Note: This is definitely not a promotional post for Perle de l’Orient.
Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset? Want to start your own business, but do not have enough motivation to do so?
You’re probably not scared, you just do not know where to start. Maybe you just need a little push from someone who’s started her own business, stumbled a few times, and made it in to a competitive industry.
I started Perle de l’Orient exactly seven months ago. I was inspired to start my own brand of genuine leather bags out of pure passion and love for genuine leather and bags. I admit, it was not an easy journey to take. There are so many things to take into consideration before you can actually execute what was initially called a plan or a dream. Step by step, I will share with all of you what I did and where I started.
1. Target market.
Plenty of questions were running through my mind: Which audience do I really want to tap in to? Just men, women or both? What specific age group does this audience belong to? 16-20, 18-25, 30-50, etc.
I would like to think that I had a very niche market. I decided to target both men and women, aged 21-35. Working men and women who appreciated and would invest on the quality of leather and the design.
Based on my established target market, I designed. I designed bags that my audience would appreciate. Every bag was designed to be comfortable, convenient and of great quality. They were not just random designs out of my mind. They were well thought of designs that I thought would be of great purpose to my audience. This requires inspiration. There’s no point creating great products if it won’t satisfy the needs and wants of your target audience. Else, if you think your products are going to be great but won’t be appreciated by your target audience, change your target market. From there, the way you present, brand and promote your products must be in line with your target market.
TIP: On this stage, always carry around a sketchpad or have a drawing app on your phone. Whenever inspiration hits you, draw or write.
Here are some of the designs that I want to share with you guys.
3. Source suppliers and manufacturers.
Given the sufficient time to design all your products, look for the supplier and manufacturer who can BEST execute your ideas. This one takes a lot of patience. Many will turn you down because their hands are full of projects. You will have to go places to meet with different suppliers and manufacturers and then get disappointed with how they present their products or their work ethics. Sometimes, as an undergraduate, these suppliers or manufacturers won’t even take you seriously until they are proven otherwise. However through time, you do find the one (it’s like love, haha). You’ll find that one supplier who can provide you with the best quality and that one manufacturer who can execute your designs flawlessly.
4. Be patient.
It doesn’t take a day or a week to manufacture your products. Sometimes, it will take months. And sometimes, delays will ruin your plans of launching your products, deliveries, etc. But you have to be patient and at the same time, agree to a strict timeline with your suppliers and manufacturers. And your part is to adjust to this timeline. Make sure that your launch date is neither too early nor too late. The timeline must be inline with your activities: promotions, events and promised deliveries. In the meantime, you can start contacting brand ambassadors, liaising with magazine editors and creating, networking and promoting the brand over various social media platforms.
5. Choose a specific selling platform.
Nowadays, you do not have to create a website, spend on a domain and hire a web designer anymore to create an online shop. Remember, creating a website is an additional cost. If you’re confident enough that you’ll be able to bring enough traffic on to your website, then go ahead, it’s not a bad idea. However, if you want to “try out” or “test” your products for a while, then you can definitely start with Facebook or/and Instagram. With the large number of people on these two social media platforms, you can definitely promote and sell your products in either one of these platforms and be able to tap your established target market.
6. Create a competitive advantage against your competitors.
Today, almost every industry is so tough to get in to. You have to make sure that you have an edge over your competitors. Some ideas are: (1)same day delivery, (2)cash on delivery, (3)personalization and what not. There are so many things that you can come up with and the sooner you do, the better it will be for your business. Every single day, you have to think about how you can be innovative, how you can create an edge for your brand. We live in such an innovative world that if you settle or stop thinking of new ideas on how to promote your product, new designs and etc., you will fall back and you will be left behind. Best example is Nokia (sorry to name names, but it’s true and we have to face it).
Now that you know basically almost all the steps that I took, I also want to share with all of you some things you might want to take into consideration:
– to pay your suppliers and manufacturers
– to continuously advertise and promote your products
– to pay for events such as: bazaars, pop-up stores, etc.
– MANY MORE.
3. Delivery methods
4. Customer relationships
5. Support from family and friends
I honestly feel like this is such a crucial post because it either helps you grow more confidence to act upon your ideas, or it will just be one of those useless, uninspiring, demotivating posts. But I personally wish you all the best on all your endeavors. May this post inspire you and serve as your personal “checklist.”
Credits to Je Villaroman for all the photos above.
And of course to the beautiful models: Sandy, Kara and Bea.
Follow them on Instagram: @ricciosandy, @karinavpe and @mbeavpe
On my featured image is a photo taken by: Ida Anduyan
Follow her on Instaram: @idaandu