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.
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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