Question: I run a fashion company. What advice/tips do you have for standing out in such a competitive landscape?
Question by: Lara
Break Into Blogging!
"My best advice for standing out in a competitive landscape in the fashion industry? Blog and define your personal brand and voice. Share your favorite trends/styles and advice on how to obtain the desired "looks." Build a Twitter following and start sharing your blog posts. Use sites like We Heart It to spice up your blog posts with fashion forward photos that will help you stand out!"
Show Your Work
"If you sell online, invest in good photography and shopping cart tools to help your customers see the product well. Making sure your customers trust your site and visually understand the product gives them buying confidence. Zoom features, large photography and multi-angle shots can be costly, but they lend both sophistication and legitimacy to your brand. Let your customers see your hard work."
Develop an Attitude
"The most interesting and unique fashion brands have an attitude. They aren't just selling threads; they're selling a lifestyle. Identify who your customer is and what they believe in. Create a line that complements their lifestyle and underscores who they perceive themselves to be. Brands like TOMS, Urban Outfitters, and Christian Louboutin have done a great job of this."
Quality, Price and Style
"While the fashion industry is very competitive, and is often flooded with product, the truth is, customers are more than happy to buy more than one of the same thing from different brands. What you're offering can differentiate in a few ways, such as quality, price, or style. Some people will only buy high quality clothes, others are real bargain hunters, and some buy any clothes that are stylish."
Influence the Influencer
"Find out who your market is for your fashion and then find out who they admire. Who is their most popular icon or celebrity? Get them to wear your clothes and endorse your style. This does not have to be complicated -- many times, you just have to ask and send them free clothes, just be sure to get a picture. Place your product at key events and movies so the star can start a trend."
Listen and Learn
"It sounds simple, but by genuinely listening to your audience and making them part of your decision-making process is key to your success. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff has leveraged this strategy -- along with filling a void in the market -- to launch her career to new heights in just a few short years."
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Go Off the Beaten Path
"In fashion, you have your major hubs like New York, Milan and Paris, where many people are thinking along the same lines. By traveling to some place exotic -- like Indonesia or Kenya, for instance -- you'll see extremely different styles and looks that can provide the inspiration needed to design something unique and outside of the mainstream."
Create the Right Content
"There are only two fashion labels I follow, and I keep up with them because of their fantastic newsletter and blog, respectively. I look forward to what they send out and support them with my purchases because of the fantastic content they write and the sheer personality they infuse it with."
Become a Thought Leader
"Because fashion is such a broad (and competitive) industry, you need to determine your particular audience and niche. Once you have a specific focus, work toward becoming a thought leader and influencer in that niche through sharing relevant content via social media, answering questions on Q&A sites like Quora, networking, blogging, etc."
Do What Your Competitors Don't
"Look at how all the other fashion companies, blogs, websites and brands are operating, and pick up the slack that they leave behind. Everyone has great designs and creativity, but does everyone have great customer service, delivery time and professionalism? Stand out in the spaces they do not already occupy, and own them."
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