Tag: strategy

Crossing Gender Lines – Should You Branch Out?

Anya Hindmarch just announced her men’s collection launch with leather goods and accessories, and last month Stella McCartney announced she would be debuting a men’s collection in November. It’s no wonder that brands are moving into the men’s market; with $440B in annual sales it’s certainly a market share worth capturing. Menswear designers have been making the transition to women’s as well. Brands like Rag & Bone, Public School and designers like Hedi Slimane have only in the recent past branched out to design for women. The women’s market clocks in a hefty $670B yearly.

As a growing brand you are probably wondering how this all affects you. Should you rush to develop a collection for the opposite sex simply to make more money? How should you test the waters? Lets break it down.

First- It’s important to address that collections can be designed androgynously, but when it comes to walking down the runway or showing the pieces in a lookbook you will most likely ascribe gender. The Squad, a knitwear brand out of LA does a great job of creating for both, but you will notice that the collections do have clear cross over between genders.

Second- Aside from aesthetics, the two products are very different. Women’s sizing versus Men’s sizing and fit. If your brand is very tailored for women, you will need to bring in the tailoring for men. This might mean hiring a new product developer to help create your designs.

Third- Branding, sales and marketing. It’s not easy to just create a women’s line after having a men’s line. You will need to pitch to different stores, develop a new marketing strategy and evolve what your brand identity is. This can be especially tricky if your collection will be produced under the same name and your brand identity was very gendered to begin with. Sometimes brands will create a diffusion name to help with creating a “new” brand.

Accessories are the easiest transition to cross genders. Anya Hindmarch did this as she introduced a collection of briefcases and iPhones marketed for men. If you notice that your collection already appeals to both markets try testing out different color ways and fabrics to see how each gender reacts. What’s also interesting about Anya’s story is that she waited until enough men were purchasing her products to warrant the creation of a new line.

Clothing can be difficult for the above-mentioned reasons, but it doesn’t mean the market demand wouldn’t make it worth your while. Smaller brands like The Squad do so with a small team and a highly focused vision. My opinion is to always think big and make a timeline for your growth. If you want to expand then start thinking about it now even if it won’t be for another few years. Retail is a long tail game, so play it to last.

If you are ready to develop a launch or growth strategy for your business send an email to hello@scalingretail.com

Startup Cheat Codes: 7 awesome cloud-based tools that destroy unnecessary business expenses, wasted time and frustration.

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Post by Ryan Gilbert:

Startup Cheat Codes: 7 awesome cloud-based tools that destroy unnecessary business expenses, wasted time and frustration.

Juggling 1-8 different roles as a small business owner can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Web apps have become powerful business tools over the past few years, sight unseen, right under the noses of entrepreneurs.

While building my own business, I discovered these online resources that saved me thousands in outsourcing fees and working hours. They’re all accessible by internet, intuitive and best of all, free (with 1 exception).

Website creation

Strikingly.com

Strikingly makes it really hard to come up with a good excuse for not having a professional website. They feature free, amazing templates that you can quickly personalize using their intuitive interface.

Stats

Time efficiency: high
Time cost: 1 hour to create a professional website, portfolio or product page
$ Savings: $100-$1,000 depending on your previous website design plans

Drawbacks: You have to upgrade to premium to use your custom domain.You’re limited to 1 site from the start.

Graphic Design

Canva.com

Canva is a Godsend if you don’t know Photoshop. Anyone can use this cloud-based graphic design tool to make near-professional designs. You get access to Canva’s free library of icons, designs and drawings; higher-quality photos start at just $1.

Stats

Time efficiency: medium
Time cost: 30 minutes-2 hours to create a design, depending on you experience in the field
$ Savings: $100-200, compared to hiring a graphic designer
$50/month compared to Adobe Creative Cloud with Photoshop

Drawbacks: If you’re using Canva, you’re probably no Picasso. You can make good graphic designs on here, but it takes some time. Still, it’s considerably less time than learning photoshop or explaining the project to a consultant that lives across the world.

Management Dashboard / CRM / Sales

Insightly.com

Insightly is the best free control center for any business in regard to sales, leads and administration.  Look no further for a CRM solution.

A free membership on Insightly.com offers:

  • To-do lists, contacts storage
  • Lead and project tabs for team-based tasks
  • Email alerts and reports
  • Syncing with Google Apps & Email

Stats

Time efficiency: medium/high
Time cost: 1-2 hours to set-up
$ Savings: $65/month, compared to Salesforce Professional package (similar to Free features on Insightly)

Drawbacks: Lacks some of the neat, Premium Salesforce features

Management, outsourcing

Fiverr.com

“One of the top 10 reasons for entrepreneurial failure is not delegating the “intelligent grunt work.”
-David Newman

Fiverr lets you do just that: outsource your work- for cheap. Freelancers on the website offer specific jobs and name their price. Work is sold by the ‘gig,’ which always costs $5.

The amount of work for $5 will buy you varies with each freelancer, but here are a few examples of things that cost $5:

  • Logos
  • Infographics
  • Site traffic, marketing, SEO optimization
  • User feedback, testimonials

You can also request a specific job to be done and multiple freelancers will come to your aid. The website’s review and workflow system makes it easy to stay productive and find the best bang for your buck.

Stats

Time efficiency: High
Initial time investment: 1-2 hours to register, find the right Freelancer, and provide directions for their work
$ Savings: Pennies on the dollar compared to similar freelance jobs on other sites; no fees for the buyers

Drawbacks: High demand drives up wait queues for work anywhere from 1-14 days.

Marketing, A/B Testing, Landing Pages

Unbounce.com

UnBounce is a free marketing tool used to create landing pages, sales pages and test marketing strategies. You still have to plan your marketing strategy well and ensure your landing page generates conversions. That being considered, it’s an incredibly cheap and effective way to analyze useful data.

Stats

Time efficiency: medium/low, depending on experience in marketing
Time cost: 2-3 hours to set up an account and landing page
$ Savings: $500, compared to hiring a website designer or marketing specialist

Drawbacks: Larger learning curve, unless you’re already experienced in online marketing

Accounting, Finance and Budgets

Waveapps.com

Wave Accounting can give you the productivity of a CFO with the requisite knowledge of Accounting 101. Wave can track all business expenses via linked bank accounts. Premium starts at $9/month, based around increased customer support.

These features come standard in the free version:

  • Financial snapshots and graphs of your business
  • Invoices, receipts, bills, accounting
  • Multiple users, auto-generated accounting reports

Stats

Time efficiency: Very high
Time cost: 1-2 hours to set up financial accounts and adjust balances or transaction categories (which you’ll likely need to do)
$ Savings: Compared to QuickBooks, $50-200

Drawbacks: I can’t think of any significant cons! Please let me know if you’ve spotted any.

Automation, Administration

IFTTT.com

IFTTT is an automated web system that runs on simple recipes which make it execute tasks throughout the internet.

It can perform administrative work but can also save you a significant amount of time.

Stats

Time efficiency: high
Time cost: 1 hour to set up a few good recipes that will save you tons of time in the long run
$ Savings: $0- unless you decide to fire your administrative assistant

Drawbacks: Can be distracting and superfluous for many tasks.
You might find yourself automating systems you don’t use all that much because it’s just so much fun.

“You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.

– Larry Page, Google

And you don’t need a team of full-time employees to pursue your business, product or blog. Free resources can be leveraged to offset smaller profits margins from small operations or increased competition. It’s not about learning the algorithms or advanced techniques behind these tools. When you’re starting out, it’s about utilizing what you can to move forward as quickly as possible.

Ryan B. Gilbert
linkd.in

View Post on Quora

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My New Years Resolutions

a.k.a The Resolution for Small Businesses

  1. Before launching right into 2014, I promise to do my 2013 post-mortem (What happen last year? What did we do right? What went wrong? How much did I spend and where were there opportunities?)
  2. Write down my 2014 objectives and post them somewhere visible.
  3. Reevaluate where my money is going this year. What are the big launches, events, and expenditures? Will they all achieve my objectives?
  4. Develop partnerships. Who are the brands and people that I want to do business with and are there synergies.
  5. Be good to myself. If I am good to myself then I can create a better product for my customer.

 

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