Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Focus Groups

Last week we embarked on a trip to preside over focus group studies regarding our flip-flops. We hit the road to get to Fort Lauderdale for two sessions, and then flew over to San Diego for two more. It was a great chance to get out and talk to the actual people who just may well be wearing Vere flip-flops in a few years.

Our focus groups went as good as we hoped. Big thanks to Periquin Strategy out of Denver Colorado for setting up and conducting these great sessions. We sat with a number of people who wear flip-flops whenever they can. Part of ‘Flip-Flop Nation’ as one participant put it. We were able to sit in on a candid conversation about what they like/dislike about flip-flops, what their ideal pair would be like, and the ideal company that makes them. They were able to see our entire line of Vere Sandals, pick them up, and even try them on (as long as they were the right size). We were encouraged by the positive response and support for the Vere Sandal brand, as well as the strong interest in supporting US made products. We had always believed that people would do the right thing if it were made easy, and we are learning from the focus groups that in an “apple-to-apple” comparison, people will consider the domestically produced product. They also will be more interested if the company acted on their claims of manufacturing with an eye toward the environment. Our big challenge is to get the word out that Vere not only makes a high quality, comfortable sandal, but we make it here in the United States. Hopefully people (you included) will help us spread the good word.

When we weren’t at the focus group and traveling we kept ourselves busy. We had our share of meetings. One included an interesting discussion with the head of an industrial design firm on the scope of manufacturing in the US, and how this country can reclaim their industrial edge through process innovation (there were some interesting ideas that merit another blog entry at another time). We also met with some owners of local surf shops and with discussions on their business in general, as well as what product is moving, not moving, and what is in the future for the flip-flop market.

There was also a sliver of time to catch up with old friends and just enjoy the area. Which included some surf time (thanks to those who lent us some gear) as well as time to enjoy the local sites and of course cuisine. For the record, surfing makes the burritos in Pacific Beach taste even better...

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last week we were fortunate enough to be invited for a tour of a corrugate (cardboard) facility in Emmaus, Pennsylvania with the intent to view some potential Point Of Purchase designs we might be able to use. The people at Impress Packaging have an incredible facility and an impressive line of clients and work. They had their incredible design team sit down with us and help us with some designs we might be able to use for "sandal racks" within stores made completely of either corrugate or wood. The entire structures would thus be made without any metals or plastic like the traditional means used in the majority of stores today.

Many companies are beginning to use this type of product placement within the stores, but it's still not very widespread. We're really trying to open every available door to ensure we can continue our message of keeping things with an "eye to the environment" for each aspect of the production and sales we can.

We're very excited about the possibilities that were presented to us, we really hoped that we could make our entire POP with recycled or recyclable materials, and their design team loved the challenge. Looking forward to seeing what they sketch and put together for us and can't wait to hopefully share.

Gabi's Favorite Sandals are the Pink Ones

No doubt, she didn't bat an eyelash, when Gabi saw the assortment of all our samples, she gravitated immediately to the pink ones... Gotta love it. We only wish we had kids sizes, I think she'd wear them all day (and it's about 30 degrees these days...). Quick reminder, we're going to be in Fort Lauderdale, FL on December 15th and San Diego, California on the 17th running our pre-screened focus groups. Anyone within range, we'd love to get in touch and show you the line, maybe catch a surf or a bite, please holler.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Focus-Grouping and our 2011 Line

We've got 'em in-hands... each model, each color, in sample sizes. We were also able to shoot each sandal and get some nice product sheets for each model. The next step is focus-grouping. We're going to be in Fort Lauderdale, FL on December 15th and San Diego, California on the 17th running our pre-screened focus groups. Anxious to see what some very random people will have to say about our sandals, especially in comparison to current models and brands they're attached to and love.

If anyone's interested in either helping out with the focus groups or if anyone in those areas would like to just get a look at the actual sandal line and a version of each model, please give us a holler. We'd love to arrange a showing for you to get a look.