During my many years as a buyer and merchandising executive, I got to know and observe a variety of successful designers and brands from around the country. Many of these designers were emerging designers, others were well on to becoming established, yet all of them were fast on their way to making not only national but international reputations. I often noticed that these successful brands all had similar business traits and habits. It became clear to me that this framework of similar habits and professionalism was the foundation for the continuing success of these brands.
Know your audience. Who is your targeted consumer, the end user? Identify who they are. Develop a profile of your consumer – make a list of traits, characteristics, etc.
Talk to them.
As you develop your product, conduct a focus group study and get feedback on your line of product. Use this valid consumer feedback as a sell–in to the retailer. Know and understand where your brand and targeted consumer fit into the retail market. Identify the retail segment that your consumer shops such as independent retailers, specialty franchise retailers, department stores, online retail, etc.
Research and study that segment – know their competition; visit their store; learn what they carry; talk to the sales staff; find out how often they buy and where do they buy – trade shows, showrooms.
I leave you with “know” your market by studying, learning, listening and talking to. Be engaged, entrenched and don’t assume you know who your audience is.
Do the homework.
Feature photo: Frieze Frame: Fashion at Frieze Los Angeles, photo by Rhonda P. Hill for EDGExpo.com