How To Start & Build A Women’s Accessory Brand: Insights From Latico Leathers

Starting a women's accessory brand is no small feat, especially in a saturated market.

But Latico Leathers, a family-owned & operated brand, has successfully cornered the handbag market with bags that are sustainably made, stylish, and affordable.

We sat down with the Head of eCommerce, Ben Schreiber, to break down the journey, challenges, and strategies that have led to their success.

Where to Start: Find a Gap in the Market

The journey of Latico Leathers began with a passion for craftsmanship and a love for timeless, full-grain leather products. We identified a significant gap in the women's handbag and accessories segment, where many brands either focused on mass-produced items or luxury products often out of reach for the everyday woman. Latico Leathers aimed to bridge this gap by offering handcrafted, modern-classic leather accessories accessible to many individuals.

Hundreds of women’s accessory brands are out there, many of them selling the same products and successfully growing their companies. But if you want to build an authentic brand, you have to be different. Identify a problem that women face on an everyday basis and design products that solve that specific problem.

How to Shine Through a Saturated Market: Define Your USP

Latico Leathers differentiates itself through a commitment to craftsmanship, quality, and authenticity. Latico provides a more intimate and personalized shopping experience, unlike larger department stores or well-established brands. The brand's commitment to quality full-grain leather and giving back to the community further sets it apart.

Your unique selling proposition (USP) could be that you’re more affordable than competitors or that your materials are higher quality or sustainably-sourced. It could even be as simple as partnering with a celebrity or influencer – celebrity-backed brands almost always grow quickly across an engaged audience. 

Grow with Your Customers: How to Let the Audience Define You

For over 40 years, Latico Leathers has been listening to its customers. The brand has honed in on its target audience through market research, customer feedback, and a strong Facebook Insiders Group. By utilizing data-driven segmentation and collaborating with relevant creators and ambassadors, Latico ensures a personalized customer journey.

Most fashion brands tend to create products and then try to fit customers into a metaphorical box. But ultimately, your customers will tell you what they want. If you listen to them, you’ll reap the benefits. If not, you’ll struggle to grow a loyal base. 

Cultivate a Strong Brand Identity: Hone Your Voice

The Latico Leathers voice is rooted in quality, authenticity, and timeless elegance. The brand's persona has evolved organically over time, rooted in core values and genuine passion. Engaging with the community and understanding their aspirations has been pivotal in shaping the brand's messaging.

When you start building your accessory brand, you’ll have all of these ideals & values that you want at the center of your business. The good news is that your voice can evolve over time alongside your customers. What started as an affordable, everyday jewelry brand can easily evolve into one that’s elegant & timeless.

Navigating the DTC Landscape: How to Overcome Early Challenges

Launching a DTC website brought its own set of challenges. We focused on growing profitably, leveraging Meta & Google Ads, email marketing campaigns and SEO. We collaborated with agencies like Brand Caffeine to bolster our efforts across paid ads, email & SMS, and UGC content creation. 

Which Channels Should You Prioritize? 

Paid social ads on Meta & Instagram Ads and Google Ads have been the primary drivers of our growth, though we’ve also built quite a community on Pinterest and in Facebook groups. 

We’ve also prioritized being first purchase-profitable and achieving a 5x MER (marketing efficiency ratio) monthly, both of which have been pivotal to our growth. Building a FB Insiders Group, constant creative/messaging testing, and leveraging customer feedback were some of the key decisions that impacted Latico's growth trajectory. And as we’ve evolved, we’ve begun to scale other channels like email, SMS, and SEO. 

Especially when starting out, you don’t need to be present on every marketing channel. It’s better to focus on 1-2 rather than spread yourself thin across 8-10 channels. Regarding prioritization, paid social & Google Ads are the two channels I recommend to any women’s fashion brand to grow profitably early on. 

Customer Retention: Build Lasting Relationships

You’ve heard that selling to an existing customer is easier (and less expensive) than acquiring a new customer. That is absolutely true, especially when selling products that women use daily. 

With a 38% repeat purchase rate, we emphasized product quality and accessible price points. Initiatives like the Facebook Insiders Group and collaborations with Brand Caffeine have significantly boosted customer retention via email & SMS. 

Set up email triggers in Klaviyo, Sendlane, or another email platform, then segment your customers based on their purchase & engagement activity. 

Advice for Starting a Women's DTC Accessory Brand

For those looking to start their own women's DTC accessory brand, I recommend that you laser pn market validation. Constantly test new angles on organic social media, optimize website messaging, and set up strong email marketing flows that help you sell on autopilot.

Building a successful women's accessory brand requires passion, dedication, and a keen market understanding. By learning from Latico Leathers' journey, aspiring entrepreneurs can navigate the challenges and opportunities that come their way.

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