Ask the Mompreneur: But Will It Sell? Advice On Product Viability

By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer.

This week’s Ask the Mompreneur features an interview with Kwame Molden, who designs and sells unique wood watches for men. Molden is the co-founder of Springbreak Wood Watches.

Question: As the manufacturer and retailer of high-fashion wood watches, how did you determine if your unusual product would find buyers? What tactics did you use prior to making the investment in inventory and marketing?

Answer: The question of product viability was indeed a question that played on our minds as my co-founder, Maurice Davis, and I began to develop our brand. We wanted to create an eco-friendly watch company, but cater it to a demographic that was unfamiliar with this type of product. We were very passionate about this product, but we made sure to do our due diligence to confirm that other creative individuals would also want our watches.

For other entrepreneurs looking to answer the same question about an idea, I recommend three key steps that should help confirm that there are real buyers for your offering.

1. Analyze the competition.
You should first begin with researching existing offerings in your category and see if your product is already being sold. Checking out your potential competitors in the industry and looking for current market trends will definitely give you the initial confirmation that there’s demand.

Don’t be discouraged if someone is selling your service or product already. This is actually a good thing because it means that someone has already tested the market and discovered that there is a problem that your product solves. When we first decided to develop our unique watches from sustainable wood, we thought we would be the first to ever do it.

After a quick Internet search, we noticed that we weren’t, but did find that there were plenty of gaps and opportunities for us within this wood watch space.

If your product has not been sold before, you might be in luck as well. You now have the opportunity to introduce a new product to the world. In this scenario, you should analyze the market for complimentary or even supplemental products to help you solidify your idea and reach out to individuals within your warm market for feedback and support.

2. Define the target customer.
After discovering that there was already an emerging market for wood watches, it was important for us to determine if the target market we wanted to sell our product to would be willing to buy our watch. With this in mind, we started to get to know our target market a little better by defining and outlining who they are.

This is an important step because the more you understand your target customer, the clearer view you’ll have of how and why they’ll buy your product. Defining your target customer will not only help validate your product idea, it will also assist in the creation of marketing materials and potential campaigns.

3. Determine the price.
Price is a critical component because it sorts out who is and isn’t your customer. After analyzing the wood watch market and defining our target customer, we came up with 2 conclusions related to price. First, other wood watches were slightly over-priced and second, our customers would respond best to a product that was moderately priced.

This has proven to be an important reason why we have succeeded in accomplishing our goal of repeat customers within our chosen demographic.

Make sure you do your homework so can set a strategic price point. Ultimately, I suggest just putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and look at this buying decision from their point of view. This should help you out the most!
Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book “Ask the Mompreneur” and the founder of the social shopping website

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