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Musician gets in tune with QVC to sell CD cards

A Berks composer takes her music to another level by including it with greeting cards and offering it on the home-shopping television channel.

Kelli Fusaro of Greenfields spent the wee hours of a Sunday morning recently in a rather unusual way — selling her line of inspirational CDs and greeting cards on the home-shopping television channel, QVC.

The loss of her beloved grandmother, Elsie Fick, spurred Fusaro, a musician and singer by vocation, to focus her talents on the greeting-card business.

Fusaro, a former music and voice teacher, wrote her first song, “A Blessing to Me,” as a tribute to be performed at her grandmother’s funeral. She continued to write songs to cope with that loss and other life experiences.

Her second song dedicated to her grandmother, “By My Voice,” received first place in the Berks County Arts Council composition contest in 2000.

“When I took a look at all the songs I’d written, I saw they were appropriate for special occasions,” she said. “I saw a need for an alternative to greeting cards, something affordable for people to recognize as something special rather than throw away.”

And Sound Expression Greetings cards were born. Fusaro test-marketed the CD greeting cards a year ago at Borders in Wyomissing and the Woman’s Exchange in West Reading.

“They were selling at $12 a card and I had them made through a local printer,” Fusaro said. “Then a friend of my parents knew someone who worked with QVC and they wanted to show them to a buyer at QVC. They were interested but we needed to get the price down. I didn’t want to go outside the country to have them made, so I found a company in Oklahoma and we were able to come up with the right value for QVC.”

Fusaro has appeared on QVC twice, which has netted her about 3,000 sales. The cards, which include a CD with a song by Fusaro, are sold as a six-piece set for $20. They feature art by her daughter, Alanna Fusaro.

“I was on QVC for the first time on April 28 at 8:30 a.m. for the Mother’s Day special,” she said. “I talked about the cards and sang during part of the show. And I also appeared on May 18 at 3:30 a.m. I was on for about eight minutes each time in the West Chester studios.

“It was a pretty neat experience. As I was getting ready to go on (April 28), Joan Rivers was sitting about 10 feet from me. It’s really an interesting place to work.”

All of the songs come from Fusaro’s 2002 CD, “By My Voice.” Fusaro has also made a deal with FTD to sell the greeting cards with flower arrangements.

To meet QVC’s criteria, products must:

 Demonstrate well (in eight minutes of airtime).

 Solve a common problem or make life easier.

 Appeal to a broad audience.

 Have unique features and benefits.

 Sell for $15 or higher.

... And going beyond them:

Tips from Marilyn Montross, director of QVC’s vendor relations division, on getting on the network:

 Watch QVC to learn how and why products sell. “Watch shows not only in your product category but those in other product categories to get an understanding of how we sell products and the selling environment.”

 Search QVC.com to research how the network promotes its products. “It is a great way to identify what products we are carrying that might be competing with your product, how those are priced and what are the components.”

 Determine the target audience. “Who is your target customer and what interests does that customer have?”

 Consider pricing. “Price is important, and pricing your product as competitively as possible is very important. We don’t take markdowns. You can’t expect to put a product on QVC and, if it’s successful and you want to continue it, lower that price.”

Kelli Fusaro

Age: 40.
Address:
Greenfields.
Family:
Husband, Don Fusaro; daughter, Alanna, 10; son, Dante, 4.
Education:
Graduate of Muhlenberg High School and West Chester University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree specializing in voice and music education.
Occupation:
Soloist and keyboard accompanist for St. Joseph Church choir and former vocal coach and music teacher, private and public.
Berks locations:
Borders, Wyomissing; Barnes & Noble, Spring Township; The Paper Party; Mary's Garden Queen of Peace Catholic Shoppe, Reading; The Floral Studio, West Lawn; Leesport Flower and Gift Shop, Leesport; The Note Pourri, West Reading; and The Woman's Exchange, West Reading. Cloud Nine Cafe, Spring Township, is selling full-length CDs only.

Web site: http://www.soundexpressiongreetings.com/.Contact correspondent Stephanie Caltagirone at 610-371-5049 or business@readingeagle.com.

 



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