Problem: How do you launch a successful product in a centuries-old industry?
Laura McGuire from Hipstik had a problem. Actually, a lot of women had a problem. When it comes to women’s hosiery it has been an uphill battle with little to no progress for years. After buying uncomfortable products for too long, she decided she could be the one to make the change. But how do you design, market, and launch a product in an industry that has always stayed the same?
The Steps Toward Progress: Hipstik’s story
Step 1: Market research
Laura was able to find consumers (for research) within her circle of friends, family, and acquaintances. But since she had a background in product development for other entrepreneurs, she also had a pretty good base in the marketing space, who would give her good, honest feedback.
Customers are going to be who drive your business. So making sure that all of their pain-points were included in the design of the product was really important as the first step, even before I got a manufacturer.
Step 2: Product research
What Laura found about this particular category was that consumers have been like zombies, following the traditional and well-known brands all their lives. Not only that but the products and manufacturers themselves were like zombies, making the same products, day after day.
It rang loud and clear that women were not okay with how they were being made in this tubular way, not accounting for the shape of women: women come in all shapes and sizes.
Step 3: Finding a manufacturer
Laura looked, specifically, for a manufacturer who is based in the US and not overseas. While the cost-savings for overseas manufacturers were noticeable, she emphasized the importance of reflection and considering “are the savings worth it?”
I loved it when we were sitting in a meeting with the manufacturer and the owners said, “There will be brands of the future and we want to be part of it.” That just struck me. There will be people out there–vendors–who can be passionate about what you’re doing and that’s who you should hire, versus worrying about if they have the right equipment or people. If they have the passion, you will find a way.
Step 4: Finding a team that works well for you
Laura’s business partner is also her husband and while this type of situation isn’t ideal for some, it is for them. They are so passionate about building the brand and products and have a natural desire to “talk shop” at any time. Because of that, their situation works wonderfully.
She suggests that, if you are in business with your spouse, and you feel burnt out and aren’t able to talk about the work all the time, perhaps you should find your passion in your work again; that the problem doesn’t lie in your relationship with your partner but your relationship with the work.
It’s less about the product and more about, “Do you believe in what it stands for?” and he definitely believes in it.
Step 5: Marketing
You need to have a learner in your group who is constantly thinking of new tactics and keeping up with the trends of the market, new spaces where consumers are, and new ways to drive consumers to your site.
Marketing is the fuel that keeps your company in business.
When it comes to marketing on Facebook, the important thing to remember is to focus on the consumer aspect. Word-of-mouth is still the most vital aspect of marketing, especially when it comes to social media. Check-in with your customers, and make sure they’re satisfied.