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Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by PlantscapeSolutions, Jan 20, 2013.
Wow!! Thoughts out to Stacy and her family. I meet them once in Omaha at a convention.
You would think Scott would have sent an email thanking Mike for years of dedicated service or something. Things must have really not gone well with Mike departing. He was really the glue that helped hold the place together over the years so I'm really surprised not a single word has been said thus far.
I'm sure the average lifespan of an HD member has been awful compared to places like Decor that stick to the traditional lighting. I can't imagine Brite Ideas is much better. They also pretty much let you buy without a membership now as well and have no stellar greenery line.
I think the whole wire frame/LL type stuff is just not sustainable and the high end market really has no use for that stuff here in Texas. I just have a few wire frame/LL clients and pass on selling any more stuff if people inquire about it. The fact that one bad bulb now kills a large section of a display and requires a Magic Box to find the bulb is just crazy. I frickin dread taking stuff out of the boxes to inspect it every year.
Some of the guys who did get big into the LED wire frame stuff were really struggling last year to keep everything lit and customers from getting pissed. As the non-Always Lit Technology stuff ages it's bad reliability is only going to get worse. It's going to get to the point where your customs will not be willing to pay to put the stuff up anymore. Your going to end up having to shell out some money to entice people to switch to C9 stuff.
I have no intention of selling any BI or HD wire frame stuff but it would be interesting to hear from any BI guys how things have gone over there the last few years. BI has contacted me several times trying to get me to buy from them so I'm sure they have also struggled to build up and maintain their member numbers.
For anyone checking out the holiday lighting forum and pondering getting into the biz I would tell you to follow the C9/greenery plan and avoid the temptation to deviate.
I switched from HD to Bite Ideas two seasons ago and have been very happy with everything. I replace a few bulbs in their wire frame products here and there (about the same replacement rate as C9's), but no major issues like with HD. When a bulb goes out the rest of the strand stays on.
BI added mixed noble garland and wreaths this year and is said to be the same as HD. My pre-order should be shipped next week. I can let you know how the MN looks once received.
I think the way they ditched the "Always Lit Technology" was all about making more short term money at the expenses of the end user. From the feedback Mike had given me the "Always Lit Technology" may very well have doubled the cost of the unsealed light strands for metal frame use.
You know those unsealed LED strands probably cost all of $2 to $3. They probably saved $1.50 per set which let them pocket $25,000 which covered some of the costs of the LL light strands that they paid for. The fact that Brite Ideas, Home Depot, Walmart, and every other Tom, Dick, and Harry sells some sort of Always Lit Technology tells you HD is the lone wolf doing something awry that is going to blow up in their face.
I will have pictures of new greenery available from Vickerman next year (hopefully) that targets HD's line as well as pictures of Christmas Designers new line next week hopefully. CDI is also getting into the big wreaths now with much more heavy duty frames from what Trish was saying. Jason with CDI is here in Texas only a few hours from me and is sending me some stuff on Monday. Can't wait to see it.
Here are some samples of Christmas Designers new greenery starting from the top. They still do the three year warranty on the lights that most companies dropped if they ever did it to begin with.
1. New garland with mixed foliage and pine cones.
2. New mixed foliage wreath with pine cones to match.
3. This shows their 9" plain garland next to the new 18" garland. Even the 9" has more density this year and the 18" super thick.
4. Left- wreath to match 9". This also had more density the older material. Right- wreath to match 18". This has really good density
5. Regular wreath to match 9" garland.
6. Wreath to match 18" garland
I'm still waiting on the new Vickerman sample
I was just looking at my packing list on my sample set and on #4 I have a goof up. It's the same wreath they ended up sending me two. One was just squished to the point where it didn't even look like the same wreath. Opps.
Any of you guys getting ready to do filtered direct mail should be able to get 25% off if you call InfoUSA 866-372-2550 and ask for Patience Williams. Just tell her David with Plantscape Solutions referred you. InfoUSA is one of the biggest direct mail companies and really can filter your results the way you want them to be. Don't ever use the default mailing list any post card place offers for cheap or nothing. Those list's will really waste your money. I learned this years ago when I had the post card place I was using send me the list so I could take some random address samples.
My target market is homes in the multi-million range working down to $800K. I only target people who have been in their house 15 years or less which happens to be about 93% of the homes. In my target market 34% of the homes are either new or they have changed hands in the last year which is great. That's about 1700 new people in my target market which covers 5,000 homes. Do any of you other guys target your customers? I could never do the USPS every house deal that works in some markets.
Cactusmailing.com is the place I use for my card printing. They are in AZ and I'm in Texas but you don't have to deal with local people. Most of the time you will pay a premium to use some local place that is not mega high volume. They have bad azz printing resolution and user a higher grade of card stock by default then other place do. They beat the pants off the unnamed advertiser on this site. Call them and ask for Joe!
Here are some 9' x 16" samples from Vickerman of the Cheyenne Pine and Camdon Fir. I used the 14" last year but am considering using the 16" this year. For some reason the Camdon version has more lights then the Cheyenne on the 16" version but on the 14" version the bulb count is the same.
I just put up my first home of the year last week. Last year it was a 911 install and I didn't have time to come up with a way to put lights on his peaks that I liked. The peaks had a stone cap on them and I didn't want to glue down 40 clips every year.
This year I painted some metal flashing and attached it and it worked great. Next year the new peaks will be super fast to install and remove.
Why could you not do the EDDM and hit all homes in a route? I think your missing out when your only hitting homes over $800,000. My first year I tried to hit a target audience, it didnt work for me at all.