[Simply Business] The Need for Niche
I am a big fan of basketball, from watching intense games of the NBA, to the exotic collection and vibrant culture of the shoes to actually playing the game on a regular basis. To put it short, I'm a basketball geek. I've invested in shoes (lots, like once per 2 months), jerseys, apparels, renting courts twice a week to play, and even NBA.TV yearly subscriptions and I spent all of my hard-earn money happily. I am a very good example of a niche market: obsessed, marketable and willing to spend.
One good example of a 'startup' that attack my niche market is @ngobrolNBA. The owner of the @ngobrolNBA account: @irrilD is a true NBA fan, you could tell from the 300 jerseys he owns or the uncountable shoes he collects over the year. Clearly the man got love for the game. He created the account out of love, and he's smart enough to capitalize it.
He started with his own clothing line @fastbreakID, again with no website, just a Twitter account and a contact number to order. It doesn't have many followers but everything he sold there got sold out in a matter of hours. Not enough with one, he continued with another clothing line @obewear which had similar number of followers but sold thousands of shirts in just one month after it launched. He has garnered more than 9000 NBA lovers in the @ngobrolNBA account and it continues to grow on a steady pace.
The basketball community may not be as big as soccer but it's definitely significant. The market is definitely lucrative as the nature of the sport is favorable to the middle-class and up. This market holds fewer competitions, very few available medium to express the love of the game benefits the newly built community like @ngobrolNBA and judging from the current result, proves to be quite successful. Now the founder's new venture klikbasket.com goes after the same niche with a broader purpose as a portal/marketplace for basketball enthusiast.
Other new startups taking the niche approach include Maskoolin and FashionPria.com. When everybody is building for the big market of women apparel, the founders of these startups dare to venture into the men's market.
FashionPria started to build its market from building a blog discussing men's fashion do's and don'ts. Maskoolin started the community using email list from his previous startup and also gathering new emails from their email subscription page.
All of the niche startups above started with building a niche community, it can be from Twitter discussion, blog or even mailing list. They grow the community to a phase where they can capitalize it without reducing the value of the community itself. I am into basketball so I wouldn't mind if at one place I can look for my gear as well, the same with men's fashion.
Rather than doing what everybody is doing, it's better to go to another lane, built your community, find your momentum, aim for the biggest and capitalize.
Aria Rajasa is the CEO of gantibaju.com, a clothing startup backed by a very strong designer community. His passion in entrepreneurship has gotten him to establish a number of companies in technology and design industries since leaving university.