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In this series of posts, I will be talking about the thrills and spills of starting a physical product based business. When I started my design studio 9 year ago, I had absolutely ZERO experience, and I spent a long time finding out how you get from an bright idea to having a product on the shelves of Anthropologie. I did it though – I went from having no background or connections in the luxury retail industry, to stocking high end and concept stores all over the world, with the biggest names in London – Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason – carrying my ranges.

But how?

This isn’t a “how I went from no sales to £56k in one day” story.  Yes – I did make £56k in one day, actually. But the story is never that simple. It ALWAYS involves a huge amount of time, effort, money and anxiety. And tenacity.

The preparation to launching your own physical products is a bit different now to how it used to be.

You need more social proof, especially as a new player. Much like a model can’t get good bookings unless she or he has 30k+ followers on Insta, when you start pitching yourself to customers and retailers, you want to show that you’re already making an impact with your style and visual instincts. Instagram is a good place to start, even before you have a product, with curated photography, sharing and audience building.

If your product is going to be bikinis made from ethically sourced renewable materials, it’s never too early to start curating an Instagram feed focusing on tropical beaches and eco-awareness and targeting your future audience.

What this will also do for you is give you a chance to hone your target audience. It will – or should – make you think about WHO will buy your future products, where you can find them and what their spending habits are like.

Are people who buy sustainably produced bikinis spending £20 on them? £50? Will they spend £120?

What other products do they buy (beach tents like Neso Tents, high end eco friendly sun block etc) and what brands do they follow?

How do other brands structure their pricing? PRICING is the single most important aspect of creating and marketing a physical product, and you need to have an idea of a) what most of your target audience thinks is normal to spend and b) EXACTLY how much it is going to cost you to create a product that ends up being that price.

I have a HUGE amount to share with you about creating a physical product for the first time and getting it noticed and I’m really looking forward to writing about it over the coming weeks. I’m happy to send it direct to your inbox too – pop on over to Resources, where you can get my free guide to creating your first user personas, and then I’ll be able to keep you up to date!

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