If you are reading this, I am sure you are taking a quick social media break from frantic making and selling in the run up to Christmas!
For most fashion or creative start-ups, this is the busiest time of year – makers are keen to capture Christmas trade to break-even for this year so far, but also for the inevitable lull of January and February to come. The New Year post-sales slump will soon be upon us, after all.
But amid all this late autumn flurry of work, do make sure to consider your brand’s position.
It is tempting to sell what you can where you can. You may want to find extra markets, Christmas fairs and events to sell at; you might want to slash your prices and promote discounts online. Lower prices will affect your margin, but, you could argue, a higher volume of sales will increase overall turnover.
Most designer-makers are high-end or premium priced brands, where your product is promoted as being distinctive or unique (differentiated) in some way, and a higher price tag reflects that. It is what sets you apart from the ten-a-penny high street. So selling too cheaply now can seriously affect how customers may view you later. Likewise, the wrong venue or show where other brands are literally flogging their wares can force you into bringing your prices down to beat the competition. Remember always that you are competing and promoting your brand on quality and desirability, as something special.
And if a customer has seen that you can afford to sell your throws or scarves or footwear at a bargain price, why would they want to buy from you again at full-price in the future? I write as a canny Scot who is always on the look-out for a bargain myself, rather than being loyal to any particular brand!
A tip is to use this time (forty-five days and counting) to develop smaller, more accessible pieces that have a lower price point, not to slash your more expensive products. Customers are buying presents with different budgets – from luxurious gifts to stocking fillers. Think about producing smaller prints or cards using stock that you already have, or perhaps smaller jewellery pieces that you can make with existing materials. Ensure that these can be pulled together quickly so they are not labour intensive at a busy time, but are good quality and also tie in with your brand identity and existing product range.
Think also about how you present your products – can you offer a special gift set, or a free gift with purchase instead? Perhaps ‘three for the price of two’? This way you are avoiding discounting but are still adding value to the customers’ experience. And hopefully increasing sales too…
Another great tip that was mentioned in The Design Trust‘s guest blog from Sinead Koehler of Crafty Fox Market on Christmas markets, is to have some online promotional codes to drive traffic to your website (and hopefully sales) on the day. You could have these printed on fliers or business cards.
Remember, after Christmas all brands offer promotions and sales, that is the acceptable time of year to roll these out.
So, over the next few weeks, ‘tis indeed the season to be selling, but selling creatively.
If you have any questions after reading this, or would like me to work with you on your fashion or creative business, then feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop a comment on the blog.
Thanks to Christkindle Market in Leeds for the pic!