OMG What Do I Do Now? Running Your Business During Quarantine

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

What do I do now?  This is the refrain being said all over the world, especially in the fashion industry.  The Corona virus is hitting us hard. With many businesses unsure of what to do.

Let’s face it.  Fashion is not a dire need.  Masks are a need.  Toilet paper is a need.  Fashion is a want.  Since retailers have closed shop it leaves fashion brands with reduced outlets for selling their products.  Which means production slowed down, photographers aren’t shooting, trade shows are cancelled, and buyers aren’t buying.  The ripple effect is being felt down the line.  The worst part is we don’t know when it will end.  The prophets are out there saying the quarantine could last 1-month to 9 months and maybe into next year.  Who knows?  

So that brings me to the question I am being asked.  What do I do now?  I think the first step is to stop making yourself crazy.  Yes times are tough.  But even in the worst of times businesses are out there making money.  So while we can acknowledge the problems facing us, we don’t have to go down the rabbit hole of fear.  

Right now is the time to look for the opportunities in the challenges.  There are always opportunities in challenges.  This is when you should put on your thinking caps and come up with solutions.  So what can we do?  

Here are some ideas to get your thoughts flowing:

  • Make sure you are being customer centric as you go through this time.  Contact your buyers through on line video conferencing to see what their needs are at this time.  Be there to help them solve problems.  Try to be the solution. Once you start establishing this as a form of communication with your accounts you might find your trips to see them reduced in the future.  Your clients will appreciate that interaction and you will continue to grow your relationship with them.
  • Reach out to buyers you don’t sell to tell them about your product.  Without being pulled in many directions at work they might be more open to speaking with you.
  • Send look books and samples to their homes to encourage interest in your collection.  Use email blasts to keep them in the loop on what is happening with your company.
  • Email even if it is just to say hello and I am thinking about you.
  • Increase your social media posts to increase your brand recognition.
  • Take the time to find micro influencers that you think have the right audience for your product.  Contact them and ask them if they would do a post for you if you send them your product.
  • Increase your marketing budget.  Yes, I said that.  While your instincts might be to stop spending on marketing to save money this is the time to be more aggressive.  The companies who don’t through in the towel and not do what it takes,  might not survive, while the ones who stay active will thrive.  Especially when this is all over.  Which of course, is what will ultimately happen.
  • Focus on your on-line business.  Right now a lot of people are afraid to spend money.  But, there are a lot of people who aren’t.  They are sitting at home bored out of their faces with not much to do except watch TV or shop.  Why not get those people to buy your products?
  • Use this time at home to work on your business.  Making plans and strategies that you don’t have time to do when you are in the office.  It is always healthy for your business to step back and take a good look at where your business is and where it is going and develop ideas on how you can get there

The crisis we are having is about people getting sick.  But, it is also about how the world’s economy survives.  We owe it to everyone to keep our businesses going.  To continue to employ our people and to be around when this is all over.  Recognize the problem, but look for the opportunities.

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About the Author

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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