Dec 11

Do Companies Really Mean It When They Say They Are Committed to Excellent Service

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

I really like the success guru Darren Hardy, author of the Compound Effect.  Or at least I did.  I bought a program of his  that I though seemed really good.  I only listened to the first part of 12 and knew it wasn’t for me.  Since he guarantees his products I filled out his contact form asking for my money back. I had to do it twice because I haven’t heard back.  (Still haven’t) Nor is there a telephone number to call, which is a pet peeve of mine.

This is just one story in a list of similar stories where I feel like I am annoying the customer service rep rather then having a service rep who wants to help. The following is a small list of customer service experiences:

  1. Called Sprint 3 different times to fix a billing issue and was put on hold for up to 100 minutes.
  2. My son was hit by a car and it took 3 weeks to get the police to write up the report.
  3. Trying to get my sons car appraised for weeks and was told we’ll call you when we get to it.
  4. Tried to cancel my gym membership at Retro because I had a knee replacement and can’t work out or walk, yet they won’t cancel unless I walk in and cancel (which of course I cannot.)

I did have one really great experience,  I had to order very expensive food for my elderly cat.  Unfortunately my cat died before the food arrived.  When I called the company Chewy to return the food they told me to keep the food and donate it to whoever I wanted. Wow that was impressive.

This has all happened in the last 2 weeks.  What is going on with companies?  Is business so good that companies can so disregard the brand experience that they alienate customers.  I now love Chewy and would recommend them to everyone.  The rest, not!

What is your experience?  I’d like to hear from you.  Do you have good experiences or has the concept of good customer service gone with the dinosaur?

Dec 04

Major Changes At Burberrys

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Vibe Consulting

Burberry was founded in 1856, making it a staple in our closet for generations. Where would fashion be today without those trench coats?
The departure of the president, one of the faces that made the brand what it is today, could throw the company for a loop.
It was announced in late October that Christopher Bailey, the Burberry president and chief creative officer, would be leaving the company in March of next year. Bailey has been with the company for 17 years.
Industry leaders always raved about Bailey.
“He has been a huge influence on everything in fashion over the last couple of years,” said Jonathan Saunders, creative director of Diane von Furstenberg. “At one moment almost all young British independent designers went to him for advice about their business and career.”
He started out as design director in 2001, worked his way to becoming creative director in 2004, and was promoted to chief creative officer five years later in 2009. His current position as both chief executive and chief creative officer was acquired when one of the the two chief executives, Angela Ahrendts, left the company in 2014.
At the time that Bailey earned his duel titles, the global luxury sales had hit a downfall for a variety of reasons including foreign exchange rates and the decrease of China’s economic growth. This took a major hit on Burberry’s share value.
Bailey’s position in both the creative and commercial aspects of the company started to be criticized, as people didn’t have faith in his ability to succeed in his balancing act. He eventually gave up his chief executive title to Marco Gobbetti in July of this year.
He is open to working on other projects and there is no word of who will take the highly coveted place, but I assure you that the entire fashion industry is waiting at the edge of their seat.
Sources:
Nov 09

Kate Spade Bought Out By Coach

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

 

It’s time to start making our holiday wish list and every woman has put a designer purse at the top of that list. One of our favorite purse brands that we hope to see under the tree has now been sold to an iconic company.

 

Companies buy each other out in the fashion industry all of the time. Just a few months ago, Michael Kors bought out Jimmy Choo. And another company has been added to the 2017 “bought out” list.

 

Kate Spade, a fashion and accessory company that began in 1993, was bought out buy its major competitor, Coach, which began over 50 years earlier in 1941.

 

In a $2.4 billion dollar deal, Coach bought out Kate Spade in July with a transaction of $18.50 for every stock of Coach. The goal of this purchase was to appeal to more millennial shoppers.

 

Kate Spade has struggled in the past few years due to competition and the constant discounting of products.

Coach anticipated reaching $50 million in savings through their inventory management and supply chains. This goal seemed to be out of reach in August when its shares fell to their lowest point in four and a half years after pulling out Kate Spade in nearly half of its department stores. Revenue is projected to be less than predicted at $5.9 billion. The gross margin is expected to continually fall in the 2018 fiscal year, standing at 66.5 percent in August, falling from 67.8 percent.

 

“In an unpredictable environment, we are evolving to drive our long-term success by reinventing ourselves,” Coach Chief Executive Officer Victor Luis said in a statement.

 

Luis continues to hold faith in Kate Spade outlet stores. He plans on opening 25 in the upcoming fiscal year. He also hopes expanding to the men’s market will help the company increase profit

 

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/08/investing/coach-kate-spade-takeover/index.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-15/coach-declines-after-kate-spade-acquisition-weighs-on-forecast

Oct 29

BJ Wilson, Can She Rescue Your Retail Business?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

BJ Wilson and Company, a professional wardrobe-consulting firm, started up in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1983. The company also offers services in personal styling, special event styling, personal shopping, travel packing and gift buying.

Believe it or not, BJ Wilson, the owner, founder and image consultant for the company, didn’t always want to go into the fashion industry. Before building her business, Wilson was the only woman in an architectural firm, working as an assistant. She became the person her colleagues went to when they didn’t know what gifts to purchase for their wives or girlfriends. This gift-buying service spiraled into an interest in consulting.

We dress ourselves for a majority of our lives, and we develop our own style. We know what we like, and what we don’t like. So why do people turn to a professional wardrobe consultant instead of sticking to what we know?

“People recognize that they need the help,” Wilson said. “They aren’t knowledgeable, they don’t know what to buy. A consultant that’s professional can educate their customers.”

Every business owner has bumps in the road, and those bumps often come one after the other at the very start. Even though she has an entire page of customers raving about her business, Wilson faced a challenge that most companies struggle with in the building process. She struggled to find employees that were loyal and knowledgeable that she could rely on to help her thrive.

Success stories like BJ are what can inspire the rest of us. A few words of advice from someone experienced in the fashion industry can be just what we need to take that next step in our career.

Wilson believes that being trained in some form of retail background, for at least one year, is what many fashion industry newcomers lack.

“Work retail, on the floor,” Wilson said. “That’s what can kind of give you direction.”

Wilson also opened up “Knowledge is Sales,” a fashion retail training resource.

BJ Wilson and Company offers online classes and group seminars to people that are looking for help in specific style areas including how to dress in the workplace and dress codes.

For those wondering what is “in” right now, Wilson has a variety of favorite current fashion trends, including feathers, fringe, the color red and metallics.

Find out more by visiting http://bjwilsonandcompany.com

Oct 19

Is The Fashion Customer Getting Bored With Dressing Too Casually?

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

You know that feeling when you dress up for an important business meeting, a wedding, a first date? You put on that dress and heels, or a sports coat and shined-up shoes, and feel like a million bucks. Don’t you think, “I wish I could dress like this every day?”

We spend a majority of our lives in casual clothes. Sure, we dress nice for our jobs in some career industries or for fancy parties a few times a year. But most people spend their childhood, teen years, retired years, free time, and lately at work in jeans or leggings with a t-shirt or a basic sweatshirt. Do you ever get bored of not being able to dress up whenever you feel like it? If you want to dress up to go to movies, you shouldn’t feel out of place or uncomfortable. I believe people are getting bored with dressing too casually.

It’s the social norm to dress casually unless you’re attending an event that requires you to do otherwise. No one wants to be the person that’s wearing heels to go to the grocery store that everyone else gives side eye (and not in a good way). But why can’t I dress up to run errands? If it makes me feel confident and makes my day better by dressing up, I should be able to do so without getting odd looks.

It’s a popular opinion that dressing up makes us feel more attractive, more powerful and more courageous. A man wearing a brand-new suit and tie is more likely to have the self-esteem to ask out a woman than a man wearing cargo shorts and a football jersey because he takes pride in his appearance that allows him to “dress for success.”

Its time to change the routine. Its time to breakout those clothes that are only meant for “special occasions.” Make every day a special occasion.

I believe we are going to see customers start dressing up more.  If the runways are any indication wearing more polished clothes are in our future.  It definitely is time to move on from the dressed down every day to the more put together that we used to wear.

Oct 12

Five Qualities a Successful Fashion Entrepreneur Has

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

Sometimes I think of Entrepreneurs as being a breed apart from most people. I talk to many and they say things like, “I feel like I was meant to do this” or “I will have major regrets if I don’t”. Or “I dreamt of this my whole like”. The following qualities are what I have observed that successful entrepreneurs have in common.

 

  1. Driven

Being a driven entrepreneur means never settling and never being satisfied. You have to always want more for your business and your own personal success. Be hungry for the next best thing. An entrepreneur should always have their eyes on a bigger and better prize.

 

  1. Adaptable

Life will always throw curveballs at you, always put roadblocks in your way and always throw a wrench in your well thought-out plan. Never let a downfall dissuade you. You have to adapt to unforeseen changes and to the trends in your industry. Learn how to roll with the punches and make the best of a situation. Just because your business doesn’t go according to your plan doesn’t mean the new plan is bad. It’s just a new plan that can lead you to the same finish line: success.

 

  1. Passionate

We’ve all heard the saying “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s corny and played-out, but true. For instance, there is a lot of money in the makeup industry. But if you own nothing but Chap Stick, then don’t throw yourself into the industry just for the money. If you are going to pursue something, and you’re going to jump into it full-force, you have to be passionate about what you’re investing so much time and money in. If you believe in something enough, you can have the power to make others believe in it too.

 

  1. Goal-Oriented

There are ideas and then there are goals. Ideas are thoughts that pop into your head that sound intriguing. Goals are benchmarks in your career that you want to achieve. Don’t just talk about ideas forever. You have to set your goals and do everything possible to reach them. Being goal-oriented allows you to set plans in motion that can build and lead to success.

 

  1. Risk-taking

Nothing is guaranteed in life, that’s what makes it interesting, and it applies to entrepreneurs as well. Risks can lead to rewards. Sure, we all wish that our success could be 100% guaranteed when we make a nail-biting decision, but you never know what could come of it. Emailing that intimidating investor or raising your hand in a meeting to question an authoritative figure might lead to something new and exciting.

 

Oct 06

5 Mistakes to Avoid as a Fashion Entrepreneur

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Productivity

Mistakes are part of life. They most definitely are part of business.   It is important to learn from them. But, even better if you learn from others. Here are 5 that you should avoid.

 

  1. Treating employees unfairly

 

An employee will only work hard if they feel like they are respected at the business. Treating your employees poorly can result in poor service on their part, which could hurt your clientele. Respecting their availability, acknowledging their successes and keeping a positive work atmosphere will keep them motivated to work hard. We’ve all had bad bosses, and you don’t want to be someone else’s.

 

  1. Never adapting to trends

 

What’s hot, and what’s not, can change at the drop of a hat? Staying relevant is how you stay in business. You need to stay on top of the current, and upcoming, popular trends to give your customers what they want, not what they wanted last year. All types of businesses go through trends, and optimizing those trends brings in customers that could lead to them finding something they didn’t expect. They come for the trend but could stay around to see what else you have to offer.

 

  1. Not knowing your demographic

 

We may want to, but it’s impossible to please everyone. As a business owner, you need to learn your demographic. Who’s buying your product? The same person that buys sweatpants with cartoons on them is most likely not the same person that’s going to buy a pair diamond-studded heels. And that’s okay! Find a niche, and run with it. Trying to incorporate 30 different types of styles and interests is only going to confuse people.

 

  1. Not reaching out for experienced advice

 

There’s always going to be someone bigger and better than you. There’s always going to be someone more successful that is making more money than you. But instead of being jealous of them, ask them how they did it. Never be too proud to ask for advice. There are so many people in the world of business with different experiences, different strategies and different success stories. Always be eager to learn more.

 

  1. Trying to survive, not thrive

 

The number one mistake that we make not only as business owners, but as people in general, is that we focus on staying afloat, never trying to go above and beyond. Never settle. Never be happy with just surviving. Always try and thrive to the best of your abilities.

Sep 29

Decrease Automation, Increase Retail Customer Satisfaction

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

I keep hearing people in our industry say that retail is on its demise, but that’s because companies don’t know how to do it anymore. It’s time to change up our customer’s experience in our businesses. I think we have the ability to turn it around. We need a retail renaissance.

 

The reason why retail is going downhill is due to the lack of helpful employees and increase of computers. The sales help is either not well trained, or they don’t exist at all. Companies are automating their businesses to the point where it’s impossible to even speak to someone on the phone. Many companies may think that computerizing the retail experience increases efficiency, but more often than not, it decreases a shopper’s excitement and motivation to make purchases. Automating a store can make customers feel like the company isn’t willing to go the extra-mile to make their shopping experience a pleasant or enjoyable one through face-to-face interaction.

 

Shopping is a form of entertainment. We’ve all spent hours shopping on our days off because we find it fun, and even relaxing. Incorporating entertainment into your retail company can keep people engaged, and this is something that can only be done with human interaction. Automating your business lacks the human qualities that we look for in retail help like an upbeat attitude and the ability to give opinions. I went into a clothing store the other day and the manager immediately approached me. We held great conversation and I found myself making multiple purchases before leaving the store. I felt like the staff was knowledgeable and focused on customer satisfaction which made me feel like a valued buyer.

 

It’s time to bring back what made retail so successful: quality customer service. The more you automate retail, the worse off you are. So take away the automated system on your help line and connect your customers to reliable employees

Aug 21

3 Steps To Improving Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

No matter how good your fashion business is there is always room for improvement.  I myself am always looking for ways to refine my business.  Whether it is streamlining my processes or refining my marketing I always endeavor to evolve into having the best business I can.  Truly by doing this, you can increase profitability dramatically.  So the following are the steps I suggest.

  1. Analyze – The first steps in any plan to improve is to look at where you are in your business now.  Look at sales, customer service, production, and operations.  Are you happy with all these areas?  Should you increase sales?  Do you have systems in place so that everyone is clear about how things run?  Is your fit good, can you notch up the quality a bit?  Michael Gerber, author of E-Myth wrote, “Most entrepreneurs fail because you are working IN your business rather than ON your business.”  This is your opportunity to work on your business.  By studying your entire business area by area, you can then move to the next step.
  2. Plan –  Now that you have identified the areas for improvement the next step is to plan strategies for the improvement of each.  If increasing sales is a goal you might hire more sales reps.  You might decide to update your computer system.  Or maybe take a trip to China to find new factories is important for you to increase profit margins.  Having a well-thought-out plan that is written out is key to the process.
  3. Execute – Even with the best intentions how many times do you come up with ideas but don’t follow through?  Without a solid idea of how to execute nothing gets done.  This might involve delegating certain tasks or outsource the job.  Sometimes it is even as simple as putting the different projects on your calendar.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”, Winston Churchill.

Aug 14

Why do new fashion businesses fail?

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Productivity , Vibe Consulting

I have read that the number one reason new businesses fail is lack of money.  I believe this is true.  But there is more to the story than not having enough money.  Lots of times they do have money.  There have been many entrepreneurs that I have run across who have told me they spent $50,000, $100,000, or even $200,000 and they have nothing to show for it.  So they really did have enough money to, at the very least, start small and then build from there.

So what is the problem?  As I see it, it is two fold.  One reason is many emerging designers just don’t know where to start.  Their beginnings are somewhat chaotic as they jump from task to task without a plan.  They don’t even know who their target customer is.  Or they think they do but haven’t done any research to insure that they are right.  They do step 5 before step one. I have even seen people spend years on their brand and yet haven’t had any sales because they make it the last priority.  One entrepreneur I know put $1 million of inventory in his warehouse before he even started to think about how to sell it.

Another issue I see is brand owners who spend their money on ineffective marketing.   They jump around trying a little of this and a little of that.  I had one client spend $50,000  a fashion show in Europe yet sold no stores and had no plans to do so. And how many people do one $10,000 trade show with no orders placed, not realizing that it is a building process and takes many shows before they see results.  Or they try to do so many things but do not consistently pursue a few targeted strategies that will ultimately build results.

Yes, not having enough money makes it hard to be successful but spending what you have unwisely is the biggest culprit of all.

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