Selling the four current items to understand our market demand and pinpoint exactly who our target market is hasn't been easy. I don’t think any entrepreneur would sit here and say that it was a piece of cake figuring this shit out. If they do, they are either REALLY good at what they do or, they are lying.
Having to balance the cost of investing in your first few products with providing the ‘right’ products that meet your customers' demand is a form of art.
The few products you currently offer might be exactly what a segment of your overall customer base is looking for, however, you need to find a way to get these first few products in front of this particularly small segment and that, my friend, takes a lot of trial and error.
On the flip side, there could be a potentially large number of people who resonate with your brand and are interested in your offerings but the few products you currently have don't tick all their boxes, so they don’t become your customer until a later date. This could result in the founder thinking that they are not offering products with the right market fit and hence, could stop them from proceeding further, or more frequently, what usually happens is the founding team runs out of money to continue testing in order to reach mass adoption.
For Soy & Spice Lingerie, I realised this conundrum quite early on. I don’t have a huge amount of capital to spend but I did have time on my hands. So, instead of me trying to test the actual designs and styles of the small range of products I stocked, I used these products to build and test our brand first instead.
To me, our brand is the most unique asset of the whole business, so if people are not resonating with the brand, then no matter how great our products are, we won’t be able to reach what we set out to do, which is to empower women with confidence, to self-love and be courageous.
To test whether people are resonating with the brand, we reached out to different podcasts across Australia and Internationally to speak about our mission and what we stand for.
I have to admit, the first time I openly spoke about what we stand for I was nervous as hell. The uncertainty of whether people will actually understand what you are talking about had my heart racing. However, after that first person's positive response, I knew I was onto something, something big. From that moment onwards, in all our branding and messaging, we spoke loud and clear about our values and the response we got was beyond anything I could ever dream of.
What surprised me the most is how different people relate to our messaging differently. To some, the self-love and care aspect of the brand overpowers the other messages, whereas for others, the idea of having the confidence and courage to push our boundaries and to openly discuss taboo topics like our sexuality and its empowerment spoke louder.
Now that we have slowly validated the idea that people are resonating with our brand, we can now work on refining the products and creating something that truly represents what we stand for.
In the next article, I will walk you through some of the feedback we got from our existing customers on their purchases and what these feedback means for us when it comes to refining and designing our own products.
Notes from the author
Continuously validating all aspects of your startup is extremely important and this includes validating your brand and your message. For me, what we stand for is just as important as the products we offer. Learning to proudly speak out loud about what your do and not being afraid of criticism takes courage, so don't be shy when it comes to telling others what you believe!