We have received hundreds of questions over the years and figured this would be a good starting point for you to learn a bit more about us and our methodologies for conducting business.
Our portfolio of companies is about 70% HBA, OTC, private label and 30% other. While we have a high success rate with all things HBA, we have recently began leveraging our expertise into other categories. In fact, we have branched out into: health foods, housewares, vitamins, diet products, paper supplies, glasses, and medicinal/wound care products.
Just about everything HBA, OTC, salon, and private label related for men and women, kids and teens–through young adults to the elderly and ethnic. A partial list includes: colorants, brushes, clips, ties, mousses, gels, fixatives, balms, sprays, all things oral (mouthwashes, toothpaste, flosses, etc.) All things skin, eye, hands, feet and nails–creams, lotions, waxes, polishes, removers, depilatories, etc. Also eye care and bath products.
For one thing, it is patience. We work with vendors to ensure their program is rock solid–and their best foot forward–when presenting to a retailer. That may mean a vendor’s relationships with their suppliers must be flawless, packaging may need to be redesigned, price points changed, and repositioning explored–all which requires patience.
Over the years, Fred O’Kasick Sales has seen thousands of “potential” winners–whether they are a new company, product, or line extension–which need the professional guidance to dominate the markets. What we don’t see in most of the companies is dedication, commitment, patience and willingness to learn. We screen companies against numerous “merchandising principles” to determine if they are ready to become a big player in their respective category. Sometimes we work 2 years with a company to get their programs together, and others 2 months.
Whenever we discover new business or a retailer recommends a “new vendor” work with us, we begin by meeting with everyone involved with the program. Usually this means a plant visit, getting to know the main decision makers, looking at reporting systems/sales/marketing plans, EDI, and understanding your long-term goals. Usually what dictates our involvement levels from coaching your sales staff, finding cost effective suppliers, and redesigning packaging and POS displays, depends on how well your current program differentiates itself from others in the marketplace.
After the initial meetings, we review your program(s) internally to determine our ability to make your product a success. That is, we won’t enter into an agreement with you unless we feel our relationship to be workable and profitable with all parties–your company, the retailer, and our organization. After that, we’ll enter into a written contract which covers NDAs, payments, and territories covered.
This is usually up to the vendor. Sometimes we work with an organization just to offer marketing, pricing, and distribution strategies for a single product launch. Other times, we may just aid in a package redesign to target a new market. But, most of the time, we are in it for the long haul and usually become an extremely cost-effective sales and marketing extension to effectively complement your organization.
Our current business has been built to its present level of effectiveness by its ability to tailor sales representation to suit the needs of individual manufacturers/vendors. In essence, wise manufacturers take advantage of our judgment and experience of our markets and customers by letting us decide if we can properly represent competing items. Additionally, the requirements for exclusive representation–which we currently do for all our clients– reduces our ability to offer higher levels of category management, brand positioning, and menuable actions to achieve cost efficiencies on your behalf. We always weigh your product’s potential coupled with our expertise to determine if it is going to be a successful long-term relationship.
This depends on several factors such as consumer/market trends, shelf space, category strength, competition and line extensions. What we try to do is forecast where your product/program needs to be in terms of strength and sales and help you build your program around your long-term objectives.
Twice a month, you’ll get statements which will reflect our sales, billing, and progress activity on your program.
While the answer to this question is yes, we can only think of a few instances over the past 25 years when a potential vendor has used our services to reposition their products and did not sign on for representation.
Unfortunately, no. When we enter into an agreement to work with a vendor, we make sure that all our resources are dedicated to their placement and success. This, in effect, closes out the category for others with exact products who may be looking for our help. However, there are exceptions to this rule. See the question “Do you represent competing products” on the previous FAQ page.
Absolutely. For example, a highly successful mail order company wanted to get national distribution. We worked with them for six months retooling all their programs, price points, packaging, shipping, and suppliers to ensure that when they went forward, they didn’t stumble. Another example involves a medical conglomerate who “owned” the hospital channel and wanted to bring their products to retail with a synergistic marketing platform. We created a new national look and feel, as well as, lined them up with all the tools necessary to communicate their products benefits at attractive price points without missing a single shipment–even during intense promotions.
I have heard that once a program goes national, they are out of business. First, Fred O’Kasick Sales is in the “nurturing business” and will only recommend you pursue an avenue which is best for your company. If we feel you have a product that can dominate a segment, but lacks the manufacturing to keep up, then we will not recommend it. Fred O’Kasick Sales has nurtured many companies with account and geographic specific promotions before taking them national. Have we taken products with little brand awareness and brought them national with success? Absolutely. However, for every program that we bring national, we recommend that many more stay low key until the timing is right. After all, it is perfectly fine to own X% of a market as long as it has ample profit margins.
Absolutely. And there are two ways to go about this. We can help you strengthen your program for “quarterly runs”–on counter, near pack, end cap–or work with you to turn your “promotional” idea into a program to get permanent shelf space all year round. With our insight, we’ll prescribe the best way to get the most bang for your buck–and be profitable.