Building a more positive image for the City of Detroit & the State of Michigan
CIS 1100 / TEAM 1
DEMI TOPS, LLC
Executive Summary -
Our Company's concept is to create a production, as well as marketing / vendor based business
to promote a positive image & positive dialogue for the City of Detroit. The main goal is to
produce apparel that projects and advertises a positive image of the City; as well as the state of
Michigan. The Company also plans to offer customers / visitors to our site, the ability to create
their own "products" by interacting electronically with vendors worldwide.
Our concept will build upon the idea that the City can produce more than just automobiles.
*Good things come from Detroit
*Detroit, MI - where good things happen
We also plan to provide local, as well as statewide web links on our site. These links will include
sports, recreation, education, cultural and government. The idea here is to offer web visitors
the opportunity to learn or acquire additional information about the many aspects of the City &
State. These links will not draw the visitor completely away from our shopping site, but will
allow - through a pop up method - a secondary screen; as to ensure that our visitors will have
the opportunity to return to our home page to purchase our products.
The financing requirements for our sales & marketing efforts, as well as those required to
develop, manage & enhance our web / electronic features & services, will be addressed in the
Financial secion of our plan below.
Business Description -
Initially, the goal is to offer outerwear apparel that will carry messages that project, through
images or through written words / phrases, a positive image for and about the City & State.
One additional area of investigation will be to develop an apparel line that allows for messaging
to be added - at will (meaning messaging that is created by the buyer and done personally for
them). One challenge here will be to set a rule based system that will adhere to the primary
principles of the Company – keeping the message positive.
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In order to build a strong bond with the City and State, the hope is to attract local suppliers that
would provide the materials (finished) for DemiTops to market. We believe this will generate
not only revenue for the local suppliers, but will have a strong impact on the theme & goals of
our Company as a whole.
As we build upon the brand, using local vendors and working to attract shoppers (expatriates
and the like) outside of the local market, we plan to develop other lines of products. These
products could include - household items (specialty lampshades for instance that would also
provide a creative avenue for positive imagery), linens, miscellaneous items (like book markers,
cups, etc.). The idea is to develop lines of products that people use on a daily basis, but adds a
theme / message that is visible to them constantly.
We will work to develop relationships with companies that can provide features whereby we
can embed these images - similar to silk screening - into the fabric / materials. We see this
aspect of the business as an extension of our initial concept, but still providing the aiblity to
build on our positive messaging for the City. We see this particular idea as a means to create
opportunities for other locations / cities to offer this concept to their customer base /
constituents - Developing a brand image that provides positive imagery / messaging across
many different areas.
Marketing Strategy -
Internet advertising will be a very strong part of the development of our brand and concept. In
conjunction with our other Web 2.0 projects, we can develop a synegy that will allow our
message and brand to be seen at different portals, allowing for greater penetration of brand
awareness. We plan to build a community approach through our other sites / blogs that will
get our message across and hopefully open a dialogue among our visitors. By opening this
dialogue, we can build further awareness, acceptance and pave a way for our growth into other
areas of opportunity. This approach could possibly create additional ideas from our
community; opening the door for more creative ideas.
We also plan to target local establishments / businesses that can display & sell our apparel and
items to their patrons. It will be critical for us to choose vendors that attract a customer base
which participates in the technologies that we plan on utilizing. We hope this will create a
continuity of our message and keep the brand growing and in focus.
As an added point of reference, we plan to offer both silk screening and digital imaging. We
believe this will create 2 types of products that will attract different buyers. The goal here is to
offer different levels of products to cater to specific tastes. In referring back to our charitable
approach, we will offer items that are more cost effective to produce so as to keep our margins
as low as possible.
As for the responsibility as a local business, and in hopes of developing our brand within the
community (as well as outside of the community) we plan to develop a charitable program
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where we can offer a free top to those in need (these can be children or adults) when one of
our tops is purchased. We see this as a way to reach out to various local organizations (and
eventually “national” local groups) to provide apparel that generates positive awareness; as
well as build upon our brand name & Company image. We see clothing as an area that impacts
all segments of our society and can provide a two fold result...clothe someone in need, and also
allow them to "carry" the positive message of our Company.
Competitive Analysis -
There are many companies that provide apparel of various types. And many of these do offer
specialty type apparel. Demitops' approach is to market our concept on a larger scale than
many of the local retailers (these do not include the Macys or Sears or Nordstrom type
establishments). We see the competition for this type of apparel / market being the "novelty"
shops, specialty clothing shops that exist in the trendy shopping areas or the mom & pop
establishments that are local to an area that sells unique items.
While there are some apparel stores / suppliers that do use imagery as part of their market
approach, we do not believe tying this imagery specifically to the City of Detroit & State of
Michigan has been focused on as aggressively or strongly as it could be; or in the manner in
which we plan. Nor do we see this approach encompassing products beyond clothing apparel;
or this approach reaching out to the various charitable community organizations in a way we
intend to do.
Competitively speaking, our challenges will come from how well we purchase our goods (can
we gain the proper margins needed to sustain our charitable concept, as well as branch out
beyond our local market); how well we can keep our product lines adhering to current fashion
needs / trends; how well we can develop the imagery / messaging to appeal to our buyers; how
well our rules to creating "positive" messaging for those who create their own can be adhered
to without challenging our brand image; how aggressively we can market to the local
establishments and attain shelf space as well as visibility.
We feel that developing some form of relationship with some of the local agencies may allow us
to gain some "sponsorship" roles from these groups. We need to be careful that the alliances
we seek are not viewed as political and we must avoid getting caught up in this possibility.
Development Plan -
Our first steps to building brand awareness is creating a connection to potential customers via
Facebook, Myspace and Blogging. Our goal is to develop a community approach to our
Company and what we offer; this in turn allows us to market to a wider variety of customers
(the demographics will be much broader); primarily those that are web savvy and frequent the
sites mentioned. By building our blog we can continue to build upon the main focus of our
brand; positive messaging.
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The next phase of our operation will be to offer our customers the ability to be creative. We
will develop links / relationships with sites such as Facebook Dig Cafe Web to allow the
customer to create their own messages (as long as the message is of a positive nature).
One other avenue of growth will be to team with vendors like the New Zealand company,
Ponoko. They have a local presence in the US and are very strongly entrenched in the web
environment. Here is an About Us from Ponoko:
Ponoko is an online marketplace for everyone to click to make real things. It’s where creators, digital fabricators,
materials suppliers and buyers meet to make (almost) anything. We kicked off at TechCrunch40 at the end of 2007
with a vision to reinvent how goods are designed, made and distributed worldwide. The core of this vision is the
trade in product designs – kinda like the trade in music (iTunes), photos (Flickr), movies (YouTube) and software
apps (iPhone) before us. We host tens of thousands of user generated product designs, ready to be customized and
made into real things with the click of a mouse. But hosting designs is only a part of the puzzle. Importantly, we
also provide the world’s first digital making system that means these product designs can be priced instantly online
and made locally, as close to the point of consumption as possible. It means goods can be made in the greenest way.
Making on demand reduces warehousing and wastage. Plus, making locally emphasizes digital transportation of
goods instead of the traditional shipping of physical products.
With Ponoko you can:
Creators - Want to sell your designs in our showroom?
Material suppliers - Want to supply us with groovy materials?
Digital fabricators - Want pre-paid making jobs?
DIYers & buyers - Choose a design and we’ll make it for you
How it works - for creators Distributing product designs (free and paid) is the easiest and most profitable way for
creators to get their products to market:
How it works - for buyers
Downloading and customizing product designs (free and paid) is the simplest and most affordable way to buy
Click to make
One day we thought to ourselves "if we can click to create great looking designs all over the web, why can't we click
to make these creations into real products?" We found out you can.
Given the choice, we'd much rather buy products that have been created specifically for us. In fact, a growing
number of people demand to be a part of the creation process - they don't want what they're given. And we agree -
buying things designed from scratch is...
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We cut the waste from oversupply by making products on-demand. We also cut carbon emissions by sourcing local
materials and making products as close to the point of consumption as possible. We're just starting but this
minimizes reliance on the traditional supply chain associated with the transportation and storage of the products we
typically buy today.
Everyone who uploads their creations to Ponoko owns the copyright absolutely, subject to other people's rights (if
any). We also enable you to set copyright license using the Creative Commons scheme - from all rights reserved
through to free and open use, with a few in between. The Ponoko community is given the tools to report copyright
abuse too. So we're pretty keen for everyone to mix, mingle and play nice.
The Internet enables us to share more than ever before. And clever software now enables more than one person to be
a part of the product creation process. It is now possible for anyone (not just those with lots of time and money) to
get a product that no one else has, with the click of a mouse.
Product plans are being shared freely across the web in the same way we share software, photos, music and movies.
The good news is these earlier examples are educating us about how to share and sell design files so everyone is
Here are some of the cool things about manufacturing-as-a-service direct from a product plan:
- You can change the product to how you like it, rather than being forced to take a standard one from the shelf.
- You have infinite choice because unlimited creativity means the virtual shelf is never out of stock, of anything.
This also means that if you can not find it anywhere else, you will find it here.
- There is much less physical waste from oversupply.
- And as a seller you have unlimited inventory without the cost of inventory.
The post-industrial revolution
It's here and it's changing the way products are created, traded and distributed. You can now 'click to make'
individualized goods using your PC.
The future - a virtual transporter system
Ultimately, instead of buying a physical product that was designed in California, made in China then shipped to
your local store so you can drive down, buy it and take it home, Ponoko enables the product plans to be shipped to
your home, where you can download it and make it on demand. We openly wonder when the stars will align for this
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Who is using Ponoko?
Jeff is a trained designer. He already knows how to get his ideas made and doesn't want traditional manufacturers,
wholesalers and retailers clipping the ticket on the way to market to the tune of at least 50% (and up to 95%). He
uses Ponoko to get in front of customers directly - anywhere in the world. And by making, selling and delivering his
products through Ponoko, he can concentrate on developing new ideas rather than managing a business.
Sue is a maker from way back. She makes costume jewelry, badges and other cool stuff. Sometimes though, she finds
it hard to get the materials she wants - and she doesn't have the tools she needs to cut out the intricate designs she
would love to make. With Ponoko, she can design delicate pieces made from a whole range of materials - and add the
finishing touches herself to create truly individual pieces.
Martha wanted a new lamp for her living room, but the ones she saw in the big lighting stores all looked kind of the
same - and the cool designer ones were way out of her price range. She bought a light box direct from a designer on
Ponoko. It's got a unique story behind it - she's pretty sure none of her friends will have one like it - and it cost a
fraction of what she would pay in a design store.
While there are many similarities to what we are striving toward, the key concept for us to is
create a brand around positive imagery that is tied to a place. We see this relationship as an
extension of how we can reach new audiences and grow our customer base. It is also the
opportunity to build relationships with other cities and minimize the burden of warehousing &
From what is discussed in Ponoko's about us, they utilize many of the web portals /
technologies we plan to use; thus making this relationship a simpler one to develop and build
The best approach for us will be to establish our organization as an LLC. We believe this will
afford us limitations on liability and afford us a better tax structure while we work toward our
profit stage. There are 4 Managing members of our organization:
• Admir Bajramaj - Managing Member in charge of Web Development & Web
Operations. Admir's role will be to develop, manage, and administer all aspects of our
web sites, web links, web related services.
• Elisha Demido - Managing Member in charge of Vendor relations and Product
Development. Elisha's role will be to ensure that vendor / supplier relationships are
supported and grown; that new products and product enhancements are researched,
tested and brought to market if viable & in keeping with our goals.
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• Maxwell Bartley - Managing Member in charge of Social Network sites, Blog
management and all things related to RSS feeds. Maxwell will ensure that all
information on our social sites and our blogs are kept current and in line with our goals.
• Lester Gouvia - Managing Member in charge of Sales & Marketing. Lester's role will be
to secure & grow our retail store base, develop & grow relationships with various
organizations, and secure that the goals of the organization are maintained through
• Printing / Processing Manager – OPEN Position. This role will be responsible for
managing a staff of employees to run, operate and maintain our printing press. This
person will work closely with the Customer Svc. Manager to secure that all orders are
processed correctly and in a timely manner.
• Customer Service Manager / Administrator - OPEN Position. This role will encompass
managing & supporting all areas of order entry / order processing / order fullfilment /
customer inquiries / inventory control. This person will work closely with both
managing members dealing with vendor relations and sales & marketing.
• Logistics Manager - OPEN Position. This role will be responsible for all aspects of order
fullfilment (receivables, shipping, warehousing, returned items, etc.). This person will
work closely with both the CSM and the manager of Sales & Marketing.
We anticipate our margins being fairly sizeable, but in order to develop our long term goals /
relationships, we must adhere to a very tight budget in the beginning stages. We will have to
rely upon all managing members and other managers to assist in multiple areas of the
operation. With the types of shipping technologies available today with providers like USPS and
UPS, we believe we can minimize the need for "extra" personnel to handle our shipping
challenges. We do anticipate the need for minimal personnel in managing our inventory and
preparation for shipping.
Housing our operation will most likely be in the City itself. We anticipate having an abundance
of options at a fairly low cost due to the real estate market.
We plan, initially, to engage the services of the SBA. We believe that gaining small business, as
well as minority status (female & ethnic participation) should afford us a strong opportunity to
gain funding and lines-of-credit which will supplement the personal investments made by the
managing members. Also, we will seek to work with one primary institution that could offer us
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additional services, like mortgage, equipment & financial services; with the hope that this will
bring potential discounts and a more comprehensive lending package.
Analyzing the breakdown of some of our initial costs & fees, we can only gauge percentages at
this early stage.
• Travel - Primarily local travel within the State. $800 per month based on current gas
prices (and inclusive of any out of state travel). There will be no air travel within the
first year. Any travel outside of the state will be by auto.
• Maintenance and repair - built into any lease agreements for machinery or office
• Equipment leases - Office, technical (IT) and transport. This is one area we will see a
sizeable upfront cost, but we believe that leasing our equipment with the option to
upgrade will afford us more cash flow dollars to reinvest. We will also be able to acquire
the latest technology to assist us with growth & future enhancements. This is one area
that is critical simply because of the nature of our business model.
• Printing Equipment – We plan to acquire 2 machines to start. One for silk screening and
one for digital imaging. These machines are comparatively low in investment cost so we
anticipate these to be purchases with long – term maintenance agreements.
• Rent Advertising & promotion - Building lease in City and mainly web advertising. If we
manage our web advertising internally (through our Web Development and Operations
department), we envision a large cost savings vs. traditional advertising. The bigger of
the expenses, therefore, will be in our facility; and we see the real estate market being
favorable to us.
• Supplies - Initially outerwear that will include T-Shirts, sweat shirts & Caps. We plan to
maintain a sizeable inventory due to the high demand for these products in the mass
consumer space currently.
• Utilities - Electricity, Data connectivity, mobile telecommunications. The largest
expense we should incur will be our data connection. Based on our needs and concept
(web based selling) we will certainly require at minimum 2 x T1 capacity. We will opt to
use a VOIP system for our calling needs which will also minimize our costs requirements
as compared to a legacy landline service.
• Packaging & shipping - Accounts with USPS & UPS. We will establish an account that
will offer us discount rates based on volume shipping. With their pickup services we can
minimize our costs as it relates to additional personnel. We will acquire our packing
supplies from a local wholesale supplier that will create specific sizes for us. This cost
will be ongoing due to inventory needs.
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• Payroll taxes and benefits - Initially, payroll only for Customer Svc. / Admin Mgr.,
Logistics Mgr. and inventory staff. We anticipate staffing of approximately 5 in this area
and to meet these needs. Of the 5, 3 of the staff will most likely be at minimum wage +
• Professional services - Accountant fees & Attorney fees. We anticipate initial fees for
establishing our organization, filings and contractual agreements (leases, shipping
agreements, etc.) being in a range of approximately $15,000. All other fees will be on a
contingent basis and as needed.
• Insurance - Auto, Liability, Health, Equipment & Inventory. There will be a slightly
higher cost for these services since we are doing business in the City. We will bid this
process out to determine not just best cost, but best overall value.
• Loan payments - Mortgage lease, financing, equipment leasing.
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