All posts by kalche

Niche Start Up Vlogs

For this second blog, I will be writing about examples of successful niche businesses and outlining my digital artefact.

Amazon is arguably the the most popular long tail business. They have used the internet, to create a platform, that sells rare products, without the need of actually holding the product on a physical shelf. 57% of Amazons sales come from long tail searches.

But the beauty of the long tail is in the variety of available niches.

One of my favourites long tail businesses is Rent A Mourner. They are a United Kingdom based company who provide professional funeral and wake guests. The interesting thing about this business is that it is not new. Similar services were available through the Middle East thousands of years ago. This shows that the long tail is not necessarily about new products, but about using new technology to fill a current market void.

Cuddle party, is a company that works in the United States, Canada and Australia. It is a website, not for profit, that organises parties where adults go and cuddle. Its website states that the organisation hopes to explore communication boundaries and affection. It should be noted that is has had a huge, mostly, scandal free success rate. This example goes to show that even if the idea sounds somewhat crazy, if there is a market, and an appropriate supplier, it will work.

Throx is a US based website who sell socks in threes, not in twos. This way, when you loose a sock, you can use the additional third sock and still have a pair. It is a very simple idea, that any sock making company could have previously done. Throx portrays that a simple twist on an existing idea can lead to a significant success.

YourNovel provides international readers with customised romance novels. The customer builds a character, completes a questionnaire and receives a personal romance novel. Romance novels account for the largest book market, and generates 1.44 billion dollars a year. YourNovel reveals that there is a lot to learn from the mass market, and that niches benefit when working from exisiting trends.

And finally, we have 3beds, a website that reviews air mattresses. It has made a whole science of air mattresses. No niche is too strange. And a niche has a niche. In the long tail of camping equipment, there is a smaller air mattress market. And an even smaller air mattress assessor market.

Between every start up owner I have met, there has been one point of agreement. It will take longer, much longer, than initially expected to create a small business. It is for this reason that I have decided to begin a series of vlogs that will share what I have learned in this process. There will be four (three to four minute) vlogs in my final digital artefact.

The first video is going to explain the Long Tail effect and how this needs to be a part ones niche brand. Long tail market brands are more flexible in their personal concept, but not necessarily in the way they promote. No matter how passionate you are about your product, or how small a market, it is not about you, it is still about your customer. It just happens to be that your customer has unique needs. Meet them. And communicate them in a way that makes you different to other market options.

The second video looks at a Business Plan. Every tangible and intangible part of your business is created and maintained by you. A business plan is a way to ensure your business concept, presence in the market place and finances remain in check over time.

The third video looks at paperworks and legalities. This is a practical guide as to where to find relevant sate documents to obtain ABNs and appropriate licensing. The process sounds simple, but in reality is tedious and requires the patience of a saint. It can take up to one year to complete all the necessary paperwork.

The final video is about overcoming obstacles. From troubles with paperwork, disappearing suppliers and simply losing motivation, there will be so very many obstacles along the way. The video will aim to discuss some ways to work through such occurrences.

After my in class presentation, it was suggested I look further into Long Tail and focus on niche markets. This is what I plan to do before beginning my digital artefact.

header image for article found here.

Long Live The Long Tail

The long tail effect is a concept invented by Chris Anderson that examines the lingering tail that represents smaller market spaces (see graph above). Traditionally, popular products that guarantee sales have been prioritised for mass production. There is not enough space in the physical market to sell everything. And in a world of off the shelf, super market isle, pharmacy recommended products providing consumers with what is often a one size fits all product, more specific individual needs are ignored. The long tail effect examines how the internet is changing this market dynamic. The digital era means supply and demand are no longer limited to the physicality of a product and shopper. Limited and latent demands (existing demands that are yet to be realised) can now be met through small niche businesses in this long tail.

Within this long tails, lies many different worlds of niche demands, who also have long tails of their own. However, there are three key driving concepts that need to be understood by small businesses in order to be succeed in long tail environments. One, it is the tools of production that create this excitement of niche markets. As hardware and software become more accessible to the general public, it is easier to create and sell niche products. For example, webcam has allowed many individuals begin their youtube channel. Two, one must always think of internet aggregators. This is when products are pulled together and offered to a customer. For example, Amazon is able to sell rare books, new books and dated electronics to customers all over the world. And finally, that it is the filtering of software that connects supply and demand. High quality, aggregated niche products are found online, but only if it can be made accessible to its target audience. (Anderson, C. Evoy, K. 2006).

Indus Probha (IP) is my personal small business. It supplies niche skin care and make up products to specific clients, including cancer and eczema patients, people with skin irritations and allergies, vegetarians, vegans and clients who are concerned with the ethics how products are made. The foundation of IP is superior skin care and make up created through a wholesome business model. This process begins when sourcing ingredients and ends when the package sits in my clients hands. Every step of production is researched consciously to find the most sustainable and ethical practices, while creating healthy skin care and make up products. The brand was inspired while studying the Long Tail Effect and undertaking a project for DIGC202 and DIGC302. Here, the brand was developed, the paperwork begun and there was beginnings of a website. The aim for this semester is for all the paperwork to be finalised by mid 2017 and for the website to be live.

Beginning a small business is more work than it first appears. It will take one longer, much longer, than initially expected. It is for this reason that I have decided to begin a series of videos that will share what I have learned through this process, This includes videos focused on building a brand, sourcing products, obtaining a business license, how to accept payments, completing the correct forms and other social, legal and financial topics that arise when beginning a small business. The videos aim to communicate ways to address the unexpected obstacles that appear when building a small business and share the overall process in a clear and concise video platform.

 

Chris Anderson himself discussing the Long Tail Effect.

 

Anderson, C. Evoy, K. 2006. The Long Tail Effect, Why It Is Important For Small Businesses, Transcript of Interview, “Solo Build IT!”, SiteSell, retrieved 17th March 2017, from <http://longtail.sitesell.com/interview-transcript.html>

Elberse, A. 2008. Should You Invest IN The Long Tail?, “Harvard Business Review,”, retrieved 18th March 2017, from <https://hbr.org/2008/07/should-you-invest-in-the-long-tail>

Image for post found here http://www.technollama.co.uk/whatever-happened-to-the-long-tail