Every fashion business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re all struggling to understand how best to prepare for fashion brand growth over the next several years. We discussed this pressing concern in a recent Mingle Mastermind webinar, with our 8 fashion industry professionals and special guest, Boaz David , the founder of Human B, a full service fashion brand consulting and management company located in New York’s Garment District.
Boaz shared his advice on how fashion brands should respond to the Coronavirus crisis and take advantage of the time to better prepare their brand for the future. Our expert panel joined in the discussion as we talked about our predictions on how the coronavirus will impact the fashion industry and how we need to adapt to the new realities of COVID-19.
How to Prepare for Fashion Brand Growth During COVID-19
Boaz has over 25 years of experience working with fashion designers on design, development and production solutions. Human B works with small and medium size apparel brands to target their competitive edge, improve product quality and expand to new product categories.
Boaz has managed the design and production departments for highly acclaimed brands such as Yigal Azrouel, Nili Lotan, Alice & Trixie, and Raven, selling at major luxury retailers such as such as Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others. He has been instrumental in launching buzz-worthy brands, such as Pret A Surf, Alvin Valley, Daniel Vosovic of Project Runway, and Adeam, who count Michelle Obama and Oprah as clients and was most recently seen at the New York Fashion Week Spring 2020 collections.
Before starting his fashion brand consulting business, Human B, Boaz had his own clothing brand and is intimately familiar with fashion brand growth challenges his clients face in the fashion industry. While Boaz never had to face a pandemic while owning a fashion brand, he has faced many of the same crises that every fashion designer faces while struggling to grow a successful business. Even when COVID-19 is over, there will always be a new crisis a brand will have to endure, and Boaz shares how to use this down time to better position your brand for success.
When working with a brand, Boaz’s goal is to thoroughly review every aspect of the business with his client. This allows the business owner to understand whether they need to hire a professional for a specific task, such as a lawyer or accountant, and if the business is set up to be scalable. There is eventually a ceiling for how much one person can accomplish on their own, and every business owner needs to prepare to hire help in order to grow.
Boaz advises that “if you want to run a legit business you have to talk to an attorney and an accountant. They can help you see the business from eyes you never will.” Fashion Mingle CEO, Melissa Shea agrees, adding “you should have an outside person look at your business model and evaluate what you’ve been doing. You are sometimes too close to your own business to see the problems clearly.”
Our Mingle Mastermind resident fashion business attorney, Shirin Movahed shared “no business is one size fits all.” She cautions against using online templates for legal contracts. “It’s more expensive to pay for a lawyer to fix the errors you make, than it does getting one to advise you on what you should be doing”. If you need legal advice about your fashion business, find one in our fashion directory or connect with Shirin for businesses in New York and Florida.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Preparing for Fashion Business Growth
- Do you still believe in the mission you had when you started your business?
- Were you able to achieve your original mission?
- Is the mission still aligned with current fashion industry trends?
- Does your mission still match your target customer?
Make sure you understand who your target customer is. You need to know everything you possibly can about your target customer. But how do you get that information?
5 Steps to figuring out who your target customer is:
- Think about who your current ideal clients are.
- What is their age, location, spending power, interests, and stage of life.
- Review your social media analytics to get demographics on who is following your brand.
- Identify people that fit the demographics of your best clients and followers and ask them to complete a survey about your brand.
- Review responses and address any issues you have with selling your products.
What should your fashion brand be doing during COVID-19 to prepare for growth?
- Analyze your fashion brand. This is the best time to pivot your business, if needed.
- Look for opportunities for your business that are unique in this crisis.
- Don’t focus on sales, focus on connecting with your customers. Show them your brand is here for them during this difficult time.
- Have the right mindset. “Understand this is a temporary situation but we will come out of it stronger.” The best way to overcome a crisis is to understand how to see the positive.
Fashion event producer, Catherine Schuller adds that “during this isolation, brands need to work together and collaborate, not compete.” She suggests using the Fashion Mingle professional directory to find others to work with on new projects.
Boaz recommends that fashion designers continue to plan for and create your next collection. However, you should think of this collection differently.
- Think beyond just the next season, design a season-less collection.
- Minimize new investment and capitalize on what you already have.
- Include versatile, classic pieces in your collection that you can sell long-term.
Fashion brand PR expert Lori Riviere, of The Riviere Agency, recommends including pieces in your collection that are timeless and evergreen, and fit with your brand story. This allows your collection to be creative, versatile and wearable year round.
What’s next for the fashion industry during the COVID19 pandemic?
Boaz predicts the virus will lead to an acceleration in technological advancements for the fashion industry. During this pandemic, technology is helping us do our jobs in new ways, such as models working with designers and brands on virtual fittings.
Melissa Shea, of Fashion Mingle, shares this last piece of advice about what your fashion brand should be doing during COVID19. “This is the time to make tough decisions or take your business in a new direction. Everyone is going to have to adjust to the new normal, despite no one knowing what that is yet”.
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