Small Talks features insider expertise from successful small business owners. This video series highlights how real entrepreneurs overcame their most pressing challenges, so you can apply the insights to your own business. 

Tammi Relyea, founder of BRA-serie in San Francisco, is revolutionizing the undergarment industry with her company’s stylish, interchangeable bra straps. Describing her product, she says, “With the BRA-serie, I still get to wear a nice bra that makes me look put together, but I have straps that actually look like a part of my outfit.” From delicate designs to more daring ones, her product appeals to people across age groups and cultures. When Relyea launched her business, there wasn’t another product like hers on the market. As a trailblazer in the fashion space, she shares her advice on connecting with customers and paving her own way.

How to build brand ambassadors

Create consumer-centric campaigns. Many of Relyea’s customers are so passionate about her product that they’ve become advocates for BRA-serie, and ultimately end up assisting with promotion. “The best way for me to reach other people is through word of mouth,” she says. To create a network of brand ambassadors, encourage customers to actively engage with your company. Try asking them to share product selfies or memorable customer experiences on social media.

Personally ask people to participate. On most of her orders, Relyea sends a handwritten note and asks her customers to send her a selfie. That personal touch can go a long way in showing that you value your customers, and it helps foster relationships with them.

Showcase your ambassadors, and keep going. Post photos of your brand ambassadors or the comments they’ve shared with you on your social media accounts, website, emails and other marketing materials. Not only is this an excellent way to thank customers for making a purchase, but it’s also an effective way to promote your brand. What’s more, it’s a great motivator for you as you continue along your entrepreneurial journey.

How to truly innovate within your industry

Research everything on the market. Before you can create a unique product or service, you should find out what potential competitors are doing. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine if there are any gaps in the marketplace or a niche that you can pursue.

Keep your circle of advisers small in the beginning. You may find that people are very excited about your product and want to share their opinions with you. But when you’re just starting out, you need to maintain your focus, so it’s best to limit the number of mentors you ask for help.

Ask: What makes my product different? To get that competitive edge and capture the attention of consumers, you have to determine your unique selling point. If you want to stand out, you have to address a consumer need in a new way.

Watch the full video for more insights.

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