Niche marketing

'Infuse Your Personal Passion Into Everything You Do'

Being able to identify a need and provide a great solution is the backbone of the entrepreneurial blueprint. Take for example, the following two entrepreneurs, who figured out how to translate their pain points into opportunities to wow and delight their underserved markets.

Peter Manning, Founder of Peter Manning/Five Eight New YorkTalking to Peter Manning, the first thing you’ll experience is his enthusiasm and passion for his clients.

“I was definitely a reluctant entrepreneur,” Manning tells me in a recent interview.

Related: Looking to Stand Out? Stake Out Your Niche

Manning’s niche happens to be his height. As a stylish 5-foot-8-inch man, he had always struggled with buying clothes.

“I remember wanting bellbottoms and my mother telling me that by the time she hemmed them, they wouldn’t be belled any more,” he says.

So he resigned himself to what he calls the “tailor tax,” paying to get every item of clothing altered to fit his frame. Then one day, Manning had an epiphany. Why should men 5 foot 8 inches and under have to bear the burden of the tailor tax just to have pants that fit? Shouldn’t there be a clothing option for men that are actually custom tailored to their height?

After speaking with retail-line executives and doing some research, Manning realized two things: First, that existing retailers were not going to cater to the 5-foot-8-inch-and-under male demographic, and second, that this demographic made up more than 25 percent of the male population in America.

With those realizations in place, Manning set out to start his own retail line specifically created to design “off-the-rack” clothing options for men in this market. He started out in 2012 with an SBA loan and a lot of diligence, but two years later Manning has a profitable company and a retail showroom open in Brooklyn -- Peter Manning/Five Eight New York.

What’s his advice for other niche market entrepreneurs?

“It’s not just the niche, but also your exuberance for your clients," he says. "Having gone through the frustration and tailoring costs of being 5 foot 8 inches, I know my clients and I love them. I think about them constantly.”

Related: Don't Just Start a Business, Solve A Problem

Eric Villency, CEO of Villency DesignDesign may have been the family business, but Eric Villency has turned Villency Design’s legacy of superior design across numerous product platforms toward serving a niche focused on fitness and a healthy, active lifestyle.

“For me it’s about blending a perfect balance of wellness with lifestyle, and design with beauty,” Villency tells me.

That passion for not just fitness, but also striking design, has led Villency Design into some incredible projects. Take for instance Villency Design’s creation of the stationary bike Peloton Cycle. It’s not only an ergonomic piece of fitness machinery, it’s an incredible creation of structure and beauty.

Then there’s Villency’s foray into elegant but functional athletic clothing with his Feats of Strength active-wear line. Even more than the function was Villency's desire to return organic athletic achievement into something people could feel proud of again.

“In a sporting era of shortcuts and fallen stars, athletic achievement can be looked at cynically these days,” he says. “With Feats of Strength I really wanted the design to honor a love of fitness that was also authentic and celebrated all the people who love to be active warriors in a natural way.”

What’s his advice for other niche market entrepreneurs?

“Infuse your personal passion into everything you do in your life,” he says.

Villency hopes that by embracing his love for aesthetics and athletics, he can serve his clients who feel the same. Judging from the success of Villency and his endeavors, he is perfectly positioned to satisfy his niche.

Related: How to Position a Brand for Breakthrough Success