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Go, Go Gadgets

The winner of our tech makeover contest makes the most of her new gizmos on the road.

Pursesnickety! has been on the road. Deborah Nail, the winner of Entrepreneur and Interland's technology makeover contest, has a trade show itinerary with more stops than a coast-to-coast Greyhound: Atlanta; Chicago; Greensboro, North Carolina; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New Orleans; New York City; and Orlando, Florida. And they're all packed into a span of weeks of continuous travel. In the fashion industry, trade show time is the big time. Trade shows are where Nail gets many wholesale orders for her colorful, funky purses. It's been a good crash course in using her new IBM ThinkPad R40 laptop and Sprint Treo 600 smartphone.

For entrepreneurs on the go, mobile technology lets them keep working even as they're jetting around. Shortly before the trade show whirlwind started, Nail came up with a new purse design that incorporates removable beaded handles that can be worn as necklaces. She was able to approve photographs for a line sheet of the new purses with her laptop and wireless internet access at the airport in Chicago. Though she admits she's not much of a technology buff, Nail hasn't had a lot of trouble adapting to the hardware: "The most difficult part has been getting used to using the little pen [with the Treo]. If that doesn't work, I have long nails."

Since Nail's purses are hard to miss, curious people often stop her to find out about them. The Treo, with its color screen and internet access, has become a useful tool for promoting her business on the fly. With such an extensive product catalog, it's impossible to take samples of everything to the shows. The IBM ThinkPad then goes into action. "I was able to pull up pictures and take orders right off my laptop. People can get a good visual, and we can also show off our website," says Nail, 41.

Wholesale orders are going strong at www.pursesnickety.com. The next step is optimizing search engines and starting the marketing campaign for the site's retail side. They will also start drop shipping for other internet companies that want to sell the purses. "Because it's such a professional-looking website now, other companies feel comfortable sending their customers to our link," Nail says. Keep an eye out for next month as we catch up with Pursesnickety!'s Interland web training and marketing moves.

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This article was originally published in the November 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Go, Go Gadgets.

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