Once the idea of re branding entered my head, I did what I always do in these situations…I started reading. I have been going back over business books I hold dear, note taking on a brilliant marketing book, reading relevant current articles (mainly in the wall street journal as I read it online everyday anyway) and adding business and marketing blogs to both my blogroll and my daily reads. In fact, the book I am reading for pleasure right now is about a guy getting his MBA at Stanford in the late 80’s…kind of a cautionary tale for those looking to follow suite. Three blogs in particular have been incredibly inspiring to me, so I want to shout out to them for a moment as many of what I am about to go into has been discussed there a great deal. Crafting an MBA, Makery and Smaller Box are awesome blogs and well worth a daily read!
First let me get it out there that Manic Trout is all about being affordable, fashion friendly jewelry with great design. I keep wanting to call it costume, but as I use a large amount of semi precious gem stones, specifically in the critters…its not really considered costume. Don’t get all worried that I am planning on rethinking that, but I need to sell larger quantities to make it work while stay locally and hand made (that’s an entirely different topic I’ll get to another day). So these thoughts are all part of the push to sell more.
There area few factors about pricing levels and perceived value that I have become increasingly interested in…
- If all of your items are in the same price point, the higher end of that price point will be perceived as expensive, a splurge and most likely not sell often if at all. Therefore there should be a very high end line which may never sell, but makes everything else seem more affordable….remember that line I used to have…Miss America borrowed some of it…it was fit for a Queen and incredibly decadent, took HOURS to make…well something like that is going to come back…I’ve been hinting at it for about a year, but now I really mean it.
- A friend of mine once asked where the stuff was on my site that he could buy for his wife. When I asked what he was talking about, he explained that he liked to buy her the really fancy versions from her favorite brands…the stuff she would never buy for herself. Yeah…I got rid of that stuff for some reason, that was a stupid move which I now realize and have kicked myself for.
- I read an article last month about young designers complaining about knocked off and undercut on their prices. The expert in the article pointed out that you should rip yourself off first. Basically you should take your most popular item…if it happens to be expensive, immediately make a lower end (as in less and cheaper materials/time) item to sell for those that cannot but the expensive version yet. I found that point fascinating and released the Do You Know Me Necklaces which have little critters and can be had for $30 instead of the $60+ price tags of the big Critters.
- Now that I am focusing on collections and seasons, I am trying to get rid of past collections each year to reduce inventory, cohesiveness on the site and the amount of time something is available. I am planning to have a Classics Collection for the staples, but otherwise if you don’t snag them when I realize them, you may loose out.
I love having a plan, and a better grasp of what that plan is…or what to plan. I have always been disappointed that although I went to a University (Syracuse) that the art school (School of Visual & Performing Arts) did not encourage us to take business courses. I took most of my electives in Philosophy and Anthropology because they had the best books to read (seriously, not well thought out…although I did read some great books!). In my major (Computer Graphics…2d/3d animation) I had to take a ton of courses in the Engineering School, which basically at this point just means that I can create my own website. I never however entered the Business School building, or even knew where it was truthfully. I picked up the MBA book wondering if it were something I should do (which is kind of the point of the book…a writer pursuing an MBA at Stanford) and realized I would never be able to run Manic Trout and keep up with the curriculum.
So here I am, cobbling together my business knowledge through books, articles & blogs…and grilling and I mean sitting down and deeply discussing business with any person I know in the business world. I have decided to even take it one step further and am sharing my finding here, please join in and add to the thoughts I have been presenting, we can only learn from each other!