Happy Tuesday, Bombers and Bombshells!
I’ve been working in fashion for over 10 years, and in that time, I’ve encountered numerous designers–some who ‘get it,’ and others who get in their own way. In my experience, I’ve encountered 5 big mistakes designers make.
1. Not investing in marketing
When I had @FashionBombDaily, I had a huge platform, so I never had to pay to market myself. Since our main hub has been down, I’ve had to create an advertising budget and find outlets where I can market myself. Advertising & Marketing help your brand reach new audiences–potential customers who might not have heard of you before. Many designers might not think that they need to market themselves, but trust me, in this competitive landscape, you have to find a way to stand out. Invest in advertising your brand–start small, then grow as your brand grows. Take a note from the Fashion Nova handbook to see just how marketing alone can create a billion dollar brand.
2. Not creating scintillating imagery.
Fashion is all about fantasy. If you pay attention to the top brands–Balmain, Burberry, Dior–they all pick from a handful of fabulous supermodels. They all use some of the same photographers, makeup artists, and hairstylists. They use the best teams available to them to produce the best representation of their brand possible. I understand that when you are starting out, you can’t hire Naomi Campbell. But at the very least choose attractive models and shoot in cool locations: blank walls, murals, grand buildings, or even a great studio. Don’t shoot in your backyard or in front of a fence (unless all these areas are unique and fabulous). Don’t choose your homegirl who never modeled a day in her life. Also, pay attention to the details: pick great shoes and accessories. Look through a Vogue magazine and see how a brand you admire does it, and use that to inspire your images. At the very least, choose professional pictures. iPhones shots can work with the right lighting, but if you really want to position your brand in the right way: invest in a professional photo shoot and do it often. One or two photo shoots a week would be great. Also, be open to constructive criticism! Ask someone who works in the industry what they think and how you can do better.
3. Not being generous
In order to get people to rock with you, you’re going to have to do some gifting or lending. Gifting people endears them to you–you also get free marketing by allowing people to wear your brand and show it to their friends and followers. If you lend or gift someone something, be cool. Don’t demand that the item be returned immediately. If it takes a while, be chill. Just give. Not doing so could breed resentment. Give (within reason) and watch karma bless you on the way back.
4. Not being Business Savvy
If you’re in the business of selling clothes, create an e-commerce site. If each piece is custom, sell items on Pre-Order. In these days and times, you don’t need to be on the floors of Bergdorf Goodman or Saks in order to be successful. Create your own store on Shopify or align yourself with a smaller store to sell on your behalf. If you don’t have the chops to be in business, hire a partner who is. The right business partner can truly take your business to the next level.
5. Getting In Their Feelings
As the phrase goes, “There are no feelings in business.” It’s true. Not having feelings attached could be interpreted as being cold, but really it’s about being easy to get along with, transparent, and straight forward. Don’t gossip, don’t be negative, and try not to hold on to hurt feelings about the industry, stylists, or clients for too long. Of course be smart. If you get burned by a client, a stylist, or store, don’t work with them again. But in all things in life, try to have a positive, winning attitude. Give and do unto others as you would have done unto you.
There you have it! Just a few nuggets of advice for designers and anyone in the fashion industry. First and foremost, be easy to work with. Invest in your future. Focus on the big picture. Be open to criticism (don’t be too sensitive). And knock it out the park!
Do you have anything to add?
Love & Light,
*The images used are for brands who get it right!