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LESSON FROM THE GODFATHER OF URBAN FASHION - KARL KANI: KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY

Posted on March 06 2019

KARL KANI - JAPAN LOCATION (ONE OF 13 FLAGSHIP STORES IN JAPAN ALONE.)

 

SOME YEARS BACK, I ASKED A CIGAR SHOP OWNER “SO HOW IS THE COPPER LABEL BOW TIE DOING?”  (THIS WAS A COUPLE WEEKS AFTER IT HIT HIS SHELF.)  HE REPLIED, “IT’S NOT SELLING.”

 

WHEN I ASKED HIS OPINION AS TO WHY, HE SIMPLY SAID,

 

“NO ONE HAS HEARD OF YOUR BRAND.”

 

THAT STATEMENT RESONATED WITH ME FOR A LONG TIME.

 

KARL KANI, DURING THIS VLAD TV INTERVIEW, TALKS ABOUT HOW HE SAW A SINKING SHIP IN THE US URBAN CLOTHING BRAND MARKET.  HE GOT OUT, BEFORE IT NEGATIVELY AFFECTED HIS BRAND.

 

“WE WALKED AWAY FROM MARKETSHARE.  WE WEREN’T HERE WHEN THAT SHIP SUNK.  EVERYONE WAS DOING A SUPPOSED CLOTHING LINE.  I KNEW IT WOULD COME EVENTUALLY.  THAT’S NOT LEGIT.  THAT’S NOT REAL.  PEOPLE CAUGHT ON.  WE STOPPED PRODUCING FOR THE DOMESTIC MARKET AND FOCUSED ON JAPAN AND EUROPE.”

 

AS A LOVER OF THE BRICK AND MORTAR SHOPS, I ENJOY GETTING A CIGAR DEAL.  AS INDEPENDENT BRAND OWNERS, THE LAST THING WE WANT IS TO HAVE OUR CIGAR BRANDS END UP ON THE CLEARANCE TABLE AT A SHOP.  IT CAN DAMAGE ALL THE BRAND VALUE YOU’VE WORKED SO HARD TO BUILD.  THIS CAN BE TRULY DEVASTATING!

 

THIS SAME ACTION KARL TOOK (REMOVING HIS BRAND) WAS THE SAME CONSCIOUS DECISION I MADE, AS WELL.  I APPRECIATE THAT SHOP OWNER FOR HIS HONESTY AND CANDOR.  BECAUSE OF HIS WORDS, I CALCULATINGLY REFOCUSED MY EFFORTS ON MARKETING MY BRAND AND GROWING ITS VISIBILITY, VIA SOCIAL MEDIA.

 

BUILDING MY BRAND’S AWARENESS & VALUE BECAME MORE IMPORTANT THAN APPROACHING CIGAR SHOPS FOR SHELF SPACE.  I REALIZED THAT THE TIMING FOR THAT WAS NOT RIGHT, AND TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

 

 

 

AS I MOVE INTO THIS NEW YEAR, RELAUNCHING MY BRAND, IT MAKES MORE SENSE TO BEGIN APPROACHING BRICK AND MORTAR CIGAR SHOPS.  THIS WILL BE DONE VERY SELECTIVELY, AS EVERY SHOP IS NOT A GOOD FIT FOR EVERY CIGAR BRAND.

 

WALKING AWAY FOR ALL THESE YEARS WAS NECESSARY.

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY, KNOWING WHEN TO WALK AWAY FROM ANY RELATIONSHIP OR SITUATION IS SIMPLY A PART OF BUSINESS; A PART OF LIFE IN GENERAL.  IF THE SITUATION IS NOT A WIN-WIN, IT'S PROBABLY NOT A GOOD FIT FOR YOUR BRAND EITHER.

 

PEACE AND NAMASTE.

BOWTIE.