I invented one of the coolest new products in my industry (gardening) in the last fifty years and I didn’t know how much to charge for it. I knew after all my years in business that the one thing that probably has the biggest effect on sales is pricing. And most people have no clue how to set a price which can be equal parts, psychology, research, analytics, and trial and error.
An enterprising attorney I had met some time ago at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, set up a meeting with Vince Offer — the ShamWow pitchman legend who had become somewhat of a cult star with the millennials. He was interested in featuring my newly released product, the VeggiePOPS seed starters (now called SeedPops), on one of his infomercials. We met in nearby Santa Monica for coffee where he divulged that his name was really Offer Shlomi, and that he changed his name to Vince because he was a huge fan of Vinnie Barbarino, John Travolta’s character on the iconic 70’s television show, Welcome Back Kotter. What a coincidence, I thought, because John is the Godfather to my daughter, Cassie, but that’s another story. Vince was a fascinating guy who innately knew more about pricing than just about anyone I had met in my thirty years of business.
Vince went on to explain that before he agreed to take on any particular product, he insisted that a booth be set up at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena so he could see first-hand how well the product sold. I had previously been a cofounder/partner in two successful companies — toys and apparel — and we sold to mass merchants like Target and Walmart for the former and “high-end” department stores like Bloomingdales and even Barneys for the latter. The idea of selling at a flea market seemed beneath my pay grade, but I agreed to his terms with curiosity, and wow, (or Sham-Wow), I was glad that I did.
I secured a booth at the flea market and roped my son into helping me transport, set up and man a pop-up tent, boxes of product, folding table, etc. and we embarked at sunrise for the Rose Bowl on a sweltering August morning, the second Sunday of the month. After setting up, we stood behind the table as buyers strolled by. I displayed the Pops on several…