With our increasing reliance on the internet, it is easier than ever to show off our work to the world through the web. Between blog posts, tweets, and Instagram photos, small brands tend to focus themselves behind the computer screen.
Small Brands: Online vs Retail
In an age where consumers have the freedom to shop online or in-store, it is imperative for small brands to understand where their demographic is heading. A recent report by Nielsen states that while some people do check out retailers for inspiration and ultimately purchase their items online, almost 60% of consumers do just the opposite. That means the majority of people look online for inspiration, and then seek out their must-haves within the store. Having an online presence is important, and while we make sure that we nurture our websites and inflate our social media, we must remember that it is still important to be savvy in the retail world as well.
Don’t Forget Your Roots
Pre-Y2K, we didn’t have to worry about our twitter followers not getting enough attention, or finding new ways to get more likes on Facebook. It wasn’t about paying the tech guy a pretty penny for creating and updating our websites. It was about presenting our lines to buyers. Those buyers would then, in turn, choose whether or not to place the order, and then we would anxiously sit back with our fingers crossed that all our hard work would pay off during the upcoming season. If we were prosperous enough, we could of course open our own boutique or chain and sell direct. But, for small brands, our lives depended on good relationships with buyers.
What to do Now?
With this in mind, this new-found freedom does not mean that we should forget about retail. Online is a great place to test out your product. However, exposure can also help you to step ahead of your competition and grow your business.
Invest some face time. Put on a preview of your collection. Invite local buyers. The more networking and elbow-bumping the better! Be sure to be mindful of your budget and strategic with your show selection. Each runway show, each preview, each cocktail party, will bolster your understanding of working within the world of fashion and retail, and take you step by step toward your dream; wherever that may take you. Fashion isn’t about staying behind your computer screen, so get out there and knock their socks off!