Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jan 26

5 Tips for Persuading Fashion Boutiques to Carry Your Line

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

Yes, the world of e-commerce is getting stronger every day. But if you make a fashion line you still need to sell traditional brick-and-mortar stores to boost your sales and branding. Here are 5 tips to persuade fashion boutiques to carry your line.

  1. Make sure your product is great!  While this sounds obvious it is surprising how  many people fall short.  This means having a product that is special and not like anything a store might already have.  It also means having samples that are made beautifully, in the right fabric and trim, that fit well.  If a samples isn’t well made it is a red flag to a buyer that you may have trouble with production.
  2. Make sure your product has value and a store can make money with it.  Your line needs to price in line with your competition and have enough margin (the difference between the wholesale price and the retail selling price) for the stores to make a good profit. If it is priced too high for what the buyer sees as the products value they won’t buy it.
  3. Visit the stores.  There is nothing like actually meeting the buyer in their store.  You get a better idea of what the store is about and how your line fits in the store.  Also you can bond at a deeper level with the buyer.
  4. Have all your ducks in a row.  In other words make sure you have all your information at your finger tips.  Business cards, order forms, fabric content, fit information, delivery dates, and how you are going to produce.  This give the store confidence in your company.
  5. Do not oversell an area.  Nothing upsets a boutique owner more than a line that sells their product to a competitor down the street.  Stores want their customers to think their stores are special and unique and do not have product that they can get anywhere.

What retailers want is to please their customers. If they’re convinced your product will help them in that quest, you’ll be well on your way to a fruitful partnership.

 

Jan 21

Do Designers Dictate Fashion

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

Do designers dictate fashion?  Nobody really dictates fashion.  I think a lot of people believe that designers have a kind of sixth sense about clothing and pull ideas out of their brains and tell their customers you have to wear this or you aren’t in style.   It doesn’t work that way.  Most fashion changes incrementally, a little bit season by season.  Obviously designers have to make clothing that reflect their brand sensibilities.  But, they also design around what customers want.  They study what sells from their lines and make styles that evolve from their best sellers.  Of course they don’t make anything like the poor retailing pieces.

As Marc Jacob once said, “The customer is the final filter. What survives the whole process is what people wear. I’m not interested in making clothes that end up in some dusty museum.”  The truth is that customers do not allow designers to dictate fashion any longer.  Consumers are much more confident and if they don’t like what they see they do not buy.   Gone are the days when a fashion designer could make a fashion decree of what was that seasons trend and all the  fashionable people would gobble it up.  There is a saying in the industry that: “the customer votes with her wallet”.  Nowadays if a customer doesn’t want it, no matter how fashionable everyone says it is, it won’t sell.

Between social media and the internet customers are bombarded with images of fashion product.  They know what is out there, from who, and at what price.  They are being catered to at a level that never existed before.  There is so much choice that no one is locked into buying what is available.  So who really is dictating fashion.  While the designers are the creatives with the vision, right now, no one really dictates fashion.  It is now more of a democracy.

 

 

Jan 15

Should You Extend Credit to Your Customers?

By Maria Pesin | Business

 

Getting paid for your shipments in a timely manner can make the difference between success and failure in your business.  Should you extend credit to your customers?

I spoke to a potential client recently who had shipped an account $100,000 in merchandise without checking to see if they had good credit.  They shipped on open terms so they were totally at risk for not being paid.  They weren’t and had to sue the customer.  They won,  but still have not seen a penny of their money and it is going on 3 years.  This was a huge order for them as their company was small and it may end up putting them out of business.

There are many ways a small company can handle payment from their clients. They can ask for a percentage of the order when the order is placed and do the balance open terms or COD.  They can ship the entire order COD.  They can ask for a credit card and charge the card before they ship.  Or they can ship on net30 terms and extend credit to their customers.

While prepay, cod, and credit cards are the most desirable way for a company to ship because they don’t have the risk of not be payed, it is not always easy to get.  The challenge that many new and small companies face is customers don’t always want to prepay, give a credit card, or have a box come COD.  Many want open terms.  So what should you do?  This is a serious business decision that only the owner can make.  It really depends on how risk averse the owner is.  Is it worth it to take a chance on the clients or would you rather not take the order if they are not willing to pay in advance.

One way to mitigate the risk is to hire a good credit reporting agency and make sure that the store has a good history of credit with a good rating.  Then if they don’t have good credit you can offer the other methods.  The truth is there are no guarantees.  Business always has some risk.  But, you can protect yourself as much as possible.

Jan 11

Creating A Modern Luxury Brand Experience

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

A friend and I were speaking today.  She was telling me about a new company she discovered called Shinola Detroit.  They started by opening a watch factory in Detroit.  Their goal: Making in America.  Their story: “Making an investment in skill. Creating a community that will thrive through excellence of craft and pride of work. Where they will reclaim the making of things that are made well. And define American luxury through American quality.  They now make leather goods and bicycles.”  If you look at their site you can see the quality of the workmanship and design.  They are creating a modern luxury brand experience.

A modern luxury brand experience is different from what it used to mean even as little as 10 years ago.  Today it means not only having luxury that is obvious in the details and design of the product, but also communicating that effectively in your social media as well as advertising.   It also means doing things that resonate with your end customer.  As in Shinola Detroit which features American craftsmanship as a key feature of its product.  This helps to create an emotional connection to the product buyer.

A luxury brand doesn’t need heritage to convey its legendary status; it needs attitude and a strong personality to match. There has been a shift in the way the public perceives brands and they are now expecting more than just an out-dated piece of passive communication. Consumers want to experience and discover the brand for themselves, they want to be involved and become a part of that brand story.  Luxury brands need to wave goodbye to exclusivity and say hello to accessibility, allowing fans to not only participate in, but also shape the story.

One of the key takeaways to know when creating a modern luxury experience is that it is an experience.  Sometimes this has nothing to do with actually selling the product but rather a world that your customer visits and spends time in.

 

 

 

 

Jan 08

Sales – It Takes Time

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

Sales – It takes time.  I repeat the title because it is an important fact of life.  I have run companies in the fashion industry for 25 years.  But I consider myself a salesperson.  Many owners and managers hire salespeople and expect fast results.  They invest money in the staff they hire and they want to see quick outcomes.  If they don’t they think they are getting business quick enough they move on and hire another person.  They put together a road force and aren’t happy if they don’t have enough orders at the first trade show.  So they switch people.

A good sales manager knows it takes time to reach out to people and get them to respond.  Repeated attempts at contact is required.  Even then sometimes a buyer will need to see a line a few times before they decide to buy.  If you change salespeople often you don’t have continuity and there is no time for the salesperson to build a relationship with the buyer and the company.

NSEA-OFFICIAL-STATS

Recently I met with the owner of a very successful fashion company, and asked him why his staff seemed able to write large amounts of business and his response was very simple ‘me and my team have been here a long time’. It was obvious when talking to this very successful individual that he thought that too much staff churn can reduce your chances of being successful, that constantly investing money in new people for only short periods was a costly and futile exercise for all.  By building rapport between the salespeople and the buyers, the salespeople not only develop a synergy but they learn what works for the stores so that the retailer is successful with the product.

Of course there are poor salespeople.  But you can tell by the activity level if a salesperson is doing their job.  But keep in mind that sales do not happen overnight and it is a process.  Communication between you and your seller about what they are doing and how you can help them will increase their opportunities for success.  Give the sales process the time it needs to develop a healthy and growing business.

Jan 06

15 Inspiring Quotes On Entrepreneurship

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

There’s something about quotes that we all find irresistible. Maybe it’s because they inspire us.  There’s nothing like a great quote to get your revved up.  Here are 21 inspiring quotes that will get you hyped up and keep you motived as an entrepreneur.

  1. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford
  2. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  3. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” George Addair
  4. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” Albert Einstein
  5. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky
  6. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Vince Lombardi
  7. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.”  Oprah Winfrey
  8. ”Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.” Thomas Edison
  9. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”  Vince Lombardi
  10. “This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship — the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”  Peter F. Drucker
  11. “Opportunists seek for a chance.  Entrepreneurs make new chances.”  Toba Beta
  12. “I think a great entrepreneur is learning every day. An entrepreneur is somebody that doesn’t take no for an answer — they’re going to figure something out. They also take responsibility. They don’t blame anybody else. And they’re dreamers in one sense but they’re also realistic and they take affordable steps when they can.”  Damon John
  13. “Many have sight but few have vision.”  Idowu Koyenikan
  14. “Success is state of mind.If you want success start thinking of yourself as a success”  Joyce Brothers
  15. “Entrepreneur, noun: someone who takes calculated risks to add value to wider society with the hope of making money and building wealth”  M. James Airey
Jan 04

What Makes Your Day a 10?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity

 

What makes your day a 10?  I was listening to a Tony Robbins CD.  He spoke about making an activity into a 10 (meaning rating something on a scale of 1 t0 10 at a level 10).  So his example was going for a run.  Normally he feels at a 7 when he goes running.  This time he and his friend were going to make it be a 10.  They discussed how they were going to do this.  Pay attention to the scenery, listen to music, and run in sync, were some of the ideas they had.  Using these strategies the run went from a 7 rating to a 10!

I decided to make my day a 10.  But, what did that mean to me?  Did it mean I accomplished the tasks on my list?  Did it mean I brought my “A” to all I did?  Did it mean that I enjoyed myself?  Did I have to do something that moved me closer to achieving my goals?  Was it all of the above or none of the above?

I looked up some ideas on the internet.  Some of the ideas were:

  1. Take time to feel gratitude.
  2. See friends
  3. Work out
  4. Take a walk in nature
  5. Read a good book
  6. Meditate
  7. Spend time with loved ones

 

The lyrics in Aquabats – Best Day Of My Life sing…

Today’s gonna’ be the best day of my
Life… so far!
Today’s gonna’ be the best day of my
Life… so far!
I’ve no particular reason why I think
Today’s gonna be so nice.
But today’s gonna’ be the best day of my
Life… so far!

 

Can it be so simple that you can just decide to have a great day?  So what makes your day a 10?  What do you do to have the most outstanding day possible?  I would love to hear your comments.  Let me know what makes your day a 10.