Starting a new business comes with many challenges. From administration to marketing and customer service there are many aspects that need to be thought through. But before any of that of course, you need to have an idea of what your business is going to do, be or offer.
The luxury market is a difficult market. Ecommerce is very complex. When you put the two together you have a big challenge. So before we start, some thoughts on wanting to start a business within the luxury sector. When you think of ideas within Luxury, you need to think for the long term, because that’s what luxury is. If you want to make fast money you should probably get into finance. If you don’t care about what you sell but just want to sell a lot of it, then you should probably get into burgers. But if you have a passion to produce something that is really going to make people smile, be proud and want to be associated with you then luxury is your homeland. Those are the brands we love. And they all have that theme running through them.
So with that said, we thought it would be helpful to outline what we believe are good starting points when considering the idea for your new business.
1. Talk to industry friends.
The first place to start is to listen and look at those in the industry and friends around you and try to learn and understand where there are limits within the industry. What are the pain points? This could be something for consumers or it could be for trade and business. You are looking out for that moment a colleague starts the ‘what if’ conversation. Question everything and ask why something is done in a certain way. Production and delivery of almost any service and product can now be delivered in a fraction of the time than it could in the past, and more in importantly at a fraction of the cost too. Learn what aggravates people and you are on a winning path.
2. Choose something you will be passionate about.
This almost goes without saying but many a business plan has been produced focussed on sales, conversion and measuring success. In some sectors that can be enough but in Luxury, as I alluded to in the introduction you will quickly be found out if you are not delivering a passion for your product. For early start-ups time is short, pressure is high and plenty of things go wrong. If you are not passionate about your business there will be many opportunities to give up. And that normally happens just as all the hard work has been done. Instead think of the hobbies you once loved, the things that give you pleasure outside of work, the moment of happiness you had on your last holiday. What was it that made that moment special? And can you recreate it? Whether its through hard times for the business, PR stories to the industry or sharing a common interest with your customer, having a passion give you the anchor from which all things are grounded. The ‘what if’ from the previous point becomes the ‘why I did’
3. Track early trends and fashions.
Whether it’s through instagram, a deep knowledge of your industry or mingling with trendsetters, knowing the zeitgeist of the time gives you the chance to be first to market, without competitors and with a head start. Spotting the trend can often feel uncomfortable. It involves sticking your neck out and showing belief in something that is only at its seed stage. But find it and then align it with one of your passions and your idea will start clicking into place. Finding early trends often involves exploring where others are not. Turn off your laptop, turn on airplane mode and go and find something that has momentum at a very small atomic level.
4. Keyword research through search engines.
Google is a great starting point to seeing what people are looking for and seeing if it’s being served. You’ll need to create a google adwords account, then start researching how many people are looking for particular keywords and phrases. Once you have an idea of popularity around a keyphrase you can go in to google, search for that keyphrase and see the results. If the results are not good quality then bingo, you have your starting idea. And search tools like Google and Bing tell you half the story. Check mainstream retail sites like Amazon or Asos to understand the keywords associated with certain products.
5. Take a proven model and reinvent it for luxury.
Inspiration can be found by looking at a potential competitor and improving on it. Would Apple have had the idea for the iPhone if there had been no BlackBerry? They could see the market and opportunity and backed themselves to produce a better product. Another strategy is to find a business model that works successfully in another country and launch it in your own country. A good example of this is Rocket Internet, one of the most successful tech companies in the world. So ask yourself whether you really need to have a unique idea and innovate when there are business ideas and models that you can really be inspired by. Often you don’t need to be new to market, you just need to be better. One caveat is to make sure that you are being lawful, so check the IP, trademarks and copywrite before wholeheartedly committing.
Finally, here are a list of luxury sectors to get you started.
- The Arts
- Automotive (cars, yachts, planes etc)
- Financial services
- Food and drink
- Beauty and skincare
- Real estate
- Travel and lifestyle