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Example Marketing Plan - Mosaic Buttons

Content provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Online Women's Business Center. SBA's programs and services are provided to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.

The following market plan is an actual plan written by a woman-owned business. Names of some businesses and cities have been fictionalized at the owner's request.

MISSION STATEMENT

Technically, the mission statement is in the opening of the entire Business Plan, of which the Marketing Plan is a part. It's included here for the reader's information...

Mosaic intends to supply Michigan with the most visually interesting buttons available today. They will delight their users and provide a springboard for creative activity. Mosaic believes artistic expression enhances life. It appreciates the skill of human hands and the sensitivity of human hearts. It regards buttons as small works of art in which we are able to see ourselves.

Mosaic's Marketing Plan

HISTORY & DESCRIPTION

Mosaic is a specialty retail store offering a collection of antique, contemporary and hand-crafted buttons from around the world. These buttons are distinguished from those available in the marketplace by the quality of materials, workmanship and design.

A very simple need which Mosaic addresses is the need to have fun! Buttons are wonderfully expressive objects that add unexpected vitality to clothing. Apparel manufacturers are witnessing a competitive advantage to using fun and distinctive buttons. Mosaic makes such buttons available to home sewers and others involved in the needle arts. Providers of interior design services are also served by Mosaic in their efforts to create custom bedding, slip covers and window treatments.

With growth, Mosaic will also establish a working studio for the surface design of fabric. Workshops for the painting, dyeing and printing of fabric will be offered throughout the year. These will be conducted by the sole proprietor of Mosaic and by guest artists with particular expertise.

Mosaic opened for business on August 5, 1996, with an inventory valued at R1,050. In the first eight months of operation another R1,290 of inventory was added. Sales totaled R1,376 for the same period with the average monthly total being R172. Sales have increased steadily over this eight month period.

Organizations and businesses served include:

  • Machine Knitters Guild of Michigan
  • Michigan Embroiderers Guild
  • Sew for Profit of Michigan
  • The National Button Society
  • Home Fabrics
  • Smith-Wesson Designers
  • The Workroom

Funding for the company has come from the personal income of the sole proprietor and from the income generated by sales. Additional funding is sought for the expansion of inventory and for advertising.

PRODUCT OR SERVICE DESCRIPTION

Mosaic offers hand-crafted and manufactured apparel buttons in a range of materials and finishes. A high percentage of these buttons are made of natural materials such as horn, bone, wood, glass and clay. These buttons are hand-crafted by artisans throughout the world and are of original design. Manufactured metal and synthetic buttons are also offered, together with a collection of vintage and antique buttons.

All garments benefit from buttons that contribute to their character. Mosaic offers an opportunity to reinvent ready-made clothing and engages people in a creative process. Buttons are a form of ornament. They allow people to express their personal style in a novel manner.

"Makers" of garments who have invested a great deal of time and energy are unwilling to use buttons with nothing to offer but an attractive price. These people are looking for the perfect button for their creation. Mosaic helps people accomplish this and brings the entire process to a satisfying conclusion.

The charm of buttons is increasingly evidenced in the home, where they are used as a design element on pillows, bedding and window treatments.

Buttons are often purchased not for reasons of utility, but simply for their beauty. Collections of antique buttons represent a significant investment and historically rise in value.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION

Mosaic is located in the Tower Building, 706 Main NW, Suite 200, Altamount, Michigan. This building, a historic landmark from the town's lumbering days, houses two design businesses and a dozen creative studios for book illustration, photography, painting and surface design, and furniture making. Its neighbor, the former Gay-Tonekey Building, at 710 Main NW, also supports numerous design studios. Most notable are the Artists' Studio, a custom frame and gift gallery, and LaFontaine Gallery, a premier fine art gallery. These two buildings have supported the artistic community in the area for over a dozen years by offering architecturally interesting spaces and low rent. They are a signpost of creative thought and activity in the community and attract customers who are interested in artistic expression. This area is also about to receive renewed attention as renovations begin on the city's former water purification plant, soon to become a nationally franchised restaurant.

Mosaic is currently located in a second floor suite in the Tower Building. With growth, it would like to relocate to the building's south end. The benefits of this location are first floor access, room for expansion, higher visibility from large arched windows, more convenient parking, closer proximity to area retailers and reasonable cost.

MARKET ANALYSIS

The Industry
According to the American Home Sewing and Craft Association, the home sewing industry contributes R3.5 billion in retail sales to the national economy. In the five years from 1987-1992, first-time buyers of sewing machines increased from 30 percent to 50 percent. In the last five years (1991-1996), membership in the American Sewing Guild has doubled in size with a 55 percent increase in the number of local chapters. Thirty million people in this country are serious sewing hobbyists.

The availability of the serger may account for these increases. This machine seams, overcasts and trims all in one motion, cutting sewing time in half. Also, today's sewing is technologically advanced, eliminating the need to thread needles and trim excess thread. Computer memories have also enhanced the creative potential of the sewing machine.

Sewing is one of several creative industries served by Mosaic. As this country reassesses its priorities, home oriented leisure activities enjoy increased levels of interest. Gallop Organization's 1990 report on leisure trends indicated that sewing/knitting ranks fourth in activities pursued by the general public.

Throughout Michigan, there are guild chapters for sewing, weaving, knitting (machine and hand), embroidery and quilting. Michigan also hosts a chapter of the National Button Society, an association of button collectors.

The Target Market
The home sewer's profile, as reported by the American Home Sewing and Craft Association, looks like:
  • 75 percent female
  • 25 to 54 years of age
  • college educated
  • household income of R35,000 and up
  • artistic, values originality
  • sewers of varying ability

This profile is supported by direct observation of Mosaic's customers.

People who pursue the creative industries value objects made by hand and purchase them for themselves, their friends and their families. They are deeply involved in home-based leisure activities such as reading, gardening and exploring the culinary arts.

Within the Altamount-Fairhills-Levine DMA, 23 percent of households sew and 20 percent practice a form of needlework. This is slightly above the national average and compares favorably to the City of Indianapolis, which supports Buttons Galore, a similar enterprise with an annual trade of R500,000.

A larger percentage of people from the Altamount-Fairhills-Levine DMA attend cultural events and patronize fine art and antique galleries than from Indianapolis. The median income for this area is also slightly higher than that of Indianapolis.

Mosaic also serves design businesses that focus on residential interiors. Buttons are used increasingly in the home as an element of interest and design.

The Competition
Direct competitors exist in three nearby cities. They are The Threadminder, a supplier of designer knitting and weaving yarns in Levine, Michigan; The Fabric Alley, a high-end fabric shop located in Cashill; and two button shops in Chicago-Twelve Buttons and Renewal Buttons. The strength of these competitors lies in the length of time they have been in business. Awareness of their product is well established.

The Threadminder offers a limited selection of unusual buttons purchased from the same suppliers as Mosaic for the same price. They offer one-stop shopping for the knitting and weaving community, but buttons are not their focus. Unless shoppers were looking for yarn, they would not know that buttons were available at the Threadbender. Mosaic will compete by focusing on buttons and by offering a broader and more exciting selection.

The Threadminder develops their market by offering classes in knitting and weaving. Participants who love fiber and the textile arts will be open to exploring other avenues of expression. Mosaic will offer instruction in those areas.

Mosaic will also compete on the basis of location. It is centrally located with easy access from all parts of the city.

The Fabric Alley in Cashill, Michigan, appeals to serious sewers who are given to spending considerable sums on fine fabric. They offer a very broad selection of buttons in the same price range as Mosaic. Sewers can locate buttons and fabric in one location. However, access to the buttons is difficult. They are poorly displayed and shoppers must be very determined to locate buttons they find attractive. Once spotted, the clerk must retrieve the buttons from stock before the customer can fully assess them. This is both frustrating and time consuming.

Buttons are displayed prominently at Mosaic in a manner consistent with their quality and character. Again, Mosaic will compete by focusing on buttons. The company will also compete on the basis of location. Those whose needs are met by the local fabric stores and who may be unwilling or unable to travel across the state will depend on Mosaic for distinctive buttons.

Twelve Buttons and Renewal Buttons offer a product impressive in its range of quality, price and character. They are both centrally located in the metropolitan Chicago area. They are the model upon which Mosaic patterns itself.

Mosaic will entice fans away from the Chicago shops by diligently procuring buttons of high originality. Independent buttonsmiths will be showcased whenever possible. Mosaic will also maintain a large collection of vintage and antique buttons. Relationships with the local interior design trade are also vital to success.

Indirect competition comes from the local chain stores: Northeast Fabrics, Wisconsin Fabrics, Joan's Fabrics and Fieger's Fabrics. Mosaic offers buttons which cannot be found in these stores and which are priced generally higher. Mosaic will attract customers who may be willing to spend more on buttons than on fabric to achieve a higher level of style and expression.

PROMOTIONAL OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES

One of the greatest challenges facing Mosaic in its first year of operation is lack of community awareness. At this time, the customer base is 90 people. The company's goal is to double this number over the months of June through October for an overall goal of 180 customers.

Strategies for achieving this goal include:

  • Establishing an auxiliary sales display at the local farmer's market on Saturdays throughout the summer. This can be done at a cost of R210.
  • Distributing business cards and reprints of the "Grandstand" article about Mosaic which appeared in Lifelike Magazine in January of 1997. Distribution points will be the farmer's market, the Arts Alive Gallery Hop, the Underground Studio, and area dry cleaners.
  • Mounting additional signage to the exterior of the Tower Building by June 1, 1997, at a cost of R75.
  • Publishing a quarterly newsletter to existing customers and selected businesses. The newsletter will solicit referrals, advertise additions to inventory and notify readers of current sales promotions.
  • Establishing quarterly sales promotions in May, August, November and February.
    The May sales promotion will be in honor of Mother's Day. Customers will be treated to an afternoon tea; discounted gift certificates for mothers will be offered.
    During August, Collage will celebrate its anniversary. A fashion show/competition or other activity will be planned.
    November will focus on year-end festivities.
    February will highlight Valentine's Day.
  • Advertising in the newsletters of the Woodbrook Weavers, the Michigan Quilter's Guild and the Greater Levine Embroiderers Guild. Costs range in the area of R10 per issue.
  • Continuing to advertise in the Greater Levine Yellow Pages at a cost of R10.75 per month.
  • Participating in the fundraising activities of public radio, such as the WYRU Auction, by making a donation in the form of a gift certificate. (Retail value of R30; actual cost R15)
  • Supplying area interior designers with button samples mounted on fabric for them to use with their clients.

Another goal which Mosaic needs to address is that of building inventory. Summer months will allow a greater portion of the company's resources to be directed toward augmenting inventory.

  • Mosaic will advertise in the area weeklies, such as Retreat, as wanting to buy old buttons.
  • Mosaic will solicit handmade buttons by advertising in the "Opportunities" section of The Art Calendar as a consignor.

PRICING POLICY

Three categories of buttons are purchased by Mosaic for resale. They are hand-crafted buttons, manufactured buttons and vintage buttons. The standard industry mark-up is 100 percent.

The average retail price of hand-crafted and vintage buttons is R4.25. Manufactured buttons range in price from R1.45 to R2.00, depending on what material is used. Buttons of natural materials are more expensive.

In the eight months Mosaic has been in business, the best selling button has been a natural corozzo nut button that sells for R1.20.

TERMS OF SALE

Mosaic currently accepts cash and personal checks in the amount of the purchase. With growth, the company will establish credit card acceptance.

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