How do you differentiate yourself in a commoditized service industry?

Kuhana Corporate Uniform Startup second article –
as mentioned in a previous article, we decided to journal our startup journey for Kuhana Corporate Uniform.

As previously mentioned in a past article, we have provided corporate uniforms to our Pharma clients for the last few years. However, in the second half of 2021, we transformed it from a service to a standalone business.

We are currently putting together the business model. This business model will help us put together a marketing plan. However, the commoditized nature of the business is making it challenging to come up with a compelling, unique value proposition. The question, “what makes us strikingly different from the other companies making different corporate uniforms?” is not easy to answer.

We have been figuring out a good UVP for the last few weeks. We wanted to have a clear message containing our UVP when we upsell our current Pharma clients. They had been putting orders of a few dozen to hundreds of uniforms for their medical representatives and brand ambassadors for over seven years.

However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. These Pharmaceutical giants have thousands of employees. We are assuming that a good percentage of them wear uniforms. We may get one chance to pitch to their Procurement heads. However, without a compelling UVP, they have no reason to allow us to pitch for their other uniform requirements.

We do not want to waste that window or opportunity. We need to be prepared to grab that chance. We need to give them a good reason to move their uniform contracts to KCU.

Unfortunately, we are also stuck identifying our unfair advantage. Without an unfair advantage over competitors, getting ahead in the industry cannot be sustained.

The other challenge with corporate uniforms is the seasonality of the orders. We are trying to figure out an alternative revenue stream to augment the seasonality of the uniform orders. Would having a retail b2c product help? If so, what type of retail clothing will appeal to the market? Where will we distribute these products? How do we price it? How do we differentiate our clothing line from the rest of the retail clothing manufacturers?

We may not have the answers to all these “work-in-progress” questions, but they are essential questions to answer for a startup. We cannot be a ‘me too’ player in the industry. We will end up in a price war. The company with the bigger war chest has the advantage in a price war. We don’t want to go in that direction. We cannot afford it.

Stay tuned as we document our experience navigating four of our startup businesses.