Fashion trade shows are a hugely important part of i.LEVEL’s calendar. It’s at shows like Pure, London Edge, Scoop, MODA, etc that we get to meet many of our users as well as keep a sharp finger on the pulse of the fashion industry – things are moving extremely quickly, especially now.
We also use trade events to attend talks and presentations by industry figures, and earlier this month Theo Paphitis gave a very insightful presentation at Autumn Fair, the UK’s leading event for home and gift retail.
A Dragons’ Den star for many years, Paphitis has built numerous successful brands from scratch, and at Autumn Fair he hosted a seminar about the ever-changing face of retail, and how small businesses can not only succeed, but prosper.
Here are his key takeaways that fashion brands can learn from:
- Consumers are more ‘promiscuous’ than ever. There is no loyalty from your customers, and with one click they can be browsing another – perhaps a competitor’s – website. Get your customer service and product journey flawless and you’ll soon see those returning orders.
- Where there’s disruption, there’s opportunity. We’ve seen how the high street has suffered over the last decade, but it’s not dead. Do your homework and having a reason ‘to exist’ in order to make your business shine above anyone else’s. In short, occupy a niche and work hard at it…for inspiration just look at JD Sports latest figures!
- Reach the customer in a different way. You can no longer rely on them walking past your shop or stumbling upon your website, so how do you spread the word about your brand? Ramp up SEO and invest in marketing strategies. They don’t necessarily have to be expensive either, often the best ideas are free – like a blog.
- Take a step backwards to take a step forward. Many brands want to run before they can walk and want to move from the kitchen table into a new office or hire extra staff on limited output. Be measured in your approach and think about what your objectives are. Learn to walk before you jump.
- Small brands have an advantage. Independent businesses are “hot right now”. The advantage of small brands – fashion included – is that they can move fast, adapt quickly and be agile, without the encumbrance of large overheads, legacy structures, etc.
If anything, young fashion brands are better placed to succeed now than in any recent time, but as Paphitis adds, “it all needs to be done right”.
If you’re interested to learn more about what Paphitis had to say at Autumn Fair, take a look at his videos on Autumn Fair’s Facebook page here. You may even want to check out Theo’s Small Business Sunday initiative which has been running since 2010 and supports the development of rising brands.
Finally, if you run an expanding fashion brand business, our range of fashion software solutions can help you manage your multi-sales channels smartly and efficiently. With full oversight of all your stock, no matter where it sits, you can merchandise intelligently, allocate stock to the right areas, and re-order successful lines quickly. In short, whether it’s fashion wholesale, concessions, high street retail, ecomm platforms, etc, i.LEVEL can help your fashion brand’s operations. To find out more, call us on 01234 761 757 or email – we’d be pleased to hear from you!