As winter’s white shades gradually take over autumn, Uggs start mass-populating the streets of almost every country in the world. Selling in every mall in the US, comforting millions of feet, Uggs are definitely bringing in the big bucks, comforting millions of feet. But it hasn’t always been that way.
When Brian Smith first started out, the founder of Ugg Australia, he knew that the Uggs would catch on in North America in the exact same way sheepskin boots had become popular in Australia. So what does a hustler do when he sees an opportunity? Jumps right on! But it wasn’t a smooth ride, not at all. As a matter of fact when he first set out to sell them in major department stores, no one was buying. So he had to dump the giant stores and start from the bottom, gradually introducing his unique boots to the market, instead of instantly shocking the market.
Initially, surfers were his primary target. I know it sounds crazy, but he was actually selling to small surf shops, slowly gaining traction in the other markets. But again, once it gained traction, Smith tried to jump into mainstream markets a little too quickly.
“The product itself was just so good, I wanted it to be everywhere,” he says.
Now while his business logic was on the right track, wanting to appeal to a mass-market, it also meant that demand would increase, thereby increasing sales. But it taught him a lesson about the growth of a business; You just can’t rush growth. You see, before Smith could even think about appealing to mainstream markets/consumers, he first needed to dominate a niche market, babystepping his product into the big leagues. So since he already had customized the shoes to cater to the surf crowd, he started there.
Once he got them off the ground there, establishing them as the “must-have” shoes in the surfing community, the brand skyrocketed, spreading into different niche markets.
By starting small and targeting a niche market, Smith was able to build the desired demand amongst a limited crowd. A hype that eventually translated into much larger spheres, establishing a hot multimillion-dollar brand that’s envied by the mainstream culture.
By starting small and targeting his marketing, Smith was able to create a hot, gotta-have-it product within a niche market. This hype then translated to larger spheres, ultimately turning Ugg into the multimillion-dollar brand we know today.
Photo Credit: We Heart It