Designing acohesive collection is not everyone’s cup of tea. Creating a link between your creative instincts and the consumer needs require skill.. But according to industry professionals that’s the easy part when it comes to selling fashion. Your actual challenge as a designer begins when you have to approach retail or fashion buyers in order to pitch your collection so that it can reach your target consumer well within the time and season limits. Below you will find some useful tips from how to catch a buyer’s attention to getting them to purchase your collection:
Getting a meeting with a fashion buyer
– Research Research Research:
The basic and most time-consuming step begins with conducting a detailed and in-depth research of which fashion buyers can best help you reach your clients. The trick here is to determine which niche you will serve and accordingly look for a retail outlet or buyer in that geographic area.
– Getting a meeting with the buyer:
In order to ensure that the buyers actually agree to see you, you can either contact them through telephone, emails or send a letter by post. Needless to say, you might not get a response at the first go, hence a lot of constant pursuing will be required on your part. While sending them a mail or making the first approach, a lot of designers make a mistake of reserving the strongest pieces for the actual sales pitch which in fact does more harm than good. Hence, make sure that you send the strongest pieces from your collection to get the buyers’ attention so that they agree to see the rest of what you have to offer.
Preparing for the meeting
– Preparing the First Introduction:
Once you have got the coveted meeting with the buyer, make sure you cover all the important information you want to communicate. During the meeting, the buyers like to see actual clothing as it woould look in their store. Hence, make sure that all the samples are of the highest quality. Furthermore, do not compromise on the presentation. When the buyers arrive to see you, treat them as your most cherished guests, preparing in advance, welcome drinks and snacks. Do not give them any opportunity to raise red flags against you.
– Ensuring Technical Information:
As a fashion buyer, your client is interested not only in the looks but also the technical specification of your product, eg. How many pieces of each garment are there in your collection? What colour options, or fabric options you have for your pieces? What is the average price point? What size options do you have int he collection? How does your collection compare with the competitors? You have to make sure that you present all these aspects with the help of a Line Document / Collection Plan and or a Marketing Plan so that it is clear enough for the buyer to read.
What’s in it for me?
Just like in any other sales pitch, you can avoid the question ‘What’s in it for the buyer?’. Buyers only buy from people they like, trust and depend on. Hence instead of just going on about how good your product is, try to establish a connection of trust and faith with your audience. You can prepare in advance for questions like:
– Can you provide enough inventory for a large order?
– Do you have a long term/ seasonal vision for your line?
– Will your line speak to current customers?
– Will it attract new potential Client base?
– Do you have a merchandising strategy in place?
– Are you willing to take the risk if the collection doesn’t sell?
If you are able to satisfy these basic concerns of your buyers, you have more than a favourable chance of selling your collection and potentially developing a strong business relation.
by Varun Gupta for Fashion Cross Functional
More information on:
– Photo 1 | Source: Photography by Elizabeth Monge | Stylist: Rauf Noorie | Location: Villagio – Fashion Outlet Chicago Mall
– Photo 2 | Designer: Katharina Domokosch, London College of Fashion 2012
– Photo 3 | Designer: Ivana Pilja