The fashion business is tough. It is not for the faint of heart. While there are some daunting times when you feel like a failure there are also times when you are flying high and you think you’re a genius. Few brands grow in a straight line going up. Most times it is a zigzag to the top. So don’t wait till your business is in trouble, do something about it now.
Some companies experience success for a long while but then find that the very product that made them successful is no longer wanted by the market. What do you do to prevent this from happening? Brands that find themselves in this situation start to flip-flop around trying to figure out what to do next? Sometimes they change their direction so completely that the buyers turn away. Your company is pigeonholed and you can’t seem to get them to try something new. Then you lose your place in the market. Once you lose your place it is difficult to get it back. The belief is “It is easier to start a new brand than it is to reinvent one that has become irrelevant.”‘
The time to try something new is when you are very successful. If your business is good than your accounts are more open to new ideas. In his book “Great By Choice” Jim Collins discusses how Companies remain great during turbulent times. One of the keys he found during his research is that great companies first fire bullets than cannonballs. They are always trying new things but not in a big way. They try new ideas out as a test and if the results support expanding it they then put out a major effort. In fact you should always be shooting bullets to see what the next step in the evolution of your brand is. Once you see it working out than lob the cannonball.
Look at JC Penny’s under Ron Johnson. He had a concept for how the JC Penny;s stores should look. However rather than test the concept in a small number of doors. He changed the business model so drastically that the core customer no longer recognized them and stayed away in droves.
Stay true to who you are as a brand, but always try new things. Introduce new concepts that still will appeal to your core customer and test it before you roll it out. You should always be firing bullets.
Maria Pesin knows fashion, especially the business side of the fashion industry. Do you know how Manolo Blahnik got his start in the industry? How he leveraged a paltry 3 grand into one of the world’s most famous luxury brands? While she doesn’t take credit for Manolo’s success, Maria has walked a similar path on numerous occasions. The world of fashion is not silicon valley, and it has nothing to do with Madison Avenue marketing. In this industry there is ALWAYS room for something new and exciting, but you have to have your ducks in a row. If that’s what you need, believe me, Maria is the General Patton of fashion ducks!
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