Established by Kristin Meek in 2008, Ishkabibbles Designs is a high-end clothing boutique that specializes in the creation of original wedding and bridesmaid dresses, as well as a complete line of lady’s apparel that includes: formal dresses, sundresses, tops, skirts, jackets, accessories and many other items with a tropical flair.
A lover of the nature, Kristin was on a path to become a Marine Biologist when a professor at Indian River State College saw the gift of design and encouraged her to enter into the DECA Florida State Competition Design Contest. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she embarked on this journey with an unbridled passion for the freedom of design. Much to her surprise, Kristin took First Place for Design Presentation and the course of her life was forever altered.
Kristin graduated IRSC with an A A.S. Degree in Business Management and went on to pursue an A.S. Degree in Fashion Design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, FL. These degrees had prepared her to embark on the journey to become a small business owner, and with the help of her great grandmother the name Ishkabibbles was created. Additionally, following the family affair, her grandmother is also one of the part-time employees of this innovative company.
While Ms. Meek was utilizing a variety of cutting-edge sales and marketing techniques to grow her business she was seeing little to no growth, so she chose to seek the assistance of the Florida SBDC at Indian River State College with the goal of enhancing her strategic plan, accomplishing growth and achieving a greater profit margin.
“While I have the business knowledge, I just wasn’t seeing the growth I wanted or needed to make this a successful venture. It was critical for me to seek an outside perspective for direction,” said Ms. Meek. “Once I met with the FBDC, I knew I made the right decision. The process was smooth, painless and eye opening. It gave me the opportunity to celebrate my successes while working on the new opportunities.”
FSBDC Consultant Dick Cantner did a complete SWOT and financial analysis which allowed him to identify immediate areas of opportunity while developing a long-term strategy to achieve her goals.
As Ishkabibbles Designs produces original hand-made apparel, the first area of focus was the importance of determining Job Order Costing. The easy part was assigning costs to materials; however, more difficult was predetermining the cost of labor, so Mr. Cantner helped Kristin access the time necessary to conceptualize, design and construct the products and then assign costs to each category.
As part of the Job Order Costing, we analyzed her pricing structure and noticed that she never raised prices once in the eight years of business. In light of the market for this unique product, we determined that a 25% increase across the board would be a fair adjustment for the quality and demand of these products. That assessment proved correct as the Company has continued to grow sales and increase profits.
We also reviewed marketing plans and marketing research to increase the reach of her marketing/advertising budget. We quickly identified that Kristin successfully utilizes a variety of marketing strategies to effectively market to her target audience along the five stages of the purchasing cycle.
Along with her website, ishkabibbles.net, Kristin markets her products on Etsy.com, Facebook and Instagram where she is able to successfully reach clients in France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Additionally, she has a monthly blog that highlights new designs and products, and features client testimonials with photos. This is a great asset as the emotional attachment to the story increases shares, views and likes along the continuum of the social media lifecycle.
To further attract her niche market; Kristin sponsors two promising young Florida surfers with significant visibility on the national circuit. These girls actively promote the clothing line on and off the circuit at public appearances and via social media posts. This exposure increases brand awareness and opens new markets.
As the Treasure Coast community still relies heavily on the seasonal residents, Ms. Meek takes advantage of the local outdoor markets, and Truck/Design shows during the winter months. These shows have proven effective securing national and world-wide clients who desire the originality of her products; thus becoming regular customers in and out of season.
Kristin, the proud recipient of the 2015 SBDC Women and Diversity Business of the Year Award, is pleased to announce that Ishkabibbles Designs has increased its profit margin through an effective pricing strategy, and streamlined marketing outreach thanks to the expertise of the Florida SBDC at Indian River State College.