Quarter one has been and gone and I feel it’s high time to update you on recent happenings at mifold!
First and foremost, I am delighted to announce the arrival of our 12th employee, Jonathan Album, who joins us from Unilever as Vice President of Marketing. His appointment represents a new stage of development for the company - we are certainly growing up! We officially have a marketing team of which I in my Customer Services capacity am now a part! Already, Jonny has devised the company’s marketing strategy, highlighted our areas of focus and put a plan into place. As a result, we all feel highly motivated. I will update you on our progress in next quarter’s blog!
To celebrate Jonny’s arrival, (though we don’t need much of an excuse!) and to coincide with Matt and Robert being at Corporate HQ too, we had a very competitive and explosive game of Laser Tag complete with high tech vests and guns. Everyone received a pseudonym – suffice to say that Gollum lost and Goldfinger won – I am not going to name names as that’s not in my nature - I’ll leave it to you to decide who was who but I will proudly mention that Gollum was not a lady……
We held the first ever Carfoldio Sales Summit to determine the corporate sales strategy for the year for which Matt and Robert flew in from the US and Canada. We are now managing sales in 153 countries and are focusing on growing these markets with mifold, mifold one and mifold sport. Hilariously, Ken who has by far the loudest voice in the office, completely lost his voice that day and had to use a head set to get himself heard!
The team continues to travel extensively. Davide kicked off the year with a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to see what is new in the world of high tech and gadgets and was wowed by what he saw - in his words it was “phenomenal”. The hot topics of the show were autonomous driving, robots, virtual reality and start-ups.
Ken very successfully travelled to the UK, France, Japan, Korea and China to visit our lovely distributors and has brilliantly secured an array of new orders.
Mark spent much of the quarter selling in the US – we have almost forgotten what he looks like! At this point please let’s have a loud fanfare for the exciting launch this quarter of mifold throughout Target Stores in the US. We are particularly proud to be using pegged video monitors in some stores which allow potential customers to see our 45 second explanatory mifold video. Remarkably 90% of Target’s sales are incremental to the booster seat category to emphasize the role of mifold as an additional booster seat for occasions when a regular booster is inconvenient or unavailable.
Jon passed most of his time this quarter on a plane; he visited the US three times travelling from coast to coast for reasons of regulatory affairs, sales, PR and tradeshows as well as to France and the UK to visit our distributors. At this point I would like to offer the whole team’s condolences to Jon on the passing of his vivacious, courageous and inspiring sister, Deborah. All who knew her loved her and we send Jon and his family our deepest sympathy.
As a result of Jon’s UK trip, we have had some incredible press coverage - please see the following link to access Jon’s TV and radio interviews
This month Jon, Jonathan and Matt manned a mifold booth at the Child Passenger Safety Technical Conference in Long branch New Jersey where they met dedicated Car Passenger Safety Technicians. Jon also presented 2 workshops at the conference giving scientific substantiation for the safety and efficacy of mifold. Jonathan, Matt and Mark then went on to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Conference in Washington to meet potential buyers and industry players.
During this quarter Jon, Davide and I have recertified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians – drum roll please! The recertification involved a practical exam fitting a variety of car seats and safety dolls into a vehicle, (my car actually), several webinars and online written tests.
Since January, the marketing team (largely Davide and Rachel) has also launched a new Amazon landing page and has updated all of our sell sheets and brochures. They continuously prepare marketing material for the sales team and actively engage with our social media audience on a daily basis. In addition, they are planning for both the imminent hifold crowd funding campaign and for our participation in this year’s Kind and Jugend Trade show in September.
Rayna has been consumed with our 2017 audit and with finalizing forecasts for 2018 – I would like to write something more to convey the effort that this involves but can’t seem to come up with any relevant superlatives…
On the supply chain and logistics side of the business, Gaynor’s role continues to grow as more orders are received which need to be delivered and she is taking this all in her stride.
Robert as Head of Operations and Finance has been overseeing many of the processes described above and continues to amuse us with his ability for 24-hour sunshine and his involvement in all areas of our business. He, (with a little bit of help from me), is overhauling our ever-growing intellectual property portfolio in order to make it easier to extract information about the status of our many international trademarks and patents.
In terms of operations, Jacqui has been tirelessly working on the design of the mifold one box, and on the languages for mifold one and mifold sport’s instruction manuals and packaging (they are now available in English, Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew). She has finalized the mifold sport product and is moving full steam ahead with the design of the hifold product. Thank goodness she has a good eye for detail and a lot of patience….
As I mentioned earlier, customer service now comes under the marketing umbrella and I have been documenting and analyzing all customer enquiries in considerable detail in order to paint an overall picture of the types of queries we receive. My favourite enquiry this quarter was “Can I fit both my kids on one mifold?” You will be glad to know that I definitively answered “No!”. My time has also been taken up with the logistics of all the tradeshows and conferences that mifold has attended, with Human Resource practicalities, and with trying to keep the office under some sort of control – With this lot that is no easy task I can assure you!
With that I will sign off and wish you a fruitful, fun-filled and fulfilling second quarter!