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Guest Posts, eCommerce, Fridays with The Fashion Darling

How to take your fashion label from concept to profit? Ask The Fashion Darling

BY Dee Sarma 18 Sep, "15

Vanja Stace is the founder of The Fashion Darling School of Business. Her online course gives an opportunity to new designers and labels to tap into the knowledge and skill set of a marketing consultant. The Fashion Darling will be with us every friday to provide really valuable insights on how you can turn your brand dream into a reality.

Fashion designers face many challenges. The industry is saturated with brands in every part of the market, the global economy is far from being stable and there is so much to learn about running a business.

Technical brilliance or a great eye for design are just some of the skills you need to succeed, but there is so much more to it. Fashion business is highly competitive and many labels close within the first two years because they can’t make a profit. It’s nothing to do with being talented; business is a different set of skills altogether.

Many of our students are in the same place as you. They have a product but are not sure how to start and run a business profitably.

Many of our students are in the same place you are now – you have a product but you’re not sure how to start a business, how to get your designs made with a healthy profit margin, how to sell in the fashion eCommerce world, how to grow and how to manage your business.

The Fridays with The Fashion Darling series will explain how to create a business that survives and thrives. Stay tuned to learn more every friday on:

  1. Target Market and Ideal Buyer Persona
  2. Brand Strategy
  3. Pricing
  4. Sales Channels
  5. Marketing
  6. Business Management
  7. Reporting and Analysis 

Target market and Ideal Buyer Persona

When creating a unique brand you have to think about a few important aspects, starting with your target market and Ideal Buyer Persona.

Don’t skip over this crucial part of your business; make sure you identify your target market and Ideal Buyer Persona as this will build the foundation for your brand, your prices, your marketing strategy and everything that affects or involves your customer.

It is crucial to establish your ideal buyer persona. Who are they and what makes them tick?Who is your target market?

You can’t be selling to ‘everyone’ – this will result in you not being relevant to anyone. Identifying who you are trying to attract will mean you understand how they like to be communicated to, where they hang out (so you can reach them), how much they are prepared to pay for your goods, what inspires them to buy and remain loyal.

If you’re aiming to attract a fashion-forward customer who is female, aged 20-35 and can pay $500 for a cocktail dress then your brand and all of your marketing efforts will need to be aimed at this market in order to be relevant to them.

This customer will appreciate exclusivity, a high-end / luxe approach, and they won’t respond well to constant discounting, garish advertising campaigns or focus on how affordable your clothes are.

They will read fashion magazines like Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle and will follow specific fashion bloggers and social media influencers. If you advertise in the local paper you won’t reach this customer – so it’s important you identify this market.

Who is your IDEAL customer?

The Ideal Buyer Persona (also known as an Avatar) is your best customer. Creating this persona and clearly identifying their traits can be challenging (especially if you haven’t started trading yet and you don’t have any customers), but it’s important to know who this person is, what their life looks like, what they fear, how you can excite and inspire them, how you can create a relationship with them.

If you don’t have any customers use people you know as an example, or create this customer based on the qualities you want her to have.

If I use my fashion marketing course as an example, you can see how I identified and applied this persona and how it drives my brand strategy, my marketing plan, my service offerings, my prices, my entire business.

The Ideal Buyer Persona for my fashion marketing course is:

Rebecca:

  • Rebecca is 26 years old
  • She is based in a metro area in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane
  • She works in a fulltime job as a paralegal and she works on her fashion label part- time
  • She earns AUD$55,000 per annum

Her life:

  • She is a fashion designer who has a product but isn’t sure how to start or grow her business.
  • She reads Vogue (her bible) and is super active on Instagram
  • She lives with her boyfriend Matt, and a rescue bulldog Henry
  • They constantly fight about money, he feels her label is a drain on their resources, she thinks he doesn’t understand her

Her pain-points:

  • She is working on a range and wants to learn business concepts and processes quickly so she can improve sales ASAP
  • She has a limited marketing budget and needs to learn strategies she can implement on her budget
  • She is very visual so she needs to see things in order to remember them
  • She need lots of examples, to be shown HOW to implement strategies and activities - pure theory doesn’t help her brand, it actually confuses her
  • She doesn’t have anyone in her family or her network who she can turn to for advice

Mapping out your ideal buyer persona gives structure to the business decisions you make to attract them to your brand.

From mapping out Rebecca I can already see ways that I can help her, ways that I can present my brand and my course so she can find it relevant, and appealing.

Here are the business decisions I made based on my Ideal Buyer Persona, Rebecca.

What I offer:

  • My course is an online course so she can study on her own time, from anywhere
  • The course is 6 weeks long
  • She gets lifetime access to the course so she can complete it in her own time
  • The course uses loads of visual examples; I offer downloadable slides so she can revise each lesson offline.
  • In the course I offer video interviews with industry professionals like a fashion buyer, stylists, a fashion blogger, a strategic communications director of an influencer agency
  • My brand is supportive - I offer encouragement and support to Rebecca, I give her feedback on the worksheets she sends, email support, I give her lots of industry advice and HOW she can apply it to her label, I give her templates for every part of the business so she can get organised, plan for sales and show her partner that this label is profitable
  • It costs AUD$647 (affordable when comparing to courses you do in person)
  • I offer 3-part payments to make it more affordable

How I market my course:

  • I am advertising in Vogue in order to attract Rebecca
  • I am running a social media influencer campaign in order to attract Rebecca
  • On my Instagram account I celebrate new designers, showcasing their work and giving them visually rich content to inspire, delight and keep them engaged

The Fashion Darling & TradeGecko

Now that I’ve provided you an example, here are some action steps for you to carry out:

  1. Map out your target market
  2. Map out your Ideal Buyer Persona

You will need these details for the next step – Brand Strategy.

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About the author

Vanja Stace_The Fashion Darling School of Business

Vanja Stace is the founder and principle of The Fashion Darling School of Business. 

The Fashion Darling was founded in 2015 and has helped many international designers. In July 2015 we won the Fashion Edupreneur 2015 Award, which recognises excellence in the delivery of educational programs in the fashion industry. 

The Fashion Darling will be back next friday with tips for your fashion line. In the meantime, if you have any questions for Vanja, reach out to her on www.thefashiondarling.com

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