Knowing how to grow a fashion brand is always useful, least of all because it can be very costly. I often say that launching and growing a fashion business is akin to throwing money into a black hole. You always need to put in more and the returns are rarely apparent and immediate.
But in our fast-changing world, knowing how to grow a fashion brand and business is more important than ever. Brick and mortar shops are closing their doors in never before seen numbers and at an unprecedentedly fast pace. Most businesses if not already online – are moving online. Those already there, are doubling up and doing more to just standstill.
So – is there space for more? Should you even bother, if it is that noisy and oversaturated?
Yes and yes! There is always space for those who do business well and understand what it takes to grow a fashion brand.
In 2020 what is required is a fine balance between a few tangible and intangible skills. So let’s dive in and look closely at these.
“How you do anything is how you do everything.”
There is an old saying that states “Character is destiny”.
In other words, how you chose to BE determines the results you’ll get in life and business.
BE-ing honest, hardworking, creative, healthy, committed, good communicator (as well as the opposite)…these are all choices you make daily, that magnify the outcome of your actions.
When building a fashion business it is imperative to have a strong multifaceted character. As a business owner, you have to wear many hats and be good at many things. But most important of all you need to be committed to your business and best business practises.
You have to be resourceful and adapt to whatever circumstances you find yourselves in, to grow a fashion brand.
But above all – you have to be YOU. If you don’t show the world who you are and you do not operate from an authentic place, you will attract the wrong crowd.
BEing YOUniquely YOU allows you to use it to your advantage, to attract (and repel) the right people around you. Above all it allows you to create a business built on your personality, unique skills and values that feel in alignment with who you are BEing at all times.
Do you walk your talk? Do you do what you say you’ll do? Do people trust and believe in you?
Credibility, when you aim to grow your fashion brand, in today’s day and age is everything. It is not a piece of paper to prove you went to university or won an award. It is so much more than that.
Credibility is the reputation that proceeds you.
If you are just starting out it may be a little challenging to prove your credibility – but equally, there are many ways in which you can get started and get results fast.
Being open and honest about what you’re intentions are, delivering on your promises and overdelivering where possible are small things everyone can do.
Being able to offer good references from other industry sources and be happy to be cross-referenced will speak more than you can imagine.
Cash is king! Having liquid cash saved away as well as available to access at short notice is always good for business.
In times like today – when an economic downturn is no longer a possibility, but a reality – having access to cash is extremely important.
The disturbance in services and supply chain, exasperated by many other external factors will push many to prefer or insist on cash payments. Those able to adapt and access cash easily will benefit.
So converting any leftover stock into cash is imperative.
Being careful with your accounting is vital. Ensuring that your outgoings are not out of step with incoming funds and payments, knowing really well your margins and exactly how much “cash” you get to keep with every item sold is invaluable at any given time. But especially now!
Your customers form your community and your community is made up of customers and would be possible customers. Therefore looking after your customers and community and making sure you nourish these relationships is a vital step to grow a fashion brand and ultimate success.
Especially in times of crisis and downturn. Knowing who your customers are and how to connect to them, what they like and don’t like, reaching out to them and being able to upsell or downsell to them is crucial to you remaining in business.
Being global is great but in tough times it is the local community and customers that make a difference in how you navigate through that challenging period.
If cash is king, it is said that in today’s day and age, content is queen.
Communicating with your customers is no longer based on a hard sell. To acquire new customers and retain them, at a time when market saturation is at an all-time peak – you need to gently persuade and attract. Then the sales follow. To persuade and attract you need content. People connect emotionally to stories. Buying any product in today’s day and age goes so much deeper than just liking the product. As consumers we want to know who is behind the name, often, many of us what to know the values the brand we like have and stand for…etc.
Communicating via content is the best way to differentiate your business and connect to your customers. It is the best way to acquire and retain, it is the best way to inform and educate.
Sadly most people don’t know what creating content means. They think just posting occasionally is good enough. Or having a perfectly curated Instagram photo feed is enough. In truth – it isn’t and that is why it will not be working. You need to post a variety of content and test what resonates with your customers. Then do more of it. You have to understand also that social media is created in such a way that the more you post the more you are rewarded. It is quantity, not the quality that fires up the algorithms.
Start now, get perfect later.
In 2020 we can be as creative as we want to be. Whether you prefer writing or video or visuals….there is a platform for you to be at and reach your customers through.
In 2020 we have the fortune to have everything available to us. Omnipresence is the buzz word and strategy for most brands.
There are multiple social media platforms for us to connect and communicate through with our community and customers.
There are multiple retail channels through which one can sell their products and services.
Whether we prefer online or offline or a mix of both – everything is possible for each and every one of us, 100% of the time.
The trick here is to know where to focus and how to make the best of all the possibilities in order to grow a fashion brand.
Launching and growing a business has never been more exciting (and challenging at the same time) as now.
You can grow a fashion brand alone slowly, or faster with collaborations.
In good and bad times, collaborations are a powerful tool for growing your exposure and visibility. By teaming up with similar, complementary brands that are well aligned with your brand and values, you can grow exponentially at almost no cost.
The power of collaborations can be leveraged to sell more products, to raise visibility, the gain new market exposure and for networking. Living in the digital age as we are, it means there is an endless supply of brands and individuals one can collaborate globally.
What really matters here is to be clear on the desired outcome and ensure there are well-aligned adjacencies with the choice of collaborators. Here is one example of a collaboration between a bakery and a jewellery brand – unusual, yet it worked.
To grow a fashion brand as well as any business in any industry, consistency is required.
You need consistently to take imperfect actions.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
Your business is a reflection of YOU – the brand owner. If you are dedicated and consistent with how you do your marketing, business, accounting, networking….your business will reflect this and you’ll see consistent growth and financial results.
But if you blow hot and cold – market your brand a lot one week but disappear the next, take care with how you spend one month but splurge the next – that erratic behaviour will lead to a business that is inconsistent and unpredictable.
Consistent imperfect action; taking small daily steps towards a goal, micro-commitments to yourself and your business is the bare minimum those who are successful will tell you they make sure they do. It is not the big steps and decisions that move your business forward. It is the consistency of taking small actions that create big results.
Finally – knowing your competitors is important. If you are of the competitive kind, you might find it motivational to see what they are doing and try to do better.
Regardless of how you may see your competitors – they can be seen and used as a barometer for your business.
Watching their success or demise can serve as an invaluable lesson. Adjusting your messaging and marketing to differentiate your brand, when done well can lead to faster growth. Those who are clear in their communications and have a unique style, product or point of view are memorable. Customers remember them over a sea of mediocre and seemingly the same kind of competitors.
Using your competition wisely to grow a fashion brand is how smart business professional achieve the results they do. In fashion, we often look to reinvent the wheel, scared we might be seen and perceived as “copy-ing”. But that is a broken concept and impossible to achieve. Taking what works for others and applying it to your brand in your own way is not copy-ing. It is simply smart business.
So it looks like to grow a fashion brand in 2020 is no longer that solely depends on the design and look of your product. In fact, they didn’t even get a mention. Of course, they are important and you cannot have a business with no product. But product and design alone are also not enough to ensure success. It is the combination of all the above factors, used and applied in small and large degree, that lead to success and profitability.
Master the C’s and the Ps (people & profit) will follow.
Find out how we can help you grow your business by getting in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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