From a business perspective, is it better to be a cottage manufacturer of a single product or line or try to pepper the market with multiple related product lines?
We’ve been working hard here at the Trail Sherpa HQ shaping the next four projects in our 5 Essentials of Outdoor Adventure. The designers and developers are banging away at the new discussion sites for nutrition, shelter, clothing & footwear, and gear. I’ve been reaching out to my favorite brands to drum up sponsors for each project.
As I navigate from one site to another, this question keeps surfacing in my mind.
Big outdoor brands are diversified
I could make the case that having multiple related product lines would provide for more stability. If a line loses steam or the season passes, the other lines can support the business until that line returns to favor.
But does this lead to other issues like being average at a lot of things and great at none of them?
Cottage manufacturers are specialized
My thought for smaller single product or single product line manufacturers is that they can really excel at making this one type of product. Customers grow to know such businesses as a specialist in a specific piece of gear. Of course, this could expose the brand to big shifts in revenue as their product line is impacted by slow seasons or competition from other similar products.
Does recognition in the marketplace as a specialized manufacturer limit the brand’s ability to launch new unrelated products?
Who has the advantage?
What are your thoughts on this question? If you were starting a new outdoor brand would you aim to be a cottage manufacturer or a big outdoor brand with a full spectrum of product lines?