Focus on Your Market

Photo shoot 1 017 (resized)Just because everyone uses the product you sell doesn’t mean everyone is your market. Most brands carry products that exist in multiple market price points, and the success of the brand is usually dependent on facilitating and cultivating THEIR specific marketplace. I know this may sound confusing, so I will use my firm as an example.

My brand, William Wilson, was developed to cater to business men and women (yes – I also make women’s clothing). Athletes and celebrities were never my target market; nor are they now. I was just blessed to acquire an impressive client portfolio that happens to include a significant amount of them. I honestly would rather have the person that works in Bank of America Corporate Center than the one that plays in Bank of America Stadium. He’s going to be a more “consistent” buyer because he has a constant NEED for my product. Plus given the average NFL career is 3.5 years, the numerical longevity factor is far more beneficial to me at the corporate center than the stadium. That explains one part of the market place. But that isn’t the focus of this post.

I’m talking about straying from your corporate brand strategy to chase every dollar. There is no way to maintain brand integrity and chase dollars. Especially in the luxury goods market. Again, this may make no sense in the abstract, so I will once again use my brand to explain.

I sell a premium luxury product, custom clothing. My brand is known for being some of the best looking, best constructed and highest quality in the country. That comes at a price. That doesn’t mean it has to be astronomical in price, but it shouldn’t break the bank of my target client either. With the exception of my Morehead Collection. My suits range from as low as $699 up to $40,000 (my Morehead Collection begins at $20,000 and is delivered by an armed guard in an armored truck). So as you can see, I cover a large price range. However, there is a segment of my market that will never buy from me. In the industry, we call them “Hotel Ballers“.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a “Hotel Baller“?” A hotel baller is the guy that wears  custom suits, but instead of purchasing suits from established firms in the area, they wait for the guy to come from Asia, sets up in a hotel room for a couple of days and sells out of the room. They usually offer a ridiculous cheap price to get clients in the door, knowing that the client’s ego and/or taste won’t allow him to buy the advertised product. The advertised packages are usually a bunch of fabrics that no one buys. The fabric IS available. So they aren’t lying. It’s just an old bait-n-switch (common in the car business. The more desirable fabrics are sold as upgrades, usually about $200 per upgrade level. Afterwards comes the up sell. Working button holes, fancy jacket linings, monograms and contrast stitching are always lucrative add-ons. Then they hit them with the shipping and tax. The tax is ALWAYS funny because they don’t even pay tax in the US usually because they live in Thailand and China. This is usually about $250-$500 of just free cash to them. I have a friend that sells this way, and he explained it to me. And he said “William, the crazy thing is, by the time the walk out of here, they usually pay more for my suit than they would have yours. And if it doesn’t fit right, they have to add the additional time and charges of shipping it halfway around the world. It could take months by the time we get it right; and you’re right here.”

Now some have asked why I don’t try that same thing locally and eliminate the competition. I explained to him, I have a brand to protect, a company to protect, and clients to protect. My clients trust me to provide them with the highest quality products on the market. My clients want a great suit, made with integrity and high quality, and they want a fair price. Not a cheap price, a FAIR price. My clients understand that quality costs. For me to be able to compete for that business, I would have to use lower quality fabrics, have them machine sewn in China, and machine sewn. These are all factors that would possibly increase my customer pool temporarily, but a client that is strictly shopping price isn’t concerned about quality and will leave for the next guy whose product is $50 less. Then you’ve lost your previous clients AND your new ones. Worse than that, you will have lost your brand credibility. That’s entrepreneurial SUICIDE.

You will never see Neiman Marcus competing with Wal-Mart (or Macys for that matter). You won’t see Mercedes and Lexus compete with Honda or Chevrolet. And you won’t see the William Wilson brand competing with hotel suit sellers. This is not to discredit them, or their customers. They do what they have to do. It’s not about them. It’s about the William Wilson brand, and my clients. My clients have placed trust in me. I owe it to them to be what I told them I was. They come to me because they feel I offer something they can’t get anywhere else. They come to me because they want the best from the best, and they feel like I fit that description. I appreciate my clients, and would never disrespect them by trying to flip-flop to chase a dollar. I don’t focus on my competition. I focus on my market. Where they go, the William Wilson brand goes.

 

God bless and dress well.

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

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Losing Weight Is No Excuse To Look Bad

William Wilson ThinkingLosing weight is no excuse to look bad. There’s no other way to say it. I often meet people that are losing weight, and they want to wait to order their custom suits. That makes PERFECT sense. Custom suits tend to come with a hefty price tag, and are made to your body. Since your body is changing, it makes no sense to order them. They won’t fit when they come in anyway. So what should you do if you want to keep looking good while you’re losing weight, you ask?

It’s a 2-step process. The first step is to get yourself an alterations person. This allows you to keep looking good without having to buy new clothes. It also serves three other purposes.

1. It keeps your clothes looking good on you, and allows you to feel good about your new body.

2. It allows you to show off that new body to the world.

3. It keeps you accountable to stay at your weight, or keep losing more. If you keep your clothes the same size, you don’t notice if you gain the weight back because you still fit into the clothes.

Of course, you can only get clothes tailored so much. Eventually, they can no longer be altered. This brings us to the second phase. Invest in less expensive (but not lesser quality) off the rack suits. Get them tailored as well. (I recommend my new William Everette collection) This allows you to maintain a clean, respectable, professional look while you lose weight, without spending a lot of money. I also recommend you purchase a blue suit and a grey suit. These are the 2 most common colors in business. And when worn with different shirts and ties, can provide you with numerous different looks while only using 2 suits. So it’s crafty, creative, and cost effective.

You may ask why this matters. Easy. The average person forms an opinion about someone, based solely off of their appearance in 2.9 seconds. In a world that is so highly competitive, your first impression may dictate whether or not you even get an opportunity for a first conversation. No one wants to do business with sloppy people. Sloppy clothing equals a sloppy appearance. A sloppy appearance means you live, work and act sloppy. This may not always be true, but it’s perception. And one’s perception is one’s reality. It doesn’t matter if you’re the smartest person in the room, if you look like the sloppiest. But then again, what do I know. I only dress people for a living. I could be wrong. Until next time……

God bless and dress well,

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

Follow William on Twitter @TheClothier

The Truth About Failure

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson, CEO

I’m an avid social media user. In fact, feel free to follow me on Twitter, (@TheClothier). One thing I’ve noticed about social media is the abundance of outrageous bravados and innuendos concerning failure. I can’t tell you how many tweets I’ve read with pure foolishness; “Refuse to lose,” “Failure is not an option,” “All I do is win,” and things like that. That is great propaganda as they sound great in rap songs and sports commercials. But the fact is, failure is not only an option, at some point, it’s a guarantee. It’s not a matter of IF, but is a matter of WHEN you will fail. Now I want you to understand something, failing, or losing, does not always mean catastrophe. Failure is part of success. You’re going to have wins and you’re going to have losses. That’s just part of the deal. You just hope that your wins overshadow your losses.

Ask any successful person and they will give you a laundry list of failures and ideas that didn’t work. They will tell you how their ideas made perfect sense and they knew they would work. They will tell you about the heartbreak of realizing their “can’t miss” missed big time. They will tell you about sitting up at night, wondering how they will make payroll. They will tell you of the pressures of worrying about if they will get another customer in time to keep the doors open. They will inundate you with countless stories of falling short of their hopes and dreams, and the feeling of pain that came with it.

However, if you continue talking with them, they will follow that up with the story of when one of their ideas finally worked. How it felt to finally break through the heartache and disappointment to finally taste sweet success. They will tell you how it felt to finally have a win to offset the negative opinions of the naysayers and non-believers that constantly told them they would fail, or that they weren’t good enough (Naysayers are what professionals call “haters”). But most importantly, they will tell you that finally winning made ALL the losing worthwhile.

I fail. I failed A LOT. I have more failures than I care to remember. I fail because I try things. I fail because I attempt to traverse the path less traveled. Some of my failures are small, but some are very big, and very public. In fact, just a couple of months ago I sent a tie to President Obama in hopes he would wear it during the Inauguration, and he did not. True enough, he may wear it at some point. But I wanted him to wear it during the Inauguration. THAT was my objective. I was willing to take the State of the Union as a consolation prize. But he didn’t wear it then either. I thought I had as good a shot as anyone, and I did. It just wasn’t in God’s plan, and it’s OK because I kept going, and I have had some great wins since then. I was asked to design the Champion’s Jacket for the Sprint All-Star Race, as well as the Official Speedway Club Member’s Jacket. So, though I had a big loss, I gained two big wins.

My point is, don’t fall for hype and bravado. Success may be easy, or difficult, depending on what you are attempting to do. But one thing that it’s guaranteed to be is fleeting. A win today means nothing next week. So you can neither get to high on a win nor too low on a loss; you just have to keep playing the game. If you do that, and give God room to operate, eventually you will win and it will be so very sweet!  Until next time….

God Bless and Dress Well,

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

The Scene of the Crime Is Your Mind

William Wilson, CEO

Let me first acknowledge that I did not come up with the catchy phrase I used for this blog title. I got it from my Pastor Derwin Grey and Associate Pastor Paul Allen of Transformation Church. But as I was thinking of titles for this post, that phrase kept popping in my head.

Few of us ever see the success we are meant to have. Not because we aren’t capable. But because we don’t believe we are capable. We use a plethora of excuses for why we can’t accomplish certain things, or we make excuses for why others can. The belief in one’s self is the fundamental element that every successful person has. Whether your dream is to play professional sports, own a successful business, have wealth, or graduate from college; every one of these begins with the mindset that I CAN DO IT. I’m living proof.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, or a wealth of successful family friends. I’m from a small farm town in rural Arkansas. I graduated in a class of 41 people. There was no internet when I graduated high school. When I started William Wilson Clothing, I knew no one in the industry, had no knowledge of the industry, or how it worked. What I did have was a belief that I could do it. Don’t get me wrong. I had fear. I was very afraid it wouldn’t work. A majority of my friends thought I was crazy, and I received more negative commentary than I did support. I honestly think the only 2 people that believed it would work was me and my mom, (and she probably just said it to make me feel better-LOL). I even lost one of my best friends while starting my company because she couldn’t understand that I couldn’t do all the things I used to do, and spend all my time in the same places if I wanted to make a change in my life. But I believed in me. I made a lot of mistakes, wasted money I didn’t have, and talked to people that would say positive things to my face, and slam me behind my back (well that part still happens- but I’m ok with that. It comes with the territory)

What I’m saying is “haters”, negative people, and fear will only prevail if you allow them to. I’m not saying every idea will work. They won’t! I have plenty of ideas that don’t work. I fail ALL THE TIME! Ideas are like jump shots. Even the best shooters miss more than they make. You just have to believe in yourself, and keep shooting. Eventually you will start to see success. Success breeds more success. As you achieve success, your mindset, attitude and environment will begin to change, and that’s when you will grow. That’s when you will see the success, that possibly, only YOU could see at the beginning. Don’t allow fear and negativity to stop your dream. Don’t let the scene of the crime, be your mind. Until next time…..

God bless and dress well,

William Wilson, CEO

William Wilson Clothing

Follow me on Twitter @theClothier