As Fashion Exposed Now readies to relaunch this month, this is what you need to do to prepare.
In part five of this five week business makeover, fashion finance expert Melissa Brown tells you how to maximise on your Fashion Exposed Now experience.
Fashion trade shows can be an exhausting, exhilarating, wild ride for many in the fashion industry. There is so much invested in each collection that it is easy to become focussed on the collection itself and not to be mindful of what happens after the show is over. That’s because it is often before and after the show that the real business of trade shows begin. So what are the final checkpoints you need to think about as you prepare to do business?
- Who are you going to sell your collection to?
Is it going to be the first store that comes along or do you have a plan for where you want it to be sold and how are you going to ensure that happens?
- How much are you going to sell?
Creating a collection of samples for the runway is one thing but how many pieces do you want to sell from the collection? Obviously your pricing will be tied up here as you consider lower volumes and higher prices or vice versa.
- How are you going to manage discounts?
If a store asks for a bulk order but wants a substantial discount, will you still make a profit? It’s important to know what price points you can manage well before talks begin.
- How are you going to manufacture your order?
Receiving a large order from a supplier might be incredibly exciting but have you planned for how you might fulfil that order? This includes finding out how long the order will take to be fulfilled and shipped if sourcing from overseas. If you’re fulfilling the order yourself, do you have the capacity to fill the order or will you need to hire help?
- Have you budgeted for your order?
Again, receiving an order is exhilarating, but have you calculated all the necessary costs so that you will make a profit for that order. This includes manufacturing costs, shipping costs, additional labour and so on.
- How are you going to pay for your order?
When you receive an order from a buyer it is so important to establish the payment cycle. That is because if you are relying on the buyer to fund your order but you won’t be receiving most (or any) of the funds until after you have fulfilled the order then you are going to have a cash flow issue. Organising funds beforehand will ensure that when you meet with a potential buyer you know that you can afford to fulfil the order.
This might mean organising an overdraft, factoring of invoices, loans from family, taking on an investor or using your own funds. It might seem strange, but the bigger the order, the more trouble you can find yourself in both in struggling to manufacture the order and with financing the order.
So make sure you have a strategy for both manufacturing and financing your order before you meet with buyers so that you know the maximum amount of pieces you can afford to produce.
- Be aware of deadlines and set up action plans.
Make sure buyers want to deal with you again by ensuring you have a plan in place to meet order deadlines. This may mean creating timelines for ordering stock, manufacturing stock or organising a gradual delivery of stock.
Make sure you give your business every chance of maximising on trade shows by ensuring you have an answer to the questions above. The numbers side may not be as exciting as the collections, but by giving them the same care and precision you will give your business every chance of having a successful and profitable event and beyond.