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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Stumble Into Millions

By making her luck, Nicole Miller launched a very successful tie collection for men which led to her handbags, eye glass cases, socks and other novelty items.

Key Question:


By trying anything and everything. Trial and error is the most used technique for finding and refining products.  You just have to, "give it a go" as they say in Australia.

Often artists like Nicole Miller have too many ideas to fully exploit so they let the overflow become a gift to friends and family. This is how the revenue stream from the tie collection started. Nicole says about her very lucrative men's tie business, "...we just made them as like a joke . . . sometimes the best things that happen are flukes "

Most successful new products and services, however, are created by customers who ask for a modification or change in an existing product or service. In the case of Nicole Miller, she is a designer who has a niche in women's fashion. However, if she takes the time to design a fabric that is sewn into a dress, could that same fabric or something very similar be sewn into a tie for men?

We all have to ask ourselves, how do we extend what we are doing in such a way that dollars drop to the bottom line? The fine line we walk is: we have to stick to what we do best and at the same time diversify. The real reason that the ties work is they are sold to and purchased by the same customers Nicole Miller already "owns." The same person who buys a dress at a Nicole Miller boutique, buys a tie for the man in her life. Nicole is extending her brand by making ties for women, but, it does not have to put entirely new distribution system in place.

Think about it

What would your current customers buy from you that you do not now offer?

Clip from: Nicole Miller - Fashion & Quality

Nicole Miller on her visit to her boutique in La Jolla.

New York, NY: In this episode we go to the heart of the fashion industry and behind the scenes of Nicole Miller, a fashion house on Seventh Avenue to meet the founders, Nicole Miller and Bud Konheim.  In an industry where even top designers have taken production overseas, Nicole Miller pieces all proudly wear the label, "Made in New York."

It's a stroke of genius for these times, but the reasons go far beyond patriotism. For Nicole Miller, it's all rooted in the fabric of the American entrepreneurial dream: pride of idea, of process, and of execution.  They earnestly try to make women happy and  they are key advocates for causes important to women.

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Nicole Miller Fashions

Nicole Miller, Founder

525 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Visit our web site:

Office: 2127199200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1982

Stumble Into Millions

HATTIE: When you launched the ties, were you thinking that my women customers are going to grab a tie for their boyfriend or their husband and that will be an extra sale? Was that the motivation?
NICOLE: No -- actually we just made them as like a joke. And - we gave them away initially. We just gave them to all our friends and everybody started saying, “Oh my God – I got so many comments.” And then we ran out, so we made like a hundred more and then we just hung them in the retail stores.

HATTIE: So what turned – what was a joke turned out to be a new revenue stream.

NICOLE: Yeah – it turned out to be a great business.

HATTIE: So is that a piece of inspiration for any business owner. If you have a gut feeling, you should do something -- try it.

NICOLE: I think you know sometimes the best things that happen are flukes, you work really hard and sometimes you can make your luck, but a lot of things are just flukes. (music)
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