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What type of fashion do you design?
Do you want to sell your designs private label to other retailers or through retailers labeled as your brand?
Do you plan to open your own retail location or sell your designs online?
If you can provide some more detail about your goals, I believe you will receive more constructive answers.
Here are some basics that I recommend.
Determine what makes your designs / business unique from other designers / businesses, then define the target market that your designs are the best match for.
When defining your target market, don't simply keep it to an age range. Are your designs for children and adults? Are your designs for both men and women? Do your designs target a specific ethnicity? What income level are your designs best suited for? What sizes? As an unknown independent, you will have a far great possibility of succeeding if you go after a well-focused niche instead of trying to capture the "everyone" market.
Your next step would then require market research in support of creating a business plan.
Since you are familiar with the market, you may not have to create a fully detailed formal business plan (unless you require outside investors / loans or are investing a significant portion of your own finances), but you should at minimum:
establish a defined UVP (what makes your business unique)
defined target market
identify prime competitors
create marketing strategies
calculate cash flow for the first 12 months
set revenue / profit goals at minimum
I hope this helps.
The Solopreneur's Guide
Just to be clear if you are already in the magazines and doing the shows then is your brand name and clothing line already established? Do you think that you have a "sales" problem or a "marketing" problem? These are two totally different issues that can be overcome, but we have to identify where the bottleneck happens to be.
Sales is a process and that process can be taught... I love saying that - it is actually printed on my business card. It also happens to be true. Sales is just a process and you can learn how to do it.
The sales process or path is simply open, probe, pitch and close.
Along with the sales process there are some fundamental tasks like lead generation, lead tracking, follow up calls, etc. that need to happen as well.
I don't want to over simplify it but in the end you can learn how to do it.
My advice is to start a dialogue with one of the many sales consultants in your area. I'm not so sure you need sales training right now. The way to figure out if you need sales training vs. sales coaching is: If you don't know "who" to call you need a sales consultant. If you don't know "how" to call you need a sales trainer.
Hope this helps.
David Peterson - President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting
Our web based sales training can be found here: http://www.atlantasalesandconsulting.com/web_based_sales_training.htm
It is obvious that you should have an e-commerce website to sell your fashions.
You should promote your fashion as well as your website at every event you attend.
Here is a new twist on things:
I worked with a fashion designer to sell her fashions at a fashion show. My question to the designer was during and after the fashion show I was not given an opportunity to purchase anything I liked. Think of all the impulse buying that will occured. My solution was to allow patrons at the fashion show to make purchases at the fashion show using their cell phones. Her sales increased 70% from her last show..
Secondly, in conjunction with the mobile commerce is have the information entered into a database for future marketing. You want to keep in touch with your customers thru email marketing, additional mobile marketing, and social marketing. Let them know of future fashion shows or events, new items for purchase at your website or to share their opinions with their friends about your fashions.
Hope this helps.
If I can assist your business please contact me.
Find yourself a good, commission based sale rep - someone that already has doors open for him/her. Look to industry associations to find a list of sales reps then start interviewing.
I would personally open an ebay account, start out simple and see what kind of response you get. This would save you money to get yourself started with gaining exposure.
Melissa A Coulter