Monthly Archives: August 2016

Aug 31

Why Branding Is So Crucial For A Fashion Brand

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

 

We live in an era where branding is incredibly crucial to the success of your fashion brand.  It is no longer  just a business buzzword. It has become the essence of selling in the new economy.

Branding is the  marketing practice of creating a name that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

Branding is vital. Branding is basic. Branding is necessary for many reasons.

Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations.  Well, known and popular brands create brand equity.  Examples of this are the upcoming sales of Donna Karan International Inc. to apparel company G-III Apparel Group Ltd. for $650 million including debt and the Qatar’s sovereign investment fund Mayhoola For Investments takeover of Balmain which insiders expect could cost as much as 500 million euros ($560 million).

Stores want brands.  That’s because their customers want brands.  People like brands they know because there is consistency in product.  They know what to expect.  The fit is consistent.  When I am shopping for a handbag  I know the price, quality, and style I like and the brands I associate these attributes with so I look up those brands.

Branding creates recognition.  There is a saying “out of sight and out of mind.”  The fact is if you’re not front and center  in your target markets mind they will not think about you when it is time to by your kind of product.  The other day I was looking to buy an everyday handbag.  I went straight to Vince Camuto because I know their brand and I like their styling.  I didn’t just type in handbags on my google search.  I typed in Vince Camuto handbags.

Branding is a tool for developing and maintaining a competitive advantage.  The object of branding is to create a relationship between customers and product by an expectation from the consumer about what they get when buying a brand.  Nike customers want and expect sneakers that perform to the needs of a certain activity.  By communicating that message and delivering sneakers that live up to that promise they create loyalty.

People have too many choices and too little time.  Branding helps the consumer reduce decision making time when viewing the hundreds available options in the market. Today we live in a culture where people are deprived of time.  I don’t have the time or patience to weed through all the product that is available to find what I want.  So I find myself going to the brands I know and love.  They usually do not disappoint.

Having a great brand attracts talent.  Employees want to work for brands that they like and brands that are successful.   A strong brand creates desirability for recruits and aids in the retention of staff.

Branding builds trust.  When a brand stands for something and consistently delivers on that promise customers feel confident in continually buying from that brand.  I like to buy dresses and sportswear from Eileen Fisher.  Their fit is always the same which works for me.  They have good quality and are an ethically run business.  I can trust that my purchases from them will always be something I am happy with.

Branding increases your customer base.  The more established your brand becomes the more people hear about it.  It may be through social media, advertising, pr, or customers telling their friends but you will grow your audience which will increase sales.

Remember that marketing is what you do, branding is what you are.   Also remember branding is not just a fancy logo.  It is everything you do from design to fit, quality to  customer service, and advertising to pr.

Once you create a brand it is yours.  You own it and if you manage your image with care and thoughtfulness your business will thrive.

 

 

 

 

Aug 16

Why Sales Reps Don’t Want To Talk With You When You’re A New Fashion Brand

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

Being new is fun!

It also sucks.

You are trying to find your own unique way, but sometimes it feels like no one takes you seriously.

Especially independent sales reps. They don’t take your calls or return your messages. You know you have the hottest new thing.

So why won’t they even say hello? There are plenty of good reasons for this.

First off, many new startups go out of business within the first few years. New businesses have a rocky road to travel in the beginning. Production delays or cancellations, fit problems, and quality issues plague new brands. All too often a rep books business for a new brand only to see the business evaporate because of these problems.

It also takes a rep a while to get a new brand up and running and profitable. They spend lots of time and money on the first year or two getting stores to see and buy the line. Usually the orders are small because buyers like to test a line before they put serious money behind it. So the first few years have small volume.

Think about it, maybe they book $150,000 the first year. Sounds good. But with their 12% (average commission rate on apparel) they make $18,000. For the amount of work it takes to make the sale, that is nothing. A line, depending on the rep, has to have volume of at least $500,000 to $1,000,000 in order to cover expenses and have it make money for them.

I know some reps that need at least $2-3 million in sales for it to work.

That’s why many top reps will not take on a line that doesn’t already have business for this reason.

Another reason reps do not like to take on new brands is they know you are inexperienced.

History proves that poor management is the number one reason for failure!

However it is not just failure that worries reps. It is also the mistakes new brands make with their businesses. New brands don’t know the best factories or how to negotiate prices. They have problems with quality control and fit. Or they lack marketing. Many things can slow the growth of a new brand.

Another issue is design direction. Many times a designer comes out with a new collection that is wonderful and the stores like it, then the next season the line looks like it is for a completely different customer. Often, consistency from season to season is something new brands struggle with.

New brands do not have much money.

A common fatal mistake for many failed businesses is having insufficient operating funds. Business owners underestimate how much money is needed and they are forced to close before they even have had a fair chance to succeed. Or they have trouble funding things that are important to reps. Like look books, a good website, and participation in trade shows.

Finding good reps is only part of the equation.

Managing them is more like 80%, and I don’t mean treating them like employees. I mean partnering with them to help them be successful. Micro managing a rep is a recipe for disaster. These are independent business owners. They want you to be on your game. Have good follow through. Keep them abreast of all information. Ship on time and what customers ordered. Have good customer service. Pay them on time. Give them good product information. Supply them with tools to do business. Return their phone calls quickly.

Consistent communication.

The best relationships are the ones with positive give and take. Great samples are also key. You want to give beautifully made samples. Poor stitching, substitute fabrics, bad hanger appeal are red flags to buyers. Be sure to supply samples on time.

Remember, if there is a question mark about anything, and you are new, then a buyer will usually pass on your line.

Business is just too difficult these days for someone to take a chance on something that has problems out the gate.

So, here’s the moral to the story.

If you want to attract and convince a good sales rep to take on your line, you have to be at the top of your game.

Make their lives easier, and you’ll be half way there.

 

 

 

 

Aug 11

Macy’s to close another 100 stores; stock jumps

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Macy’s to close another 100 stores; stock jumps By Sruthi Ramakrishnan,Reuters.  It is great news that Macys is finaly closing underperforming doors.  This works for Macys bottom line as well as the brands that sell them who are put inventory in those doors.  There strategies going forward should make for a healthier business.

The link to this article is below.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/macys-says-shut-100-stores-122009689–finance.html