'One-trick pony' or 'Master of the craft'?
Sometimes, we get the feeling that the straightforwardness of our work is a tad strange for this complicated world. When people ask us what we do for a living, we say we sell handloom beanbags; and that's about it. To some, this is quite the conundrum.
These are the top responses we’ve heard (for full effect, you must read these with a South Asian uncle or aunty accent in your mind);
You know, you could do all kinds of products with that handloom…
So this beanbag business is your full-time job?
(...and these with a smart-ass Colombonite accent)
Come on guys, it’s been five years...aren't you going to do anything new?
Diversify, diversify, diversify.
But, jokes aside, we get why simplicity of a business is found strange in this day and age; people like the word ‘innovation’ a lot, and we’ve heard ‘disrupt’ a little too often to jump on it. But, there’s more to it than that; we honestly believe in mastering something and committing the time to make it really good, over being mediocre at six different things. So, here’s a little more about that, and how being a ‘one-trick pony’ has actually made ApiHappi more sustainable and reliable as a brand.
From a production standpoint, having a focused portfolio definitely has its benefits.
It allows us to focus on details and quality, which are really important to ApiHappi. With all our efforts on making beanbags, we get to continue refining it from all aspects like comfort, durability and aesthetics, to bring it up to our best. This is one reason that allows us to stay a small business while maintaining our products at a premium standard.
Another thing that it comes down to, is trust. Think about it—if you're looking for a beanbag, would you trust a company that specialises in beanbags, or one that sells sofas, TV’s, rice cookers and barbeque kits, with a few beanbags on the side? A bit like grocery store sushi, you know the latter could be anything between just okay or very, very wrong.
And then there’s of course, the truth. Friends, family, clients and followers may tell us they’d like to see new products, but the surest way to see what people actually value, is not their word, but what they put their money in. And, between our co-founders' imagination and ability to make ideas come to life, plus, a healthy stream of customer suggestions (we do love them, keep ‘em coming), ApiHappi has released a fair share of products over the years too (pet bags, baby products, butterfly chairs, tablecloths, bathrobes etc. to name a few). But, to date, what most people end up spending their money on at ApiHappi, is simply beanbags. You know what they say about numbers speaking the loudest.
We even experiment and collaborate with other companies to bring fun products into the world. We’ve got kids’ ponchos and yoga mat bags being cooked up in the lab, as we speak. But like all good things, our new products also take time, and with our fondness of taking things nice and slow, we can safely say that it’ll be a while before you see our latest ideas out. For example, the doggy beds have just made it into the mix after they’ve been tried and tested, and have earned some decent popularity over a few years.
So all in all, we’re focusing our efforts and keeping it nice and simple for some very good reasons. Besides, with only those in Sri Lanka and few corners of the world having experienced the ApiHappi beanbag bliss, we won’t really be into new things until our bean-babies can be found in every major market around the globe. Now, you never thought selling beanbags could lead to world domination, did you?
Here’s the coolest thing about focusing down on doing one thing really well, that we saved for the last; When your customers appreciate your good work, they come back. Many of the good folk who trusted us with ApiHappi’s first round of beanbags in 2016 are actually returning to purchase new covers with our latest colours and improvements. So, the ball keeps rolling and we have to keep making more beanbags!
...And, there goes our last free minute to think about diversifying.
That’s why when you say one trick-pony, we say nope—it’s called mastering the craft.