14 April 2010

Why Niche-y Strikes a Chord

Photo at left: April '08 at my shop, THE BLISSFUL. {If you've been reading this blog for the past couple months, you know that I decided to close the shop in February to pursue my dream of being a working writer who writes from home [and cafes]. It's all happening. And in my new biz, Abby Kerr Ink, I'm working with other small biz owners to help make their niche-y entrepreneurial dreams come true.}

A couple of you commented on wanting a niche-y business over the last couple posts. I loved hearing that! I've been extolling the virtues of nichification--getting really, really clear with yourself and other people about what it is you do well, exactly how you do it, and what you want to be known for--ever since I went even more niche-y with my shop back in 2007. In my new business, I'm taking my love for niche-y enterprise to a whole new level.

Update: My new website is slated to launch at the end of this month! It may not be ready until very early May, but I'm aiming for sooner. I can hardly wait! You know I'll announce it here when the day comes.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few thoughts about why going niche-y with your business is one of the best things you can do.

Why Niche-y Strikes a Chord With Entrepreneurs
  • Niche-y lets you hone in on what really interests you and what really matters to your right people {target or ideal customers}
  • Niche-y allows you to focus on doing just a few things--maybe even just one thing--really, really well.
  • Niche-y creates rockstars. It's easier to stand out when you're the only one doing exactly what you claim to be doing {and of course, when you're doing it well--which of course, you would be!}
  • Niche-y makes for great soundbites. It's quicker and snappier to talk about the "most citified country store in Kansas" than it is to talk about "the Kansas shop with a mix of country, contemporary, traditional, transitional, European, urban loft style, and vintage goods, gifts, and home and garden accents."
  • Niche-y is the stuff of legends. Innovators make history.
Why Niche-y Strikes a Chord With Customers and Clients...including the ones you don't have yet
  • Niche-y stands out. Your niche is what makes you different from everyone else out there on a similar mission. It's your own unique resonance, like a chord that no one else can play.
  • Niche-y makes good brain food. Brains like niche-y, because a niche creates a pattern that the brain hasn't seen before. A sales rep once told me she had to open up a new compartment of her brain to contain my store. Whoa! That's because our merchandise mix, the atmosphere we created, and the way we displayed showed her things she hadn't seen before in retail {or at least not quite in the way we did it}. These patterns, then, become easy for the brain to hold on to and at the same time, they create wonderment and a bit of pleasurable confusion. Such cohesiveness of vision! Yet such extraordinariness! What a rarity! An anomaly that makes perfect sense!
  • Niche-y makes an impact. People will talk about it. And when people are talking, other people are listening. And when people are listening, more people start checking you out. And when more people check you out, more people start buying in. And that's a good thing.
  • Niche-y is personal. Personal for you--the business creator and niche-honer, but also personal for your customers when they are your right people. Because they'll quickly feel like what you do in the world in a way belongs to them. And that's powerful stuff.
  • Niche-y is memorable. Unforgettable businesses {the ones who are unforgettable in a good way} know who they are. And so do their customers. And that's when the magic happens.

  • Niche-y is addictive. People want more of extraordinary experiences.
You gotta love a good niche. I know I do. If you get what I'm talking about, please leave a comment letting me know. What makes nichification so powerful or appealing, from your point of view? {Dissenting points of view are welcome, too!}



Anonymous said...

I think this is so true. I feel like I really found my niche in just the past few months. Customers are seeking out my shop and buying multiple items. I feel like I'm finding customers who "get" me and appreciate my point of view. It's very exciting!

French Blue Market

Abby Kerr Ink said...

Hey, Michelle--

Really glad you're here and it's nice to hear your voice. :)

It's sweet to hear that your niche is beginning to thrive. Whoo-hoo! With a business name like French Blue Market, how could people NOT check you out? {I kinda covet it.}

Have fun!


skell said...

I love "niche-y" b/c it's simple & refreshing. For consumers and for entrepreneurs! We live in a world of information & product overload, where many businesses try to be everything to everybody. The result is a watered down identity, which just isn't very exciting. "Niche-y" makes for strong, bold statements, and it really does set one apart. Plus, I personally am attracted to the concept of doing one or two things *really* well!

Abby Kerr Ink said...

You got it, Skell! :)

Susan said...

Those of us with vintage tend to set up a niche...but I have found over the years I have expanded based on trends...now I am known for my McCoy pottery...the common man vintage pottery...

I do think you have to watch niche because it can categorize you...but a style is good...I am not high end...my niche is to provide affordable finds for my customers...shopping is entertainment unless you are in a grocery or drug store...LOL...but it is the experience as much as the product, but you want them to know they can afford that product...destroy that display ;-)...carry it out!


Abby Kerr Ink said...

Hey, Susan--

I do agree that niches can be problematic if they're drawn *too* narrowly. A too-sharply honed niche can border on ridiculous or patently unsellable. For example, when I was vacationing last summer I stumbled upon a boutique in a resort area that was called, let's say, The Lime Green Store. Now it *wasn't* lime green, but it *was* another color name, and as you might figure, *everything* in the store was either white or some hue of the color in its name. As a customer, if you hate that color, you're probably not crossing the threshold.

But I also want to challenge the idea that it's a negative to be categorized in prospective customers' eyes. You know how they say 20% of your customers do 80% of your biz? I think it's very wise to target all of your marketing efforts and your purchasing toward what you think of as your "right people." Sure, in the end, as a small biz you're still going to end up serving and taking money from people who *aren't* your right people. But I am convinced that when a biz is really, really clear about who it is, what it does well, and who it wants to serve, it ends up appealing to lots of people who want to affiliate because the concept is so well done and NOT necessarily b/c they would've self-identified as "someone who likes exactly what this biz offers" in the first place. I saw it happen at my own store!


Susan said...

Definitely branding...I agree...but consider Anthropologie...they have been consistent in their inconsistency...you never know what they are up to...and they have just opened a Home Dec store in Chelsea...they are all over the map, yet customers fawn...when "man shops globe," it is obvious he does not know what he is buying until he sees it...loved that show...so sad they are not rerunning it...

I like the discussion though...I teach college comp (research) part time, so I am always looking for a good read and a good discussion...you snagged moi`! You can tell me to hush whenever! ;-)

Abby Kerr Ink said...


Please DON'T hush!

My background is in English/Creative Writing/secondary education, so you and I have a connection there. :)