Category Archives: Starting your own label

Christmas and how you spend your dollars

Christmas, not only is it coming faster and faster each year, the retail push to spend, spend spend is increasing.

But before you pop down to your local big name retailer this Christmas have a look at the alternatives. Namely people like yourselves who are trying to get their small businesses started.

A solid Christmas sale can mean so much to an independent label. Not only is it valuable money the morale and confidence boost it can offer is far greater.

So take a look at

etsy

local markets (the Sydney Morning Herald has a quick round up across all states here)

and your local independent stores. You will find individual gifts that can be so much more exciting than the bland big corporate offerings.

So take a look around and see if you can make this Christmas a handmade Christmas.

image via etsy

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Tell a great story it makes your products more interesting

It’s no secret that I love the story behind the creations. The who, the what the when it all makes the product more human and more interesting.

So say your selling t-shirts with logos on them, not a great story you think? Wrong. Take a look at Howies Printshop and how they turn even the most day to day jobs such as printing into fascinating photos that tell a great story.

Helping independent labels

Last week I spoke about my disappointing trip to Oxford st and Paddington markets, then later in the week I was searching for a present. I wanted it to be handmade, interesting and hopefully supporting someone starting out their label.

That was a tough find. I started with etsy and quickly got put off by the masses of really bad stuff on there (don’t get me wrong some amazing works there too but I didn’t have endless hours to trawl through all the bad to find the good). Then I tried the local stores but everything was all mass produced and then I went back to searching on the net and it went on and on and I gave up twice then saw a picture on a blog (when I was totally looking for something else) and finally got what I wanted (oddly enough from etsy!).

the present I was looking for!

All of this made me think “how can I help?” so to start with I’m going to add a side bar to the front page that links to independent labels online stores.

So if you are reading this and you make your own product please leave a comment and I can add you to the list so we can help others find you too.

Japan Fashion Guide

I’m so very excited about today’s post as it is the start of something new here at “Start your label”. In addition to giving you weekly hints, tips and links I’m always looking for ways to share my fashion knowledge and get more people started on their path within the fashion industry.

Recently I was on a trip to Japan. As a designer when you get to travel for work you often write up a summary of the styles and trends you saw while you were away to bring the entire design team up to speed on what is happening in the big fashion capitols.

Well I consider you all as part of my design team and so I have created a little ‘zine for you all that showcases the fashion and styles as they are happening right now in Japan!

It is now available for purchase for $5.00 here.

A .pdf zine filled with notes and photos on the styles and trends of Japan as seen in our latest trip. The .pdf file will be emailed to you once the payment has been processed (please allow 24 to 48 hours for processing to be completed).

Please do not use images or notes from, share, copy or forward this .pdf as that would be a breach of copyright.

I hope you will enjoy this summary of upcoming trends and look forward to sharing all kinds of fashion knowledge with you.

Why sales are bad for your brand.

Last Wednesday I talked about how sales can be a great way to encourage some brand loyalty and increase sales and awareness of your brand.

Today is all about how sales can be bad for your brand, or to be more specific how too many sales can be bad for your brand.

Everyone loves a bargain and that’s fine but if every time a customer comes to your site/store/market stall you are having a sale then you will teach them to never pay full price for a product. Big chain stores fall into this trap all the time. If you are in a big brand store and think “oh that’s really cute, ouch it’s a bit more than I can afford…oh no matter it’ll be on sale next week this store always has sales” then that store is teaching you to never pay full price for it’s products.

Which is fine if you are a big brand and can survive on the sheer volume of products that you well. But if you are a small boutique business then you cannot afford to fall into the never ending sale trap.

How to avoid the trap

  • clearly define periods in the year when you will have sales
  • market these in the lead up time to the actual sale
  • make your sales worthwhile. Not all products have to be discounted by the same margin but those that you are discounting by the highest margin make them stand out and highlight them in the sale marketing
  • just because your products are going on sale don’t replace them with junk product. This sometimes happens and it is a bad idea. A sale is coming up and in order to make a quick buck people produce product purely for the sale that is not to their usual standard. Don’t do it. If a loyal customer buys and gets junk they will be disappointed and not so loyal next time. If a new customer buys it and gets junk they won’t ever buy again.

Some sales are good, too many sales cheapen your brand, walk the fine line between and you will have happy supportive customers who are loyal to your brand.

Why sales are good for your brand.

Sales are a great way to reward the people who support your brand.

Often we think of sales in terms of being a customer, which means we view them as

  • a way to grab a bargain
  • a way to get the outgoing season’s stock on sale
  • well if it’s on special then I saved $50

and a whole host of other reasons.

So now lets look at it from the point of view of a brand and a business

  • gets rid of old season stock
  • gets rid of slow moving stock
  • is expected by people / the industry

All of which are true but how about we look at some of the great positives of a sale

  • gets people excited about the brand
  • gets more people wearing/using the brand and therefore more people within the community who will then talk about your brand/products.
  • using social media to tell people about your sale increases the number of people the brand will be exposed to, as many people want to show they are the ones “in the know” about sales
  • rewards loyal customers by providing them with the same great product at a lower price
  • brings in customers who might have been hovering around the edges and not yet committed to buying

Sales every so often can really bring you a lot of publicity, good will, encourage more people to buy and help bring dollars in the door.

When planning your marketing for the year allow some room for some sales and instead of marketing them as a way to offload old unwanted stock, market them in a positive way and reward your customers.

Packaging

I’ve been thinking about packaging lately.

With an online store you want to bring as much personality as you can and that extends past the site to the person receiving the parcel and the whole act of opening up the purchase.

But packaging not only costs money it can be an excessive use of paper and shipping materials that is just plain wasteful.

So I’ve been trying to think up some alternatives that not only look good but use the least amount of resources possible.

For Christmas I used some paper that has been salvaged from industrial offcuts, some rubber stamps and some butcher’s twine to create packaging. Which looked nice and festive and was certainly appreciated by the customers as so many of them sent me emails and messages to say thank you for the lovely wrapping.

Then I saw this clip which is great way of showcasing the packaging of the company.

Not only does it show great packaging but it’s also a fantastic add for the company as I’ve seen it on a number of blogs and sites. They have used a simple clip of their packaging to advertise themselves and open up the business to a wider audience.

So while I’ve been thinking about packaging I don’t have a solution yet but here is a few things I do know

1 – keep it simple yet effective

2 – I want to keep it as “green” as possible and use recycle materials where possible

3 – make it consistent with the brand message (similar text, feel etc as the website, blog, business cards) the more consistent the message the stronger it is.

4 – once it is done photograph it and advertise it on the site, blog etc to show people what they will be expecting in the post and use it as an additional selling tool.

So what do you think? Do you do packaging for your online stores? Do you think it is important? Let me know would love to hear what you have to say.