Supplier My Mom Knows Best Sees Retail Success with ECRM  8/8/2017

My Mom Knows Best was formed in 2005 to bring time saving products to the marketplace, making life easier for moms, schools and children. gLovies are the first multi-purpose disposable gloves developed to keep children’s’ hands clean during a variety of activities, such as arts and crafts, baking, science projects, potty training, and are also beneficial for kids with sensory needs.

ECRM followed up with Josephine Geraci, Founder and President of the Huntington, N.Y.-based company, to discuss her experience at ECRM’s Educational Supplies EPPS, held earlier this year.

ECRM: What drove your decision to attend the Educational Supplies EPPS?
Geraci: As a small business owner, I had to think long and hard whether my company was in the position to make the investment to attend the Educational Supplies EPPS show. The deciding factor to attend was the day I received the list of participating buyer companies. Each and every one of the more than 75 companies could be a potential customer of mine, I thought. It would have cost me so much money and time to have traveled to each one of these companies on my own, so I made the conscious decision to take my business to the next level and I signed up for the session.

ECRM: What were your expectations from the EPPS, and how did ECRM meet/exceed them?
As with any big show, I started preparing from the very first moment I signed up. My goal was to come home with 10 percent of new clients from among those I met with. From the moment I arrived at the airport, the ECRM experience began. I was greeted by a host that whisked my bags and myself into the shuttle filled with other suppliers and buyers. It was so great to meet other small business owners who were doing exactly what I was doing---bringing a brand new product to the marketplace. I couldn't believe how much I learned just from chatting with these entrepreneurs during ride to the venue. It was so refreshing to pull up to a first class hotel. I was so impressed that everything was so organized. 

Upon arrival, ECRM staff greeted us and within seconds we were checked in and shown to our room. I quickly unpacked and then went to my assigned booth. The dreadful fear of something not having arrived on time was quickly eliminated when I was shown to my power hall booth, as everything I had shipped ahead of time was neatly waiting for me. It was perfect--not too little, not too big. There were two tables for arranging my display in order to tell the story about my company and product, and there was a small table and chairs set up for my meetings with the buyers. I was so excited to "make things happen" but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it was possible to have the success I experienced at the show. With only ten minutes to pitch your product, every second counted. One by one, each "potential new client" was becoming a customer of my business.

ECRM: Describe your experience in working with the ECRM Account Managers for the EPPS Prep, and how it helped you get ready for your meetings.
Geraci: It was a really good feeling showing up at the conference knowing I was fully prepared due to the great assistance I had from my personally assigned account manager. Kelsee was so patient and was such a huge help. She walked me through the entire EPPS preparation website. It's such a great system. 

My entire schedule was easily laid out for me and every detail needed to understand each and every company was available. It was like having a research department at your finger tips. The ECRM MarketGate platform saved me days of research. At the push a button, if I wanted even more information about company, I was taken directly to their website. I LOVED the fact that I knew exactly what buyer I was meeting for every company.

ECRM: Did you use the Connect App? 
Geraci: I did use the Connect app. I reached out to buyers before the show to let them know I was looking forward to meeting them. I also used it to rate each meeting. This helped me tremendously with my follow up.

ECRM: Describe your meeting experiences, and the successes that have come from them.
Geraci: My meetings went better than I could have ever imagined. At first I will admit, I was nervous. The night I arrived ECRM put on a beautiful dinner. It was super bowl Sunday--and was so much fun. After dinner, I looked up and noticed there were free chair massages being given to attendees. I walked over and as I was waiting in line a buyer started talking to me. I couldn't believe the ease of access to a huge buyer. As we were chatting I mentioned I was a little nervous, but she relaxed me and told me that I had a great story to tell and should share it with everybody. That's all I needed to hear. I had a wonderful massage and I was refreshed ready for a great show. 

As I told my story about developing my gLovies product -- which are disposable gloves to keep little hands clean -- I started to go deeper to explain I never imagined my product would change the lives of kids with sensory needs. That one story triggered so much within the buyers' minds. I was now not only being considered for the arts and crafts category, buyers were now placing my gLovies into the sensory needs category, too!. My meetings went great, and the ECRM staff ensured that each began and ended on time. ECRM knows how to put on a great venue, but also knows how to hire great employees. Each and every employee I came into contact with was always willing to help me with whatever needs I had no matter how big or how small.

Oh and let me not forget to mention the highlight of the show for me. I won first place for the Buyer's Choice Award! I couldn't believe it. What I do remember is going up to receive the award and everybody was clapping and high fiving me. Starting my business and creating a product that is as unique as gLovies has been a truly challenging experience but to have won that special award brought me such validation--it was a feeling I will never forget.I was floored -- I wasn't expecting to receive so many orders on the spot.

When I arrived home, I was still on a high...but things got even better when I sat at my computer and received more POs! I will admit, when you have to followup with so many companies, it could seem pretty overwhelming. I had to take each company one at a time and make them a happy customer.

My goal of getting 10% of new customers was way was much, much more!

ECRM: What recommendation would you give other suppliers considering attending an ECRM EPPS?
Geraci: If you are on the fence as to whether or not to attend an ECRM show, just ask yourself if you are ready for your business to rise to the next's almost a guarantee. You must be willing to do the work and the followup can be brutal but as we all know hard work pays off.

ECRM: Do you have any other recommendations for other suppliers:
Make sure you have plenty of inventory on hand because you will be going through it pretty quickly. Also, take the time to meet other suppliers at the show. I have made lifelong friends from attending ECRM sessions, friends like no others, since they understand the ins and outs of my industry.

Melinda Young

SVP of General Merchandise

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