5 Fashion Business Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets

marketing ideas

When someone tells you that you need to be “marketing your fashion business”, I imagine you start to get a little annoyed.  Mainly because, duh, of course you need to be marketing. You are. At least, you’re trying to.

It feels a little overwhelming sometimes. There are so many brands out there trying to get attention. It can seem like you’re just one of many- spouting your message, hoping someone will pay attention.

And, well, you are. That is pretty accurate assessment of the situation, unfortunately.

But that doesn’t mean that the work you do to marketing your business is pointless. Of course not.

So what do you do?

Well, assuming you’ve got the foundation of your brand in place (a brand identity that includes voice, values, beliefs, and customer understanding), then it’s time to think a little more creatively about how your getting the word out.

Posting on social media, having a blog, joining communities, going to events, having contests…all these things are great. But sometimes they’re not enough. Often, it’s a good idea to get a little creative, try new things, and see whether they have a positive impact on your brand awareness and/or sales.

Here are 5 Marketing Ideas for Your Fashion Brand that you probably haven’t tried yet but are worth a gander.

Flat Out Asking People to Share

Look, this is something that not many of us do but it can be really effective. If you have customers already, ask them to share your brand with a friend if they love you. Recently I emailed the StartUp FASHION Community members and asked them if “they have found the community helpful, if they’ve made new connections, if they’ve gotten into new stores, if they’ve used the templates, if they’ve learned from the videos, or if they’ve felt the encouragement and motivation and love that we try to spread around on the daily, then please tell a fellow designer who could use those same things in their life. 

This isn’t something I would send out on a regular basis by any means but it is something I felt comfortable asking. Because I only wanted them to share if they truly found the Community helpful for their business. Many of them emailed me saying they were happy to share with a fellow designer. Sweet.

If you don’t have customers yet, think about your network. Compile a list of people in your network, and email each one just telling them about what you’ve been working on, and how much you’d appreciate their support via social media. Give them the links to your profiles and ask them to follow along.

I think that too often, at the risk of coming off too pushy, we leave some great marketing on the table. If you approach your outreach politely, there’s no reason you should feel pushy. Most people are excited to support those brands they believe in.

Offline Events Even If You Can’t Be There

There are two ways you can do this. The first one is to find ambassadors. But this admittedly takes time. You need not only a customer base but customers who have gotten to know your brand well enough that they are thrilled to shout it from the roof tops.

If you’re in the position to find brand ambassadors, do it. Organize lifestyle events around what your customers care about and have your ambassadors host. These can be done even in areas where you and your team are not physically present.

We were thrilled when our StartUp FASHION Community members started reaching out to us about representing StUF in their cities. Though we’re based in NYC, we now have bi-monthly Designer Discussion events going on in Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Miami. All run by members who believe in the StartUp FASHION brand and mission.

The other option for events in far off areas is sponsorship. I know you don’t have thousands to put towards sponsoring someone else event. But you don’t have to. You can get creative here. Are there interesting lifestyle events or clubs in a city where you could offer goodies, services, or some small financial support?

With the proper research and an understanding of what interests your customer really has, you could come up with a very effective sponsorship marketing plan that does not require a crap load of money.

Expert Article Contributions

You are an expert in something. I know you are. Just because your business hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet, doesn’t mean that you don’t have expertise to offer.

Make a list of things you know about- textiles construction, sustainability practices, startup mistakes!, building a fashion business in a small town, whatever. Then write about what you know. Write honestly and openly, share what you know and don’t be afraid to write in your own voice. You do not need to be a trained writer to write.

Now find places to contribute your article. Or post it to your own blog and research how to get the most of out sharing your content.

Lifestyle- Music, Food, Travel

These things make up everyone’s life, for the most part. Things like music, food, and travel are things that people care about. How can you tap into this?

Are you already using Spotify for personal use? How about creating a playlist for your brand and sharing it with your audience on social media, your website, through email?

Do you go out to eat a lot? Cook a lot? Think about ways to create a journal through your blog.

This might seem like a lot of work, and it certainly can be. But remember, you’re trying to build a community. The only way to do that is to find ways to interact with your audience outside of just your brand.

Social Media Conversations

We’re trying a Twitter Party for the first time tomorrow (you should join us!). We teamed up with the Digital Stylist Network to connect independent designers and professional stylists and talk about collaborations, trends, and business. We’re pretty excited about it.

We did this because we know that our audience is often looking for ways to get their work in front of stylists, so what better way to find out then to ask stylists.

In doing this, we are expanding our audience. And not only that, but we’re getting closer tot he audience we have. Rather than just posting on social, and occasionally conversing through the comments, we’re finding a way to have an hour long conversation with them.

You can think about social media in new and interesting ways. It can and should go much deeper than posting pictures.

All of these examples are totally doable for independent brands with small budgets and a lot of drive. They take effort of course, but these are some ways you’ll start to see real progress in the growth of your brand.

Oh, if you’d like to join in the Twitter Party we’re co-hosting, here are all the details. It’s tomorrow afternoon!

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Daniela

    Nicole, really looking forward to today’s chat. What a great opportunity! Thank you! I have been a constant reader of your blog and pass it along to fellow designers whenever I can. I found all your advice so motivating and encouraging. It’s helping me tremendously with my start up line Annaborgia. It would be great to have a Start Up Fashion community in the San Francisco Bay Area!

    • Nicole Giordano

      Daniela, so fun connect on the Twitter Party yesterday. I love that there were so many different countries represented! I would love explore the possibility of a local SF StartUp FASHION Community. We currently have Community Connectors in Denver, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Miami. Email me at hello at startupfashion dot com and we can chat about it. 🙂

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