Real KidZ a three-year-old apparel company that makes and markets clothing for overweight girls in the 5 – 12 age range. The company was founded by an enterprising young woman who earned a degree from Stanford and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. RealKidZ is funded by private angel investors who viewed the potential market for this line of clothing to be excellent because of the nature of the overweight problem, especially in Michigan, which ranks among the leading states in the nation for obesity. The firm has become well known through a series excellent print and Internet stories about the business that have appeared across the primary market area of southeast Michigan as well as in Internet stories in such national media as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
The attention from media is the best thing achieved to date by RealKidZ, but have not translated into sales. Sales of the nifty product the firm has designed and made have not reached the goals for the business and in fact have been relatively poor. The company’s chief executive and angel investors asked Eiler to assess the marketing situation and make recommendations on how to improve the paltry sales results.
Finding a consistent, repeatable revenue stream is always a challenge, especially for a startup business serving a customer base that may not admit the real issue that is being dealt with in society: obesity and the well-chronicled growing overweight population of young girls. The challenge was to determine the buyers and people who might influence the buying decision. Then, to develop compelling messages to create a culture of “ your size is okay” and to reassure young girls that it is fine for them to wear stylish clothing that enhances their look and feeling about themselves.
We reviewed the marketing program of RealKidZ and found that all of the highly valuable and credible media results were aimed at the wrong audience: business people and readers of business information. NOT at the predominant buyers of the product: women.
Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and female friends are the primary purchasers of the firm’s clothing, according to CEO Merrill Guerra and based on her work leading the firm’s development over its first three years.
Once this fundamental piece of Real KidZ marketing was determined, the next step was to find where women get their information. A natural assumption for women in their 20s, 30s and 40s these days is he Internet. So we checked out Mommy Blogs, other female-oriented sites, children’s sites aimed the young girls, sites aimed at grandmothers and other females. We researched the publications they read, the TV shows they watch. We suggested partnerships and alliances with relevant organizations for women and young girls.
We checked out heavy women such as Queen Latifah and Oprah Winfrey, seeking communications channels we could connect to that involved these noted entertainers and personalities.
Outcomes of the internal implementation of this new strategy are being determined as sales begin to help put RealKidZ on a sound financial footing by depleting inventory, reaching consumers directly primarily through Mothers and creating a culture of “you can look good in your clothes” among the young girls who are overweight. We expect the second half of 2010 to show an entirely new result in terms of sales, popularity of products and revenues since we are now focused on reaching the primary buyers of products: Moms with young daughters who have a weight issue.