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Q&A With Alyson Dutch, The Founder Of Consumer Product Events

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Below is our recent interview with Alyson Dutch, the Founder at Consumer Product Events:

Alyson Dutch

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Consumer Product Events?

A: Consumer Product Events is a do-it-yourself PR service where we provide unparalleled direct access to our little black book of reporters and influencer contacts. We curate interesting products for our events and are careful to include only things that we think will delight our journalist friends. Seasoned publicists for 25 years who specialize in product launch, we are matchmakers for products and press. Coming to an event saves you 90% of what you’d spend on a PR agency to do it for you. Our sister company is Brown + Dutch PR, Inc. which since 1996 has been a consumer-packaged goods launch pad for everything from ThinkThin nutrition bars to Champagne Mumm, basketball shoes that prevent ankle sprains and concept products in all categories.

To gain access to a Consumer Product Event, companies must submit their products to us for consider, and then we teach them how to talk to the press, if they don’t have experience. We’ve hosted many innovative products that range from Tesla’s first car, Oprah’s tea line for Starbucks and when M ‘n M’s created a line of customizable candy. We often have completely new concepts from brand new entrepreneurs from all over the world. For example, at our last event, we had the first line of Barbie clothes for real women, an American line of skincare called CIREM that rivals the most expensive European brands like Le Mer. I was particularly enamored with Nutrient Body Sculpt, a spa-based approach to delivering nutraceuticals through body wraps for people – and pets! Often, we have super new cool technologies such as Cheetos made healthy with peas or LogicInk, a day tattoo that lets you know when you’ve had too much sun. Categories we chose run the gamut in every vertical, they just need to be something that a consumer can buy (as opposed to a business to business product).

Our events are held mostly in New York City and one, usually, a year in Los Angeles where we make in person introductions and product companies can pitch their products to more than 50 reporters in a day. We give them a list of 150+ afterwards to turn into valuable relationships that report about these products throughout the lifetime of their business. Our 2019 events include “All Products” on April 24th in Los Angeles and “Holiday Gift Guides” on July 25th in New York City.

Clients who flock to our doorstep are either in house marketing people, publicists who represent products or the entrepreneurs themselves.

We also provide access to our reporter relationships through a service called Influencer Desk Deliveries. These are very special deliveries of curated products to Top 20 lists, like Holiday Gift Guides, or to partners like the Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants.

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For business to business companies, we do special sponsorships for companies who want access to our product companies, where they get crazy ROI

Aside from introducing product companies to the press, we also pepper in some of our friends in related businesses, like venture capitalists, buyers from Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Clubs. We were a rep for the Home Shopping Network and now are a product feeding tube for CNN Underscored, a shopping site that includes real product reviews with buy links for companies with affiliate programs.

Q: Alyson, tell us more about your background. What were you doing before Consumer Product Events?

A: Consumer Product Events celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019!

I’ve been a publicist since I was a puppy. I only had three other jobs and that was waitressing when I was super young and working as a video editor for a minute when I was just out of school. As a kid, my Dad enrolled me (and all my school friends!), to do packaging for his company. He made drug testing kits for police departments all over the world and anti-fogging cloths and CO2 kits for the US Army. My Dad was an entrepreneur; a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who had a very successful second life in America. To this day, I still use all those skills; how to prioritize getting food to hungry patrons and the technology of TV. From my Dad’s company, I learned how to make rote processes faster and more efficient.

I started working in entertainment at the big agencies like Rogers & Cowan and Baker Winokur Ryder. In house I did the PR for the Miss Universe / USA and Teen USA Pageants, traveling all over the world. What a blast that was! I am writing a book about it now called “The Pageant Diaries: Confessions of a Beauty Pageant Publicist,” and it’s not what you’d expect. I was the American publicist representing Sun City, South Africa during the fall of apartheid, working with the Mandela family. I’ve done a lot in the music biz, as publicist for The Beach Boys and The Lion King music, did all the red carpet events for the big LA charities with everyone from Elton John to Elizabeth Taylor and even for a short time at Paramount. In 1996, I left the entertainment industry and started Brown + Dutch PR, Inc. a full-service product launch pad. In 2009, I started CPE as a do-it-yourself short form of the agency.

Q: As a successful entrepreneur what are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt so far?

A: What haven’t I learned? It was an evolution and some of the lessons were hard – and expensive. I wished I’d had an MBA before doing this. I interviewed for the Executive MBA programs at USC and UCLA, but by that time, they told me I wouldn’t learn anything new.

• My mantras are simple:
• I am in charge of my own success or failure.
• Pain is resistance to change.
• Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
• Make systems that live without you.
• Hire people who do things you can’t.
• Willpower must lead. There will be times of defeat, times of elation – and you must keep going, no matter what happens.
• And, if you’re not having fun, fire that client or walk away from that experience.

Q: What are the benefits of attending your events?

A: No publicist EVER gives away their contacts. You could be paying an agency $10K a month, and you never get that. Publicists are known for their relationships. Pitching the press is an art and no easy task, so what we do is often cherished and mystical. Consumer Product Events is wildly refreshing because we give our clients direct access, both in person and the reporter’s info, so they can create their own relationships.

Also, we include our clients in a press release that goes out over PRNewsWire, which would normally cost $820 for 400 words! And, we have a photographer who shoots white box photos of their product – which the press need. So, that would be super expensive as well.

All in all, it’s about the access.

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Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: We have amassed a database of about 30K product companies. That data is something of great value to any retailer or e-tailer. So, the direction we’re going is to provide other kinds of services to those product companies. All product companies need distribution; to sell their product, so partnerships with new hybrids of the press and retailing, like CNN Underscored, is one direction.

Another direction is to provide these services to trade show companies. Every industry has their show and those exhibitors are hungry, not only, to get access to the buyers who come to those shows, but to the press to report about them. So, we’re talking to the largest trade show producers about our matchmaking events as upsells inside their conversation center floors.

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