Like with everything else in life
your new business can either be
below average, average, or above
average. The difference will boil
down to a few small variables.
This guide is intended to help you
identify those issues and master

We hope you enjoy it.
And, just an fyi, it’s formatted
for email, and to be read via phone.

So the columns are extra narrow, Anyway…

Here is our first Topic…

How To Stand-Out From The Crowd…

To get your business off to a good
start, you’ve got to stand out from
the crowd. You should figure out
how to unique-ify yourself in the
marketplace. Unique-ify? Ok, it’s not
a word, but hopefully it makes sense.
You’ve got to find your unique angle
or idea – and it needs to be a popular
one. If you offer a unique product,
that is in line with the desires of
the marketplace, then you’ve got a
great shot at building a good business.

See, selling is a balancing act
between being unique and offering
what is popular in the marketplace.

Sometimes it’s impossible to know
what people are going to find
attractive. But it’s your job to
experiment until you get it right.
Sometimes you have an idea, and it
flops, sometimes you have an idea,
and it works like magic.

On the one-hand, if you just copy
what other people are doing, even if
it’s selling well for them, then
you haven’t differentiated yourself
enough to get people’s attention. You
might do okay, but probably not great.

On the other-hand, if you deviate
from what’s popular too much, then
you run the risk of making things
that look goofy. Goofy usually
doesn’t sell well.

The best approach is to be unique
enough to stand out, but stick to
things that are known winners.

So what should you try first?

In general, we’ve discovered 1 big
lesson that influences everything.

Ready for it? …

Either go very contemporary, or go
very historical. We’ve seen people
find good success in either direction.
But usually you become known for 1
or the other, not both.

The worst thing you can do is to try
to sell neither historically accurate
clothing, nor contemporary clothing.
I’m not sure why seamstresses try this
approach, tacking on the rick rack,
deliberately making outfits that look
like – well – doll clothes. That’s a
clear mistake. So choose either
historical or contemporary clothing,
then be true to that genre.

Here are a few more proven ideas from
Paul Hawken, founder of Smith & Hawken:

1. Enhance the commonplace. Are the
AG swim suite options boring? Can you
make them exciting? Take something
that is unexciting, and spice it up.
It is a great way to make a strong

2. Reveal a business within a
business. Take 1 small area of the
AG universe – and dominate it by doing
it in a very big way. For example: is
there anyone that focuses exclusively
on making AG backpacks? Maybe you
could start offering 25 different
options. You could dominate the AG
Backpack scene. You could build a
whole brand and business around that
1 idea.

Have you ever heard of Charles Williams?
He was a hardware store owner. And in
1956 he decided to get rid of all the
hardware and just focus on the kitchen
utensils. How crazy is that? But you
probably love William Sonoma – his
now famous store. He got there by
becoming the best at 1 small thing.

We have been telling our partners for
over a year that if someone would
just focus on AG Jeans exclusively,
and make a cool brand, (like a mini
7 For All Mankind), that they’d own
a cool category. We’ve even got the
patterns already available. So far,
no one has done it.

3. Find a whole in the market and
fill it. Is there something that no
one else is doing? Maybe something
that AG abandoned? You might recognize
that this is exactly what we did with
the pattern business. AG offered 6
old patterns, and had clearly
abandoned that line of business.
For more than 20 years no one keep
advantage of this whole in the
marketplace. Like a vast territory
that had been abandoned. So, we
decided we’d enter that space
and offer the largest selection
we could possibly create.

We weren’t competing with American
Girl, we were adding something of
value to their ecosystem.

Bottomline on all of this – starting
your sewing and selling business by
saying, “I’m going to make doll clothes”
is probably too broad an idea. Think
narrow and deep. You have to start by
asking – how can I be unique compared
to everyone else?

Just take your time – you can do it.

Now go stand out from the crowd,

Jason & Cinnamon

Ps. If you want to read all of the
Start-Up Success Guide topics
immediately you can go to and look
under the “partner resources” section.

1 Comment on The Start-Up Success Guide, #1

  1. Just finished the Design Academy and arrived at the Premium Partner site this morning. I plan to read everything I can get my hands on the figure out this business of selling my AG fashions.

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