Category Archives: marketing

Understanding Whoesale Seasons

When you start wholesaling your fashion brand it is important to know two things so that you are not competing with the stores that place order for your product:

  1. What is the correct season to take orders for (wholesale order timeline).
  2. When your client will take delivery because this is when you can start offering that product in your retail shop too.

Let’s look into the correct season first.  Typically stores place order for product 3-6 month in advance of when they want the product in their store.  Once the product is in the store they want it to be relevant to the upcoming season for another 2-3 months.  This means that they will order for Spring 4-6 months before Spring actually arrives.  In the kids market Spring ordering starts in the Fall and ends in January.  You will need to have Spring orders ready to ship January to March with the bulk in Jan/Feb.  So if you are trying to sell a Spring collection in the spring and you are not getting orders it is because you are wholesaling the wrong season.  In Spring you should actually be trying to take wholesale orders on your Fall line. (Accessories have a different schedule as they fall into a gift market category but can also fall into the clothing schedule too.)

Once your orders start shipping you can then offer your line retail in your own shop.  Shops want to offer something new to their shoppers.  If you have already been selling it for 6 month it is less appealing to a store to purchase it from you.  There are exceptions to this.  I have had many stores place immediate orders for product I have listed in my Etsy shop.  Those orders are nice but they are few so if you really want to expand wholesale you need to get on the wholesale schedule and market your line to a broader spectrum of retail buyers.

Have a specific wholesale question?  Email me at katietfbm@hotmail.com

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Filed under Business Planning, fashion, marketing, Resources, sales

Super Stealth TFBM Checking in…with a pie pop party????

I know I have been sort of stealth lately.  I do have some great things going on behind the scenes that I want to share:

1.  I have a private workshop going on right now to help businesses increase their Facebook Stats so more people see their posts.  Once this test group is done I will roll it out to everyone!
2.  The holiday issue of TFBM Mag is well underway!  I have photo shoots every weekend for the next 3 week…s and several photographers sending in editorials.  Stay tuned for an even more amazing issue than issue 1!
3.  I have been super blessed with a crazy busy Halloween Season selling almost 200 costumes.  So I have been a sewing banshee and busy hiring sewing help.  Plus I am working on my holiday collection.  Hence falling behind on blog posts.

 That said I am always here if you have a quick question.  PM me at katietfbm@hotmail.com or post on my Facebook wall so others can learn too.
BUT FOR TODAY I want to direct you to issue 1 f TFBM Mag.  Fall is upon us which means apple picking and baking treats.  This year try something a bit more modern than a normal pie.  Throw a pie pop party!
In the magazine I style the pie pop party with a vintage country feel but it could be done equally well as a chic party in a NY Loft.  Go crazy with your own styling and create a conversation centerpiece with Pie Pops as your main guest!  Get your inspiration plus a link to a book full of pie pop recipes here:  http://www.calameo.com/read/002669782063702bacba4
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TIP:  Don’t bake? Buy your pie pops on etsy.com and have them shipped!
cakewalkbook2

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Rebranding-define who you are before you sell

Today I had coffee with a friend and of course the conversation turned to business.  If you want to be my friend please know that often the conversation will turn to work.  I am an entrepreneur and so are most of my friends.  I see possibility in EVERYTHING and get along best with others that do too.  I will have to have Stephanie guest blog sometime.  She is one of those exuberant people with a love for life and other people.  Her eyes never stop smiling even when her mouth does.  She is quite motivating!

My friend Stephanie is in marketing and we got to talking about the changes I am making for kangacoo designs, my new business plan and how it will require some rebranding.  It was a great talk and when I left my head was swimming with ideas.

As I start my rebranding and roll out my new business plan I am going to write about each step on my blog.  Whether you are just starting out or feel like you need a business makeover I invite you to join me and will give you some exercises to help you along the way.  The first thing I want to talk about is defining your business/customer.  This definition is your brand.  I cannot emphasize the importance of defining your brand and knowing your target customer.  This is something that may evolve over time so this is a great exercise to do no long how you have been in business.

REBRANDING/BRANDING EXERCISE:  WHAT I MAKE AND WHO I SELL TO

Ask yourself the following questions.  I have provided my sample answers, yours may be shorter or longer.  I suggest using a sheet of paper and brainstorming your answers then condense it.

What do I make?  Clothing and accessories for girls and women

What is special about it?  interesting textures, comfortable clothes that look special but can be worn everyday, feminine and fun, women’s wear designed with body conscious thoughtfulness

Who is my customer? mothers who like to dress well and dress up their little girls, grandmothers who like to shop, medium to high income

This information will help you in developing a tagline and marketing/sales plan.  I have already written a post on developing a tagline here.  I will soon be talking a lot about marketing and sales on the blog.  Until then…

Yours in success,

Katie

 

 

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Filed under branding, fashion, marketing

A HUGE CHANGE: Selling Wholesale Direct

I am currently undergoing one of those segments in my life I love best.  A transformation period.  I have my cycles in life and they go something like this:

Curiosity, Learning, Implementing, Teaching, Understanding, Transformation, Curiosity, Learning….

I will forever be a teacher at heart, which is why I started this blog.  But I am not a traditional classroom teacher (though I have done that).  I really try to absorb the most I can out of life and extend my findings to others.  I learn with all my being, not just my brain but with my emotions and my intuition and then I share.  I think it is the socially responsible thing to do.  As a teacher I am also a life student.  Those that love to teach, love to learn.  They have curious minds and open hearts.  I have also started this blog because of what I can learn from you.  I really enjoy my interactions with my fellow designers.

Back to my transformation.  I have soaked up a lot in the last 2 years of working with showrooms to get my line seen on a wholesale level.  It has been to say the least a BIG learning experience for me.  It has consumed me in trying to learn and keep up.  It has soaked up my time and hindered my happiness.  It has led me to new level of understanding about myself and to make a HUGE decision.

I have come to understand that I feel so consumed by wholesale because it came at me too fast.  Because I was struggling to keep up on a path that I was still learning I was drawn away from my true identity as a designer and my heart’s passion, other people.  Because I was learning as I went I made a lot of mistakes that costed me time and money.  I understand that I wouldn’t change a thing about my path because it has brought me to where I am.

THE HUGE CHANGE  Last week I decided I would no longer carry my line in my showrooms.  I am taking the wholesale sales responsibilities back and in that allowing myself to design the way I want to design.  As I implement my new design cycles I will share them with you all.  But know this.  I feel in control again.  I feel empowered.  I feel that my loyal wholesale customers will have no problem with this and I feel new customers can be reached and will be excited about the new way I plan to sell to them.

It is transformation time which means I will be doing a lot about learning and sharing with you.  If you are in a position of wanting to sell wholesale but are doing it on your own with no showroom representation, stay with me.  You are going to learn a lot.

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Filed under Business Planning, fashion, marketing, Resources, sales

Engage your Fans and Get More Sales!

I was going to send this information to my collaboration workshop group but thought it is helpful information to all so I am letting you, my readers, in on it too.  When you do a giveaway or a collaboration and gain new fans it is important to engage your fans to turn them into buyers.  It is also important to engage them to be sure you show up in their news feeds.  Facebook shows your posts to people that stay active with your page.  If you don’t have engaging content that your fans “like” or comment on your fans will stop seeing your posts.  It’s that simple.  Here are my top tips for engaging your fans and turn your fans into buyers.

ENGAGE YOUR FANS: Ways to get fans to like and comment.

  • Post material they can comment on.  Ask a question.  Often questions of opinion get the best response.  For example:  Do you prefer shorts or skirts?  Do you like pink or teal for summer?  Do you like fabric A or fabric B?  Do you like photo prop A or photo prop B?  What is the average price you will pay for a dress/photo shoot/fill in the blank.  These questions will also help you get to know your fans so you can turn them into buyers.
  • Do a mini giveaway for just your fans.  Giveaways to gain new fans are great but how about making your current fans feel special for staying with you?  And how about getting those fans that may not normally interact much to make a comment?  Just because they don’t interact much or haven’t bought from you yet doesn’t mean they won’t later.  KEEP THEM ENGAGED!  It’s as simple as posting “Today I am having a fan appreciation giveaway to say thank you to all my fans that support my business!  I am giving away a (fill in the blank).  All you have to do is be a fan of my page and comment below that you are a fan.  Please also share this post.”  You can’t make people share but you can ask them nicely and most will.  This gets your page more publicity.

ENGAGE YOUR FANS AND GET SALES: these ideas will get people to comment on your page and encourage sales!

  • Have an auction.  I am currently hosting an auction of all my spring inventory.  I am working on a new collection so it’s time to make room.  Maybe you have product sitting around you’d like to sell.  An auction is a great way to move it.  Pick an openig bid and raise minimum.  My advice is to start with a low bid and do dollar raises.  Your fans want a good deal so starting low will engage them.  Your lowest bid should at least cover costs and go up from there.  Have them leave their bid with their paypal address so at the end of the auction you can bill them.  Also be sure to post about your auction several times to encourage fans to outbid each other.  Here is my bid album to give you an example. https://www.facebook.com/kangacoodesigns?ref=hl#!/media/set/?set=a.10151565353971259.1073741830.355005206258&type=1
  • Ask your fans to post photos wearing or using your product.  When fans post pics wearing your goods or showing off your photos it sends a message to other fans that you have a great product!  There is no better way to encourage sales than customer endorsement!

GET SALES: bring home the bacon, make some moola, take the check to the bank

  • MAKE IT EASY TO BUY You know that little about section below your Facebook photo?  You know that little photo in the bottom left hand of your banner.  Does it clearly state where to buy your product and include a link?  If you sell only on Facebook does it say “See something you like?  Comment on it with your paypal email address and we will make it and ship it to you.”
  • MAKE IT EASIER TO BUY Even though I have a shop link on my page I always sell more when I post a photo and a price and ask people to leave their paypal email so I can bill them.  People want quick and easy and since you sell clothing or photos which are impulse luxury buys you want to make the sell quick and easy while your buyer is in the moment.  Try it.  Example:  Today only our butterfly skirt is only $30 (normally $45).  Take advantage of this great price by leaving your paypal email and size(s) wanted below.  offered in sizes….  shipping is $4 US.  Then post a pic.  For better coverage follow up with a plain text comment saying “Did you see our deal of the day?  Look at our last post!”  More people will see plain text posts so this gets your photo more views.
  • POST PHOTOS OF NEW PRODUCTS WITH SHOP LINK OFTEN Out of sight out of mind is the truth.  Are you posting photos of your goods on a regular basis?  If not you can’t complain about low sales.  You can’t expect people to know what you sell or visit your about section to find your shop.  Facebook is for sharing information and interacting.  So share and share often!

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Filed under facebook, fashion, marketing, sales

What TFBM knows about: building your email list

Last night I had dinner with a friend and we of course got to talking shop.  It started a bit like this, “Ugh darn Facebook!  I have 9000 fans and only reach 1500 tops!  And that’s if I don’t post a picture or tag another page.”  We shared ways we try to “trick the system”: leaving links and pictures in the first comment.  The bottom line is, no matter what you do to trick the system only a fraction of your “fans” see your posts.  So what is a business owner to do to reach your potential customers?

One thing I am starting with is taking control of my true fans and customers.  I do not want to rely on Facebook to communicate to my top customers and buyers.  I am taking them back!  I am doing this by transferring them all to my email list.  I use mailchimp but there are others out there you can choose from. (Don’t get me wrong I will still use Facebook but I am taking as much control as I can before any more changes come my way.)

Here is the catch!  You cannot randomly add people to your list.   They have to opt in (by law).  So this poses the question how do you offer an incentive for people to take a few minutes to visit a sign up form and complete it?

I regularly promote on my fb page that my email list followers get special coupons and offers and leave the link to sign up.  This week I am doing something extra special.  We will see how it works out.  I am offering a $100 shopping spree to one randomly selected person signed up for my, kangacoo designs, email list.  I posted it as you see below and paid $30 to promote it.

OK here is your chance! Sign up for our email list for a chance to win a $100 shopping spree for our spring line! That’s it so simple! One winner will be chosen next week at random from our email subscriber list. Already signed up? You are already entered! 🙂 Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/l5On9

Right now I have 778 email list subscribers.  I will run this offer for 1 week and will update you if the $100 gc was worth it.  🙂

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Filed under facebook, marketing, what I know about...

Are People Talking About You?

If you have a small business then surely you spend time everyday thinking about how to get your name or product seen and how to increase sales.   I started the blog to help other small businesses grow by sharing what I learn while running mine, kangacoo designs.  One area I have learned a lot in is how to bring awareness to your brand.  What works and what doesn’t.

Let me cover a few avenues I have tried to bring awareness to my brand and how they have panned out for me.

1.  Celebrity Gift Suite:  I was invited to gift at a MTV Movie Awards Gifting Suite last spring.  It cost me a few hundred dollars to participate plus I had to bring 110 items to give away.  While it was a fun thing to do and people I gifted to loved the product I did not see an increase in sales or encounter any new business opportunities (besides more gifting suite invites).

2.  Facebook Giveaways:  This has been my number one source of new fans this year and while I don’t get many sales during the giveaways these new fans stay with me and become future shoppers.

3.  Blog Reviews:  Done right this is a great avenue to bring a new audience of buyers.

4.  Photo contests:  I love fan photos!  Who doesn’t?  Ask fans to share theirs so you can share them on your wall and then have a giveaway for those that send in pics.  When others see our clothes on everyday kids something kicks in for them to uy it too.  Try it!  I always get more sales and more fans when I do this.

5.  Dress a Celeb:  I had the amazing opportunity to dress Aubrey Anderson-Emmons from Modern Family for the red carpet last year.  It created a buzz that got me and my fans excited and people talking about my brand.

6.  Email Lists:  Staying in regular contact with your previous customers and those future customers who have signed up for email alerts is so important.  Especially since fb readers are not seeing all your posts you want to be sure 100% of your target customers get info on your sales, promotions and new product releases.

7.  Pretty Pretty Pictures:  People are visual creatures.  They better your product pictures are the more you will sell.  I promise!!!!

8.  Collaborate!:  Finding others willing to promote their  product along side yours will help your business grow.  Know someone that makes dresses and you make hair clips?  Reach out to run a sale or cross promotion together on made to match pieces!

I will go more in depth in all these areas in other posts but today I want you to take this away:

1.  Get involved in fb giveaways.

2.  Find some bloggers or other brands willing to promote your product to build your audience.

3. Clean up your shop!  Make sure you have pretty pictures and a nice presentation of your product-this includes a nice description.

4.  Remember that growth is gradual and viral.  Ask yourself everyday how can I get people talking about my brand?

Onward and Upward!  ~Katie

Katie Nguyen is the designer and owner of kangacoo designs.  A children’s clothing line started on Etsy and now sold in almost 100 stores in the US and Internationally.

 

 

 

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Filed under branding, marketing, sales