How to Create & Launch a New Product Line
Hey, babes! Grab your coffee and let’s learn something new together. This week’s business tips post features one of my favorite makers, Jamie O’Berry of O'Berry's Succulents. She’s also a badass plant lady and comes from a long line of green thumbs in her family, including her grandfather and father. Jamie specializes in succulents and has mastered the art of turning antiques and toys (dinosaurs, unicorns, and sharks, oh my!) into gorgeous, prized plants you’ll love having in your home or office. Her focus over the past few months has been to create and add merchandise to her online shop and in-person sales at markets. Jamie’s been in business since 2012 and is embarking on this journey to reach new customers and excite her current customers.
We collaborated on this documentary-style content with Jamie. The journey of expanding her business’ product offerings began over a meeting at a Seminole Heights favorite, Fodder & Shine. We ate Smoked Mullet Spread, sipped wine, and talked about things like her customer base, the kinds of fun messages she wanted share about her brand, types of merch that would be a good fit, and of course, her goals. After lots of fun brainstorming and coming up with some solid (and super cute!) ideas, the next steps were for Jamie to do some brainstorming and number crunching on her own to figure out what products would work best for her and her business. Below are the thoughts and insights from Jamie as she added more products to her business in order to re-connect with current O’Berry’s customers and built relationships with new ones.
If you have any questions, are working on doing this for your business, or are just wondering what the best way to start is, give us a shout! We want to continue the conversation and wish you the best of luck in expanding your offerings.
You can do it, too!
Phase 1: February 2017
Getting the gears turning. Brainstorming about possibilities. Lots of Pinterest.
When did you start thinking of offering more products under your name? What kept you from acting sooner?
I wanted to add more products under my business name after meeting other creatives and wanting to collaborate with them. It’s always exciting to work with talented makers and to keep growing artistically. What kept me from acting sooner were the logistics and figuring out where to start. Creating is always the fun part, but there are other aspects like time, funding, and even knowing where to begin. Making the first move that can be scary and cause procrastination.
What are your goals with these new offerings?
My goals are to put out beautiful and high quality items that excite me and my customers. I also want to reach customers who want to promote a more green and plant-based lifestyle, but perhaps have their space already filled with my plant offerings.
As you're in the brainstorming process, what items & ideas are you the most excited about?
I'm most excited about collaborating with other artists and to work with my go-to design team, Bridge + Bloom, on a stellar photo shoot with an indoor plant jungle and my new products.
Phase 2: March 2017
Considering designs and product offerings. Collaborating with designers.
How did you choose your designer and what was the process of collaboration like?
I met Anna Núñez through my design team, Bridge + Bloom. While she was in school she did smaller projects for me such as a workshop flyer and a brand tote. She is incredibly professional and talented. I knew she could execute my visions. I also worked with Kelly Hewitt of Melodious Monster. We met when we spontaneously took a road trip together to a makers summit in South Carolina. Her designs are playful and she is such a fun person to work with. She gets my humor and I knew she could incorporate my silliness in her designs. Working with them both was a dream! This is a big project for O'Berry's that I'm investing a lot of time and money in. Once they start drawing it becomes very real. It's exciting yet scary.
Can you tell us about the stickers that are now a part of your branding package?
The stickers I made are in collaboration with Melodious Monster. They are a product I'm gifting to my customers with each purchase.
What are some concerns you have about launching the products and how do you plan to tackle them?
Some of my concerns with launching the products is I'm green to working with merchandising anything other than plants. I'm sure with experience one knows how many shirts and product to order, how many to keep in stock in certain sizes and etc. With choosing to have no loans or capitol for my growth spurt, every dollar spent counts and there is little room for mistakes. Ive been able to tackle the concerns by gathering advice from friends in the industry and having regular meetings with my Small Business consultant to gain confidence and support.
What tips can you recommend to other makers and business owners as they expand their product offerings?
My advise for other makers looking to expand is to meet with as many creatives in your community as possible. Ask questions and be a sponge and soak in their success stories along with situations and choices they would change if they could go back. Also remember to not get rattled if others share negative feedback about your plans. Go with your instinct while staying somewhat logical.
Phase 3: May 2017
Determine the launch timeline. Placing product orders. Redesigning the physical and digital shopping experience.
Here’s our list of the things that needed to take place in June (with some tips!) in order to be ready for a July launch. Of course July is the goal, but if the deadline needs to be moved back due to an unforeseen event (products not arriving on time, needing more time to finalize new market set up, etc.) then we agreed it’s okay to move it to another week in July. It’s okay to be human. ;) Also, sometimes certain things are just outside of our control.
Production of Each New Piece of Merchandise
Be sure to be specific about what material you want and how many, etc. If you have questions, be sure to ask! That’s what that company or maker is there for.
It’s important to have high res photos (preferably, but it’s not a deal breaker) to promote your products. Customers are most likely going to experience your brand in a digital space such as Instagram, Facebook, or Etsy, so it makes sense to take some images that represent you and how the product will look when it’s a part of that customer’s lifestyle. Get appointments with a photographer and any other parties you want to work with (models, stylists, etc.) as soon as possible. Boss Babes have busy schedules and they fill up quick.
For Jamie, she will be selling her product on her website, Etsy, & in person at markets. She will need a physical display that is eye-catching and on brand with her current set up, but it will also need to break down quickly and easily since she travels around on weekends and does set up and breakdown on her own. There’s lots to consider, especially time and budget if you’re creating this on your own. Get inspiration from other folks who have done this and see what will look great but also be practical for your needs.
Know your resources. For example, Jamie has a strong Instagram following. But many of the markets she is a vendor at also have great followings. She plans to get in touch about cross promotion and even a give away with some of them. Other great ways to use your resources are to start utilizing that blog you have and to create a newsletter. Don’t get intimidated! You can keep the newsletter to a monthly schedule - no need to go crazy. But your followers and customers do want to hear from you, especially if you’re going to give them a feast for their eyes, i.e. super rad, brand new merch they are going to love.
Phase 4: July 2017
Ready, set, launch!
What are your final thoughts on this process as you're now at the point where you've launched this new line?
The line has been out for 6 days, so none of my thoughts are final yet. It feels very new and I'm still learning every minute. My favorite part is having an opportunity to collaborate and design with other makers.
How are the individual products being received at markets and in your online shops?
Everyone has welcomed them! All of my regular customers and some new ones have come by and showed their support. I shipped t-shirts to Wisconsin and California yesterday!
Is there anything you would do differently now that you've experienced this process from conception to execution?
I would have started sooner! I was fortunate to work with an experienced team who guided me in the right direction. It's still new and I'm sure I have a lot of learning to do, but working with plants is so much harder, so having a new project that I don't have to water and protect every day has been a relief!
Thanks for checking out our merchandise launch post! Be ready to take risks, find the designers & vendors that are right for you, & stay true to your brand, babe.
Are you looking to add a new product line to your business? Have you recently launched new products? Tell us about it in the comments below!