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Season's Retailing

Want a festive way to sell your product? Give it a holiday theme.

Looking for that perfect holiday gift to add to your product line? How does a six-pack of Santa Sauce or Gefilte Fizz sound? These seasonal soda pop flavors have meant happy holidays for Providence, Rhode Island, OOP! Juice creators and husband-and-wife team David Riordan and Jennifer Neuguth, both 34.

The pair had already begun to sell novelty sodas at OOP!, their upscale craft gallery. Dissatisfied with the lines available, they thought of OOP! Juice while discussing business expansion opportunities. After unveiling the line at New York City's Fancy Food Show in 1997, Riordan and Neuguth realized they'd found a relatively untapped market in the beverage industry--gift beverages--and the orders have been rolling in ever since. The line has grown to eight standard flavors and 10 holiday flavors, including Turkey Slurpy (cranberry), Star Spangled Splash (watermelon) and Sweetheart Sizzle (raspberry).

Neuguth offers this advice for entrepreneurs interested in customizing their products for the holidays:

  • Start small. Try one or two holidays, and then add to them. Don't immediately launch a full holiday line.
  • Find manufacturers that are willing to work with you on smaller runs.
  • Don't overstock your inventory, or you'll be left with outdated merchandise after the holiday has passed.
  • Talk to your customers. Riordan and Neuguth always ask for customer feedback about existing products before they launch a new flavor.

Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associates, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey. She is currently completing a marketing workbook titled Promote Your Business. E-mail her at moranmarketing@erols.com.

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Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Season's Retailing.

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