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Fashion Business Advice

Fashion Business Owner Musings: Are you demonstrating your value?

Dear Designers,

Are you demonstrating what you have to offer?

I’ve been thinking about getting the sale. That often elusive, but utterly necessary, component of a business, and how difficult it can be for so many of us.

We use excuses like “I suck at sales,” or “I’m a designer, not a salesperson.” We daydream about finding that holy grail: the commission-only sales rep. Where does one find such a creature?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of not being salespeople. The second we each decided to launch a fashion business, we became salespeople. And pushing against that truth is something that will only hold us back.

When it comes to selling to buyers for stores, I think the issue lies around fear. Fear of rejection, perhaps? Fear of doing it wrong? Fear of ruining a relationship?

When it comes to selling to the consumer, I think the issue lies around not enough time spent learning. Selling is a skill. And it’s one that you can’t ignore.

I think that for a lot of us,  we forget the power of demonstration. With so much announcing going on, the successful salespeople are demonstrating.

If you’re selling to buyers, how are you demonstrating that your line is a good bet to take? Are you painting a picture of how your brand will help them?

Or are you using phrases like “I think our line would be a great fit for your store!”

Buyers hear that statement so often, they’ve become desensitized to it.

If you’re selling to the individual, are you demonstrating what life will be like wearing your dress or carrying your bag? Are you showing them snippets of life with one of your products? Are you etching into their brains the impact your pieces will have on how they feel?

Or are posting declarations about the quality and the beauty?  “Check out our latest collection! The beautiful Nina dress is made of the finest lightweight linen, perfect for your next beach holiday!”

Statements like that are meaningless to an audience.

So now what?

Make the decision to learn how to sell. Practice the approach of demonstration. Push yourself to create more thoughtful captions on Instagram and more tailored pitches to buyers.

There is no magic answer to getting the sale. It is constant learning and practicing. And also understanding that unless you’re demonstrating what’s in it for them, they tune out.

I know that getting the sale is challenging. I know that you are trying hard. I’m not suggesting in this post that you aren’t. But what I’m hoping to get across is that if you can learn to demonstrate what you have to offer, you are one major step closer to getting your hands on the ever-elusive sale.

Lots of love and encouragement,

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Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online community and support system for independent designers around the world. She’s a traveler, a weaver, and a foodie. A deep love for the craft of fashion pared with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION were 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!

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