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Archive for March, 2009

Great news! My article went live on Nolcha.com today and was made a feature. For those of you who don’t know, Nolcha.com is a business magazine aimed at start-up fashion companies. It’s got lots of great advice and it’s free!

My article is called “Risky  Business: Why now, more than ever, you should be investing in your brand image.”

It’s about competing in this tough market and how a well thought out brand image can help you gain the confidence of retailers.

Enjoy!

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Have you heard of Nolcha.com? If not, you have to check it out. It’s got tons of great business advice for the young fashion start-up. And, as of tomorrow, I will be a guest blogger there, blogging exclusive content about branding and brand image. I’ll post a link and snippet here when my article comes out, very soon. Enjoy!

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Another reader has written in with a question, which I will reply here for everyone’s benefit:

From Shannon:

Hi Giannina,
I was wondering if you ever covered the topic of how to approach the buyer at a boutique? I have a new product (it falls under the Food & Beverage category I guess) and I am just now starting to work on getting the product into stores. I would love to know if there is a protocol on how to go about doing this – without going to a trade/gift show. Any advice? Or any suggestions of articles/blogs/posts that address this question? Thanks for your time. I love the blog and can’t wait to read more of it!!

Hi Shannon, I have covered this a little before but will address the topic again. I have a client with similar situation to yours, she could not afford trade shows or gift shows, yet by simply pounding the pavement locally, has managed to gain entry into major stores here in Seattle. It is completely acceptable to approach local boutiques directly.

However, emails didn’t seem to work, as they got lost in the shuffle, but what did work was calling and asking for the buyer and getting an appointment. Once at the appointment, being very organized and professional is helpful. Of course, it really helped my client that her brand image was in order ( I designed all of her packaging) as it really, really helped sell the product. What also helped was having some sort of professionally designed literature (which I created for her) accompanying her product that would explain it to the customer, and help the product sell. This really clinched the deal, as it made her look like she was thinking ahead about how to sell the product, which store owners love.

I hope you find this info helpful. Good luck!

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Phew! I have been crazy busy—working late nights, weekends, and I’ve got bags under my eyes to prove it!—but am now back in the blogging game.  To start, I have a question from a reader I think I’d like to answer here for everyone’s benefit:

From Layla:

I am starting a fashion business that’s due to launch in the summer of 09 and I find the that the part that I am struggling with the most is the naming and branding. I have come up with quite a few names and when I get to the point where I can put them on a business card they either are taken, too vague, or don’t equate to fashion at all. The main focus of my business is alterations and custom designs that most importantly fit the client. I read the article by Dana Wood and am leaning more towards the simple name than the flashy clever french ones that have been suggested to me (long story) because in the end if people can’t read it, pronounce it, or remember it what good is it. If you have any other articles or suggestions that would be a great help!

Thanks.

Layla, your instinct here is good. Being able to read, pronounce, and most of all, remember a name is the first challenge of a memorable brand name. While the clever long name trend might be fine for a niche brand aimed at 20-something hipsters who revel in intellectual obscurity, you have to consider your target market, their likes, and their lifestyle. You need to be different but also still reach your target market. What resonates most with your target market is the direction you should take. My guess is that the nature of your business demands a more direct, accessible sort of name. If your business name is short, you can also use a tagline to help people understand exactly the nature of your business.

Suggested strategy exercises to guide name brainstorming:
• write down the benefits of your brand to your target customer
• write down a list of words that describe how your brand should make people feel
• write the single most important thing you want people to know about your business.
• imagine a satisfied customer is telling a friend about your biz, what would they say?

Let that filter through your head for a few days and then use it to guide your naming.

Hope this helps!

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