Here is a short summary of Tommy Knapp’s talk at the Industry Boot Camp this week.
Tommy founded Club Sportswear, a beach volleyball line, in the 1980’s while a student at USC.
He also was a co-founder of Honolua stores and clothing line out of Hawaii, which is now owned by Billabong.
Tommy is now an Assistant Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship in the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Marshall School of Business at USC.
Tommy shared what former Hobie owner Dick Metz told him when Tommy first tried to sell Dick his Club Sportswear line:
- Do you have something unique?
- Have you created demand?
- Can you show a benefit to customers for your brand?
Tommy said a brand must know what have a “secret sauce” and needs to ask itself:
- What is our secret sauce
- What is our differentiation?
“If you don’t know, you are in trouble,” he said.
One of the biggest problems for new brands is the overrated value of “bro,” he said.
Tommy said he doesn’t think there’s any value in giving your product away for free.
“You get BS feedback,” he said, and people don’t value what they get for free.
“If you are a premium brand, why are you giving it away for free?” he said.
He also said it hurts retailers, because all those people who are getting stuff for free are not going in and buying your brand in a store.
See Page 2 for his retail observations, more