The adventures and musings of an aspiring shoe designer

Defining the Brand

While I was formulating the brand image and deciding who my demographic was I had much input from Mary. As stated before I feel this is where I went way off track, I let her change too many of my original ideas thinking that she knew better than me.  We had decided that I was going to create a Made in America brand (now that I had nailed down a capable factory) with comfort and looks being the focus. 

As I talked to women I did get the feedback that comfort was definitely in demand, I also found that a lot of the women I talked to were unaware of Taryn Rose.  To be honest I hadn’t heard of Taryn either until I met Mary and understood Taryn’s brand from an insider’s view.  It’s funny because in the shoe world everyone knows Taryn. But I am still surprised that so many people outside the shoe world still don’t know her name or even know that she has created a comfortable high heel.  She built her original company into a great success and sold it in 2008 and is now launching other shoe ventures.

It was a little strange as time wore on because in the shoe community the comfort thing had already been done, so that was not new news and no one seemed to care too much about that.  What seemed to be “different” or “new” was the Made in America part.  But in my everyday circles my “claim to fame” so to speak was comfortable good-looking heels, women would get so excited at the prospect of comfortable high heels.  In my research I found a few makers of comfortable heels and there are some great contenders in this arena.  I wasn’t worried because although comfortable heels were and are a focus of several companies now, I know there is always room for another if they are good.  I mean really can you have too many designers?  I don’t think so, not when it comes to shoes, I say the more the merrier.

The target market we defined is detailed below, straight from my business plan.

American Women age 30-50 that are college educated, making 50K +, with a demanding lifestyle that would require her to perform many tasks in a single day all while looking beautiful. These are women that understand that in order to give all that they do, they need to invest in themselves as well as in those around them.The market that we intend to serve are women that understand the investment value of a pair of shoes that are classic and stylish enough to compliment their entire wardrobe.

 Today’s woman has to wear many hats; she might be CEO, chauffeur, teacher, host and Mom all in one day.  Ventrano believes that women of all ages want to wear stylish shoes and the needs and wants of a 20-year-old woman still exist in a 50-year-old woman.  Just because you’re in your fifties doesn’t mean you want to look like someone’s grandmother.  All women love to look good, however our target market of women age thirty and over truly appreciate the value of a comfortable shoe as opposed to their younger counterparts.

 The demographics of our product reach a broad clientele base and fits well with what is happening with the American working woman.  Ventrano plans a steady upward growth as the brand is introduced into the market.   In the United States there are 8,931,739 women ages 30-50 that hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.  Out of this number 49.9 percent of these women fall into the income bracket of $50,000 or more per year bringing Ventrano’s target audience to more than 4,465,869 women. The company goal is to capture at least 1% of that market equal to 44,658 customers within our first 3 years of business.

Once we defined the demographic we really started to hone in on the brand image, this took much longer to do than it looks here.  In fact the business plan was my greatest nemesis for so long, for me it was as daunting  as I would imagine a dissertation to be for others.  Looking back I now see that defining the demographic really created the framework and this is where I started to back myself into a comfortable, classic corner.

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