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I cocked-up despite reading TMF 3 times! Any advice?

Discussion in 'Ideas, Needs, Concept Feedback' started by stormjb1, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Hi guys,

    I’ve read TMF at least 3 times if not more, alongside numerous recommended reads, and still I made absolute noob errors in judgement.

    If you trawl through my profile you’ll see I was defo a wantrepreneur in earlier years looking for a quick money-maker.

    However, over the past 6 months I’ve been working on a new clothing company which I’m fully committed to.

    The Cock-Up
    I launched this clothing line aimed at a very specific group, based on what I perceived as a need without actually validating the need. D’oh!!!

    I’m of mixed heritage: British/South Asian. In conversation with my fellow mixed-racers or South Asian friends and family I always noticed complaints of how there were no fashion brands which represented us or that they wished South Asian clothing was suitable for daily wear.

    If you don’t know South Asian clothing is over the top glamorous patterns, stitching and symmetry (google ‘Sarees’). With that in mind I figured I can create a new twist on an existing product (clothing) a’la blue ocean strategy. By mixing western clothing with South Asian patterns.

    I went on to produce 100 high quality hoodies with very detailed asian pattern prints, thinking by the time I get delivery of the products I would have run a pre-order and sold out. Of course it didnt materialise that way mostly due to dayjob commitments.

    I launched my website and started influencer marketing for over 1 month now, but I still haven’t got a single sale!

    My Instagram influencer marketing has been targeted through popular asian influencers and ‘Henna’ artists. Henna is the temporary indian tattoos of which patters heavily influence asian clothing. The reach has been up ~280k instagram followers with OK click-through rates. the product posts get plenty of likes, even compliments via the comments but nothing else of substance.

    So now I’m sitting on £2500 ($5k) worth of branded stock with expenses going up everyday due to fixed costs. Moreover, I’m losing objectivity due to emotions coming into play.

    My website
    What am I doing wrong?
    Does my product suck? Or is it my website? I’ll be super grateful for any honest feedback negative or positive.

    www.jaygianni.com

    (In hindsight even the brand name sucks, nothing about it say south asian inspired clothing. Its me Jay, and my sister's cat’s Italian name Gianni. Wtf was i thinking!)

    Next move
    Do I proceed with this particular clothing niche? Or is this a sunk cost fallacy?

    I’m thinking of just setting up a market stall and sell the items at break-even if not a loss, and then retreat back to the drawing board.

    I will not quit on the clothing line mission, however am considering quitting this niche. Or should I persevere?

    I’m not getting any ‘feedback echoes’ as per Unscripted, yet.

    Many thanks
    - Jay

    TL:DR Im sitting on £2500 ($5k) worth of branded stock. Any advice on my next move?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    Greg Rutkowski, TinyOldLady and 100k like this.
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Hmmm...

    I don't think there is anything "wrong" with your line. Don't have a problem with the name either. The product looks fashionable to me.

    I'm just not sure there's a big enough hook here to compel someone to open their wallet. And at $40 (30 GBP), it really needs to be compelling. Mind you, I'm not in your target market, nor do I have knowledge of the fashion business. But i know it's tough.
     
  3. sparechange
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    U don’t even have men’s clothing up, IMO clothes look boring and plain and overpriced.
     
  4. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for replying MJ.

    When you say compelling hook, are you referring to a brand story, copy or the product itself?
     
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  5. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I wanted to get the sales ball rolling on the womens collection first before investing any further time or money into the mens. I will actually remove the mens section from the menu now.
     
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  6. SinisterLex
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    To me the site looks good overall. The designs don't really stand out on their own except maybe one or two. There's not much for me to connect with or experience. At least on the product pages I think you need better copy. Right now it just says what you get, but how am I supposed to know all that stuff you talked about regarding South Asian heritage and styles if you don't tell me? The About page isn't enough because I probably didn't visit it. So as someone just landing on your site, I see clothes that might as well be on the shelves of Target, and designer branding that's like every other designer fashion brand. That isn't to say it's bad, just that there's nothing for me to connect with. I'm not invested in your story.

    Jaygianni - Pattern and Symmetry Inspired Clothing

    Why isn't that

    Jaygianni - Where East and West Collide

    It's little touches that draw people in and get them to care. Use the word South Asian. Describe what that means. What are the styles like? How does each item reflect that heritage? In what ways? When I buy X t-shirt, how does that show how cultured I am? Again, you have to tell me. I don't fill in these blanks on my own as a prospect. Now, where else can you try advertising for low to no cost? Facebook Groups might be one place if you find the right one. Reddit could be an option too. Not sure, just throwing out ideas.
     
  7. stormjb1
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    Thanks Lex, yes I will certainly be revisiting the copy throughout the site a narrow the focus down of the messaging too this weekend.

    I've been researching fb groups voraciously in terms of marketing but 9/10 do not allow marketing even when its done in a very non spammy way i.e adding value first then promoting. Reddit's on my to my to-do list for this weekend.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. rollerskates
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    I like your overall look, but I don't think the hoodies match the rest of your line.
     
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  9. MJ DeMarco
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    For me, there just isn't a compelling value skew here for someone to say, "Oh yea, here's $40 bucks!"

    So you might have identified a "need", but not a pressing need at forty bucks.

    That as well.
     
  10. StompingAcorns
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    I read the thread, googled saree, which formed an image in my mind of what that fusion might look like. Then I looked at your website. What I saw in the clothing did not match my expectation, based on this description (quoted) and what I saw when I googled saree. I'm not your target market, so take my comment with a grain of salt - but I don't see how what you offer achieves that fusion. Did you, on the journey, unintentionally sacrifice fusion due to cost or some other consideration?

    I don't see anything in this thread about Why you are so passionate about fashion. You saw a need, which is good - but why fashion? What's the ultimate thing beyond this niche that you're trying to build? You might want to check out Storybranding, by Signorelli. It might help you crystallize your vision and how this niche fits into it, as well as the inner and outer branding behind both. That may help you figure out if your current line supports that vision or needs to be sold off so you can retry.

    P.S. I think the name is kinda cool.
     
  11. WJK
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    Some things take time and tweaking your idea. You have to find that tipping point where people decide you are OK and they want to buy from you. You have to get some trend setters to start wearing your brand. NOTHING is over night successful. It takes a time to build up your customer's desire for your product.

    I personally had this experience with my self-service laundromat. I built out a small one here on my property 14 years ago. It's the only one here in this community. The nearest other one is 13 miles away. I spent my money and built it thinking it would be an instant success. I opened it with great flare. No one came. I advertised. No one came. I past out fliers. No one came. I mailed to everyone in town. No one came. Then there started a small trickle of people. I camped down there for days and days -- giving away lollypops and talking to everyone who came in the door A few more customers came. I kept up my promoting. It took 5 years to build up the business. Now, it's a successful cash flow. When I go by, I always stop in and I still give out my lollypops to everyone who is using the facility. When I hand out my candy, I tell them it's their prize for showing up today.

    Here's another example: Lowe's built a home improvement store in a neighboring town. They spent a reported 10 million dollars. They closed it after 2 1/2 years, thinking they made a mistake. They didn't know our area, or the fact that it takes about 8 years for the average big box or larger store to become profitable. They thought they built in the wrong location -- even though they were next door to a successful Home Depot. I talked to executives from Georgia who came to close the store. They were clueless about our local market. It's too bad they were so short sighted.

    Do your research. You have a good idea. Now fine tune it for your market.
     
  12. LeoistheSun
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    LeoistheSun Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Some ideas:

    - Get some social proof
    - It looks like your using Shopify (but cant tell) get something that has a popup of "X person has bought clothing" or whatever.

    Also how much traffic have you had to your site?

    And one other thing: Did you come up with the designs? Did you get feedback on the designs before going to print?

    Oh and whats with the "Sold out" stuff?
     
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  13. Ivan sntr
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    made this mistake myself... so convinced of an idea so i skipped the validate it.

    my approach now would be...
    to look at a successful company who already has the customer base/ you know fits your customer avatars best...
    than check where they get their online traffic from (countries, direct, referrals etc.), you can use similarweb.com for that
    maybe order from the competition to see their sales funnel, if they are successful already, their sales funnel should be tested and optimized.. you could take screenshots and model the design etc. to beginn with.

    and than try to get them over to your site, a lot of tools and possibilities nowadays..
     
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  14. funkj25
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    I'd agree in general the clothing selection is underwhelming for what I'd imagine as a saree western clothing style fusion.

    The nice thing is your order was only 100 units. I was trying to help a lady the other day who ordered something like 10,000 units of a clothing item that wasn't moving.

    The hoodie isn't bad, but as a random item of clothing, why do I care?

    Clothing can be utilitarian (I'm cold, need a jacket) or it can tell a story about who you are.

    What story does your clothing tell?

    I'm not in fashion so you can take my thoughts with a grain of salt, but I'd nix every generic piece of clothing on your site right now. Re-do the design to focus solely on the hoodies you have in stock and sell the story.

    I'd try something like comparing the Saree with the piece you've created and say something like

    "You're an elegant graceful woman, but don't always love the hassle of wearing a Saree. Jaygianni hoodies help show off your elegant side while keeping you comfortable every day."

    Then maybe use a before and after comparison picture when trying to emphasize that design like below.

    Copywriting is not my strength so don't quote me on that line. You know your audience better than we do. Cater to what they love, what their problem is with the Saree and figure out how to pose your hoodie as the solution.
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. Silverhawk851
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    Silverhawk851 Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I understand where you're coming from. You're onto something, the right product can crush it.

    I actually helped a good friend do over $300k on an ecommerce store targeted towards that market.

    I agree with @SinisterLex , you need to brand it toward that market more.

    South Asian third-culture millenials 18-40. They buy online and have $. They want identity.
    The name "Jay Gianni" doesn't strike a cord. Something more south-asian/arabic feel.

    Have you pictures and creative represent that.
    Change your copy.
    Develop an identity that relates.

    Also for creative, I'd try Hand of Fatima, Evil Eye, Om symbol, different language designs, etc

    Run the hoodies on FB with "Expat" targeting. Should see decent results if you crack it right.

    Best of luck.

    p.s just shoot a message if you have any questions
     
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  16. 100k
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    The front page is way too dark. I'd go the opposite direction and go bright (by the way... isn't that part of your culture... bright colors?)

    The clothing.... there's nothing Asian about the clothing IMO. Sorry. Like Sinister said, you can find these colors and designs being sold everywhere. Might as well just call it "H & M re-branded".

    I would have imagined your product would have looked something like this (but with a twist... maybe a light hoddie, or a shorter version of the dresses).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'd recommend you find a local Asian fashion student at one of the colleges in your area ..... and have them help you design something awesome (FOR FREE) and you promote it (i.e you collaborate & share the profits - she gets her name out there) and like others have said.... TELL YOUR STORY.

    P.s .... yeah I'd probably also re-brand it.... your brand doesn't sound very... mixed heritage :/ I dunno... do market survey and see what your main demographic thinks.
     
  17. racyred09
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    I agree with what she said! I was really intrigued by the concept, but underwhelmed by what I saw. A friend of mine is starting up a platform for designers from around the world to showcase their designs that use their country's traditional patterns and materials in a Western style. I think maybe you could check it out because these designers are sort of "fusion" as you said...her Instagram is ammalya_fashion (hope she won't mind me putting that here, but it's almost like a free plug!). She posts photos from a bunch of different global brands and all of them look very traditional but still wearable for anybody.

    I like the style of your website. It reminds me of something like Zara. Who is designing your clothing? Actually, the clothing has a sort of Zara feel too, aside from the hoodies. But that's not what you described :)

    Don't give up! That's a great concept. I think it could appeal on a big scale if you figure out how to get it closer to the traditional side.
     
  18. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    I was imagining a different style also. It’s not very Asian or anything at all. I feel like you went “safe” with your designs.

    If you are going for a niche you should probably polarize your designs.

    I also don’t like the huge brand name on the sleeve of the hoodie. I don’t think your prices are out of line.

    A lot of the clothing near the bottom, with the blond model, doesn’t match the clothing with the other models.

    Overall the site looks fine.
     
  19. Blaise84
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    Hmm,

    The name is cool. Rolls of the tongue in a good way. And the hoodies look really cool!

    Before you quit, I think the website could use a little work. Like others are saying, not much to relate to on the website. No hook. What's the benefit people will get out of wearing your clothing over the big brands? Why is buying clothes on your website more exciting than, say, Amazon or Macy's? People wear clothes to FEEL a certain way...help them imagine feeling that way in their mind's eye when they first visit your website.

    Instead of saying, "Pattern and Symmetry Inspired Clothing" as the tagline, how about something with more juice to it? A bit more energizing. If it were a line of cars, it'd be kind of like saying, "Transportation and Safety Inspired Vehicles." It's obvious that the car will transport you and (hopefully) be safe. But why drive a niche brand over the more popular brands? Subaru makes people feel adventurous, Lexus makes people feel high class, trucks with mud tires make people feel macho or badass, ect. How are people going to feel in your clothing? What statement will they be making to the world while in your clothes? People that wear Nike are telling the world "I'm athletic." People in Brooks are telling the world "I'm a runner, and a friggin' serious runner at that." People in Carhartt clothing tell the world "I'm tough, and I've got grit." Help them start to feel the way they're going to feel when in your clothing.

    I hope you won't give up just yet.
     
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  20. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks so much for all your input guys. I'll get back to you all this weekend.

    On a sidenote, I feel a lot more at ease simply by posting here. I was driving my self insane for weeks overanalysing minutiae details and not having an outlet. May turn this into a progress thread to keep this feeling going. Cheers
     
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  21. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for the tip on the book. Just got it on kindle. Seems a great starting point in making the vision in my head a tangible 'thing'. Yes I definitely sacrificed my more 'out-there' designs due to costs mostly. And now that ive taken a step back I completely see ur point on how my description (which is the idea in my head) doesn't marry up with the actual product.

    I chose fashion mostly because this target market, though stereotypically considered cheapskates, spend a shit tonne on fashion, jewellery and beauty. So theres a market there. Combined with the need i mentioned in OP and I genuinely love fashion.


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  22. Greg Rutkowski
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    Recently, I ran a soft proof of concept for my women's activewear line. With some success so I will chime in...

    My instagram ads did a lot better than the influencer marketing campaign did (small amount of data) with a lot less reach. This is detailed in my progress thread on the Inside

    That being said, it is really hard to know why exactly you are not converting.

    In UNSCRIPTED, MJ talks about checklisting your channels and ruthlessly trying new channels until you break the pinanta open.

    Ok, so maybe IG doesn't work for your audience. 28k in reach is still relatively small. Probably only 2-3k people were actually in your target market. Did you make separate ads for men and women? Did you try different demographics?

    Maybe your customer is not who you think it is. Maybe it is a completly different subset of people. You need to take the time out to try different targets that you think may work.

    It could be a gift purchase from an older Indian mother. If so, she doesn't shop on IG, she shops on Devon Ave. (Little India) on the north side of Chicago.

    Maybe your target is immigrants looking to be more American.

    Either way, you need to find out who your customers are and where they shop.

    They are out there you just need to find them AND learn about them. @Carol Jones Can tell you all about getting to know your customers. Read her thread World Wide Business From Broke.

    Only once you have tapped every faucet is it time to give up.

    I hope that helps.

    Also you said you would change the copy on your website and it is still the same old copy. @SinisterLex could charge someone $1,000 for that beautiful copy. Are you REALLY serious about this business venture (rhetorical question)???
     
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  23. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for your input and experience! Ive done ig ads too. My ig ads have had very low engagement despite huge impressions and super targeted audience.

    To clarify my OP - i will not be giving up at all. I meant i may need to rethink the audience, just like you suggested.

    I certainly am serious about this business! Im prepping for an upcoming surgery in 3 days hence the lack of communication here or my site. I'll be sharpening my sword while recovering in bed for 2 weeks. And come back swinging at that piniata till my arms fall off.


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  24. stormjb1
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    stormjb1 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT IM SHOOTING FOR! Thanks for your friends ig page. Yh those are literally the designs in my head and my notepad. But Ive played it safe with the designs due to costs mostly.

    The Zara style clothing was more to draw people in with mainstream clothing and then sell the culturally inspired products. Sort of like drawing customers in with milk and bread but them leaving with a 3 tier tiramisu. But thinking now it makes no sense as it leaves the brand confused and fragmented in the customers eyes.


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  25. stormjb1
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    Thanks for your thoughts. You've pretty much confirmed everything I had in my mind. I will be narrowing the focus of the brand in the new year.

    "there's nothing Asian about the clothing IMO. Sorry."

    Agree, the White in me took over Lol!

    Jokes aside - my proper designs are very much in line with what u described and someone else posted an IG account above. But i was restricted mostly by the cost of production and also wanted to test the waters with simple products first.

    The black homepage was just for the black Friday sale.


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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017