Starting a fashion business, regardless of the product you’re specializing in, can be tough. It’s easy to assume that every design imaginable has been created and doubt whether whatever you’re creating would resonate with customers.
The truth is: No matter how many new fashion products are introduced into the market, there will never be too many brands, too many designs, or too many products.
People’s preferences change from time to time, they find inspiration to try new things every now and then, and there’s always the group that’s on an eternal search for anything that’s different. This something ‘different’ is what you should aim to create and avail.
Assuming you’ve designed your unique product and have produced a few pieces to test the market with and received favorable response, how do you establish yourself as a reputable fashion designer?
Follow along as we show you different strategies you can use to find your place in the crowded world of fashion.
- Be the Brand Ambassador of your Designs
You’re the best promoter of your designs, best believe it. Wear your designs everywhere. Don’t be one of those designers who wear everyone’s designs but never theirs.
By wearing your pieces, you give people a close look at what they get when they buy any of your products.
Convince people to wear your designs for special occasions.
Is one of your neighbors planning a photo session for their daughter’s first birthday? Offer to make them matching designs so they can ‘twin’ their way to glorious photos.
Do the same for people looking for themed outfits, special wear for proms, graduation shoots, etc.
- Get your Products Noticed
Learn how to get your product noticed and get comfortable doing it. At this point, every contact is important, whether they are professionals in the industry or ordinary people who might end up becoming your customers.
To do this:
- Find out where the fashion events are happening in your area and attend them. Don’t limit yourself to your locality, though.
- If a fashion event at a different city provides a big opportunity to network and interact with industry players, make the trip and be part of it.
- Always carry your products and show them to as many people as possible.
- Walk into fashion stores and introduce your brand. If your products are good, you’re likely to have a few store managers want to collaborate with you.
- Do the same with stores that operate purely online. They can choose to stock the items at their warehouse or sell them and you do the shipping.
- Talk to people on the street and at occasions you attend. The more people you tell about what you do, the more likely you are to get clients.
- Leverage other People’s Networks
Find professionals to collaborate with in the industry. A symbiotic relationship where they benefit from your designs while they publicize your designs to their network is a win-win for both of you. Here are some ways to do it.
- Find models who can wear your designs for their shoots. They look good for the camera and market your designs. Win-win.
- Find photographers who could use your designs to promote their work. Their photos look great and your designs get exposure.
- Do you have a fashion magazine publisher in your area? Approach them and suggest they use your pieces for their cover models or style pages.
- Still on the magazines, would they consider taking you on as their style consultant or contributor? The more your name is out there, the quicker you start to become a household-name.
- Use the same strategy above to contribute to fashion blogs and websites, even as a guest blogger. As you become more familiar to an increasing number of people, you become an authority figure, which is enough to propel you to huge success.
- Strengthen your Online Presence
Let your website and social media pages market your work for you. Post your designs in groups where more people will see them.
Always use high quality photos for this. Get a professional photographer to capture your products in different arenas: on models, on a clothing rack, on mannequins, and on a white backdrop.
Have them photographed in creative ways and let the photographer work his magic to make them even more captivating.
- Collaborate with Non-profits and Charities
People love a brand that shows compassion. Partner with organizations and donate some pieces for their causes. It’s a great way to introduce your designs to an even broader market.
Charity organizations have extensive networks. Sharing photos of your designs will expose you to thousands of potential customers.
Some will genuinely like your work and contact you to place their orders. Others will be touched by your kindness and reciprocate by promoting your brand in an ‘any friend of yours is a friend of mine’ type of way.
The motive behind their interest is not relevant. Once you catch their attention, you can win their loyalty. You just have to keep creating good products.
- Tell your Story
Let your network, followers, and connections know the story behind your brand. Customers resonate with brands that have a human face, and there is no better way to get your human side out in the open than telling a good story. Let people know:
- What inspired you to start the business
- What challenges you had to overcome
- Some hard lessons you learnt along the way
- Some of the mistakes you’ve made and failures you’ve experienced
- Funny stories about awkward situations you found yourself in
It doesn’t matter what part of your story you choose to share. As long as people sense your genuineness, they’ll develop an even greater connection with you. You become real, someone with experiences that are similar to theirs, someone they would consider a friend were she living across the street.
That relational connection is what sustains great businesses where many fail. Because business is all about relationships.
Feel confident to begin the journey? Start building relationships with your target market, taking it a step at a time and your fashion brand will soon be well-established.