Hi I'm Helena Fogarty, and I'm the CEO and founder of Mi Ola, sexy bikinis that stay on. If I've been up there in leather pants screaming my head off in seebee geebees [phonetic], then I can present to, you know, an angel investor. I wouldn't say I'm a super planner, but I started my career as a project manager, so I'm very good at setting goals and kind of backing into the things you need to do to achieve those goals. The web was really starting to develop. The Internet was starting to develop, so I became the whiz kid. And I started developing our Internet properties back when there were like bulletin board systems before the real web started. And that got me, after two years, to a great position to move to an agency where I led the Avon.com projects, the Bloomingdale's project, and Vanity Fair core projects at an agency in New York. And from there, you know, I was well in the fashion and beauty space. Once I moved down here I was surfing four hours a day. And every time I went out to surf, I was having problems with my bikinis. Well, we started Mi Ola in 2012. And we had a successful kick-starter campaign, which was great. And that was probably our first real milestone. We were covered in CNBC in June of 2012, which was exciting. We launched our first collection and were in stores in January of 2013. We were in "Self" magazine, and now we're in our second season and delivering to stores, and you know, prepping for our real first, you know, exciting kind of summer season with a good selection of retailers. When you read all the books, you know, you're supposed to lay out a project plan and try to figure it out. I mean, that's a lot of the research that you need to do. And your plans are always going to change. They're always going to change from day to day, but you still need to do it and have those milestones. So I was working in this, you know, in this seminar, and mapped out a plan. I knew the fashion seasonality and how that worked because I worked in fashion for so many years. And I know that there's three deliveries, and you need to have your sample line and your collection ready at this point. So I just started marking down those things in the calendar and working back from it. So even now, this is my second year and preparing for my third year, and we have to have our collection ready in July. And there's a little bit of, like okay, you know, where are we and what do we have to accomplish by then. You know, clearly if we're going to sell our collection to retailers, we need a look book that needs to be done by July, July 15th. So we need a photo shoot at least a month before, if not before, and the samples need to be ready for that, basically about now. It's very difficult to anticipate what items are going to sell. And when you're dealing -- I mean, this is a very fashion issue, but I have like 700 skews because I've got 21 styles, and I do four sizes, and I've got over, you know, 12 colors. So how do I anticipate what's going to sell? And you know, I want to have a broad assortment on my website because I think that's really the most important channel for us, but it's not very deep. So if too many people buy the extra small in something, we're going to be out of stock for a little while. If you put your revenue projections at a reasonable level and you're looking for outside investment, they're looking for a hockey stick. So no matter how realistic your projections are and what they're based on, they're still looking for okay, we're going to go here and all of a sudden we're going to have this point. And it's going to be astronomical. To get the costs that are associated with that and to know when you are going to hit -- going to make a profit, you have to have a plan. You know, I'm going to add this headcount this year. I'm going to add three people next year, including a junior designer. I'm going to allocate 1/3 of the revenue that I get from e-commerce into the cost for e-commerce, just as a ballpark. You know, let's say 33 percent of that is going to be cost for my website, which also gives me a budget to develop my website, right? And there's a lot of assumption with that. And then every day you're going to learn something, and you're going to have to modify it a little bit.
When discussing how she pitches Mi Ola to investors, Helena says her goals and plans are based on a number of assumptions that might or might not be realistic. You might advise her to ____to deal with this unpredictable business environment.
A. Implement management by objectives B. decentralized planning C. Develop crisis plans
Helena Fogarty was involved in online business development in the early days of the Internet when she worked for other companies, and now online retail plays a significant role in how Mi Ola sells to its customers and receives their feedback. In fact, Helena says “it’s really the most important channel for us.”
In discussing inventory, Helena mentions that bikinis for sale on the website are not always in stock. Say customer feedback indicates that when a customer’s bikini won’t arrive within two weeks, that customer usually cancels their order. Furthermore, retail stores ordering restocks of items usually find another supplier if Mi Ola cannot ship within two weeks. What would be the best action for Helena to take first?
A. Decide that when online customers and retail stores order bikinis, they will never have to wait more than two weeks for the order to arrive.
B. Implement a website maintenance process that immediately pulls any bikinis that are not in stock so that customers cannot order them.
C. Establish a policy that when a customer cancels an order because the product is out of stock, that customer will receive a coupon for 5 percent off their next order.
D. Decide that the top three selling bikinis will always be in stock.
Mi Ola’s managers meet to develop the company’s strategy. One of the first things they do is a SWOT analysis. Which of the following would be an opportunity for Mi Ola? Check all that apply.
A. Mi Ola partners with an environmental organization to protect the coral reefs and other ocean life off Australia’s Gold Coast, a popular surfing destination.
B. Helena Fogarty pitches Mi Ola to an angel investor, who sees the company as a great opportunity and doubles its capitalization.
C. Mi Ola’s new line is featured in the magazines Seventeen, Elle, and Monthly Fashion.
D. Analysis of customer data allows Mi Ola to predict with great accuracy which colors and sizes will sell the most at which time of year and order accordingly.