Monthly Archives: July 2015

Jul 30

How Long Does It Take To Create Buzz For Your Fashion Collection?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

Recently I was asked by a potential client how long would it take a marketing strategy to create buzz for their fashion collection.  Well, that is almost impossible to answer.  It depends on your product and what you do to promote it.  Of course you need to have a good salable line.  Just because you have advertising and pr in place doesn’t mean you will build a successful brand.  I can tell you that in the beginning your efforts will seem exhaustive with little results.  Brand building takes time because you often have to change the prospect’s mind about an old brand and get them to change an existing behavior.

“Market research continuously proves the obvious: a person needs to know you, your reputation, and your product or service before he/she is willing to make a purchase. Building visibility, familiarity and a positive reputation takes time and a series of memorable contacts. How many contacts (or “touches”) it takes depends on many factors, such as price, complexity of product, “need vs. want,” competition, etc. But the truth is, the sales process is exactly that – a process,” according to Dennis Payne | Editor-in-Chief of CityRoom.com.

I often read about Actors and Actresses who are considered overnight successes.  When asked by press of their meteoric rise to the top the actor usually chuckles and says: yeah, but what you don’t see is the 5 years I spent going on auditions with no results.  The truth is there are rarely overnight success.

Creating buzz requires a series of activities done repeatedly and consistently over time till you reach a momentum.  Then once the momentum is reached it seems that all of a sudden people know you.  Always remember first things first.  Create a great product that is a uniqueness,  great customer service, and great value.  When combining that with your sales and marketing plan you will ultimately create buzz for your fashion brand.

Jul 28

4 Things That Any Fashion Brand Can Do To Be More Sustainable.

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Hi There, this is Traci Kaye, I’m the Director of Sourcing and Product Development here at Human B. Recently I attended a seminar about sustainability and it was so inspiring that I had to share and and try to inspire you too.

Sustainability – The ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely. 

In the fashion industry we are constantly producing more and more goods. We use tons of natural resources, produce garments all over the world and all the while we are trying to keep up with ever changing trends and timely demands of the fashion industry. What is that impact? Most of the pollution in the garment industry comes from textiles. Water usage, finishing agents, and dyes. 20% of the worlds water pollution is due to the garment industry. How does it affect the community that work and live around these factories? As designers and consumers we have the responsibility to ask ourselves these questions and the ability to make change.

How do you as a designer build a company with all of these things in mind and as a small brand be a part of this change?

How can we still create, still design and still produce while making a smaller footprint and a more positive impact while doing it. While larger companies have an easier time demanding that their fabrics be sustainable they often have a harder time keeping an eye on how their production is being done. As a small brand you are more restricted on where you can produce and in turn are better able to manage where and how you choose to produce.

Here are 4 things That any fashion brand/designer can do to be more sustainable and help decrease our footprint:

1. Transparency 

Know your supply chain. Where are your textiles and trims coming from, what are they made out of & who is making your product? When asking ourselves these questions we need to keep in mind that impact is not only about the environment but is also the community that surrounds these factories.  So how can a small company like yours find this information. We are starting to see more and more widely used standardizations and tools that are helping to regulate our industry. Organizations like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition – The Higg Index, and textile exchange organization are doing just that.

2. Textiles

Try and buy from sustainable textile mills. This is unfortunately not a huge market yet and for a small scale brand not always the easiest thing to accomplish. But you can educate yourself on the different global impact textiles have and when you are not able to find the accredited fabrics you need you can select fibers that have a more minimal cost to the environment and the community. For instance organic cotton vs non organic cotton. The latter causing harmful pollution for the farmers and the community. Or using tencel instead of viscose. There are organizations working to certify fibers and textiles so that as consumers we have the transparency needed to make a better choice.

3. Re-shoring 

In 1980’s 70% of our clothing was made in the US, and now it is ONLY 2%! Shocking statistics, right?  Manufacture in your own country when you can. This not only helps with our economy, but it also minimizes the environmental stress that comes with shipping. For example a common production chain looks like that: fiber is shipped from India to Japan to be made into fabric, the fabric than ships from Japan to China for sewing, and the garments are than shipped to the US – A long shipping process. With re-shoring comes less shipping, less polluting of our oceans, and helps build a stronger work force.

4. Product end use

Fast fashion is not going anywhere. And our land fills are filling up with last seasons clothes. As designers we can choose to make better product with responsible materials that when they are discarded they leave less pollution. Think of how the materials you select will effect the environment when the buyer is done with them. Where will they go? Can they be recycled?

Get Inspired!

Sustainability and the race to the top will not happen unless we collaborate. We need to work together. There are new organizations, coalitions, agencies, fiber innovators, and designers pushing the envelope every day in this field and making it easier for all of us to be a part of this change. Below are four of these resources to get you you started.

  • The sustainable Apparel Coalition – Works to reduce environmental and social impacts of the apparel and footwear products around the world. The Higg Index is an apparel and footwear industry self-assessment standard for assessing environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain
  • The Textile Exchange – An organization that’s purpose is to certify Textiles.
  • Cradle to Cradle products innovation Institute – An organization that educates and empowers manufacturers of consumer products to improve what their products are made of and how they are made.
  • Evrnu – A new fiber that comes from recycling of cotton garments. The take garment waste to its supply chain in a way that is good for business, for the environment, and for consumers.

 

Jul 24

Fashion Industry Customer Service and The Human Touch

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Productivity

 

Okay this post addresses  a bit of a personal pet peeve.  But, there is nothing I can’t stand more than a company I buy from not having a telephone number I can reach a person on.  Especially when I have a problem.  Or they have a telephone number but you have to research the internet for 30 minutes to find it.  This activity of having only an email address to handle customer issues is off putting and I don’t believe it is good for business.

Using emails as the only interaction with your end customers creates a wall that separates you from your them.  It prevents you from benefiting from the opportunity to deliver an outstanding customer experience.  Outstanding customer experiences is what you should be trying to achieve.  When you delight your customer you not only create a loyal customer but you also gain customers from the friends they talk to about the experience.

“Branding Through Customer Service Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth. Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”
― Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Recently I was at Chase Bank making a cash deposit.  I was at the teller drive up and was told no less than 3 times I could make the deposit at the ATM machine.  I did not want to and explained why to the teller.  She told me that Chase wants their staff to encourage people to use the machine.  Wow, what a way to make the banking experience even more impersonal.  It makes me wonder what the management is thinking when they are telling their customers they don’t want to interact with them.

So the moral of this post is:  Have a live persona who is knowledgeable, friendly, and empowered to find solutions handle all your customer service and watch your business grow.

Jul 22

Creating The Brand Experience For a Fashion Company

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

In the fashion world in order to create a powerful brand having good product is not enough you, also have to create a brand experience.  In this business climate building a brand is essential to growing your business. I will never forget the time I was in a supermarket shopping for groceries. A mother was there with her young children whom I am guessing were between the ages of 6 and 8. There was yogurt selling in the store that was branded by Zach and Cody (Brothers Cole and Dylan Sprouse) Disney Actors of the show ” The Suite Life of Zach and Cody”. These kids were begging their mother to buy the yogurt. Their mother expressed surprise and said you have never had yogurt how do you even know you like it? The child’s answer was “It’s by Zach and Cody so it must be good!” That is the power of branding and that is why creating a brand experience is important.

Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products .  Creating a  brand experience goes beyond this by addressing all the interactions people have with a product, service, or organization.  As brand builders your job as to have a plan covering all of these interactions.  There needs to be a synergy with all aspects.  When you see a Ralph Lauren Label you have expectations of quality, fit, look, advertising, store design, culture, and even customer service.  You see a Ralph Lauren product and you immediately know it is Ralph Lauren.  There is no one more brilliant than creating a brand experience than Ralph.

When you seek to create the brand experience for a fashion company you should have a strategy at the following:

  • Brand Story
  • Website Design
  • Showroom Design
  • Store Design
  • Labels and hangtags
  • Packaging on product shipped to consumers.
  • Social Media
  • Advertising
  • PR
  • Store Distribution
  • Focus of collection
  • Sizing and Fit
  • Quality
  • Customer Service
  • Staff
  • Communications
  • Training of sales and customer service staff
  • Pricing

They say Branding is a science, but perhaps it is both an art and a science.  In a world where customers are very brand driven and extremely vocal about their opinions both on and off line you cannot leave anything to chance.  So have a game plan in place from the start.

Jul 20

10 Tops Tips For A Successful Fashion Trade Show

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Firm outer clothing hangs at demonstration stands in showroomFirm outer clothing hangs at demonstration stands in showroomFirm outer clothing hangs at demonstration stands in showroomI have been to countless fashion trade shows and on both sides of the table.  I have observed many companies doing it right.   Unfortunately most do not do all they can to maximize their results.  In order to ensure this expensive and time-consuming activity evolves into a well-managed, justifiable profitable function, the following 10 tips deserve your attention:

  1. Contact all your accounts including your target accounts – I mean call them don’t just send them an email.  Do both.  But, keep calling them till you speak to your buyer.  Try to get an appointment.  If you can’t get the appointment at the very least excite them enough so that they will agree to stop.  Then send an email reminder a couple of days before the show.
  2. Make sure your samples look good – Your samples should look their best,  buttons sewn on, no wrinkles, good presentation hangers, main labels sewn in, and proper hangtags with style numbers and all information that a buyer needs.
  3. Decorate your booth – It doesn’t have to be expensive but it should reflect your brand and help you stand out.
  4. Choose the right trade show – Each show has their specialty.  One might be more contemporary, another better for luxury.  If your target accounts attend the show this is where you want to be.
  5. Don’t sit or spend time on your phone when you are in your booth – You’re there to do business be alert and ready.
  6. Know and communicate your brand story – Telling your brand story engages the buyer on a deeper level.
  7. Make sure your presentation is polished – Know your product like the back of your hand. Presenting your product is a form of entertainment.  The more interesting the presentation the more interested your buyer will be in your product.
  8. Give-a-ways or raffles are a good way to encourage buyers to come to your booth.  But for heavens sakes not another tote bag.
  9. Be assertive but not aggressive – Assertive salespeople do not tell the customer what to do, but rather they help lead them to an educated decision by providing them all the necessary facts. They are confident in themselves and what they are selling.
  10. Follow up right away – Now I don’t mean the next day but within a couple of days you should call your account and ask for the order.

Some of these are common sense but not everyone does them.  Trade shows are expensive to do.  You should do everything you can to ensure the best results.

Jul 14

Interview with Boaz David – Fashion Development and Production Expert

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

 

Today I want to share with you an interview Boaz David of Human B, a fashion design development and production expert, gave Monica Lee for her Smart Creative Women website.   Where he shared his own story and experience in the fashion industry, lessons he learned along the way and the concept behind his company Human B.

HUMAN B is a ONE STOP solution for fashion brands. They offer fashion consulting, development and production services for emerging designers and established brands. They are experts in design, development and production.

Smart Creative Women is a podcast show on iTunes and Stitcher radio designed to help women learn, grow, and get inspired.
click-here-to-listen

Jul 13

Why A Fashion Brand Needs A Good Email List

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

A fashion brand can have two email lists.  One is to reach out to stores they want to sell to and another for their end customers.  In this post we will discuss email lists for the end customers.

If you’re serious about building an online business (or at least trying to market yourself across the Internet), one of the most important things you should do is create an email marketing list. In layman’s terms, an email list is a collection of email addresses, often associated with other personal data, that may be of interest to you and viceversa. That means the list should contain addresses that are potential customers from your brand demographic.

One of the most obvious benefits of email marketing is its lower cost compared to mainstream marketing channels. There are no print or postage costs and no fees paid in exchange for exposure on a certain billboard, magazine or television channel. Email marketers might consider investing in specialist software to automate, track and evaluate their emails. Granted, there may be a small overhead for sending thousands of emails at a time, but these costs are far lower than what you would expect to pay using other marketing channels.

Email marketing is one of the only channels that consumers ask to receive. The majority of businesses utilising the platform only send messages to those who have signed up to receive them. This can allow for much higher conversion rates as a business as your email list is highly targeted because you are emailing those  who already have an interest in your brand. It is, of course, possible to send unsolicited email marketing messages, but this is only likely to annoy consumers and result in a damaged brand image. You also be labeled as a spammer.

You can email with promotions and product, but you can also email your list with information that they would be interested in.  This creates an emotional connection with you customers which let’s face it is the best benefit of email marketing.

 

Jul 09

Starting a New Fashion Business Is Hard But Not Impossible

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

Starting a new fashion business is hard but not impossible.  I have a delightful new client.  He has a wonderful product.  It is unique and salable at the same time.  His website is creative and he is off to a good start.  But, he is nervous.  And he is not alone.  Many of my start up fashion brands run into the same thing when they are starting out.  They seriously struggle to make sales.  These days being new and fresh is not necessarily something stores are looking for.  They want tried and true brands that they know their customers want and business is so tough for these buyers that they are resistant to taking chances.  The days of looking for the next new thing is gone for most retailers.

That is the scary part of starting a new brand.  However the good news is if you have something great you can do business.  And you can build a successful and highly profitable business.  You just need to do the right things to build your business.  You also need to have patience.

I describe starting a new business to riding a bike up a steep hill.  The first few peddles are almost impossible.  It seems like you can’t even get started yet alone reach the top.  The next few peddles are still very tough but not quite impossible.  Then the next few seem to start catching a momentum.  Before you know it you are getting into a rhythm and you finally reach the top and are able to coast on all the hard work you did.  Not that you ever stop peddling because you don’t want to stop your forward movement.  But, now it’s much easier to get where you want to go and keep the momentum going.

That is what it is like to start a new business in the fashion industry.  Remember to do the correct things first and then keep on keeping on till you hit a momentum that drives you to the success you envision.

 

Jul 06

10 Quotes By Very Successful Fashion Designers

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

I love quotes.  They are little nuggets of wisdom.  Here are 10 quotes by successful fashion designers.

  1. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”  – Sarah Blakley of Spanx
  2. “Life-fulfilling work is never about the money – when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.” – Eileen Fisher
  3. “If you try to create something people enjoy, and it happens to be made in a responsible way, then that’s when you can really strike an incredible balance.” – Stella McCartney
  4. “When you are having fun and creating something you love, it shows in the product. So when a woman is sifting through a rack of clothes, somehow that piece of clothing that you had so much fun designing speaks to her; she responds to it and buys it. I believe you can actually transfer that energy to material things as you’re creating them.” – Tom Ford
  5. “The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that fashion is this tightrope where you have to be consistent but inconsistent. You need the connective thread but at the same time you need a sense of surprise.”  – Michael Kors
  6. “My advice is you need to have a vision. Be confident. Or act as if you are confident as a way to get people to believe in you. Then repetition is reputation. Keep growing, keep changing, but always remain true to yourself and your vision.” – Calvin Klein
  7. “Simplicity and sexiness, that’s what people want, at a price that’s not outrageous.” -Diane von Furstenberg’
  8. “To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” – Giorgio Armani
  9. “It’s very important for a brand to have an identity through the years, but it’s very important as well to evolve because times change so fast.” – Donatella Versace
  10. “I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.” – Ralph Lauren