Last week, we jetted off to Addis Ababa to attend our second annual Africa Fashion Business Summit in a row. Our very own Premium Search Manager Lucia Stansbie was the keynote speaker, delivering her talk on "The Top 10 Tips to Launch Your Fashion Collection Into World Markets”.
Her advice? Just keep on reading…
1: Do your research!
Researching what other brands in your product category are doing is key. Make sure to identify what their average price point is, how they communicate and where they are selling. This knowledge will help to set strong foundations to successfully take your business to next level, and start exporting. Don’t get your strategy wrong from the very beginning…
2: Put your twist on it
Now you know what other brands in your category are offering, don’t be afraid to create something different and ‘yours’. This could mean using a traditional printing technique for your fabrics, experimenting with new materials or modernising a traditional garment. Whatever you decide, put YOUR twist and creative touch on everything you design and produce, truly representing you and your background.
3: Don’t just choose the ‘obvious’ markets
Don’t target only one market because you believe it is 'the best’. Many brands approach Anton Dell with the ambition to enter into the US market, only to find out that other markets are more appropriate for their brand and strategy. Expand your reach, and always expect the unexpected.
4: Know your customer – who are you selling to?
Have a person in mind when working on your collection, and cater your designs to their needs. How old are they? How much money do they have to freely spend? Where do they live? What do they do in their spare time? Understanding your ‘Customer Persona’ and targeting your collection for them, is likely to make it much more commercially successful.
5: Understand ‘The Pyramid’
When designing your collection, you should aim to have a good balance of more basic and fashionable items, the quantity and difference in price points.
The most recognized model for planning and creating a successful product range plan to offer a good selection of items is the Pyramid. The ‘basics’ make up your foundation with entry price points, while your ‘key items’ will be at the core of what you do, really expressing your point of view. Your ‘fashion items’ will be more representative of the current season’s trends, alongside your ‘wow piece’ – a showstopper produced in limited quantity. An inconsistent product range plan can lead to your collection feeling incomplete and lacking direction.
6: Have strong visuals
Your photos are one of the main tools you can use to communicate your brand, so they need to be strong, impactful and professional. Lifestyle pictures will put your collection pieces into context and show the garments clearly, both on their own and worn by a model. Good lighting that make colours pop, interesting backgrounds and a mix of portrait and landscape shoots will provide you with the right material for you social media, advertisements and e-commerce.
7: Don’t survive on a Facebook page
It’s really important to have a website and an email address with the same domain to be considered a professional and reliable brand. They are your tools to communicate and sell to potential costumers, and a Facebook page alone is not enough. Your online communication strategy should also consider social media like Instagram and/or Snapchat, depending of your target consumer.
8: Have strong logistics
Research the right partner for you to be able to deliver the merchandise to your clients (both wholesale and retail) in a timely and convenient manner. You must ensure to have this covered before offering your products for sale, in order to provide your clients with accurate delivery timings and costs. Failing to do so can lead to clients’ frustration - or worse - to have your merchandise not accepted, your order being cancelled and shipped back.
9: Get your fashion timings right
Being late means not being relevant, as your customers could buy from your competitors instead. Know your collection times, wholesale selling periods and production activity times inside out to ensure you’re hot off the mark!
10: Have fun!
Love what you do and do what you love - Your passion will definitely show in your brand image. Don’t be scared of taking decisions or making mistakes, as your brand progression will help you to reach the next level.