Bootstrap Marketing

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ISoapWorks has doubled its revenues each year since its launch, but, as is typical at growing companies, Antonetti and husband Karp, who serves as chief financial officer, are grappling with chronic cash-flow problems. Moreover, with every advance Antonetti makBootstrap marketing Amilya Antonetti is making her own mark in the soap business, one customer at a time When Amilya Antonetti began to talk seriously about breaking into the $4.7-billion U.S. laundry-detergent market, in 1994, industry veterans told her she had to be joking. "They all laughed hysterically," Antonetti recalls. "They'd say, 'Honey, have you ever heard of Clorox? Have you ever heard of Tide? There's no place for you here.'" Time and again, buyers for grocery stores told Antonetti that none of their customers would be interested in the hypoallergenic cleansing products she began developing after learning that her infant son's health problems were aggravated by the chemicals in standard brands. After one such conversation Antonetti came close to admitting defeat. Then she did an about-face, marched right back into the guy's office, and declared, "I have one more thing to say to you: I am your customer." es in the market, she runs into new demands for costly promotions, such as a buy-one-get-one-free campaign she agreed to do as part of SoapWorks' planned entry into 100 Walgreens stores. To step up production -- and thereby increase profit margins without boosting prices -- Antonetti has decided she needs to bring in outside investors. It's just that she hasn't yet found the right ones.f SoapWorks does get capital, the challenge for Antonetti will be staying true to her vision. "Customers are buying into the concept and the message of the company as much as they are buying the product," observes Debra Lynn Dadd, author of the book Home Safe Home, and a SoapWorks endorser. "Amilya's concept originated from within herself, from her problems with her son. That has resonated with other mothers and...
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