This is the second post of our Ecommerce Superstars series. You can read the first post of this series here. The focus of this series is to help fresh ecommerce entrepreneurs find success by learning from others’ stories.
In this post, we are featuring the story of Terani Couture and how it grew from being a small New York store to a global fashion brand.
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This is the story of Terani Couture, a global fashion store known for its evening coutures. It exists in the heart of the Fashion District in New York City.
We talked to Peter Terani to find out how he got started and took his store to where it is today. Let’s hear the story from him.
How it All Started…
‘I believe that every woman deserves to have luxury within an arm’s reach. Terani helps women dress for their body type and promote a body confident message,’ that was the sole vision behind the success of Terani Couture, Peter Terani tells.
Terani started as a fashion brand to produce designer suits for plus sized women. After witnessing the interest of mid-sized women in these custom dress designs, the store added a variety of new categories to cater to this growing customer base and that’s how the store started to grow.
‘We decided to bring the best fashion trends to women of all body types and demographics,’ Peter adds, ‘This forward-thinking philosophy enhances the wearer’s natural beauty, while enabling her to enter a room feeling beautiful and confident.’
In 1998, Terani Couture added evening coutures to its catalog and included hand beaded and real glass crystals to the list of available designs. Peter says, ‘these dresses took around three months to be made just because of the inclusion of beaded crystals.’
However, due to the consistent hard work of the store, it grew significantly throughout the 2000s, setting up new physical and web-based stores in the United States.
From then on there was no turning back. Terani couture collection was made available domestically and worldwide at the finest retail stores which included Bloomingdale’s, Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, and even Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai.
The Secret Sauce: Draw Strengths from Other Brands and Influencers
Peter points out that one of the most important aspects of building a brand is immersing yourself in a like-minded community from the beginning.
Terani Couture drew strength from other brands and influencers in its community – a key of building a brand that many businesses overlook, adds Peter.
Building Brand Recognition
Terani Couture aligned itself with Miss USA show to produce gowns worn by contestants. This positioned it in the market as an expert resource for women looking to advance their position in the pageant world.
Peter tells that this action brought it in front of the major publications such as Teen Vogue, Seventeen (American magazine), Teen Prom, and Prom Girl.
Moreover, the simple act of reaching the influencers, made it popular among other television and film stars and now most of these are, ‘seen in films and on television in Twilight, Gossip Girl, and American Idol, among others.’
Celebrities including Kylie Jenner, Vanna White, Kendall Jenner, Ashley Greene, Shawn Johnson, Vanna White, and Madeline Carroll have worn Terani Couture, he proudly adds.
For Terani Couture, the biggest challenge was to figure what to keep and what to outsource. Small businesses know what it means to make tough choices and therefore they employ highly specialized workers. But the budget of these businesses can often limit the hiring abilities. So, ‘do you hire critical, key players who keep the business running like a well-oiled machine, or do you hire a small staff of specialized skill sets to help take the business to the next level?’ a question that puts Peter in a conundrum.
He further adds that maximizing resources while staying strategic about the team is a challenge that he has tried to curtail by taking advisory committee on board.
For Peter, the act that gave him an edge over his competitors was to plan it all out in advance.
He says starting each year with a ‘year in review’ day lets him review the company plan, refresh, and reload for the upcoming year.
This then lets him assemble an advisory board of mentors and investors to research and get feedback from his employees, potential customers, and partners before making any next step in the business.
He puts a lot of emphasizes on digital marketing and content creation and says that it should be a part of the branding plan ‘from the beginning.’
A brand encompasses not only how your audience perceives your brand but the visual aspects such as the brand identity and the brand voice including the writing style and brand’s persona, all are significant.
‘Make sure that you’re addressing all points of the brand trifecta to help build a powerful brand,’ Peter says.
Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
Terani’ ecommerce store is highly successful and most of the people use the online website to order products. To this, Peter says, the strategy that works for them is ‘Guest Posting.’
We offer helpful information to other brands and journalists in our niche, and craft high-quality “how-to” and listicle content on our website to drive engagement, and inspire users to share the content.’
Advice for Beginners
‘Business is a long game that you won’t win on your own,’ Peters tells beginners, stating that ‘they should invite trusted advisors and mentors into the fold who are comfortable with honesty and transparency from the very start’.
By creating a community of mentors and peers, you’ve got a wealth of resources and accountability available to you throughout your business journey year after year.
Stay tuned for our next success story. Until then, read ecommerce success story of Vapourizers Direct.