Some of the best business ideas are born by providing a solution to an existing problem. That’s how Arleen Taylor, founder of Mama & Little started her online business.
When her son Archer was born, Arleene Taylor realized that she could no longer keep her beautiful jewelry on. Archer had a swift hand, always pulling on her necklaces and sticking them in his mouth!
That was dangerous!
That’s when Arleene began to look for new jewelry options. She decided to go on a baby-safe jewelry hunt and came across one company that claimed to have what she wanted. But there was one problem. The company sold brightly colored toy-like jewelry that immediately put off Arleene. She just couldn’t see herself wearing something she considered so ugly!
Did being a new mom have to be such an eye-sore?
Arleene felt deprived of her right to feel and be pretty. Why hadn’t anyone thought of making something suitable for nursing moms? It seemed like she had to choose between her son’s wellbeing and wearing jewelry.
Then she thought, “What if I could have both? Maybe I could make suitable jewelry for myself and other moms?” That when she came up with the idea of making teething accessories that moms could wear as jewelry. And the rest, as it is said, is history.
How to Turn Your Pet Peeves into a Thriving Business
Regardless of where you live, chances are you are facing some problems that still need a solution. Or a variation on an existing solution.
Well, you could sit and do nothing about it and hope that someone would come up with a solution… or you could be the innovator that creates the solution. Since you understand the problem well, you will be in a better position to come up with a solution, even if it’s a simple do it yourself (DIY) project to start.
When done right, you could turn your simple DIY project into a thriving business.
1. Innovate Your Way to Woo Your Target Market
If something annoys you, chances are, you are not the only one that feels that way. Identify who else might share your pet peeves and create a list of problems that need a solution.
Arleen chose not to settle for the toy-like jewelry or even the option of not wearing jewelry while around her son. Instead, she decided to craft her own jewelry that would be safe for both of them.
She began searching for companies that would make her silicone beads without compromising on the shape, size and color. She put together designs and color palettes that she felt would interest her and other moms. With only $1500, she began her business, making jewelry that any mom could wear.
Her creative juices led her to become the original creator of the silicone hexagon bead that is friendly to both mama and the little one.
2. Do it NOW
There is a tendency to feel like you need to polish a design or your prototype just a little more before you can launch. At times, you may feel like you need to speak to a few more friends and relatives to get their opinion on your product. This is an ugly trap in business. It can hold you back from your profits for ages.
How about embracing humble beginnings?
Any business expert will tell you, “Start with what you have and learn your way up!” That’s the way to grow your business.
You don’t need a store, large capital or a large inventory. Like Arleene, you could work from home; in fact, at the time of writing this article, Mama & Little still operates as a home business.
You could use your home as your office and warehouse reducing your startup costs.
Think of your first product launch as version 1.0 and keep adjusting it to the specifications that your clients want. Besides, how would you know what they want unless you launch it and get their feedback?
This is not an excuse to release a shoddy product. You can sell the first set of your product at an introductory fee then revamp it and increase your prices as you add more features.
3. Start with a Direct to Consumer Strategy
Thanks to the internet, you can now launch your own ecommerce site in a matter of hours and reach your consumers online. You don’t need a distributor or middleman to reach retail stores. You can use online marketing strategies and reach your target market directly. This is a great way to get their feedback and improve your products to fit market needs.
Arleen started by sharing her baby-friendly necklaces on Instagram. This allowed her to connect with other ladies who were into entrepreneurship. She gathered their opinion on her product helping her understand what her market wanted.
Then she built her website using the Shopify ecommerce platform. Shopify provides a user friendly interface that allows you to build an ecommerce store in a matter of hours.
Having an online store to connect to, allowed Arleene to build a large following on social media. At the time of writing she had over 30.9K followers on Instagram, over 8K on Facebook and 2.9K on Pinterest.
She has also expanded her reach by listing her products on Amazon where she currently has over 100 reviews.
Once she proved her concept, she was able to find other retailers to carry her product line. Her products are currently on sale at several retailers in the United States, Canada and Sweden with more locations on the way!
4. Engage your Target Market by Providing Value
Arleene isn’t just about jewelry. Being a mom of two, she has quite a bit to share with her followers. Knowing that most of them are mothers like her, she maintains a blog on her website where she shares articles on motherhood. This keeps her followers coming back for more tips and allows new moms to find her.
Once you understand your target market well, you could give them more than your original product. The more you interact with them, the more you are able to know what their pain points are. Then you can create more solutions for them. You can share solutions with your content as a value add or create new product categories.
Creating new product categories around the same theme will allow you to increase the lifetime customer value. Clients who trust you and buy from you, are more likely to come back and buy other solutions from you.
5. Seek Budget Friendly Solutions
As a new business owner, every penny or cent counts. Always keep an eye on your operational costs and look for ways that allow you to increase your profits, without increasing your expenses.
Before you get an office or open a physical retail store, you can start your business from home. You can also look for suppliers and existing online platforms and solutions to automate your business.
For example, Arleen optimizes the drop shipping aspect of her business through Shipstation. This is a multicarrier shipping software for ecommerce businesses like Mama & Little. It offers postal services at affordable rates, automates processing with simple rules and integrates with Shopify which Arleene uses in her website.
That simplifies the entire drop shipping aspect of her business making it friendlier for her and her clients.
Mama & Little No Longer So Little
With Mama & Little business doubling the profits month after month, Hyrum, Arleene’s husband was able to join her on a fulltime basis. They even had to seek more help from some family members in order to keep up with the demands of the business.
Her passion to make moms feel pretty and comfortable as they nurse their babies has grown Arleene’s business even further. So far, she has a collection of over 19 uniquely designed necklaces for her ever growing clientele.
Mama & Little now sells necklaces, bracelets, pacifier clips and a variety of apparel for moms and babies.
What started as a way of solving her pet peeves is now a winning business for one mom and her family.
It even earned her a mention on Entrepreneur’s Instagram account which received over 1.6k likes. A great way to get more exposure and increasing her clientele base.
What About You?
Every annoying problem has a solution, you can settle and let it shape your life or you can solve it and make a lot of money by helping others solve it.
As the job market continues to change with more outsourcing to lower cost of living countries and artificial intelligence, this is your time to shine by innovating.
Instead of looking for jobs and hope others will provide a solution to your income needs, become the innovator and solve problems for others. Provide value and the money will come.
If you are not sure what online income model will work best for you, then check out my book “Pajama Paydays, How To Make The Internet Work For You.” You will find great tips and resources that will help you build an online business around your area of expertise.