Category Archives for "Vibe Consulting"

May 29

Start-up Success Through Screen and Store

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

It’s 2018, and the landscape of the fashion industry is challenging and uncertain. Department stores are struggling to keep themselves afloat, while the growing success of online sales provides a constant threat to brick-and-mortar stores. Piggy in the middle? Fashion start-ups – finding brand new ways to connect with their consumers.

 

Many experts agree that they key to a long-lasting career in fashion is to constantly be able to innovate and move with the times. This is great news for start-up companies, who have the flexibility to explore new types of talent, partnerships and ways of working within their business. Their operating models can be a source of inspiration for bigger brands, with many finding it difficult to become completely digitally native.

 

For this year, many industry professionals from both start-ups and established brands are expected to be delivering the very best in terms of innovation, all the way from design through to after-sale. Navigating through the changing state of the market it not an easy task, but if done well, will certainly pay off. Collaborations could be a good way to do this, with brands like H&M joining forces with Google to gain insight into data for customised design. Continuing to think outside of the insular fashion box is a sure-fire strategy to breathe new life into all types of fashion business, introducing new digital and technological capabilities into the fashion world.

 

Although the presence of online sales won’t be going away any time soon, being e-friendly doesn’t always mean you’re a shoo-in for immediate success. However, being solely available online won’t ensure this either, meaning start-ups could be left feeling overwhelmed or unsure of the best plan of action. In this case, consumer desires cannot be forgotten – they are now more demanding then ever before, requiring both a meaningful connection with who they buy from, but also a sense of ease to the shopping journey. If a balanced mix between in-store and online can be maintained, start-ups can harness the best of both worlds – harnessing complex technology and upholding customer service.

 

Fashion start-ups may have the best seat in the house for now, but whether your business is freshly made or seasoned with experience, ‘embrace’ is the word to remember – investment and experimentation with new ideas will all help to drive crucial innovation.

 

 

Anton Dell is the CEO and founder of The Anton Dell Fashion Consultancy, matching fashion brands with agents, distributors and reps worldwide. The consultancy is the first of its kind, and after over two decades, is recognised by the fashion industry as the leading authority in the world for researching agents and distributors for brands.

May 21

22 Tips To Start Building A fashion business You Always Wanted

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

I know that if you are reading this you have always dreamed of having a fashion business.  Yet, for some reason you went into another field.  Maybe your parents talked you out of it or you just were afraid.  Since it the idea has stayed in the back of your mind as something you really want to do.  Well, here are my tips to get started.

  1. Decide what your company name and entity is.
  2. Open a bank account and start building a relationship with your banker.
  3. Figure out what your product is and what sets you apart from your competition.
  4. Focus on a category.  For example:  Dresses only – not dresses, sportswear, and shoes at the same time.
  5. Also focus on mens or women’s or children; again not all at the same.
  6. Focusing on a specific market is important when you first start otherwise you will need a lot of money to make different lines and market them.
  7. Develop the story behind your brand.
  8. Make a line plan for the different styles.
  9. Find a great pattern maker
  10. Find fabrics and/or materials you can buy wholesale.
  11. Design or hire a designer to develop silhouettes.
  12. Get samples and do fittings on the samples with your pattern maker
  13. Develop a great website
  14. Find a factory that can produce your product
  15. Get prices from the factory
  16. Put together a plan on how you are going to sell your product.
  17. Figure out a marketing plan to build brand recognition.
  18. If you are going wholesale consider getting sales representatives.
  19. You can also open your own showroom and sell direct to stores.
  20. Make sure you have a line sheet.
  21. Make sure you have order forms
  22. Look into trade shows and see if they are right for you.

As you can see there are a lot of moving parts plus more than I can list.  If you need help figuring it all out contact me for a free consultation.

 

May 15

What Keeps You Up At Night (In Your Fashion Business)?

By Maria Pesin | Sales , Vibe Consulting

I recently asked my audience what keeps them up at night in their fashion business.  The overwhelming answer was sales.  They either didn’t have enough or in some cases not any.  They were at a loss on what to do next and felt stuck. There are many ways to grow your sales.  The most important is to not avoid it as so many do.  Knowing that sales is something you need to spend most of your time on and actually doing it will make a huge difference.

The thing about sales is it doesn’t happen overnight.  It is the product of time spent in high impact activities.  What you do today will reap benefits in the future.  Sales may start out slow but by consistent action you will achieve success over time.

If your sales are down find out why.  The best way is to see why the accounts you sell are not growing or are declining in business with you.  Use strategies to fix it.

A key to increasing your sales  is to support your sales goal with tenacity and indomitable willpower. Put your whole heart and soul the process and into achieving your sales goals. Make a complete commitment to improve your sales and by doing so you will impact your businesses success. Of course you need to make sure your  product is good and stands out from the crowds.  That is why talking to your customer will go a long way to increasing your lines salability.

Increasing your sales comes from a combined effort of selling and marketing.  Concentrate on the activities that create sales. Create an ideal schedule, and check how you keep daily. It is said that just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year.  That is pretty amazing!

 

May 10

5 Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Site

By Maria Pesin | Digital Marketing , Vibe Consulting

One of the big concerns for my clients has been building traffic to their website.  Either they are just starting out or do not know where to begin.  There are many reasons for that.  Usually it is because there isn’t a consistent and compelling strategy.  The following ideas will help grow you traffic.

  1. Work on your SEO – I work with a digital marketing person who isn’t a big believer in putting to much effort into SEO.  However I disagree.  According to market expert, Sujan Patel “The top 6 search engines were responsible for 34.8% of site visits, compared to 25.6% for the top 13 social networks”.  There is no doubt about it that most people do searches to find products and services.  If you don’t rank highly then you won’t be seen.
  2. Advertise –  Of course this one is pretty obvious but you would be amazed at how many people don’t do it. Paid search and social media advertising are all great ways of attracting visitors.
  3. Social Media Marketing – Placing great content on social media platforms will increase your audience and if you have a good following you can then you can promote your product as well on several sites such as: Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
  4. Influencers –  These are people who have followers as little as 1,000 and as many as a million.  When you get influencers to wear your clothes or write about you on their blog (depending on how wide their audience is and how engaged they are) will find you pops of people clicking to your site.
  5. Tell a story –  Telling a compelling story about your brand will hook people in and motivate them to come to your site.  It is an important part of any marketing strategy and where you will create an emotional connection with your brand.  My client “Rhino Flops” has a wonderful story.  The designer and founder is from South Africa and is very involved with the Thula Thula Rhino Fund.  As an ex-fashion buyer from Henri Bendel she wanted to start a sustainable brand of very creative animal inspired flip flops that also raised money so that a portion of her profits went towards the Rhino Fund.  She has launched her brand and is already building her audience.  What is your story?

Remember a combination of different strategies that are focused consistent and often that will form a synergy to that will drive traffic.

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 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 14

Should I Start a Fashion Business?

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

“Fashion is a $1.2 trillion global industry, with more than $250 billion spent annually on fashion in the United States, according to industry analysts. Fashion and apparel industries employ 1.9 million people in the United States and have a positive impact on regional economies across the country,” according to Maloney.house.gov.  That is a pretty impressive number.  Of course it includes all parts of the industry from manufacturing to piece goods.  But, still a lot of business.

People are buying fashion.  So obviously there is potential to have a successful fashion business.  Should you start one is the question.  That really depends on you.  There are lots of things to consider.

  • Do you have a great idea?  There is a lot of product out there so your product needs to stand out from the crowd.
  • Do you have time and money to invest in a business?  There is no getting around it.  You will need both.  How much will depend on this business and how fast you want to scale it?
  • Do you have the tenacity to drive through the challenges?  The is no straight line to the top in this business.  You have to be prepared that some of the things you do will not work out.  When they don’t you need to figure out a different strategy.
  • Are you persistent?  Growing your business requires you to keep driving forward no matter what happens?
  • Do you have the drive?  I have a client that I was having a discussion with about what stores to sell.  One of them happened to be in his neighborhood, so I asked him to visit the account.  30 minutes later he was in the store talking about his brand with the store manager.  Now that is drive.

There are lots of people out there who dream of starting a fashion business.  If that is you and you think you have what it takes, go for it.  I know for me it has been a very rewarding career.

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 15

6 Mistakes Great Leaders Never Make

By Maria Pesin | Business , Fashion , Vibe Consulting

Everyone makes mistakes.  Even the greatest leaders ever make them.  But, great leaders don’t hide their mistakes or blame them on someone else.  Nor do they run from them.  However, great leaders are careful not to make these mistakes.

  1. Hide from problems –  Great leaders face issues head on.  They are solution oriented and know that by procrastinating they only exacerbate problems.  They also don’t let problems throw them because they know that it is part of the job.
  2. Do not create conflicts within their teams –  Have you ever seen a manager who takes pleasure in creating competition between employees?  I’m not talking about contests for most sales of the month, but the kind of competition that causes intrigue and backstabbing within a group.  They also show favoritism which can create rivalry that distracts people from the mission.  Good managers foster good relationships between team members.
  3. Do not operate secretively – A secretive boss is one who delights in power over others.  They also create an atmosphere of distrust and insecurity among their staff.  By keeping people in the know great leaders develop loyalty in their team and also get their staff to champion the goals of the company.
  4. Give positive feedback for a job well done and constructive feedback when mistakes are made – I recently had a client who’s staff worked incredibly hard for the company and gave their all.  Rather than complimenting them on a job well done he was always complaining about what they did wrong.  The staff was miserable and ultimately lost their motivation.  People work hard for leaders who appreciate and acknowledge them.  And if they do make mistakes they appreciate learning from them rather than feeling judged.
  5. Give credit to their team – Success is never from one persons efforts.  It always is a group effort.  Great leader share commendations with their staff.
  6. They don’t pass the buck –  A good leader doesn’t take all the credit for the success of their team but they also do not blame others for their failures.
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.
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