By Kaliena Joy Bowen
Main Street Entrepreneurs Seed Fund recipient and Perimeter College student, Micah Ford, uses his streetwear clothing line, NVRBEENSTANDARD, to motivate urban youth and young adults to pursue their passions. The brand’s mantra reminds its fans that they have “never been standard”, and they were born to be outstanding. With Coronavirus disrupting our way of life, his message is needed now more than ever. Ford realized this and pivoted his brand to fit the times.
Like other business owners, Ford has had to put the launch of certain new products on hold. He was preparing a swimsuit line and regular appearances at pop-up shops for the summer of 2020, but now, has different plans. Ford has had to examine his business model closely, ultimately adding a new product to sustain his business.
Previously, NVRBEENSTANDARD relied on pop-up shops to generate revenue. Now, Ford funnels customers to his online store. Changing the way he does business has forced Ford to get creative in how he markets and drives sales. Store discounts, innovative marketing tactics, and new suppliers are some of the ways NVRBEENSTANDARD has modified business operations. Through the grant funding he received as part of the Main Street program, Ford created an e-commerce website using Shopify, and is now seeing a 4.47% conversion rate (industry standard is 2.23%) in terms of the percentage of users making a purchase upon visiting his website.
Ford used to source his products from wholesalers located overseas, but with the lockdown certain countries faced related to COVID-19, suppliers were unable to fulfill his orders. This prompted Ford to explore other alternatives and he is now able to produce stylish, handmade, 2-ply face masks without breaking quarantine. Within the first 48-hours of releasing this new product, NVRBEENSTANDARD sold 25% of their inventory of face masks.
At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, NVRBEENSTANDARD was losing a substantial amount of sales revenue each month. “My joggers have been really popular, lots of people want comfortable in-house wear right now.”, said Ford who’s been using Instagram to poll customers on products and colors desired during this time. After implementing a storewide discount sale, leveraging social media marketing and adding branded face masks to the offerings, they were able to increase their monthly sales.
“Quarantine is giving me more time to think, it’s refreshing,” says Ford.
Ford plans to continue using creative marketing practices through social media to sustain NVRBEENSTANDARD through this pandemic. Ford also plans to release additional face mask designs and continue to prepare his fall collection dropping September 2020.
Visit nvrbeenstandard.com to shop his collections and learn more about Ford and his company.