Questions

Torn. Should i launch direct in market or do i spend the time to align with women's groups that focus on women in business & use them as springboard?

Here is the beta site www.rciprocity.com/miyabi Currently working on a new socially conscious luxury brand, Rciprocity. The heart of luxury - buy a bag, build a woman owned small business.

4answers

I think you should do neither. You need to crystallize your intention and brand message on several levels, and make sure that your product and business model are revolutionary enough to make a splash in the fashion pond. From there, you can launch and then immediately alternate between courting press and aligning with "women in business" (not sure who you're referring to exactly). But of the two, press and drumming up sales are the most important. Once you have some footing, you can work on aligning yourself with the right brands for strategic partnerships.

Ok but back to your product. it's unclear who you are and what your product is. In your about section, resist the temptation to make it just a string of attempted taglines. You are saying a lot of words that don't, in the end, "say" anything to me. You want at most, two really, really strong taglines that explain the essence of what you do and how it's different from what others do.

I am going to just dissect company's about section

"Rciprocity is The Heart of Luxury." Ok, this doesn't say anything to me because there are thousands of companies with the same tagline. Kill this.

"We create extraordinary handbags, so women can create an extraordinary life." This is very vague.

"The first luxury brand and platform with a social mission – RCI – Recognition, Contribution, Inspiration." This statement is not true, there have been plenty of attempts in the luxury sphere with social consciousness as the peg toward purchases. Do research on Donna Karan's initiatives or the 7th on Sale Fashion Fund. Look at http://www.shopethica.com/ and others and figure out how you can do what they do, but better.

"Traditional handbags do a poor job of telling the world who you are." Is this the problem that you think most women have? I would argue that most women can articulate who they are but they can't find well made bags at reasonable costs which makes me wonder where your bags are made.

"Rciprocity is breaking all the the rules to bring you handbags and clutches that are socially conscious just like you." Cut this and get to the point, how are they socially conscious?

Each bag helps women in need to be self-sufficient by funding education projects and small business aspirations. Ok great,. What are these education projects, are you doing them. Are they in conjunction with another business or non profit?Small business aspirations? I'm wondering how the money is put to use in something that is merely an aspiration. Maybe cut "aspirations"

"Unlike other designer brands, these bags can’t be imitated. Why? Because the intrinsic value of each bag lies in what each one sold means for the global community." This makes little sense, try not to make vague, brushstroke statements like this. The bags can be replicated.

"Each Rciprocity bag sold gives 10 per cent of the retail price toward our Clutch Fund. The Clutch Fund is then allocated to women in need." Ok great, this should be your opening paragraph after any tagline you put up. you need to go into what the clutch fund actually is. in concrete details (backed with numbers) what value does it bring to women? Also who are these women? Are they impoverished?Are they in the US? How old are they? How did you find one. How does one apply for funding? This is all info that you need to outline the last few paragraphs. Not to burst your bubble but 10% doesn't seem to be a lot.

Ok I'll stop but the rest of your about us section doesn't say who you are, how you came to this idea, how (in concrete terms) it helps women. Where are these bags made? Who is making them? Who is designing them?

You should list yourself as the Founder of Rciprocity, not as an aspiring makeup artist, this dilutes and distracts from the purpose of your project.

Your bags are not bad but they do look like bags from Tory Burch, Michael Kors, etc I am only letting you know that because of this, you need to try much harder to distinguish the background of your project to get people and press to pay attention. Once you've figured out all of this, I could see it being placed in People, US Weekly, Lucky and InStyle easily.

I hope all of this helps, best of luck!


Answered 5 years ago

First: I like the website but the friction you create with the email sign up is crazy. Be careful with it and measure the conversion between people visiting the site/sign ups. If the friction is too high there may be a problem.

On which strategy to take, I think if you are asking yourself about aligning with women groups you are asking the right question. You should focus on getting a few loyal users that can teach you where your product creates value for them. With the feedback you can push forward into focusing in the strengths and trying to create a community around it.


Answered 5 years ago

Looks like a cool concept that would be perfect for a crowdfunding launch. I understand your question on either or, but I think you can ultimately do both at the same time. As part of the 9 stages of crowdfunding which occurs 3 to 6 months before you ever launch a campaign, you ultimately will be marketing through social media, reaching out to media contacts, and bringing together your traditional network in order to execute a successful launch of your business and products. Here is a blog post I recently did on LinkedIn that might help you understand the process better: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/9-stages-crowdfunding-success-manolis-sfinarolakis?trk=prof-post

If you decide to do one or the other, I think the best way would be first to go direct to market and prove your concept with individual customers. Once you have some testimonials of individuals who are excited about your business, you then have something to show the women organizations who would be more willing to take a risk on a new business if they see customers using it who are happy. Hope this helps!


Answered 5 years ago

I am so excited about your venture! Congratulations. If I can be useful to you, let me know. I advised fashion and socially conscious, women-led endeavors while helping found Women's Startup Lab in Menlo Park.

The brief answer is you will not regret allying your brand with women's business groups. Growth may be slower than launching into market directly, but your risk will also be somewhat more diverse. And you will get feedback at scale.

I would love to hear more about your goals and progress. Let's definitely talk!


Answered 5 years ago

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