Effective distribution is tough for any new consumer-product company. So when Elizabeth Andrews, CEO of The Baby Bag Co., in Cumberland, Maine, began selling her innovative infant outerwear, she made sure buyers could find her even if they couldn't find a store that carried her goods. She stitched her new company's address and phone number right on every Baby Bag's label.

It seems to have worked. Though Baby Bag had difficulty winning shelf space from retailers, potential customers who saw the products being used at the grocery store or on the street were often intrigued enough to ask about them. Once they had the number, they could call Andrews to place an order or learn where the company's items were available for sale.

"Later, when Baby Bag became better known, retailers objected to the number because they thought it would take business away from them," Andrews says. Now that distribution is good, each Baby Bag has the company's address but not its phone number.

"We still get plenty of calls from customers in rural regions who are serious enough about wanting one that they dial information to get the number. And the 800 retailers love it because they get referrals."