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Melissa Cruz

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					Melissa Cruz
Professor Mockler
MGT 3346


                                      Elegant Touch


       Introduction

       For years my mother has been making beautiful curtains and pillows for friends

and family. She is a very talented woman and her customer base has grown in the last

year. Most of her customers recommend her services to other friends that might be

looking for curtains or pillows for new apartments or houses. She usually only charges

for materials and has never thought about launching a legitimate business.

       As her daughter I feel that my mother can profit significantly from her talent if

she started charging for labor. I want to launch a legitimate online curtains and pillows

business for her.

       The website will include a portfolio of her previous work. Customers will be able

to browse through the portfolio and pick a design or they can arrange a consultation and

create a custom design. The website will also showcase different materials and colors

customers can choose when deciding on what kinds of curtains to purchase.

       Mission

       Elegant Touch is dedicated to providing our customers with custom curtain and

pillow designs made out of quality materials at a fraction of designer prices. We are

dedicated to creating an intimate relationship with our customers by working closely with

them to satisfy their home decorating needs. Elegant Touch isn’t just the purchasing of

curtains to adorn your windows or pillows to provide the extra touch to home furnishings;
it is a home decorating personal experience with our consultants. Every order is filled to

match each customer’s needs.

Industry

       Elegant Touch is a sub-set of the housing industry. It is part of the home

furnishing and decorating sub-set. The home furnishing and decorating industry has

experienced a decline due to the increase in foreclosures and the decline of the housing

market. Consumers are not buying homes. This year has marked the highest recorded

home inventory in the housing market. If consumers are not buying houses then they are

not decorating them.

       Consumers are selling their houses in the current housing market. The difficult

housing market has pushed consumers to think of new and creative ways to make their

homes appealing to the few buyers out there. Research shows that home buyers tend to

purchase homes when they have a better idea of how the space can be used. Home stagers

are professional home decorators that strategically decorate homes in order to entice

buyers to purchase a home. A home stager’s main focus is maximizing space and giving

the buyer an idea of what the home can be if they purchase it.

       Home stagers are constantly buying home furnishings. Home Stagers will use

Elegant Touch to add character to homes. They can purchase any curtain or pillow from

Elegant Touch.

       The housing market is not the only industry this company can appeal to. In the

current economic crisis, more people are looking to rent. Renters can use Elegant Touch

to decorate their homes. Renters do not own their homes but can use Elegant Touch to

give the home a personalized touch.
Competitive Market Analysis

        My competitors are all the stores that sell window treatments and pillows in the

New York City Area. Some of my major competitors are:

   HomeGoods- HomeGoods is a major retailer of home furnishings and décor. They

    operate stores in the United States. The retailer has a website but customers can not

    buy good directly off the website. They have to purchase the items at the physical

    store.

   CountryCurtains.com is an online retailer for window treatments, bedding, pillows,

    fabrics, and home accents.

   Target offers window treatments and home accents online as well as in store.

   Macy’s is a major department store that sells everything from clothing to home

    furnishings. The department store sells window treatments and pillows online as well

    as in store.

Market Segment Analysis

        My target market is middle aged women with an interest in home decorating

living in the New York City and Westchester County Area. This company will serve

specifically; the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. In Westchester

County we will offer our services to the cities of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle,

Scarsdale, and Hartsdale.

        The company will also work closely with interior decorators to bring them

wonderful custom designs for their home decorating projects.

Product
Elegant Touch will have five main products: basic window treatments, customized

window treatments, basic pillows, customized pillows, and fabrics.

   Basic window treatments- Basic window treatments include valances and curtains.

    They are available for purchase online. They will be available in a variety of colors.

   Customized window treatments- A portfolio of customized designs will be available

    for customers to browse through on the website. A consultation is required for

    customized designs.

   Basic Pillows- Basic pillows will be designed to use as decorative items on couches,

    chairs, and beds. They will come in solid colors and a limited amount of patterns will

    be also available.

   Customized Pillows- A portfolio of customized designs will be available for

    customers. A consultation is required for customized pillows.

   Fabrics- Customers have the option of buying fabrics on our website. The fabrics

    customers buy are the fabrics we will use in our designs.

Pricing

   Customized Window Treatments- Cost of labor: $50.00 per single window plus the

    cost of materials. It takes five hours to make a customized window treatment for a

    single window. My mother is willing to accept $10.00 per hour as a starting wage.

    The customer is responsible for the cost of materials. The cost of materials is

    dependant on how much fabric is needed for the window treatments. Double windows

    will be priced at $80.00. My mother can work on both curtains simultaneously which

    makes the process less time consuming and can get both curtains done in 8 hours as

    opposed to 10 hours.
   Customized Pillows- It takes about two hours to cut, sew and stuff three pillows.

    Custom designs make take up to 4 hours. At $10.00 an hour the initial cost for

    customized pillows would be $20.00 for three pillows. Plus an additional $15.00 for

    the custom designs marks up the final price to $35.00 for ever three pillows. A single

    pillow will sell for $15.00.

   Basic Window Treatments and pillows- The price of basic window treatments and

    pillows will vary depending on the size of the windows and the amount of pillows

    needed.



Company Structure

       The company will be separated into separate tiers that will handle specific aspects

of the company.

   Management- I will act as the manager of the website. I will schedule consultations,

    deliveries, and fill all incoming orders. I will also maintain a monthly inventory of all

    our supplies. Supplies include all sewing supplies, basic curtains and pillows, and all

    administrative supplies.

   Product Management- My mother do the consultations needed for customized

    designs. She will sew all customized designs and mount any window treatments that

    require special mounting.



Operations

       Elegant Touch sells three products; custom curtains, basic curtains, and fabrics.

Custom curtains are designed by the customer and my mother and may require a special
mounting procedure. Basic curtains are all solid colored curtains that do not require any

special mounting procedure.

       The process I have designed to operate the business is very simple. When a

custom order request is received a consultation is scheduled. At the consultation the

customer and our designer (my mother) come to an agreement on design, texture, and

fabric color. At the end of the consultation my mother brings me all the details and I will

type up and send the customer a final order confirmation. The order confirmation will

included all the details of the design and the final price. It will also include a tentative

delivery date.

       Half of the payment is due when the customer receives the final order

confirmation. After the payment is received then my mother starts working on the

curtains.

       Constructing the curtain takes about five days. After the design is complete the

customer will be sent a notification email with a link to a website where they can submit

the final portion of the payment. If the design requires special mounting then an

appointment is set, after five days for delivery and mounting. If it doesn’t require special

mounting then the order is shipped as soon as the rest of the payment is received.

       Basic curtain orders do not have to be made. There will be a standing inventory of

solid colored curtains. When an order for a solid colored curtain is received we must

verify that we have the curtain in stock. This is to ensure that we ship the correct color to

the customer. Once the order is verified and paid for the curtain is packed and shipped to

the customer. Receiving payment often takes about two days.
        If we do not have the specific color ordered by a customer in stock, I will notify

the customer. Orders that are not immediately available will take an additional four days

to ship. The four days includes two days to obtain the correct color and two days for

receiving the payment.

       Customers may purchase the fabrics used for the customized curtains from

Elegant Touch. They also have the option of providing their own fabric. In that case we

will send the customer a postmarked box so that they can send us the fabric they would

like us to use for their custom curtains. There is an additional cost for purchasing the

fabric from Elegant Touch.

       Here are some scenarios describing our operations strategy:

Window Treatments

       Scenario 1:

       A person in the New York City area is browsing through our website. They

decide that they want custom curtains for their living room. The person fills out a

consultation request form. I receive the order form. Once I receive the order form I

schedule a consultation. Consultations will be done by my mother whom is responsible

for sewing the window treatments. She will meet with the potential customer either in our

house or at their house. The consultation will be used to take exact measurements of the

windows. The customer and my mother will also discuss color, size, and design options.

       Once the customer and my mother come to an agreement then I will type

everything up an e-mail the customer and official order form. The order form will include

the final price, color, fabric choice, design, size and date of delivery. Half of the payment

is due within one week after the final order form is received.
       Custom Curtains take on average three days to finish. Once the curtains are

finished I will contact the customer to set up a delivery and mounting time. Some designs

will have to be mounted in a special way. My mother will do the mounting of those

designs. Mounting takes approximately fifteen minutes.

       If the customized design does not require special mounting then the order will be

shipped via UPS immediately after it is completed.

       Scenario 2:

       A customer looks through the website and decides she wants a basic design. She

chooses the color and the style. After the customer chooses the color and the style I

receive an order form with all the information. I will check our standing inventory for the

curtain the customer chose. If we have the curtain available it will be packed up and

shipped within three days of receiving the order. If we do not have the curtain in stock, I

will notify the customer that delivery will take an additional three days.

Pillows

Scenario 1:

       A potential customer browses our customized pillow portfolio. She decides on a

design and fills out an order form. I receive the order form and schedule a consultation.

The consultation will be done either at our house or at the customer’s house.

       During the consultation my mother takes down color, fabric, size, and design

information. She comes back to me and I fill out an official order form with all the

finalized information and e-mail it back to the client. Once the order is finished the

pillows are packed up and shipped via UPS.

Scenario 2:
       A customer browses through the website and decides they want basic pillows. I

receive the order. If the pillows are pre-made then I pack them and ship them

immediately. If they are not pre- made I will forward the order to my mother and she will

make them. Once they are finished then I will pack them and ship them.

       All orders will be filled in the order that they are received. Each order will have

an estimated delivery time forwarded to the customer.

Payments

       Customers will pay via credit cards. All information will be securely submitted

online. I will set up a business account with Pay Pal through a program called Website

Payment Standard. Pay Pal facilitates the acceptance of payments on websites through

this program. Only Visa, Mastercard, and Pay Pal accounts will be accepted as forms of

payments.

       Pay pal charges a 2-3% transaction fee. The 2-3% is off the total cost of a

purchase. Signing up for a Pay Pal Website Payment Standard Business account is free.

The only cost associated with the account is the transaction fees.



Marketing Strategy

       In the beginning we will focus on filling orders made by referrals. Right now my

mother has a solid customer base that can provide referrals. We will tell her current

customer base to direct their referrals to our website and offer a discount to those who

have referrals.

       I will also focus on using websites such as Facebook and MySpace to advertise to

friends and family that can spread the word.
           I will spend a minimal amount of money advertising in school newspapers, local

newspapers and local magazines.

Financing

           The initial financing for this company will come solely from my mother and me.

We need a location, sewing machine, fabrics, measuring tapes and sticks, a computer, and

fabrics.

           Location- Initially the company will operate from our house basement. The

basement will be set up as a sewing studio. Since my mother owns the house there is no

money needed for renting.

           Sewing Machine- We currently have two sewing machines already set up in the

basement. A sewing Machine does not need to be purchased.

           Fabrics- We have a private vendor that provides us with fabrics at a discounted

price.

           Administrative Supplies- We will need a computer in order to receive purchase

orders. We currently have five computers in the house. We will take one and convert it

into a business only use computer. We will also need measuring tapes and sticks and

accessories that will adorn some of the curtains. Right now my mother owns most of

these products because she sews and keeps them in the house. We will buy the

accessories as orders come in.
Financial Projections

                    2006               2007                2008               2009

                                                                              (projected)

Sales               $10,000.00         $21,000.00          $15,000.00         $17,000.00

Expenses            $6,000.00          $10,000.00          $9,000.00          $8,000.00

Profit              $4,000.00          $11,000.00          $6,000.00          $9,000.00



         All the pillows, curtains, and fabric sales are included in the final sales revenue

figure. Expenses include labor and any additional material costs. Final profit is Sales

minus expenses. For the last few years the business has come off to a slow start because

my mother is not doing this full time. This is a part-time job aside from her full time job.

I hope that once the housing market starts climbing again we can launch this business

full-time and increase profits five-fold. While the housing market is slow its better the

keep the business as a part time venture.

         My financial projections do not include rent or equipment expenses. The business

is operated from the basement of the home my mother already owns therefore there isn’t

any rent to pay for a work space. The sewing machines my mother owned before starting

the business therefore there are no equipment expenses. Expenses are strictly cost of

labor and additional material cost incurred.

Expansion and Looking Ahead

         As demand grows we will consider hiring more people to sew and others to

receive and fill orders. We may even need a warehouse to eventually house already made

products.

				
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