As the owner of a Fashion Website, I interact frequently with many members of the industry, and aside from stylists, I interact the most with designers! Over the years, I have watched many thrive, thanks to some wonderful practices that should not be overlooked or undervalued!
Here are some tips I’ve gleaned from my observations:
- Invest in Marketing and Branding
Presentation is everything. We all see the difference between an item that might be on a hanger vs. the same item styled on a beautiful model. We all can tell the difference between an iPhone photo and a professional one! There are many subtle changes one can make to make sure they present their brand in the best light, from a curated Instagram page, to an easy to use website, to the types of models chosen.
Take some time to really think about your brand identity, take inspiration from brands you admire, and then set forth presenting the most transportive images possible. In fashion design, image reigns supreme.
Also, invest in marketing, including purchasing ads on websites like FashionBombDaily.com and our Instagram @FashionBombDaily! As Milano di Rouge says below, those ads work.Inquire about ads at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Make Sure the Price is Right
With the advent of brands like Fashion Nova & Zara, coupled with the proliferation of smaller boutiques and the Instagram/Wear Once culture…customers have more options that ever before! Of course your target audience might be the 1% that can splurge on a $5,000 dress to wear one time, but I’d recommend a product that is affordable, especially if you are not an older luxury brand or have received significant buzz. The bigger brands you know and love already do this, offering diffusion lines, accessories, and fragrances at a lower price point (Moschino Cheap & Chic, D&G, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and DKNY, anyone?). Lots of women purchase Chanel bags and not Chanel clothing, because it offers you the brand experience, and a product you can wear more than once vs. investing in a Chanel suit you can wear once every blue moon. Take a note from the greats, feel the pulse of the market, and price your clothing accordingly. Don’t work at a loss. The goal is to charge 50% more than what it cost to make, but try to keep prices low as much as you can in order to get dollars flowing! And if your fabrics are too expensive, find cheaper ones.
If you simply can’t stomach charging less for clothes, consider creating one smaller item that will sell well. Telfar’s Brooklyn Birkin is a great example. Everyone needs a bag, and Telfar accessories have that trendy, mass appeal thank to its signature “T” emblem. At $150 a pop for the smaller version, it won’t break the bank. As a result, he can’t keep them in stock. Genius.
Do you think all those editors purchased those Telfar bags? Well, some did. Others were gifted, and happened to pair the bag with stylish pieces to help generate sales and add to the brand’s BUZZ. Then Telfar’s marketing team put the bags in the hands of people on TV (cue Sonja Morgan, who wore Telfar bags on several episodes of Real Housewives of New York), and costume designers (like Shiona Turini, who placed the bag on Issa Rae in Insecure). Boom! Viral.
As social media displays, people are followers. They follow the cues of people they admire, from trendsetters to celebs. Don’t be afraid to gift items to people who have a large reach, as one post from that person could forever change your business for the better.
If you can’t afford to give items away, then make it clear that you would like the item returned (but be cool about it! Give people time!). And if you don’t want to chance the celeb wearing it or shouting you out, either pay the influencer or draft up an agreement to assure that you get that prime placement in a timely fashion.
4. Showing Appreciation to Customers Who Wear Your Brand
Anyone who invests their hard earned dollars in your brand should be thanked profusely. Anyone who takes an extra step to wear your brand and post it on their social media should get some love! Ok, maybe you didn’t love the way they styled it. Post it on your story, post and delete later, or create some sort of customer appreciation tab.
Back in the day, when I first started making a few coins from blogging, I would spend real money on designer brands. I would splurge on expensive sweaters and dresses and even purchased a couple runway looks (I was feeling myself). After wearing, I would excitedly blog, tweet, and email the brand about it. Radio silence. I’m glad to say that I’m not their customer anymore.
If you don’t care about your customers–or keeping people close who will invest in your clothes–why should they care about you? Reference point #2. There are way too many options in the world, and what could have been a repeat customer and increased income goes to zero. When someone supports you, say Thank YOU. Simple.
5. Remain Positive
The world is upside down and there is political unrest. Customers can be demanding. COVID sucks. Your boo got on your nerves. Whatever it is, save the drama. No-one wants to hear that. And if you come off as whiny or messy, it could reflect poorly on your brand. Of course show your support for causes you believe in. But don’t complain. Keep the positive vibes going, and reap the rewards.
Come with an attitude of GRATITUDE. Always. Even if things are going south, find something to sing about.
If you own a brand and would love a focused assessment followed by a one hour consultation, book me! Visit ClaireSulmers.com to schedule your consultation today.
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Love & Light,