Entering The New York Market
As my time working with distillers in New York increased, so did my calls from international brands.
Living in New York and working in the spirits business, you take certain things for granted. There’s a certain ‘understanding’ that we have. But not until I had to truly explain the cost associated to enter this market successfully, did I really begin to pause.
I began to feel a bit like the grim reaper, for the amount of business I had to turn away. It is startling the number of people who severely underestimate the cost of being here. I then began to think about the number of brands that fail. They are tales of caution for us all. But at the end of the day, it really does come down to money.
Branding and positioning would take at least two years. Two years of putting out and really not getting anything back. That’s the truth. Your biggest and most important cost being your sales team and brand ambassadors. If you can’t afford to go two years without making money, then don’t come. You are not ready. That is exactly the advice I give. This race is not for the swift. It is for those that understand the concept of slow and steady.
Identify your ideal accounts, secure them. On to the next one. Day after day, week by week. Provide them with sales support. This way they know you are behind your brand and not just looking to get your product on the shelf, then disappear.
Once you have your funds in hand and a very understanding investor in place, don’t burn money paying for unnecessary warehousing.
Realizing that your initial entry to market would likely be with a strategic distributor. These companies charge for every box that is just sitting in their warehouse. Your not selling is making them very rich! So many overestimate how much they will sell. It’s New York! Of course we can sell 100 cases per month. We do that at home, no problem!
It’s hard to see how crippling over ambitious projections can be, as you pay for warehousing product that is not moving at the rate you promised investors. To spend money in warehousing that should go to marketing and brand development is a tragic waste.
Think of your entry into New York as exactly that. An entry that would allow you to gain an understanding of who your customer is and the best way to reach them. Absolutely no launch is necessary. Save that for when you have secured a distributor who is able to build off of the years of work you have already put in, and can take you national. Now there’s cause for a celebration!