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Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 5 of 32

Who's Your Competition?


Diversifying Your Product Line

Lesson 5 of 32

Who's Your Competition?


Lesson Info

Who's Your Competition?

Who is your competition? Okay, so you are the gold egg amongst the white eggs of this world now one thing is, um I had my own company a couple of times and it's failed miserably both times because I just fired the most unique product in the world no one I have no competition um not kind of like being unaware of another market or competition kind of killed it I had this kind of arrogance about what I was doing everyone has competition in the market everyone and competition is a good thing I'm not saying that you should you should kind of ignore it will be worried about it competent having competition is very healthy helps you really kind of find tune where you are with your business and so I have a question really since I why is it risky to ignore competition? Well, I think yeah, one day that I did wrong ignoring my competition is I know their name, their own possible cuts are over in alameda and I didn't realize that they were pricing their laser cut jewelry so much higher than mine un...

til I went in a boutique there was interest in mind sold their lines I your stuff is so cheap I can't sell it at that or be unfair, you know right I'm ends like really oh gosh I hadn't realized yeah its's leaving money on the table my other retailers it's fascinating, it really is a senior to start delving into your competition and understanding who else is out there? It really helps you tow to rationalize and to kind of structure your business and all different elements I always I always kind of given example when you're talking about competition is if you would if you were looking to sell a house everyone you know, once one time in our life has has a property that they're so emotionally attached to, so when you're selling it, do you put it like a super high price? Because, you know, it's been a great family home it's amazing? Or do you look at the the, you know, the competition of the other two bedroom apartments that, you know, you have to take into consideration that's what everyone god is looking at? So I use that example a lot when we're talking about competition, because I think it's it's helpful to kind of put it into a kind of realistic terms, ok, so for me, competition really validates the product, ok? They validates that there's a market. First of all, it validates there's a price structure that you can work within, and it also validates that there's a demand um and all of these three things I can't crucial for really kind of driving your business and understanding where you said so, it's, how do you determine your competition? This is this is the hard thing, and it is time consuming, definitely time consuming. When you do it, you need to do something cool competitor analysis. So I built a whole competitor analysis for my for vice susie scarfs. So the reason why I mentioned the competitor analysis is it's it's, a very big spreadsheet and there's absolutely no way on earth. I could have fit it into one of these slights, ok? So I've given a couple of lines of it, but to really understand fully, um, I really recommend having a look at that. So for me, we're not thinking about the competition, regardless about whether I'm only looking to sell on on etsy is I look at the whole competition, I look at every price point because you need to know what the full spectrum is in order to kind of put yourself in the right position, so I'm looking at large companies and also small companies as well. The large companies I looked at global brands I looked at private labels on, I looked internationally and domestically as well looked at everything ok, small companies are looking at craft markets, online designers and independent retailers, so I looked at the full, full spectrum, so when I look today, um and I can tell you I have like a brand positioning chart which I can show you later and explain who I really kind of looked at and where I found myself in the end I was looking at what product they sell because specifically with with scarves and also you'll find that where the products that you're already selling that there's the certain parameters that you work within so the scarfs they generally come up with like a thirty seven inch by thirty seven inch square or you can have the long ones or the infinity ones there's very kind of specific sizes so I wanted to look at a thirty seven by thirty seven every company I looked at that's what I was I was doing an apples for apples comparison rather than comparing an apple to an orange ok so I was looking at what products do they sell I'm looking at where they sell it what materials they use I was looking at what price points but from and to so if they had different price points for the same product on I was looking at how many colors per style how many options they had so I looked at quite a lot of information and I basically started out this is a very simple two liner really of the competitive analysis it was done on a google doc or even a microsoft excel very very simple sheet I don't use any fancy documentation at all I'm normally a pen and paper girl work very old school way back of an envelope, whatever whatever I need but I these air the columns you'll find in the big competitor analysis so I put my brand the the other competition it's brand which rhymes with termers but the product, the material, the retail price, the style color options on the comment one thing that I have just seen which I missed out was this size this was a thirty seven the top plane one is a thirty seven inch by thirty seven inch um and this is this is basically it this is the starting of a competitor analysis so if we were working with jewelry, you do a similar thing you'd put for the product ah necklace the material you were working with the retail price and any comments, whether it was a special occasion or whether it was we had two semi precious stone in it and you just basically build out the analysis is until you've covered five to six different competitors and you really kind of covered that in its entirety and then then what you need to do is then look at it and really analyzer so the analysis takeaways that I usually work with is what of the retail price points from into what's a market entry price point? So what is the entry into the price was the lowest price that you see a scarf of the same quality of the same size that you're working with what's a reasonable price value relationship so you know, if someone selling something for, like, four hundred fifty dollars um and it's someone on on a craft market and then someone else is also selling something for, like, sixty dollars and it kind of looks the same there's a there's a price value relationship question that you need to think, why would what's so different about the one of four hundred fifty when I could buy something at like sixty five or fifty still hand rolled it still silk still printed so it's that kind of question we should be going through your mind when you're looking at three analysis how many color and style options is it a one off? Is it you know, the same in three or four different colors um and what's their unfair advantages a brand? Okay, we're going to be looking at this very particular question unfair advantage a tw the next few slides also on the unfair advantage is a great way to slight what is your selling point? What your unique selling point why would someone buy something from you rather buy something from, uh another kind of similar brand? Why do some people buy a scope a scarf from hamas rather buying my scarf why we both have different approaches both making scarves but it's a different approach to it ok so those are my analysis takeaways that I normally kind of think about when I'm doing a comp analysis and really so this is my brand positioning this is where I after after doing the competitors now isis I kind of looked at all the information ah I looked at the price points they were selling out luxury label was home as private label was brooks brothers these guys here was loren ralph lauren I had to scarf brands from the nordstrom website and then I had to crafters on at sea ok so I looked at super luxury I looked at more brands which is kind of like general middle of the road I looked at a couple of crafters as well so you see here that we have artists and crafters on one level and super luxury fashion on the right going down we have entry price point is fifty dollars and it goes up to four hundred fifty so um where I pitched myself so you can see really where where these actual luxury labels are in these other private labels so private label brooks brothers is it's kind of slightly more towards kind of this price point if I remember rightly there their prices round about one hundred twenty five something like that luxury labels for fifty I think these guys around here we're around about eighty something like this and then we had a kind of between thes guys here had had a new interesting price structure they were pricing between I think between sixty and one twenty five for the same size of scarf uh custom so they have a kind of like a roaming price structure these guys around about sixty so where I sit here I want to pitch myself uh still being accessible because I'm the starting out brand I want to put myself in a position where I can add product and get it richer by adding well prince adding different techniques but I'm a new brand I want to start out in a very cautious way and just kind of test the market so it was important for me to start at a manageable place on guy see myself somewhere kind of like slap bang in the middle of luxury fashion and artisanal craft okay, yeah but all this are you constantly in the back of your brain going back to your mission and your vision statements as far as you're doing all this research where obviously susie scarves is a narvaez yet know and maybe susie scars doesn't want to ever be your meds, you know? So I always feel like that's a constant struggle to a ce far as going through that process and going back to your mission statement and being comfortable with that evolving and either whether or not that means saying yeah I want to be your meds like tomorrow you know what I mean or whether it's saying you know what I really like doing what I'm doing on this small scale on and I like having my hands in many pots and I like this part of it and not feeling like that there's some sort of expectation where you have to become her moez more feeling like there's some sort of failure if you don't keep growing and growing and growing and how to manage your what you like how did constantly ask yourself what is it that you want out of it and then create that you know in a smaller scale if that's what you want it's definitely it's it's that's that's really crucial point the purpose of doing the mission of vision statement is so that you have something to come back to you constantly have a reminder it's just like why why am I doing this? Who who am I? What is my vision? What am I doing? I never want to be a mess if this is not why I'm doing it and as soon as you start thinking well hermetic dinosaur you know brooks brothers is doing this and so I really she kind of should be going down that route then you lose track of who you are it's like what your your creative concept is on dh that's why it's so important to have something visual in front of you to remind, you know, this is not this is why I'm doing this is because I want to introduce I want to bring the creativity and the design of retro scarves in this case, and I want to focus on that. And now it's my driving creative force, I don't want to be kind of a french italia making beautiful scarves at four hundred fifty, they do it really well, they do it excellently well, but this is not my vision. My vision is to create this particular company for me being close tio my mission, so absolutely it's really hard to do that. And even when I was putting this thing examples together and I was doing the competitor analysis and I was looking at what I could do this and I could do that before I knew it, I was like creating kind of like another luxury line which was going to be sold in milan and top model was going to be wearing it and you are issues, we're going to be like and this is like, well, hang on a second let's, bring it back to where it needs to be, so it is unbelievably difficult. To keep things on track, which is why I can excuse me. Why it's so important to have something not just in your head it's like no, this is my my mission. Have it written down. Have it have it on a big poster on a pin board in front of you. So you know it's like you said before, you know, is it snarky? No it's, not snarky. Okay, let's, put it to one side. One second is exactly the same is being very true to who you are and who you are, what your product is. So a cz anyone? Is anyone in the audience when we checked with online as well used to seeing one of these a total brand positioning charts, there really is. This is just an example which are used as a template. A lot of the brands that I work with when they're creating something tend to use these. But if you just kind of google in brand positioning chart online, you get all different kinds of examples that you can use is as ten plates and really the variables of what you put on the different axis. But take a little can you find some great examples? Online user is just to kind of understand where where you sit in the in the market, anything from a chat room on this now we have some people saying that this was completely new to them they've never seen something like this before, which is fantastic because I think this really helps visualize your brand a little bit better and make it something tangible yeah, just a big idea. Yeah, actually about your specific one these are just your silk scarves, right? It's purely just hear one product as well is I, um when we started out, we talked about in developing diversifying a product line. This is by one idea which I'm actually building the product line I have ideas of exactly how I want to diversify it further down the line but right now it's it's my one product yeah, captain, you have a question we didn't actually do a chart like this when it took a business class, but they were saying any new, you know, compare us out your competition from anderson out all julie, all jewelry and that's an awfully broad me on and so should I be looking simply out laser cut jewelry or at yeah, I every they focusing on let's see if you start really broad it's going to be so overwhelming yes and immediately it is like where would you be? I wouldn't even know what whether later in the world of juries too big, I would definitely start with laser cut andi I would because you do you later cut your we also dio christmas ornaments steampunk christmas ornaments I would take both of those separately and do two different brand positioning creature that's gonna be server for each other yet I would focus in on the technique first of all right, I would use that kind of technique you see where you sit with that then it's easier to start um then you could kind of add the materials in a swell on dh stop broadening out start with small and build our is much more manageable, I think and an easier process to work within rather than that the whole of the world where do you sit in the whole of the world it's like you know because they were so you look at you know, the entire bay area market of people who might want to buy some type of jewelry was like uh oh my goodness I would probably hide under a duvet someone told t decent I would just like no peace out I'm going that's it start small and expand out that's why I think they're very helpful no teo would you stop talking about figuring out where we land like I have to look specifically letter press because it's a completely different process yeah yeah definitely it's it's that's a tough one so really kind of my tip is studied isn't existing brands which out there and the kids for me it's kind of learn about their successes and their failures you know everyone kind of succeeds or fails at something and failure is isn't this living wrong with failure? It's a learning experience you can with the urine it yourself or whether you're kind of watching other people that are the price point didn't really work okay, I should make a note about that you know these are things that you you need to be kind of looking and learning from things their own experience so really I kind of look a kind of competition is not about copying I I have a I have this quote which my grade school teacher used to say to me all the time and I did not copy I hasten to add this is not because she kind of caught me sneaking when I was eight but any fool can copy even a chimpanzee and that's something which is stuck with me for many, many years on dh looking the competition is not copying its its understanding where your product is going to say ok so next question is make a list of your three possible competitors for your new product or your existing product so quickly I mean katherine, you already have you have an idea of your competition is right now, which is which is great it kind of keeps them on their toes because you can kind of keep dipping in to see what they what they have a studio audience fatima how do you know who you are? Competition is any kind of dio hot exactly they're interesting and share that information you just going to kind of keep it keep it away. All right I like that I like that you caught me with no, I don't actually no that's all right, but I will unique product yeah, I like that. I like that before we got that it's the letter first greeting card world the stationary were world in general as faras small businesses go is so incredibly unique yeah, they're all my friends like we work together I create a a product that's happening this week at the national stationary show which I usually attended I'm just taking a year off this year and I create a scavenger hunt that includes twenty three other companies wow, they sell the same stuff I sell but the thing of it is is we all have such unique voices as far as what we're producing even though they're all quote unquote greeting cards. You know a lot of us always say there's plenty of room on the shelf for all of us so it's hard for me to look at any of them as competitors, right? Yeah, but what I look at more so or maybe where I struggle more so is that the trends that happened within the greeting card world tend to take off and tend tio engulf so many things, so many people all at once, right, for example, like hand lettering, is really big right now to take everywhere you go, you'll see foil him muttering and that's not me. I don't want to be foil hand lettering and I think it's perfectly lovely for other people to be foiled here. Absolutely yeah, it's really focusing your product and what what is right? Feel the right essentially being able tio keep creating what I believe is a value and is too to my brand, right, and having it still be able to have a place in the market. Win hand lettered foil is booming. Yeah, or watercolor backgrounds are booming. So how do I make it? So that although that's taking place and I don't necessarily want to be a part of it to still make it so that what I'm doing is sellable, you know? And yeah, I mean that's, that's, that's, that's always tricky because you always get there's always going to be kind of like you know your highs and lows, peaks and troughs and every product and it's some things are always going to be on trend. I think for me, the best way to approach it is again. Go back to your vision, go back to mission. You can't be all things to all people, right? You know, if you start kind of like, you know, following every single trend, then you're going to lose your identity as a brand because you always have a customer base. You always going to have people who come purchase from you. They may not want to have the foil, you know, but if you kind of you may spread to saudi more finley, if you don't go down the foil route and not example, so I would say, come back to your vision and your mission statement. You look at it's just like it's it's, right, for my run? No, not really good luck. I'm going to focus on what I'm doing, and then the tide will turn and the trends will come back again, so I would look at that.

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!