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Friday, 08 April 2011 13:41

Women Without Borders: one mom’s adventure and the Snappy Story Behind it

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By Elizabeth Huber


For Prairie Post
It takes a special person to teach industrial arts to a group of high school students, start up a professional photography business without even owning a camera, and to walk onto the stage of a national television show with only a prototype of the product you are trying sell.


“I am always up for the challenge,” said Corla Rokochy, owner of Lasting Impressions Photography and Snappy Socks. She is a mother of five who describes herself as being a human hotel and restaurant for 105 months of her life. “If you ask me if I can do it I say, ‘sure I can’ and then I try to figure out how to do it afterwards,” she chuckled.
After visiting the CBC venture capitalist reality program Dragons' Den approximately one year ago to negotiate a deal for Snappy Socks she jumped into another challenge. Except this one would either be a fun adventure for the family or the opportunity that could change their lives.


 When she auditioned for the show in February 2010 Snappy Socks didn’t even exist. The prototype she had taken were “Idiot Socks,” also known as socks on a string. Standing in front of the Dragon’s last spring, the episode revealing her deal aired on February 2, 2011, they wanted to know whether or not she had any sales. At that point the answer was no.
By time she walked off the stage on with a verbal agreement, the Dragon’s commented behind her “there is somebody who got money just because of who she was.”


Next came the questions, how to I market and promote my product? How do I source from China? How do I effectively use social media? How do I package the socks? And the list goes on. All are questions that plague many entrepreneurs.
“We are only a few months into production now and we are already nationwide,” said Rokochy. “And then you start thinking about going into the United States and possibly international and being picked up by bigger retailers.
“I think that is where the networking is going to come in,” she added. Rokochy will be one of panellists at the Women Without Borders Networking Conference.


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Since the show Rokochy has built connections and friendships with another of other Dragon’s Den contestants. There is a sense of “familiarity” and the “common experience” between them.


Not long ago another contestant had a facebook contest to develop their new tagline. Rokochy sent a suggestion in to Moxie Trade which sells women’s work wear and has recently had their brand picked up by the Mark’s Work Wearhouse retail chain. She won.


“At the time she didn’t even realize that I had been on Dragons’ Den. Now we are really connecting,” she said.
Rokochy also knows that the market for her snappy socks is going to be moms.
“This is the kind of thing that I really want to take all over the place,” she said. “Instead of trying to go across the world to trade shows you take it through social media and through networking.” One of the way’s the product will be launched is through social media outlets such as mom-blogs, facebook and twitter.
“It is a whole new world out there,” she said. “You can have a business in a smaller centre and have it be an international business.”
Rokochy has been blogging for the past 2.5 years as a creative outlet, now it as tool to connect to future customers. 
After Dragons’ Den a number of mom bloggers e-mailed her to ask if they could review the product. She decided to throw a question back at one and ask, “How will I decide who will review them.”  There are more than 200 bloggers who have applied to review the socks once the shipment arrives from overseas.
Rokochy is visiting the sites. After choosing to follow their sites and accounts she asks they do the same and follow her blog and sites as well.
“Up until now I really only had friends and family and clients following my blog ... but this will be a way to get people that don’t necessarily know me personally to be following what is going on in the company,” she said.
“I think nowadays if you want to have a business you need to be approachable and people want to know what the story is behind your business,” she finished. “That is what is going to sell more products to moms.”
“It is not just a big company that makes these socks, it’s a mom and this is the story behind it.”


(This is the second of a four-part series in advance of the Women Without Border networking conference which goes May 25. For more information see www.southwestsask.ca)

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