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 5. 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
- Decide on whether you want to launch one product in several colour options and offer personalised service, or whether to offer multiple product designs from the start. It’s important to know how you approach your offerings and where are you going with it. What is your vision for year 2, 3 and beyond.
- Use the pyramid method, which divides your offerings into 3 groups: low-range – e.g. 5 standard colours, mid-range – e.g. 3 special colours or materials such as metallics and high-range e.g. bespoke service with exclusive materials, monogramming and more.
- Products availability: Low-range products should be in stock for immediate dispatch whereas high-range, bespoke products should be delivered between 2 – 4 weeks.
- Change collections or product offerings according to seasons but in the fashion industry consider creating new products at least every 6 months, if applicable.
BRANDING & WEBSITE
- Start sending out newsletters at least one a week (for retail business).
- Create content everyday and use social media – Instagram, Facebook, newsletter for exposure. You can use tools such as Hootsuite, IFTTT, Latergram for scheduling your articles and free educational content.
- In terms of what content to create, consider: blog articles, styling ideas, the story and inspiration behind the collection, behind the scenes.
- Try to connect with customers and ask for feedback.
- Offer free content by showing your expertise through videos, tutorials or ebook.
THE BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FROM THIS SESSION
Decide on your pyramid structure and build the marketing campaign around that.
Having a clear vision of where you are going as well as knowing your company’s purpose are absolutely vital even before you start designing your products.
These mentoring sessions take place once a month so I will be reporting back on session 6. within the next few weeks. Stay tuned. Kx