Note — Apr 14, 2018

Swarming Micro Brands

When product design, production and marketing move at the speed of Instagram trends, you get a bubbling ecosystem of Swarming Micro Brands.
Business coverage often seems to circle gigantic mega-companies or new startups, as long as they are rocketing up in scale. But often, small is where the innovation is.

Look at micro brands, for example; sometimes they're so small—almost a mere experiment—a prototype or mockup posted strategically to target certain Instagram communities. Their products can be quickly put into production and “are designed with tightly constructed and managed supply chains that can manufacture and ship a product in small batches on demand, often in coordination with a partner in China.” Some are said to generate $10M in sales with just a few people.

Admittedly, although some of those micro brands are actual, valid, "as advertised" products, the same tools and techniques are also yielded by all manner of go-getters. As one investigation shows, instead of creating a new product test-marketed on Instagram, many sellers completely skip over product creation, simply assembling ready-made goods, shipping, and clever advertising into money-making “traps.” As these tools and techniques expand the possibilities for sizes and speeds of companies—enabling super small teams to target the smallest long tail points of taste—they also present as broad a spectrum for expectations of quality. Are you buying an innovative product from an up and coming designer? Or a cheap knockoff that even the seller has never held in their hands?

Reasons to pay attention to these small outfits: emerging retail trends; an ecosystem of online services which such super quick companies leverage; a potential prototyping model for larger organizations; a glimpse at the flexibility and power of micro-targeting.

Originally written for CloudRaker Thoughts.