Are You Loving the Low End?

Scott Anthony, author of the new book, The Silver Lining, contributed a recent HarvardBusiness blog post about “loving the low end”. Few architects are seeking the “low end”, but maybe there is something we can learn here. Is there a way we can restructure our basic architectural service and provide an alternative “stripped down” version of what we typically provide? Is there a market seeking that level of our services?

Think Lexus, Toyota, Scion…

What are your thoughts on “loving the low end”?


One of the key arguments in The Silver Lining is that companies have to find ways to “love the low end” to connect with budget conscious customers and fend off attacks from sharp elbowed, low-cost competitors.

A recent Wall Street Journal story shows how one company has found another benefit of loving the low end — keeping skilled workers gainfully employed as its high-end business shrivels up.

The story describes how legendary guitar maker C.F Martin & Co. has introduced a solid wood product line called the “1 Series” that sells for less than $1,000 — more than 50 percent cheaper than its traditional all-wood guitars (the company also sells cheaper guitars that use laminated plywood).

Customers have, not surprisingly, reacted positively to Martin’s innovation.

Read more.

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4 Responses to “Are You Loving the Low End?”

  1. 1 swinburne December 8, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    High end bicycle manufacturers do this. Parlee makes very expensive high end carbon fiber frames in Massachusetts. He took what he learned and created a mass produced stock frame that sells for 1/2 what the custom frames sell for but is basically the same frame minus the custom and a few special touches.

  2. 2 Sam December 12, 2009 at 11:05 PM

    Designing quality architecture for the middle and low income levels would be a wonderful vocation to persue, in my opinion. The difficulty would be in structuring a firm to still make a profit on relatively inexpensive projects.

  3. 3 Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP December 12, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    @Sam I agree. Profitability is certainly the challenge with the low end, but maybe the low end can be supplemented by our higher end work. At Fivecat Studio, part of our strategy is to work with clients at the lower end of the high-end market (and upper end of the middle market), serve them well, and grow with them over time, as they prosper and grow to the high end.

  4. 4 Sam December 12, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    That seems like a good approach!

    A sort of heroic Robin Hood firm (steal (collect fees) from the rich and give to the poor (not quite so rich).

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