Think Fast

Got It Made

To take advantage of short-term marketing opportunities, you must be able to manufacture the products quickly. This requires an agreement with a manufacturer. If you develop relationships with manufacturers in advance, you may also be able to get the manufacturer to help finance the large volume of products you'll need to capitalize on the fad.

Pella developed an alliance with a manufacturer of promotional products in Hong Kong. Six years ago, he started scouting around for promotional product opportunities this company could make. For example, he might have suggested they make a hairbrush with a J-shaped handle for a company whose name started with the letter "J." Basically, he served as an informal matchmaker, presenting opportunities to the manufacturer. He got some orders and didn't get others, but he did build a relationship. As the millennium approached, Pella was able to set up an agreement quickly to get his products manufactured.

You can find promotional products manufacturers in two key magazines: potent!als (Lakewood Publications, 800-328-4329) and Wearables Business (Pimedia Intertec, 913-341-1300).

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This article was originally published in the August 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Fast.

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