By Jen Tubbin
Second Nature by Hand

Have you heard of the Spandex Rule?  As we move into a season where we shed some of our clothing, Spandex seems like a fun topic of conversation!

Scott Bedbury, the marketing genius who helped build the Nike and Starbucks brands, warns of extending your business obligations too far.  He calls it the “Spandex Rule” — just because you can wear Spandex clothing doesn’t mean you should.  When thinking about entering a new market, launching a new product or selling your product in another retail environment, it is important to assess whether your plan makes sense for your business.  “A great brand that knows itself also uses that knowledge to decide what not to do,” Bedbury argues.

Opportunities are everywhere.  At our house, there’s always conversation around the dinner table that starts like this, “Here’s an amazing idea that I think we should implement tomorrow…”  “Wouldn’t it be great if we….”  “I know this sounds crazy, but…”  With more ideas than resources, how does one keep a small business laser focused?  As important as it is not to over-think a decision, it is just as important to stay away from no-think scenarios as well.  Focus is key.

The Spandex checklist applied:

Overdevelop your product line

Your customers are hungry. They want new. You want to give them new. This cycle happens continuously. Be sure that your new development is strategic, planned, and fits the branding and goals of your company.

Offer excessive choices

Your customers want choices, but not too many. Your goal should always be to be easy to buy from. Having too many choices fosters confusion and inefficiency. It also invites too much inventory. Inventory numbers multiply like crazy when you introduce choices. Be focused and strategic when you create products that involve choice.

Create inventory

Before creating a large inventory of your products, test your market. Pay close attention to what your customers are ordering consistently and create a just-in-time inventory that matches how your customers are purchasing. Carrying too much inventory causes major issues with space and cash flow. Focus and take the time to understand how your customers are purchasing.

Make unrealistic promises

You know the adage — under promise and over deliver. Always. Anyone can get the first sale, but keeping the customer is what matters. Be up front with your pricing, process, and production time so that your customers return to you for future business.

As I plan my wardrobe for the upcoming summer season, I will think about Bedbury’s Spandex Rule and ask myself whether my choice fits my goal. I’m quite sure the Second Nature by Hand team will appreciate me leaving my spandex at home.

After years of intense focus on creating and building a small business, Jennifer and David Tubbin have achieved the ultimate goal as entrepreneurs—having others see the value in the business they’ve created.  The acquisition process has provided an amazing learning experience for the couple and growth opportunities for Second Nature by Hand.  Through a crazy word-of-mouth network, Second Nature by Hand has become an artisan business that stands shoulder to shoulder with companies much larger than itself.  The brand is known for quality, handmade, one-of-a-kind products from vintage and reclaimed materials and superior service to customers.  Following the acquisition of the company, Jennifer is now able to focus on the aspects of the business she enjoys the most, product development and design.  In addition to refocused work duties, she looks forward to more family time and homemade meals on the dinner table.