Origins #87 - 6 lessons from the last 12 months
Insights from the field.
In this series we are documenting the journey of building DULO, starting from Day 1. Every week we publish a new chapter that takes you behind the scenes of our process. With every article, we want to provide value to you, the reader. We share the success and failures, the opportunities and the challenges that we face while executing our vision.
If you are new, check out our previous post.
In our latest vlog we took on the opportunity to answer a question from the community on our biggest lessons so far while building DULO. If you are more of a visual person make sure to watch it here, if you like reading, I will summarize the content of that vlog in this blog post.
1. Ideas can't grow in isolation.
If Marin hadn't shared his idea about starting an apparel company around a product he/we wanted we wouldn't have been here sharing this blog post with you.
It always helps to share ideas with the right people to generate excitement and share the workload of the execution. After all building a business is a long and hard process, it's easier if you are doing it with a buddy/buddies.
2. Simplify the launch. Start small.
Even being self-funded with limited resources (time and money) we overkilled the launch of DULO in a few ways:
- We should've skipped the women's collection for now.
- Fewer colors. Data shows that 3 out of the 6 colors vastly outperform in terms of interest and sales.
- Less quantity. We overestimated the volume that we can sell in the first year, even though we knew we were coming into this with no resources, previous experience and pretty much launching to crickets.
This would've resulted in an even less financial commitment for now and given us the opportunity to leverage all the insights we have from our first year and jump into the production and design for our second batch earlier with more accurate data points and resources.
3. Start building the brand immediately.
At some point, all products become a commodity. Brand and emotional attachment from your audience will always be your fail-safe against competition and sustain a solid community around your products that can create word of mouth and therefore scale the business in a more significant way.
We are still figuring this out as we have to go even narrower in terms of people we want to speak to, but have definitely learned our lesson that speaking to everyone means speaking to no one really and therefore have made this into a current focus of ours.
4. Don't quit your day job and build slowly on the side.
This is a huge one. Even though from BS Funded Startup Land where a lot of people are currently residing in, given good economic times, SLOW is NOT GOOD, having a side job and investing only what we have, gives us an unlimited runway and creates the grounds for long-term decision making without any external investor pressure in terms of chasing targets and/or direction.
Everyone currently building a business with a limited runway really needs to start preparing for making a profit or selling the business before any sh*t hits the fan, it's been a long time since 2007 and considering the cyclical nature of economic crises, can be a good idea.
A mass LinkedIn profiles update WILL happen, it's just a matter of when.
5. It's going to take longer than you expect. Be patient.
Being patient is helped by understanding a) it's going to take longer than you expect and b) having the lack of financial pressure mentioned in Point 4.
Most overnight success stories are 10 years in the making and the ones that are actually real are 0.01%. You wouldn't fancy those odds in a casino, why would you when creating expectations for yourself.
6. Start early with collaborations and partnerships.
Being patient, creating content and building an organic audience is an essential part when it comes to building a brand, but the only authentic way to skip a few steps ahead is to leverage the audiences of people who've already got them.
This is another point that we are working on, finding our people and creating long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial, ideally even more valuable for the other side.
For the vlog on this topic:
Which point resonated most with you?