If you want to dominate a specific niche of the market and really establish a strong brand, even as an indie product maker, you can do if it you just do one thing and do it better and/or differently than anyone else. Here are three fairly new players that took age-old products and have quickly making them the go-to brand.
The Herschel Supply Co.
The Herschel Supply Co. is a Canadian company (yeah!) that was founded just 5 years ago by brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack. Named after the small west coast town where three generations of their family were raised, Herschel has quickly become the backpack to own with their modern take on classic shapes but with a keen eye for detail as you can see in the photo below (I love how their logo is front and center). They are currently being sold at major retailers such as Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, and J. Crew.
Forage is a Philadelphia-based company (that started as an Etsy shop) that makes handmade ties and bow ties from vintage fabric. In a few short years, their neckties have become wildly popular in an already competitive market. The key was using reclaimed vintage materials to really give their ties a distinct personality. They have also been able to capitalize on the vintage fashion trends inspired by pop culture, such as Mad Men and the rustic wedding trend where bow ties on groomsmen are standard attire. Makes sense that their ties are now being sold at Anthropologie’s wedding arm, BHLDN, in addition to their online store.
EOS Lip Balms
EOS stands for the Evolution of Smooth and they specialize in lip balms. From the variety of fun flavors like Strawberry Sorbet and Honeysuckle Honeydew, to the cute colorful orb packaging, in just five years they have become the dominant lip balm, even though they run a little more expensive than their competitors. EOS lip balms are 95% organic, paraben-free and petroleum-free and offer SPF protection, which all plays into their success as well. You can find them pretty much everywhere from Target to Walgreens to Amazon.
How to Dominate Your Market Segment
If you want your brand to dominate the marketplace, think about what it is that you sell. If you make jewelry, why not specialize in one necklace design in which you were the original creator. If you make skin care or beauty products, maybe all of your products are centralized around one key innovative ingredient. If you make shoes, is there one distinguishing feature you can add that no one else has, be it a style feature or a functional feature.
So ask yourself this: how can you improve upon the look, the style, the materials, the taste, the flavor, the form, the packaging, the purpose, and/or the function to turn your product into a superstar brand? These products all prove that you can take a product that has been around for decades, add a new twist, and make it a market leader.
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