Success Story: Zensah
Posted | By: Ze'ev Feig, Zensah
Eric Yonge and Ze'ev Feig first met each other at the 2008 Internet Retailer conference in Chicago. There, Eric did a live review of Ze'ev's store, Zensah.com. Eric felt passionate about his ideas to take Zensah's branding to the next level. A few months later, the new Zensah.com was born. I sat down with Ze'ev to talk about the re-design, his day-to-day responsibilities, and the future of Zensah.
Give us some of the history behind Zensah. How did you end up becoming involved in sports apparel?
I was working in the tech industry and came across seamless technology. Compression apparel was starting to become popular in sports, and I knew that with Zensahģ technology we could change the way athletes train and compete. Simply put, we developed the most comfortable sports apparel on the planet.
A lot of online retailers sell other companies' products. How is it different manufacturing your own product as well as turning around and being responsible for all the other aspects of promoting and managing your line?
The differences are enormous, and the challenges are daunting. I sometimes find myself a little jealous of those guys, but then I snap out of it. When Zensahģ first started, we had no customer base, no brand loyalty or recognition, and we had to build an online presence. Online retailers can piggy back off the success of certain brands, but they also have challenges because they are competing with websites that carry the same products. The advantage online retailers have is that they sell brands that are centered around brand awareness and product development so they can just focus on their website. We, on the other hand, have to focus on every aspect. It can be taxing.
What does your average day entail?
An average day is never that average. Right now, I am really focused on building the Zensahģ brand and our wholesale channel. The first thing I do in the morning is check sales from our website, orders through email, and our stores and distributors. When I get in the office, I pretty much manage the business and see what new products we can develop. I really like developing innovative products and opening new accounts.
What unique challenges in your industry make it difficult to not only survive but thrive?
The greatest challenge is building the brand with very little resources. We are going up against companies that have put hundreds of millions of dollars into marketing over decades. It is challenging to get consumers to understand the difference between Zensah seamless technology and what is currently offered in the market. Nevertheless, we have persevered and are slowly, but surely, building a grassroots following.
You developed the Zensah brand with a previous store design. What brought you to consider a re-design, since you were already set up?
We really needed to get to the next level. How could we be taken seriously if our products are great but our website didnít reflect that? We needed a design that would help create that connection with our customers and show our retailers that we are here to stay.
What did EYStudios bring to the table creatively that helps the Zensah brand?
EYStudios understood from the beginning what we needed and came up with a design that conveys that Zensahģ is all about innovation. There is no doubt that the new design will significantly help us increase our business with its consistent flow throughout the website, color scheme, and clean, high-tech look.
What about the current design do you think works better than what you had before?
The new design is awesome! We have already had many customers commend us on it. From the home page to the check out, we are really proud of our website. It now allows us to go up against some of the big brands.
With Zensah's product ad graphics, EYStudios photographed live models in their studio and created unique Flash content for your site. What was it like having us do that for you, versus using regular product shots?
It makes all the difference and was one less thing we had to worry about. The Flash is something we didnít have before. It gives us the high-tech image which is what our products are all about. The imagery provided by EY Studios is much better than anything we could have done by ourselves.
In what ways do you think some online entrepreneurs underestimate the power of branding to differentiate themselves?
I think they believe they know whatís best. The need to conserve cash at the beginning of a venture is paramount, but if you donít do it from the beginning then you will never send a clear message to the market. I wish we had found EYStudios earlier. I think it would have put us on a different level, but it is okay, I am glad we finally found you.
What are your plans for Zensah going forward?
Itís about developing more innovative products, staying ahead of the curve, meeting great people, and growing the business. Next week I am off to visit our factory, but I know that whether I am in the office or out, our website is always working for us. Thatís why it is critical to invest in your website.