July 26, 2007
One of the critical decisions to be made when starting a new business is defining a suitable product with an adequate potential customer base. In the case of the LadyBug Shop the initial idea for focusing on ladybug products came from the fact that the ladybug is Delaware’s official state bug due to the efforts of a second grade class from the town of Milford petitioning the State Legislature to give it this designation. (Read the full story) Given that we are located in Milford, Delaware, it seemed like a nice business to have in our town and one that local customers would find appealing. But that was only part of the decision. In addition I had been studying the world of “eCommerce”—i.e. business done via the Internet. And I had some ideas about what would be a good product line to offer to shoppers via a website. I was looking for a very narrow product line, since I knew that advertising costs were high if you have to compete with other stores. And I knew that we would need a relatively large potential customer base around the world. Clearly, limiting ourselves to gifts with a ladybug design was a narrow focus. And I knew that ladybugs were beloved by people around the world–so I guessed there might be a large customer base for ladybug products. I did not do much market research—but I did do a Google search on the word “ladybug” and came up with over 12,000 web references (in 2003). That seemed promising. Of course you never know until you try—but it seems that I was correct about the appeal of the ladybug. Today we have over 10,000 visitors per month visiting our website http://www.ladybug-shop.com/.