What I learnt from my Fashion Business Debt of $50K.
I want to share with you my personal experience in the fashion business and what I learned in more than 10 years running my jewelry brand Maiden-Art.
Why i’m sharing my experience with YOU?
Because, I really hope that my experience can be inspiring for YOU and can make you think that
IT’S TOTALLY POSSIBLE to start and grow a fashion business from scratch, whether is a product or service-based biz, only if you follow the right strategies. Remember, so many people get into debt, it doesn’t mean that you are bad at business. Companies such as Debt Consolidation USA can help you sort through your debt and get you to a more stable financial place so that if you need to start again, you can do with a clean slate.
When I started with my fashion brand, I was creating clothes ad accessories and more than 10 years ago, the best way to sell your collection was at a trade show or to find a showroom/rep.
Trade shows were so expensive, from $5K to $10k per each show and if you were accepted after sending your application at least 6-8 months before, you had to book your space, paying at least 50% off the price of the show and the rest, a month before the show.
Can you imagine how much money I spent many months before the trade shows only to book a space at them, without including the expenses to stay in hotel and the travel to go to the show, without knowing if I would have found buyers at the show, interested in my collection?
I know right now, It sounds so crazy, but when I started there were NO Facebook, Social Media, E-commerce etc…to use and to get known from the press and from retailers, the only way was to be seen at trade shows.
The second step was to find a showroom or sales rep interested in your collection.
I’m telling you this, because when I started the only money I had, where the money I’ve earned from my work as a professor in IED – Moda Lab, a fashion school in Milan and the money I won from a European Funds competition for supporting new entrepreneurs.
Basically, what I did, I invested everything in my fashion business: producing the samples and booking a space at the most important trade shows in Italy and in Europe, if my applications were accepted.
My applications were accepted and so, I could go to show my collections of clothes and accessories at the trade shows.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go as I expected.
In a few years, I’ve lost everything I earned, because the orders I got were not even enough to cover the trade shows expenses.
At one trade show (Pitti Immagine in Florence, Italy), I had to change (just few days before the show) what I was going to show, because my samples were not ready for the trade show. I had to produce myself some jewelry in exchange of my clothing collection not ready! If I didn’t do that, my booth at the trade show would have been left empty.
That’s how I changed my clothing brand into a jewelry brand Maiden-Art.
To make it short: from all the trade shows, from the research to find showrooms/sales reps and from producing samples, I’ve lost $50K !
Yes you heard right $50K!
$50K Debt !
There are no doubts about it, living with a significant amount of debt can be incredibly daunting. That being said, it is important to remember that financial support is out there if you are struggling. For example, if your debts are spiralling out of control, and you are unable to pay for everyday necessities, then you might be entitled to emergency financial assistance. You can learn more about assessing your eligibility for emergency financial assistance by checking out this useful guide from the GoFundMe fundraising website: https://www.gofundme.com/c/blog/emergency-financial-assistance.
Anyway, what I am really trying to say is that in 2010 I was in debt of $50K and I am not ashamed of telling you that!
$50k Debt is huge but you can solve it if you put yourself in the right direction!
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Why? Because It was for me a BIG BIG BIG lesson to learn!
From that experience, the year after, I got in net profit of $35K, so I paid all my debt of $50K plus a profit of $35K.
How I did it?
1) I invested in myself.
What I mean is: I started to learn more of what I didn’t know, MARKETING & SALES (I come from a creative background, I’m a visual designer and a fashion designer).
AND also I learned to shift my mindset.
I took as many online courses as possible about marketing/sales and I started to follow inspiring people that could keep me on track.
I focused my attention to understand more who they were, their problems, how I could help them with my products, how I could satisfy their needs and giving them benefits.
3) I started to build my EMAIL LIST of potential customers interested in my jewelry collections. I focused more my attention online, but never forgetting the offline world.
Every occasion, where I could find my dream customer, was the perfect one to offer value in exchange for my audience’s email list.
Every day, I focused my attention to build my email list and to grow the relationship with my dream customers.
In this way, I could get back on track in my fashion business, but with a more deep knowledge of myself and more confident on what my dream customers really needed.
So, in conclusion, don’t give up on your fashion business, stay focused on your dream customers needs, provide them great value for free, build a true relationship with them and grow your email list every day!
Email list is the best and more powerful way to connect with people. Social media can change, but the email list is yours.
Can you imagine if you put all of your efforts and your sales are coming only from Facebook and your Facebook account will be closed down anytime, without a reason ?!?!
Hope it’s not going to happen, but if you have an email list of your potential customers, and you care about that, you will have no problems!
This blog post is very long, hope you din’t mind and I hope you found it very helpful and valuable.
As usual, if you have any questions just hit reply and I would be more than happy to help you!
p.s. Need Help To Start or Grow A Business in Fashion? Learn more from our Ebooks, Online Courses and Coaching 1:1.
What I learnt from my Fashion Business Debt of $50K.
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