Sneaker Culture for Women
Ask most females in the footwear industry, and they will tell you that sneakers are not inclusive to women.
At its core, the footwear industry is still a sports-centric market that inherently caters to men. After all, women have more options when it comes to shoes. However, specifically how many women have players’ edition sneakers?
Caprice Neely, a footwear designer who has led teams at Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour, recently revealed that (1) “almost every shoe is made for a man’s foot in the athletic footwear industry, then shrunk to fit a women’s foot.”
The female sneaker market has very little diversity because of the dumbing down of footwear into the term they use, “shrink it and pink it.” And it is an issue because women’s feet are smaller than men’s; they are quite different (2), which leads to high negative consequences.
More often, we see enthusiastic sneaker women wearing a grade school sneaker than a women-specific shoe. It is time brands start giving women a story or something designed specifically for them and nothing genetic or overly-girly.
Thankfully, brands have started paying attention and have started filling the gap. BALA is one such brand tackling the issue with a shoe specifically designed for female feet for nurses. Their “female-first” approach and a strong influencer strategy led to their 7-figure launch, five times the size of Allbirds (3, 4).
Notably, the women’s apparel and footwear market is 1.5x times bigger compared to men (5).
In 2019, Mark Parker, then CEO and President of Nike (6), stated, “We see a great opportunity in women. There is a larger movement towards fitness and wellness, leading to the growing demand from women. It is an opportunity worldwide. More and more women are embracing the sneaker culture. We are editing and shifting resources to cater to women completely.”
Even though more brands have started realizing the gap and becoming more sensitive to it, there are still enormous opportunities in the market for newcomers, including:
More Styles in More Sizes
Women are often forced to purchase kids’ sizes and cheap quality shoes for retro styles and hyped sneaker collections (7). You can focus on launching a sneaker line with popular looks, and it is also easy to find for women worldwide.
Snowboard and Ski Boots
Notably, six of the 11 vital differences between men’s and women’s feet are above the ankle bone, called malleoli. It is crucial to keep these differences in mind while designing boots. You can build on the success of Coalition Snow (8) by providing boots that match their female-first skis and snowboards.
You can also take a page from BALA’s book and build a brand that caters to women in construction, food service, law enforcement, and other industries.
Increased Urbanization is Giving Rise to the Elevator Market
According to the Research and Market report published in August 2021 (9), the Indian elevator market stood at 1351.53 million USD in FY 2021. There are expectations that it will grow at a 5.22% CAGR until FY 2027. The factors driving the rise in the elevator market include increasing urbanization, the entrance of foreign players in the market, and augmented government support.
In addition, there is a growing number of high-rise residential and commercial buildings across the nation, leading to an increased need for high-speed traction elevators, which can push product demand over the upcoming years.
Some of the dominating players in the Indian elevators market include:
- Blue Star Elevator Pvt Ltd
- Eros Elevators Pvt Ltd
- Escon Pvt Ltd
- Express Lift Ltd
- Fujitec India Pvt Ltd
- Hitachi Lift India Pvt Ltd
- Johnson Lifts India Private Limited
- KONE Elevator India Private Limited
- Mitsubishi Elevator India Pvt Ltd
- Omega Elevators
- Orbis Elevators Co Ltd
- OTIS Elevator Company (India) Ltd
- Schindler India Pvt Ltd
- Supreme Elevators & Company
- ThyssenKrupp Elevator (India) Pvt Ltd
As you may have noted, most of these companies are major players, with over 100 years in the industry. Meaning, the industry has several interesting opportunities you can leverage.
One such opportunity is to offer elevator service contracts, expensive and long-term (often 3+ years) contracts. According to Forbes, elevator technicians are among the highest-paid blue-collar workers (10).
If you find licensing laws and the long-term nature of contracts challenging, you can also go for other options such as:
- Hiring or getting hired as a licensed mechanic who can bring old clients to the new business
- Acquire existing service firms or routes
Service contracts are also quite complex. According to Auditmate, most property owners only get about 50% of the service they pay for (11). You can differentiate your services by providing “usage-based” service contracts and using Knaq or Lift AI tools to monitor customers’ elevators for any potential issues remotely.
Since the elevator industry has several high-end niches, you have several opportunities in trade shows, media, and even certification or professional development.
The Elevator World charges about 50 to 325 CPMs for ads, which is quite high with about 2k unique visitors a month. You can offer another publication or newsletter with a fresh perspective that the industry may welcome (12, 13).
Another option includes training and certification courses. Notably, the NAEC, National Association of Elevator Contractors, makes more than 2 million USD a year in program revenue with only about 665 members (14, 15).
QR Codes for Restaurant Menus
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of all full-service restaurants have adopted QR code menus (16). According to a report “The Future of Restaurants 2021” published by Square, more than 88% of restaurants have stated they would consider switching to digital-only menus.
Invented in 1994 by an engineer from Japan, QR codes have been common in Chinese payments applications for years. However, recently they have become a staple of restaurants’ menus and checkout registers of companies to make transactions as contactless as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Bitly, QR code downloads have increased 750% over the past 18 months, and there is no sign of them going out of our sights anytime soon (17).
It is especially true since there are several benefits of QR Codes. It may seem like you are harmlessly ordering something after a long day. However, QR codes track where, when, and how often people scan them. Now such information is like candy for any business; restaurants are no exception, which they can use to track consumer behavior more closely.
There is also ease of creating QR codes which have made it so popular among businesses. They also allow restaurants to cut about 30 to 50% of labor costs since servers don’t need to take orders and deliver bills. Other major benefits of QR codes include quick checkout for customers, contactless ordering, the ability for restaurants to quickly update menus based on price changes, inventory, and even A/B test menus (18).
There are already large-scale POS providers such as Toast and Square making moves to dominate the market. Meaning, you will have to look for gaps to find the biggest opportunities, such as:
QR Codes Implementation and Training
You can help restaurants set up QR codes menus and payment systems and train staff on the new systems. You can help businesses set up QR ordering hardware, software, and backup options like what to do if the WiFi is not working properly, etc.
Marketing and Data Mining
As we mentioned previously, with QR Codes, restaurants can collect detailed data on who is ordering what and when. You help restaurants use this information for everything from email marketing and loyalty programs to inventory management and pricing to help them boost their revenue.
Menu Optimization for Smartphones
Several restaurants’ mobile menus are bad. And it can turn off customers, ultimately eating up their earnings. You can help restaurants highlight their most profitable dishes, how-tos like making ordering and paying easier, and boost margins.
There are also ecommerce opportunities for QR codes – different holders to display QR codes on tables. According to Jungle Scout, these acrylic holders make more than 489k USD a month on Amazon (19). You can also take a similar path or even offer sleeker options to march different decor of restaurants.
When it comes to business opportunities, the most life-changing are the ones you explore. Finding the latest trends and recognizing a lucrative opportunity is only the first step of the ladder. Another important task is taking the risk and starting a business. Use these business opportunities as a guide and see if anyone aligns with your passion and skills. Which is your dream business opportunity? Let us know in the comments!
Do you already have a business idea in mind but are looking for ways to expand your business? Read our previous story, 8 Growth Hacks from 8 Successful Ecommerce Platforms and 12 Keys to Grow Your Small Business. Stay tuned for more updates.