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How To Spot A Hole In The Market Place

2 April 2013 9 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

When thinking about a new product, it is wise to figure out if there is a real NEED prior to spending a lot of time and money developing this latest fab idea.  If you do your research, and really dig around, you'll quickly find through the internet and by looking in stores if your product will be in demand, or just get shelf space for a week before it goes on sale.

Another option is to reinvent something you already do well, and make a "new" or "knockoff" version of your cash cow.  If you look at some of the classic brands over the years, you will see how they have morphed and changed to evolve and produce a new version of their "it" item to keep up with the times and keep the cash machine cha-chinging.

One example I really like is the classic Converse shoe.  It was originally a high top, then was reinvented as a low top, years later cool colors were introduced and now it is available as a slip-on lace-less version.  Converse is really good at jumping on trends (even dishing out animal prints for the sassiest of girls) and keeping up with the evolving times.  I also love how other companies like Ed Hardy took the classic shoe to the edge with their tattoo printed canvas style shoes.

Another big designer – non other than Louis Vuitton – is reinventing his classic Noe bag….aka the bucket bag we all know so well from the '80's.  The cool part is that this bag was originally designed for a Champagne Vintner in 1932.  The original leather bucket bag was pretty big and held  5 bottles of champagne.  LV is debuting this newly styled smaller bag this May in chic hot colors like yellow and purple, and of course a ton of others as well.  Oo la la.

Love to know if this idea gets some of your creative juices flowing and if you can reinvent one of your "it" items and turn it into a new hero.

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9 Comments »

  • Kendra Kroll said:

    Hi Sarah –
    there’s a HUGE hole in the market for which I’ve already patented a solution… where so people put cell phones (etc!) when they have no pockets and carrying a purse or bag is undesired or impossible? Especially for women in dresses & skirts (bridesmaids, prom goers and nightclubbers, etc)…
    My big challenge is to get people to “get” something totally new & different that is not the “norm” in today’s society. People in bygone days customarily wore things on their legs…garters, flasks during prohibition, etc…even today this is common for certain sectors…people in investigative fields (CIA, security, undercover journalists etc).. BUT it seems to be hard for the average person to get their head around the concept.
    Plus, even though I oftentimes showcase my PortaPocket hands-free carrying case for use on the leg…it’s really a whole system that’s multiple things in one…it can be used almost ANYwhere on the body and it’s modular so pockets can be swapped out to accommodate different things on different days. Although it’s truly a very simple concept, it’s something that demands a demo and takes some attention to understand… and with the fractured attention of most people…good luck getting that! At least the good news is that those who find it and get it LOVE it…( http://portapocket.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=24) and it totally works. It’s a matter of exposure and recognition. But those are the tough parts as you know. That’s why companies spend millions on marketing. And of course I just don’t have that.
    If you have any suggestions for people to whom I should speak…I’m all ears. thanks Sarah
    – Kendra (@PortaPocketGal)
    http://www.portapocket.com

  • Eve said:

    Great insights, especially if someone is in the early stages of brainstorming or finding a new muse. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, just look at the market, and turn your wheel in a different direction.

  • Ariella said:

    Awesome blog! And timely. As an entrepreneur about to launch her 1st product, please let me know if you have any extra tips. I’m launching VOCAL WARM-UP ALBUMS in a few short months: 1 for Speakers, and 1 for Singers. Thanks for being awesome!

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Glad you liked it.

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Amen Eve!!

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Kendra this is such a cool product and I know what you mean about having to educate your consumer. I had to do that too with my Handy Hold All®. I think the secret is finding the right clientele and where they hang out. I am about to take a trip overseas and can see the benefit of having it for my passport and money while being hands free while sightseeing……this opens up travel stores. Look at your website and see all the different groups you are targeting and find where they hang out. that is where the money is.

    And congrats on a patented product.

    Sarah

  • Grace Wieber said:

    Sarah,

    You always have the best insights. I may be fledgling, however, your emails have put me in the right direction. Off to pin…. Thanks

  • Bob said:

    Great post! You are so right to point out how it can be very profitable to just reinvent or repackage a product that already is successful. Sometimes the slightest changes can create a huge demand.
    Thanks for your insight!

  • georgina said:

    Thank you Sarah!

    Your information is always timely and super relevant. As a start-up handbag company, our goal was never to reinvent the wheel it was to make it spin a little faster– upgrade it to 2013 and beyond. Like Kendra, we desired to add a bit of a twist to handbags as we know them, so hopefully we’ve identified that ‘hole’ you’re referring to. We shall see!

    Thanks again!

    -georgina

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