Here’s a new business book that uses Moleskine as a case study: Niche: Why the Market No Longer Favours the Mainstream, by James Harkin.
From the New York Times website:
[“Niche” is] a business book about how focusing on a smaller audience and gathering a greater percentage of its attention can be a stronger long-term business plan for a start-up than casting a wider net.
Harkin uses several examples to prove his thesis. Perhaps the most persuasive is his retelling of the history of the Moleskine notebook, as ubiquitous an item in and around The Times offices as eyeglasses and Diet Coke. Harkin discusses how in 1997, the company sold 3,000 notebooks; yet eight years later, worldwide sales were 4.5 million. He attributes that to the company’s focus on owning the high-end journal market, rather than trying to compete for the attention of the back-to-school set.
It’s certainly an amazing success story– but as Moleskine expands into selling reading glasses and pens and bags, will they start to lose that focus? Or find new ways to exploit more niches?