19 January 2015

Bobbie Bear - A case of product exclusiveness

A Straits Times article recently talked about the Bobbie Bear produced at the Bridestowe Tasmania lavender farm. Seems a craze has started in China over owning the purple coloured bear produced exclusively by this farm.

More on this from Forbes:
How Did Tasmanian Lavender Bears Turn Into a Social Media Sensation in China

Purple seems to attract. Recall the purple dinosaur? I found that Purple One kind of irritating actually. My first encounter of it was at a US theme park when I innocently queued up and sat through a session of the Barney concert. I suppose if (and only if!) you have very very young kids, it would have been lovely. The American kids certainly did. Else, it was an hour of purple hell.

When I visited Bridestowe farm recently, the feeling was one of mind boggling awe; or was it envy? Lavendar plants in rows for miles and miles into the distance. Even on an island like Tasmania, land seems to be in abundance.

The farm had a cupboard full of these fellas on display. Their online store is selling them at AUD$29.95 a piece. I didn't realise then that they were such hot items. Should have gotten a few and eBay them! Darned.

If they were to flood the market with these in large numbers, the interest could well wear off rapidly. Worse, copycats will start producing similar ones, diluting their market. Given the scarcity and exclusiveness, this bear will probably remain a collector's item for some time to come and continue to command a premium.

It's an interesting case study in supply and demand. Especially, how to create a demand where there was none before, and how to create an artificial limited supply. Was it good marketing or just luck?

Contrast this against the many 'youngsters' who set up trinkets shops in mobile stands at malls. The items they sell are often common place items. There is really little to differentiate one from another. Hard to make sales like that isn't it?

In contrast, Bridestowe is actually telling potential customers that they can't even meet their demands, and wouldn't be entertaining any requests! Fascinating.

Is there a SGX stock that exhibits such a business model I wonder?

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