Under the Canopy: Organix Style with Soul
But she learned some hard lessons, too. “Even with the best due diligence in the world, you can still get blindsided by something totally out of your control,” she says.
Another lesson: Get assistance from some industry stalwarts. And that’s exactly what she did.
The Incubation Stage
From July 2002 to this past July, UTC was incubated by Seta Corp., a jewelry and fragrance fulfillment and marketing company based in Boca Raton. Seta’s catalog and e-commerce titles include Palm Beach Jewelry, Designer Fragrance Outlet, International Fashions and myjewelrymart.com. And its jewelry-fulfillment clients include J.C. Penney, Sears and Lillian Vernon.
Seta gave Zaroff a low-cost physical infrastructure so she could invest capital back into UTC. Fred Neil, president of Seta, said he gave UTC access to his company’s call center, inventory-control systems, shipping, receiving and other operations. In this way, Zaroff could keep her variable costs to a minimum, says Neil.
In July, UTC moved out of Seta’s headquarters and now operates out of its own 5,200-square-foot space.
“UTC’s strengths are Marci’s passion and knowledge of the organic fiber industry,” Neil says. “She is on the cutting edge of the organic industry, an industry into which many and much bigger players are entering. But her level of knowledge about the style and fabrication of organic materials will serve her well in that competitive environment.”
Neil says UTC’s current weakness is initial seed funding. “The company needs to achieve critical mass in products to grow and be profitable. And with today’s constrictions on capital, that may be particularly difficult. UTC will need this to build a solid contact strategy,” he continues. Those caveats aside, however, Neil thinks UTC’s prospects are good. “Marci has some good ideas, which will help get the word out, and build the UTC brand.”