Three misconceptions that I battle with my business

Three misconceptions that I battle with my business

Three misconceptions that I battle with my business

Starting any business is tricky, and risky. Starting a business from scratch? Even more so. Starting a business with a product that is relatively new to the market and opposes historical societal norms, call me crazy.

Like all start ups challenges came with marketing, profit margins and startup costs, but the biggest challenges I have faced while starting up Lana Vello are a little different.

Firstly, selling clothing made with a fibre that is traditionally worn in colder months and promoting them as beneficial to wear in the warmer months too. Wool is renowned for keeping you warm in Winter, whether it be thick jumpers, beanies or on your bed. What many people don’t realise is the properties of these fibres that keep you warm are actually what keep you cool in Summer too. Let’s cross off the obvious and say a thick woollen jumper isn’t going to keep you cool in Summer, but with technological and farming advancements finer wool fibres can be separated and created into lighter garments which allow the best of both worlds.

This is the one thing I struggle with most so far in this journey I am on. People still think wool is only for Winter and often don’t give it a chance, simply walking by at markets or scrolling without reading further.

I do find it quite interesting though that there is a strong community (many of who are regional men and women) who truly appreciate the characteristics of wool and purchase without question or come and have a chat about the fibre and our story.

I think the quickest way I have found to describe the insulating properties to doubters who are willing to ask the question is to point out that sheep have wool on their backs throughout the year, even in Summer and that it is the insulating properties that keep the sheep cool and protected on our long hot days.

I could go more in depth on the characteristics of the fibres and the benefits, but that’s for another day.

Another similar hurdle is ‘woollen activewear.’ Again some of the main characteristics of a merino fibre is exactly what makes it the perfect fibre to wear when you are being active.

For example, it is highly breathable, odour and sweat wicking so it won’t smell (and trust me it doesn’t!) and it is fast drying if you do get sweaty, it also has a higher UV protection than most synthetics and cotton – again, if you think of a sheep in a paddock in the middle of the Australian Summer all of these benefits make sense!

A lot of what I do is trying to educate people on these benefits, purely because historically wool has only been utilised in cold weather. Many big brands such as Asics have jumped on board and released woollen collections and there are more and more brands popping up selling activewear made with wool. I am so proud to so that we are the first brand in Australia focussed solely around Merino Wool activewear.

On a slightly different note, it is a completely different battle ‘convincing’ people to invest in clothing and that cheaper is not always (actually rarely,) better. I put convincing in quotations because on one side there are people who do not care what the price is, if it is a natural fibre, or great quality they will pay. On the other side there are people who love the product and are really keen and then scough when I tell them the price. I’m not easily offended don’t worry, but sometimes the immediate disapproving look on these people’s faces do put a moment of hesitation in my mind.

And then I remember, how incredible our activewear is, how beneficial it is for you to wear and how long it will last you and I often chuckle to myself. One person at a market last year even said to me that she could just drop in to Kmart and get a shirt similar. She wasn’t too impressed when I  returned serve with a polite yet direct ‘yes, but I bet you will have to replace that shirt after a few months.’

The thing with investing in great quality is that it will last you a long time and if you’re smart with your ‘investments’ they will be versatile, comfortable and gorgeous so you will want to be wearing them for a long time. That’s where the value comes in.

So much of my marketing and the conversations I have at markets is about educating people on these three points, but word of mouth truly is the greatest form of marketing. And for that reason I am so grateful for every single review and recommendation, because by starting that discussion people gain trust in what I am trying to do and that is everything to me and my business.


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