Well done! You’re launching a fashion business and there are so many things you need to focus on. Your mind is busy with endless to-do lists. We got you!
We’ve compiled the key things that you need to bear in mind to give you some clarity and help you act efficiently and effectively.
Don’t be scared of competition
You need to be aware of your competition for a variety of reasons: building an appropriate pricing structure, and staying unique and true to your brand. But being aware is all you need to be, don’t spend too much time and energy stalking your competitor. That energy must be saved for your business.
Also, look at how well their products are selling, are they constantly pushing discounted stock outside of ‘normal’ sale periods? Find out as much useful information as you can by visiting stores, going online and researching your competition overall.
Take note of how your competitor engages with your mutual audience, use your common sense and business acumen to analyse if it’s good or bad. This ‘advanced gut feeling’ tool is something that will serve you and your brand well over time. Social media is great for people airing their views, so if you ‘overhear’ a complaint about a competitor, use it as a case study to learn from the encounter. We learn from mistakes, and more quickly when the mistake is someone else’s.
Accept that things will go wrong
Despite being awesome, having a perfect product and a business plan that delivers, you may encounter challenges. There will be typos, transportation fails and general Sod’s Law-esque scenarios. But how you deal with those issues will be the making of you. Mistakes are the stepping stones to success, remember!
In a world of social media storms and re-runs of blooper reel shows, people like to see a mistake, but they also love to see solutions. If you sell online and transport issues leave you with no stock at one point, are you going to offer a discount or do something more innovative? Be as creatively minded as you are when you’re in the design studio. And, remember Fleming’s Penicillin was a “mistake.”
Thinking on your feet isn’t enough
Don’t leave everything to chance and adopt a whimsical mindset. Finding a solution to an adverse situation is vital, but you still need a firm plan in place that means you shouldn’t have to work off the cuff too often.
This is why having a plan in place for all contingencies is key – as much for customers and employees as for you. This could be as simple as including an FAQ, Terms and Conditions or Terms of Service section on your website or on the back of invoices and receipts. Consistency is always good and allows for equality in how you treat your customers.
Open up when you’re open for business
Who doesn’t love a story? It could be Instagram to just show images of your store opening or late nights in the studio and all the snacks that go along with it. Or if you’re a bit of a wordsmith, set up a blog and link it to your website and social media accounts to tell the story of your fashion business with the key messages being:
- This is a great brand.
- I love my brand.
- I’ve worked really hard at building it.
- You should fall in love with my products.
- You should spend your money on buying my products.
- Don’t beg, persuade. Don’t gush, show pride. Don’t oversell, build a relationship.
You can build honest posts based on your production process, your excitement at launching and your inspiration behind products. Make your fashion business a positive beacon, trolling haters: ignored. Empowering your audience and responding to their comments: yes!
Online, via social media! Don’t see social media as a vanity stream to show a polished version of yourself and your brand. Imagine that you’re actually speaking to your customer, that they are in your shop pre- or post-purchase and you are talking to them face-to-face. You would ask them questions, you would not only speak about your products and you’d be personable and gracious. Start your engagement that way and then as you build your audience, consult them via social media as if they were a virtual focus group.
You should know everything about your fashion business by now. Make sure you can reel off the vital statistics with gusto to the relevant people. Launching a business is not the end of the process. Sustenance and growth will be two of the permanent items on your to-do list. You will need to network and constantly market and sell your business if you want it to be as successful as you planned it to be.