Wild Camelia in white, $55AUD, XS, S, M, L, XL
One of the key lessons I learnt during my time as a Program Manager at UNSW Founders is the importance of starting a business with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Forbes defines an MVP as “a product with only a basic set of features enough to capture the attention of early adopters and make your solution unique.”
As with most things like life, I learnt just how important this is the hard way. When I started my previous business, I invested a huge amount of my personal funding on very unnecessary expenses like building the ‘perfect’ website and getting our logo made when I should be focusing on validating that the services I was offering was something that the market actually needed.
So, when I came across the concept of the Lean Startup, it was an absolute game changer to me. So this time around, when I was starting Soy & Spice, I knew I had to put this concept to practice.
Seeing as I am not a designer, it will cost me way too much money and time to design anything without fully understanding whether people are in need of what we offer and whether people resonate with our brand. So, instead of me investing all these money and time, I thought why not test the market demand by purchasing some existing products on Alibaba and use that as our MVP before we go full throttle.
So, here I am spending a few hrs every week hunting for products that could allow me to test different styles and designs. Even before I started the hunting process, I already knew that I wanted to get something that could be worn on a daily basis, something a little more unique and something that offers a little more spice. With this vital experiment, I wanted to see how the community felt about all the 3 different types of products and the meaning behind each.
After browsing online for almost a week, researching and talking to a handful of different suppliers. I found the 3 products that we currently feature.
I experienced all the doubts and frustration that comes with purchasing anything bulk online for the first time. My main concern with the chosen products was its quality. Seeing as I had absolutely no control over the type of fabrics and the structures of each garment, I could only trust my gut and hope for the best. Having gone through this particular experience reinforced the importance of having high quality, comfy garments that would completely eliminate our customers' doubts when they purchase our own collection online.
As we launched just as the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the world, all the shipments were delayed. I’m sure as with everyone in the retail industry, this caused me a massive headache but it also taught me the importance of overall customer experience. Delayed shipments or non-transparency with the shipment process can cause someone a huge amount of distress and ultimately create an unpleasant experience. This has led me to create a robust communication system with our customers and ensure that they are updated every step of the way.
The Orchid Black Padded Bra Set, $55AUD, range of sizes available
The 3 main products we currently feature are:
Representing self-love, the Black Orchid Padded Bra set is something that could be worn on a daily basis and I absolutely adore the lace detailing on the bottoms.
Representing confidence, the Wild Camelia sets offer a little more uniqueness and I wanted to see whether people preferred the bralettes over the padded bras.
Representing courage, the 4-piece red rose set is a little more spicier and the bra has underwire, which both the other products don’t. So, it allowed me to also understand whether people like underwire and if something a little more spicier is what people prefer.
Over the next few chapters, we will explore the 3 products in more depth and the type of feedback we got from each that has assisted me in creating our own collection.
Note from the author
Today’s read is all about the importance of validating your idea before you invest all your time and resources. It’s hard to not go all in at the beginning especially if you love the idea but it’s so important to remember to validate each and every step of the way, but keeping your eyes on the end goal.