When I started Simply Clutched boutique roughly 9 months ago, I wanted to start on a small scale with just one category, so I chose clutch handbags. The idea came from only carrying clutches/crossbody handbags once I became a mother because it was small enough to fit inside a diaper bag; thus, having one less thing to carry around. Less than three months ago, I launched our jewelry collection. Then, apparel launched shortly after.
When launching jewelry and apparel, I did not know where to begin in terms of what to buy. I started browsing other boutique sites to see what they had, and started ordering what I thought people wanted. Turned out, that was the wrong approach.
Then came the day to attend my first apparel and accessories market. That day was a game changer for me. I met plenty of business women who had already made the mistakes I was making, and was able to provide so much wisdom and insight. My first stop at the market was a jewelry exhibitor where the owner (who also owned several boutiques herself) asked me, "Who is your customer?"
Before I launched clutch handbags, I created a survey of questions that I sent out to family and friends inquiring what type of handbags they preferred, the features they look for in a handbag, what brands they like, etc. Based on the responses, I knew clutch handbags was a good choice. In addition, I hosted a product testing event where I presented a few of the handbags I was considering for my store. The attendees scanned a QR code that directed them to corresponding questions about the specific handbag. All of that information allowed me to narrow down who my target audience was, thus, my customer. However, that was just for handbags. When launching apparel and accessories, I didn't do the research that I had done with handbags. As a result, I was just buying stuff that customers at other boutiques like, and not the Simply Clutched customer.
Going back to the question the woman asked me at the market, "Who is your customer?" I had no clue. I told her I had only been in business for almost 9 months, and selling apparel and accessories for roughly 3 months. I haven't sold enough apparel and accessories to really determine who my customer was. What she said next was so simple, yet something I had never thought about. She said, "Then create her!" There was a short pause, then a smile in agreement. She was right. I had to create who my customer was going to be. Next, she asked me, "Who do you want her to be?" I proceeded to tell her some characteristics, and she showed me some jewelry that exuded just that. She told me to mark prices down up to 50% to get rid of old items to make room for the new items. That was the beginning of redefining the Simply Clutched customer!