It's not unusual for a business to have a multi-pronged attack when deciding how and where to sell. The advent of digital marketing and social media has changed the way you can do things, so while you don't necessarily have to travel a conventional path, we thought it was important that we cover the more traditional methods of selling too. We've enlisted expert help and advice to cover trade shows, fashion shows, selling into boutiques and online marketplaces and how to find and use an agent. (If you haven't yet watched it, I would recommend you catch up with last month's Masterclass first, How & Where To Sell: Getting Started & Going It Alone).
To help us introduce what wholesale means and different sales avenues available to you, Charlie interviews Saumen Kar, founder of London Organic PR, an agency dedicated to cultivating and nurturing UK design talent and ethical UK production.
Visual merchendiser and über cool fashion designer behind IMGG, Jade Maria Burrowes, uses her wide ranging expertise to discuss showcasing your brand at both trade events and fashion shows. She gives particularly good insight into how to get your stall looking perfect. We've also created two downloadable checklists, to help you prepare for both a trade show and a fashion show.
Then Davina Ebikeme, founder of sales and brand development agency, July Rollings, offers a deeper insight into working with sales agents, if it's right for you and how to approach the relationship.
To cover how best to approach online marketplaces and stand out is Caroline Henne, Chief Marketing Officer ofWolf & Badger. Wolf & Badger is a marketplace dedicated to selling the world's best independent fashion, jewellery, accessory, homeware and beauty brands. They currently showcase over 600 designers and are constantly looking for new and exciting brands to feature. Could you be the next hot designer featured on their platform? Of course, we couldn't leave without picking her brains on how brands can and should be digitally market themselves!
To delve even deeper into getting your products into retail shops, we have a panel discussion on how to approach fashion buyers with three incredible business women; Paula Haunit, Founder of Sheer Apparel an online sustainable and ethical womenswear boutique, Alicia Taylor, Co-founder of ethical retail platform Gather & See, and Kate Richards, Founder of The Keep Boutique, a beautiful eco boutique based in Brixton.
Plus, don't forget to check out this month's interview with Thraedable - an inspiring social enterprise and fashion brand with a unique business model.
How To Approach Fashion Buyerswith Charlie Bradley Ross
Buyers are powerful creatures - they could "make" your brand. Their opinions, experiences and advice is extremely important to the success of your business. We had the opportunity to pick the brains of three sustainable boutique owners, to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the buying cycle works, what to do to get in front of them and how they like to be approached.
Sheer Apparel is an online sustainable and ethical womenswear boutique founded by Paula Haunit; she knows the customer and she knows the modern lifestyle too. Consumers don’t often have the time to shop around and research, so she compiles the best ecofashion brands into a stunning online boutique that makes sustainable style easy. Paula also writes for the Huffington Post. The aim of the business is to “prove to you that beautiful, high-quality, conscious style is available at comparable prices to equivalent brands you’ve loved for years.” Well, I salute that! Some of the brands they stock include Armed Angels and Maska.
Alicia Taylor, Co-founder of Gather & See is very well equipped to understand the fashion market, consumer habits and the way that designers and labels work. She worked in PR, then at LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), and then moved on to Value Retail. Launched in 2014, Gather & See first started to sell products in their online boutique. They select like-minded, forward thinking designers that fit into at least three of Gather&See’s five founding philosophies: Fair Trade, Organic, Eco-Friendly, Small Scale Production and Heritage. Examples of the brands they stock include Conditions Apply and Kowtow.
An avid researcher of the most sumptuous and delicious of ethical brands, Kate Richards curates a shop that almost resembles a gallery with all of its fantastically crafted eco-luxe items. The task of filling a physical shop allows Kate to really showcase the textural, sensual qualities of the brands she represents. She stocks brands such as Desmond & Dempsey and Thought.
With a bricks and mortar, Kate offers the unique perspective of how consumers behave and respond to pieces in a physical setting; these are the moments when a passer-by can be distracted by the sheer beauty of a garment in a shop window, and a lifelong appreciation for that brand can blossom. But how does Kate know which brands will work? And how do you become one of those brands in the window... watch to learn!
How To Approach Online Marketplaces & Stand Outwith Caroline Henne
Caroline Henne is Chief Marketing Officer Wolf & Badger. Her career started in large luxury brands and Google. She has incredible experience working with large luxury advertisers including Rolex, and LVMH group to name a few. Her heart, however, was always in smaller, luxury brands; the story behind those companies and directly supporting those brands.
Wolf & Badger believes they sell the worlds best - unique, independent and ethical, brands. unique, independent and ethical is the absolute priority for them. They have two stores in London and one in New York with their main sales predominantly online. They sell womenswear, menswear, childrenswear. They love to work with smaller brands as they embrace any brand that is an independent.
Working with Sales Agentswith Davina Ebikeme
Davina Ebikeme runs the London-based wholesale agency and brand consultancy July Rollings. She gives us an insight into what she does, the benefits of working with sales agents and the inner workings of holding a seasonal showroom.
With an impressive background as DKNY's wholesale sales executive and then managing the UK and international sales of renowned designer Hussein Chalayan, Davina is well placed to advise brands on the wholesale side of the fashion industry. She launched July Rollings with the mission to nurture and grow emerging and small brands, across ready to wear, footwear and accessories. July Rollings organises and manages seasonal sales campaigns for their clients, presents their collections to key retailers and consults on overall brand strategy from merchandising, pricing, development, production and sales.
Trade Show & Fashion Show Informationwith Charlie Bradley Ross
Here are some extensive lists of fashion and trade shows from around the world. If you've decided that a show is right for you, use the downloadables below to help you decide the best one for you:
Visual Merchandising Trade Shows & Fashion Showswith Jade Maria Burrowes
Jade Maria Burrowes is founder of IMGG. HUMAN. (I AM A GOOD GIRL), an ethical brand based in London, offering organic t-shirts for both men and women, with a playful and rebellious style. With a background in visual merchandising and having worked for one of Britain’s most famous multi-channel department stores, Jade is an expert on the fundamentals of visual merchandising. She also has first hand experience of organising fashion shows - we couldn't be in better hands for this Masterclass in visual merchandising trade events and fashion shows.
Introduction to Wholesale with Saumen Kar, London Organic PRwith Saumen Kar
Our first expert this month is London Organic PR founder Saumen Kar. He has a background in marketing and business consulting and over 20 years of experience. Saumen realised that marketing, costing, spreadsheets, simply aren’t every creative’s forte. So he launched his business to provide help for brands from sourcing and manufacturing their products, to marketing, to sales. His biggest passion is “Made in the UK”. Listen to our chat, where we demystify the wholesale process and how to maximise your sales with some fabulous tricks and advice, including his take on launching your own physical shop.