The Cost of Guessing what your Clients Want - A Case Study

I accidentally made a fool out of myself. I thought I could telepathically know what Curvy Sorority Women needed when it came to style changes. I put much time and energy into a solution that I thought would help my fellow Sisters. Boy did I get a dose of reality!

Last year when I launched Soror Style LLC I was so excited to help Plus Size/Curvy Sorority ladies like myself. I had meditated on my business idea for many moons before I decided to actually go for it. There wasn't much pomp or circumstance when I finally pulled the trigger and sent in my business license application. I may have got a few cheers from the fambam and my business buddies but that was about it. I started creating a product based on what I thought my potential clients would want.

Throughout my personal style and life journey, I had found that I had the best success when I worked from the inside out. I had some serious mental baggage that blocked my progress in many areas (weight loss, relationships, etc). Once I started working on inner being a lot of other stuff became easy.

So I made the assumption that my ideal clients (hey they are Curvy Sorority women just like me, right) would want the same kind of help. I went full steam ahead and developed a product and staged a launch based on body confidence based around a technique (EFT) that I personally had found very helpful in my inner work. Well cart opened and closed to crickets. Although I went through all the steps I didn't have the success I was looking for. I made $0!

There were of course a few positives. As any business owner knows, a lot of being successful is trial and error. Some of the positives were 1) I completed a product for my new business 2) I grew my e-mail list 3) I tried out Facebook ads for the first time 4) I started to get the concept of all the moving parts and pieces required for a launch 5) I actually completed something!

But then I lost my steam. Months passed as I procrastinated and then finally enrolled in a course I had really wanted to take for a few years (Jenna Soard's Launch Your Brand). I finally used a framework to stop guessing what the ladies I wanted to work with wanted but instead was able to engage them and find out. Over the spring and early summer I conducted several interviews with ladies who fit my target demographic. I was really able to uncover what they were struggling with and start to formulate how I should brand Soror Style visually.

I created a new Brand Identity including a vision board, logo, updated website, and kept track of my brand and customer with a branding book. As my new Brand started to take shape, I got really great feedback from those ladies and they were loving my new website!

 Before Jenna's class

Before Jenna's class

 After Jenna's class

After Jenna's class

 

Later in the summer I enrolled in Jenna's course on creating courses (Jenna Soard's Course Launcher). As part of the course we surveyed people from our target market. Again I had in my head I wanted to teach style and that's what my customer's would want. Wrong again. The survey says that my ladies want to know how to get their clothing to fit properly!

So I switched gears and started to pour out my knowledge and skills relating to clothing fit for curvy women. I realized this is something I can teach! As a curvy lady myself who has been sewing for over 20 years I have first hand knowledge from the sewing side of things on how to adjust clothing for curves. I also studied at New York Fashion Academy where I learned patternmaking from the great Terry Horlamus herself!

60 curvy ladies (a mix of Sorority members and non-afflicted) went on a voyage with me this winter and spring, most of them had no prior knowledge or abilities related to clothing fit. We Beta tested my course based on Curvy Clothing Fit. I got great feedback from my Beta testers and most of them reported they learned a lot about the fashion design process and their own personal key areas of fit.

I'm currently finalizing the course for release to the public. It's been quite a humbling experience in my entrepreneurship road. However what I've learned is the golden rule of business still holds true, the customer is always right!

So this story and case study are not all the way over, but I paid a dear price with trying to guess what was in head of my customers. Already before launch I've sold a spot in this course and another lady won a full scholarship, which is much better results than when I tried to guess my way through a product launch.

So tell me you story, have you ever been a wrong assumption, either in business or life? What did it ended up costing your or teaching you? Leave your comments below.

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