Brand Identity: How to Discover and Define Your Unique Persona

Brand Identity: How to Discover and Define Your Unique Persona

In the crowded landscape of today's market, a brand identity is not just a logo; it's a story, a personality, and a promise. Simply put, it is an experience for your audience! It's about uncovering what makes your brand truly exceptional.

Knowing how important it is, crafting your brand identity requires a thoughtful approach.

This article will walk you through practical steps, providing hands-on suggestions and 2 case studies to empower you in the journey of creating a brand identity that stands out in the fashion crowd.

For quick reference, here are jump-links that will take you directly to the sections you need.

Introduction: The Power of a Unique Fashion Persona

Unveiling the Essence of Your Brand 

Steps in Crafting Your Unique Brand Identity

Case Study 1: FashCo A, an already existing company looking to rebrand

Case Study 2: FashCo B, a brand spanking new company that wants to launch

Conclusion


Introduction: The Power of a Unique Fashion Persona

crafting your brand

Before we delve deep into the step-by-step process of discovering and defining the heartbeat of your brand, let's define what brand identity really is.

Brand identity encompasses the visual, emotional, and cultural aspects that distinguish a brand and sets it apart from others. It is a holistic representation of how a brand wants to be perceived by its audience.

This includes visual elements such as logos, color schemes, and typography, as well as the brand's tone, messaging, and overall personality. 

Its purpose is to create a consistent and recognizable image for the brand, fostering a sense of connection and loyalty with the audience.


Unveiling the Essence of Your Brand

Crafting a unique brand identity is a journey, not a destination. It is an ongoing process, much like designing a collection. It is a living entity and identity that grows and evolves with time, experiences, and the changing landscape of fashion. 

As you embark on this journey, remember that your brand is not just what you sell; it's the story you tell and the emotions you evoke. It will be the most powerful impression you make on the fashion scene.   


Steps in Crafting Your Unique Brand Identity

define your brand

Now let's dive into the steps that will help you craft a brand identity that not only reflects your style but also leave a lasting imprint in the minds of your audience. 

1. Soul Searching: Defining Brand Essence

Your brand identity should be an authentic reflection of who you are. Start by understanding your values, vision, and the story you want to tell. This foundational step sets the tone for every aspect of your brand.

  • Begin with introspection: What values drive your brand?
  • Identify the mission and vision that fuel your brand's journey.
  • Uncover the emotional and cultural aspects that make your brand unique.

2. Customer-Centric Approach: Understand Your Audience

To create a brand identity that resonates, you have to understand your target audience. What are their preferences, lifestyles, and values? Tailoring your brand to align with your audience and their pain points builds a more meaningful connection.

  • Develop detailed customer personas to understand your audience.
  • Analyze their needs, preferences, and pain points.
  • Align your brand identity with what resonates with your target market.

3. Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What Sets You Apart?

What exactly makes your fashion brand special? Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – the element that sets you apart from competitors. Whether it's sustainable practices, innovative designs, or a commitment to inclusivity, let your USP shine through.

  • Identify the unique qualities that make your products or services stand out.
  • Define your USP—what value do you offer that others don't?
  • Ensure your USP aligns with the needs and desires of your target audience.

4. Visual Identity: Designing a Memorable Image and Brand Aesthetic

memorable brand

Your visual identity is the face of your brand. Craft a memorable logo, choose a distinctive color palette, and select fonts that resonate with your brand personality. This visual consistency enhances brand recognition.

  • Craft a memorable logo that encapsulates your brand's personality.
  • Choose a color palette and typography that aligns with your brand message.
  • Ensure visual consistency across all brand touchpoints.

From experience, I would advise you not to stay so fixated on this as this will evolve over time. I have met emerging designers overly focused on the perfect logo, the perfect website and the perfect storefront that they forget that their number one priority is to launch and sell. Don't make that mistake. You will perfect this over time.

5. Craft a Compelling Brand Story: Weaving Emotion into Fabric & Narrative

branding

Every brand has a story waiting to be told. Share your journey, inspirations, and the passion behind your creations.  A compelling brand story not only engages your audience but also forms an emotional connection.

  • Develop a compelling brand story that reflects your journey and values.
  • Infuse emotion into your narrative to create a lasting connection.
  • Communicate consistently across all platforms.

6. Consistency is Key: Harmony Across Channels

unique brand identity

Consistency breeds trust. Ensure your brand identity is consistent across all platforms – from your website and social media to your packaging. A harmonious brand experience builds credibility.

  • Implement consistent branding on your website, social media, and marketing materials.
  • Create brand guidelines for internal and external use.
  • Regularly audit and update to maintain brand consistency.

Remember not to overthink it lest you become a victim of analysis-paralysis. When you overthink it or strive for perfection, you will never launch. There is no such thing as perfection.

7. Be Adaptable: Flow with Fashion Trends

While consistency is crucial, adaptability is equally important. Stay attuned to evolving fashion trends and be ready to infuse freshness into your brand identity without losing its core essence.

  • Stay aware of industry trends and shifts.
  • Adapt your brand identity without compromising core values.
  • Engage with your audience to understand evolving expectations.


Case Studies:


Case Study: Elegance Defined - The Journey of FashCo. A


Introduction: Inception of FashCo. A

FashCo A, a budding fashion brand, set out to redefine elegance in the fashion industry. Through a meticulous brand identity development process, they crafted a unique narrative that resonated with their audience.

1. Soul Searching: Defining Brand Essence

Challenge: FashCo. A wanted to move beyond just selling clothes; they aimed to embody a sense of timeless sophistication and luxury.

Steps Taken:

  • Conducted internal workshops to articulate core values: elegance, quality, and authenticity.
  • Defined a mission to provide exclusive, handcrafted fashion that stands the test of time.
  • Uncovered emotional connections by exploring the personal stories of the founders and designers.

Outcome: The brand essence became rooted in the idea of "Elegance Redefined" — a commitment to timeless style and exceptional craftsmanship.

2. Customer-Centric Approach: Understanding Audience Desires

Challenge: FashCo. A needed to connect with a discerning audience seeking bespoke, high-quality fashion.

Steps Taken:

  • Developed detailed customer personas, understanding the preferences and aspirations of their target market.
  • Conducted surveys and engaged with potential customers on social media to gather insights.
  • Aligned brand values with the aspirations of their sophisticated audience.

Outcome: A profound understanding of the target audience allowed FashCo. A to tailor their brand identity to resonate with the desires of their clientele.

3. Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Crafting Unparalleled Luxury

Challenge: To stand out in a competitive market, FashCo. A needed a compelling USP.

Steps Taken:

  • Identified unique qualities: handcrafted details, limited-edition collections, and sustainable practices.
  • Crafted a USP around providing exclusive, luxury fashion that tells a story.
  • Ensured the USP aligned with the desires and values of their audience.

Outcome: FashCo. A's USP became "Luxury Beyond Trends," emphasizing exclusivity, craftsmanship, and sustainability.

4. Visual Identity: Designing a Timeless Image

Challenge: Creating a visual identity that reflects elegance and sophistication.

Steps Taken:

  • Hired a skilled designer to craft a logo that symbolized refinement and craftsmanship.
  • Chose a color palette of muted tones to evoke a sense of classic luxury.
  • Ensured visual consistency across all branding materials and platforms.

Outcome: A visually cohesive brand image was established, resonating with the elegance FashCo. A  sought to convey.

5. Brand Storytelling: Weaving Narratives of Elegance

Challenge: Crafting a narrative that went beyond product features.

Steps Taken:

  • Developed a brand story that highlighted the journey of artisans and the meticulous creation process.
  • Infused emotional elements, emphasizing the dedication to timeless elegance.
  • Communicated consistently through blog posts, social media, and product descriptions.

Outcome: The brand story became a key element in building a connection with customers, elevating FashCo. A beyond a fashion label.

6. Consistency is Key: Harmony Across Channels

Challenge: Maintaining brand consistency in the digital and physical realms.

Steps Taken:

  • Developed brand guidelines for internal and external use.
  • Regularly audited all brand materials to ensure consistency.
  • Implemented consistent visual branding on the website, social media, and packaging.

Outcome: FashCo. A established a harmonious brand presence, fostering recognition and trust among their audience.

7. Adaptability: Evolving with Elegance

Challenge: Staying relevant in a dynamic fashion industry.

Steps Taken:

  • Kept a pulse on industry trends and consumer preferences.
  • Adapted marketing strategies to align with evolving expectations.
  • Engaged with the audience for feedback on new collections and designs.

Outcome: FashCo. A showcased an adaptable brand identity, evolving without compromising their core values.

Conclusion: A Timeless Tale of Elegance

Through a strategic brand identity development journey, FashCo. A successfully positioned itself as a beacon of timeless elegance. The brand essence, rooted in sophistication and craftsmanship, became a magnet for a discerning audience. 

By consistently aligning every aspect of their brand with these core values, FashCo. A not only stood out but created a lasting legacy in the competitive world of fashion.


FashCo. B: Crafting a Timeless Brand Identity

Introduction: The Genesis of FashCo. B

In the bustling world of fashion, FashCo. B emerges as a visionary brand aiming to redefine elegance for the modern era. As they embark on their journey to launch, they recognize the significance of a strong brand identity. 

This case study explores the step-by-step process FashCo. B undertakes to carve its niche in the fashion landscape.

1. Soul Searching: Defining Brand Essence

Challenge: FashCo. B aspires to embody more than just style; they want to evoke a sense of timeless sophistication.

Steps Taken:

  • Values Exploration: Conducted internal workshops to articulate core values such as elegance, inclusivity, and sustainability.
  • Mission Statement: Defined a mission to provide accessible and sustainable fashion that transcends trends.
  • Emotional Connection: Explored personal stories of the founders, weaving emotions into the brand narrative.

Outcome: FashCo. B defines its brand essence as "Timeless Elegance for All," reflecting a commitment to inclusivity and sustainability.

2. Customer-Centric Approach: Understanding Audience Desires

Challenge: FashCo. B aims to resonate with a diverse audience seeking stylish yet sustainable clothing.

Steps Taken:

  • Customer Personas: Developed detailed customer personas, understanding the preferences and values of their target market.
  • Engagement: Conducted surveys and engaged with potential customers on social media to gather insights.
  • Alignment: Aligned brand values with the desires of their environmentally conscious and fashion-forward audience.

Outcome: A profound understanding of the target audience allows FashCo. B to tailor their brand identity to meet the desires of their clientele.


3. Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Crafting Unparalleled Style

Challenge: To stand out in a competitive market, FashCo. B needed a distinctive offering.

Steps Taken:

  • Distinctive Qualities:  Identified unique qualities like sustainable materials, versatile designs, and an inclusive size range.
  • USP Crafting: Crafted a USP emphasizing "Elevated Style, Thoughtfully Made" to highlight both aesthetic and ethical aspects.
  • Audience Alignment: Ensured the USP resonated with the fashion preferences and values of their target audience.

Outcome: FashCo. B's USP positions them as a brand offering stylish, sustainable fashion for diverse individuals.

4. Visual Identity: Designing a Modern Image

Challenge: Creating a visual identity that reflects modern elegance and sustainability.

Steps Taken:

  • Visual Elements: Hired a skilled designer to create a minimalist yet sophisticated logo reflecting their commitment to sustainability.
  • Color Palette: Chose a color palette combining earthy tones with pops of elegance.
  • Visual Consistency: Ensured visual consistency across the website, social media, and promotional materials.

Outcome: FashCo. B establishes a visually appealing and cohesive brand image that aligns with their values.

5. Brand Storytelling: Weaving Narratives of Modern Elegance

Challenge: Crafting a narrative that communicates both style and sustainability.

Steps Taken:

  • Founder's Story: Developed a brand story highlighting the journey of the founders and their commitment to sustainable fashion.
  • Emotional Appeal: Infused emotional elements into the narrative, emphasizing the impact of conscious choices on the environment.
  • Consistent Communication: Communicated the brand story consistently through blog posts, social media, and product descriptions.

Outcome: The brand story becomes a key element in building a connection with customers, elevating FashCo. B beyond a clothing label.

6. Consistency is Key: Harmony Across Channels

Challenge: Maintaining brand consistency in the digital and physical realms.

Steps Taken:

  • Brand Guidelines: Developed comprehensive brand guidelines for internal and external use.
  • Regular Audits: Conducted regular audits of all brand materials to ensure consistency.
  • Digital and Physical Consistency: Implemented consistent branding on the website, social media, and packaging.

Outcome: FashCo. B establishes a harmonious brand presence, fostering recognition and trust among their audience.

7. Adaptability: Evolving with Modern Elegance

Challenge: Staying relevant and adaptable in a dynamic fashion industry.

Steps Taken:

  • Trend Awareness: Kept a pulse on industry trends and shifts, especially in sustainable fashion.
  • Engagement Strategies: Adapted marketing strategies to align with evolving expectations.
  • Customer Feedback: Engaged with the audience for feedback on new collections and sustainable practices.

Outcome: FashCo. B showcases an adaptable brand identity, evolving without compromising their core values.

Conclusion: A Modern Tale of Elegance


Through a strategic brand identity development journey, FashCo. B sets itself on a path to redefine modern elegance. The brand essence, rooted in inclusivity and sustainability, becomes a guiding force in their journey to create stylish, thoughtfully made fashion for diverse individuals.

As FashCo. B takes its first steps into the fashion market, it stands as a testament to the power of crafting a brand identity that resonates with both style-conscious consumers and those committed to a sustainable future.


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Conclusion


Crafting a unique brand identity is not just an art; it's a process. Each step brings you closer to defining your unique style signature in the fashion industry.

As you follow this guide, remember that your brand identity is an evolving expression of your creativity and passion. Craft it with care, and watch your fashion venture become an unmistakable presence in the industry.

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If you like this article, please share with your network.

Hi there! My name is Temi.

I am passionate about helping fashion lovers and creative entrepreneurs transform their lives by reaching their true potential through their skills and talent.

Follow me on social media @martwayne.

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Temi Williams ‧ Fashion Professional & Educator

5 Ways to Make More Money from Your Sewing Hobby

5 Ways to Make More Money from Your Sewing Hobby

After spending well over a decade working with fashion designers to start or grow their businesses, I have since realized that many people who have that passion for sewing do not fully appreciate how much massive demand there is for their skill.  

For many, it is all about sewing and selling the end product. You love the craft, it's your passion, you make a garment or perhaps an apron, you offer it for sale to an end user, perhaps on your own online website or on Etsy. And sure enough, you are making sales.

For others, it is about knowing how to sew and then teaching others how to sew. Which is fantastic. I also have online sewing and pattern drafting courses so I would never say that is a bad idea at all. It has made me a pretty decent amount of money!

However, in a highly competitive industry such as the fashion industry, targeting only end users is you leaving lots of money on the table!


Stop throwing money in the bin!

 I'll give you 2 examples!


Example 1: Garment Production Consulting

Earlier today, I received an email from a popular ladieswear clothing brand. The company's request? They believed I could help them reduce inefficiencies in their garment production process and help the brand scale better. And I definitely can!

Here is an extract of the email.

Why was I the perfect person to approach? Probably for the following reasons:

1. I wrote a book titled 'How to Start a Clothing Factory' - of which I had sold well over a thousand copies. My reviews of the book speak for themselves and how struggling fashion businesses turned their businesses around.

2. I was able to write this book because I had run a Clothing Factory producing clothing for fashion designers, mostly professionals such as bankers with full time jobs who wanted to start their own clothing lines and sell to their colleagues. So I thoroughly understood the garment production process from start to finish.

You can get the book at this link. The book was targeted at a different region but the principles are applicable anywhere as it teaches the basic structure you need to have in place. I am in New York and I constantly mentor fashion designers and full time professionals looking to start clothing lines on the side searching for manufacturing companies to produce for them in small quantities. 

3. I put my Fashion Design degree, accounting background and research skills to good use. I went beyond mere garment construction to fully understanding the importance of each step in the process, its relevance in the fashion industry ecosystem and value chain and how each step can be sold as a separate product or service. 

So simply put, I transformed the sewing skills, which I learnt in Fashion School, into something much more than just sewing and it didn't affect any other thing I did.

Cloth Face masks for sale

Extract of Martwayne Proposal for Facemask Production 

Example 2: Facemask Production

During the pandemic, because I already ran a Clothing Factory, I got requests from not only individuals who needed facemasks but also companies who needed face masks.

Because I already had a system in place, I made tens of thousands of facemasks, some orders which I completed in less than a week. It was like clockwork! And the best part is, it did not affect me selling masks directly to my customers as well.

Why am I telling you all this?


If only you knew just how much money you can make from your sewing hobby, you would leverage on what you normally do without thinking and what you already enjoy doing and monetize each of the steps in your current process to make more money.

That way, you are not only dependent on end users buying your products, you are also targeting other fashion businesses (who have more money to spend). 

I can safely tell you that as a fashion business mentor, I have mentored LOTS of fashion designers who have no idea where to get their patterns made, much less getting their samples created on time for mass production.

In fact, one person I currently mentor has had her sample destroyed 3 times at her own expense. And some patterns for other designers have cost more than $1,000.

Being relatively new to New York, I had no idea patterns cost that much at all! Patterns you can probably get done in a day, get paid and move on with your work!

So now, without going into the nitty gritty, let me dissect your sewing skill and highlight 5 ways you can make more money from your sewing hobby - still doing what you love, increasing your profits, reducing your stress levels looking for customers and running the business of your dreams.

Because I tell you, these B2B customers will find you if you position your business properly. They desperately need your services because the survival of their businesses and clothing brands depend on it!


5 Ways to Make More Money from Your Sewing Skills



I stumbled on a clothing factory in the New York Fashion District when I went searching for a sewing space rental near me (long story for another day).  Anyway, on chatting with the staff, I was told I had to bring my pattern, bring my sample for them to create their own sample, get my patterns graded myself and get my fabrics. All they did was the mass production.  

I was surprised! With the exception of sourcing for fabrics for the customers of the Clothing Factory, I did everything else for the designers. Even when I produced my own clothing line in China, they did all the work - including sourcing for fabrics. Only then did I fully understand the challenges the designers I mentored in New York were also facing.

Perhaps my experience was a one off but that got me thinking. Why are sewing enthusiasts not targeting other designers and offering them these same services?

So as an advanced sewer, let's look at the typical steps in the garment production process:

1. Create a design

2. Choose a size chart or take body measurements

3. Draft a pattern

4. Create a sample / toile

5. Adjust and grade the pattern

6. We can add sourcing for fabrics (if you really enjoy fabric buying).

There are other areas in the garment production process such as creation of fashion illustrations, technical flats and tech packs / spec sheets which you can also make money from but those are outside the core of your sewing skills and may be a bit complicated so I'll just leave it at the first 5. 

These 5 steps are services that you can offer other designers or aspiring fashion designers looking to start their own clothing brands and it does not affect your ability to still produce your own clothes for your end users.

Create designs for sale

Of course to make anything at all, you have to start with a design. There are designers out there looking for designs to buy for their lines. Some people just want to sell clothes so why not create some designs or a catalogue so you can sell your designs to them. I know I have bought many designs in the past just more my library.

Create size charts

You might think 'why can't they just get that from a website or a pattern book'. After operating in the fashion industry for years, I can safely tell you that size charts are not always accurate - especially if you have a client that has a unique body shape and is creating a clothing brand for people just like them.

This is one of the biggest headaches for new fashion businesses and since you have been sewing for years, you can bring your wealth of experience to the table. When clients sent me size charts from websites, just one look at the charts and I could instantly tell if it would work for them or not.

Most times it didn't and I would work with them to build their own charts from scratch. I have created size charts for plus sizes, 'petite' sizes, 'taille' sizes, apple shaped bodies, pear shaped bodies, etc. I never charged for it because I was more focused on production but it is something you can charge for and the clients are willing to pay for as well.

Draft a pattern

This one's easy. You need a pattern to create the clothes right? Especially for mass production. The pattern really is the garment on paper. If you are an expert in pattern drafting, this will be your biggest cash cow! You can either create the patterns for their design or simply sell the patterns for the designs they bought off you.

As an advanced sewer, the assumption is that you can create patterns from scratch and alter patterns. This might not be the case if you only work with ready made sewing patterns. However, learning how to create patterns is really easy. 

In fact, I have an online pattern drafting course that teaches the principles behind altering your block patterns into so many different styles. Once you understand the principles, you can pretty much create anything.

This is one major need out there so I suggest you hone your skills in pattern drafting so you can take full advantage of the skill. I will drop the link to my online pattern drafting course once I am done switching my LMS!

Create a sample

Of course you sew already. And if you created the pattern, then you already know how to sew it. So why not offer a sample / toile production service to fashion brands? You are already doing what you love doing anyway so why not charge for the service? They probably would not complain as much as end users will and if you do a great job, they'll keep coming back!

Adjust & Grade the Pattern

This is probably the easiest of the lot. And you can make a lot of money from it. And the best part is - you don't even have to be the one to create the original pattern. Once the pattern has been certified ok, all you need to do is grade it - either manually or digitally and send it off to them. Easy peasy!

Phew! I have written quite a bit for you to digest! Hope it has helped you to see the full potential of your skill and a hobby. For me, if you can make even more money doing what you already do - in a fraction of the time, then why not?! 

There are people out there who desperately need your services so why not meet them at their point of need! Trust me, from experience, it is well worth it!

If you have questions on any of the ideas I gave, do drop them in the comments section and I will be happy to shed more light on how you can go about it! 

Cheers! 


You may also like these:

How to use freebies to grow your fashion business

Want to run a successful fashion business? Start with Why

Fashion Business Ideas:

Visual Merchandising

About the Author

Hi there! My name is Temi.


I am passionate about helping fashion lovers and sewing hobbyists reach their true potential and live their rich lives through their talent and skill. I will help you turn your passion for fashion from mere love and skill into a profitable business.  


You can reach me on twilliams@martwayne.com

Temi Williams ‧ Fashion Professional & Educator

Want to run a successful fashion business? Have a sales strategy

Want to run a successful fashion business? Have a sales strategy

Whether you’re a fashion designer or retailer, you must have a sales strategy if you want to stay in business. Making sales is just as important as creating the product so neglecting sales in favour of the perfect product is a recipe for disaster.

Selling your fashion product can be a daunting task. There are so many things that you need to think about, from how you're going to price your product to what kind of photos you will use.

Then you have to think about how to get the message about your product out to your target audience where exactly they'll see it and in the language they will easily identify with.

That is why having a sales strategy and testing out these strategies is vital so you don't run out of business.


Why you need a sales strategy

A sales strategy is a plan that helps you identify your target market, create a product or service that will appeal to them, and determine how to get your product or service into their hands.

Sales translate into revenue, which means that if you have a sales strategy, then you can use it to predict how much money your company will make.



The Link between Marketing and Sales

People tend to use the term marketing and sales interchangeably but they have differences.

Marketing plans are designed to generate awareness of your brand and its products or services, while sales plans focus on closing deals—not just generating leads.

A good sales strategy requires a good marketing strategy. Without a clear understanding of what you're trying to accomplish with your marketing efforts, it's impossible to know what kinds of tactics are necessary for success—and even if you do manage to come up with some great ideas for campaigns and promotions, they won't be very effective if they're not targeted at the right audience.

Your marketing strategy should also be informed by your sales strategy, since both are intimately connected to each other. By knowing who your customer base is and how they think about buying things, you can create more effective advertisements that resonate with them and make them want to buy from you more often than not—which means more money in the bank!


How to Create an Effective Sales Strategy


1. Create a product that people want
2. Plan your marketing strategy
3. Use the right tools

1. Create a product that people want:

The most important thing you can do is make sure that the product you're selling actually has value in the eyes of consumers. If people don't see the value in what you're selling, they aren't going to buy it—and they won't be likely to come back and buy anything else from you in the future either!

2. Plan your marketing strategy:

Once your product is ready for sale, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to market it to customers (and why). Are there certain audiences or demographics who would be more likely to buy this product than others? Do any competitors have similar products that might affect sales for yours? What are some ways we could reach them?

These are all questions worth asking yourself before investing too much into marketing efforts—because once you start spending money on ads or campaigns, it can get expensive fast!

3. Use the right tools:

Not that we know why having a sales strategy is important, There are so many tools out there you can use, not only to spread the word about your products, but also to close your sales.

Let's discuss 3 tools that you can use for your sales strategy.


Tools for an Effective Sales Strategy


1. Social Media

If you want to make sales with social media, it's all about the content. And if you're not using social media to its fullest potential, then you're missing out on a huge opportunity.

First, you need to know where your audience is. This can be tricky for businesses that don't have a big budget for advertising—but it's possible! You just have to be creative.

For example, if you sell shoes online, figure out what hashtags people use when they search for shoes—and then use those same hashtags in your posts. That way when someone searches for those keywords, they'll see your content and hopefully buy from you!

Next up: videos are better than pictures because they're more interactive and engaging. So next time you're posting something on Instagram or Facebook or wherever else, try making a short video instead of just posting a picture.

Finally: carousels are great if you want to attract more views than normal photos or videos do because people tend to scroll through them without clicking anything else—so if there's something interesting in the middle of your carousel (like an offer or discount code), people will see it and click on it.


2. Online Advertising

Facebook and Google adverts are a great way to reach new customers and get them interested in your products. The problem is that many people think they're too expensive! But there are actually a ton of ways to use these platforms for a fraction of the cost. Here's how:

a) If you want more visitors from Google, focus on keywords! People search for things all the time, and if they search for something and find your ad at the top of their results pages, they'll click through. You'll have a new customer!

Try using a service like Keywords Everywhere or Answer the Public to know what people are searching for so you can tailor your sales pages to and insert these keywords into the text. That might be more likely to get people clicking on your ad.

b) Don't underestimate how powerful Facebook ads can be. They're cheap—really cheap—and they can drive huge amounts of traffic to your site. You just have to know what your audience looks like and where they're likely to be found on Facebook. 

Target your audience as narrowly as possible. You can narrow your target audience down to your business location, what age group they fall into, or even their gender. This will allow you to save money while still reaching a specific group of people who might be interested in what you have to offer—which means less wasted money.

But here's the thing: all of this only works if your website is optimized. If you don't have an optimized site, then no one will see your ads or visit your site when they do click through!

That's why I recommend using a free service like Wix or Google My Business (GMB) to build an optimized website.


3. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to make sales for your business. It's one of the reasons that so many businesses rely on referrals from their customers and clients to grow their business.

Word-of-mouth marketing is when you ask your customers to tell others about their experience with your product or service. You can do this by asking customers to share on social media, leave reviews, or refer friends and family members.

Word-of-mouth marketing works because it's authentic and real. When someone has a good experience with your product or service, they're going to want to tell others about it! They'll want everyone else to know how much they enjoyed the product or service—and why they think other people should try it too!

So how do you use word of mouth as a sales strategy? It's simple. Ask for reviews from current customers. If they enjoyed your product, they will be happy to give you one. Make sure you ask for their pictures and their social handles as well to lend more authenticity. It works for me every time!


Conclusion

The internet is a great place to find new customers for your business. You can use social media, Google Ads, and other forms of advertising to reach people who are interested in what you're selling. Good old word of mouth advertising also works tremendously well.

But how do you make sure that people who see your ad actually buy from you?

Put a lot of thought into your sales strategy while you are building the product or service. In fact, a lot of your sales content can be obtained while creating the product such as behind the scenes videos and photoshoots.

The best way is to start by creating a strategy that lets you do more than just sell products—it lets you build relationships with customers so that they keep coming back for more!

Which strategy do you use? We would love to hear from you. Drop a comment in the section below.








Why Businesses Fail

Why Businesses Fail

Why do businesses fail? They run out of cash! It's just that simple! 

Of course there are other reasons like bad management, not researching the competition, not having a plan, not pricing properly, etc. but really, it all culminates into one major result.

  • If you have bad management, chances are there will be an improper use or channelling of funds or losing good people which can turn into huge hiring costs on training new staff.
  • Not researching the competition will probably result in your business losing customers to the competition - so no inflow of funds.
  • Not having a plan - massive recipe for disaster because without a plan or a budget, you will have nothing to guide you.
  • Not pricing properly, - goodness, that is another story for another day!

The summary of all this is when you have negative cash flow because you are spending more than you are earning, you will run out of cash and the business will fail!

If you're at the point where your business is on life support, well first - take a deep breath! We've all been there and you will get out of it! You just have to know what to do so you can retrace your steps! 

So let's start from the very beginning to understand the real reasons for cash flow problems and what you can do about it.

No matter how good your business plan is or how talented your team is, things can always go wrong. No business is immune to failure, but by understanding the most common reasons why businesses fail, you can take steps to protect your small business.

One of the most common reasons businesses fail, like we said earlier, is due to cash flow problems. Not having enough money to cover your expenses is a sure-fire way to go under, and it can happen to even the most well-run companies.

Cash flow problems can stem from a number of different issues, such as not bringing in enough revenue to cover expenses, not being able to get paid on time by customers, or having to make large capital investments upfront or spending money on the wrong things! 

In my free book, 7 Mistakes to Avoid as an Entrepreneur this was my Mistake No 4!  Classic reason on why businesses fail. So let's focus on 'spending money on the wrong things for a bit!  I wish I really understood years ago when I started my business - watch your costs like a hawk!

While it's obviously hard to build something new without the resources to do so, spending money to make money only works if you are spending on the right things. Whatever you do, do not fall victim of unnecessary spending! 

Getting a space when you don't need to or can't even afford it , buying expensive machines without knowing where business will come from or premature hiring will all leave you crying premium tears. Save as much as you can in the early days till your businesses is strong enough to get to the next level.

So ask yourself these questions:


Getting an Office Space:

Do you really need that office?  You do know it won't end with just the space right? You need to renovate, furnish and do some nice interior decor. And then add the extra electricity, utility and maintenance bills and it does rack up pretty quickly. 

At this point, how exactly will this new office generate income? You might feel you need a professional space to meet with your clients but how about using a virtual office in the early days? Or go out to meet the customer? Or work from a hub?

If you are a fashion designer who needs a production space, there are sewing hubs you can use in the early days to save yourself the huge expense of renting a place. Or you can work from home and meet your client in their space. It probably is financially wise to start with that.

Of course, if you are financially capable of getting a space, please go for it.


Getting expensive tools:

Do you really need those machines? Or that printer? Far too many small business owners buy things they don’t necessarily need.  They either buy tools they don’t need, or buy tools that are bloated with features they don’t use and may never use.

Better to purchase something that would suit a business of your size as long as it saves you a fair amount of money while being equally as effective.

Which brings me to another point. Try purchasing things that give the reasonable amount of benefit at that point in time with minimal cost - and which are directly related to revenue generation.

For example, you might want to use the free version of things and only upgrade when you have the stream of revenue to justify your upgrade or if you need some additional features that are important to your business.


Premature Hiring: 

Mistake No 3 that I highlighted in my free ebook, 7 Mistakes to Avoid as an Entrepreneur.  Like I said - been there, done that! It might seem tempting but don't hire until you absolutely have to. And the person you hire must either be able to increase revenue or reduce costs. 

Do you really need that PA to run those personal errands? I remember when I first started, I felt I needed that driver because I could not cope with the traffic. Well, turned out, I didn't really need him after all. I didn't move around often. After he left, I didn't get another driver. Turns out I just wasted all that money in the early days. 

If you don’t need it, then don’t do it. Hiring people too quickly makes you burn cash faster than you need to. In fact, staff costs tend to be the highest expense of a company.  Yes the temptation to get a sales and marketing team to boost revenue might be high, but if you can outsource it or get someone part-time, better for you.

Put into consideration which is more cost effective for you before you make a full-time hire. Don’t hire a full-time staff when you don’t have a full-time job for them. 


Premature Scaling: 

Lastly, do not scale prematurely. Let's put it simply using the earlier example. Do not go paying for office space before you have employees to fill it. Start small and grow gradually. It can't be perfect from Day 1 so take your time and enjoy your growth process.

And these are just a few. So now, let's talk about some other solutions that can help you tackle your cash flow problems!


Know your real costs

Costs can be categorized as either fixed costs or variable costs. Fixed costs are those that do not change with the level of production, for example rent. Variable costs are those that vary directly with the level of production, for instance raw materials. Knowing true costs is critical to business success and will help you better understand your break-even point and where you need to cut back to make a profit.


'Get personal'

Get personal. How much money do you need to live on? Are you taking more out of the business than it can afford? One easy way to check is to compare your business with others in your industry. You can use the ATO benchmarking tool, which compares businesses of similar size and industry. It can help you identify whether your costs are higher or lower than other businesses. If you're paying yourself too much, consider cutting back and investing those savings into marketing or a new product line. Also consider that your lifestyle may need to change as a start-up founder in order for your business to succeed.


Work with others

When you're running a business, it's important to keep tabs on your money. You should know where it's coming from and where it's going. The easiest way to do this, first things first, is by hiring a bookkeeper or accountant to help you out. This person can keep track of all your transactions and advise you when things look skewed.

You may think you can handle the accounting all on your own, but the truth is that others are often better at noticing patterns than we are; an outsider who isn't as close to the flow of money in and out will be helpful in spotting missteps before they become disasters.

Plus, doing this work yourself takes away from more productive tasks that only you can do (like running a meeting). By outsourcing some of these time-consuming jobs to a trusted partner, you'll be able to focus better and achieve more...Next up: be strong with decision making


Understand your cash flow

Cash flow is the money that flows in and out of your business. It's different from profit, which is the difference between what you spend and what you earn. Cash flow can be positive (there's more cash coming in than going out), or negative (more cash going out than coming in).

To stay on top of your cash flow, understand how much cash you need to run your business, how much cash is coming into your business and what will affect this amount. Having an understanding of these three things will help you forecast the state of your finances at any given time during the year.

This is important because it allows you to make adjustments before there are problems with paying bills. For example: if sales are down for a particular month, this may mean less money being collected from customers for products sold that month. If there isn't enough money coming into the business to cover expenses like rent or payroll, this could cause serious financial issues for your business. Understanding when sales are expected to go up and down can help avoid these issues by allowing you time to plan ahead accordingly.


Lean on your suppliers

Don't be afraid to ask for price breaks when you first start out. Most suppliers are willing to help new businesses get off the ground by offering discounts or payment options, and they understand that strong relationships lead to long-term growth for everyone involved.  Never be shy when it comes to money matters. All you need to do is ask! The worst response you can get is a No. BUT you can also get a Yes so why not ask anyway?


Have a plan B (... and C)

No matter how much you've planned ahead, there's always a chance that something might go wrong with your project. A natural disaster could come through, and knock out power to your business. Or maybe you arrive at work one morning to find that someone has broken into your store, stolen all of your cash registers and set the place on fire. Yes, these are extreme examples, but they actually happened to real businesses in the past year.

The point is: it's smart to plan for the unexpected. Make sure that everyone involved in your business has a backup plan for when things don't go according to plan – and make sure that if you haven't already done so, you have a backup plan for your personal finances as well. After all: if you're going down with the ship, make sure it goes down as comfortably as possible!


In summary:

Understanding your cost structure is vital to your success as a small business owner as it is essential in determining the price at which you sell your product or service. It can also help ensure that you earn a profit and don't inadvertently price yourself out of the market.

Understanding your cost structure is also important when making decisions about the future, such as whether to expand your business. For example, if you decide to open a second location, having information about how much rent costs will allow you to estimate potential rental costs for this second location. Knowing how many employees and what type of equipment is needed per location will help determine employee and equipment costs for the new location. By understanding all these factors, you will be able to make an informed decision regarding whether expansion is a good idea.

In addition, knowing your cost structure enables you to negotiate with suppliers more effectively. For example, if there are several suppliers that offer similar products or services at different prices and all other things are equal (e.g., quality), then cost becomes an important factor when choosing who to buy from. If one supplier's prices are consistently lower than another's but each has offered essentially the same quality products or services for years, it makes sense for you to choose the less expensive option over time because it keeps more money in your pocket so that it could be reinvested into growing or maintaining your business as opposed to being spent on expenses!


Above all, remember that mistakes are not failures! They are teachers, information, guide posts and opportunities. It is best to avoid cash flow problems but when mistakes do happen, don't beat yourself off over it. If your business does shut down, at least now you know what not to do in your next business venture. Dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and trust me, you will do better next time. 

If you have hit roadblocks, you should get this free ebook. It highlights 3 specific and common mistakes that lead to business cash flow problems and what you specifically need to do to fix it!

You can download your free copy here.  


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Want to run a successful fashion business? Create a proper structure

Want to run a successful fashion business? Create a proper structure

It is important to create a proper structure in your fashion business if you want it to succeed. We've all heard it: "organization is the key to success." It might sound like a cliche but it is true. I've been in the fashion business for a long time and I have coached several fashion entrepreneurs. One of the biggest mistakes I have observed people make when starting out is not creating a proper structure in their business.

You need to know what you want to achieve, and then create a clear path to achieving it. Otherwise, it's just going to be a mess! 
If you can't get your team on the same page, if you don't know what's going on, or if you're just winging it, then you will run into problems.

But here's the thing. Being organized doesn't have to be hard. All it takes is creating a proper structure for your business and following through on it.

But what exactly is a structure? And why is it so important? Let's dive in.



The word "structure" comes from the Latin word struktura, which means "to build or arrange in an orderly manner." And a structure is exactly that. A process or system of organizing things in an ordered way, so that they can be easily understood or accessed. 

Creating a proper structure means putting all of your efforts into making sure that everything is in place for a successful business. This means having a plan for success, hiring the right people to help you out, and making sure those people have everything they need to succeed.

The benefits of creating a proper structure are numerous and include:

- Being able to better manage your team and their workloads

- Being able to make better decisions about where to spend money and how much time should be spent on each project

- Eliminating confusion about what tasks need to be done and when they should be done by

When you make a structure for your business, you're creating an organizational system that helps clarify how things work and how people should interact with each other and the company.

It means having a plan for everything—from how you're going to manage your finances to how you'll handle customer complaints. For example, if you had a structure for sales commissions, you might make it clear who gets paid what, when and why—and how often—as well as what kinds of sales are eligible for commission.

Being organized doesn't have to be that hard. It's about knowing what you want to achieve and then stating the clear paths to achieving them. It can be as simple as documenting the steps involved in handling an order for your product. Or creating a procedural manual for creating a garment so any of your staff can follow the laid-out steps. 



Benefits of having a proper structure

So what are some benefits of having a proper structure? Well…

- It is a clear guide for you and your staff (if any) to follow.

- It reduces confusion by making sure everyone understands how things work and what their role is.

- It saves time by making it easier to find information about processes or policies.

- It increases efficiency by ensuring that all employees are operating on the same page.

-You'll be able to delegate tasks more easily and effectively because everyone will know what their responsibilities are and how they fit into the big picture of your work flow.

-Your team will feel empowered and motivated because they'll have clear direction on what's expected from them and how they can help contribute toward reaching company goals.


How to Create a Proper Structure

You may be wondering how to create a proper structure in your fashion business and I hear you. If you are stuck on where or how to begin, do this quick exercise.

- First write down your goals. I wrote extensively about these in my last 2 posts: Start with why and Write down your goals.

- Then create an overall plan for how your business will grow over time. This will help you figure out how much money you need to raise and how many resources you'll need in order to reach your goals.

- Next, break down that overall plan into smaller steps—like which products or services you'll be offering at different stages of your business's growth—and develop timelines so that each step happens at the right time.

Once you've created this list and action plan, write down everything that needs to happen in order for each item on your list to get done successfully (i.e., who needs to do what by when). Then track their progress.

- If you're a brand new company, once your business has been established for a while (say about two years), consider hiring someone else who, either has the experience running similar businesses or who you can train so they can take over some of those tasks while still allowing some flexibility around where things go next over time.

PS.

If you are completely clueless on how to even begin, then you need to do some research.

- Think about your previous place of work or maybe a big corporation you have visited - say a bank.

- What did you notice? Probably a guard at the door to welcome you and usher you to the right place. A customer services personnel to attend to your enquiry. A form you are meant to complete.

- Ask yourself these questions. Why were all these put in place? The write the steps you went through from getting through the door to leaving. All these are structures you can adopt in your business no matter how tiny your company is.

- Now think carefully... how can you adopt these things you have observed in your business.


Conclusion

A proper structure for your business can mean the difference between success and failure.

When you're starting a new business, it's tempting to just start doing stuff—but you have to think about the long term. You might not be able to see how much time and effort you'll need up front, but you need to be prepared for anything.

How can you create a structure that will help your business succeed? Here are some tips:

1) Get organized. Start by creating a list of all the different things your business needs to do every day. Make sure they're prioritized so that those things that are most important get done first.

2) Create timelines for each task on your list and stick with them! Don't let anything slip through the cracks because then it'll take longer than expected and everything else on your schedule will suffer as well.

3) Don't forget about yourself! Make sure there's time built into this schedule for breaks so that everyone involved stays healthy and happy throughout the day/week/month/year (or however long this project lasts).

If you have any tips, please share them in the comments below. We would love to hear them.


Want to run a successful fashion business? Write down your goals

Want to run a successful fashion business? Write down your goals

When you're running a fashion business, it can be hard to keep track of everything that's going on if you don't write down your goals. It's not just about having great products — you have to find ways to get them in front of potential buyers.

Your fashion business is just like any other business. The only thing that separates you from the rest of the pack is your passion for what you do. You have to have a plan in place if you want to succeed in this industry. You need goals, strategies, and tactics to help increase your sales and grow your business.

Goal setting is a crucial part of running a business. It helps you set and meet your sales targets, and it can also help you improve the way you run your business. If you don't know where you're headed, how will anyone else know?

If you know what your business can do and what you need it to do, then you can make sure it's working toward those goals instead of just wandering around aimlessly. And to do this, you need to write down your goals.


For example, let's say that you want to increase sales by 20% this year. You could set goals for how often you post new products on social media so that there's always something fresh and exciting for followers to see—and hopefully buy!

You could also set a goal for yourself to find new customers each month or week, and make sure that your social media marketing campaign includes links for people who might be interested in buying from your store. Setting goals like these will help keep your business moving forward and help you reach important milestones along the way.


The Preliminaries

First, let's talk about having the end in mind!

If you've never set goals before, or if you're not sure how to go about it, don't worry! I'm here to help and that is this post is about. 

I won't really go down the route of SMART goals. You probably have read them a million times before. Specific, Measurable, Actionable (or Achievable), Reasonable (or Realistic) & Time-bound. If you haven't heard of SMART goals, this article will really help. 

I'm going down a different route and will try and make it as practical as I can.


Start with Why

Let's assume you started your fashion business to make enough sales so you don't run into huge debts. You work full time but your salary isn't enough to pay off your huge loans and as a result decided to set up your fashion business as a side hustle to pay them off.

Or maybe you already even have a fashion business but you are neck deep inn debt. Or all you do is work hard just to pay bills and your debts. 

Now we have an end goal in mind. The reason we set up the business is to pay off our debts, live a better life and get out of the rat race by, say, the end of 2022.


Write down your goals

You may have heard the saying, "You can't hit a target you can't see." It is spot on! If you're in business, then you must set goals and track your progress toward those goals. But how do you do that? And what should your goals be?

It all starts when you write down your goals! Identify what success looks like.

What do you want to achieve? Do you want to increase sales by 10%? Do you want to be able to pay yourself a salary every month? Or do you want to grow your customer base beyond the local area? Whatever it is, write down what success will look like for your business.

Using the example above, the goal is to pay off your debts.

So the next step will be to determine: How much are those debts? 

Once you know the amount, then you know how much you need to make by the end of the year to make enough to pay off the debt. 

If your debt is 100,000, then your goal or target should be to make, maybe 2x that amount in sales so you can make enough money for certain business expenses and to pay off that debt. 

To do that, ask yourself:

- What steps are necessary for making that happen? 

- Which products do you have to create to meet those sales?

- How much money, if any, do you need to invest?

- What kind of marketing campaigns will you use?

These are all questions that need answers before moving forward with any plan of action.


Setting your targets

Running a business is like being in a maze. You could make so many wrong turns along the way that prevent you from reaching the end. But with a clear picture of where you are headed, you can carefully plan how to get there. Like I said in last week's post, if you don't know where you are headed, how will you get there?

Now that you have identified those and determined the products you want to sell to help you achieve those, then the next step is to break down those goals into smaller pieces. This helps make them more manageable and quantifiable—and easier to track over time.

For example: "Increase sales by 10%" could be broken down into "increase sales by 5%" every quarter for three consecutive quarters—and then "increase sales by 5% again" at the end of six months. That way, when someone asks how things are going, all you need to do is to calculate how far you have come and how far it will take to reach the next milestone.

Establishing goals helps you to define your business, and it helps keep you on track. It's no wonder why your goals have to be: 

Specific: i.e clear and easy to understand.

For example, "I will increase my sales by 20%" is specific but not measurable because it doesn't specify what you need to do or how much money you'll be earning.

"I will increase my sales by 200% next year" is specific but not achievable because it's likely too far off in the future (you probably won't have time to think about that big of an increase right now).

When writing down goals for your business plan, try to be as concrete as possible so that everyone can easily understand them later on.

Measurable: Make sure that every metric used in your plan can be measured with numbers—it's up to each person running their own business exactly how they want this part done!

For example: if you want more customers per day then you can measure things like how many visitors came into your store during one day vs another. 

If you want better marketing strategies then maybe look at your total revenue over two quarters compared against last year's numbers; etc.

Make sure at every stage you write down your goals so you can track them.

After writing down your goals and it becomes clearer, then it's time to take action.

  • List the steps you need to take to reach your goals.
  • Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable.
  • Keep track of your progress, and revisit them regularly.

Involve Others

You can take this a step further and get others involved. The more people who are connected to your goal, the more likely they’ll help you meet it. Think about who could help you reach your dream and then make an effort to build those relationships. Ask for help from family and friends, find a mentor or coach, or join a group that supports your goals (like online fashion communities).

You don’t have to go it alone! Connecting with other people who share similar interests or goals will give you strength when times get tough—and they will get tough! It may seem as though all the good things in life happen to other people until something happens that makes us realize: no one is immune from struggle. Don't isolate yourself by keeping all of your dreams close-to-the-vest; instead turn to others for support because they want what's best for you too!


Visualize Your Goals

Next, visualize your goals and the steps you need to take to get there. This is a very powerful way of creating a positive mindset that will help you achieve your goals. Visualize achieving your goals daily, as well as the rewards, benefits and impact they will have on your life.

To do this, close your eyes and picture yourself reaching those milestones in vivid detail. What does it look like? What are you wearing? Who else is with you? Feel how good it feels when this happens—what emotions are coming up for you? When I do this, I feel motivated and excited! 



Celebrate Small Victories

In order to keep yourself motivated, it's important to celebrate small victories. Don't be afraid to reward yourself for the little things and don't let others tell you that your goals aren't realistic or attainable.

For example: If one of your goals was to make 5,000 a month in sales by the end of the year, but instead you made 4,500 this month (which is still great!), then celebrate that achievement! 

You're on track for your goal and can build off of this momentum.


Conclusion

And this pretty much is how you set goals for yourself that keeps you excited about your fashion business. You have to set yourself up for success by setting goals. And more importantly, you have to write down your goals. 

Setting realistic and specific goals will help ensure that they won’t be too easy or too hard to achieve—you don't want them so easy that there's no challenge in completing them, but also not so difficult that they're unattainable!

The best way to do this is by creating measurable objectives with a time frame attached (i.e., "I will have X amount of sales within three months"). This allows us another opportunity at success if we come up short on our first attempt at meeting our target goal.

Instead of giving up hope entirely because things didn't work out exactly as planned, we can revisit our plan after taking some time off from working toward it so we can try again with renewed focus!

Goals are the foundation of any successful business, and running a fashion business is no exception. When you set goals for yourself, you’re making a commitment to achieving something and giving yourself a direction in which to move. You can use this process to help guide your decisions and give yourself an idea of where you want the company or brand to go.

If you haven't written down your goals yet, it's never too late. Start with ONE and let's take it from there. You can share them in the comments below.

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