Blog #6

This is our last blog! It has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us. We met so many people with many ideas and opinions. The whole experience was enlightening to say the least.

In the last week, we decided as a group to make a major pivot toward marketing primarily towards African American women. Emily had done research about what was already on the market, and with that in mind, our group decided it would be a good idea to pivot for several reasons. First of all, there are many all natural products for African-American hair, but none that tells a customer what they need directly on the website. They have to do searching around. Secondly, so many blogs decry the benefits of DIY shampoo and conditioner, so Bel-Cantik is taking those recipes, customizing them for the individual, and sending them without the hassle of making their own shampoos. The products offered, even if they are all natural, have some inscrutable ingredients so we are offering something without any mystery.

We learned that most components of the Business Model Canvas can be discovered through simply getting out of the building. The internet offers a rich source of connection and information that, in a place like Bozeman without a large customer base, it becomes very valuable. We used existing reviews, and reached out to friends to get their opinions. It makes sense that with more minds comes more ideas. However, we learned that many ideas and opinions could come our way but we have to decide if it is in-line with our branding. For example, when we talked to people outside of our current target market, older women, they were very interested in the possibility of expanding to bar soaps and liked the gift aspect of Bel-Cantik. Once we pivoted, we had to disregard some of those opinions because that would be too broad at this point for our company.

Although it is a very dense market, we think the business is viable. Especially if we were able to partner with other DIY shampoo makers, Bel-Cantik could be a very unique venture. There is so much practical, home-grown knowledge about what works best for different types of African-American hair; we are barely scratching the surface. It is viable because we would be constantly learning and communicating with our customers to make the best, homemade shampoo and conditioner that will ever touch their scalps. Because it is a small operation, our customer response time would be above average. Overall we believe our value proposition is unique. Finding the right solution for hair is a process that our customers shouldn’t have to go through alone by buying and throwing away product after product. It is true that the value proposition we propose are not high barriers for big companies such as P&G. However, we do not see that as a competitor because our target audience is different to P&G.

Although it is viable, we may not pursue this venture after all because of the time commitment it would require from each of us to be viable.

Here is our last Business Model Canvas!

Blog #4

So far, our marketing plan was mainly focused on the Internet and some sales at hair salons. Our marketing plan for the Internet would be showing our presence in all social media. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, and SnapChat. We have also found that many people like the idea of the availability on Amazon, specifically Amazon Prime and their Startup section. Another virtual location recommended would be Groupon and similar discounted websites. With that in mind we will create discounts, and hopefully link our product offerings to Amazon, and PayPal.

According to Business Model Generation, a project sponsorship and communication campaign are two very important aspects when implementing a business model. With that in mind, we are going to invite various blogs dedicated to African-American empowerment (news, beauty tips, advice, etc) to try Bel-Cantik’s products and write a review. This will help engage people in the logic and rationale of our business model, as attaching a narrative to a product is important. We will also offer our product to popular YouTube and Instagram stars to try out. For example, Instagram user @blackhairstyles has 33.5k followers and often reviews products, and the website blackgirllonghair.com often engages readers with deep conditioner recommendations.

On our website, we decided to not offer free samples but instead offer sample sized products with purchase, either at a minimal price or for free. Another marketing plan would be to offer seasonal scents, as it is rather limited to the season, and this would created exclusivity and excitement. Similar to how Starbucks only sell Pumpkin Spice coffee in Fall and Eggnog Latter as Christmas rolls around, customers purchase them because they do not get it all year round. Also, in the spirit of Christmas, we are also producing Gift Cards for customers to purchase for their loved ones. This idea was well-received and not much comments were made about this.

Considering the “Business Model Perspective on Blue Ocean Strategy (p. 226), we thought about what factors we need to eliminate, reduce, raise, and create in our marketing scheme. In talking to our customers this week, we discovered their frustration at the trial and errors they have to go through to get their hair care routine right. We know Bel-Cantik needs to raise the bar of providing customers with information on what they’re buying as they’re buying it. No searching around the web to discover if certain ingredients are bad: we will include a list and exactly what each one does for hair. We want to eliminate the need to either make your own shampoo or buy synthetic chemical shampoos from the store that might work alright, but not as well as a DIY shampoo would (and does, based on our research). We are eliminating the need to invest in ingredients and make these nourishing DIY shampoos at home, or order them from sellers on Etsy without knowing exactly the effect they’ll have on hair.

Other than the virtual world, we will also be selling our products by the masses to hair salon. This would allow customers to try our product during their appointment and be able to purchase it as they leave the salon. We were reminded that distribution may be a problem for us, especially at the early stages. With that, we decided that we could start off with big cities. This would allow a more cost efficient distribution plan as we would reach out to larger coverage per capita within a city like Seattle or Los Angeles, than traveling intercity in Montana.

Another marketing idea we received was to somehow do a viral video. This spark an idea of collaborating with extreme outdoor sports YouTuber, Devin Graham(@devinsupertramp). With his influence and subscribers, our product would easily reach out to 500,000 to 1 million viewers.  This also gave us the idea to sponsor an outdoor event. These are all in-line with our value proposition because outdoor fanatics love the outdoors and would also be interested in protecting Mother Nature. We could also do joint-project with companies such as GoPro or REI.

 

Blog #2

For this week, we focused on hitting our customer segment more accurately. Before we began our interviews, we hypothesized that our customer segments would be divided into two. One for the African American and the other for White American.

Our African American customers

  • 16 to 70 years old
  • Middle-income
  • Eco-friendly
  • College educated

Our White American customers

  • 16-70 years old
  • Middle-income
  • Eco-friendly
  • College educated

Based on last week, Biiancaa found that if we moved away from college students, we might be able to find customers who are willing to pay more. With that, this week, Biiancaa found working adults and to her delight, her hypothesis deems true. They were willing to pay $15 to $25 for an 8oz. bottle of an all-natural organic shampoo or conditioner. Based on the cost price for a small production, it becomes more feasible for us. Other than moving to older adults, Biiancaa also found that customers were more willing to spend money on our products because of their sensitive scalp issues. This includes customers who have dandruff and dry scalp but have not found a shampoo or conditioner that solves their problem. Based on these findings, our customization feature would include the benefits for each individual ingredients the customer has the option to include in their bottle.

We also found that women from a middle income families would purchase our products for their family. From this information, we could offer our customers to start a subscription with us. As a result, this would make it less convenient for them to try another brand. Sales would also be more stable and consistent. In addition to constant sales, with prolong usage, customers would feel the difference in their hair and scalp health. From there, our customers would become loyal and advocate for our shampoo and conditioner. They would recommend us to their friends and family. They would even purchase gift cards as a way to let their loved ones try the greatness in our products. From there, we could start a recommendation sales tactic.

Also, after some interviews, Annsarah found that it would encourage customers to try different products if we provided sample size bottles with their first purchase or when we have a new product in our line. Customers could also give these sample to their friends and family. Thus, encouraging them to buy from us as their confidence have been built thanks to the recommendation of friends and family, and the results they received from our sample.

In conclusion, we found that with an older target market with a family, 25-70 years old women in a middle-income family, they are more willing to pay a higher price. We also learned that people with sensitive scalp or unsolved hair issues, they are more willing to try an all-natural organic brand. Due to the lifestyle of our new target market, they are more loyal and are stronger advocates who will promote our product to their friends and family as long as we have proven to be worth it. We also learned that our customers would be more willing to try other products or customization if they are able to receive cheap or free sample size shampoo or conditioner.

Here is the link to our Business Model Canvas