A new business recently opened a few blocks from the Early to Rise offices. But it seems to have an identity crisis.

The small shop has perplexed potential customers by offering not just vintage designer threads, but also vegan organic food. And they proudly proclaim this dual identity on their front window sign.

Now I happen to like both vintage clothes and vegan food. But is it just me or would most people looking for a dairy-free lunch not go to a store that sells meals side by side with used clothing? And wouldn’t someone shopping for a vintage Chanel dress prefer not to be browsing around people munching on lentil loaf?

I doubt this shop will survive. They haven’t focused on one type of product and one marketing message. This violates one of Michael Masterson’s principle rules: The Power of One.

This rule is usually applied to promotional copy. (Great advertisements, Michael keeps reminding us, emphasize one good idea, stir one core emotion, tell one captivating story, and direct the prospect to one inevitable response.) But it can be applied to businesses as well.

So this shop should choose to sell one product line or the other. They are just too unrelated for the owners to be able to do both of them well. Besides, customers don’t know what is going on when they walk past the place. Is it a clothing shop or a restaurant? And confused customers don’t walk in. They move on.

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