For some reason, I've been getting a lot of questions about competition lately.
"Are you worried that "Designer X's" new product will compete too directly with yours?"
"Why would you want to collaborate with "Designer Z"? She's your competition?
|photo by fusionbposervices.com|
1. It keeps me on my toes. Without competition, it's very easy to become complacent, even lazy. If my customers have no alternatives to my patterns to choose from, then I may not feel the drive or incentive to be innovative or creative.
2. It helps me grow my market. I know I'm on to a good idea when other people are coming up with similar products. As more handbag designers market and advertise their products, it brings more customers to the table. And every new customer is a potential customer of mine. :)
3. It reminds me to define and focus on MY target customer. Without competition, it's very tempting to lose sight of my target customer. My focus could become too broad, too diluted to appeal to my loyal customers anymore.
4. It can motivate me to a higher level of customer service. Great customer service is an excellent way to differentiate myself from the competition. I want to always remember that nothing will drive my customers to the competition faster than poor customer service on my part.
|photo by iamsassychic.com|
5. It provides an alternative for customers who aren't a good fit for my product.
Much as I hate to admit it, my products are not for everyone, and you know what? That's OK. But hey- if that's the case, why wouldn't I want them to buy a handbag pattern from Designer X? I want my competition to thrive because it keeps our industry strong, vibrant and diverse, and in the end isn't that the atmosphere that we can ALL grow in? So I say...
Why should I be afraid of the competition?
OK, so Designer X has 20,000 Facebook followers, I'm glad. She showed me it could be done and I'm grateful for that.
And if you choose to to buy a handbag pattern from "Designer Z", even though you looked at patterns from both of us, I'm glad. If "Designer Z's" handbag patterns can meet your needs better than ours can, then you made a great choice and you saved us both a lot of trouble.
Because here's the deal. I couldn't possibly compete with "Designer X" or "Designer Z", because I'm incapable of doing what they do. Just as they are incapable of doing what I do!
That's not to say that I don't want to do well, because I'm working as hard as I can to make sure that I do. And I have some clear goals for myself too, because as far as I'm concerned, that's where the real competition comes from now.... from ME!
Does this make sense or am I the only one who thinks this way?
I've been very fortunate indeed to be able to collaborate with some amazing women, many of whom have products that compete DIRECTLY with my own products. I can only hope that our association has been as helpful and inspiring to them, as it has been to me! Here's a partial list (in no particular order):
Linda McGehee of Ghee's Bags
Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs
Vicki Welsh of 3 Creative Studios
Pat Sloan - writer, designer, and radio personality
Henrietta Timmons of Henrietta's Handbags
Dianne Springer of Dianne Springer DesignsSusa Glenn of Susa Glenn Designs
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