Tag Archives: Pelican Park High School

Pitches, sales, dead ends, and a soccer match

In April I attended my first SABA (South African Booksellers Association) meeting with Arthur. At this meeting I learned what was happening behind the scenes in the bookselling industry and how necessary it is for a distribution channel like Paperight to exist. Booksellers are no longer making enough money to remain profitable enough to hold on to their investors and were switching to e-books out of desperation instead of innovation. A Paperight-like model may well end up being the only way for consumers to get their hands on hard copies of books.

I took my first ever trip to Johannesburg where I had meetings with Minuteman Press, Jetline, Postnet and Konika Minolta at their respective head offices. We managed to strengthen our relationships with them. Postnet had agreed to go ahead and register all of their branches nationwide with Paperight. Sadly, the person who had the meeting with us left Postnet soon after this meeting, which resulted in this process being postponed.

Tarryn and I also had a meeting at UWC Library Services after the bindery service registered as a Paperight outlet. In order for the bindery service to top up their accounts, we need to be a registered vendor at the University and they would need to determine how much of their budget would be allocated towards topping up. The bureaucracy of the process that needed to be taken by the bindery and the Library service in general seemed to have slowed the process down to a standstill.

After delivering the past matric exam packs to Pelican Park High, there was a significant interest in the exam packs from those students and parents who didn’t purchase them earlier in the year. Within two weeks, I was contacted by Pelican Park High and requested to collect a second order form for exam packs which was duly paid for, printed and delivered to the school.

Publishers were giving us low quality products to sell, with the intention of testing out our system before giving more high-value products. And outlets’ staff was turning away Paperight customers.

Meanwhile we realised that we had two big problems with our distribution model. Publishers were giving us low quality products to sell, with the intention of testing out our system before giving more high-value products. And outlets’ staff was turning away Paperight customers. To remedy this we began a competition which granted R1000 for the top outlet sales person every month. The aim was to incentivise the system for the outlet staff.

We also determined that by building closer relationships with Publishers they would perhaps be more willing to trust us with their more high value publications. We proposed an indoor soccer match against Random House Struik to build rapport with them. Paperight lost the match (in the dying moments!) but, we managed to take some time to relax (something which we struggle to do) and work at the same time.

Big month, and a big sponsorship sale

In March I exhibited and presented Paperight to matric students and teachers of Cravenby Secondary School alongside leading publishers, such as MML and OUP. The students were very interested in my exhibition and showed a keen interest in my presentation on the Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology.

After months of correspondence, I managed to arrange a meeting with the Head of the Cape Town Library Services alongside Arthur. The aim was to see how Paperight could work with the Library Services with the possibility of integrating into their SmartCape internet service. The meeting was a success in that we impressed them but, the process has come to a standstill due to bureaucracy inherent in government institutions. The possibility of a partnership remains open for the future.

Nick and I had worked closely on many tasks and we reached a stage where we required someone to bridge the gap between Nick’s position and my own. The aim was to improve communication to outlets, customers and the public at large. Having learned many lessons from our experience with the PR Consultant, we had a relatively clear idea of what we could achieve PR-wise.

Seeing her become, what I consider to be, the most productive member of the Paperight team has been amazing to experience.

The discovery of Marie-Louise Rouget is one of my proudest moments at Paperight. Marie-Louise had no marketing or PR experience to speak of but, she demonstrated a clear passion and drive to contribute positively towards society – something we could all relate to at Paperight. Seeing her become, what I consider to be, the most productive member of the Paperight team has been amazing to experience. I believe that Marie-Louise has discovered talents within herself that she may not have realised that she had fearlessness and a determination to get things done.

When I realised that we required more creative ways of selling Paperight products, Arthur gave me the opportunity to enrol in an “Effective Selling Strategies” course by LMI and facilitated by Chalwyn Vorster of TMF. The course allowed me to improve my time management, organise my sales pipeline and most importantly to give me the confidence to sell whilst maintaining my own morals and values.

Pelican Park High informed me that they would like to place an order for their learners who wish to purchase past exam packs. I collected the order form, delivered it to Minuteman Press Cape Town and received payment from Pelican Park High. When the books were printed and ready, I collected four learners from Pelican Park High to accompany me in collecting the books from Minuteman Press Cape Town.

Nick met us there to take photos for a press release that we had planned. The press release was circulated in the Minuteman Press internal franchise newsletter which led to several Minuteman Press outlets in South Africa signing up with Paperight. Upon collecting the books, the owner of Minuteman Press requested that we assist him in identifying a needy school in the Western Cape that he could possibly sponsor in some way.

When I got back to our offices, I googled “worst matric results in cape 2012.” I found a newspaper article that identified Silverstream Secondary in Manenberg as a poor performing school in 2012. I contacted the school to find that the principal had left the school and an H.O.D. was acting head of the school. I met with the H.O.D. to discuss the situation of the school and their needs in order to determine if this is the type of school that Minuteman Press Cape Town would want to sponsor.

I determined that they are a needy school and deserving of assistance, so I contacted the owner of Minuteman Press Cape Town and arranged for him to meet with the H.O.D. at the school personally. After this meeting took place, we determined which books would be sponsored and how many according to the budget that was available for the sponsorship.

Signage, photos, and a great school contact

In our efforts to produce positive stories from communities that need them most, we decided to sponsor Paperight-branded signage for small copy shops. The aim was to help them attract more business to their stores by increasing their visibility and creating some publicity around the project.

paperight_minuteman-press_press-photo_20131113An entrepreneur from Mdanstane in the Eastern Cape was featured in a Daily Dispatch article. We had hired a PR consultant to assist us with our publicity and to learn from her. A photo shoot was organised at Minuteman Press Cape Town for stock photos. I arranged for my younger sister and her friends to wear their school uniforms and drove them to the venue. The stock photos gave some of our design work a more professional quality.

In November I was also contacted and met with Mr. Cader Tregonning, the principal at Pelican Park High School. Mr. Tregonning had recently been appointed as head of the school and had a vision for turning it into an academically competitive school. He heard about Paperight and wanted to have Exam Packs printed for all his matric students the following year. Mr. Tregonning was so determined to have past exams for his learners that he added it into the budget which is given to all the parents, in order that they be prepared financially for the following year.