Are you putting a carefully edited product collection out into the world?

Lela Barker

I’m gonna give it to you straight: launching a “too large” product collection is probably the most common mistake I see in my work with creative, product-based brands. Many of us are fueled by passion and creativity (and that’s a beautiful thing!), but it’s also a double-edged sword when we decide to launch a business. The key lies in nourishing that creativity while also giving it some healthy parameters so that we’re able to launch a carefully curated product collection that’s manageable from a logistical perspective and one that stands for something in the minds of our target audience.


Please say it with me: “Just because I can make it, doesn’t mean I should sell it.”


Launching too many products is a mistake because…


• It keeps product costs artificially high.

• It keeps profits painfully low.

• It divides your attention + diminishes the kind of focus that builds real business momentum.

• It makes it more challenging to truly “own” anything in the mind of the consumer.

• It’s typically an indicator that you’re unknowingly cannibalizing your own product collection.

• It contributes to indecision + chronic, low level anxiety among your customers.


What? ‘Tis true! If you’d like to dive into a good read about consumer psychology and the effect that an overwhelming number of product choices ultimately has on your consumer, then check out the book Decoding the New Consumer Mind by Kit Yarrow. It’s one of my favorites!


So what’s the fix? Thoughtfully editing your product offerings. Although I don’t suggest any standardized formula for how many products every business should make, I strongly believe that less is more.




Begin by reviewing your product costs and sales data. You should be able to pull this data from your accounting software and/or your e-commerce platform. If you have my Price-O-Matic system (commonly referred to as “the best damn pricing software on the planet), then your costs of production should be especially easy to tabulate and extract.  Review the data and then put it through this grinder.


1. What’s not selling? CUT IT.

Look at what’s selling. If it’s not moving in any significant quantity, then it needs to be relegated to the archives.


2. What’s not profitable? CUT IT.

What’s making you money? If you love making it and your customers love buying it BUT it’s not moving your financial ball forward, then it needs to die a quick death on the cutting room floor. And if you’re only guessing at your costs of production, then you’re essentially flying a plane blindfolded.  Yikes!


3. What’s not fitting in with your brand storyline? CUT.

If something doesn’t jive with what you’re all about, then cull it.  The product collection (and your company’s health with be better for it… promise!


About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

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