Monday, November 02, 2015

Attention Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Niches on Promo!

Want to start a business but don’t know where to begin? Get a niche!

Fresh, Victoria’s Secret, Harry Rose; all these heavy hitters share one thing, yet they’re so uniquely different from each other. They all focus on a specific sector in their market -- vegan, lingerie, the shopping experience.

These guys are doing pretty well as big players in their market. But I want to dust off the powdered sugar and pick off the cherry by going a little local with an interview I did with an arts-and-crafts hobbyist.

Hi My Name Is…
Samantha Carmona. She gave it to me raw; the birth of her company Orn8 Bits, beginning with just her and her boyfriend, who eventually had to recruit friends and family to meet the rising demand of her products. She operates an online shop, at, but most of her sales are generated at conventions and events that would last as short as a day up to a week or two.

I will be using Sam’s tale as an example of the “How-To” guide I will be referring to from

Connecting Passion to Audience

Sam, who studied graphic design, always had a knack for creating things. However, for the very same reason you’re reading this, didn’t know where or how to begin making money off of what she loved doing. Her interests and hobbies includes anime, games, movies, comics and the like. When her cousin brought her to a convention for the first time, this was the moment she discovered her niche market.

Finding your niche is all about narrowing down and focusing on a specialized service or product. You identify the need or want, match the product to the right people by marketing (letting people know you exist), and pricing your product realistically.

You may have a passion, but finding the people who are willing to pay for your product or service is key. If a tree passionately sells a product in a forest, but nobody is around to buy it, does it make a profit? No.

Sam’s target market are 18-30 year olds who has an interest in games, movies, and television shows. Her ideal customer would be a working male who indulges in these hobbies, and have emotional, nostalgic feelings linked to the retro products she sells. Her Harry Potter scarves have been selling out for a strong five and a half years. Her online presence also helps her keep customers updated with the products she has and where she is located at conventions and events.

Gone Niche-ing

Figure out what you’re good at and the skills you have, find your passion, research your market and determine if it’s profitable. I know, it’s easier said than done, but try writing down your ideas that are meant for your eyes only, then edit it after for feasibility.

Wait, Why Am I Doing This Again?

For an in depth explanation, Smriti Chand has an article on the advantages and disadvantages at But to summarize, serving a small market means the competition, investment and risk is low. This could give you the chance to price your items higher if you are the only one in the game. You also get to know your customer really well, which can help you identify their needs and cater to them specifically. This shapes your brand and loyalty from customers. Product quality goes up and so does service.

Samantha has very loyal customers who refuse to buy from other vendors. She‘s had competitors directly copy her products, but she also has customers who search for her booth specifically at conventions. She receives custom requests by email, in which she goes out of her way to meet. She’s been in the customer service industry for years, working as a waitress, bartender, barista, and manager in the past. Her experience in dealing with customers, and dedication to meeting their needs has helped define her brand.

Niche markets can die out especially if the niche is the main seller. Niche markets can also be taken over by the big guys which can be hard to compete with.

These are challenges Samantha face today, with 95% of her sales coming from the niche, and the growing 5% of plain products without motifs that are specifically requested by customers. She does hope that she doesn’t have to heavily depend on the niche market because she has hit a plateau in sales. She recently began to import products from Japan to boost her sales, and predicts could be a full-time job in the next five years. She gets ahead of the game by travelling to Japan to bring back trends and inspiration.

Survival of the Fittest
The niche market can be easy to enter to make a quick dollar, but can also deplete as fast as it comes. Growing your company is up to you, to find that special service or product that differentiates you in the  market, even between the copycats. Matching a need to your product is the equation to profitable results. Brand a product or service that makes people believe in your product and want to give you their money. Now fly away for you are ready. Only after you’ve researched the heck out of your market first though.

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