Have you ever wondered why your fashion business is struggling to make ends meet and break-even even though it seems like you are doing everything right? We know how frustrating this can be and we are here to help you.
20 Reasons Your Fashion Business Is Struggling
One of the reasons your fashion brand might be struggling is because you are not focused. Focus means being top of mind – in the mind of your customer, in the mind of your prospects. It means they think of a specific need your brand name comes to mind.
If you are not focused on a particular product category or a particular area, this may be the reason your fashion brand is struggling.
Being top of mind is not something that happens by chance, you have to deliberately and gradually build competence and expertise in a particular area. Creating awareness of this competence and expertise so that when people have that need your brand name comes to mind and they choose you to do business with.
Maybe you are not pricing right. For your pricing to be right, your price needs to;
- deliver a profit,
- cover all your costs, both variable and fixed,
- be able to deliver a perception of value to your customer.
If your customers are thinking luxury then your pricing needs to reflect luxury, if they are thinking mass market then your pricing needs to reflect the mass market. You need to craft a decent pricing strategy for your brand so you are not pricing too high or too low.
Maybe you are not using the feedback you are receiving from your customers or your prospects. Feedback can be either positive or negative but either way, they make an extremely great resource for your business to either create a product or to restrategise.
If you completely ignore feedback then you are not taking advantage of this fantastic resource and this may be the reason your brand is struggling.
If you get feedback from your customers saying your products are not as they want them to be then use that feedback to improve that product. If you get positive feedback saying they were impressed with your product then use that feedback to keep on doing what you were doing and to create more products along those lines.
4. You are Not Sensitive to Trends
A lot of designers claim that they make classic original pieces and they ignore trends. It is best to use trends wisely and not completely ignore it. Trends do marketing for you because you are selling what people are open to and waiting for.
If you ignore trends you might find yourself marketing a bit too hard because people don’t know what your product is about and it will take time for them to get used to this new concept you have.
While you should create original pieces, do not ignore trends altogether but use them to guide your design. Get in on trends that you feel that your prospects and target market will find appealing.
5. You are Following Trends Blindly
This is the opposite end of the spectrum. You are not bringing any originality into your brand. You are delivering what the high streets deliver and you cannot compete with them on pricing and the variety they deliver.
If all you are doing is replicating trends as is then your customers will not consider you special enough and they will not be willing to pay a premium for you or go out of their way to buy from you.
Follow trends but please do not follow trends blindly.
You are located wrong either digitally or physically. You might be located in a high brow area that you have no business being at and therefore you are incurring high brow costs for this location. On the flip side, you might be in an area that is too low for you, in the sense that the customers you are targeting are not there and this location is creating the wrong perception for your brand.
Look at your location and see how it is working for you. For your digital location, if your website, digital store, is not creating the right perception you need to go back to the drawing board and create a website that suits your brand. Also, if you are in a digital store that contains brands that are not like yours then you are attracting the wrong people and you need to move.
7. You are a Copycat
This means you troll original pieces and you copy them. You follow designers and you just copy their work. With time, people will begin to notice that all you do is copy others and they consider you a cheap version of an original piece. This can kick you out of business.
Good quality customers that are willing to pay well for original pieces will not come to you if you are a copycat. As a designer, if you are on this table, you must go back t the drawing board and start bringing out original pieces of your own. Be confident in your abilities.
8. You are Not Solving a Problem
If your brand is not solving a problem it will cease to exist very soon.
People buy solutions and not just pretty dresses or creative pieces. People buy solutions to their problems. So, what solution is your brand delivering?
Are you solving the problem of a pregnant woman who is looking for breathable clothes? Are you solving the problem of a socialite who is looking for trendy clothes? Are you solving the problem of a conservative mum who is looking for practical clothes?
Whatever it is, identify a problem, solve it, and let people know the problem that you are solving and they will buy from you.
9. Your Designs are Impractical
This means that you are not considering the peculiarity of your target market when you are creating your products. Whenever you are creating products, please make sure the designs are practical. Consider the weather, the age, the lifestyle of your target market, and create designs for them.
If, for instance, you are trying to create products for the Nigerian market, you know that our weather is humid most of the year, so, please do not create pieces that do not consider the humidity of our environment. Create breathable clothes.
10. You are Over Servicing a Few People
A lot of designers are guilty of this. When you are over-servicing a few people, it means that you have identified a few people that buy from you and you are no longer introducing your products to new people.
This is dangerous because everyone goes through brand fatigue and after a while, these people will be tired of your brand and when they get tired you will struggle to keep selling to them. You must be deliberate about introducing your brand to new people so that you are not putting too much pressure on your design.
11. You are Ignoring or Underestimating Customer Service
Customer service is the one thing that separates the mediocre from the excellent.
People pay a premium for good customer service, good experiences, convenience, and ease of doing business. If your business is ignoring customer service, you are not treating your people well, or gig out of your way to deliver your products to the market then this is most definitely the reason why your fashion business is struggling.
12. You are Focusing a Lot on Creativity and Not So Much on Quality
Quality is the one thing people pay extra for. Quality is the one reason why a customer will buy local and maybe not even buy internationally. As a local brand, you have an edge over the international counterparts of your bigger brands because you are still able to create fewer pieces and afford the cost of quality materials.
People pay a premium for quality. People pay more for quality than they do for creativity.
People want to ensure that they are wearing good quality pieces irrespective of whether you are selling luxury or mass. Do the very best that your price point will allow you. Let people begin to know you for good quality pieces and not just for creative pieces.
13. You are Not Owning Your Bestsellers
When you create a winning piece, one that can take you to the global market, but because you are too eager to keep designing you don’t spend time in marketing this bestseller you will lose out.
Your bestseller is your money maker.
Make sure you push your bestseller as hard as you can and you are using it to build wealth by introducing it to new markets. Push it as hard as you can so that you can own it and if the copycats get to it a lot of people will know that you are the original designer.
14. You Have Not Depersonalised Your Business
The business is all about you. You have not hired right so you cannot delegate tasks and you are everything to your business. You are your cutter, pattern drafter, tailor, receptionist, social media expert, model, and everything. If this is the case then if for whatever reason you are not available, the business begins to go down – profitability and sales drop.
Being everything to your brand means you begin to get fatigued and you cannot expand the business because you cannot attend to more than one customer at a time. You need to become deliberate about training people and delegating some mundane functions to other members of your team.
15. You Have Not Evolved
This is something a lot of brands that have been around for more than 5 years are guilty of. If you don’t evolve past the level you came into the market on then you will surely struggle.
People need to see growth in your business and you also have to get in on the times. You have to begin to appeal to the new generation of buyers. You have to appeal to those who want to follow the latest trends and interpreter your trends right.
You cannot be what you were about 5 years ago 5 years after, you have to be different. You cannot be old news.
If you find that the only reason why people are drawn to your brand is what you have said 5 years ago and you are no new, you are not fresh, you are not different, if you are not struggling now you will struggle soon so please evolve and seek some freshness in your business.
16. You are Overselling
If the only thing customers ever hear from you is “Buy me, buy me, buy me” and you are not telling any stories, introducing them to other aspects of your brand and letting them know who you are as a brand and who you represent in the fashion industry or the inspiration behind your creativity then your brand will struggle.
Letting customers in on all these things is what makes them bond with your brand and build loyalties with your brand. Customers want to feel like they are a part of you and see themselves in you. If the only thing customers know about you is your price tag then you need to change that and be more creative with your narrative and PR.
17. You are Not Targeting Anybody
If you are just designing and putting your products out there without knowing who your business is appealing to or who your ideal customer is then your business will struggle. If you have not defined who your ideal customer is, you are not targeting her and she is not seeing you then this is the reason why your business is struggling.
18. You are Over Designing and Not Marketing
If all you do is design and you do not market then this is the reason why your business is struggling.
Marketing is even more important than designing because marketing tells the consumer who we are and where we are. You need to market right after defining who your ideal customer is.
In this day and age of social media, nobody has a reason not to market. Market on the channel that you know your ideal customer will be on.
19. You are Not Consistent
Consistency is a superpower. One of the most important parts of building a brand is patience and consistency.
If today you are high and tomorrow you are low or today you are designing great pieces and tomorrow they are bad quality pieces or today you are in one location and tomorrow you shut it down you are not giving any one part of your process time to grow and develop.
When you are consistent, over time people will begin to know you for who you are and it helps you build a dependable brand. Stick to a particular tempo of doing business. Do not be in a hurry to drop something because it is not working or to move on from what is working to other things because it slowed down a bit.
20. You are Running the Wrong Business Model
If your business is a 100% bespoke and you are beginning to feel strained by it or you feel like it is not sustainable for you and you want to transition from that to ready-to-wear then you need to seek someone with expertise in that area to help you out.
What We Think About This Video
This video is a very helpful one for anyone trying to get their fashion business out of the ‘struggle mode’ it is currently in. Tomi Rotimi broke down and explained properly all the 20 points and we found it highly enlightening.