Innovation is the bedrock of creativity. Customers love to see new and exciting designs and ideas pop up in their favourite brands, therefore, an innovative brand will keep attracting customers.
As a fashion entrepreneur, however, you alone cannot foster innovation in the brand. You need the help of your team to innovate because the strength of the company is its team. So, how can you encourage your team to be more innovative at work? Continue reading.
How to Encourage Innovation in the Fashion Brand
1. Give Your Staff a Reason to Care
For your staff to truly be innovative, they have to care about the business. This starts right from the hiring process. Don’t just hire people because they are good at what they do, but hire those that have similar goals and visions as you. This way, it is easier to help them connect with the company and become innovative.
As your employees ease into your fashion business, keep them in the loop of your strategy and challenges and welcome input from them. When they are involved with your planning and strategy from the get-go. they are more likely to be innovative. For example, you can ask them for their input on the designs in your new collection and be willing to adopt their ideas. This way, they feel more invested in the company than if they believe innovation is up to you.
2. Model and Promote Innovative Behaviours
Employees will be more motivated to be innovative when they see you exhibiting innovative behaviours as well. As a fashion entrepreneur, you are the leader of your team and all eyes are on you so use this opportunity to show them how to be innovative. Never leave all the thinking and innovation up to your staff alone, join in.
As your brand grows and more innovative ideas come forth, adjust your core values to suit innovation. In promoting innovative behaviours, have an open-door policy that allows any employee to share their thoughts with you.
As much as possible, let your communication be transparent. Don’t make the process for bringing innovation into your fashion brand be too long so they don’t feel discouraged about going through it.
3. Encourage Experimenting and Innovative Thoughts
As a fashion entrepreneur, you should continually encourage your employees to think about innovation daily. Constantly let them know that you are open to taking ideas for new designs every day and be supportive when they come forward with ideas. Also, you can put suggestion boxes in the office to have them drop their ideas there.
Having brainstorming sessions as a team every once in a while is another way to encourage experimenting and innovative thoughts. There everyone should be allowed to talk freely and without condemnation. When good ideas come up from there, be sure to apply them to your business.
Also, encourage your team to experiment with new ideas and design inspiration. Give them the space to pick up materials to make something new or illustrate it for scrutiny. When they fail at innovation, don’t be harsh with them, but encourage them to try again. Failure is a part of the success journey.
The more you encourage experimentation with designs and so on, the freer your employees feel to innovate. This gives them the space to let their innovative selves show.
4. Provide the Right Work Tools and Environment
Innovation thrives in the right environment and with the right tools. Make your office space welcoming and conducive for your staff so they feel at ease to think of innovations. In doing this, you don’t have to spend too much money, just by arranging things properly and ensuring everyone is comfortable at work, this can easily be achieved.
Also, you must provide the right tools for your staff to work with. For innovation to happen, your staff need the right tools to work with. It gets discouraging when you want to try something new but don’t have the things to work with.
5. Encourage Collaboration Amongst Staff
To see innovation in your workplace, you must encourage your staff to work together as a team. While it’s great to set up contests to meet your sales targets, if you want to encourage innovation, it’s better to reduce the competitive atmosphere. Let your employees see themselves as partners rather than competitors so that they are free to collaborate.
Let your employees see themselves as partners rather than competitors so that they are free to collaborate.
In doing this, you can pair employees to work on design projects together and let their creative juices flow. As they work together, they will feel more confident and comfortable with bringing innovation into the workplace.
6. Recognise and Reward Innovative Behaviour
Everyone loves a good reward. As a fashion entrepreneur, you must learn to reward innovative behaviour. When an employee shows a willingness to bring innovation into your brand, recognise them, even when the innovative idea is not implemented. When people feel appreciated, they tend to want to do more always.
Also, even when employees’ innovations fail, still recognise them. Since nothing kills innovation faster than the fear of failure, let them know that it’s okay to fail. Help them see that it was great that they attempted to introduce a new design or strategy into your brand.
You can recognise and reward staff by publicly acknowledging their efforts at staff meetings, giving them gift cards as a token of your appreciation, or doing something else for them. This will make them always want to bring their innovation A-game to work.
As you encourage innovation amongst your employees, remember to take breaks and rest. Building a successful fashion brand doesn’t happen overnight so do everything you can to avoid entrepreneurial burnout as you grow.