Do you own a merchandise company, but want more advice on how to see it become the best version of itself? We recently spoke to The Souled Store founder – Harsh Lal.
A successful lifestyle brand that introduced licenced merchandising in this country, this brand has more than 4 million loved customers.
Originally a bootstrapped company that started with 4 passionate young adults, now is a multi-core business with more than 150 licencing partners globally.
This journey has had its ups and downs. Which makes them the perfect guys to tell us what you are doing right … and what you are definitely not.
Want to hear it straight from Harsh himself? Here’s the chat that we had with him live on our Facebook page! Follow us to stay updated on all our future live interactions.
Let’s look at the 5 takeaways from this conversation that can help all merchandise business owners.
Quality will drive partnerships for merchandise business owners
The Souled Started started by first approaching different brands for merchandising licences. Once brands saw the efforts that the lifestyle brand was putting into the designs and the quality of the material, life became simpler.
Brands now organically approach The Souled Store team to encourage partnerships.
Fans and consumers want something unique. If you can offer designs that are especially appealing to fans, are unique and cannot be easily found in the market, your brand will have better brand recall value.
Pro Tip: Indulging in piracy may seem like an easier option. But to succeed in the long run, having licences gives you much more freedom, brand legitimacy and social credibility.
Related read: Free eBook that gives you a step-by-step guide on building a lifestyle brand from scratch
Choose your revenue model wisely
Knowing the unit economics of your business is very important. Are your business revenues mostly dependent on sales, discounts and external funding? If yes, then what happens when another pandemic arrives?
Your business needs to have a profit-based economic model. If another crisis were to arrive you still have an emergency fund to dip into.
Especially now that we are in a recessionary period and seeing one of the highest rates of Inflation, being cautious about your profits is necessary.
Related read: Inflation at 17-year high: how to protect your small business from rising prices
The holy grail of a good business
As a business owner, there are 3 things that form the foundation of a good business.
- Team Culture
- Customer Service
- Quality of products
If you can invest your time and energy into improving these three, you have set the stage for business success.
In house vs. external manufacturers
Merchandising businesses centre around the proper quality of the products.
You can partner with external companies to source products in batches. Or you can have in-house manufacturing and printing.
According to Harsh, having it allowed them to test out the products more efficiently. The changes were made in real-time and the team had a direct overview of the quality of the product.
For example, different manufacturers would have differing product dimensions for the same labelled size. Having a centralised in-house manufacturer helps enforce uniformity and consistency in the products that you sell online.
Conduct extensive beta testing for your merchandise business
Unless fans love the quality and design of the merchandise, they will not purchase it. You might think a design is witty, but it just might fail to appeal to a wider audience.
Always conduct product testing with new launches. Have focus groups that will help give you well-rounded feedback that allows you to make the best end product.
On Instamojo, if you are planning to launch a product. You can easily create a free online store and start experimenting with small batches of the product. Choose our free analytic tools from a library of marketing apps to gain insights into consumer behaviour.
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