Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Sep 04

Are Trade Shows Worth Doing?

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Depending on who you speak to trade shows are more important than ever or not relevant at all with many opinions in between.  If you don’t show are you taking a risk that you won’t see many of your accounts or can you easily see them another way?  Fashion trade shows are costly endeavors and showing at one show alone can run over thousands of dollars for the company.  There is the cost of renting the space, but you also need to decorate, travel to it, and have salespeople to man the booth.  With buying patters changing many companies wonder if this is an expense they can live without.

When I first started in the industry you called a buyer, they came to the showroom, and either bought or didn’t.  Marketing was simplistic.  You may have mailed a postcard to your clients or ran advertisements to build brand recognition, but your phone was your most important tool.  Over the years things have changed.  Trade shows such as Coterie were started, emailing and social marketing came into being.  The stores merged and merged and many simply went out of business.  Before there were thousands of buyers to call on, now, not so much. Selling has become a lot harder.

The bottom line is there is no one way to do business.  You cannot rely on only one method.  Business owners must put a lot of effort into seeing buyers.  There aren’t as many buyers and there are many lines vying for their attention.  The buyers aren’t always traveling to shows or coming to your showroom.  That means there is not only one way to reach out to them.  Trade shows will not be the answer to seeing all your potential buyers but it is one of the tools in your arsenal to build your business.  Trade shows along with showroom appointments, regional markets, in store visits, and social marketing will create a synergy that will go a long way toward building top of mind awareness with your target customers.

 

Sep 03

What Is a Marketing Calendar And Why Is It Important?

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

A marketing calendar is a tool showing what marketing events, media campaigns and merchandising efforts are planned and for when.  Many major fashion companies use them to map out their pr and advertising strategies.  In the fashion industry there are times of the year when we promote.  Christmas, back to school, spring season kick off, or the new fall season are just some of them.  Major activities are usually planned around these times.  There are also other actions that are put in at other times of the year so that marketing is done consistently and often.  A good calendar will show the date of an activity plus the dates that specific tasks need to be done to accomplish the activity.

For small or new fashion businesses, marketing can be sporadic. You know you need to market your company, but beyond the initial e-mail and social media blast, you’re too busy to go beyond the quick tweet or maybe the uploading of a few photos on Instagram  here and there. Marketing is work, and you’ve got a collection to ship.

Yet,  no one would disagree that marketing isn’t a vital function for your business. Having a plan in place that outlines your marketing activities on a month-to-month basis assures that a steady stream of promotion enters the marketplace, keeping you in the minds of your established customers and cultivating new ones. The more you communicate about your company, the more opportunity you create for people to hear about you.  With a calendar you are creating a system to follow.  Then your marketing isn’t random and doesn’t get relegated to the bottom of your list.  When your days are busy it is very easy to focus on what’s urgent.  Marketing isn’t urgent but it is crucial.  Thus the importance of a  marketing calendar.

 

Aug 28

10 Funny Business Quotes

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

  1. “Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence. This explains why we have so many stupid leaders.” Sloan Wilson
  2. “The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate you away from those who are still undecided.” Casey Stengel
  3. “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Margaret Thatcher
  4. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Attributed to Henry Ford
  5. “Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him. Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.” Karl Marx
  6. Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats”  Howard Aiken
  7. “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” – Robert Frost
  8. “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” Indira Gandhi
  9. “If at first you don’t succeed; you are running about average.” MH Alderson
  10. “Aim low, reach your goals, and avoid disappointment.” Scott Adams/Dilbert

 

Aug 27

The Importance of Building Your Email List For Your Fashion Brand

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Is it important to build your email list?  Well, yeah!  Why do you think all the online retailers have a sign-in box asking for your email address when you come to their site?  They obviously know something.  What they know is that someone  who comes to their site is a potential customer.  If a person is interested enough to come to your site in the first place, even if they don’t buy something, they may buy something in the future.  So your email list becomes a pretty powerful group of contacts that you have that will yield better results from your marketing campaigns than reaching out to people who don’t know you.

While email is a comparatively old, un-sexy technology compared to social media, the rallying cries of “Email is dead!” are simply inaccurate and undoubtedly hurting the bottom line of those businesses who listen.  According to a recent study by Ipsos, nearly 85 percent of people who use the web will use email, compared to only 62 percent who use social networking sites.

Emailing your list is a very effective marketing tool.  It is a great way to promote.  But it is also a terrific way to engage your customer.  These days it is important to create an emotional connection with your prospects.  Consumers want to buy from companies they like.  Email is one way to do that.  You can send emails that talk about things your buyer would be interested in.  “Creating content that allows us to share our experiences, thoughts, and ideas in real time is becoming an intrinsic part of life in the twenty-first century,” asserts Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.

Building an email list of a targeted audience gives you the ability to reach out on a consistent basis to tell your brand story to your potential customer.  Do what it takes to build your list.

Aug 25

The Importance Of Good Quality Fashion Photography

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

New fashion brand owners work very hard on their product.  They spends months designing and redesigning their collections, searching for the right fabrics and trims and doing several fits so that the item is just right.  Yet many fail to invest the same effort into good photography.  The importance of good quality fashion photography cannot be overstated.  Over my career I have done a lot of catalog and on line business.  So often I have seen a good style perform poorly because the shot doesn’t do the piece justice.  The styling is flawed, the model is mediocre, the lighting is flat, and composition isn’t well thought out.

Have you ever seen of photograph of food and you wanted to eat it immediately?  You salivated from looking at the picture.  Or maybe a dress that looked stunning on a model and you wished you could look exactly like her.  In fact you bought the dress in the hopes that it would make you look like the women in the photograph. Perhaps you saw a photo of a jacket made of a luxurious leather that made you wish you could touch because it looked so soft.  It could be a scarf that the color was so vibrant you just knew you had to own it.  That is what good fashion photography will do.  It will entice you customer to purchase your product.

I know that good quality photography can be expensive.  But, it is more expensive to create a great line that doesn’t perform well because the photography doesn’t do its job.  The other role of good photography is to create the brand story.

Look at the Nike ad below.  This is photo tells the brand story.  It also evokes an emotional response which a well executed photo will do.  You think Nike and athletic as synonymous.

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This Versace ad is very indicative of the brand image.  Sexy luxury dressing that is trend right.

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This Coach ad evokes thoughts of looking pretty and contemporary and of course functional handbags.

 

The moral of this article is that good quality fashion photography is of great importance to building your brand identity and creating sales.  So treat it as the investment it is.

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 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.

 

Jun 24

The Pursuit of Excellence In Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

Perfectionists strive for impossible goals. Pursuers of excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach.  Should we strive for excellence in our businesses?  Of course but with this caveat.  There is a saying that I totally agree with — ready, fire, aim!  Many entrepreneurs in their pursuit of excellence fail to pull the trigger when it comes to their businesses.  They are so busy refining their product it sometimes takes years before they actually bring it to market to sell.  At some point they have to say it is good enough and start selling.  They can then through the results of their sales learn how to improve their product.  This is an ongoing process.  You should never stop trying to make your product even better.

Perfectionists can be devastated by failure; pursuers of excellence learn from it. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Kaizen was originally introduced to the West by Masaaki Imai in his book Kaizen: The Key to Japan’s Competitive Success in 1986. Today Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy.  In the pursuit of excellence the efforts should be on continuous improvement of your product and services.

Most times the changes can be subtle.  But, overtime continuous improvement will build on itself till the growth of your company is significant.  A historic example of this was the achievement of Sir Dave Brailsford, director of British cycling and a former team coach. In 2009 he delivered a plan to the British government that he could build their first-ever Tour de France winner in four years using a plan using “aggregate marginal gains”. He broke down the individual elements of a world-class cycling team and focused on improving each component piece by 1%, noting more, nothing less. It worked in only three years. In 2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France…and the gold at the London Olympics.

Pursuing excellence in your business should be part of your companies culture.  According to Arun Hariharanin, Author of Continuous Permanent Improvement-“a business, clearly, profitability and market-share are key measures of success. A culture of excellence is an important enabler to achieve financial results — in any event — to achieve them in a sustained way. A culture of excellence will ensure that the organization is proactive and does not miss any improvement opportunity. It can be said that financial results are the end and a culture of excellence is an important means of achieving this end — that’s how they work together”.

 

Jun 15

Why Google Analytics Is Important For Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

I have many clients and they all rely on their website to bring in business and get their message out.  However when I first speak to a new client I find that they don’t always have google analytics set up.  And if they do they rarely look at it.  So why is google analytics important to have and why should you look at it everyday?

  • Analytics show you how many people are coming to your site a day
  • It shows how many pages they look at and how much time they spend on your site.
  • It also shows your bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page)
  • You can see which of your blogs get the most views.
  • You can find out where your visitors are coming from by country and state.

Of course there is a lot more information but this just highlights some of the most important ones.

The optimization of marketing campaigns is an ongoing process and by seeing how your site is trending helps with that.  For example: If you are running an ad campaign you can see if there was a jump in visitors in the days after the ad ran and what their bounce rate is.  Then you can also see what percentage of visitors bought product by knowing how many came to the site. You can see what works and what doesn’t in order to invest your time in activities that bring in good results.

By understanding the results of the Google Analytics reports you can get a handle on how effective your site and your outreach programs are.  By seeing how much traffic you are getting and if it is increasing and also by seeing if your website engages your customer by how much time they are spending on it.

Jun 11

How Some Fashion Designers Have Created Buzz

By Maria Pesin | Uncategorized

 

Have you ever noticed how fashion designers use unique ads and promotions to create buzz?  You sometimes even think they are a bit odd, but the fashion press eats it up.  Everyone kind of does the same things to get their name out.  They have a look book, a press party,  maybe a fashion show if they can afford it.  But, when someone does something out of the box people notice it.  This is what sells news.  There are a few that stand out in my mind.

KARL LAGERFELD STAGES CHICEST SUPERMARKET EVER AT CHANEL

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Last year Karl Lagerfeld created a faux supermarket and sent his Chanel dressed models in to pretend they were shopping.  That was how he presented his fall collection.  The audience ate it up.  It was tongue in cheek and just plain fun.  The articles abounded and everyone was talking about Chanel.

“The supermarket concept was brilliant as it put fashion into real life,” French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, previously the face of Chanel’s Coco perfume and lipstick, told Reuters after the show.

What was really brilliant was how Lagerfeld used an unconventional idea to create buzz!

 

ADIDAS CUSTOMERS SHOP IN A GIANT SHOEBOX

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This pop up store was opened for three days in January 2014 in London.  It was designed to celebrate the launch of the company’s Stan Smith collection, the store included “an interactive floor, a digital ‘Stan Yourself’ station, and a 3D printing post.”  Considering that they have sold more than 40 million pairs of this brand I would say that this concept created lots of buzz.

GILLY HICK’S ADS CREATES CONTROVERSY

Gilly Hicks

 

This ad ran last year.  Not only was it featured in the ads they paid for, but they received additional placements in editorials where writers spoke about it.  Talking about getting “a lot of bang for you buck”.

Consider doing something creative to create buzz around your brand.  With everything looking the same standing out should be the goal.