CHANGES IN THE INDUSTRY THAT ARE GOOD FOR NEW BUSINESSES By Frances Harder www.fashionforprofit.com
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The pandemic has sped up many changes within most industries, some good and some not so. New adjustments to normal business practices are needed to address these new demands. Change has always been inevitable and constant, but the pandemic has accelerated these new demands for change. The apparel industries changes were already apparent before the pandemic hit but this past year has magnified the need to incorporate these new demands for change to serving the customers changing buying and trend habits.
Here are some key points that need to be incorporated and understood about the future planning of eitherexisting businesses or for those with a good idea wishing to start their own brand. • The slowing down of bricks and mortar sales – More and more stores are closing due to the changing buying habits of customers, the pandemic speeded this inevitable happening. • The increase of online sales B2C & B2B- Online sales has also been accelerated due to the impact of the pandemic. This is a good way for new brands to start slow and grow a brand. • Cross marketing of brands selling online – This is a very exciting new marketing method that benefits the sellers and the buyers. • Social media marketing- This development has been growing rapidly and needs to be incorporated into all new business marketing plans. • Demand for sustainable products-This incorporates all aspects of products that have sustainability incorporated into the manufacturing of apparel. • Social justice – Important to checkout that any worker touching your product will be fairly treated and not produced in a sweat shop. • On Demand manufacturing- This new manufacturing method will save on the waste that is created with the old ordering methods. • 3D Printing – Is already being used by shoe manufacturers and other hard goods. • 3D virtual sampling – This is the answer to over sampling, but the software is necessary to achieve this no waste sampling development. • Smaller orders more often- Buyers are changing from the traditional methods of five markets a year to buying less more often to address the customers buying habits. • Made in America- Buyers are looking for more domestic production. This is both sustainable and supports U.S. Business. • Speed to market – With buyers buying more often they are also demanding a faster turnaround. • Recycling- Is a big demand from plastic bottles to recycling fibers and clothing. • Upcycling – Big brands are buying used product to resell. Some of these used products are now selling for more than the original sales. • Athleisure clothing& casual lifestyles- Leggings are being worn by all shapes and sizes. Working from home has accelerated this casual trend. • No strong changing trends in fashion- Besides the casual lifestyle there are no strong trends to follow and its more about merchandising. • Online tradeshows are here to stay.- Even when the in-person shows start up again, online trade shows will be an added benefit to sourcing and sales.
For any new potential business wishing to launch their own line most of the above can be incorporated into their planning process. For established companies it will take time to adjust production and usual business practices to these new demands. But the important thing is to start incorporating any of the above. The use of no plastic in packaging and sustainable hangtags should be a good first move.
Incorporating 3D product development using some of the new software systems that allow companies to do sampling virtually is another good first step to avoid over sampling and the inevitable waste that this first step involves. The designer can virtually create samples that also shows fabrication. Then buyers can view and if needed suggest their changes. This all can be done before any fabric is cut and samples made.
Using this type of software isalso true for new companies who use contractors to develop their samples who have this type of 3D virtual software. It saves so much unnecessary time and money in creating first samples. The use of this software can also do on demand production, or for new brands smaller orders. This is another good point for new brands who would not be able to produce big orders. Or the new use of technology that some new companies are using is to produce made to measure to the customers size through scanning them. Once scanned a pattern is adjusted to their personal measurements. Full circle to personally created couture clothing that is made specifically to fit an individual customer. Scan apps are now available to scan yourself or your customer. Then those measurements can be sent to the manufacturers to make the adjustments to the pattern for a chosen design.
The other very interesting new development that is very good for new companies who are selling online is to incorporate cross marketing practices. This is kin to retail stores who sell different brands in their store. New online brands can sell their own products but also merchandise their products with other brands to cross market products. This opens opportunities for each brand to help one another with social media marketing methods and so increase traffic for each brand’s website. It also allows new brands to show new trends by merchandising their own products in different ways. Dress them up and dress them down and include different accessories. Showing different ways to merchandise for different body types is another good offering for a new online platform. So, the key to these new developments is the importance of understanding the art of merchandising, which is now reallymoreimportant than the art of design. If you do have a new good idea it will be a good plan to include the above points. For all the other important planning that is needed when starting a new apparel business please checkout my website: www.fashionforprofit.com. The main book explains clearly everyaspect to entering into this new exciting journey. From legal issues, to costing, branding and sales to name a few of the important points that all too often are not fully understood until all funds are depleted Fashion For Profit 10th edition will be an invaluable tool. PLEASE NOTE! One especially important point that has caused many to lose their life savings and valuable time is not taking time to check credentials of consultants or resources that are needed to create first samples or production. Please check them out and get references!