Have you ever wondered what it might be like to have your very own fashion business? We’re the creative team at Maggie Semple Ltd and we wanted to share a few tips for those of you either just starting out or already running a fashion based business.
1. Create an event that’s unique to you and your company values
The event is a great opportunity for you create a personal connection with your audience.
Look for a product, idea or a value in your company ethos that can work interactively and will be engaging for your audience. Perhaps this might be a bloggers lunch, a sample sale or a launch reception for the next issue of your magazine. The next step, if you can, is to look for a well known personality to join in with your event, as this is a great way to encourage people to attend. Promote the event on all your social media platforms, website and blog if you have one, and encourage fashion bloggers to join as this is an engaging way to get event coverage. This is a great opportunity to bring your online audience offline and to make them feel involved in what you are trying to achieve as a fashion business.
When it comes to the day of the event, allow your audience to interact, network and discuss as much as they listen and observe. It is important you take the time to welcome and thank each guest for attending, whether this be through a speech or individually. You want to leave a lasting impression and leave your guests feeling excited and inspired.
Here at MSL, we host events called Semple Secrets which bring women together to talk about the stories and memories behind their most treasured fashion items, a simple proposition that has tapped in to the imagination of thousands of women. Take a look at what we do on our website.
2. Give yourself an emotional reason to succeed and to keep going when things get tough
It is important to also keep grounded and never lose sight of the reason why you are starting your own fashion business. In an industry that is fast-paced and forever emerging and changing this can sometimes be challenging, but it is vital. The story of Julie Deane and her fashion brand, The Cambridge Satchel Company is a perfect example of this.
The brand was founded by Julie and her mother with the intention of being able to fund private schooling for her children, as a result of her daughter, Emily’s, unfortunate experience with bullies at her current school. The Cambridge Satchels come from a background of motherhood, nostalgia for fashion items of the past, craftsmanship and care, and Julie’s attention to detail and use of locally sourcing both materials and help all combine to make them an accessory that tells a true fashion story. So if you’re looking to launch yourself into the fashion industry, make sure you too keep grounded and integrate a positive message into your product whenever possible. Whether it be to support slow fashion or to introduce a new way of thinking, always keep your brand message true to your own values and beliefs.
You can find more information on Julie and The Cambridge Satchel Company’s story, here.
3. Connect to your audience through the power of words and stories
A blog is a great way to accomplish this, as it allows you to not only tell the story of your business and where you are heading as a company, but it provides your audience with an insight into what inspires and interests you every day. Blog about events you have attended, inspirational people you meet along the way and topical issues that you have a strong opinion on. A blog is a great way to maintain relationships with the people you meet and an opportunity to feature other brands that you might wish to work with in the future.
The power of the visual is also very important and The Cambridge Satchel Company is another great example of this. Julie’s story was discovered by Google, who wanted to share the fact that her story was both sentimental and touching through the use of a video campaign. In many ways, the company’s campaign with Google helped to launch the brand globally.
4. Branding is everything – create an umbrella brand that showcases everything else you do
It is as important to select the right logo as to keep your brand identity in all your communications, using the same colour scheme, typefaces and key visuals, so the public can identify you straight away.
One of the most interesting examples in branding is Evian, and the way they have converted a transparent and apparently tasteless liquid into something fashionable to drink. In branding, your background counts as much as what you do, and if you are French, you already own a common belief that you will have a good taste and savoir faire. Evian is French, has a picture of the Alps on its branding, a touch of pink that inspires femininity and a moving circle as a main key visual that surrounds all the elements, reinforcing the idea of power and energy for your body. In addition to that, in their communication, they use links to fashion, sports and celebrities in the big screen.
Maggie Semple Limited for example is a business inspired by women and the way their clothes makes them feel. Maggie’s signature is in the centre of the logo which is underlined by a stitching in gold and the tag line “Women Fashion Stories”. The black signature gives a personal identity to the brand, while the gold stitching inspires luxury while taking your mind into fashion and clothes straight away. In all the communications that the company does, a newsletter, a blog, a graphic to promote an event…black, gold and optima as a font are always the contestant values.
Combining the same tone in your communications with the same graphic values will help you to raise brand awareness and your brand credibility will grow. We are so used to Coca-cola’s logo that we don’t necessarily read it but instantly recognise a brand that links to freshness, sweetness and happiness. That is the true value of branding, helping you to transmit who you really are.
If you are running or starting a fashion business please let us know about your challenges and successes in the comments below and also see below for details of Maggie Semple’s next event!