Category Archives for "Sales"

Apr 25

How To Create a Million Dollar Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

Since I have done this several times I will speak from my own experience.  Having a million dollar or multi million business when run right makes money.  And the more millions in sales you do the more money you make.  Let’s face it, that’s why we do this.  We want to change the world but we need to make money while we do it or what’s the point?

In order to have a million dollar business you need to concentrate on 3 things:

  1. Product
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing

There are other details like accounting, shipping, and production but you are better off having someone else to oversee it while you concentrate on the 3 things that build your million dollar business.

First you have to have a kick ass product that people have to have.  It needs to stand out from the market and priced with value in mind.  Study your competition and see what you bring that’s different and make sure it fabulous.  If it’s dresses then make sure they are the best damn dresses out there.  Great ascetics, great fit, and amazing quality will get you there.

Secondly sales are paramount.  If you don’t sell you don’t have business.  Come up with a list of several hundred accounts to target and go after them.  That means send email blasts, direct mail pieces, and keep calling them till you get them on the phone so you can explain why it is in their best interest to buy you.  Remember stores need to make money, so how is your brand going to bring them profit?  If you are consistently profitable with an account, they will be a customer for life.

Lastly or maybe secondly (this could reverse) you must market the hell out of your product.  People like to buy brands and marketing helps create your brand. The difference between sales and marketing is marketing communicates the brand identity through ads, pr, and social media.  While sales closes the deal.

If you do all 3 well you are on your way to a million dollar business.

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.


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.
Feb 27

6 BS Facts About Sales Everyone Thinks Are True (At Least Not For The Good Ones)

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

I am a salesperson, a rather good salesperson as a matter of fact.  Unfortunately salespeople get a bad rap.  People tend to think poorly of them and truthfully many people don’t want to do sale because of all the misinformation out there.

The following are 6 BS fact about sales everyone thinks are true.

  1. Salespeople lie – Many people seem to think that is a requirement of sales.  The truth is the best salespeople develop a relationship of trust with their buyers.  That can’t happen if a salesperson lies.  By telling the truth you create a rapport that lasts a long time.
  2. Salespeople are pushy – Again we have to look at having a good relationship with our buyers.  There is a difference between overcoming objections and not taking no for an answer.  Being pushy makes you obnoxious and being successful at sales requires you to be likable.
  3. Salespeople will sell to everyone – One time I had a client who insisted his line should be in Barney’s.  The collection was absolutely wrong for Barney’s and there was no way they would buy it so I refused.  Calling on handbag buyers if you sell coats is a waste of time and salespeople are careful to contact the right buyers for their products.
  4. Salespeople are annoying – Persistence is good, calling a buyer several times a day is not. Good salespeople have a balance between contacting a prospect consistently and overdoing it.
  5. Salespeople talk to much – A good salesperson knows listening is just as important as talking.  You can learn a lot from your customer about what they need if you just take the time to listen.
  6. Salespeople have low ethical standards – Reputation is everything in sales.  If you don’t hold yourself to the highest standards your reputation suffers and that follows you for the rest of your life.  People do not want to do business with people who have bad reputations.
Feb 23

How To Overcome Your Fear of Selling

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

I work with many designers and business owners who are extremely talented at what they do but have a real fear of selling.  Whether it is because they are shy, self conscious, insecure, or just plain afraid of rejection the idea of putting themselves out their terrifies them.  For some it is up there with public speaking.  So they avoid selling at all cost.  This is a bad strategy.  For designers and entrepreneurs sales expertise is an important skill to have.  Learn to get good at it.

One of the biggest ways is to get over your fear of selling is to realize that you are helping people when you sell them your product.  Unfortunately many people think that selling involves getting people to buy, buy, buy with no regard to what they need.  In actuality as a designer or business owner aren’t you seeking to create the best product possible.  So if you believe that you have great merchandise that will benefit your buyer than not selling it to them could indeed be a disservice.

Rejection plays a part in the fear people have of selling.  When you accept that people saying no is an element of the process and it isn’t you they are rejecting it is easier to handle. Have a strategy to overcome objections but if you have done all you can and they still pass then just move on.

Another reason for the fear of selling is being in-experienced.  Learn all you can about the selling process.  Read books, watch videos, and listen to podcasts on the subject.  Then practice a lot.  Learn how to show your collection by repeatedly showing it to friends and family till you are totally comfortable with the routine.  Call 20-30-40 buyers in a day and try to have as many conversations as possible.  Do that a few weeks in a row and it will desensitize you to the fear.

Lastly do not look at sales as beneath you. Good salespeople are honorable and trustworthy and worth respect.  It is a time honored profession that if you embrace can make the difference between success and failure in your business.

Feb 21

The Critical Role That Branding Plays In Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales

According to the definition of branding is, “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products . An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.”

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos

In the fashion business, branding is especially important.  It is important because it helps tell the story of your company. Most customers have their go-to brands for different products.  They may buy bras only from Victorias Secret, jeans from The Gap, and handbags from Coach.  The consumer likes to buy from companies whose product they know and trust.  They want an emotional connection to the brand but even more important they want to know what to expect from a brand.  For example when buying jeans from NYDJ you assume that the fit will be the same what you have bought from them before so you search for that label.

Good branding creates a consistent experience for all customer touch points.  A brand that wants to have a certain image will leave nothing to chance.  They look at and plan everything from the look of the line, quality of product, fit, pricing, logo, website,  social media experiences, advertising, packaging, and customer service.

Branding is what sets you apart from your competition, it tells people what the DNA of the brand is, and promotes recognition.  And recognition is key to what branding is about.  Many store buyers prefer to buy from well known brands.  It elevates the stores reputation for carrying well thought of companies and also makes it easier to close the sale to their customers.

Creating brand recognition for your fashion business increases your customer base which in turn increases sales.  The takeaway is that you should think about branding in every activity of your fashion business and know the image you wish to create.

Feb 19

What You Don’t Know About Sales May Hurt Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Fashion , Sales , Vibe Consulting

A lot of emerging designers are very creative but have no clue about sales.  They work really hard on their brand and their product but they are so intimidated by the sales process that they ignore it till the last minute.  Then they realize “oh shoot, I have to sell this, what do I do now.”  Unfortunately waiting till the end of putting together your line and then thinking about sales will most assuredly will hurt your fashion business.  You need to be thinking about sales from the beginning to ensure that you actually have a viable business.  These are the things you need to know.

  • Who your customer is.  How can you even start designing if you don’t know who you are selling to.
  • Where your customer shops.  In order to develop a solid sales plan you have to know where you are selling your product.  You must ascertain what kind of stores you need to be in.  Or are you going to sell on line or are you going to do both.
  • Have a sales plan.  Knowing who you are selling and how you are selling them is a strategic step in building your fashion business.  Will you hire sales reps?  How many?  Will you have your own showroom?  Are you going to do trade shows?  These are questions you need to answer in order to develop a solid sales strategy.
  • Are you going to sell the line yourself?  If that is the case learn how to be the best salesperson possible.  Sales takes a lot of skill to be successful.  It is more than doing a fashion show or showing up at a trade show.  So learn how to do it.  I know some designers who are great salespeople and were very successful in building their brand.
  • Do you need to hire someone to sell for you?  If you aren’t going to do the sales yourself you have to hire someone.  Whether they are an in house employee or a rep you need to have dedicated sales people.

A business without sales is a hobby.  So if you want to have a viable business with solid profits learn everything  there is to know about the selling process and have a plan to execute it.


Feb 07

5 Steps To Prepare For a Fashion Trade Show

By Maria Pesin | Sales , Vibe Consulting

Moda, Magic, Coterie, Project, so many shows and so expensive to do.  There was a time when you just showed up and you could book business.  That is no longer the case.  As business at retail gets tougher the shows are not as successful for manufacturers as they used to be.  That requires you to pull out all the stops to insure you do well.

I still find brands doing little or nothing to market their booths.  Yes, many make them pretty.  They have line sheets and swatch cards and maybe a look book too.  However without the sales and marketing component in place you basically are crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.  And that never works.  So here are the 5 steps I suggest.

  1. Make sure your sample line looks amazing,  not just good but great.  You should have correct fabrics and colors in good quality.  They should coordinate and make a strong presentation.  If your line is not well put together or the samples aren’t correct it is a red flag to a buyer and will cause her to move on.
  2. Have all the collateral materials you need.   Being organized and making it easy to buy is important.  So have business cards, swatches, correct line sheets, order forms, and a press book if you have one.
  3. Teach your staff how to sell.  I once was at a show looking through the rack of a line and the salesperson didn’t even stand up.  She told me the delivery and not much else.  That was a missed opportunity for the line.
  4. Contact your accounts before market to try to set up an appointments.  They won’t always give you one but you want to be on their radar.  That doesn’t mean one email announcing the opening.  It means a series of emails over several weeks, along with something you mail, as well as calling them on the phone until you get to speak to your buyer.
  5. Finally do not forget the follow up.   Call after the show to get orders from people who saw the line but didn’t place their paper.  It is also nice to send a thank you note to the ones who did.
Feb 01

5 Things You Should Do Every Week To Grow Your Fashion Business

By Maria Pesin | Sales , Vibe Consulting

Consistent good habits and routines are pure gold in your life.  Like working out 3 times a week or drinking 60 ounces of water a day.  These habits build momentum that over time results in good health.  That is the key word here…momentum.  “Momentum is a leaders best friend. Sometimes it’s the only difference between winning and losing,” John C. Maxwell.

Which brings me to the 5 things you should do every week to grow your business.  Trust me you do these things and they will make a difference in your business.  Some of these are no-brainers.  But, you would be surprised at how many people don’t do them. They say they don’t have time.  They mean to but never get around to it.  If you schedule these into your week and make them a non negotiable than you will see your momentum increase and your business grow.

  1. Meet with your team once a week.  I find Monday mornings the best.  This is where you develop a synergy with your people.  Inform them of everything that is going on.  When your people feel trusted with the good and the bad it makes them feel more invested in the company.  This is a great time to acknowledge individuals successes and also when someone has a challenge everyone can help solve it.
  2. Contact a certain amount of new accounts each week.  Come up with a number that works for you.  It could be 10, 20, 50.  But, you must decide on a number and stick with it.  It could even be the same stores.  But, till you open them or find out there is no way to do business with them keep calling.
  3. When you reach out to new accounts do not just use e-mail.  Reach out with email, phone calls, and mailers.  You can use 2 of each strategy each week.
  4. Call your top accounts each week to discuss how you are performing at their store.  Develop strategies with them to increase sales.  Some examples:  Make sure they have your best sellers, switch out merchandise that is not selling,  maybe offer a trunk show.  This will help you deepen your relationship with your buyers.
  5. Visit at least one store a week.  Preferably an account you either do business with or want to.  Find out how their store conducts business, what can you learn from their sales people and what can they learn from you.  Meeting their customers will give you insight to what products their store may need.  Knowing what sells and what doesn’t sell makes your product better which will grow your fashion business.
Jan 22

Pop Into a Pop-Up Shop

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales

A pop-up shop is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a store that “pops up” for a short period of time before closing down. In this industry, we know how much consumers like limited time offers because it feels rewarding once they get items that can’t be found everywhere. That’s what has made pop-ups so popular. It gives people the chance to have an exclusive shopping experience.


A pop-up shop can be a cheap strategy for brands. It’s a great way for a brand to make sales without committing to a long retail space lease that would take more money to start up and continue running.


“The trend has become more prevalent in the last year or so,” said Karen Bellantoni, a vice chairwoman of RKF, a retail-focused national brokerage firm.


It’s being done by large luxury brands, like Nike and Prada, as well as specialty shops with a specific niche such as Diet Coke or movies about to premiere. Even Ebay and Amazon have dabbled in the concept in order to bring their online services to a solid building for a unique shopping option.


Pop-up shops can serve a few purposes. They can help you clear out old or excess merchandise while you gear up for a new line. It’s also a way to test out products and see how it works in the key markets and demographics before putting it out officially.


The biggest benefit is exposure. It’s cheap exposure that lets shoppers see your brand, know what you’re about and get excited about your future products.


Pop-up shops can, well, pop up anywhere but they thrive best in big cities like New York, Los Angeles and London, where the shopping scene is all about the “next big thing” and hidden treasures.


How do you start a pop-up shop, you may ask? It’s not much different than getting a regular storefront, except there’s much more freedom in choice. Some pop-ups take the form of tents in parks, vendor carts and booths, or even a store that is immersive and interactive based off of your brand concepts.


And believe it or not, there is so much retail space available for a limited amount of time, even by paying day-to-day.


Promotion is key to every brand, but especially with a pop-up store. If you’re only having the store for one month, you need to get the word out that it’s there and it’s not there to stay. Always emphasize the urgency, the exclusiveness and the one-of-a-kind shopping experience.


Pop-up shops may have started out as a trend, but they aren’t going anywhere. Gain new customers with a limited time experience, and keep those customers long after your shop closes its doors.




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