DESIGNER TOOLBOX: How Newsletters Can Help Your Fashion Business Achieve Solid Results

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Hi guys,
I witnessed a sad situation last week. I saw a fashion brand owner I worked with last year: she was totally exhausted. She has been posting relentlessly on social media for the past 6 months. She got a few likes and emoji comments here and there but in the end, her efforts did not bring the sales she was expecting. She was usually so peppy and full of passion but last week, she just llooked tired and fed up with everything.

I do not know if you have experienced this. That horrible feeling of deep fatigue when you end up questioning your choices. You were in for this whole thing because you were passionate about fashion. Remember? You just wanted to make beautiful clothes and share your passion to the world.
How did you end up there, desperately waiting for people to show up and wondering how to sell your clothes online?
I understand what you are going through: the struggle is real.
And I figured out that many fashion designers who start (actually even the ones who have been on the market for years and still struggle…) have ignored a totally basic tool.
Newsletters  and e-mail marketing.

I know…
groundbreaking meryl streep GIF
I am aware that the accessibility of a Facebook or an Instagram platform leaves the impression that everything is so easy. And it can be, if you use those tools properly.
But as you probably noticed, there is a lot of noise on social media and it is getting harder to get heard. According to, in January 2018: there were 2.2 billion active users in Facebook and over 800 million users in Instagram. And numbers are going up as we speak, making it even more difficult to stand out.
So you absolutely need to think of an alternative to get your message through to your target audience and inform people about that cute little dress you just got in your store.

#1 – Why you are in a desperate need of a fashion newsletter

Let’s start with hard facts.

The ideal way for fashion brands to generate repeat orders

Here is one thing you need to know: an estimated 40% of purchases in e-commerce stores are generated by repeat customers.
What does it mean?
It means that 40% of the sales in your online fashion shop are generated by people who will buy from you again again and again.
Yes! A few raving fans can do miracles to your sales.

2017 MTV Video Music Awards dancing fans crowd vmas GIF
40% is massive: nearly half of your sales! And how can you make sure they keep hearing from your brand? The good old newsletter!

Your fashion brand needs to interact at least 7 times with a prospect before being able to sell

Yep. It is called the rule of 7. A prospect needs to interact and be in touch 7 times with your brand before buying from you. With social media becoming more and more crowded, you absolutely need a complementary way to reach your target customer.
How can you ensure that your message gets heard 7 times? Social media is one way but you can also send your messages directly to your prospect’s inbox.

Do not put all your eggs in the one same unpredictable basket

Thirdly you never know what will happen with social media. Today you have the Facebook or Instagram accounts of your followers but this is not a data you own. Facebook and Instagram own the information. And if for any reason they decide to change their platform, there is a risk you no longer have access to your own followers. It looks unprobable today but you never know!

At least with a newsletter you have an entire database with their email address. And this is at least an information that you own and can rely on.

Newsletters are just efficient. Period.

Emails are at least 4 times more effective in reaching your audience than Facebook for example. Email gets an average 20% open rate while Facebook has 5% talking about that same topic.
So I am not saying here that you need to forget about social media. On the contrary. All I am saying is that it is good to have the good old email to keep in touch with your customers.

A great way to tailor your message to your fashion brand and every single customer

The great thing with Fashion newsletters is: you can personalize the user experience. Because you reach them personally.
You will also be able customize your newsletter according to your brand identity. You can also use your subscriber’s first name.

You can connect on a more personal level and share more about your creative world.
In short, fashion newsletters contribute to create trust for your brand.
Fashion FXF - Fashion business newsletters - How to launch you fashion business

#2 What can you communicate with a newsletter?

I do get the issue of not knowing what to tell your audience about. And yet, you have a lot of things that you can talk about. To start brainstorming on this, you can also download our fashion newsletter brainstorming checklist. 

Learn more about your audience first

Before you do this I highly encourage you to have an idea of what your customer is into. So even a basic analysis of your audience is enough to understand what kind of content they value.

Then the content also depends on the kind of experience you want your target customer to have with your brand. But basically, you will be able to share more about your lifestyle and create a real connection with your readers. You have a whole space to tell about your brand story and your brand identity.

Show them what they missed on your fashion brand’s social media profiles

You can also get them engage more with you on social media by showing them what they have missed on social media. Depending on what you share but you can also give them a taste of the kind of content you have on your Instagram account (behind the scenes for example or events).

Generate even more trust

You can also show them customer reviews and show them what is trending in your shop right now.

Share news from your fashion business

You can also tell them about a new fashion item or an event that you launched. Basically any news in your fashion business can be shared here. Also news about an upcoming collection or a current campaign that you are preparing or what is in preparation in your workshops. There again, it depends on the audience, you need to get the feel of what they like.

Show that your fashion brand lives

You can share some lifestyle advice. How to wear your piece for example. Where people can wear it.

Fashion FXF - Fashion business newsletters - How to launch you fashion business
#3 –  How can you get your audience to opt in?
In the service business it is easier to share things in exchange of an email address. With physical products it is more complicated. You are not going to give away a product in exchange of an email. So you need to think about what you can deliver to your customer for free in exchange of an optin.
beauty come GIF by PUMA
Here are some ideas: you can do a styling quiz that helps to profile your audience. And in exchange of the results, you get the email.

You can send them the care instructions in exchange of the email address.
You can send styling advice, maybe get inspirations from a celebrity that resonates with your brand and put together a styling booklet to look like that celebrity.
Then of course, you can also give a discount in exchange of the optin. You can also market the newsletter as a priviledge and give the promotions in priority to the people who sign up for your mailing list.


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NEWS PICK: How Retailers Can Find Which Technology To Use

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Technology evoloved so fast, so many applications can be used. However how to decide which ones are worth investing in?
Through the angle of the Customer of course. Key for retailers is to correctly identify their demographic and Customer and see which application enables to better “assisting them on their journey to discovering what they need, offering perfect product value and curation of interesting things, providing a personalized experience, and delivering a frictionless, easy path to purchase.”

More here via Fashion United:


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SALES : The Ultimate Guide To Sell Fashion On The African Market

copy-of-copy-of-pressHi guys,
In an article of May 2015, Business of Fasshion deemed Sub-Saharan Africa’s combined apparel and footwear market was worth $31 billion, according to data modelled by Euromonitor. Opportunities arise. So in order to help fashion designers succeed into the African fashion market, FXF interviewed Dr. Karan Khurana, PhD, Assistant Professor at EiTEX, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia.

How is fashion doing on the African market?

The African continent has shown an immense potential in socio-cultural and economic growth and hence has attracted a lot of interest from various other trading nations in the last two decades. According to European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS, 2015) the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries have experienced sustained economic growth, with growth rates often exceeding 5% per year over the past 15 years. The latest World Bank report on SSA, ‘Africa’s Pulse’ shows economic slowdown in Sub-Saharan Africa, with growth decreasing in 2015 to 3.7% from 4.6% in 2014. Growth is expected to pick up gradually again in 2016 and 2017, pushed up by domestic demand generated by consumption, investment, and government spending. Internally also African Fashion designers made a mark in contemporization of traditions (prints from west Africa or traditional weaving from Ethiopia) and brought a new edge to the fashion market. Increasing consumer demand and awareness of clothing as a way to exhibit culture and the inclination towards the west makes a very strong consumer base in Africa. China is currently the dominant trader in clothing in Africa. In the HS 61 category, the value of Chinese exports to Africa expanded to a whopping US$560 million in 2011, accounting for 61.8 percent of the traded volume in this category (Kamau, 2013). According to UN figures ( 2013, South Korea and Canada combined exported $59m worth of used clothes to Tanzania while the UK alone exported $42m worth of used clothes to Kenya.

This leaves way for a very intense challenge against Chinese and used garments for the new designers in Africa.

What are the opportunities for fashion brands in Africa?

Africa stands today as a land of opportunities for fashion brands as sooner or later the consumer will look out for options in all fashion segments. A.T. Kearneys`s 2015 African Retail Development Index (ARDI) reconfirms that there is potential in dynamic countries such as Gabon and not only Nigeria and Ghana. Zara the Spanish garment giant is already present in Africa with around 21 stores. H&M, which has stores in Egypt and Morocco has set up a base for production in Ethiopia. ‘Made in Africa’ label is the future of young and emerging designers as they know the consumer best.
African fashion brands such as Rethaka, a South African female-owned ‘green innovations’ repurpose schoolbags: 100% recycled, solar-powered backpacks that can be used as study lamps at night; Dumebi is Nigeria’s first homegrown and sustainable bespoke fashion brand; Soul rebels from Ethiopia 100% recycled shoes are a few notable examples of flourishing local trade.
What will it take to succeed in the African fashion market?

One of the biggest advantage to African designers is the knowhow of their land. Africa is a land of complex cultures and creates an interesting mix of consumers which is quite a task for international brands to understand. This opens infinite opportunities for the local trade to make a mark. Design innovation in Africa has always been a very desirable strategy as the local designers shall realize the need of the consumer precisely in terms of the marketing mix. Social entrepreneurship shall see a strong impact on African business as it’s the way to sustainable development in social context which is the need of the hour.

African Fashion rises. What would you recommend African fashion designers to help them thrive globally?

Fashion is a highly segmented business, where “a size does not fit all,” and is open to the implementation of different business models from luxury to mass retail, to niche targets (Khurana, Ricchetti ,2016). The world of African design awaits contemporization where the designers shall find novelty to supply to the west. As discussed earlier the west is moving towards sustainable production and supports objects in this line. The battle against Chinese and second hand garments is surely the way to success in terms of cost and selection of dressing ideologies. Finally, the domestic credibility in local markets across Africa shall be the pathway to successful businesses as the middle class consumer is the future of investments in the coming decades.

Africa’s Pulse, World Bank, October 2015. (

Karan Khurana Marco Ricchetti, (2016),”Two decades of sustainable supply chain management in the fashion business, an appraisal”, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 20, Iss 1 pp. 89 – 104

Lionel Zamfir, Africa’s economic growth, European Parliamentary Research Service, January 2016. (

Paul Kamau, 2013.
Chinese ascendancy in the global clothing industry

Dr. Karan Khurana, PhD, Assistant Professor at EiTEX, Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. He currently holds a teaching experience of seven years in fashion management studies in India and Ethiopia. He also holds a dual master one in Fashion Marketing from I.E.D, Milano and another M.B.A(Retail Management) from India. His research interests are sustainability, Eco- Branding and marketing and social responsibility in fashion.


You liked this article?

Find more tools to help you with your fashion business in the number one FXF guide. “The Fashion Business Plan” by Bako Rambini is available on Amazon.


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Get more tips and support for your fashion business. Exchange with like-minded designers

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It’s About Feelings

Hi Guys,
Last week the fashion business club I run organized an event. The theme of the event was how to operate a career change by creating a fashion brand. We invited four great fashion entrepreneurs from Paris who succeeded and shared their success formulas. It was very interesting. Above all, the four of them used different techniques to reach their success. And at some point of the event, it became very technical.

A variety of techniques but what does really matter to make sales?  

You can interview hundreds of potential customers on the street, make a crowdfunding campaign, use a fashion blog specialized in your niche with a high number of viewers or apply growth hacking techniques… There are numerous ways today to validate the adequacy of your product with your target customer. There may be some solutions that would fit better with your personality but it doesn’t really matter which one you pick.
So what does really matter?

Have a strong vision, make people experience and feel your fashion brand

What matters first is your vision and what you have done so far to share your vision with your customers.
You have a dream. But what is it? Channel the Martin Luther King in you and answer this question: what is your dream?
i have a dream.gif

What is the concept of your fashion brand?
How should your customer feel when seeing and wearing your pieces?
Have a look at your collection. Do the pieces you designed really express your fashion DNA?
Have a look at the photos you put on your website. Do they reflect your vision?

And what about your website? Does it convey the image you had in mind?
Or maybe worse…you don’t even know exactly what the concept of your fashion brand is. And you probably think it’s good to target everybody on this planet. Wrong!!!!!

Here is your exercise for today

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down what your vision is about. What symbolizes your brand? Which words would you like your fashion brand to be associated with? How can you translate your dream into a concept your customers would also feel and understand? How can you make your customers experience your brand through your website?


Wondering how to help your customers experience your brand?

Find more tools to help you through your fashion business, with the number one FXF guide. “The Fashion Business Plan” by Bako Rambini is available on Amazon.


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