Let's face it, if you are a Designer you only want to create and in many cases you know very little, if anything about the business side of fashion. A consultant can advise you and give you the necessary tools to launch and manage a successful business. Now, with that said, let's delve into the reasons a Fashion Business Consultant is vital to the launch and maintenance of your brand.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE "BENJAMINS"
It is very easy to mismanage finances. From raw materials to production, these are areas where you can overspend. When working with my clients, the first thing I do is assess their cash flow and business expenses. The goal is to track, organize & reduce which means developing a sound business plan. This is essential to keeping the business in the "black".
You and I know that everything that comes down the runway is not exactly practical. This is where my advice on product development comes in. You must design items that will complement the lifestyle of your target market. I work with designers to create pieces which are more commercial for retail without compromising their vision & brand integrity.
A brand is more than its products, it is a lifestyle. Look at some the great designers like Ralph Lauren, who gave that "Upper Class All-American" vibe. When I think of the Ralph Lauren lifestyle, I see a well off couple with "2.5" kids in prep school with a Yorkshire terrier, a summer house in The Hamptons and ski trips to Aspen during winter break. This is what great branding development does, it conjures up an image of a specific lifestyle usually one the target market is a part of or definitely wants to be! Whether it's jet setting to St. Tropez and lounging on a yacht dripping in diamonds or the hipster Brooklynite who lives in Williamsburg that loves hip-hop and fights social causes. It's all about perception. This is what I stress to my clients about their branding. The imagery is created through your presentations on Instagram, color palettes and fonts, not just the product.
SHIPPING FULFILLMENT & LOGISTICS
If you think manufacturing has its challenges, try figuring how to ship, receive and store your goods. Shipping in general can be costly, especially when done by air while by boat if coming from overseas can be complicated when trying to determine INCOTERMS. Terms such as FOB (Free On Board) to CIP (Carriage & Insurance Paid) can make the difference between who is paying upfront or who is financially responsible if the goods are lost. In addition, there is a possibility that your goods could be damaged in transit due to weather conditions. Let us not forget the import taxes, customs clearance and storage.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & COACHING
Building and defining your brand is important, but it is just 1/3 of the work. Next, you will need to market your brand for opportunities. This includes visibility, which is a huge deal in the age of Instagram. Product visibility fosters sales from brand to consumer as well B2B via wholesale. As a result, knowledge of marketing, business strategies and negotiating are crucial.
Before launching a fashion brand, it is important to know that this industry is one of the most challenging start a business. Therefore, each element is integral to the success of independent and emerging designers.
Does your brand need help to get off the ground or are you stuck with the next steps on how to advance your start-up? Find out how I can help you here. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Quora