WWD - Fashion's First Aid Kit

4:43 AM

I read this article in WWD* giving very sound advice on how to keep your business afloat during this recession the US had found itself in. I know that a good number of my readers are business owners and are still building their brand so I recommend reading this article in its entirety. It is 11 pages but it is totally worth it. I am not going to recap all 10 of their Business Health Plan points, but some of the highlights of the article are listed below for Business Owners and Job Seekers/Employees.

Business Owners
1.) Manage Costs and Overhead
2.) Be Conservative with Sales and Inventory + 7.) Re-time Shipments to Mitigate Markdowns
-These points relate, they both emphasize that More Inventory = Less Money, but if your business finds itself in merchandise excess right now a sale can't be a bad thing. Many designers and boutique owners have complained about shipments coming too soon before the season and customers are not buying what they can't wear at the moment. (From a consumer stand point I'm not going to make a purchase today that I cannot wear until months from now ) However, if your shelves are looking a little bear then consider "seasonless" collections. More information about this new trend that is showing up on the runways of many major labels can be found in these articles:
3.) Step Up Leadership 4.) Provide More Value & Differentiate
- In my interview with Staci Rutherford of the Handbag Report she mentioned that her courses at FIDM taught her the process that accessories go through before making it to the store. Little times I think consumers take into consideration the cost that goes into a garment from the shipping of textiles, to the manufacturing, and then paying for human capital, to the pricing so that the designer/brand can make a profit let a lone break even. High quality mean high price, but this point warns the company not to pass that increase in cost on to it's customer who is facing some of the same financial challenges and is likely to be unwilling to pay more for that company's product.

Other Notables:
  • Take a second look at your target market and where the money is coming from-Baby Boomers still have disposable income
  • "Don't follow the leader; Be Bold" (in other words No Fear Just DIVA) - but those creative risks shouldn't put you in the red. What are some economical ways to make your company stand out above the rest?

Job Seekers/Employees

If you don't have your own business and wonder what does all of this have to do with you well read up! The article is full of information and advice from the top names in business, such as Donald Trump, Ralph Lauren, and Fansico Costa creative director women's CK Collection.

Business owners are advised to find creative ways to differentiate themselves from other companies...well that is where you need to come in! Companies are trying to save as much money as they can right now and even senior level employees are losing their jobs. Now is the time to present your best ideas.

That presentation you have been working on during your lunch hour, that campaign slogan you came up with while on your morning jog, or that "It would work a lot better/save the company a lot of money if/make more sense to..." comment to your friends during dinner, now is the time to tell them to the people who really matter. If you are currently working in a job you love be indispensable!!! In Point #1 the advice given to senior level management was to ask themselves "What would happen if that person were hit by a bus tomorrow morning?" and if the company could still function then it's okay to get rid of that position. Is your company asking that about you? Losing your job is just as good as getting hit by a bus right now.

On the upside now is also a great time to build your wardrobe with come classic pieces that can help build your professional work wardrobe at a discounted cost. Not all business put Points 2 and 7 into practice and have more merchandise than they can successfully sell at full price. Tim Gunn created a list of what every woman should have in her wardrobe and this site breaks it down; read it and take it out with you to these sales. Buy items that have longevity and spending more on quality now will prove wise in the current hard financial times.

Be on the Lookout For:
  • Space 1520 - Urban Outfitters
  • Lush in Macy's stores
  • Sephora in JC Penny
In an effort to Differentiate (Point 4) and Reallocate Retail Space (Point 6 - not listed) companies such as the ones above are collaborating or creating new concepts altogether to attract a broader customer base. As a total Lush addict I say bring it on! Macy's already had my business but now this just guarantees it!

Note*- I forgot you need a subscription to WWD sorry guys but I say get one it's worth it if you are in business or want to work in the business side of fashion.

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