I can remember many years ago, I used to flip through magazines and dream of being an entrepreneuress. Starting my own business seemed like something beyond my wildest dreams but luckily I know first hand, dreams can come true. I love entrepreneurship.
This week I was lucky enough to speak with someone who I think is kind of a genius.
Will Hunt Lewis
, who is currently director of merchandising at
OpenSky, was the lead furniture buyer for One Kings Lane and oversaw buying and merchandising for all divisions of Jonathan Adler. He has an incredible business sense. I thought it would be helpful to pick his brain and see what he would say about
Here is what he had to say....
1) Make sure you have a clear point of view for the brand you want to create.
This will convey to your potential customers that you’ve really thought about what kind of business you want to develop, and that you have a passion for the product you are creating. For instance, the home fragrance market is deeply saturated, so if you are developing a new candle line, you’ll want to make sure your product is relevant, stands out and is irresistible to the consumer. What scents have you chosen? Are there 25 other companies producing the same scent and if so, is your version able to stand out among the other players?
2) Decide what market your product to appeal to.
Do you want to create luxury, high-price point items or are you more interested in creating a moderately-priced product to appeal to a larger audience? This will also help your position your brand in the appropriate sector. For instance, if you are a ceramicist, are you interested in making artistic, bespoke designs to be sold in galleries and luxury retailers, or would you rather make more accessible designs that will have mass appeal, at lower price points? Knowing what market you'd like to go into is key to launching your brand and will result in less customer confusion about what your brand stands for.
3) Be ready before you launch.
Don’t go into market with a product you don't believe in wholeheartedly. It’s better to wait until you have mastered your craft rather than to rush to market with something subpar. You may miss a season, but in the end you’ll reap the rewards of a solid reputation in the industry. You don’t want to start off being known for the company that makes an inferior product. If you’re designing pillows, have they been constructed perfectly or is the zipper placement just a bit off or the designs not really lining up with the seams? Should you have added a beautiful fringe? It’s all in the details.
Hope you enjoyed his advice, I know I did. Now get out there and take your business next level!