The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Lubna Najjar Headshot

Secret Sauce

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

People have asked me: How did this happen? How did this business grow as fast as it did? To many, this company came out of nowhere and has engaged more social media interaction than thought possible in a short six months. Some ask, with 116,000 hits a week on Facebook alone, what's the secret sauce?

Truth is, for the first time in my professional career, I am not looking for what's next. The next job and professional move turned out to be owning my own business and understanding that the road is long, hard but incredibly rewarding.

In People Buy You, by Jeb Blount, success in business is dependent on valuing emotional hot buttons for the customer. In small business, people do not buy your product -- they buy you. Engagement and relationship building are what generate momentum, valuable links and, ultimately, sales.

So here's the answer to the questions, "How did you get here?" and "Where are you going?" Let me share with you what I've learned -- and am still learning -- and allow me to humbly share how this will create value in your business. I hope you leave me a comment sharing your business stories.

1. Build trust. Trust feels good. Consistency and staying true to the brand and the work will drive your business to ultimate success. When people trust you a little, that's just enough to propel them to buy you. Deliver your promises and maintain business integrity. And if you're wrong, admit it and make it right. Our weaknesses teach us how to be better and our drive will push us to find out how to get stronger.

2. Understand your customer. As my business continues to build and my customer base is widening, I'm finding that my customer is all over the board. Originally, I designed for the trendy confident woman that is not willing to give up timeless fashion for the edge of today's fads and to me, that was the woman between ages 25-40. However, I've learned that my demographic has become that same woman but she's expanded into a the female who believes that change is good and she's willing to take risks in fashion. Understanding how the base has changed has ultimately allowed my design team to cater to that woman with ready-to-wear garments. Not just couture and custom design anymore, we understand that our woman wants more and she's willing to take a leap with her style. We are learning to do this while maintaining the essence of the design house is it's original form.

3. Make people aware. With the evolution of the team itself and the design and creation process, making customers and the general audience aware of the timeline of the company, is important. As a startup, much of the fandom that's growing is based on people liking the 'timeline' and the story of the business's growth. Use social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the name out there and let "likers" and "followers" know what's happening.

4. Keep going. Many designers and small art houses that I know, work their whole lives to achieve a few things: brand recognition, media awareness and fashion spearheading. What ends up happening is that these brands have a few small successes and then they stop. They want to take a break. Reality check: The world is moving and your brand has stood still. The lesson in number four is keep the momentum going. Don't stop at one store scored or a few fashion shows, aim higher than you can see or reach and see where you land. In six months, we have reached USA coast to coast, Europe and the Middle East and we won't stop there.

We are learning to ask questions, build trust, be in tune with our customer, tell our story and change with the changing world. Follow our timeline IG: @lubnadesigns, fb.com/lubnadesignsinc, ilmodacolumbus.com and lubnadesigns.com