Innovative Woman Christina Daves

Innovative Woman, Entrepreneur, CastMedic Designs, PR For AnyoneMeet Innovative Woman and Founder of CastMedic Designs and PR For Anyone, Christina Daves.

1. How/why did you begin your business?
CastMedic Designs was created after a freak accident while on vacation left me with a broken foot. The doctor put me in an awful medical boot the day before I was going to New York City, Fashion Capital of the World. I couldn’t possibly go to New York looking like this. I searched desperately for anything to make the big, ugly, black boot fashionable. With nothing on the market, I returned from my trip, started doing market research, and found there are close to 4 million people in the U.S. prescribed medical boots annually. I held focus groups and found there was a huge demand for this type of product so went forward with manufacturing.

With no resources available for marketing or advertising after I launched, I had to find a way to let people know this product existed. I taught myself everything I could about gaining free publicity. I read books, listened to webinars, attended seminars, and read white papers on how to get free publicity. I became as knowledgeable as I could on the subject and as a result, ended up appearing in over 50 media outlets in less than a year and over 200 in less than two years including the Steve Harvey Show (3x), Dr. Oz, local affiliates of NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, and the CW, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, Huffington Post, and more.

My phone started ringing off the hook from other entrepreneurs asking for my advice on how I was getting so much exposure. Seeing the demand, I created PR for Anyone® to be a resource for other business owners to learn how to do this easily and effectively. I also wrote a best selling book on the topic, PR for Anyone® 100+ Affordable Tips to Easily Create Buzz for Your Business.
2. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Without a doubt, the manufacturing process has been, by far, my biggest challenge to date. I tried for almost five months to find a U.S. factory to manufacture the product. No one was interested. I even sent thousands of dollars worth of samples to factories and then, never heard back.

Keep in mind, this is not a complicated product. This is a basic cut and sew job for the faux fur cuffs and sock products. For the floral Strap-It’s they already come with a pin-back and clip and just needed a piece of Velcro attached to the clip.

Not having any luck on my own, I hired a “retail expert” to help me through this process and then getting the product to market. After four months, his manufacturer told me they could not find any faux fur in China. I knew this wasn’t true because at that time everything had faux fur on it – gloves, purses, shoes, hats, even oven mitts. Fur was everywhere. Unfortunately, I was locked in a contract and although my consultant did nothing, I was still paying him and in the meantime trying to figure out how to do this on my own.

I went to New York to a textiles show and literally walked booth to booth with my samples asking, “Can you make this? Can you make this?” Eventually, I ran across two gentleman from Philadelphia who are manufacturer’s reps. Serendipitously, they started out in the medical distribution field 20+ years ago and were now handling manufacturing of textiles such as socks and coats for large U.S. brands.

The following week I was in their offices in Philadelphia, choosing faux fur and other fabrics for samples. That got the ball rolling and six months later, CastMedic Designs had products ready for sale.
3. How do you define SUCCESS?
Success for me is knowing that I have helped others. There is nothing more fulfilling than receiving an email from a customer who has had a more pleasurable recovery by wearing CastMedic Designs or a client from PR for Anyone® who has gotten free media exposure from something they learned from me.
4. If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Ha! Let’s see… That there would be more hours in the day? That things would always take longer than you expect or cost more than you budgeted for? I think all entrepreneurs go through that.

I would have to say the one big thing I wish I knew was how to hire the right consultant to help me navigate through what I didn’t know. There are so many “experts” out there and finding the right one is difficult.

Networking and joining entrepreneurial groups is a great way to get good referrals. I am a firm believer in investing in advancing your business but it’s important to make sure you find the right person for the job.

I wish I had known that and the people I know now two years ago. It would have saved me a ton of time and money.
5. What makes you an innovative woman?
I consider myself an innovative woman in both of my businesses.

With CastMedic Designs I created a product category that never existed before. That concept was validated when I was selected by a panel of judges on the Steve Harvey Show winning his top inventor competition and a $20,000 prize to further the product line. It means so much to me to know that this product can help people have a more pleasurable recovery.
With PR for Anyone®, I am an innovator because I am not a publicist but I have had tremendous success with PR. I’m a small business owner who figured out a formula for PR success. I don’t think there is anyone like me in the marketplace, being a small business owner and also providing the service that I do showing small business owners how to do this for themselves. This is so important because PR it’s a vital piece of the marketing puzzle but most small business owners cannot afford a publicist.
Both businesses provide innovative products and/or concepts and being the entrepreneur who brought them to life makes me an innovative woman.

For more information about Christina visit www.castmedicdesigns.com and www. prforanyone.com.

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