032: Success in Small Niches | Product Startup Podcast

032: Success in Small Niches

December 25, 2016

With Jill Bong of Chicken Armor

032: Success in Small Niches

Jill Bong is an entrepreneur, homesteader, and inventor of Chicken Armor – a different chicken saddle. She is also the author of over a dozen books on homesteading and self-reliant living. In this episode, we learn about how she achieved success by identifying a small niche in the market.

* Why Jill and her husband created their product despite established competition in the space

* Differentiating the product from competitors

* The design drivers – few components, washable, easy to manufacture, and low cost

* The process of working with material suppliers

* Keeping startup costs low – “We almost had no choice, we had to work with a shoestring budget, or almost no budget in this case”

* Why it’s rare to come up with your final product on your first try and the iterative part of product design process

* Taking a year (multiple seasons) to test the product

* Jill’s experience getting laughed out of a gardening forum – and landing her first user who was also a business owner with a similar experience

* Selling Chicken Armor on eBay to validate the market

* Handling customer objections and their perception of quality through money back guarantees and up-front education

* Why Jill and her husband abandoned pursuit of a patent

* Why they haven’t scaled up to large scale manufacturing and distribution or branched out into other designs and target markets

* When sales actually picked up and Jill’s solution to marketing and outreach (especially for unique products)

* The product sales as a result of mentions in large broad publications versus small targeted outlets

* Their most successful marketing tactic – pitching to the editors of publications and appealing to their audience worked better than influential bloggers and magazine ads

* Some of the other passive income streams that Jill has started

* How to know when you should continue validating your market, and when to quit

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

* Website

* chickenarmor.com

* byjillb.com

* Social Media

* Twitter: @chickenarmor

* Facebook: facebook.com/chickenarmor

* Instagram:

* Pinterest: pinterest.com/chickenarmor

* Google Plus: +Chickenarmorsaddles