The dream of many small business owners is to take their product and go national with it. Holly Xerri, creator of the accessory CamiBands, found a way to make her dream come true. CamiBands have been featured on "The Dr. Oz Show," the "Today" show, and many more media appearances, and Xerri was able to make it happen by doing her own PR and pushing her product herself.
Xerri was inspired to create CamiBands when she purchased a pair of leggings with an extra piece of fabric at the waistband, which provided extra coverage below the waist.
"Then I thought, wouldn't it be better to just have a nice fabric band that you could easily slip around your waist, hips, bust, wherever you need some extra coverage?" said Xerri. "That's when the idea of creating a multi-use layering accessory first entered my mind." Unfortunately for Xerri, her idea came in 2008 and in the middle of the recession. People weren't spending as much money as usual, especially on clothing and accessories.
Undeterred, Xerri took the company's public relations efforts into her own hands and went online to promote CamiBands. Using the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) service, Xerri found a query from NBC looking for someone in need of a makeover. Xerri used the opportunity to send some bad pictures of herself and told NBC that as a fashion accessory designer, she needed a new look for fashion industry parties. By putting herself on the makeover show, Xerri was able to promote her CamiBands while also getting a free makeover.
The big moment came when Xerri decided to attend a one-day event in New York City, where innovators and inventors could show their products to the media. Hosted by Jill Martin, exposure at the event led to CamiBands being featured on NBC's "Today" show. Xerri then connected with a few reporters on Facebook. At the same time, CamiBands went viral on Pinterest, and Xerri has since been featured on nine TV segments, including the "CBS Morning News."
"The response was over the top and extremely overwhelming," said Xerri. "It put our registered trademark name on the map. [Seeing CamiBands on national TV] is more rewarding than the actual sales they produce. I can't describe the feeling."
The business has also helped bring Xerri and her family closer together. Xerri's daughters model the CamiBands, her husband handles the company's website, and one of her daughters does all video editing for highlight reels and promotional videos on the site.
For other entrepreneurs with an idea and a dream, Xerri has some advice.
"You have to think outside the box," she said. "Think about how you can connect your product to fit a particular segment." Xerri advises that all small business owners work on developing a natural sales ability, and to find a bit of a "type A" personality within themselves. "If you are determined enough to do something, you can make it happen."