[ASK TBM] When is the Right Time to Expand Your Product Line?

When is the right time to expand your product line? Online honey specialist Posh Keeps owner Ruvy Flaminiano shares some insights on what to consider.

Expanding your brand’s product line can be an anxiety-filled experience. We asked Ruvy Flaminiano, the owner of honey souvenirs store Posh Keeps, for insights on how to do it sucessfully.

Many businesses, especially those operating online, often offer a small number of products at launch. At times, some businesses even offer just one or two offerings to their customers to start with. 

But as a business grows, both in profit and popularity, it is not uncommon for its owner to wonder about the right time to introduce more products. This, however, can be a challenging and anxiety-filled experience, full of questions and hesitations. What kind of products should be added to the current lineup? Is it even the right time to add more products?

To provide more insights and tips regarding this dilemma, The Business Manual spoke to Ruvy Flaminiano, the owner of Posh Keeps. This online business started by initially offering just bottles of honey to its customers. Today, its product line has expanded to include other honey-inspired souvenirs and gift boxes, allowing her to earn six-digits in sales monthly. 

How did you come about the idea of starting a business focused on one product? Why did you choose to focus on honey?

My business initially focused on honey because of its amazing health benefits, especially during the pandemic. Inspired by the symbolism of sweetness and nourishment associated with honey, I wanted to provide something unique for occasions like weddings and baby showers.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a business that focuses mainly on one product, such as honey in your case?

One big advantage is that we can really excel in what we do. By putting all my energy into perfecting one product, I ensure [that] it’s of the highest quality. This helps me build a strong reputation for reliability and excellence. 

However, it can be tough to manage my time, especially since I’m also working a full-time job. But focusing on honey helps me stay on track and give my best to both my business and my work. 

On the downside, sticking to one product means we have limited options. But we’re working on expanding our range to meet everyone’s needs. In the end, while focusing on one product has its challenges, it also allows us to really shine in what we do best.

What pushed you to expand your product line to include honey-inspired keepsakes and gifts?

As someone who values elegance and creativity, I felt limited by the plainness of traditional honey bottles. I wanted to give more beauty and uniqueness into my products, which drove me to expand our offerings. 

Also, my own experiences receiving souvenirs at events inspired me to provide products that are not only visually appealing but also practical and memorable. I realized the importance of offering items that people can actually use and cherish now and later on, which led me to introduce honey-inspired keepsakes and gifts into my product line.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of expanding your product line? How did you overcome the challenges it brought?

As a honey lover myself, I saw an opportunity to broaden our offerings to include honey keepsakes for special events.

On the positive side, it makes us a one-stop shop for customers who want to give honey as a gift. They can find everything they need in one place, from souvenirs for guests to special gifts for principal sponsors. This convenience makes shopping easier for our customers and keeps them happy.

However, a challenge I faced was managing a larger inventory and production process. With more products to handle, it can get complicated keeping track of everything and making sure I have enough supplies. Some customers also want to add other items to our gift boxes or buy sets without honey, which we don’t currently offer.

To overcome this, I improved my inventory system and streamlined our production processes. This helped me keep everything running smoothly and maintain the quality of our products.

When do you think is the right time for an entrepreneur to add more products to their product line? What factors contribute to making this decision? 

I believe the right time to add more products to your line comes when you’re not just meeting but exceeding your customers’ needs. For me, it was about listening closely to what my customers were asking for and identifying patterns in their preferences.

When you start noticing consistent demand for complementary products or when you see an unexplored opportunity in the market that aligns with your brand, it’s a sign that expansion could be the next step. 

Of course, it’s still important to ensure you have the logistical capability to handle increased inventory and production without compromising on quality or customer service. For me, it was a balancing act between recognizing the demand and ensuring I could maintain the standards my customers had come to expect from my brand.

What concrete tips and advice can you give entrepreneurs who are experiencing the dilemma of whether or not to expand their product line? 

Struggling with whether to expand your product line is a tough decision that requires careful consideration. My advice is to trust your instincts but also rely on data. Take the time to really understand your market and your customers’ needs. Look at your current resources and capabilities realistically. Can you handle the additional workload without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction? 

Also, consider how adding new products fits into your brand identity and long-term vision. And don’t be afraid to test the waters first; maybe try introducing a new product on a small scale or gathering feedback from your existing customers. It’s about finding the right balance between innovation and maintaining the essence of what makes your brand special.

Ruvy Flaminiano is the owner of Posh Keeps, an online business offering honey-centric keepsakes and gift boxes. Prior to starting her own business, she worked as an employee for an airline.