12 Jun Profile Pitch: Furniture Brand for Forbes
I was just put on a new account at work, a Colorado-based furniture company that wants desperately to be featured in a national business publication. Their main choices are Forbes, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and Entrepreneur. These publications are difficult to get into without the additional challenge I’m facing: they don’t do anything out of the ordinary in terms of tech. Many of these publications are focusing on new innovations, ecologically friendly design, and advice to entrepreneurs/business owners.
I had to figure out how to get these publications to even pay attention to this small brand who is doing none of those things. My solution was to read their entire business strategy and try to find out what is making them successful that we can share with these publications.
What I found in their policies:
-This company manages each part of their supply chain and sourcing. Their vertical integration allows them to customize and control every single detail, meaning they can make custom furniture for designers if needed.
-The vertical integration also keeps their prices extremely low, allowing them to make extremely high-quality products for a much lower cost, which they choose to pass along to consumers. This means that retail on one of their couches could be as high as $10k, but they choose to sell for $3k. This is definitely something that sets them apart and makes their operation scalable.
-Their policies and shopping experiences set them apart as well. Online furniture shopping is a challenge because you can’t see/feel the item before it lands in their home. Their solution? They send unlimited swatches of the fabrics to their customers before purchase so that they know exactly what they are getting.
-They use pop-up shops in various cities around the country (for two months at a time) in order to interact with consumers and receive direct feedback.
-They also offer free no-hassle returns, making their processes extremely easy and buyer friendly, even if it makes their lives more difficult.
-Their policies resulted in a return rate of less than 5%, even with free returns. I can’t share their first-year income but it’s HIGH, and their growth was at least 30% quarter over quarter for the entire year.
How I pitched them:
-Focused on their supply chain management/vertical integration and their success thus far in order to show that what they are doing on the business end is paying off on the sales end for them as a startup.
-Used a subject line similar to that of a headline, “Furniture Startup’s Secret to 30% q/q Growth in First Year”. I wanted to catch the editors attention with the buzz word startup, and highlighting their success before they even open the email by including their growth percentage.
-I could talk more about the furniture itself, because the high quality at such low prices is ultimately what drives business, but a publication like Forbes doesn’t care about how fluffy a couch is. They want to see results, so that’s what we gave them, upfront.
What I learned:
-Pitching business publications was much more analytical than the traditional design publications I had been pitching at the PR firm. I had to think differently about my audience. What do they want to know about this company? What interests Forbes in a furniture brand? It forced me to adjust my thinking and instead of writing about how lovely their designs are, to give them cold hard facts about their success.