Ahavah Cook, a caring mother and ambitious entrepreneur, turned a challenging situation into a trailblazing path to helping families succeed in supporting their child’s hearing loss journey. Ahavah created Ear Suspenders back in 2015 when her 9-week old son received his first pair of hearing aids.
For babies and children with hearing aids, one of the main challenges is keeping the device on or at best, keeping them from getting lost or damaged. Ahavah, searched the internet for products that could help this widespread problem. When she could not find a solution, she decided to make one herself. Ahavah designed Ear Suspenders to connect hearing aids to clothing in a comfortable, yet safe way, preventing them from falling off or getting lost. When her son turned one, he transitioned into using Cochlear Implants and once again, she found it challenging to find a product that could help keep the implants from falling out. Ahavah decided to expand her product line to accommodate for implants and hearing aid devices, which drove her current innovation, Ear Suspender Headbands. The silicone grip elastic with the adjustable sizing was the solution Ahavah always hoped for, for her son. She has now made it a personal mission to continue to create products that work with all types of hearing loss devices to support families in the hearing loss community.
Throughout her entrepreneurial journey Ahavah faced many challenges, but print wasn’t one of them. “Last year I did my first three-day Audiology Expo, and ran out of brochures after the first day. I knew that there are FedEx Office stores in just about every major city, and sure enough, there was one nearby! So I stopped in and had more brochures made in a jiffy!” said Ahavah.
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We asked Ahavah what she would like to share most with other aspiring entrepreneurs and she said, “One of the biggest misconceptions about owning a business is the idea that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ Any business, whether it’s e-commerce or brick and mortar, takes a lot of marketing and creativity to lure potential customers.” Ahavah uses her local FedEx Office store to ensure that she can provide quality marketing materials to her customers and potential customers. “I use FedEx Office for all my printing needs. My brochures, business cards, expo displays and for when I’m traveling and run out of marketing materials. FedEx Office is always available when I need them.” For all businesses, print is important, but for Ear Suspenders, print is vital. “Having printed materials is the best way to relay information in the hearing impaired community,” says Ahavah.
Ahavah held true to these five best practices for creating an effective business strategy and to better market her small business:
- Don’t follow trends – set yourself apart. Trending markets are often short-term with high competition.
- Your time is valuable – don’t lowball your prices. Your prices should account for all the time it takes to make, market, sell and package your product.
- Reward your best customers/fans – Your biggest fans can do a better job at marketing your product than a paid advertisement could ever do. Build your fan base by rewarding them to go above and beyond the typical praising of your product/business. Offer discounts or even free products to customers who have helped you drive sales.
- Branding is important – It’s what sets you apart from your competitors. Branding can be a logo, specific colors, a font or a cohesive theme. Utilize graphic design websites that are easy to use and create high-quality results.
- Take good photos for your online business – You don’t need to buy a high-end camera or pay a photographer to take your photos. Most quality smartphones can do the job. Indoor lighting and the background is often a culprit to a poor quality picture. Try taking your photos in a dark room with a couple LED lamps and a solid color fabric (ideally bright white or black).
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