Interview with Javier Rabago
Javier and his wife are co-founders of Sustainable Glam, an ecommerce brand focused on innovative and eco-friendly hair care products. Beginning with crowdfunding, Sustainable Glam has seen continued growth on Amazon and in professional salons. After seeing such success even with launching just one product per year, we sat down with him to get some expert advice for any startup looking to launch a new product.
Know which product to sell
Sustainable Glam launched two years ago on Amazon with just one product, and have since launched just one other. As experts in their field with years of experience working in salons, Javier and his wife knew exactly which product would sell well in their industry and put a unique spin on it. Similarly, finding something that can set your brand apart in a market full of products like it, whether it’s the packaging or what’s inside, will give you an edge in your industry.
It can also determine when to launch your product within the fiscal year. A product that you’re confident will sell well from the start could be launched at any time in any quarter. But a product that might be slower to gain traction may be safer launching before the first quarter rolls around.
Though the idea of lightning fast growth may be appealing, it’s very difficult to maintain. If you grow too fast, you may end up shooting yourself in the foot since you’ll probably outgrow your inventory and the capabilities of your supply chain. For companies that are bootstrapping rather than raising venture capital, this might not even be possible since the funds simply aren’t there to create enough product to keep with demand. Instead, aim for a gradual and secure scale. Start with something realistic for your budget and eventually add more products and more sales channels as you can afford to increase inventory.
PPC vs organic strategy
It’s a challenge to see growth when you first launch your product as a relatively unknown brand. You may find that you invest heavily on paid promotional content just to be seen, and much of your profits get invested back into more PPC. For many, this is simply part of the strategy for the first year in order to get as much visibility as you can. Tactful use of social media throughout this time can help to support that early investment.
As your brand becomes more well-known and sales start coming in, you may choose to scale down with your PPC, but the key is to continuously analyze your data and adjust it in order to maximize that return on ad spend. Then you can begin to rely more on organic growth and making the algorithms of the various platforms work for you.
A lot of time, attention, and care goes into a successful product launch, not just at the time of launch but in the planning stage and post-launch execution as well. Match that effort with an exceptional and recognizable brand, and it will help to elevate your product. A solid product backed by a brand that stands out will set you apart from the competition.
Have thick skin
Entrepreneurs with new brands launching new products face constant challenges on the road to growth. If you’re easily discouraged by challenges and setbacks, you’re not going to make it. Focus on developing a high quality product, and take as much control over your destiny as possible. For some this may mean bootstrapping instead of taking outside funding so that you don’t have to give up any ownership, so that you have power over the decision making process. For others, it may mean relying on outside funding to support demands on inventory or adjust a failed launch campaign. Regardless, don’t give up when things get difficult. Take what you can from the experience and use it to create a stronger vision for your brand and your product.