By Felena Hanson
Launching a new direct-to-consumer handbag line is more than a long shot in an extremely crowded marketplace, never mind attempting to change how people shop online.
How did you get started?
I came up with the idea one day when I was at Legoland with my son, who was five at the time. I didn’t want to carry a purse around the park, but I didn’t have a better alternative. During one of the frustrating moments with my handbag, I had a vision for a better way to carry our stuff. The idea literally popped into my mind. I saw something that wrapped around the torso with pockets up the front and back.
After making a handful of them and getting feedback, complete with wearing one myself and having strangers asking me in public where I got the bag, I knew I was on to something. But I wanted to start slow and steady because I had learned the hard way on a previous business venture how easy it is to quickly rack up debt and stress if you aren’t approaching the market the right way.
For the first three years, I was hitting the pavement and selling at many farmers markets and fairs as possible—sometimes four or five times a week. This allowed me to have face-to-face conversations with my potential customers, getting the Sash Bag on bodies and receiving important feedback. So, by the time we launched our online marketing campaigns several years later, we knew exactly who we were targeting.
How did you find your place in the handbag market?
When I founded the company in October 2012, we knew we wanted to go direct to consumer. This was partially due to my experience launching another handbag line, Bagonia, several years before. What I’ve struggled with, and know others do too, is how to find your voice and really connect with the customer.
Right now, retail is very fickle. Brick-and-mortar stores are closing down every day. And online marketplaces like Amazon are very crowded and competitive. Even though there are a lot of people shopping, they are mostly focused on the lowest price and convenience. We’ve had to really hunt for that customer who cares about a high-quality product and great customer service. The way we found them was by just meeting them where they’re at—literally.
Why have you been successful?
Our high customer service standards and customer touchpoints have made a big difference—we don’t just pump out bags. It was important to us that each bag be handmade and include a handwritten thank-you note in each shipment. Those are little touchpoints that people crave and miss, especially with technology shopping. Customers think of us not just as a product, but as a lifestyle and family.
What was a pivot point in your business?
Our first Kickstarter campaign in 2016 put us over one major hump. It made us get savvy with video and helped us reach a new level of eyeballs. Our threshold was to raise $29,000, and we exceeded that by over 250%.
Published at Sat, 14 Dec 2019 18:27:21 +0000