Sénica to Pitch “Bring It To Wal-Mart” Showcase at Essence Music Festival

Our member, Sénica, in New Orleans, is being featured at the “Bring it to Wal-mart” showcase at Essence Music Festival this week! Benardett Jno Finn, Sénica's founder and CEO, tells me that it's a chance to share the Sénica story on a larger platform. If you are at Essence Music Festival on Sunday, July 6 at 10:45am, join Benardette at the Walmart stage at the Ernest Morial Convention Center in New Orleans as Benardette delivers her 7-minute pitch to get her products onto Wal-Mart shelves.

senica at essence music festival

I asked Benardett to tell me a little about this opportunity and what it means to her. I was particularly curious about the Wal-Mart connection and how that may fit into her future plans. I loved her insights so much that I wanted to share them with you. Please pay special attention to the fact that Benardett does not have a massive long-term plan to use this opportunity. Take note: you don't need to know exactly what will happen in order to take advantage of an opportunity. I love Benardett's attitude and hope you will embrace it.

Q1 WHY ARE YOU CHOOSING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE “BRING IT TO WAL-MART” SHOWCASE?

I love a challenge and I love sharing the Sénica's story. It's also free publicity and a great marketing opportunity. Imagine, I get to talk about Sénica's and how our products can help with dry skin and hair on a decked out stage on a highly produced event. How could I not embrace that opportunity?

The Essence Music Festival is on of the largest annual festivals in New Orleans, and you never know what opportunities may result. Participating in the Bring it to Wal-Mart event does not mean that Sénica products will be carried at Wal-Mart stores. Either way, it gives us a platform at the Essence Music Festival, and Indies generally do not have chances like this.

I have to say also, that it wasn't my choice initially. I was pushed to do it. My business counselor sent me the application at the last minute and called me at least 50 times to remind me to fill it out. I only did it because she's like a mom to me. However, once Wal-Mart called with followup questions, I knew I was a strong candidate, and it would be in the my best interests to move forward. Needless to say, I've been working nonstop to ensure that I put forth a stellar presentation.

Sénica's success is also IBN's success because it shows that indie brands can compete with excellence.

Q2 WHAT WILL THIS ULTIMATELY MEAN FOR YOUR BRAND?

At the moment I am not sure. I'll have to see how everything pans out. Right now, it's an opportunity for possible new press and new business The winners get a chance to meet with Wal-Mart buyers.

We've been asked to wow the audience and judges, but there were no guidelines so I've put together all of my concepts from scratch. It's been challenging because I am doing all of the video production. I outlined the marketing and branding concepts and sent to my designer, and we went back and forth until everything was perfect. I also worked with a music producer to create custom music for our media pieces, which was fun. There's still much to be done, but I have a list and stick figure drawings that will rival any toddler. It's a lot of work.

In some sense it appears that I am doing way too much, but that's always been me. I also “crisis-build,” which can be crippling when combined with a person who works like I do. This competition has brought both of those traits in me to the fore. For example, I've had a vision for a Sénica campaign for years, before hash tags were popular in social media, and now I get to execute one, and learn and grow at the same time.

Q3 WHAT OTHER COMPANIES ARE PARTICIPATING?

To my knowledge, four businesses will be featured. Sénica is the only product of its kind. The others are food-based — from what I am being told.

Q4 TELL US ABOUT THE HASH TAG?

The hash tag is #IAMSenica.

Because so much is unclear, I've pulled out all the stops. I've created branded content through video and print marketing pieces, keeping in mind the judges and audience who are possible clients. Our goal is two fold: blow the competition out of the water and be so clear with our message that our target clients fall in love with us and want to connect with Senica.

I'm hoping this helps to snowball our #IAmSenica campaign, endear our existing clients to the brand and bring in new ones to the Sénica family. At the end of the day, it's larger than my seven-minute pitch. I am thinking long-term.

In this video, enjoy Benardett's thoughts on entrepreneurship and the importance of being genuine and authentic in your business. It's the ish!

Q5 WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST-SELLING PRODUCTS?

The Lavender Mist and Sweetness shea moisturizers and Senk Shampoo bar and conditioner set are our top sellers. You can find them here and here.


Best and success,

sig4

Question

I love how Benardett is jumping in head first, not knowing exactly what the future of this opportunity holds. That's how it's done. Don't expect everything to be planned out in detail before you start making your move. Know who you are and what you want to accomplish, and then pursue those opportunities that align with those things. They will lead you to amazing places. What do you think? Is this how you lead your business?


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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.