Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Argentina´s Best Kept Secret?

I have long felt like my company was one of those best kept secrets out there.

The people that I would go and pitch my product to didn´t know who I was, they never saw my product, they weren´t sure if they could sell it.

The people I would sell to during the holiday fairs had never heard of us, and would not know where to buy our cookies.

The magazine people would often offer us publicity in exchange for cookies. That´s right, I now have an alternative currency.

The TV people would offer me interviews in exchange for money. Yep, I could buy airtime. I tried to tell them that since no one knew who we were, we really could not afford buying air time by the minute.

All of that has slowly, but steadily changed.

I now have little time to go out and look for clients, they are calling me.

I am so busy that I can no longer participate in fairs or expos.

Magazines and Newspapers are calling us for interviews and a couple of TV shows have jumped on the bandwagon as well, and they are not charging me anymore.

I had my first foreign based interview. John Bell from Digital Influence Mapping Project was in town and he was wondering if it was "easier for small businesses to "get" social media?". Here is an article in Apertura (in Spanish) that weighs in with more evidence to the affirmative to his question.

However, I have not had any luck with any of the foreign media that have been lurking along the cobblestone streets of my Palermo Viejo.

This past Sunday an article was published in Clarin, Argentina´s largest newspaper. The article itself will take a while to go on-line. I was also asked three questions by Apertura. This last one will be in print only.

I also have an interview on the radio scheduled for this Saturday morning. The station is called Radio America. The show is called "El Emprendedor Urbano" / "The Urban Entrepreneur", and it will air from 11am to 12pm. No, I am sure my segment will not be an hour long, more like 5 or 10 minutes most likely. They tell me that this is a brand new show so it doesn´t show up on their line-up yet.

Meanwhile, our humble little store chugs merrily along. It´s very quite and does not see a lot of action. However, every month it manages to sell a little more. This is how I am gauging that we are still a secret in Buenos Aires. In fact, the editor of Time Out Buenos Aires did not even know about us. She has not set foot in our little store... yet. If there is anyone out there that should know about us it should be them.

Now that they do know about us and they are visiting us, together with Clarin´s article, I am beginning to feel nostalgic for that time when we were still underneath the radar. At least, for the foreign media we still are Argentina´s best kept secret.


Marc said...

Congrats on the increasing exposure! Didn't you know Frank that those who read the foreign media about Argentina are only interested in boutique hotels, Scandinavian dining, and one night club?

I was talking with my wife the other day about how cool it is to see so many small businesses popping up with all kinds of gourmet products (teas, pickled items, sauces, seasonings, cookies, beers, etc.) Granted most are not cheap but they are definitely gathering interest.

I just wish some would be a little more creative with branding. Enough with the Patagonia already!! Come on people. I'm waiting for Patagonia Cookies to hit the shelves. Are there not 3 beers now called Patagonia?

SFO said...

So Frank, what is the cookie/peso exchange rate? I was thinking there may be an arbitrage opportunity - buy your cookies now, and resell them in a few weeks at a handsome profit!

I'm still waiting for you to implement my dinosaur-shaped cookies idea - I'm sure Susana Giménez would have you on her show.

I presume that you're going to have to increase your prices again, given that both labor and ingredient costs have increased dramatically in the last quarter. I've done a cost comparison of many of the staples that I buy at Jumbo, and found that there has been a 10-30% increase across the board in the last few months.


Unknown said...

Hi Marc,

Yeah, and one of those Patagonia beers is from a big company if I am not mistaken. Well, the surveys say most Americans don´t know squat about Argentina, but that word Patagonia sure rings a bell.

Hi John,

That is the unfortunate by product of this current administrations handling of affairs. Not only that, but the current crisis is not helping to keep the food prices down, just the opposite.

I am currently chasing down clients to have that price adjustment conversation. I have gotten to all of them except for one or two.

I guess they haven´t heard that inflation is supposed to be 26% for the year, or is that for Venezuela? You know you are in trouble when you start to be similar to Venezuela (I got that last little saying from Ian at Goodairs).

Holly said...

I just saw your product in a new wine store/cheese and other tasty goodies in my barrio, on either Echeverría or Juramento, esq. Fdez. Blanco.

I hope they put you in Time Out! I used to buy them regularly, but sadly after the third issue, they seem really stale, and repetative unlike your cookies.

Unknown said...

Hello Miss Tango,

Thanks for the kind words. I am a big fan of theirs and hope they do a better job in your eyes in the future.

She is also bringing along The Lonely Planet to the meeting.

They have professed their love of gourmet cookies so I am hopeful that the meeting will go very well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank! I moved to Alto Palermo two months back. My roving eye has not found chocolate chips in local bakeries.

Next week I'm going to drop by your shop and purchase your product so I can report on my site.

Good to hear about the increasing exposure.


Unknown said...

Hi Mandy,

More and more people are making them now. However, they are still a rarity.

When you stop by ask the girl at the counter if I am around.

Anonymous said...


If it helps, we first found out about your cookies when shopping online at leshop they gave us some chocolate cookies for free with the purchase.
Now I get them at al queso, queso.

Unknown said...

Hi Kari,

Thanks for the info! It is always great to find out how people are finding us.

If you are ever by the store, print this out and bring it with you (along with some I.D.) and I will give you a pack of our brownies.

Anonymous said...

How is it that I have not been to your store yet :-( Must venture out of Balvanera and eat some cantuccini. I'm too impatient to make them myself, and I sure miss them. Especially my grandmother's!

Unknown said...

Tina, how is it that I have not read your blog?

Please do come by and tell me how they compare. Ask for me when you come by.

By the way, congratulations on that new ass!

For those of you reading, you can visit her blog to get an insight into this conversation.