After approximately a year of launching Soy & Spice Lingerie, we had around a substantial group of customers with a handful of them we now call our friends.
To find out whether or not we have product market fit, we need to understand in depth who our customers are and what pain points they are facing when it comes to finding, purchasing and wearing lingerie. The best way to do that is by talking directly to them. So, when the year was coming to an end, I reached out to all of our customers with a short survey.
Product market fit often describes the stage of a startup where they have successfully identified who their target customers are and are able to serve them with the right product.
The survey we sent out had around 10 questions, which is quite standard. Typically, you don’t want to have surveys longer than that as you need to be cautious and respect your participant’s time. Below is a snapshot of a few of our questions.
Here’s a summary of the key findings we found:
1.Comfort overweights design
This wasn’t a surprising finding, given that intimates are something we wear so close to our bodies so naturally, comfort would be more important than the design. In my view, the aesthetics of any garment is only for our eyes, whereas the comfort of the garment is for our bodies and because we wear the garments on our bodies and not with our eyes, we need to make sure that comfort always comes first. So, I’m glad to find that our customers feel the same. Comfort can mean a number of different things to different people. It could mean the fit of the garment, the feel of the fabric or how the garment makes the person feel on the inside when they are in it. Whatever it means, the moral of the story is, fashion labels need to place high priority on creating garments that not only look good but more importantly, feels amazing on our bodies.
2. Intimates/lingerie is considered a luxury purchase
42.9% of our survey respondents said they purchase intimates/lingerie once every year and the same percentage said they purchase 2-3 times a year. The rest, 3+ times. This finding suggests that our sample treats purchasing intimates/lingerie a luxury purchase, meaning that repeated sales from customers will happen very infrequently. This makes our job slightly more difficult as we need to constantly seek new customers. Our findings also suggest that a handful of our customers return and purchase from us again the second or third time. This is great news as brand loyalty is what will ensure our business is sustainable in the long run.
3. People want to see small businesses succeed
This was one of the most heartfelt realisations when I was reading through the responses. People genuinely wanted to see Soy & Spice Lingerie do well. I think if you treat people well, they will in turn treat you well. Be as transparent as you can when it comes to everything you do.
4. Find your first 1000 true fans
Finding your first 1000 true fans often means you have identified a large enough market size to start scaling your business. Although we are not anywhere near our first 1000, we are slowly but steadily making our way there. A lot of the time, we are navigating our product market fit in parallel to our customer fit and in most cases these two go hand in hand. You need to not only find what products your customer needs, you also need to find the right customers to buy them. This takes a lot of trial and error, but if you are persistent with running different tests and testing different hypotheses, you will eventually either find your true product-customer-market fit or you will realise that there none and it’s time to move on, which in some cases, is not a bad realisation.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask feedback
Sometimes asking people for feedback is scary. I know because I’ve been there too many times. You are scared that people will give you negative feedback so you might never ask. This can be extremely dangerous when you are building a business from scratch and it can lead you down a dark rabbit hole where you are building a product or offering a service that nobody actually needs. It is critical to constantly ask for feedback within your customers or even within the broader community you are serving. Remember, at the end of the day, you are aiming to create something that your customers will love and not what you think they will love.Summary
We are still at the early stages of truly finding our product market fit. This process takes time, patience and persistence. In the next chapter, I will discuss our Social Marketing Strategy and how that’s helping us grow our brand awareness and customer base.
Notes from author
In this article, I explain the start of our paths to finding product market fit. I walk you through a series of key findings from a survey we conducted with a handful of our customers. Hopefully this will give you some insight into the learnings from our year of operation!