Clothing label Flo Dance is stocked in Myer, David Jones and Macy’s. Here, founder Felicia Palanca shares her tips for growth.
1. Strong brand identity
I think largely we have built our brand ID on the back off my credibility as a performer in the Australian ballet. We have a very clear brand vision as a result of that and always stay true to it. We ensure seasonally we have great photography to help communicate our brand story to not only retailers but consumers, and wherever possible, we try to bring Flo to life in unique ways. Seasonally for example, I conduct ballet classes in the childrenswear section of David Jones, which has been hugely successful to help reinforce the authenticity of our brand. We are always consistent with our messaging – online, in social media, POS, advertising and so on.
2. Relationship Building
Don’t be afraid to network and reach out to your contacts. You will not only meet great people but also potentially great customers. It is really valuable to ask other business owners/mangers in similar fields for their advice and also share yours with them. You also need to do a lot of homework to land a big new account and be prepared to take risks. With Macy’s for example, we did a lot of preparation and research initially, to first identify the gap in the US market that we could help fill and then to learn about the buying team. Our pitch was meticulously prepared. We then took a pretty big risk flying over to NY to see them. Timing was undoubtedly another factor in our success with Macy’s, as was leveraging what we had done here with our great Australian retailers (David Jones/Myer).
3. Invest in Marketing Support
Retailers need to see how committed you are to your brand, particularly in new or international markets. Whilst funds can often be tight for small businesses, we think it is really important to give the brand every chance through strategic marketing support. To support our Myer business, we have always invested significantly in POS and catalogues. In the US, we have engaged a local PR agency to help build the brand with influencers and press to drive awareness and credibility. Finding the right people to help you is often hard but instrumental to your success.
If you have a lead follow it through to the end. Be considerate: don’t badger but also don’t give up. In my experience, a strong direct lead is often the best way to reach out to a potential new client. We also try and make it as easy as possible to work with us – eg complying with their systems can often be so time consuming initially, but is essential. Partner with the right people on e-commerce, logistics and PR both here and in international markets to give the brand every chance of succeeding in a new retail environment. Finally, remember to celebrate the successes, as they are always the result of a lot of hard work!