I’m a former buyer turned buying and brand consultant. I’ve been emailed, visited at work by eager brands, and stalked on social media. Here are 5 tips that will impact how you get noticed by prospective buyers:
1. Email is Cheap: Send something real.
Have great fabric swatches that you are using for F/W? Send a sample over with a personalized note card to the prospective buyer. Include a couple of sketches. This is personal, real and valuable. In essence, it is a pre-lookbook. If you are a new fashion brand its essential to make a great first impression.
2. Speak Up:
Send something out to a buyer? Call and follow up. Leave a message requesting feedback. I can’t say how many times the second or third email actually got my attention. Buyers are extremely busy, so don’t always assume they saw your first email. Also, don’t hard sell your potential partner. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit. But, they need to tell you that first. How to tell if you’re a good fit before getting the hard rejection? Visit the retail store or check out the e-commerce site. What are the price points and aesthetics of the store? Is your brand positioned at a luxury price point but the retailer offers affordable luxury? Check first. With small retailers across the country that don’t have online shops and aren’t in your immediate market, making the phone call is important. Remember. Both of you are after the same goal: to get the right product, at the right price to the right customer.
3. Time Is Precious:
Your time, their time, everyone’s time. Don’t contact the wrong person, don’t expect them to put you in touch with anyone. More importantly, don’t expect a response if you’re using an outdated email list. Buyer’s change like the seasons, and you need to double-check your lists via LinkedIn. Even calling the receptionist and asking to be transferred to your contact will tell you if they’re still in that position. Remember: the women’s designer is not the same as women’s contemporary, so do your homework.
4. Share Your News
Did you receive press lately? Was your brand just featured in a popular publication? Which celebrities are wearing your brand? Are you going to be at an upcoming tradeshow? Let the world know. Make sure to email your most recent press kit to potential buyers you met or spoke with. Nothing interesting going on? Don’t make something up.
5. Follow but DON’T Stalk
There is a distinct difference between following a buyer on Twitter and friending them on Facebook. Don’t engage on a professional level with someone, on a platform used for personal means. Example: If the buyer you want to reach out to has a personal non-work/industry related Instagram account, i.e. photos of her baby and friends don’t stalk her. If it is focused on fashion and work, then follow and engage away.
Getting in front of the right buyers is a combination of your brands perceived value + determination + longevity – too many emails + creativity. Perceived value can be a tough one to decipher. Think about how your brand firsts gets experienced online. Your logo, the navigation on your site, even the font, quality of photos and brand copy all add up to your brands perceived value. Perceived brand value can be thought of as everything ranging from your fabric to hangtags to where your products are made. Remember…you can only make so many first impressions! Need help building your pitch and sales strategy? Leave a comment for me below!
Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail, has championed the success of small to medium sized retail and fashion businesses internationally. Her co-authored book “The Fashion Designer’s Guide- CREATING FASHION WEBSITES THAT SELL- Your Step by Step Manual for Ecommerce Success” releases in February. From opening retail stores in New York to launching a brand from Bali, Syama has taken ideas and turned them into scalable and sustainable businesses. Syama has a background working at the merchandising offices at: Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife, Ann Taylor and Macy’s. Visit: Scalingretail.com and follow her on Twitter @ScalingRetail