Director: Lisa Hignett – Creator of House of the Rising Bun
Website URL: http://www.houseoftherisingbun.net
Social Media Links:
Number of outlets: Online & various conventions
Market(s): Branded Character Merchandise
Modern Retail talks to Lisa Hignett owner and creator of House of the Rising Bun, where you can get Loof the Loaf and Timmy the T-Rex merchandise.
MR: How do you aim to stand out as a brand?
LH: House of the Rising Bun is a character driven brand. We focus our range of merchandise on our two characters and make sure they are distinguishable from other character based merchandise businesses.
MR: How would you sum up your target customer?
LH: Our target customer is anybody who enjoys humour based fiction. Our research has found that our audience varies greatly in age, gender and location worldwide as opposed to appealing to a specific niche. We are very pleased that House of the Rising Bun appeals to such a large demographic of people!
MR: Why should people shop with you?
LH: We take great pride in our customer relationships. Most of our customers who purchase merchandise are already fans/readers of our online webcomic. So they know the characters well already. We put a lot of thought into the design of our brand from the products themselves right down to the details in the packaging. Our fans really seem to appreciate this.
MR: What do you want to do differently to your competitors?
LH: We think it’s very important to have an open dialogue with our customers regardless of business growth. If your customers feel like their thoughts and opinions are being listened to then they value your business a whole lot more.
MR: What challenges do you face as a business, and how do you aim to overcome them?
LH: A large challenge for the sector we operate in is marketing. Social media is an ever increasing platform. You have to do something very unique to be able to be heard above your competitors online.
MR: How do you use technology/media/ecommerce to improve your offering?
LH: We use Tumblr for our website which is a great blogging platform. It allows our readers to share content to their friends and family in turn increasing our reader base. This has worked very well for us so far compared to using a stand-alone website model.
MR: What do you love about your work/business/brand?
LH: I love that intellectual property is at the heart of the business. The characters that drive the business are created by myself. A lot of other business types can’t always deliver that same kind of customer loyalty therefore purchases don’t feel as connected to other brands.
MR: What advantages/disadvantages does your location bring?
LH: We are based in the UK but seeing as our business is based online this isn’t really a huge advantage or disadvantage. As long as we have access to a fast internet connection and access to our suppliers for merchandise stock we are fully capable of being a remote business.
MR: What are your growth aims for the next 12 months?
LH: During the next 12 months we will be releasing a new range of merchandise for our webcomic and increasing our marketing presence. We’re close to hitting 10,000 fans on our official Facebook page. We’ll be pushing to increase our reader base as we expand. As House of the Rising Bun is a trademarked business we will be looking to license our character products into suitable retailers once we grow further. In the future we want to use our brand to affiliate with suitable charities and companies to work on branded projects together.
MR: What advice would you give to a new retail start-up based on your experience?
LH: Never underestimate how much work and time running your own start-up takes. Often people will have to work another job at the same time if they want to organically grow without a loan or investor based cash injection. It can be very testing at times. If you find something you 100% love doing then you will not mind occasionally staying up until the early hours of the morning to meet some of your start-up growth deadlines!