Fashion Designer Outlines Tips to
Grow Your Fashion Label
Katya Komarova is a fashion designer, multiple business owner and mentor. She’s learnt a thing or two about growing independent fashion labels from scratch. The crisis of 2020 has shown how incredibly important it is to be able to sell directly to consumers, rather than relying on wholesalers. The question is, how does anyone starting and growing their independent fashion label get noticed on a very overcrowded web. Here’s Katya’s advice.
Over the years of trying, failing, learning and finally winning, I found a good formula that delivers results for independent fashion labels. You can’t find it in books, you either have to learn by trying. I was going through a lot of Instagram accounts of my mentees and I always saw the same mistakes over and over. That’s why I decided to put it all in writing and help you avoid these mistakes and get results from your business that you and your product deserve.
If you are in the fashion industry, you probably already know how important it is to have a polished high-quality photo and video content. That’s essential.
What I would like to focus more on here seems to be obvious but ignored by so many. The following mistakes are major turn-off’s for your potential customers. And if you thought that having a beautiful feed will take you far – you were wrong. That’s just the start. Let’s fix up your Instagram Profile and start converting those who visit your page everyday.
- Is it a business account?
- Can we see what kind of business you are?
- What is your point of difference?
If your account was randomly discovered or somebody tagged you and you suddenly have someone completely unfamiliar with your business looking at your profile – would they know what you are about and what you can offer? Having a ‘speaking for itself’ avatar, account category, an explicit profile bio and a clear call to action will do magic.
Call to action
- What do you want people to do?
- Can they do what you want them to?
- Are you responsive?
- Have you explained how to buy?
- Have you directed what’s next?
- Is it easy to continue a conversation?
It is as simple as that – be clear about who you are and why your product is amazing. Instruct people on what they need to do next, if they should learn more or buy now. It is amazing how many brands do not do it and wait until a potential customer will get in contact, research where to buy and do all the work for you. Very often they will lose interest before they find a way to purchase. So, my advice is – make it easy for them!
- Regular posts/stories
- Prompt comments/DM responses
- Visuals and the voice of your brand
Maintaining your online presence gives you a lot of credibility as a brand, whether you do wholesale (B2B) or direct to consumer (B2C). Post regularly, respond to all the comments and Direct Messages and make sure everything you post has a clear call to action. How do you do that? For example, you post a beautiful picture of a model wearing your product, you might even add information about the product in the caption. You might say: “Oh, yes, I do all of that and it’s not converting”. Check your caption again. Have you given instructions on what to do next, where to buy? This is one of the biggest mistakes small independent fashion labels make – they don’t tell you how to buy, so people don’t buy.
Instagram often is a first touch point for your customer with your brand, it is the very beginning of a customer journey that can be very long and profitable if you set up every step of that journey correctly. From brand awareness to consideration to conversion and to becoming a loyal customer there are many tools to be applied in order to make the system work for you.
Once your potential customer clicks on the tagged product on your Instagram page ( make sure you set up Instagram shopping), you wouldn’t want them to go anywhere else from the product page to make their final purchase decision. To make it happen, make sure you have all the important product information and expected delivery time on the product page.
Be the Face of Your Brand
Often people ask where my bag is from. And with great pride I say it’s mine. Minutes later I give a business card with a website where they can buy the same bag. This is such a common situation. Often people ask what you do for a living. I say I am a handbag designer. This results in people becoming interested and in a minute or two I start pitching my product. I didn’t have to pay anyone to listen to my ‘Ad’ for my product. I didn’t have to pay anyone to take my business card and follow my Instagram account. But this is exactly what happens every single time and the reason is — people buy into not products but into people and their stories. This is one of the biggest single things that smaller independent fashion labels seem to overlook.
You tell stories about yourself once or twice a week probably. When you are visiting a doctor, when you are chatting on a bus and even at your full-time job (if you are still doing your business as a side hustle). All these moments are your sales opportunities. But! Your pitch is worth nothing if you are not using your product and if you are not presenting (wearing) your product in a way people want to copy or adopt. You have to be an ambassador. You have to show how good it is to own and use your product without convincing. This is probably the hardest thing. You just have to create and/or sell the product you truly love and use.
I hope you found this material useful. I wish you all the best with your sales and growth.
Follow Katya for more tips on growing independent fashion labels at @iamkatyakomarova.