Why Your Line Isn't Selling

10 Common Mistakes Independent Brands Make During Fashion Events and Why You Don't Sell

#10 You're Not Prepared Advertise beyond the collection

As a designer participating in an fashion event you must be prepared to make an impact. In order to keep the attention of potential clients interested in your work, you have to be prepared. One of the first things you need is memorable marketing materials. With so many fashion companies at your event, handing out business cards will not get you etched into the brains of attendees. The best way to stand out is to have something memorable. Custom Look books, brochure, gifts,  and candy that compliment your brand or boast your logo, will make a memorable impression on your audience. One way to keep your logo in the spotlight is to provide promotional merchandise linked to every day use such as cell phone cases, tote bags, or chapstick. Feel Free to use these links below to purchase your next fashion event's promotional merchandise.

#9 Work the Room You or your team MUST socialize

One of the toughest parts about being a designer is .......socializing! Art is a very lonely operation that entails artists to work long hours creating items by themselves. Due to all of the "alone time", most artists aren't great at being social. However, your business depends on it! After having a hectic and often time stressful event, the last thing you want to do is be on camera. One way to assist your brand's presence at an event is to bring a team to work the audience. While you do the hard work of preparing your collection, your team and/or spokes person can work the room for you doing interviews on behalf of your brand and distributing promotional materials. A great way to market is to have your brand ambassadors wear t-shirts with your company logo and contact information or they can wear clothing from your collection. With your professional marketing materials and your brand ambassador, your company will be prepared to make a lasting impact on any event or attendee or buyer.

#8 Start Early Make your experience easier 

The only way to alleviate the stress of appearing at a fashion event is to START EARLY!!! You can't be attentive and network if your sewing at the event, or your late for your call time. Start your new collection early so you can have the best quality work as well as room for error. This way, you can prepare look books, and advertisements prior to the event to help promote your brand. Starting early also makes your fashion show experience easier and less stressful and leaves you available to network and make your mark on the press. 

#7 The Quality of Your Work Is it safe to buy? 

Anyone who has worked backstage at a fashion show knows there are many tricks and illusions that are used to help a garment look its best while going down the runway. From double stick hem tape, to strapless bras and pins, designers will do whatever it takes to produce the best presentation. However, there are times when even the best tricks of the trade can't mask poor craftsmanship. Poor craftsmanship and/or unrealistic designs is one of the main reasons buyers don't purchase. Designers have to remember that buyers are not looking for the same things as normal clients when shopping. First and for most, buyers need to be confident that you are capable of producing multiple, wearable, washable and sellable merchandise. That display of capability begins on the runway. Great craftsman's ship will show that your brand is mature, capable, and serious. 

#6 You're off Season Make sure you show the current season 

One sure way to confuse buyers is to show the wrong season. If your brand is specific to one product or you're showing at an off market event, then this is understandable. However, designers must understand the cycle of selling fashion if they wish to be successful. Regarding NYC Fashion Week, Spring/Summer clothing is shown in September. This way, designers have all fall and winter to manufacture their items to have them available for sale and in stores for March of the next year. In February, Fall/Winter clothes debut and are manufactured over the summer to be available for purchase in October.  If you are doing an off season showcase, make sure you provide marketing materials with the date your clothing will be available for purchase if you are not prepared to sell at the event. 

#5 Make Ready to Wear You maybe too evangarde

We all live for a dramatic fashion moment on the runway however, we don't wear gowns in our every day lives. Often time designers leave out whats really going to make them a sale.....ready to wear! The idea of creating a collection is to fufill the needs of the client in every walk of life. If designers only show gowns and editorial looks, how will your line translate in to buyable clothing? We don't encourage limiting your creativity however, we suggest that designers consider the day to day habits of their clients and what is needed when they run errands, shop, or go to work. 

#4 Your Collection Wasn't Cohesive  You didn't make a memorable statement

In order to truly make a lasting statement on the public your collection must be cohesive, This is extremely important in order to make your brand identifiable. What is your brand or collection associated with? What objects, songs or feel should remind people of your brand? Creating a cohesive collection does not stop with the design of the clothes. Your look book, website and advertisements should all match or compliment the look or feel of your current collection. This will make your brand more recognizable giving your company its own presence. 

#3 Do your Part  Don't depend on the production only 

If you want something done right, you most likely will have to do it yourself! We all know its cheaper to participate in a popular production then to foot the bill for your own runway show. However, participating with other designers can limit the amount of footage or notoriety you may want to achieve for the event. This is when its time to take matters in your own hands. Hiring a media team or collaborating with a photographer or videographer is the best way to take charge of the content being recorded and can also speed up your turn around time for promos or ads. Another way to take the initiative is to finish your collection early so you have time to promote and invite your own set of VIP guests. This way you can take charge of who is interested in your brand, as well as leave gusts VIP gifts for attending. Don't forget to promote on social media!!! If your where a singer, your fashion show would be a concert! Promote your brand and appearance to show your reach. Showing fashion show producers your brand can pack the house can get them to waive registration requirements in some cases.

#2 Use the Platform Correctly Did you fashion show right?

In the middle of producing a collection or vending, people often time forget what the purpose of a fashion show is. The sole purpose for a fashion event is to bring notoriety to your brand and potentially increase your revenue. Participants often fall short assuming the success and benefit must come the day of the show. Showcases are mandatory stepping stone for a bigger cause. Why do some designers do well at showcases and others don't? Its because of preparation, brand identity, and following up with inquiries. Listed below is a fashion show checklist  designers can use to reach their goals at a fashion show or event.

  • Make sure you have marketing materials

  • Finish early so you have time to network at the show

  • Bring brand ambassadors or spokes people to represent your brand 

  • Be sure to take the information of potential clients so you can build a mailing list 

  • Provide a due date when your items will be available if you don't have inventory

  • Take as much photo and video as possible for future promos

  • Always show a season early to prepare for orders

  • Introduce your self to the press

  • Promote yourself as well as the production your participating in

  • Ask your production what their ticket sale program is and can you profit

#1 Follow Up After the Show Post show Duties 

Did you hand out look books and brochures? Did you introduce yourself to the press? Did you take down email addresses to create a mailing list? Provide discount codes for your website? This maybe some of the reasons why you aren't receiving feed back after an event. Fashion shows to designers, are like concerts for musicians. Its a time to take advantage of your public appearance and gain as much exposure as possible. Unfortunately, designers don't usually sell at fashion shows unless they have a vendor's table or they are doing the ground work to follow up with potential clients. Continue to advertise the official ''on sale date'" to prepare customers to purchase your collection when available.  If you prepare yourself using all the pointers provided in this list, you are sure to not only make sales, but change the public image of your brand. Be sure to use the content from the event to advertise your brand and build your catalog.