Category Archives for "Business"

Apr 23

5 Quick Tips For Success In The Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for ideas on how to grow and increase my success in my business.  I love learning and sometimes I already know something but reading it again reminds me to do the something I know I should be doing.  So whether you know these tips or not are you doing them?  Because I suggest you do them.

  1. Do not get thrown by mistakes. In this business as in life we make mistakes.  It is what we learn from the mistakes that matter. Especially in the fashion business.  So if you find out that a color story you ran or a style you developed didn’t sell find out why and incorporate the knowledge into your future designs.  If you were in a trade show for several seasons and are not finding success figure out what is wrong and use that info to make adjustments.
  2. You need to experiment a bit with your line and test new ideas every season.  A collection will get stale if you don’t .  I have seen many companies who had great businesses fail because their collection was stagnant and didn’t evolve with the market.
  3. You need a grand vision for your business.  I don’t mean that all business should shoot for a billion dollars in sales.  You can decide to have a small but profitable business.  What I mean is you need to have an ultimate goal that you pursue everyday.  By looking at your vision everyday you will find yourself getting there faster.
  4. Do 3 things everyday that get you closer to your goals.  It is easy to get bogged down with administrative tasks and find out at the end of the day that you don’t accomplish anything that moves the needle forward.  By planning and scheduling and (of course) executing at least 3 things everyday you will attract more success.
  5. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  There are many experts who have launched and built successful businesses.  Find them and learn from them.  Read books, watch videos, take courses, attend seminars.  If you want to learn I have a great membership plan for people who want to be able to email me any questions they have, attend monthly webinars, and get my monthly newsletter.  Click here to find out more.

Good luck and I wish you continued success in your business.

Apr 17

Attention Fashion Business Owners, I Need Your Advice

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I work hard to post you valuable content and want to continue to raise the bar. I would love to get your advice as a business owner on a couple of things.

Specifically, I’m looking for what your issues are and what else you would like to see me write about.

It would be great if you could answer these survey questions and email your answers to me at
maria@vibeconsulting.co. I appreciate your feedback and ideas as I grow my business to help more people.
As a thank you for taking the time out of your day to do this I would like to gift you a one hour free consultation with me.

Survey questions:
What’s your single biggest challenge around your business?


What worries you?


What about this area keeps you up at night?


What are your biggest challenges?


What would you like to change / make better?


What’s the biggest result you want to have in this area?


What would help you achieve this result?


How much time would you invest into getting to this result?


How much money would you being willing to invest into that result?


What would you type into Google to find an answer to this challenge?



Cheers,

Maria


Apr 13

Do You Dream of Having a Fashion Business?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

Many of my subscribers have fashion businesses.  However there are a few that just have a dream.
They always wanted to be in the industry but for some reason or another they never pulled the trigger.  There are many reasons why they didn’t pursue it.  They got married and had children right away.  They didn’t have the confidence to go for it.  Or maybe they were talked out of it by well meaning parents.

Whatever the reason I’m here to tell you it’s not to late no matter what stage you are in your life.  I have people approach me that want to start a fashion business who are all different ages and some are in their late 60’s.  When other people are ready to retire they are ready for the next step in their life.  These people have a burning desire, a dream they never attained but feel if they don’t try their lives will never feel fulfilled.  I am talking about the fashion business, but this is true of any dreams you have.  Dare you go for it?

When someone is ready to make the leap into the fashion business many times that’s when they contact me.  They want to save time by learning from someone who has already done it.  Just because you don’t know the business it doesn’t mean you can’t learn.  The market is full of stories of people who took the chance.  A friend of mine started his accessory business by selling belts from his trunk. Another one started in a flea market and went on to open 20 stores. My favorite story is about Sara Blakely of Spanx who built a billion dollar business with an idea and $5,000.

Are you ready to take the plunge?  If so, go for it.  Make it happen.  Believe in yourself.

 “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

Apr 11

The Quickest & Easiest Way To Start a Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

You’ve dreamed of being in the fashion business your whole life.  But, things happen and you never did it.  Maybe your parents talked you out of it and into accounting because they thought it was safer.  Or you lived far from any city with a fashion center or you just didn’t know how to get started.

Well, now your ready.  You have an idea that you think is great and you are ready to pull the trigger.  My first recommendation is to find an expert in the field that you trust to help you navigate the waters.  You can waste a lot of time and money doing things that do nothing to enhance your business.

Next steps would be to find sample and production people to make your product.  My suggestion is you find a made in America company which will shorten your production and sample time.

The quickest and easiest way to start a fashion business is to sell direct to consumer.  Sell either through in home presentations, websites, or your own store.

Obviously getting into the business is more complicated then what I have explained here.  But in order to do things fast and streamlined involves cutting out certain steps that will make a difference.

Making in America saves long shipping time as well as sample development time.  If you buy fabrics and trims locally that will also save you time.  Selling direct to the consumer eliminates the long process of finding sales people who will then have to take time selling to retailers.  As you can see many months can be saved by following these ideas.

One important activity you cannot avoid, but can do at the same time as you do everything else, is marketing.  If you don’t market aggressively customers won’t know you exist and you will not create sales.  So don’t skip this important part.

Remember  “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!'”-Audrey Hepburn

 

 

Apr 06

5 Quick Tips On Cash Flow In Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

Managing finances in our business has its special challenges.  One of the biggest is money comes in at certain times of the year and goes out at different times. Usually it goes out first before it comes in.  So basically it can sometimes seem like feast or famine.  How do you handle this?

1. I suggest that my clients have a revolving line of credit with their banks so that when they are short there is money available.  I also suggest they pay it back as soon as they can. Because otherwise the interest eats into your profits. Don’t wait to do this.  You don’t want to negotiate credit terms when you are desperate for money.  You want to ask for it when you don’t need it. Start working on this as soon as you start your business.

2. Keep money in the bank for at least 6 months expenses that you know you will have every month.  Rent, payroll, taxes, etc.,  Having a cushion will not only give you peace of mind, but you won’t find yourself in disaster mode when payroll is due and you don’t have the money.

3. When you develop your line plan consider offering product that ships every month in order to have a more consistent cash flow.  You don’t have to ship your whole season in one month.  You can ship a different group each month.

4. Encourage your customers to pay quickly either by asking for a credit card when ready to ship or offering a discount if they pay by a certain date.  For example a common term discount offered in women’s sportswear  is 8/10 EOM.  That means you give the store an 8% discount if they pay within 10 days of the end of month the goods were shipped in. To illustrate: if you ship on March 15th then the bill is due by April 10th for the account to get the 8% discount.

5. Negotiate favorable terms with your suppliers.  Ask for 30 or 60 days to pay the invoice from the time it is shipped.  You may have to start with small amounts but if you pay on time religiously you will develop a confidence with the vendor who will be more open to larger amounts as time goes on.

 

Apr 04

3 Habits of Highly Effective Fashion Entrepreneurs

By Maria Pesin | Business , Vibe Consulting

Fashion Entrepreneurs are a special breed. They tend to think creatively, they thrive on chaos,  they have total faith in their products. And chances are they haven’t had any special business training.  What they do have is passion, passion for the product and the industry.  Many fashion entrepreneurs have dreamed of starting a business for years and feel that if they don’t begin a business they will always feel they missed out on pursuing their dreams.  Of course that doesn’t mean they are all running their businesses effectively.  However they increase the ability of their success if they follow these habits.

  1. Habit #1 – They put a substantial focus on sales and marketing.  They consider this one of the most important aspects of their jobs so they spend a lot of time doing it.  Every product they design is made with the goal of sales in mind.  Thinking of creative ways to increasing their sales is paramount in their minds.
  2. Habit #2 – They are fiscally responsible.  While they know they need to invest money to build their business they are careful how they do it.  They know their financial picture by heart and are rigorous about keeping a good cash flow.  These fashion entrepreneurs know that sales without profit is meaningless.
  3. Habit #3 – They stay focused on the big picture.  It is very easy to get bogged down by the minutia of running a business.  However effective fashion entrepreneurs know that the things that drive the business forward is the best use of their time.  So if something is not a productive use of their time they don’t do it.  The most effective I have seen get right to the point on phone calls and in meetings.  They don’t have an open door policy but rather encourage their staff to solve their own problems so that the owners can concentrate on moving the needle forward.
Mar 30

Is Your Fashion Business Thriving or Surviving?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

I am always networking and meeting new people in the fashion industry.  Many of which are looking to become my client and work with me.  The other day I had a lovely conversation with a women who started her fashion business a couple of years ago.  While she was making money it was barely enough and she was barely surviving.  In fact she wasn’t sure she should continue or perhaps give up and look for a job.  The thing is she loved having her own business and didn’t want to get a job.  This got me thinking about how many fashion brands are just surviving as opposed to kicking butt and thriving.  Better yet what weren’t they doing to ensure they would thrive.  This is what I have learned over the years.

Companies that are just surviving live day to day.  They don’t look at the future and develop strategies to grow their businesses.  Many don’t even have goals and the goals they have are puny and aren’t big enough to generate excitement and drive.

Another problem I see is they don’t manage their business well.  They don’t know their numbers: sales, margins, inventory levels, cash flow , etc.  There needs to be processes in place in order to have a well organized business that runs efficiently.

Probably one of the biggest issues I see is they do not spend enough time on sales and marketing.  When I was speaking to the new business owner the other day she was shocked when I told her as a new business she needed to spend 80% of her time on marketing and when her business began to thrive she could reduce it to 30%.  (of course over time not all at once). The key thing to remember is always be marketing.  Many people forget this and they struggle day to day.  When you look at companies like Target and Nike who are very successful you never see them resting on their laurels.  They are always looking at ways to market their businesses.

That’s why they are always thriving.

Mar 28

10 Reasons You Didn’t Get The Order (For Your Fashion Collection)

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

Sales is the lifeblood of our industry.  No order… no income…no business.  You work hard to create a fabulous line, your prices are right, you sent emails announcing the opening of the collection.  And maybe did a trade show or two.  Many stores saw the collection and told you they liked the line.  Yet many accounts did not place an order.

The following are 10 of the reasons why you didn’t get the order.

  1. You didn’t give them a reason why your brand is better than the competition.  They already own enough product like yours so you have to stand out from the pack.
  2. You did all the talking.  One of the biggest orders I ever took happened because I spent my time listening to the buyer and found out a need she had that wasn’t being filled.  So, I filled it.
  3. You didn’t build trust.  The buyer felt the sale was all about you and you didn’t care about her needs.
  4. They ran out of open to buy.  Sometimes it has nothing to do with you, they are just bought up.
  5. You didn’t do your research.  Buyers appreciate when you know their store and who the customer is.  The you’re clueless they don’t feel a connection to you.
  6. You don’t know your product well.  If you aren’t knowledgeable about the fit, fabric, quality, etc., then your buyer won’t feel confident about buying the line.
  7. They aren’t the decision maker.  If you aren’t meeting the person who signs the order then chances are pretty sure that you aren’t getting the order.
  8. You haven’t contacted the right store for your line.  I once had a client who insisted on selling Barney’s,  yet his product was more for JC Penny’s.  What a waste of time.
  9. You were too pushy.  No one likes an obnoxious sales person.
  10. You didn’t ask for the order.  People get busy and they sometimes they forget.  Always ask for the order.
Mar 23

What You Need To Know About The Fashion Industry Today

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

The most important thing you need to know about the fashion industry today is how important branding is.  Branding is the  practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.  This is done through product development and marketing.  Everything you do from designing your line to customer service to social media has to have a consistency that speaks to your brand and what your brand stands for.  In this day and age people buy brands they like and have an emotional connection to.

The next thing you need to understand is there is no one way to sell your product.  In fact many brands are disrupting the traditional models of distribution.  Before you sold wholesale to a store and they sold your line.  Then companies started their own stores making and selling their own product.  Think The Gap and J. Crew.  Sometime later the internet was invented and website selling became popular overnight.  Then we got smart phones and mobile became the go to.  Enter companies like Stitch Fix and subscription based selling was born.  Of course there are pop up shops, in home shopping, personal shoppers , etc.  So, think outside the box and really think through thee best way to sell your product.

Mediocre doesn’t cut it anymore.  In the 80’s when I first started in this business it was much easier to be successful.  Nowadays it is much harder.  You can no longer get away with being ordinary.  Your product, branding, and marketing must be top notch in order to stand out from the competition.  There are a lot of brands out there so if you want to grow a successful company bring your best to the market.

Don’t just work hard, work smart.  Keeping your expenses and overhead low is going to be key to maintaining profitability.  Nowadays you shouldn’t have a huge staff.  You need to be lean and mean.  So every part of your business has to run efficiently.  Recently I worked with a company where we moved staff around and not only reduced payroll by a third but by putting the right people in the right jobs we increased sales by 10%.

The business is changing all the time. So stay current by studying the industry daily.

Mar 21

The Danger of Starting Your Fashion Brand Before You Do This First

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion

For those who read my blogs you know I speak to potential clients all the time.  Most of my blog ideas come from real issues that my clients bring to me.  What better to write about then the challenges these clients have.  Chances are many of you have the same issues.

Most of my clients are new emerging designers.  Many of whom have little of no experience in the industry.  They have no clue where to start.  So a lot of them start in the middle, rather than at the beginning.  Trust me there is a beginning.

You have no idea how many start ups come to me with product on the shelf and no idea on how to sell it.  They aren’t even sure who their customer is.   Or they form an entity, maybe design a logo, or even visit factories. But, still have no plan for their business.

Well, I am going to let you in on a little secret.  The very first thing you must do before starting your business is research!  Notice I bolded this.  That is how important it is.

You need t0 research the market you want to be in before you do anything.  Your research needs to include the following:

  • Your competition
    • Their prices
    • Fabrics
    • Styles
    • Stores they sell to
    • Demo and Psycho-graphics
  • What will make your product unique
    • Styling
    • Quality
    • Fabrication
    • Forms of distribution
    • Prices
  • Production
    • Where you will produce
    • How will you produce, especially the technical aspects?
    • What are the minimums and lead time?
  • Selling
    • What is the best way to sell your product
    • Will you go the traditional route of selling wholesale or maybe you will opt for a subscription based selling platform (think stitch fix)
  • Your customer
    • Who are they
    • What are their needs
    • Where do they shop
    • What are their demo and psycho-graphics
  • Fiance
    • How much money will you need
    • Where will you get it

Doing your due diligence (research) before you start a business increases your chance of success.  Knowing the answers to these questions will help prevent costly mistakes.

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