Skip to main content

Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 32 of 32

Sustain the Plan


Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 32 of 32

Sustain the Plan


Lesson Info

Sustain the Plan

Ok, so we're going toe we're going to go into sustaining the plan because you know all this this's great we've been an imaginary workbook land for two days and then we need to go out and basically sustain it and keep it going which is the challenge is definitely challenge so revisit the key points as you grow your product to keep yourself one track I think that's important we talked a lot the first session about the mission statement about the visions that having visual having it out there so you can see it so you can revisit all times having a concept that that their design aesthetic having that out there as well um what else we had the key assumptions as well that you keep those current when you're planning when you're looking at numerous new raw materials and you supply us understanding how the updates but it's keeping things, keeping things a zoo a reminder of where you want to be which kind of keeps you on track and we mentioned this again at the beginning of the first session pri...

nciples everything that we've gone through is a set of principles that you khun you can use you can adapt to your own product tea room timeline he's a suggestions which which I use andre tools which I use on an everyday basis you know I just whenever I'm looking at is a new company I adapt it slightly because nothing is ever the same but it's a set of principles that you work within so the key is really build at your own pace so how often do you review your product envision this is this is a great one for the chat room it's a it's a question I get asked all the time is is it you know yearly is every five years is every week I mean you have to be realistic with your time you can't constantly be thinking about the mission in the vision statement you know when you could be making product because that's what that's what you're there for so I was I would always suggest kind of monthly six months lynn yearly you know but different things at different times because some of the aspects and we're going to go into these a little bit more detail some of these aspects it going to be ah happening on on a week to week basis like what what what sales what's selling better than other things these this is going to be kind of in your face the whole time it's not something that every six months I'm going to go and check to see what I sold over the six months if he did it six months leaving you may be in it bit of a trouble because you're not really you know looking at what's selling so thinking monthly so what's selling by color style material you're probably getting this information daily and weekly you know if you can look at it month and maybe its weekly for some of you guys to really understand to keep on top of your inventory and your fabric your material purchases have your assumptions changed are you meeting your deadlines? I think it's if you set a yearly plan and you any review at yearly then you're going to forget a lot of things that you didn't meet I think if you review it monthly and have these and have these goals and you think ok how did I do this month and it's easier to assess what worked what didn't work okay of your assumptions changed? Well that really depends on if you're if you're using different suppliers of different raw materials as to whether they're going to change for the six monthly is your concept still relevant or do you need a new one? This is this is something which if you work seasonally on something ah you may need to it to reassess if you're working on a very specific line for team u a little thinking about menswear and also wedding as well probably involved in two different completely different concepts whether the wedding one would change six months on the line is probably depend on the raw materials and your inspiration and where you see the direction going but it may stay the same it may have you know similar I think you're working in parallel or accessories and you work on you know, a new collection in each season, then that's when you need to start reviewing to see if it's still relevant is your time in action plan still valid? We should have some feedback from kind of from yourself on a monthly basis when you review it monthly as to whether it's still relevant, um, is your collection plan still relevant? Did you did I have grand ideas about putting a collection of scarves together in two months later, I put all my attention to silk pillows instead because no one likes my scarves could be not being defeatist, it could happen. I'm just being open to the possibility is the brand message still cohesive? Maybe I started out with silk scarf, and now I'm making something in wall like a wool sock. Well, my brand message is completely different from where it started. I need to revisit that because right now might my my mission saying my vision statement so focused on retro luxury silk artisan right now are making woolly socks, which has absolutely nothing to do with it. Okay, so I need to revisit that and make sure it's still current on be honest, what's worked and what didn't work, you know, everything that you're doing when you're putting a business together, other works doesn't and if it doesn't work is that why didn't it work? Did I not allow enough time? Was it not the right product? You know it was not skilled enough for the materials not available really kind of think about you know what goes well, celebrate the winds but also can analyze thea the challenges as well designs and products it just didn't work right and why why is that? Do you think it was just a wrong time wrong place or maybe the price or someone was prize some of the designs I didn't really get I didn't really test the designs enough and like I had this art nouveau iras where these already well like swirly ribbon things I made it out we'll instead of having a rectangle I should like fall to shape the lines and it didn't occur to me that the overall so it was kind of like a t shirt or wednesay but of course customers they looking that's just be a teacher then iris on it like uh e so I mean that's that's you could definitely learn something from us that's that's ah kind of something that didn't know which you go ok going forward this is how I can adapt this to make it yeah, I mean either mean people haven't seen craze that iris is either it's like ok, I'm not going to make a bunch of them in different colors until I at least do my little instagram test and start getting comments that is that so so look like acts yeah and the teardrops I'm going oh, you know I have all these feel like a teardrop shape in a motif in it and people say, oh it's only free guitar pick which isn't really weren't going there people to do that but that's what we're doing but that's that's the reason why you test your product that you have to kind of get that reaction you want to get it like a fresh pair of eyes on and to kind of learn from that so yeah yeah it's definitely good it's you have to look at what works and what doesn't work in order to kind of grow you know, I think I'm going to discourage all the advice have been seen lately about having a big splashy product launch some you know, keeping it secret that unveiling is like no yeah, it works it works for some people doesn't want more on this. I think you have to stay true to what your what your brand is, what your personality is and how how it works for you when you're selling so going on tio yearly is really learning from your previous I say previous collection and look at your kind of previous years uh craft fairs that you've been doing or the launches that you've been involved with, or the different kind of product groups it's again looking at the vision and mission statement mission statement should stay the same vision statement should change because you should have reached some of your goals of what you wanted to really kind of work on. Maybe if you use kind of individual words for the vision statement it's ah, you need to update them, maybe maybe it's some of the words and are no longer relevant. Well, they've been changed look at the price points that you're selling out that's another good thing to do is look a look at the competitors do another kind of competitor analysis, not maybe in a super detailed one, but just revisited, you know, keeping you all this information and looking to see how it's changed over the past twelve months is a great way to validate where you are right now or update. Most importantly, I still enjoying it that's a big thing to kind of check the box because you know, if you're spending eighteen hours a day doing something, you better like it. Otherwise you need to really count a question on if you do like it, then you know and everything is clicking into place and get timelines of working, then it should be kind of moving in the right direction. But a lot of these kind of a lot of these questions are very you have to be very honest it requires a lot of honesty aa lot of realism but that that's what you need it we were talking about superhero lady in the chat room is he knows her deadline her timelines are not realistic but she hopes by some miracle power that they kind of kick into place in the last minute it's difficult to work like that it's difficult to sustain it there's a lot of honesty and kind of realism which goes in when you're when you're doing product development in production I think ultimately from all the reviewing that you're doing whether it's monthly six monthly or yearly the key is to really kind of keep the customer engaged if you have continual customer engagement that's the reaction that you should be looking at that's it's because everyone is kind of very critical about what they're doing or self critical go I could be doing this it could be doing that the customers are still purchasing your product on the price is right is still relevant and you get it you're testing the market you're getting great feedback on instagram or twitter then maybe maybe doing a great job that's that's definitely something to take ah notice off customers are still buying sales still up that's a good thing so it's not just about how you're feeling it's a customer reaction as well so he'll building a cohesive line, you're giving them permission to buy everything, remember that it has to join it has to connect you want you want to go into a store and you want to be able to kind of go in with one idea and come out with five I I saw him, I was when I think some research, I saw a story I remember than that he wasn't on etsy was on another site, and this girl had to really great products. One was a purse like a lead, a leather purse. I call it a clutch bag, but it's actually a person there's another conversation for persistent pouches and wallets and bags, but the other thing she had was it was also super cute. It was like a little dinosaur toy, super cute. I mean, he was about this size like a little kind of tirana saurus rex in felt stuffed unpadded, but these two items were on her were on her store and I loved both of them, but I was looking at them and was looking them from from the context of what we've been talking about the past two sessions, and I'm like I like them, but I don't see the connection. But I thought, ok, so I know I just make it really hard to myself, how would I connect these? So then I started doing a little mind map of how I would connect a cute leather purse, and I felt dinosaur and I came up with key chains and I came up with on applicator dinosaur on the front of the purse to kind of to link it together. But, you know, if you go looking for a purse, you're not going to come out with a stuffed dinosaur if you go looking for a dinosaur it's unlikely you're going to come out with this stuff purse, but by putting a dinosaur in a person's so great, this is pretty cute on by a dinosaur, my niece or nephew? Yeah, it's, that kind of mindset is giving its making it really easy for the customer to go in and understand exactly what you're trying to say both great products, beautiful products, well priced, really, really well made, but I just didn't. There was a kind of I was confused about the connection, so really, I think it's, maybe tip number forty eight I'm not is it? Forty nine thank you appreciate that, so really build a story from your company mission statement this is really bringing everything back together, make it visual and engaging you know, make the make the visual aspect may the concept board just kind of really engage engaging to you because then it will make your product engaging and then seal a deal with a beautiful product it's just so simple, right breast taking lee easy and it takes work it takes a lot of hard work but there's a lot of principles and a lot of steps that you can use to validate where you are now or kind of kick into place when you're thinking about developing a new line. So final questions how often do you review and revisit your product line? And then when you do review it or if you review it, what do you think your three key takeaways they're going to be from reviewing it. So be great to get some feedback on on first of all, who reviews and revisits their product line? That would be a good thing. Nice, nice unanimous reaction here. So thirteen, when you when you review what what do you look for? Um ah. When I reviewed I look for any production and consistencies between, um, if I'm getting several pieces made, um, I look, yeah, I look for just and consistencies or flaws um, but I also tried to get in front of as many people as possible in a short amount of time so if I know that I'll see several people pull it out a lot and say, what do you think about this is the new design I just came up with are working on and just really pay attention to like what what people's initial gut reaction is when they tried on right okay um do you review the overall business do you kind of look a look at where you are, you know, every six months and go where am I with my kind of like mission? I'm I still happy with what I'm doing on my happy with the direction I'm going in there's um like I don't know if I would say seasonal but more like a trade show kind of calendar so I kind of go along with that okay and review a couple months out before those right and seal it yeah like do it when I was like oh, I just coming it's a good idea yeah, yeah, yeah this thing if I want to read a revamped the whole image or look a website or like how are you responding to things or stay with the same collection and try a new collection and you you do find it really beneficial exercise for you just to kind of like a step back and just review yeah, yeah nice do we have anything for the chaperone, chris yes, sandra glover clark's is that she reviews her product line all the time, and she has a great idea she actually she creates products around movies that are coming out, so she looks at things that give her inspiration and builds products around those so it's sort of cyclical. When every new movie season comes out, some movies come, and she evaluates her product line and birth asses that she's constantly reviewing her product line and areas for bundling and gifting. I what goes well with our baby blankets and what gives people will want to give as gifts and sassy seamstress says, I'll admit I don't review often, but when I do, I evaluate if things are selling well enough to make it worth it, to keep them available or not. That's great that's absolutely great. Um, I think I think is everything we've been kind of talking about the last two two sessions, it has to work for your time frame, it has to work for your business and also for your personality as well. I mean, if you're kind of an obsessive compulsive checker, then you're going to you're going to know what your sales are on a weekly basis. If if you know a month or six month works for you, then then focus on that. I think that the key the key element is making sure that your product is still relevant to make sure it's still links teo the mission statement in the vision statement in the concept because by its easy tio get inspired and go slightly different direction with a product and for it to be so far away from your original design that when you sell it, the customer is going to be kind of confused as to what it means and how it's connected it can mean that you need tio put different categories together and to develop, you know, a category of product which sits together maybe like three or four or five pieces and have many different categories that can also work each with a kind of vision or a concept board related to it doesn't have to be a whole seasonal change out um, it's really just important to keep it cohesive, you making product for a customer to buy, they need to understand it and they need to appreciate it on ultimately you wanted to buy a lot off it and you want them to talk about it and they won't talk about it. This is like they don't understand it, so this is kind of what I'm what I'm kind of trying to drive to keeping it cohesive, keeping everything match keep the red thread throughout the whole collection um and then yeah, keep enjoying it, that's. The main thing, the fundamental keep having fun. Yeah, that's, always good advice. Yeah. That's, easy and that's free. All right, well, now we're coming to the end of our of our session here. Huge. Thank you out there, everybody who's been enjoying this and all the feedback in the chat room. Any any final words that you want to touch on before we head out? Susie, I think being realistic with your expectations and your planning, I think keep things visual. Keep a visual reminder of where you are, whether it's key words, whether it's images looping back to it on a regular basis to keep checking in, even if it's just a kind of a quick glance just to remind yourself, is what you're doing and what the message is on. Dh. Just having fun. Enjoy the process. As soon as it starts not becoming fun, you need to start questioning it.

Class Description

Once you’ve established your business with a single, successful product, imagining what else to sell can be daunting. You don’t want to end up with a disjointed collection of products, but you do want it to be fresh and exciting for existing customers. In Diversifying Your Product Line, you’ll learn the art and science of expanding your offerings and growing your business.

Susie Breuer is the author of Blue is the New Black: The 10 Step Guide to Developing and Producing a Fashion Collection and in this class she’ll help you generate ideas and make smart decisions about expanding your apparel and/or accessories business. You’ll learn how to:

  • Research the market to understand both price and your customers.
  • Build a concept and action plan for starting out
  • Manage multiple product lines
  • Source raw materials and manufacturers

You’ll learn how to accurately assess a product's viability before you waste time and money developing it. Susie will also teach you how to develop a consistent, logical pricing strategy you can use again and again.

Susie makes the complex process of developing a financially solvent product and production plan easy. You’ll get expert-level insights into all aspects of developing a new product and walk away confident that you know everything you need to know to expand your business.



Thank you for an excellent class on a key pivot point no matter what industry you are in. One stellar quality of this course is how collaborative, friend focused peer culture and (rather than hostile competition or dysfunction competition environment and psychological atmosphere). The structure suggestions enable creativity and acknowledges different mindsets required in different phases. Susie honors the joy that comes from making and creating. She celebrates the interdependence between all stakeholders and the fun and flow as well as learnings and choices from being a 'business'. She is pragmatic but high on the inclusiveness of fun and satisfaction. She is interested and interesting: safe, enjoys being a customer as much as teacher and expressions of creative generation for herself. You can be caught up in the delight of her view of the world if you have become jaded or burnout. This brings perspective and empowerment to your desire and goals.


Susie has this most amazing experience in business - she is fashion royalty - but has an amazing ability to put all her knowledge across in a way that you can learn so easily. I was so pleased that she could show you how to learn from her experience and it would make sense for your business. Pretty much whatever you are doing. I came away from these sessions with so many ideas. But of course ideas are cheap. She has made me understand how once you have an idea, how to make it real. So many great learnings about avoiding pitfalls, practical check lists and honest to goodness 'know how'. I am already putting her advice into practice and can see I am going to transform my business just because of these classes. I am going to come back to those videos again and again. Thank you so much for making this great resource available.


I LOVED THIS COURSE. After being a small business owner for 10 years it is easy to focus on what's right on your desk at that very moment instead of evaluating the bigger picture, to forget how to look at what is working as well as what isn't and how to improve upon your process. Courses like this make me want to jump up out of my seat and get back to work. Susie kept me engaged and focused. It can be a long day but time seemed to fly by. I am really glad I got the opportunity to take the course, not only would I take it again but would highly recommend future Creative Live courses and Susie's latest book. Thank you again for the opportunity and now I gotta get back to work!