Anyone who has social media accounts has likely come across the pages of fashion designers online. I do not mean a massive, national company; I am talking about a small operation run out of someone’s home or boutique that is making small batches of fabulous clothing. Social media advertising has become a crucial part of so many small businesses that some people wonder if it is possible to succeed without it.
Social media marketing has revolutionized how fashion designers & local artists advertise because it reaches a large audience with little to no cost for the business owner. However, social media is only one form of exposure, & it is still possible to succeed as a fashion designer without it.
Starting your own fashion line is something you are passionate about, but you might not be interested in maintaining social media accounts on multiple platforms. Maybe you already have a business & want to step away from social media but worry it will affect your sales. You just have to get creative. Read on to learn more about ways to succeed without using filters & hashtags to promote your line.
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Return to Traditional Promotional Methods.
If you want to promote your fashion designs without social media, you need to brainstorm how people succeeded with small businesses before the advent of social media.
Small companies were alive & thriving long before the internet or social media. Think back to 15 years ago. How did you find out about local companies & small designers?
Be Your Own Biggest Fan
One of the easiest & most effective ways to promote your fashion line is to tell people about it—all the time. Tell the barista at your favorite coffee shop or cashier at the grocery store that you like her top, then tell her about the one you have in the works that would look great on her. Find ways to sneak your business into small talk every chance you get.
At first, this might be difficult, or you may feel awkward about it, but push past those feelings. It will get easier the more you do it. Set a goal for yourself of how many people you will tell about your business on a given day. Once you can comfortably hit that number, increase it. Your enthusiasm & passion for your product will rub off on others & will make them feel excited about it too.
It is also essential to wear your own product whenever possible. If your work is good, people will notice your clothes & compliment you, which gives you the opportunity to promote yourself. It also does not hurt to give friends or family some product to wear. The more people who are seeing your work, the better your chances of attracting new customers.
Get Yourself Some Business Cards
Everyone used to hand out business cards. My dad’s wallet was full of them & there were even a few hanging on our refrigerator. Why did we move away from that? Business cards are helpful in lots of situations for self-promotion.
- Hand them to people as you tell them about your business.
- Many small companies have local artists’ cards on their counters, search them out & leave a few cards behind.
- Add one to clients’ purchases, so they always have your information.
Business cards are such a small & inexpensive marketing tactic, but they do work. Once you get them out there floating around, you never know who will end up with one & be intrigued. Also, it just looks polished & professional to be able to hand someone your card when they show interest in your fashion designs.
Hang Up Flyers
People used to hang flyers up on community bulletin boards for all kinds of businesses & events. While this is not as popular as it once was, it still has the potential to bring in sales.
Do some research & find out what are popular places for your target clientele to spend time, & then see if those places near you have bulletin boards. I think you will be surprised by how many are still in use at places like:
- Book stores
- Coffee shops
- Many small boutiques or artists galleries
So, have some eye-catching flyers printed up & get to tacking.
Reward Customer Loyalty.
Return customers are an important goal in any business, & they are especially vital to small businesses with a limited client base.
An excellent way to keep these repeat customers happy is through different reward systems encouraging their continued patronage.
Exclusive Deals or Designs
One tactic you can use is to offer special discounts for return customers. For example, giving people coupons for a percentage off their next purchase or a discount after a specific dollar amount spent will encourage them to keep coming back. Another benefit is that it will encourage them to spend more money in order to be eligible for the discount.
Some companies use email lists to keep clients updated on their newest designs; these are a great way to offer sneak peeks & the first choice on merchandise to loyal customers. Many clients will jump on ordering new designs to be the first to have them, especially if there will only be a limited supply.
There is no better advertising for a small business than happy customers. No matter how great you are at marketing yourself, some people will always be skeptical about your opinion of your business. However, those same people will gladly listen to & take the word of clients with whom you have built a relationship. Word of mouth is an absolutely enormous driver of sales.
So, how do you encourage your loyal customers to tell others how much they love your designs? How impressive the quality is & how reasonable the pricing? Give them an incentive. Offering a small discount for every person they refer to your business not only brings in new clients but also ensures they will return. One satisfied customer telling their friends & family can lead to dozens of future sales.
Show Up to Events.
Community events offer a place to show off your fashions & a place to get face time with potential customers. Setting up at sites like;
- Arts & crafts fairs
- Flea or farmers markets
- Home shows
- Comic book shows
Really anywhere there is a gathering of local artists & craftsmen is a place you need to be.
Even if it does not seem like a place your client base would be, you never know who is there because their sibling/spouse/friend wanted to go. All kinds of people present will take an interest in your designs. Others will take your card home & hand it off to someone they know will love your work.
Additionally, these events give you a chance to meet & talk with other designers & artists who may be an excellent resource for you. Maybe someone would be a perfect fit for collaboration or has space in their boutique for your designs. You will not know unless you put yourself out there.
Social media is a great marketing tool. To say anything else would be disingenuous. However, it is not the only successful way to market your fashion designs, & it should never be used as your only marketing method.
I follow so many creators on social media because I met them or purchased their work first & then followed them later. These are people whose work I would have never stumbled across in the vastness of the internet.
Making connections with people has always been, & still is, the most essential part of running a small business, especially in artistic fields like fashion design, where your soul is going into the work.\
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