There are many cases in history where an iconic item can help launch and build a brand. There is the classic Chanel bag introduced in 1955. A bag the company has made since it was introduced in 1955. That is 60 years! They have run many incarnations of the bag and it never dies.
It is more than 100 years since Burberry’s invented the trench coat and it is still flying off the shelves. It has been knocked off by many a company and yet it still represents a significant part of Burberry’s business. Customers want the original.
Aviator sunglasses, or “pilot’s glasses”, were originally developed in 1936 by Ray-Ban for pilots to protect their eyes while flying, thus the name aviator. Ray-Ban began selling the glasses to the public a year after they were developed. They still are the hip sunglasses of choice.
As reported by Style.com, Valentino’s overall sales have doubled since the studded pump shoe’s introduction five years ago, and revenue in 2014 was up 36 percent—half of which can be attributed to accessories. Maria Grazia Chiuri, the brand’s co-creative director alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli, explained in the interview, “We never think to do something only for one season. We want to speak a language that speaks about style, and that becomes timeless. Our inspiration is to create something that you want to have with you for your life, forever.”
So what does this teach us fashion entrepreneurs? While you might not invent a style that will sell for 50 years you can create an item that is unique to your company that you can run for several years. If you have a strong selling style run it again. An item like this can also represent what your brand stands for. Try different interpretations of it. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel season after season. In fact many successful brands build their business off of core styles that they run season after season.