“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” ~ Woodrow Wilson
“The companies that survive longest are the one’s that work out what they uniquely can give to the world—not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul.”— Charles Handy
Dr. Dion Short Metzger’s new show Doctor’s Orders is airing soon in the Atlanta market. The show promises to capture her perspective on mental health and wellness. Big things ahead!
I am a dog person. And though dogs will never rank up there with my kids, I can definitely relate to having a well-groomed pooch. But Quad Webb-Lunceford of Married to Medicine fame, is taking this concept to an altogether different level. She’s launching a new line of couture clothing for dogs called Picture Perfect Pup. And of course I’m fascinated by her brand concept and how reality TV will impact her launch.
First let me just tap into Twitter demographic mode for a moment… This morning I read a tweet from her design partner Reco Chapple….
I adore this man’s energy! And industry numbers have even better news. Overall US sales in 2014 for all pet supplies (within which doggy clothes fall) are forecasted at $13.72 billion dollars. That’s billion with a big ol’ B. So while not all of this segment is about puppy clothes – it is a pretty sizable market.
At the same time, the pet industry is contracting a bit. This market now includes fewer dog owners overall; and even fewer who will ever make the investment in a luxe doggy brand – no matter how adorable or well promoted. Luxury brands are always exclusionary. My thought is that they should take a look at the well-executed examples of “Affordable Luxe.” You do remember the collaboration between Target and Neiman Marcus for the myriad of designers that they’ve launched at Target stores? I bet this would be a very viable angle for Quad’s team to consider because it can convert more of the viewing audience delivered by BravoTV into customers. For Married to Medicine the average number of weekly viewers for their new episodes is about 1.8 million people.
So Quad can thank both Bravo and Mariah for making her relevant. (I’m completely kidding about the Mariah factor – but Mariah has a great brand concept brewing too if she’ll take note. I’ll discuss that in my next post.)
So here’s what I love about Quad’s new venture. First, it’s an extension of who she is. She personally comes off as likable, charismatic, driven and original and that bodes well for her emerging brand.
I also love how she’s added a non-profit to the mix to raise money and awareness for Canine Companions for Independence. This was a really good move. Her argument that she’d purchased school supplies just didn’t lend enough credibility to counterbalance the “superficial factor” raised by her husband on the last episode.
I think her brand will also scale really well. She can extend her line beyond clothes and offer accessories and other products.
There is definitely a market for her brand if it remains a pure luxury offering. I can envision this in boutiques frequented by the pet-pampering, disposable income set. However, I think “Afforable Luxe” branding concepts are the way to go for bigger profits.
I’ll be watching to see how Picture Perfect Pup is ultimately rolled out to retailers. I can’t wait to see the particulars.
Stay very busy Ms. Quad.
My daughter Kristen has just graduated from college with a degree in fashion design and has been tapped to design a line for a luxury sustainable wood eyewear company. (whoooohooooo!) And in a series of conversations over the past few weeks we touched on brand positioning – as each of the people involved is representing and nurturing their own emergent brand.
From my outsider view – the eyewear company has a high-end, green/sustainable, kind of edgy but meticulously hand-crafted eyewear product/brand. (It’s a pretty cool product and I would like a pair myself… but I digress…)
My daughter’s brand perspective provides a global design aesthetic with a focus on the melding of color, creativity and texture. So then in this collaborative environment, how can each new brand be positioned synergistically?
In this case, the eyewear brand should lead and the designer should follow because it is important that a new product company with a narrowly focused line not be diluted or eclipsed by a designer’s brand.
However, the benefit of bringing a designer in (which btw is a great idea for other micropreneurs to consider) means that the designer should influence and add to the product story. It then becomes a great angle for the product company’s marketing and sales materials – even for those launches with a limited time engagement. With proper handling even an emerging designer with a strong perspective can help craft the story for the product company. And the benefits for the designer will be numerous as well.
I think there are other cases where mature companies can take somewhat of a back seat and exist more as the platform. Take the Target and Neiman Marcus collabo for example – a rather brilliant program all the way around. They sought to bring in hot leading designers to launch “affordable chic” lines for the following impressive design roster:
Alice + Olivia, Altuzarra, Band of Outsiders, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Eddie Borgo, Jason Wu, Judith Leiber, Lela Rose, Marchesa, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Philip Crangi, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Robert Rodriguez, Rodarte, Skaist-Taylor, Thom Browne, Tory Burch and Tracy Reese.
In this case, all of the brands were well known – and each lends its own credibility and depth to the experience. It also broadens the reach for both Target and Neiman’s. The lines are introduced to an entirely new entry-level market and presumably as they mature (read: have more disposable income) they will seek out the true luxury buying experience with Neiman Marcus.
Ahhh…. yes, balanced collaborative branding takes a considered approach but as in these two cases, it can be a brilliantly executed experience for everyone involved – including the consumer!