A new direction: when to extend your product or service

Three founders explain how they knew it was time to switch things up, diversify and expand on what their business had to offer.
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From kids' clothing to chic camping

Will Chapman, co-founder of UK-based childrenswear brand Roarsome (formerly Dinoski).

‘When lockdown was announced [during the pandemic], travel restrictions came into place and all the ski resorts closed. At this time, ski wear was our biggest selling collection, so this was a major concern. 

‘We acted quickly to introduce new products [that] would be more suitable to staycations and adventures at home. This included swimwear, tracksuits and helmet covers – all made from recycled plastic bottles. 

‘But the ultimate brand extension was repurposing and converting our American school bus – [which we] previously used as a showroom at trade shows – to make it available for family glamping [Dinoski now has three buses, which are parked on the grounds of a hotel and spa in the Cotswolds in the UK]. This decision not only helped us to survive, but it helped us to thrive.’ 

Dinner, drinks and more

Amy Corbin, co-founder of London restaurant and bar group Kudu Collective.

‘Innovation for us has been quite an organic experience. During our first year at Kudu [the brand's first restaurant], we noticed a lot of customers wanting to come early for a cocktail before their table was ready or stay later after their meal had finished. Being a small restaurant without a holding area, we unfortunately couldn't accommodate this and customers ended up walking up and down [the road] trying to find somewhere to drink. This is when our idea of opening Smokey Kudu cocktail and wine bar came about. We've opened four sites in a space of five years, so we've extended our offering to our customers. We now have a selection of places that people can choose from in Peckham [in south-east London].’ 

A one-stop shop for brand building

Frances Cottrell-Duffield, founder of London-based PR agency Tonic Studio.

‘We're really lucky at Tonic that we've been asked by new [and] long-standing clients to extend our offering. Many clients have wanted us to deploy our expertise to digital marketing and socials alongside PR – they trust us and want to come to one agency for all their brand-building, reputational needs. As a business owner, you have to listen to your audience and the market – it's been telling us loud and clear for some time now that we have the network, know-how and ethos that could and should be offering our clients a broader range of services. So, we're now in the process of launching a sister agency, Tonic Studio.’

This article was first published in How to Start a Business 2023. To purchase a copy or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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