Asking for help/ideas/feedback on a new side company?

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I work for a family skiing holiday tour operator. Our holidays are a package including flights from a London airport, transfers to your ski resort, a chalet, most meals cooked by a chalet chef, flights & transfers back home. You can also book other parts of a ski holiday through us as an optional extra eg childcare (since we're just family-based), lift passes, ski lessons for children and adults, ski and boots hire etc. We have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube page. The first 2 being the most popular with our audience.

We'd like to set up a clothes swap system. I'm just an employee but it's a small company so I have a say in things and I'm formulating my idea/devising a plan and will pitch it in a presentation to my boss. Below is an overview of the idea, why there's a demand for it, the issues we may face, how we'd overcome it etc.

Simply put, if your child(ren) outgrow their ski clothes, you can offer it for other families. Similarly, if you need particular clothing you can request it on the group.*(*One thing I'm worried about is there's no incentive for the family to offer their clothing to another family. People can be selfish and they get nothing out of this if they give clothing away for free. Not sure if I need to incentivise/eg allow them to sell for money?).

Since we*only sell holidays to families - you have to have kids to travel with us. Our audience tend to be wealthy however what I've learnt is even affluent people who could easily afford a lot of things appreciate value for money which is why a clothes swap will work.

Kids outgrow their clothing quickly. Even if they ski each year or every few years, they'll outgrow previous clothing quickly. Also, ski clothing isn't cheap especially when it's only worn for just a week. This is where a clothes swap comes in hand. It won't be limited to just kids though, the parents can also give/get clothes too.

I'll set up new social pages separate from the existing social pages we have already, however the new social pages will mention our name. Eg they'll be called "Clothes Swap with *Name of Company*" (*what do you think of this name since it's unlikely to actually be a swap... eg family A has gives too-big clothes to Family B's & Family B has another child who can give clothes to another child in Family B). Initially, I'll create a closed private Facebook group where the admin (me) approves members/posts. It'll be carefully monitored and I'll clearly define rules for post formats to adhere to to allow easy navigation. Must state:

If requesting/offering clothing
  • Age
  • Sizing
  • Gender
  • Condition - Eg looks good as new
  • Location - Our customers are usually from affluent family-friendly pockets of the UK. Eg Nearly half are in & around London, some in wealthy parts of Scotland etc. Since the UK is fairly small, these people aren't usually too far apart.

Nowadays people don't have long attention spans, a lack of time, and want quick, easy to use info. Our issue is this page could become clogged with rubbish that makes scrolling/navigating the group cumbersome. I'll keep the page tidy and creat a pinned summary announcement of all posts at the top & who to contact since we want the page to be peer-to-peer (i.e you contact the person independently without us being the middle man - we don't get involved much).

The other issue is it's unlikely for two people to be near each other to get/give their ski clothing. Since our UK customers tend to live in wealthy areas nearby, the likelihood of them being near is increased but still slim. Those giving clothes shouldn't be making profit but to understand the difficulties of growing kids from the perspective/mindset of likeminded parents. However, the only time it's ok to expect payment is to cover the cost of a family shipping clothes to someone else (i.e to break even & not for profit.

This won't generate us revenue. The idea is for the page to grow and it's a new stream of getting people to hear about us as the page grows (and shouldn't require us to do too much work other than starting it up). It'll be the start of their journey hearing about our company and may lead them to curiously visit our website and perhaps book. Even if they don't book, they may follow our "official" existing social pages for our larger holiday brand. To start with, the group is likely to start off with mainly our customers as we'd promote it in our newsletters to our whole 10k subscriber list (plus in dedicated emails just to guests a month before their holiday & 3 weeks after their holiday), on existing social pages, on our website & blog articles, on our guest app (to those who booked) etc.* Potentially also getting the word out via collaborations with companies with similar audiences. Over time we'd like to facilitate non-bookers joining the group via word of mouth/the power of things spreading on social.

Once the private Facebook group gets some traction, I'll post "clothes of the week" on a separate Facebook, Twitter & Instagram page. I'll then track which social page is doing best and in the long term, use this as the dedicated page to promote the "clothes swap of the week". During quieter periods, eg over the summer it may become "clothes swap of the month".
#company #help or ideas or feedback #side
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    First off I like the idea... just not sure the results are going to pan out as you may like. you keep mentioning your clients being affluent - so would they need 2nd hand clothes?

    I think you could adapt the idea a bit, and have a closet on premises that has donated outfits kids sizes to adults as a value added offering for your clients in case they forgot to pack, or something got ripped. And asking as your clients are leaving if they would like to donate to the closet might be an option. ( the sons jacket was a bit tight and we are going to buy him a new one for the next trip etc. )

    I suggest looking at tic toc as a new platform to get involved with

    Finding a way for your current clients to share a piece of content on their feed about their stay with you would be HUGE - affluent people tend to be to a degree an influencer within their community. THIS would be something I would focus more effort on. A fun Family Photo posted on one of your Social Accounts, and then shared to theirs kind of thing. Social reach by association that translates to if its good enough for the jones,it would be good enough for me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Perryman
      Thanks @Savidge4.

      Even though our audience tend to be affluent, they still care a lot about value for money. From our experience, they're happy to spend a lot of money but only when they view it as a wise move. If they don't see the value behind it (our holidays) then they're not interested. A holiday with us costs approx £5k for a family of 4 but can fluctuate a lot depending on many factors.

      I really like your idea on having a closet of ski clothes. However what I suggested could lead to new bookings with us. I.e they discover the clothes swap, then find out about our holidays through the clothes swap and then book. Through the powers of social media, we'd be exposed to more people giving us visibility.

      We do get a lot of influencers and bloggers with large followings who'd like to promote themselves through our holidays and in return they'd post about their experiences so their followers learn about us in return. The thing is, they expect a free holiday or extremely heavily-reduced holiday which isn't financially viable for us. At the end of the day, this is a holiday we could've sold to someone else for full price which we'd have to give away for free.
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