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Research

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So I was going to talk about the logo process and the foundation of the brand, but then I decided to speak about research first. One thing I’ve learned is that the research is where you make your money. You don’t make money when you launch. Launching and the money you make is a by-product of all of the research that you’ve done, so this article is a deep in-depth dive into the research that I did in regards to sunglasses.

When I first got the idea I went and bought a notebook because I knew I wanted a dedicated place to write down all my Ideas I had for this Idea that I wanted to turn into a company. I began to write down all my ideas for it. From the sunglasses, to manufacturers, to how much money I’d need to invest and so much more. Once I had everything written down I took a tactical and strategical approach to my research.

Competitors

So before you launch anything you want to make sure you’re not the first one doing it because if no one is then there’s a reason why. It’s great risk to do something that you’d be the first in. So of course I’m not the first one with the idea of a Sunglasses company so I was good there. Then I started looking at the competitors and I found about 5 Strong competitors that were doing over $1M per year.

Now something I found out that was shocking was all the designer shades that we know today are all under ONE COMPANY! Here’s what I mean.

There’s one company that has a monopoly over the sunglasses industry just like how Proctor and Gamble does or General Mills Cereal. This company is called Luxottica. What they do is they make all these different glasses, but just put the different brands on them (Gucci, Chanel, D&G, Ray bans, Versace, etc).

When I found out about this I was EXTREMELY excited because it showed me how wide open the market was for the Vision that I had. People are familiar with these designer brands, but they’re tired of them. They are only purchasing them because of familiarity. So a young millennial like myself could really come in and make some noise.


Manufacturer

Now I watched a few YouTube Videos on finding a manufacturer and I was led in the right direction, but I definitely didn’t know how much legwork it was.

I started on Alibaba and then went on Google and back and forth. I must have talked to at least 20-25 Manufacturers in China, Europe, the U.S and a few in the Middle East as well. I then narrowed my choices down by their options they had, their customer service, their professionalism & how prompt they were with me. I contacted them as a product manager for a large sunglasses company and we are looking for a new manufacturer. I had a ton of Skype meetings, we chat meetings, and what’s app as well.

One thing that was big for me was I wanted a Manufacturer that could handle the packaging as well as the product. I wanted it all done under one roof because I knew logistically it would be a nightmare handling and managing two different manufacturers. So once I found my favorites ones I ordered the samples ( I will talk about that in a completely different Article).

Marketing

Now this was a TON of research that needed to be done because if I don’t have any marketing in place or if my plan isn’t great then no money will be made! So I dove deep into my marketing plan.

I first started off looking at things from a bird’s eye view. I looked at the product that I’ll be selling and then looked at all my options for different platforms and here are the options that I came up with.

Online Options:

Google AdWords
Bing AdWords
FaceBook Advertising
IG Advertising (Within FaceBook)
YouTube Ads
Pinterest
SEO
Influencer Marketing

Offline Options:

Sponsorships
Trade Shows
Pop Up Shops
Events
Getting into stores

Now within all of these options are sub categories as well. One thing that I wanted to ensure is that our company isn’t ONLY online and isn’t ONLY offline because there needs to be balance if I wanted to build a long-standing Brand that people resonate with.

There are a few things to think about here.

Each online platform or option takes a completely different strategy in order to resonate with the people on that platform because each platform is completely different.

Although FB Ads is great and powerful, you have to remember that Google is STILL the number one search engine in the world. Now when marketing on Google Vs. Facebook it is extremely important to know that Facebook is INTEREST BASED and Google is FACT BASED.

What this means is you can target people on Facebook based off what they are INTERESTED IN, but you can target people on Google based on what they’re currently SEARCHING FOR! Do you see the difference? There is a huge difference between what people are just interested in compare to what they are currently looking to purchase right now. Now with Facebook since it’s the biggest Social Media Platform the possibility of a marketing Campaign going “Viral” and getting a ton of Organic engagement and reach is still there as well.

With offline marketing options so many move a little slower because we aren’t reaching as many people on autopilot by just paying these advertising platforms. But one of the biggest things I’ve learned is if you don’t touch the people you won’t be successful, so offline marketing efforts will definitely be in the plan. Look at the most successful speakers, entertainers and go look at their history. I can guarantee you they’ve physically reached more people and that’ why people are so loyal to them.

Operations

Now what does operations include?

Since this is going to be a Luxury/ high-end sunglasses company I know for a fact that one of the most important things will be the Customer Experience. If our customer experience is on point then it will be easier for people to fall in love with our brand and product.

One of the books that I read to help get more clarity on this was a book called “The New Gold Standard: 5 leadership principles for creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.”

This book told me everything the Ritz-Carlton has done in order to become who they are today, so I mapped out so much from reading that book. It gave so much insight as to how I wanted our customers to be treated and how I wanted them to feel when they received the product.

Product Research

Now product research is big because one thing I know is you MUST know your product! You must be able to tell anyone everything about your product at a seconds notice.

So, I like sunglasses, but I took things to a whole new level and immersed myself in them. I learned about the different types (maybe that I wasn’t aware of), the terms for each part of the sunglasses. I learned how sunglasses have evolved over the past 100 years, and also which styles do consumers like most, and why? I studied how much Ray Bans weighed (Since everyone likes them), went to a friends’ house to hold them and feel them as well.

Another thing I researched was my luxury packaging. I researched how the packaging was for other luxury brands. I researched why they package the things the way they do. I got excited because this started to remind me of expensive things I’ve purchased in my life and the packaging has always been different, yet amazing. There are people who purchase things just for the packaging.

Another game changer I did was went on Reddit.com and read Sub Reddits. There are Reddit threads about, literally, anything on the planet so I went and just read what people were looking for, how they thought about sunglasses, how much they were paying and why they purchased and why they didn’t. This was extremely invaluable to my research and me because it gave me so much insight and taught me so much.

Last Tid Bits

A few other things I researched were what luxury websites looked like, how they presented their brand, how high quality everything was. I researched what type of tools and/or software my Website would need in order to increase the customer experience.

I researched my launch. Do I want to do a Kick starter campaign or Pre Sales? I will do a different article on that because that’s a whole conversation in itself.

So as you can see the research stage was intense, but also very eye-opening, so for those of you looking to start product based businesses these are a ton of things that need to be done in order for things to be successful and start things off the right way.

I have a few things I’ve done and will do as far as research that I will be using in another post.

Starts With A Vision

The author Starts With A Vision

Hey everyone! I’m Isiah Fowler Founder of Starts With A Vision and I’m in love with life, happiness, success, and Entrepreneurship.

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