My original product idea was to sell socks (so many reasons why).
I want to sell socks because they fit into so many of my product rules.
- Could package it in a way that supports our minimum order value (red)
- High margin, and there’s room for wholesale (red)
- Can buy as a gift (yellow)
- Can buy many times (yellow)
- Light and easy to ship
- Easy fit for low returns
- Easy to tell who it’s for
So the product was socks.
But what was our concept – our hook?
I wanted a concept that would raise the perceived value of the product above being just a sock. And I wanted to do that visually.
I’m on a bit of a mission to use Instagram more with this next business – so I can share what’s working with our Inner Circle members, so I wanted people to be able to identify the concept at a glance.
I decided that I would make socks that matched for the whole family.
And we would use family pictures of “feet” to create images that were easy to identify as our “thing”.
We set up a Facebook Page called “Sock Twins” – and started building a page (no spend). And we built an email list by promising a free pair to anyone who signed up. I think we got about 400-500 names. And then we started talking about product.
That’s where we went flying off the rails.
This is where your ego can really trip you up. This is the part where I tell you how I almost made a whopper of a mistake that could have cost us thousands.
And it’s this:
MINIMUM ORDER QUANTITY.
It didn’t take me long to realize that if I was selling socks for the whole family, that’s a minimum of 5 sizes. And with MOQ of 600 per size and color, I was looking at 3000 pair per design. Roughly, that’s $6500 per design.
Multiply that by 8 designs, and I’d be buying $50K worth of socks. And without a brand, proof of concept, or a huge audience – that would be a really bad plan.
So, we hit the brakes hard.
And once I did that, I stepped back and realized a couple of things. Things that are worth thinking about for everyone.
Here’s what should have been obvious:
ONE: I had a little voice in my head question whether matching socks for the whole family was really a “thing”. Note to self – if you’re questioning yourself, that’s a RED FLAG.
TWO: Flawed concept – even though pictures of feet in matching socks might be cute, really, how many would anyone need?
People want to see THEIR faces in pictures, not their feet. Another RED FLAG.
THREE: When I sat down and really thought about it, the only people that wear socks, year-round are grown MEN. And that’s only because they can’t wear sandals and flip flops to work.
So again, RED FLAG.
But here’s the real gem. It’s the strategic part.
Going through this exercise made me realize that:
I can’t start a sock business for sock lovers. I can’t afford enough selection. The minimums are too high for a new store.
I’d have to buy from other companies, and for many many reasons, I don’t want to do that.
But – here’s the good news.
I can start a sock company for people who have a common interest. We can build a relationship with people who have an affinity for one thing. It will be easy to identify who it’s for.
We can create images that people will easily identify as our “thing”. And we can sell socks just for them.
Next Up: I’m going to share the process for ordering samples, and be talking about sourcing in China.
Stay tuned… we’re on our way!