Your business has been chugging along. You’ve been making a product you’re excited about when suddenly, you have a NEW IDEA!
You’re excited! You dive in! You start making like crazy.
But then you get to a crossroads.
Because your new ideas is different from what you’ve been making. Perhaps it’s a different material. Or a different product category. Or it just feels different.
And that difference raises one big question when it comes time to sell. Should you put it in your current shop or start a new one?
Should you have one shop or two?
This is a question I hear a lot, particularly since I’ve run multiple shops in the past.
And let me tell you, running multiple shops is hard.
I mean, really hard.
It’s essentially twice the work. Twice the promotion. Twice the management.
Not to mention twice the confusion for your potential customers.
I learned this lesson several years ago when I tried selling the cozy/cuff in it’s own shop. (I eventually just moved it over to my shop at meganauman.com.)
Except I didn’t really learn the lesson.
Because when I started painting, I decided to open a new online shop.
And it really did make sense at the time.
With the paintings, I wanted to tell a different story. That meant a different about page. Different language. And that seemed like a good reason for a separate shop. (It still does.)
But then I started designing textiles. Now, I was back to product design. And since the textiles were based on my paintings, I put them in the shop with my paintings.
But that didn’t really make sense to my customers, especially with the scarves. You wear scarves. Just like you wear jewelry. So why weren’t they in the same shop?
After two conversations (and a beer) yesterday, I made the decision to move everything into one shop.
This makes sense to me. After all, I see myself as a lifestyle brand. And that means all my products should be under one banner.
One brand, one purpose, one shop.
Is one shop or two the right solution for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Am I telling a different story with these new products? Be careful with this question. A different story doesn’t mean different materials or different products. I mean the idea behind the products themselves. Let’s say that you’ve been making high-end bridal jewelry, but you suddenly have an idea to make t-shirts for dogs. Your bridal jewelry is about elegance and timelessness. Your dog t-shirts are about humor. That’s two drastically different stories (and the way you talk about yourself as the owner of each brand would be very different) and so that likely calls for two different shops.
Is the customer drastically different? If your new idea is serving a very different customer, then that’s a good case for different shops. But again, be careful. We’re talking about drastically different here. If you’re current work would appeal to a woman in her forties who lives in a city and your new idea appeals to a woman in her fifties who lives just outside the city, that’s probably not different enough to warrant two shops. But if your jewelry appeals to young women who come from money and your new idea appeals to gay dog owners in their forties and fifties, that’s a pretty different audience.
Do I see myself developing other new ideas in the future? Are you the kind of person who’s always dreaming up new products and ideas. (That would be me.) If so, creating a new shop every time can be very draining. (I should know.) If you see yourself constantly adding new products to the mix, one shop for everything is going to be easier down the road.
What kind of brand am I building? Despite spending the last few years really focused on growing my jewelry business, I’ve always wanted to be more of a lifestyle brand. And that lends itself to one umbrella shop for everything. When you think about adding in a new shop, ask yourself, what do I see myself becoming? What kind of brand do I want to be? If the answer is a lifestyle brand, don’t waste your time setting up that second shop!
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Enrollment is now open for the 2014 Honors Program! Whether you have one product line or many, whether you want to grow a lifestyle brand or just sell more of what you’re currently making, the Honors Program can help you get there! Click here for more info!