Sunday, February 12, 2012

Launching a new product

Today I'd like to talk about launching a new product.  What's that Ms Chatshow-Host? Have I a new product out myself?  Well, yes, I do, as a matter of fact and thank you for asking. Would you like me to tell you about it?

Well, I know I said you weren't all to hold your breath a little under three weeks ago, but I have in fact already started producing silk scarves.  I wasn't going to until the summer.  I was testing out different fabrics for scarves so that I could decide what to order.  I took them round to a friend for some market research.  She immediately requested a scarf right now as she needed a gift for a friend.  So I made another.  I then still had three perfectly good scarves sitting here and it occurred to me that if my friend wanted to buy one now, so might other people and the money for the first sales would come in handy to recoup the big outlay of setting them all up in the first place.

Now, however you display them, three scarves look a bit sparse.  So I made four more.

Seven scarves have been delivered to By Local in Cheltenham this morning!

Tomorrow will be a day off and then on Friday I start a batch of silk-painting classes for a few days.   This leaves about two and a half days in the middle of the week.  There really isn't any point trying to get stuck in with pottery in that time frame as anything I make will need working on during the time I am teaching.  So, guess what?  I'll be making a couple more scarves this week.  Then I will stop, I promise, until later in the year.

So, I was going to talk about launching a product (other than advertising my own new product.)  I do think that getting the presentation and placement of a new product is vital.  If you go about it half-heartedly then some of your first customers will always remember that it's a bit of a half-hearted product.  It should look as it's going to look when it's become a regular feature of your range.

If I have a new design on my pottery it's a fairly simple thing to launch.  Pictures everywhere people are already taking notice of my work will generally do it.  These scarves, though, are a completely different thing and there is so much to think about.  Here's a summarised version of how I went about it.

  • Will they be labelled?  No, I don't want to sew a label on and detract from the design. 
  • How will people know how to care for them, then?  Well, there'll have to be a label of some sort available somewhere.
  • How will they be displayed for sale?  Ah.  Well, I don't want a huge stand with them all floating about.  Also I worry about their being kept clean.  So in a bag - which can also contain the label.
  • How will people know what the scarf looks like when worn if it's folded up in a bag?  Hmm.  OK, photos of the actual scarf in different styles can go on the label.
  • But how will they know what the scarves, and especially the different types of silk, feel like?  So, I need some samples of each sort so people can feel the samples.  And the samples will help convey what a loose scarf looks like compared with one folded up in a bag.
  • If you put your website address on the label as you usually do, won't people think it's a bit odd when they don't find any reference to scarves on your website?  (sigh)  Yes. Yes, ok, I'll update my website.
  • Shouldn't you have updated information on your page of By Local's website too?  Tomorrow, ok?  Tomorrow.

And the result?

and of course here on my website. 
Product launched.  I must say, I'm looking forward to my day off.