The Simple Sales Secret That Took Ralph Lauren From Zero to $6 Billion in Annual Revenue

Sell what you know and one product is all it takes to get started.

When you hear the name Ralph Lauren today, you might think of iconic polo shirts, colorful sweaters, or even his trademark fragrances. Not many people know that Ralph Lauren started out his fashion empire with just one product: ties.

In 1967, ties were narrow and plain. Lauren wanted to launch a tie that was wide where traditional ties were narrow and colorful where most ties were drab. A salesperson at the time, Lauren pitched the idea to his manager Abe Rivetz.

The Simple Sales Secret That Took Ralph Lauren From Zero to $6 Billion in Annual Revenue – Post Outline

 

>>> Don’t Wait For Success To Find You

>>> Lead With Vision And Let Knowledge Follow

>>> How To Find Your One Product

Rivetz declined. So what does an entrepreneur do next? Go out on his own, obviously. Many entrepreneurs fail in their first year, but Ralph Lauren sold over $500,000 of his core product under the name Polo in the first twelve months – that’s over $3.8 million in today’s dollars. Fast forward to the present day and the parent company does over $6 billion in annual revenue.

 

What was the entrepreneur’s secret sauce? Here are a few of the subtleties that led to his success.

Don’t Wait For Success To Find You

Many would-be entrepreneurs are light on business and heavy on excuses. “I’m just going to get my MBA,” “I haven’t perfected my pitch deck yet,” and “I want to wait until the time is right” are mindset traps that will keep you stuck. Even though Lauren only had the idea for one product, he knew that the idea was worth pursuing. It launched him into fashion history.
 
In his high school yearbook, Lauren – then known as Ralph Lipschitz – wrote that his goal was to become a millionaire. With just a high school diploma and a few business classes under his belt, he went after his dreams. Today he’s worth an estimated $7 billion

Free Download: Write Quality Articles So Fast Usain Bolt Will Be Jealous.

You MUST learn to write quickly to make it online. You also need a system to keep yourself organized.

My free Article Template Toolkit includes 9 article templates, a walkthrough video, and a downloadable spreadsheet to keep yourself organized along the way.

Lead With Vision And Let Knowledge Follow

When Lauren came onto the fashion scene, ties on sale were narrow and bland. They weren’t seen as accessories, but rather as functional items of clothing. Lauren changed all that with his vision, which was partially inspired from attending his first polo match. 

 

Instead of taking his cues from the existing industry, he sold ties that matched his ideals and beliefs. Though he experienced some pushback from the department stores that he was trying to sell his ties to, Neiman Marcus eventually took a chance on him and placed an order for 1,200 units. 

 

Lauren later confessed to Vogue in 1982 that he didn’t even know how to manufacture a tie. Clearly he figured it out, and as soon as department stores began stocking them, they found their consumers were hungry for a new fashion trend. 

Anyone can copy success, but only truly successful entrepreneurs can forge their own path. Lauren proves that by focusing on your own vision, you can beat out the crowd of imitators.

How To Find Your One Product

Going all-in on a single product or offer can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be completely uninformed. Here’s what to keep in mind as you dial in your strategy.

    • Look for gaps in the market. Becoming the best can be expensive, challenging, and time-consuming. Look for ways to be different or go against the grain and you’ll have an easier time standing out.
    • Launch, then iterate. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman famously quipped that “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” It’s unlikely you’ll deliver a slam dunk on your first iteration; optimize for learning instead.
    • Let consumer behavior guide you. Instead of building something no one wants because your mom told you it was a great idea, look at the actual behavior of your prospects. If their response is a tepid “Oh, that seems nice…”, go back to the drawing board. When you start hearing “Can I buy that right now?”, you’re on to something.

Many entrepreneurs believe that you need a perfect set of conditions for a successful launch. Ralph Lauren proves that wrong. You don’t need a complete set of products, a fully ideated branding, or a fleet of VCs to back you. All you need is one good product that is built around what you stand for as an entrepreneur.

*

 

This post was originally written for Entrepreneur.com. Copyright 2021 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼

 

Keep up the momentum with one or more of these next steps:

 

📣 Share this post with your network or a friend. Sharing helps spread the word, and posts are formatted to be both easy to read and easy to curate – you'll look savvy and informed.

 

📲 Hang out with me on another platform. I'm active on Medium, Instagram, and LinkedIn – if you're on any of those, say hello.

 

📬 Sign up for my free email list. This is where my best, most exclusive and most valuable content gets published. Use any of the signup boxes in this article, or go to the newsletter page here.

 

🏕 Up your marketing game: Camp Wordsmith™ is my business and writing program for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Get instant access to resources and templates guaranteed to make your marketing hustle faster, better, easier, and more fun. (It's also "glamping"-themed – who doesn't love luxurious camping?!) Learn more here.

 

📊 Hire my marketing company: Hefty Media Group provides consultation and done-for-you services in content marketing. We're a certified diversity supplier with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and we'll make you sound damn good via the written word. Learn more here.

 

 

 

© 2021, 2022, Hefty Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Nick Wolny is a media and marketing strategist for entrepreneurs. Named a “40 Under 40” by the Houston Business Journal, he’s a contributor for Entrepreneur and Fast Company and a technology commentator for NBC and FOX with over 60 live TV appearances.