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Friday, December 08, 2006


Typical day building knowledge, muscles and display cases

Passionate discussion about customers' emotional and functional needs.

Arif tells us about his marketing map.

Another cold crystal clear day here. Struck once again how much like Colorado Kabul can seem in winter.

Team was off in three different directions today:

1. Athena trained at AWBF and learned a few things about the latest in mosque marketing

2. Kate and Steve worked with Nargis and Zuhra at The Venus Fitness Center where despite cool temperatures, Steve was able to work up a sweat

3. Pam and Najib were all over town on the RKA store mission. So much to order and so little time (and money)

Afghan Women’s Business Federation
Athena spent the day with 21 AWBF trainers taking them through the Marketing Map, a tool for entrepreneurs to map out a marketing communications strategy. The participants loved the topic -- they were practically jumping out of their seats to volunteer answers and offer their ideas about how to market products and services in Afghanistan.

The most interesting discussions were about how to apply marketing principles to their students who live in the provinces and are mostly illiterate. It turns out that local radio is a great promotional opportunity because most people have radios and there are special shows for women. And, depending on your product or service, sometimes you can announce things over the loudspeakers of mosques. Who knew? ...But it was quickly pointed out that a beauty parlor could not take advantage of this opportunity.

Another fascinating cultural moment was when Athena realized that in the provinces it is the men who buy clothing and other accessories for their wives -- not the women themselves, who are seldom allowed to leave their houses. So, the men are also target customers who have to be considered...Even though, one of the men informed us, the women tell their men what to buy -- usually because they have seen another woman wearing something they liked at a wedding or other social gathering. Aaahhh the nuances of marketing!

Venus Fitness
It’s a slow time of year as clients don’t like the cold weather work-outs. Colder inside most buildings than outside this time of year. Lots of marketing plans for Spring and a possible move to a new location.

In the meantime Zuhra, Venus’s trainer, put us through the paces of The Venus System circuits 1 and 2. Steve and Kate satisfied to see that she was well versed in the program. Zuhra is a tough trainer. 15 to 20 reps are a must. The group had fun as Kate and Steve walked everyone through the 3rd phase. Steve was very happy as they allowed him to participate in the training.

Steve then guided the ladies through some beginner yoga training. He started with warm ups and quickly transitioned to standing poses (as the group was pretty limber from all the Venus System activity!). The ladies tried mountain pose, standing forward bend, warrior 2, side angle pose and triangle pose. The session had its challenges as Steve had Nargis translate while Kate helped the ladies make adjustments (Steve could not touch the women of course!) while Kate took a logistics related mobile call from Athena while in mountain pose.

Kate: It was a moment for me to sit in a class taught by Steve in Kabul. He was such a great teacher, sharing his enthusiasm for yoga in such a genuine way. He really came through.

There was lots of giggling and laughter over the tucking of sits bones and the audible inhaling and exhaling. They were a bit daunted by the difficulty the yoga postures presented and barefoot toes were frozen by class end but all were very happy with the initiation and want to learn more. Steve returns Tuesday for the next session.

Rangeen Kamen Artisans
Kate, Steve and Pam met up in the afternoon for the second half of a big day for Pam and RKA. Lots to tell and Pam is drafting a blog entry. Stay tuned but leave it said for now that Bakhnazera made us proud stepping into a negotiation with the carpenter on behalf of the co-operatives and Najib made us laugh (read Pam's entry for more.

What a day! As always packed full of interesting, productive, and fun activities. I could use a lesson or two from BN in the art of negotiating. Maybe she can teach the next course at Thunderbird. All this RKA work must be very new for Najib. Sounds like he is embacing it like a true shopper. You are all amazing! Stay warm.
the fact that the men buy the women's clothing got me thinking of how many women here buy their husband's socks and underwear.

thank you for all the amazing work you're doing and a special hug to Athena
xo Lisa - antares
I am amazed at how much you have accomplished in one day. Rangin Kaman Market's birth is greater than a baby's birth as it is a trend and the beginning of something beyond ordinary in Kabul. Congratulations! Please tell Najib and all the Bpeacers I said hi with warm hugs in this cold weather.
Love you all
Hi all,
You ROCK...what fantastic work you all are doing...here are some thoughts...(can you tell I dream hourly of being there !!!)

Thought 1: If a beauty parlor announced on the radio won't work...what about home service...Avon style...beauty make overs in the home with products to buy...would it be worth connecting with Avon...used to be a client...I still have contacts there

Thought 2: Same thing with clothing...if the men buy alot of the women's clothing...can the items be brought to the home so the women can choose them (or via catalog..digital camera and print outs) and/or can the Avon Style work here...market (and bring) the clothes (or catalog) to where the men are...

Thought 3:One idea for the check-out/wrapping counter...(I used this in my store when I first opened because I could't afford anything else)...get an old chest of drawers or any chest with drawers in it..turn in around and have the backside facing the customer (paint/decorate) that side...the empty drawer spaces are terrific for storing tissue paper...paper bags etc...you can even leave a drawer or two in to store cash box/receipts etc...THEN
take the drawers you aren't using
and attach them to the walls to use as display cases...nail the backs to the wall (using that very handy drill without battery attachment !!!!!)...decorate the inside and fill them with items to sell...

I'm soooo excited for you all...think about you daily and what you are all doing...am so proud of the whole group on both sides of the planet...and a special note to Steve...because of the type of person you are...and the way you are able to work WITH the Blond Ambition tour members...it is as powerful a training tool on both sides of the planet as any in a workbook or video tape!!!! Rock on folks and remember...

"It is not the critic who counts...
The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena:
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood:
Who strives valiantly: who errs and comes up short again and again;
Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spend themselves in a worthy cause'
Who at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
And who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly..."
Rock on....
Much love
The other Kate (M)
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