10 mistakes wholesalers & designers make….
Financing & sales in fashion
1. Production Phrase
Have high standards remember your name is on this it is crucial you keep a close eye all aspects; the fit and finish must be perfect. I am beginning to critique sample bras all the time to ensure a successful launch and collection. Your products must match your samples! Biggest mistake I see is that the samples are not perfect. They are on show at the fashion expo and in fashion shows where can all see the shape and fit. Retailers are looking with a hawk eye to this detail and if the fit isn’t there they will not buy.
Think about this; would you invest in something that you weren’t 100% sure on? We’ll do it once but we’ve all learnt from that. The returns will not be kind, fashion is brutal.
2. Shipping on time
Credibility is everything- In some ways the fashion business can be very unforgiving. You can’t ship one season late; that will be your downfall.
3. Wanting to be in certain stores
Designers sometimes underprice their goods in order to have certain prestigious or department stores buy their lines with the thought process that can raise their prices later and it does not work. Those stores bought you to fit into a certain price point. Slip out of it and they won’t be buying your next line. It may work in one season but not for the life of your company. In spite of funding you by season most businesses are in it for the long haul. Increased volumes will not necessary cover the shortfall of underpricing. It works for off-shore mega producers but by then, you’re not a fashion forward line anymore are you?
4. Spend now, worry about it later
Designers get caught up in the whirl of marketing and PR, putting on fashion shows and invest in a lot of money thinking they can pay the bills later; there is no later. Focus on your spending priorities; invest in your product and what is guaranteed to give you a return so it’s not necessary expensive PR.
5. Don’t believe your own media
While making the pages of a glossy magazine is a feather in anyone’s cap, it’s not a million dollar deal. You’re not a star. There is no instant stardom. Making it in the fashion business is not an overnight accomplishment; the product is what it’s all about. It’s not you, it’s your product.
6. Credit worthy stores
Designers and wholesalers make the mistake of assuming a prestigious beautiful store is a good credit risk, bypassing mainstay stores. The store is beautiful because they spent a lot of money on it may mean leaving them less money to pay you! Don’t assume a beautiful store will be a credit worthy customer. You have to take a hard line; honourable long term businesses aren’t built on weak credit.
7. Don’t speculate
Do not over produce. Do not cut extra goods with the potential of reorders in mind. As it is, you’ll get some goods returned so you’ll end up with more inventory on hand than you’d expected. Pushed for a figure, you should never cut over 3%-5% of total orders. You aim is to increase the initial order amount.
8. Never sell on consignment
You never know what you’ll get back. You won’t be able to use it or resell it to anyone because it’ll be shop worn. If a retailer wants the goods on consignment, they’re not committed to you. You’re much better off selling on straight terms.
9. Hands on all aspects
Some body must watch the watchers at all times in every stage and that’s you. Keep it simple, this is a cash business. The sooner you see that fashion is a one season, cash flow business, the better off you’ll be. Focus on the long term by producing the best product and keep unnecessary extravagant expenses low.
10. Don’t allow one store to dominate your sales
Above all, avoid concentration. It doesn’t matter if it’s Myer or David Jones, one account should not dominate your customer portfolio. If one account dominates, you can be hit hard if they drop your line. Diversify. One customer should not account for more than 25% of your sales. A way to create exclusivity is to create a piece in a particular colour for them and put a time frame on it.