Can a shoe brand be too niche?
As a shoe entrepreneur, you are often told to find your niche, whether that is a customer group who haven’t been catered for – think women with larger feet – or a type of shoes which is missing from the market. But several of my one-to-one consultancy clients who are starting shoe brands have told me they are concerned about narrowing their markets too far. They feel they would miss out on sales if they focus on targeting a very specific customer or making just one style of shoe. So today I’m considering: Can a shoe brand be too niche? Join me as I examine the benefits and drawbacks of “niching” when it comes to footwear.
Launching a niche shoe brand
We will start by looking at the drawbacks of focusing on a particular niche with your shoe brand.
- Your products, pricing and branding won’t be right for everyone
- Not everyone will be searching for what you offer
- Your branding, social media and other communications will feel relatable to your target customers
- Your shoes will suit your target customers’ budget, style and lifestyle
- It will be obvious to your customers who your products are for, and how they will enhance their lives
- You will save money by designing and sampling fewer styles, and be able to learn from your mistakes more affordably by ordering lower quantities of stock
- Your customers won’t suffer from indecision as they might if you launched a large range of diverse products
- You will save money by advertising to a smaller group
- Your PR activities will involve less of a scattergun approach, and be more targeted
- You will attract repeat customers who will become fans and ambassadors of your shoe brand
So can a shoe brand be too niche? No way! Niche products are easier to find because there are fewer brands making them. When you solve a customer’s specific problem, they LOVE you for it.
Anna was a one-to-one consultancy client of mine. She launched her luxury slipper brand Shaffay to solve a problem that she faced in her own life. Simply that she didn’t know what to wear on her feet when visitors came to her house. She was embarrassed to wear her slippers as they were inelegant, Anna got cold and didn’t feel dressed-up in socks or bare feet, and she had a no-shoes policy to keep her home hygienic. Anna needed to build a niche brand which solved her problem, and the problem she discovered other women had too.
I helped Anna to:
- Understand what her competitors’ customers loved and disliked about their products
- Create a survey to analyse the wants, needs and desires of her potential customers
- Build a concise customer profile upon which to base all of her brand decisions
- Work with a freelance shoe designer to create the perfect slipper for her customers
- Make important sourcing and material decisions
- Brainstorm content marketing ideas
- Feel supported from concept to launch and beyond
Anna is now a member of The Shoe Community: your online space where shoe start-ups and small shoe brand founders help solve each others’ problems.
Want to create your own niche shoe brand?
I would love to hear from you when you feel you need support with building your shoe brand. I see your niche as a rich vein ready to be mined for gold. Whether that gold is creating a shoe/boot/sandal/slipper which is perfect for your niche, generating content ideas that your customers will love, or both.
Send me a message and I will let you know how I can help you.