dislikes, so you can address their concerns and follow-up with the buyer later on.

Encourage buyers to place an order at the show by offering a show special such as free product shipping or a discount off a certain quantity of product ordered. A special offer can be given out with a code to use within a particular time frame.

Create sales materials to promote your product line with clear images and succinct copy, pointing out the unique qualities of the product along with its features and benefits. In addition to showcasing your product line with a well-designed sales sheet, an order form should provide information needed by the buyer such as: item number, wholesale price, UPC code, case pack quantities and product dimensions. Don’t forget to update your website with the latest product information prior to the show, paying special attention to the retailer sections. Lastly, be sure to communicate any special promotional plans in your sales materials.

These five areas will insure you are prepared to put your best foot forward. It is an investment to attend a trade show to pitch your product line, so take the extra steps to be ready to sell your product and write an order at the show!

By _dm_templates 11 Dec, 2016

Five thoughts on creating playful learning experiences that will resonate with kids!

Kids reap huge benefits from play. Playful learning experiences help children to develop critical thinking skills and abilities they will need to solve complex problems in their future adult lives. This point of view was clearly communicated to participants at the Sandbox@MIT held in Cambridge at MIT in April. Engaging play experiences encourage creative thinking, while providing a safe environment for kids to experiment, to fail, and to discover new solutions. Kids learn how to socialize, be part of a team, and to overcome failure while they play. These skills will help the kids of today to be creative and resilient leaders in their future careers.

To drive the point home, I had the opportunity to participate in a Scratch programming + LEGO WeDo 2.0 invention kit workshop at Sandbox@MIT . The goal of the workshop was to create a play experience at an amusement park. Using LEGOs along with the Scratch code program allowed my team to create a working catapult prototype made from LEGOs to send a character flying! All the teams involved employed trial and error to develop amusement concepts. Our team worked together to adjust the Scratch program as well as the LEGO catapult mechanics, ensuring that our character was propelled into the air instead of performing a face-plant! The development process demonstrated how play can be a fun, learning experience. We had lots of laughs and we all were excited when our LEGO character went flying. This experience demonstrated the importance of creative thinking along with the use of trial and error to to develop a product concept.

Here are five thoughts about the importance of creating playful learning experiences designed for kids, coming out of Sandbox@MIT.

  1. Play is at the heart of learning for kids. Everyday play experiences prepare children with valuable life skills they can use as they grow and develop.
  2. Quality play experiences encourage kids to think creatively, to experiment, and to keep trying when things don’t work or look the way they expected. Kids should be encouraged to take risks and ‘fail upwards’.
  3. Outdoor and free play allow kids interaction with one another so they can learn values of group play and how they can fit in and play with others. Open-ended play can stimulate creativity as kids create imaginative play scenarios.
  4. There are no one-size-fits-all products when developing for kids. Each child has their own likes/dislikes and style of learning. A product appeals most when it offers play patterns that a certain age group is mastering. Creators of play products and experiences need to carefully test kids to insure the product is well-designed and appeals to their specific age group.
  5. Developing a product or app for kids is a process not to be rushed. Insight gained from testing with kids can help refine a product to appeal to kids for specific age groups.
    1. Build and test prototypes of the product or app with the right age group in mind, at all levels of development
    2. Watch carefully how children engage and play with the toy or app and make modifications based on these observations
    3. Re-test to make sure that the target age group can easily play with what you have created
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