So much more goes into starting and running a successful fashion brand than good designs and branding. Often incredibly talented designers and very marketable labels fold for reasons that have very little to do with the actual concept behind the clothes. So what is the secret recipe behind success in the fashion industry? What do the successful brands do that others don’t?
This Saturday we are hosting, together with Mood Fabrics at their NYC store a full day workshop. We asked the three industry experts who will teach that day and whom each handle a piece of the fashion puzzle, from concept and creation to sales and marketing, for their two best tips on running a successful fashion brand and here is what they had to say:
Design and Production
- Design with production in mind – When designing, always think ahead and consider how will the item be produced on a large scale, not only as a sample. Labor Intensive details, use of special machinery, large minimums for materials and long lead times are things that will cost you a fortune or worst- your business.
- Stick to one fit model - Don’t switch fit models in between fittings, pick one and stick with her/him, otherwise you will never be able to keep a consistent fit. Bad fit = NO SALES!
Sales and Marketing
Jane Hamill is the founder and owner of the Chicago based consultancy firm, Fashion Brain Academy, which helps designers gather all the tools they need to run the business side of things and sell into stores. Ms. Hamill ran her own successful clothing line for ten years, before starting her consultancy business. Jane has these sound tips for running a successful fashion brand:
- Have the right tools in your sales kit- The right tools not only include line sheets and order forms but also the right way to approach buyers. Telling a buyer that your line is the perfect fit for their store puts them on the defensive. Telling them you think the line would be a great fit with the other lines they carry lets a buyer know you are thinking about more than just your own bottom line.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin- When you are starting a fashion line it is easy to feel like you need to be covering every social media platform, reaching out to every buyer across the country and getting your product in the hands of editors. However, it is better to focus on a select number of marketing activities and really dig deep rather than dabbling in a myriad and making virtually no impact.
Social Media and PR
Lori Riviere is the owner of The Riviere Agency, A fashion and beauty integrated marketing firm with offices in New York and Miami. Her team specializes in helping brands on the rise generate buzz through strong social media, SEO, editorial placements and events. She offers the following tips for successful brands:
- Understand how the media cycle works and be patient- It is really important for newer brands to understand that getting media placements take time. Magazines work on issues 4-6 months out and even online outlets often work 60-90 days out. Even if you have a PR agency handling editorial coverage it can take time, but if you are doing it yourself you can expect it to take 6 months to a year to really start to get placements. With DIY PR, you should select a few key outlets and focus on pitching them with fresh stories.
- Don’t forget the follow up -Follow-up is key in this business whether it be with a buyer or a media outlet. People in the fashion industry are bombarded with emails, images and information all day long and your brand WILL get lost in the shuffle unless you schedule time for follow-up.
For the first time, these three industry moguls will be coming together for a day long seminar in New York City on Saturday, November 16th, 2013. Mood Fabrics and Human B are hosting “Start A Fashion Brand” - a full day workshop for fashion start-ups or existing brands looking to streamline and thrive. The workshop will be held inside Mood fabrics NYC location. The three industry experts will cover EVERYTHING you need to start and run a successful brand: business startup strategies, producing your first sample line, costing your product for profit, selling to boutiques, getting press, and common rookie mistakes to avoid.