This weeks Idea: Rita Sheloff: “Marketing Machine”

with Neil Godin

I met Marketing Dangerously member Rita Sheloff when she worked with one of my sales coaching clients, Hills Foods (purveyors of exotic meats and wild game), here in Coquitlam, BC., and I remember her telling me that she had a little business on the side. But. Since leaving Hills last October, her “little business on the side,” has blossomed into a full fledged enterprise that is doing “very, very well thank you!” And why is it doing very well? Because she gives it no choice. Rita has literally become a marketing machine.

Rita and Kootenay Custom Quilting: Front Page News!

Rita and Kootenay Custom Quilting: Front Page News!

Rita touches all the bases

Rita’s latest coup is landing on the front page of the Tri-Cities NOW newspaper, with a great story about her business, Kootenay Custom Quilting – how the business started as a result of a terrible tragedy, and how it’s grown into a viable labor of love. Click here to read the story.

Rita sent me a photo of the front page on the day the story ran, and I called both to congratulate her – and ask how she managed to get into the paper. “Easy,” she answered. “I was dropping off an entry in a kids’ coloring contest they were holding, and while I was there I left my card for the editor, asking if they would like to write a story about my quilting company. When I didn’t hear back, I called again, and sure enough a reporter called to interview me – and they sent a photographer to take pictures.”

“I was thrilled,” Rita told me, but there was a hitch. The article didn’t appear until a couple of months after the interview. “I was at the library,” she continued, “when I saw the paper in a rack, with my smiling face right there on the front cover. It was an awesome surprise!” 

Your call to action:

Okay. When was the last time you asked your local newspaper to do a story about your company? Right. Even though editors “must” find material to fill every edition. And even though every business – including yours – has a unique and interesting story to tell, very few business people actually make the ask. (On a personal note, every time I get media coverage it produces immediate business, so I know it’s worthwhile . Being a home-based mompreneur/micropreneur, Rita realized that she had to be aggressive if the business was going to be sustainable – and I think we can all learn from her courageous example. She simply asked. And then followed through.

But wait !! (As they say on those TV commercials). There’s more!!  Not only does Rita have the courage to pursue press coverage, she also attracts business in other courageous ways. Here. Look at these photos of her van – which is literally a marketing machine on wheels:


First her van gets attention (note the eyelashes)…

First her van gets attention (note the eyelashes)…

Then her side and back windows tell the story (there’s even a QR code on the side)…

Then her side and back windows tell the story (there’s even a QR code on the side)…

Then she invites passers-by to take a business card

Then she invites passers-by to take a business card

And. There’s even more. You can’t go anywhere on the net without encountering Rita and Kootenay Custom Quilting. She has embraced social media with a vengeance – and now sells not just in Canada, but all over the US as well (and she has just received an order from Switzerland).

Take a few minutes to look at some of her online activity. Simply Google “Kootenay Custom Quilting,” and you’ll see her listed everywhere: Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter…as you’ll see the list goes on and on – and on. (I just checked and found her listed all the way back to page 10).

Whew. Okay, Rita, that’s it for today. But I’ll be following you, and sharing more of your marketing adventures.

See you all next week!


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  1. Sandi McCreight says:

    Thank you for boasting about “our” Rita. Though we only had her in the Kootenays for a while, she made big impact here with her work, her genuine caring in people and her amazing imagination that she implements into her work. She does amazing things and I am so glad she is getting the recognition, and work, she deserves. Call her for your project – you won’t be disappointed!!!!

  2. Congratulations Rita! I am so happy your business is doing well.

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