When starting out as a new fashion business, it’s always tricky to get people onboard taking you seriously. This isn’t anything personal- it’s simply how the fashion business landscape works. People need to have reason to trust you and whatever it is you’re selling, and this can be achieved through a few different ways. Just remember, credibility and value do take time to grow. You wouldn’t invest your money into a fashion brand you didn’t believe to be of value to you, and neither will they. Here are a few ways to instill trust and value and build credibility:
Have Confidence in Your Brand
First things first, you need to believe in what you’re doing, and you need potential customers and investors to see that you believe in it. Your passion needs to stand out. After all, starting a business is far from easy and you’re going to be in it for the long run. You need to show that you’re committed through the ups and downs and have that much-needed enthusiasm. If you believe in yourself and your brand, it’s more likely others will too.
Know Your Market and Stick to it
To create a reputable brand, again you need to look confident in what you’re providing. Knowing your target audience and sticking to it will help you create relevant and effective content across all of your channels. These channels will likely include social media, lookbooks, imagery, and website. Knowing this demographic will ensure you’re heading in the right direction. It will also show your consumers you’ve done your research and know what you’re doing.
Have Great Branding
Although your passion and determination is very important, it’s also just as important to have a distinct brand. You need good branding, imagery, website, socials and all the other points of calls to ensure you give confidence to other people. No one likes a blah or basic-looking brand. Your branding needs to be coherent, relevant, speak to your audience and look professional. It should also look like something that’s not already on the market. It’s all about the image you project and how it’s received!
ID Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it allows you to acknowledge which parts you need help with in order to improve your overall output. No one can do everything, and asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a business owner. Instead, it means you can identify where improvements can be made which is a sign of professionalism. You’ll be respected more by identifying these strengths and weaknesses than if you were to toddle along and do the ‘what you can’ – this won’t be beneficial for your brand or business and is not what you want to be doing as a startup.
Use Social Media to Your Benefit
Social media is a great way to build your fashion business no matter how new to the game you are. You can reach your audience as well as your business peers. It’s also a great way to put personality and relatability behind a brand. If your content is professionally created and speaks to your audience, it’s more believable. If your socials are badly presented or unprofessional, on the other hand, this reflects poorly on your brand.
Know the Value of Other People’s Time
To be taken seriously in business, you need to show that you take others seriously and value their time. Running a business is a serious commitment for you, as it is for others, so knowing the value of their time is so important if you want to give off the right attitude as a business owner. This goes for everyone from manufacturers and distributors to PR representatives and boutique owners. Mutual respect is important and will help build long-term relationships. You never know when these relationships might come in handy!
Leverage Your Expertise
You might be new to the business owner world, but you aren’t new to your field. There’s a reason you’re doing what you’re doing, so use this to your advantage. The likelihood is you know more than they do, so use this in your favor and really push your expertise! Listening to someone talk with confidence is more convincing that someone who puts a piece of paper in front of you with their long list of 3-week internships from 5 years ago.
Grow Your Network
Networking and surrounding yourself with the right people is a great way to ensure you’re taken seriously by other fashion business owners. Involve yourself with their audience and network, and use this as a way to show you’re just as credible as the established brands. This is also another great way to make connections for the future and build long-term partnerships. It’s also great to learn from successes and failures of others, expand your knowledge and possibly find new clients or partners – which is ultimately the goal.
Be Open to Advice
Finally, be open to advice. Being open to constructive criticism shows you’re willing to improve wherever possible and can take feedback in order to do so.
This again is showing your respect and value for other businesses owners – which is the way to get people on your side as people will respect your willingness to learn.
Guest Post: Rosie Davies-Smith
Rosie Davies-Smith is the founder of LFA (Lifestyle and Fashion Agency) and PR Dispatch. PR Dispatch is the sister business of the multi-award-winning agency LFA, whose team feed real-time PR information to a login for smaller brands. Regularly updated press contacts, an in-depth PR e-book, real-time press call-ins, advice and community support has enabled hundreds of brands with great products to achieve great coverage in the likes of Stylist, Cosmopolitan, Elle, InStyle and many more.