Saturday, December 16, 2006

A New Business Model

What makes a business owner decide to switch business models? How does she know when the time is right?

One of my clients is a French fashion designer. Her name is Brigitte. Her label is Manouche. Her clothes are amazing, and she was designing them out of the basement of her suburban home, while raising her kids. She sold to boutiques all over the country.

She loves designing and selling. But she does not like managing the manufacturing part of the business -- dealing with vendors and outsourcing cutting and sewing and shipping. She kept saying she wanted a boutique. I asked her if she really wanted to contend with inventory and being in the store and hiring employees for when she was not there. That stopped her -- for about a year.

Then, one of her own customers wanted to sell her boutique so that she could move. Brigitte took this as a sign to change business models. She is only designing a little bit, now. Instead, she is a boutique owner, selling designer clothes in Greenwich, Connecticut. The store is also called Manouche. Manouche is French for gypsy. The store is small but very colorful and exciting. Brigitte is happy.

If you ever visit North Greenwich, near Banksville, go to Manouche. At the old Manouche Web site, http://www.manouchefashion.com/index.html, under stores, look up Elizabeth Day Lawrence. That is now Manouche.

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