One of my startups helped launch Magnetic Poetry Kit in the 1990s. What took years then would take weeks now, but the timeline remains instructive.
We built the right distribution model for words on magnets selling first in museum stores and then in small gift stores. Wish I could take credit for the brilliance of this strategy, but my partner Janet McKean was a buyer and store manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and that's why we sold into the right venue to create cool.
Our first several million in sales came from these small gift stores, but we couldn't get Barnes and Noble to buy the "unproven" product. Read Geoffrey Moore's great book Crossing the Chasm to learn why Barnes and Noble could have cared less about our success in small gift and museum stores.
When Katharine Graham, then publisher of the Washington Post, fell in love with the product, featured it on the Post's style section, and gave the product away at a party we crossed Moore's chasm and Barnes and Noble conservatively bought the product. Luckily demand was primed so the product flew off B&N's counter leading to what would become a $50M novelty product.