This case deals with the dilemma faced by Erica Mills who is the founder and CEO of Warm Fuzz Cards. She is the sole decision maker of the organization and currently is facing a problem with regards to deciding her business growth strategy. Erica is married to Craig and they decided to start a family within one year. She is therefore unsure whether to grow the business quickly or at a slower rate and therefore has to decide at this point which strategy to implement.
Warm Fuzz Cards sole owner is Erica Mills who founded the organization with simply a laptop and a gifted card printer from a relative. Mills has always had a strong passion for art which she pursued at an early age and developed sales/management expertise during her work in the medical field. Craig while having a job as a human resource executive at a large firm also assisted Erica with assembly and in quality control. Currently, all the management functions are performed by Erica Mills which include accounting, finance, marketing and sales departments. The firm’s organization structure is fairly straightforward with Erica being the sole owner/manager and Craig as quality control and assembly worker. The philosophy for Warm Fuzz Cards came from Erica’s desire of having cards not only for occasions but just to spread warmth and fuzziness. While Erica enjoys more control and considered a slow growth prospect, Craig on the other hand was a proponent of faster growth. This is perhaps the only conflict of objective existent within the firm as Craig obviously as a husband would play a major role in advisory.
Warm Fuzz Cards current marketing and sales strategy is focused on building more relationships with retailers, exploring new opportunities in card industry and developing custom cards. Mills has a base of 150 retail customers across Canada. Most of her customers are small store owners and thus Mills maintains a strong personal relationship. Unlike most Mass card manufacturers, Mills also made card modifications and loved the feedback from customers to help her generate better ideas. Apart from this, Mills also identified an opportunity in custom card products such as wedding invitations and business cards. Mills used the internet as her promotional strategy by developing a website and using social media tools to promote her ideas, designs and products. The Corporate market was another customer that Mills identified as companies looked for custom cards for holidays, events etc. Most of the marketing for corporate clients was carried out through word of mouth. The design strategy and expertise of Mills is what separated her from the competition. There was a unique modern style to Erica’s products and the focus on high quality and customer satisfaction set it apart from the rest. The production strategy for Mills focused on the type of customer and was extremely customer specific. Retail customers made really small orders and Erica used a “just-in-time” model which enabled her to meet unique wants at low risk. She invested in a high quality printer to make small batches but this significantly increased her material costs as it would be cheaper to mass print. The rest of the stationery supplies were purchased from a local store for the lowest price available. Embellishments were bought from a local craft store. For custom card products, Mills currently had developed two production strategies. For orders under 200 units, Mills produced them in her office while larger orders were outsourced to a print house. Cost of this varied depending on the handwork, embellishment and size of order. So far the results for Erica are positive with monthly sales averaging $3,500 in 2008.
Warm Fuzz Cards does not have a particular mission statement that defines its objectives. It is based on a philosophy to make people smile and gifting people cards for almost any or no occasion whatsoever. The pure purpose was to spread warmth and fuzziness. Mills clearly had a strong...
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