Knowing Your Audience by Olivia White of @41Winks

Knowing Your Audience

by Olivia White | Featured Contributor 

When I joined the 41 Winks team, the project of rebranding the company excited me most. I had recently graduated college, and since we wanted to expand the brand from solely making unique and great quality Twin XL bedding for girls in college, to also offering Full/Queen for other twenty-somethings, the process was almost second nature. We now aim to capture young women of many styles who want bedding that celebrates an important time in their lives, and feels fashionable and boutique.

As a brand that speaks to two generational groups that value social media— Millennials and Generation Z, it’s important to demystify these ever-changing mediums.

The funny thing is – I’m a Millennial, so I’m old news. The New York Times and others have moved on to Z. I respect the Zers (if I can call them that), as their core value is originality. Here’s what I’ve learned from designing for them and engaging with them:

Keep it real. As I mentioned in a previous She Owns It post, I believe it’s important to truly be your brand. So I actually do a lot of the posting on our social pages. We’re still a small business, and seeing our customer feedback keeps me motivated. Plus it’s such a benefit to meet your customer and know what they do and don’t like in real time.

Make them feel like their best selves. Bake individuality into the your product and your message. This mantra gets us out of bed every morning. Give your buyer something that they cannot find elsewhere. When they own your product, give them the gift of creating something special and personal with it. In our case, it’s a bold, expressive bedroom. We love that!

Capture them constantly. If they’re going to buy something, they’re going to buy something they love. This generation wants to discover products that no one else has and through forums that are aspirational, edited and cutting edge. We’ve been experimenting with this a ton. We’re just getting started on Fancy, a website that discovers new brands and sells their interesting and unique products, and Spring, an Insta-inspired brand discovery app. In particular, partnering with Spring has given us two major advantages. First, it makes 41 Winks mobile without having to go through the lengthy process of creating our own app. Second, we’re able to test different product images. Inspired by Instagram, Spring encourages use of playful, eye-catching imagery for good reason – it works. We’ve found that lifestyle images garner the most attention and sales. We love to see how the worlds of social and shopping are further blending. We’ve learned that keeping up with the latest trends keeps our customers loyal. They appreciate that we’re up on the newest thing.

Keep talking. Relationships are two-way. Give them eye-candy, then talk back to their comments. We also believe the lifecycle of a purchase extends to when you take it home and post a picture on social. We’ll like it, we’ll share it, then we’ll continue to stay in touch long after the initial sale. Being a small company gives us the freedom to connect with our customers on a personal level. I love responding to customer feedback—across all of our mediums. Many are surprised that when they write to us, they hear back directly from me, the CEO and Creative Director.

Connect in real life. We’ve developed a brand ambassador program to directly engage with college-age women. There is no better way to express our core values. We’re already set up in several universities and our girls are on campuses talking about the importance of expressing their personal style in their bedding and adding the extra wink each day. 😉

Keep it interesting. We’ve made the most out of a big production video shoot by creating several video cuts from a couple hours of footage. Videos best illustrate our celebratory and playful brand. When we say that we believe life should be all about bright lights and laughter, we mean it. Check it out here!

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Olivia WhiteOlivia White is the CEO and Creative Director of 41 Winks, a fashion bedding company for women who think outside the white duvet. 😉

Her vision is to design expressive, statement decor for students and young professionals. As a 2013 University of Southern California grad, Olivia clearly recalls the experiences of shopping for both a college dorm and her first apartment, and understands the brand’s target demographic. Since moving to New York where she leads 41 Winks, Olivia and her team have developed new collections, including the Fall 2015 Line, which is inspired by and manufactured in NYC.

Olivia is a proud Texan turned Brooklynite. She loves her beagle George, Spanish music, and anything that could be considered a “New York Moment.” Most days she can be found in her SoHo office, surrounded by mini disco balls, and getting down right creative with her 41 Winks team.

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