Every week, we look at the startup or online business of a future success story from entrepreneurs in our community to provide them with constructive criticism and suggestions for taking their ventures to a higher level.

This week, I met with Rashed Holloman, founder of Different Cloth Clothing.

Rashed has had passion for fashion and music for over a decade. After starting Poetic Wear in 2005 and having worked with big names in the industry, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. A little over a year ago, he started Different Cloth Clothing with an inspiring story.

“I knew I was different not in a bad way. But it was the fact that I was trying to stay on a straight path while everyone else was detouring. Being different is the new normal. If you think normal is how society accepts people, well I’m telling you that everyone’s different and if society wants to say that they only accept normal than different is the new normal.”

Rashed

Other information about Rashed’s business:

  • He sells T-shirts, hats, jackets and hoodies, a total of 16 products.
  • He sells his products online. His e-commerce site is built on Wix.com.
  • He built relationships with influencers that helped him boost sales periodically.
  • His home is his factory and distribution center. He does everything by hand.

His question:

With the limited resources I have, how can I differentiate my brand in this highly crowded industry and boost sales?

 

First and foremost, know the numbers, capacity and logistics.

At this point, the three questions you need clear answers for are:

  • What’s my margin on each product?
  • How many can I ship every month?
  • What’s my plan if demand exceeds my capacity?

Before executing on step 2, you need answers to those questions.

Second, spend more time learning what the customer thinks and wants.

  1. Take a sample of all the products (16) you currently have.
  2. List 3-5 locations where your buyers walk by or hang out (online and offline).
  3. Approach them with a request to look at the products and share their opinions. A hundred interviews later, you’ll learn what the customer likes and wants to see.
  • Take a Square reader and offer the product for pre-sale.
  • Take a picture with those who buy and make sure you ask for their Instagram and Facebook accounts to tag them.
  • Ask them to refer you to one person they know who can give you their honest opinion about the product. Every time you meet a referred person, ask them for a referral.
  • Keep the contact information (name and email) of those who don’t buy but interested in learning more.

This approach will help you boost sales, spread the word and understand the customer. With this, you should know what sells and will most likely sell. Let go of every other product.

Third, switch e-commerce platforms.
The existing site is built on Wix which is not made for e-commerce. It’s a good inexpensive and quick option if you’re looking to build an online identity for your company or yourself but not an e-commerce site. Shopify is a better option especially if you don’t want to deal with the technicalities of creating your online store.
Fourth, find the accelerators.

  • Instead of focusing exclusively on attracting A* influencers, begin by reaching out to influencers with decent followers, 10-20 thousand. More importantly, you’re looking for people that believe in the story of Different Cloth Clothing: to those who are staying on a straight path while everyone else is detouring.
  • Co-organize social events to unite like-minded people around the brand and the community.
  • List the top influencers in the industry, reach out and tell your story. You only need one person to believe in you for other big names to believe in you too.

In a few paragraphs, those are my recommendations given the information I have. Keep hustling.

Aspiring and starting entrepreneurs, if you want an evaluation and recommendations, reply with some information about your venture or idea when you get my welcome email after downloading the ultimate guide below.

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