Lately, a number of our fans and entrepreneurial peers of Beau Satchelle have asked us about lessons learned during our first year of launching our small business. Introducing a new brand and creating that initial momentum to attract attention and buyers takes laser focus and hard work to stay the course. The number of years and amount of grinding it requires to become an overnight sensation in the world of business can be daunting for a start-up. Breaking into the life of niche, affluent buyers demands, different thinking and actions require stepping up your game.
Our 2016 journey has become fascinating. The many personal and business lessons gained are invaluable. Sharing with our readers through this blog, our continuous journey of building a brand, we hope, gives insight and confidence to peers who have or are considering taking the leap into creating their own start-up.
Believe me, there is a wealth of teaching moments that will take more than one blog post, so let’s cover three in this one:
1. CREATING A VISION – Starts with knowing yourself. While making the moves to market your product, this is the time to dig deep and be introspective. This may mean determining what self-beliefs may hold you back as an entrepreneur, from selling to approaching a potential high end client. Your limiting mindset can totally derail your confidence in pricing and selling your premium products to a buyer with high expectations and discriminating tastes. Even if your luxury product is extraordinary, do the inner work on yourself to build confidence in attracting and working with high end clients.
Our vision which we speak about in detail in our March 16th Blog post, titled “Vision Board of our Future” and is our North Star. In conjunction to creating the big picture, producing a solid written business plan is a necessity to uphold and back up your vision.
We actually hired a coach who works specifically with artistic businesses to help guide us in the work of producing our business plan. Her responsibility as a coach was keeping us on track and accountable to ourselves. We also looked for specific mentors that give us honest, consistent feedback on our approaches from local, nation and international levels.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE – Once the brand is defined, then, learning every aspect of your demographics is crucial. High Net Worth Individuals work, socialize, network and purchase differently than other demographics. Affluent individuals rely on influencers that rub elbows comfortably in their circles (realtors, luxury product salespersons, their peers, etc.). Truly understanding this unique market will determine where products are displayed, who writes and creates buzz about your product, the packaging of your product, providing a buying experience that no other company can duplicate and so on.
3. SALES OR POUNDING THE PAVEMENT – It is all about sales…Period! If you just focus on the creative part of your business, you will not survive. If you are unable generate sales, consider what you are doing a hobby. If your weakness is selling, then your partner(s) in your business better be strong at selling or hire someone. Generating revenue is job one. To put it plainly, you have to work your butt off to find the right venues to place your products. In building our brand locally, we look for high end retail boutiques and stores that either are located in Detroit’s growing downtown and midtown neighborhoods or the neighboring affluent suburbs that cater to our demographics. On a national level, we have located and are still seeking partners on both the west east coast who have the influence to connect us with retail spots that desire to sell our work. Because we are Bespoke in nature, ecommerce is still a work in progress. And, since we are not mass produced, we limit our brand to online retail marketplaces where our prototypes feature a ‘limited edition’ with no duplicate color combinations built; only the same design structure and name with an array of colors to choose from.
Taking a peek in a world where there are many luxury industry giants, at first, looked invincible. Their resources appear limitless and seemed to be leaps and bounds ahead of us. However, we believe in the quality and beauty of our bespoke leather luxuries; our talent and craftsmanship is very competitive and we are hungry to make our mark. So the journey continues! Part 2 coming soon! -AJ
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