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Transforming Inspiration into SKUs

By: Elaine Popovsky
Posted: May 21, 2013

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When it became obvious that the line needed to grow, we split the line into two separate brands, changing our formulas sufficiently to have two distinct products: one for mass market and one for the prestige end of the business. At this point, we also wanted to introduce additional SKUs and went to work developing foot buffers both lines.

This followed our plan of introducing unique products that could have their own niche within the body and bath line. The infused buffer concept was perfectly translatable to foot care, and allowed us expansion room to create additional products with different formulas for different needs

Distribution of our Spongelle Pedi-Buffers is now worldwide, and it is about to become our hero product. We’ve taken the infused buffer concept into many new dimensions that seem like natural outgrowths: we make products for men, we’ve added an anti-cellulite line and a children’s line. We also private label for everything from film studios to designer fragrances, but to keep the momentum going, you need to keep expanding your best product.

Once you have your niche established, you need to keep your customers happy. Customer service is essential. I make sure I am in contact with my key salons and spas on a regular basis. If a product is selling well, I want to know. And if it isn’t, I want to know even more. You can establish a good idea of what works regionally, nationally and internationally, just by doing a random sampling of your retailers in those areas. Keeping them in the loop, making them part of your team, builds a relationship that keeps your product strong. Creating a system where your customers feel comfortable contacting you, where they know you will respond quickly and positively to their feedback goes a long way toward increased sales.

There are no shortcuts and there are no foolproof tricks when it comes to turning an inspiration into a successful SKU, and turning a single SKU into a successful product line.

Follow your instincts, but do your homework. Examine the marketplace; check out competing products, internationally as well as domestically. If it’s big in France and Japan, it’s on its way here, and you don’t want to debut your version a week after some giant corporation has introduced theirs. Due diligence is the best kind of inspiration when it comes to new product development. After that, all you need is willpower, determination and a healthy infusion of blood, sweat and tears.

Elaine Binder was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. in 1978. With a degree in performing arts and armed only with entrepreneurial spirit, she launched two successful brands, Spongeables and Spongelle, by creating a new niche in the personal care category aisle. Elaine is now focusing on Spongelle, Beyond Cleansing skin care infused body buffers targeted toward the most exclusive spas, hotels and resorts as well as pristine retail outlets. Elaine is a sought-after consultant to other companies and specializes in new product rollouts both in the U.S. and internationally, particularly in China and Hong Kong, U.K., Russia, South Korea, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.