Sunday, February 28, 2016

If You Build It ...

I realised something important in the last week. Having no marketing plan for my business really works. And by 'works' I mean that I was getting none. No marketing = no work. Well, not exactly none - but certainly not very much and definitely not as much as I thought I'd get.

When I decided to start selling my tights it was because I kept getting comments on what I was wearing. A couple of people ordered some and they got great reactions when they wore theirs too. So I thought that all I had to do was build a website and that would be it. Orders would flood in and I'd be scrambling to keep up.

Stop laughing. Especially if you've had babies and understand the 3-sneeze rule. It applies to out-of-control laughter too. Three seconds of hilarity can spell disaster.

Okay I was naive. But I've watched Field of Dreams. I built it so they would come. Because I had a unique product.

Again stop laughing. I actually do know that there are millions of labels that make tights. So many, many, many people decide that they can be the next Lorna Jane and live happily ever after - except when the media is hounding you about your discriminatory hiring practises or not paying your models money.

Last Monday I woke up feeling really flat about work. I'd made a mistake. I'd spent money recklessly on an ego-project. Who was I kidding in pretending I could be a business woman? I don't know a thing about what I'm doing - apart from the making tights part. I'm pretty damned good at that.

Yeah, I was having a real pity-party. And this pity party continued until I had a messenger conversation with a friend. She's very knowledgeable about marketing and told me that I needed to sit down with a coffee and think about my contacts and use them. Talk to them about my product and try to get them involved in spreading the word.

I did actually know all of this but I just hate asking for help. It's how I was brought up. Don't ask - wait until something's offered to you. Be polite. Don't get into people's faces. All that kind of stuff that is fine in a social sense but doesn't work in the business world.

So I pulled up my big girl panties. I rang a couple of people. I messaged a couple more.No one told me to get lost. That I was being a pest. That my product was crap. I got a great response. And I went from feeling like I'd made a big mistake to feeling like the mistake I'd made was not pulling my finger out and start pushing my product earlier.

Building a business takes time. Building a business takes work. Building a business takes energy. And when I next feel flat about it I'm going to come back here and read it to remind myself. I just have to keep working and keep believing in myself.

I finished the week with a big shot in the arm when Iven reported back from parkrun with the news that three people were wearing my tights. I know that's hardly worth writing home about but for me it's big.

Then I saw my friend Clare had worn her new pair and had run a new PB and course record at another parkrun. Who'd have thought that cupcakes would make you fast?!

Not exactly world domination. But it's a start.


  1. Nice work Char. Keep at it. I will spread the word where I can - now I just need to run more :)

  2. I need some of that cupcake magic! Dang!
    That had to be SO cool to see your tights in action in the park. So cool.

  3. Do you have a link to your site somewhere on your blog that I'm missing? If not I would definitely add it in a prominent place (maybe with a picture or two?) so that visitors see it right away!

  4. It's a great start Char. Good luck. Can you offer them wholesale to a chain or something? Must have been a thrill to hear they've been seen around town.

  5. Now it's time for yu to get out there and run a couple more races... then you claim the entries back for marketing and you kill two birds with one stone!

  6. Sounds like you're moving in the right direction - and learning a lot as you go! And so cool to see your customers with your product in action!

  7. But Char - you were already an entrepreneur before, with the dancewear; you just added a new brand! What did you do to market your tailoring services?
    I second Angela's comment about the link! Right now the site links to the blog easily but not the other way around.

  8. I went back to school several years ago, and got my MBA so that I could one day run my own business. Yet I am opposite of you, in the fact that I am still doing the same medical job that the Air Force picked for me almost 25 years ago. It sounds like you are chasing your dreams, and that is a wonderful thing. Try to start getting your website out there by posting the link on your social media sites and here on the blog!

  9. Well they certainly make her look speedy!

  10. I would have jumped around when Iven told that, of course it's big! Now it's 3 people who knows how many it will be in a month!

    You have a great product and I'm sure your business will be succesful.

  11. Well done you! I'm not great at asking for help either but the sane part of me realises that (as long as you're someone who doesn't do it often and have ridiculous expectations) people are generally willing to do what they can. I mean, I would and you would, so why wouldn't others?!

    You're on your way to world domination. Or satisfying contentment. Whichever rocks your boat! xx

  12. Word of mouth is going to be yoUr best friend. The more people see your product out and about, the more peeps will talk about your unique patterns. I really hope that the cow print tights take off, hope you get a squill ion orders from our running group.


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