i’ve knocked off another company

October 27th, 2011   |   Business Advice

Fact #1: Over the summer I really, really, really wanted to buy an expensive pair of Tory Burch boots which were only available via Tory Burch stores. By the time that I made my decision to plunk down the $500 for the boots, they were all sold out. They had only had a limited quantity of the style and I had no idea they were that popular. I was incredibly bummed.

Fact #2: Our new Jess LC collections are made by a few local craftsman here in Chicago and often we order in small batches to keep things manageable for the craftsman. And we have also done small runs of products which are limited edition and can sell out quickly.

Fact #3: I knocked off another company.

These three facts give you a pretty clear picture of what I have to share. Given Fact #1, I have been aware that my lack of information on how rare those boots were caused me to miss out on owning them. Had I known that they were so limited, I could have hurried my decision to purchase them rather than get my hopes up and then be disappointed.

Likewise, this same situation is also happening over at Jess LC with our new collections. Since our jewelry is made in-house, we often can make items quickly and easily as long as we can re-order the supplies used to make the styles. But our new bag, scarf, stationery, and iPad cases are all made by local craftsman in small batches. And even the materials we use are sometimes not meant to be re-ordered, but are just available for one season.

What I love about this method is that it keeps things local, intimate, and special for our shop and our customers. It feels great to keep things small at this time to grow intentionally.

And in this process, I’ve decided to knock off another company…

Yep. It’s true. I’m getting my inspiration for production from non other than the amazing and incredible Three Floyds Brewery of Munster, Indiana.

I first got introduced to the company on a beer tour with my friends Cathy and John. Mr. Lively and I drove out with Cathy and her husband to go on a brewery tour and then eat some incredibly amazing bar food (like truffle fries). And believe it or not, the whole experience pushed me to improve Jess LC.

During our brewery tour, the guide mentioned that 3 Floyds does year-round, seasonal, and collaboration batches. This way of operating a small, local business was brilliant. And I set out to do the same with my own shop.

Collaboration Collections

While 3 Floyds collaborates with breweries like Dogfish Head, I did my recent collaboration with Claudia if Fig. 2 Design Studio which resulted in our Webster note card collection. These cards are available in small quantities. And I’ve also done a collaboration item over the summer with Elizabeth Dehn as well.

So far these partnerships have been incredibly fun and successful, so I’m excited to continue adding new collaborative collections in 2012.

Year-Round, Small Batch Collections

And when it comes to 3 Floyds year-round brews, like the insanely good Gumball Head (my favorite beer of all time), we over at Jess LC make our Quincy collection in small batches as well. Due to the high demand for this collection, we also allow people to pre-order from the next batch that is to come in once the previous batch sells out.

Seasonal Collections

Then of course there are the limited edition runs of styles which are not re-order-able. Once these styles sell out, they are gone for good. Our Belmont scarves and Lake Shore bags fall under these categories.

(Lake Shore however, will return in the spring.)

How I’m Getting the Info Out to Customers

To let customers know about these details we added small arrows below, to each product page that falls under these three categories.

And each of these buttons are linked to the Collection Definitions page, which explains everything in more detail.

Which of course kinda looks like the beer list over on 3 Floyds’ site.

So there you have it. I can finally come clean and shout it out far and wide, I love and admire 3 Floyds so much that I have knocked off their production cycle.

Of course the idea of knocking off 3 Floyds is all in jest, but the truth is that this was a great example of how looking outside your own industry can give you creative solutions to your own issues or even allow you to think about your company in a fresh and unique way.

 3 Floyds image credit

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  • http://whereyouhangyourhat.blogspot.com Virginia

    My husband LOVES Three Floyds and drives up from Indianapolis with his friends on Dark Lord Day. Loved this post!

  • http://tillymaison.blogspot.com carolyn

    great advice! i’ve tested out a similar idea, with some ‘limited edition’ products. it has been a hit so far and lets me keep ideas fresh. and i’m with you–if i know something isn’t going to be around forever, it helps the decision making process, AND this approach keeps communications clear and transparent to avoid frustrations later. win-win.

  • http://www.thewingedheart.com Natalie

    Reading the first few sections of this post, I thought for sure you were about to say that you had one of your craftspeople whip up some knock-off versions of the Tory Burch boots for you! Haha =)

    But anyway, I think this is a great idea! I have been bummed about missing a few Jess LC items in the past, so this is such a helpful new feature! Great!

  • http://tlexx.tumblr.com Lexi

    I really like this feature – as I commented on a previous post, I’ve been staring at the Lake Shore tote for months, and this post just convinced me to buy it, because I don’t want to wait until Spring! Thanks. :)

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  • http://www.fiscallychic.com Cathy

    Thanks for sharing your thought process and the new direction for the business. Which brewery or business can we tour for you to knock off next?? (Just kidding!)