Category Archives for "Vibe Consulting"

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.

Jul 31

How Long Will It Be Before My Fashion Startup is Profitable

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

Lets see, let me get my crystal ball…uh…the spirits aren’t sure.  Even they don’t know when a fashion business will start making money.  Let’s face it, the answer to this question  depends on many different things and since each business is unique it’s hard to know how much time you will need to prepare before you can actually start selling.  One thing that every entrepreneur should know is it takes time before you start making money.

Making a business plan will help you come up with the time it will take you to become profitable.  While a business plan is not a seer of the future, understanding your profit numbers and creating a break-even analysis is an important of your business plan that will give you some idea of when you will be profitable.   As a start up company developing break-even analysis, a profit-and-loss forecast, and a cash flow projection will help you understand what you need to do to reach the goal of making money.  Having an aggressive sales and marketing strategy will help it be quicker.

I find nothing sadder than a business owner pulling the plug on the business just before it starts making money, because they ran out of steam or worse money.  Having a business plan in place gives you a blue print for how to run your business.  It helps you figure out how much money you will need to run it plus an idea for when it will start making money.

Because I know how valuable a business plan is I developed a business plan template specifically for the fashion industry.  Click here to purchase the plan.  Believe me it if you are starting a fashion business it will be the best $97 you will spend.  If you do purchase it contact me and I will review it and give you my critique for free.

Jul 28

Why Branding Is Important In Fashion

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

Do you have favorite companies that you like to buy from?  Do you lust for a Prada handbag, or jeans from 7 of all mankind?  Or maybe you just really like Old Navy’s T-shirts.  That is the power of branding.  When people love your brand, they seek you out.  They also will pay a premium to get your product.

But what is branding?  Branding is all the effort we make to create a to create an impression we want our customers to have of our products. Brand building is the biggest lever most companies have to improve profits and create a demand amongst our customers. Most retail buyers seek to buy from companies that have strong consumer recognition.  They understand the effectiveness of branding.  If you want to create leverage with an account you must make your brand so compelling that they have to carry it in their store.

Brands that stand out from the crowd do so because they intrigue people, are memorable and different. Compelling brands are relevant, have strong brand stories, and have a consistent style. They stand for or against something and have a unique proposition that differentiates them from the competition. People remember compelling brands and know what to expect from them.  It’s like finding a McDonalds in China.  You know what the BigMac is going to taste like even though the restaurant you’re in is 6,000 miles away from the one you usually go to.

Creating a consistent brand experience is critical to establish your identity and engaging your customer. There is nothing better than a shopper coming to a store and asking for you buy name.  That level of demand brings equity to your brand.  It makes it more valuable and helps you compete more successfully in the marketplace.  So spend the money it takes to build your brand, as it is money that is well spent.

Jul 25

Is Your Social Media Telling A Story?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Digital Marketing , Vibe Consulting

Have you ever noticed that some fashion brands post random photos or messages that mean nothing to the brand and have no cohesion?  It is as if they have no idea what to post and do it just for the sake of doing it.  Or they post what looks like a series of ads with no personality. Big mistake!

One of the biggest ways social media has impacted marketing is by giving companies the ability to tell their story.  That is what makes marketing on social media so great.  By using brand storytelling marketers are able to give personality and associate emotion with a brand. By combining the power of storytelling with social media, brands can create a personal connection with the consumer.  People relate to stories and customers like to do business with companies they relate to.

Effective brand stories must communicate the essence of the brand. They must be unique, truthful, striking and interesting enough that people want to engage and share, and of course eventually buy the product.   They shouldn’t be self serving but must be meaningful to audiences.

As marketers we have to think as people connecting with other people as opposed to businesses selling to consumers . You should use powerful imagery that is relevant and personal to your brand. Storytelling is most effective when it’s personalized but use personal images as stock images will never do your brand story justice.  Videos are also a terrific tool to build your following.  Think of an active brand that shows a short video of certain yoga moves, or a lingerie company that illustrates how to fit a bra. This is a good way to engage.

With the growth of social media, a storytelling approach to building a brand is critical. We know that stories are relatable and helps make connections, which is basically what social media is for.

Jul 19

Does Making Ethical Fashion Impact Your Sales?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

First off, what exactly is ethically produced fashion.

According to Ethical Fashion Forum “ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximizes benefits to people and communities while minimizing impact on the environment.

“If you describe something as ethical, you mean that it is morally right or morally acceptable.” Collins English Dictionary

For the EFF, the meaning of ethical goes beyond doing no harm, representing an approach which strives to take an active role in poverty reduction, sustainable livelihood creation, minimizing and counteracting environmental concerns.”

Ethically produced fashion matters to consumers.  In the US more and more people are becoming more socially conscious.  As a human beings, we are constantly bombarded with news of :  climate change, poverty, war, worldwide inequalities, shrinking natural resources and other challenges.  More people than ever before have woken up to the fact that we absolutely need to do something.   One of the ways people are doing something is by buying ethically made product.

In fact the consumer is so motivated to buy this way, “They will even spend 10 to 15 percent more on ethically produced clothing,” according to Marshal Cohen, retail analyst at NPD Group.

Social media is huge right now, and  consumers like to post about the brands they prefer.  Those that admire socially responsible businesses will discuss your brand and recommend it to others.  In fact this is a very newsworthy subject that can prompt writers to publish articles about your brand.

I speak to emerging designers all the time who are interested in making ethically produced fashion and have a strategy to do so.  One thing I make clear is that the product itself still needs to be right as well as ethically produced.  You cannot have one without the other.

Does Making Ethical Fashion Impact Your Sales?  I say the jury is in and that it absolutely can impact your sales in a positive way.

 

 

Jul 17

5 Ways To Increase Your Fashion Business Sales?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Sales , Vibe Consulting

Fashion entrepreneurs have one thing in common.  They always seek to grow their businesses.  They see themselves as a major brand and rightfully so.  While they may not necessarily want a billion dollar brand a $20 million brand can make them very happy.  So how do they do that?  Here is what I suggest.

  1. Expand on seasons deliveries – I have worked with brands that do most of their business in one season.  For example a cashmere line that ships 90% of their product in the fall.  I have them add spring fabrications so that they can increase sales by shipping more for spring then ever before.  For brands that do business for fall and spring I have them add additional groups to ship in other months.
  2. Grow your sales team –  Adding additional sales reps, both showroom sales and independent reps can make a significant difference to your volume.
  3. Increase your marketing – Are you doing all you can to get your message out?  Review your social media, email marketing, retargeting efforts, and PR with an eye to expanding on what you are doing.  The idea is to create more buzz in order to drive customers to your site with the goal of internet sales or having them look for a store where they can buy you product.
  4. Broaden your product assortment –  If you make sweaters, perhaps you can add some bottoms to work with them.  I have a tie company as a client and we added pocket squares.  I also have an activewear client and we added sports bras.  There are many natural adjacencies to product lines so just figure out what makes sense for your brand.
  5. Rework best sellers – When I ran Jessica Simpson we had a coat that sold very well at retail.  Our first season we sold 500 units.  We took the body and reworked it by offering different lengths, different sleeves, changed the collar, and offered it in plus sizes.  We must have sold 50,000 units of that coat in all the incarnations and it always sold well at retail.
Jun 23

The Value of Setting Goals For Your Fashion Brand

By Maria Pesin | Business , Vibe Consulting

It seems to me that new entrepreneurs are afraid of setting goals for their business.  They have no idea what their goals should be; so they either don’t do it or they set vague wishy washy goals.

Jay B. Barney and Ricky Griffin authors of “Managing Organizations: Strategy, Structure, and Behavior,” stated organizational goals serve four basic functions; these are:

  1. provide guidance and direction
  2. facilitate planning
  3. motivate and inspire employees, and help organizations evaluate and control performance
  4. Organizational goals inform employees where the organization is going and how it plans to get the job done

Having goals gives you a direction, clarifies your ideas and forces you to come up with a plan to achieve it.  If your goal is to have a volume of $5 million in 3 years there are different strategies you need to take then if your goal is $500,000 in 3 years.  It also required more money so by knowing your goal you can arranging for your financing.   You know the old saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail,”  Planning your business is one of the most important activities an owner needs to take in order to inure success.

Research shows that specific and difficult goals lead to better task performance than vague or easy goals.

It is so easy to be distracted and want to everything.  Setting goals forces you to be focused, using your time and resources productively.  If an activity doesn’t help you reach your goal you don’t do it.

Your goals should be short term, mid-term, and long term.  This helps you to see if you are achieving your bench marks that will indicate the likelihood of reaching your long term goals.  If you aren’t achieving your short term goals you can course correct before it is too late.

Dream a little, then make your goals for your brand.  Make sure they are s.m.a.r.t.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time sensitive

 

 

 

 

Jun 14

How To Create a Million Dollars business In The Fashion Industry

By Maria Pesin | Business , Productivity , Vibe Consulting

I have created several multi million dollars businesses in the fashion industry.  The key to their growth,was success at retail.  The bottom line is the stores that did well with my product increased their orders each season.  Their customers voted with their wallets and laid down their money to buy.  In order to build a million dollar fashion business you need to have styles that people want.

There are plenty of mediocre products out there, and chances are these companies aren’t making a million dollars. In order to generate big sales, you’ve got to bring something to the table that wows customers and generates buzz within your marketplace.  Product is everything.  That is where you must start.  Creating a great line that stands out in the market as unique is what makes million dollar fashion business.

So you must first ask yourself, what makes me unique in the market and what makes my product fabulous?

As the co-founder behind the Kate Spade and Jack Spade brands, Andy Spade once said; “don’t worry about starting a company, If your product is great, the rest falls into place.”  This doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about setting up you business correctly.  It just means making amazing product is first and foremost.

Consuming data helps make you right.

Even the smallest businesses generate data these days.  If your business has a website, a social media presence, sells wholesale, etc., there is data it can collect on its customers, through its user experience, web traffic, selling reports and more.  Studying your data will tell you what styles work and what doesn’t.  Are you getting enough traffic and is the traffic converting to sales? In this day and age consumers love to comment.  Use all the information to make your collection even better.

The companies I ran started with a pretty good product, but as we learned and grew it got better and better till we were the leaders in our category.  That’s how you create a million dollar brand.

Jun 07

Is Your Fashion Business In A Slump?

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

I have seen a lot of business startups that have had consistent success and growth over many years.  The trends change and they find their businesses stagnating, or worse, shrinking.  Even some of the best brands out their have lost their luster.  Companies like DKNY, Guess, and Juicy Couture, which at times were the hottest, are struggling.  So it is not surprising when small and mid-sized companies reach a wall.

Many people blame it on the economy.  “People are buying,” they say.  They blame it on the Internet stealing people from the stores, or it’s all this cheap fast fashion that customers are buying instead of their product.   But the real truth is somehow these brands have lost their way.

Sometimes it is just complacency.  Brand owners believe the ride will never end.  Most times, it seems to me, it is because their products have become stale.  The market is always changing, and your merchandise has to change with it. If you are lucky, the changes are slow and subtle; sometimes, they are profound.

I believe one of the key ways to deal with change in trends is to always be testing new ideas.  Marketing people, test ads, copy, and promotions all the time to see what works the best.  The same should be true of fashion.  Trying new fabrics, new categories, and new styling aids in keeping you fresh.

Sometimes you do really need an overhaul.  I’m not necessarily talking about a revolution.  But rather, reviewing your products, company structure, marketing and all aspects of your company with the goal of improving your collection and business.

Tony Robbins once said, If you are not growing, you are dying.”  Business should always be growing.  If not, they run the risk of losing their place in the market.  Is your business in a slump?

 

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