Putting your best foot forward in the retail environment can help your company boost its…
Fashion is an exciting industry, and for many it is not so much a career path as it is a personal passion. However, passion alone is not enough to succeed on what is also a busy and highly competitive sector. If you want your new fashion start-up to have the best chance of establishing itself and becoming a success, the following tips should prove useful.
It is important for every business to have something that sets it apart from the competition, and especially important to offer something unique in the fashion industry. Understand and develop your own unique selling point (USP) in order to stand out and be more than just another fashion business. Whether you are selling clothes, fashion accessories or ladies bags, it is vital that you understand not only your market, but your competitors and how you can differentiate yourself from them. Ensure that all marketing materials are clear about communicating your USP as well, because if customers don’t know what sets you apart then, in their eyes, you will not be set apart at all.
Understand Your Products From a Business Viewpoint
It is important to understand your products as just that; products. They may be great designs or even labours of love, but they are also something with a role to play in your business and you have to be sure they will play it properly. This means a couple of things. Firstly, you must understand the production process. One of the biggest challenges here for new businesses is that lack of established income means that parting with money to have the products made can sting, especially as initial small quantities will mean high per-unit prices. Nonetheless, it is important you strike the right balance between quality and cost-saving, and that you ensure all payments are made promptly to avoid disappointing retailers who are waiting.
Secondly, you also need to view your products as things that need to be sold. You might think they are something truly new, original and exciting and you might even be right but this doesn’t mean they are just going to sell themselves.
You need a well-developed strategy for selling them – whether to retailers, directly to consumers, or both – and a proper, effective distribution setup to ensure they get where they need to be.
Be a Business
Just as you need to view your products with a commercial eye, you also need to understand that your business really has to be a business. The cold, hard world of bottom lines and bookkeeping might seem far-removed from the passion-filled, creative, vibrant world of fashion, but when fashion is your business this odd couple need to go hand-in-hand.
It is important to understand the financial aspects, such as accounting requirements and the amount of money you will need up-front to get your business off the ground and to the point where it is making money. You will also need to understanding the role of marketing and PR, know which channels you will be selling through, and have a clear idea of the route your products will take to get from your suppliers into the hands of consumers. In order to ensure you have fully thought-out these things, it is best to start by creating a formal business plan, and potentially other supporting documents such as a marketing plan.
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