I met Moni, a London based luxury handbag designer, few months ago and really wanted to feature her stunning products in one of our issues. I learnt that she wasn’t ready for that and that she was still in early stages of her new business, and handbag design process. We agreed that once she’s ready I will cover her story. However, she mentioned to me that she has a business mentor who helps her with the early stages of Pamela P, her business. Immediately I thought how interesting it would be to record these mentor’s sessions, which might be helpful to any designers, entrepreneurs and new brands just starting out. How are these meetings structured and what exactly is discussed? Hence, this “business mentoring” mini series which will hopefully take you on the journey with us.
And so today I’m covering the session 4., which I joined. Moni’s mentor is Dessy who is the founder of a company called Utelier, which she set up out of the sheer frustration of the absence of a single reliable information source for production contacts within the fashion industry. She is the perfect match for Moni, since they both operate in the same market. With Dessy’s knowledge, guidance and help, Moni can get focused on each step of her product development and the early stages of her business.
This is what was covered:
DESIGN & MANUFACTURING
- Finalising the collection offerings – what are the products/designs, how many colour options? Create a table of all options. Consider whether it’s too much or too little?
- Finalising materials and components with suppliers.
- Analyse the costs and define price points.
BRANDING & WEBSITE
- Website design: Get inspiration from other websites – consider Tory Burch website as a case study.
- Decide on the cover image on home page or consider a slideshow.
- Create credibility: by showing expertise through videos, offer consulting or courses in related/gained skills – such as tailoring, pattern cutting.
- Create blog posts describing your mission, expertise, your journey. Talk about your story and your brand’s story. What’s involved? Show behind the scenes.
- Schedule blog posts on regular basis.
- Have a newsletter sign-up option on your website.
- Create weekly newsletters and give honest updates.
- Join Facebook groups.
- Start building your following on social media.
THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS SESSION
- Tell your story – why did you decide to start your brand?
- Start building your network and customer base even when you have no product ready.
I think these days it’s important to be a head of the game and start proactively building your customer base even before you launch your product. I must admit that I struggle with this myself. Time and planning is key.
These mentoring sessions take place once a month so I will be reporting back on session 5. within the next few weeks. Stay tuned. Kx