I have really done a poor job of blogging. I am sorry if this is something you like on a website. I find that since I am human something needs to give and unfortunately that tends to be my website. I know I shouldn't let that happen but unfortunately when you are little ... a one woman show, something is usually sacrificed and for me it is my site.
It is very satisfying to design and sew my creations. I also love the interaction with customers when I am at a craft show/pop up location. Even with the products where I am a reseller. People appreciate that I only sell products I believe in. I often say, "it is my name on the business and that means a lot to me. I will never sell you something that I can't endorse." I want customers to love the products they buy from me.
I started sewing Infant Capes when my little "Grandbaby" Peter was born. I learned that snowsuits were no longer acceptable in car suits and this was what was being used as an alternative to blankets. Well from there adults wanted them for themselves. In particular Vikings Fans. Don't you know. After all I do live in Minnesota now. That makes me Italian by birth, a Canadian Citizen and a Permanent Resident of the United States. It does get confusing sometimes when people ask me where I am from. I am often told I have an accent.
Last Mouse Lost is the best fidgit you could ever want for your toddler, preschooler, or school age child. It is a strategy game for children 5 and up. But for everyone else it is like an endless supply of bubble wrap. Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, and counselors have come back to my booth to thank me for introducing them to the item. Watch Peter above as he explores the simple silicone disk. He figures out right away that he can turn it over and do it again and again, and again. Its great for in the car, at a restaurant, on a plane, in a train, at church ... where ever you want your toddler to sit quietly and entertain themselves.
I was recently interviewed for an upcoming Holiday Gift Boutique. This is a short clip of what I said. Part 1 of 5.
Who are you and what do you do?
AltogetherAnna Hand-Made Designs, Kitchen Gadgets, SCRUBBY Soap, Family Game Night Fun … and so much more!
Anna Longo designs and curates an exciting mix of fun and functional products! Anna designs and sells hand-made Blanket Wraps and Capes for infants, toddlers, children, and adults.
Working with Licensed Fleece and designer textiles, Anna creates NFL, NHL, MLBA, and Collegiate Fleece Capes and Blanket Wraps. Anna's differentiation point is the custom sewing services she offers. If you do not see your favorite professional sports team or collegiate team no worries, She will make it for you.
Hand-Made in Minnesota is an integral part of the AltogetherAnna business strategy.
Anna also has a line of hand-made Make Up Remover Cloths.
Just wet the cloth with warm water and remove all of your makeup
… no additional product is needed. Removes waterproof eyeliner, mascara, foundation, and eye shadow. Economical, Reusable, and Environmentally Friendly … wash with like colors and use them repeatedly.
At AltogetherAnna, we carefully design, manufacture, and curate products that help make your life easier. We know how busy you are … we have been there!
All you need is at Altogether Anna (published June 1, 2017 Farmers Market Annex Vendor Newsletter)
Anna Longo brings a wide mix of fun and comfortable products to you! First, she designs and sells handmade blanket wraps and capes for infants, toddler, children, and adults. She also sells fun family games like Tenzi, Slapzi, Last Mouse Lost, Don't Rock the Croc and so many more. Lastly, she has kitchen Gadgets Galore including SCRUBBY Soap, Swedish Dish Cloths, Berry Boxes, Herb Zippers, and Naked Bear Naturals Skin Care products.
Anna has a background in specialty toys and educational products having traveled the world looking for products that are unique and that make a difference in the lives of children and families. It was last fall when she began sewing sports fashion wraps, something that has quickly become, a significant portion of her business.
She joined our market last year. "Being a 'Weekend Warrior' provides me the opportunity to interact with consumers, meet interesting people and have fun on my own terms. I choose the Minneapolis Farmers Market Annex because of the steady flow of traffic. It provides me with a permanent location for the summer and that offers me the ability to build a loyal customer base. Consumers can find me easily (right next to the giant 10 foot Rooster), and come back for new and exciting products because they trust me."
It is the customer; she loves best here at the Annex. “I have met some amazing people who are really loyal to the Farmers Market and they visit weekly.” Last summer a gentleman bought a Tenzi Dice Game from Anna and asked: "Are you Anna? After she said yes, he asked, “Are you Altogether? Cause you seem like you are!” “ I laughed so hard,” said Anna. You too can have a laugh with Anna. Stop by and see all the great games and handmade products sold at Altogether Anna!
651-955-8894 AltogetherAnna.com firstname.lastname@example.org
No one said it was going to be easy ... consumer shows and festivals are a lot of work. It's like owning a portable, traveling retail store. But the payoff is immediate, and the consumer data I collect is an invaluable source of information. Each and every time I add a new product to AltogetherAnna.com I am committing to building a new brand and creating a winner.
So how do I do this? I believe in going narrow and deep in my product selection. I buy enough inventory on my first order to ensure that I can make it a winner. You can't sell what you don't have. So I don't buy 3 or 6 of anything. I usually start with case quantities. Once I am confident that my "gut" instinct is correct, and that consumers will like the product as much as I do, then I commit to larger quantities based on sales activity and turn around times. Managing my inventory is as important for me as it is for any bricks and mortar store.
Where I have been particularly successful is in demonstrating products that I am building. Being able to speak to the features and benefits of the product or teach how to play a game in 60 seconds is really important. No one will give you more than that if you can't keep them engaged.
I attended ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailers Association in Denver last month) with the sole purpose of starting a Family Games category on AltogetherAnna.com. I knew I was going to be attending many outdoor festivals and markets this summer and SCRUBBY Soap and Swedish Dish Cloths would be a strong focus for me. But I also know women, they are always looking to buy great new items.
So my top 5 ASTRA items are:
1. Mobi Math Game - plays crossword style, each person plays their own "pod" but it is numbers and equations instead of alphabetical characters.
2. Tenzi - dice game which is hugely popular and has been well recommended to me by industry friends as one of their very best sellers.
3. Last Mouse Lost - great item for little people and adults. This one demos well and sells at a high rate. I sold out of my first 24 units in less than two weeks. Waiting for next weeks order.
4. Spin-balls - this is an active play item. The POP unit is what sold me. It has a little TV that shows people the product in use. I am starting to get the hang of it. Watch my video live on AltogetherAnna.com or Facebook.
5. Smencils - a great display, with lots of options and no adult will say no to a smelly pencil for their little person. $2.00 is a great price point for an impulse item.
The key to making a product sell is engaging the consumer. Training and developing your teams on how to share the pertinent information in a way that makes the team and the consumer feel good about the product is the biggest challenge. I find that once they have experienced my products, and they have had fun with them, then the objections take care of themselves.
I never sell a product I don't personally use or love.
I'm Anna Longo,