Category: Fashion

All things generally related to fashion.

Go Pro: 5 Payment Terms You Need to Know

Before your next sales conversation, or planning your cash flow for the next few months you need to know the rules for your lifeline. Your lifeline is sales, and the rules are how you are going to get paid. Without understanding these terms you will look like an amateur, might miss the sale or worse yet, not be able to pay your bills on time. So read the below, print it out and keep it somewhere handy.

The NET

NET 30 is a common term and  it means that you will get paid within 30 days after the product has arrived.  This means that the retailer has the option to pay you anytime within the 30 day window. NET 60 is 60 days after the product has arrived and NET 90 is 90 days after.

Pro: If you can do NET 30 it’s the most common way to do business with retailers. NET 30 allows for retailers to make sure your product arrives on time, and they can inspect it to make sure that nothing is damaged.

Cons: You have to be able to produce, ship and be ok with not getting paid for up to 6 months from when the order is placed. (i.e. you get an order February that is scheduled to deliver in August). Avoid payment terms at NET 60 and NET 90, though sometimes your retailers might push out payment. It has been known for big retailers not to pay on time and for business to close doors because of it.

Tip:  You can offer incentives or discounts for earlier payment. You can also offer the other payment options.


 

C.O.D (Collect On Demand or Cash On Demand)

C.O.D. is not very common with big retailers, though working with boutiques you might be able to work C.O.D. into your contracts. This allows the retailer to pay for the product as soon as UPS, FEDEX, DHL or USPS delivers it.

Pro: C.O.D’s allow you ensure you get paid as soon as the goods are delivered. No waiting for 30, 60 or 90 days.

Cons: You still have to wait to get paid until the product arrives, so this does mean you have to be able to manufacture and produce without payment.

Tip: Offer C.O.D. as an option for retailers. While they cannot inspect the product before paying for it, some retailers will prefer this method since it hold both parties accountable for the delivery on time and payment.


 

50/50

This is a common payment term for small boutiques. This payment option started with jewelry brands. Most retailers know that the upfront costs of producing high end jewelry can be costly, so this is where the flexibility comes in. Other types of brands (accessories, clothing)  have been using it for while as well.

Pro: You get paid! Even if its just partial payment, you will have what you need to hopefully get started on production. Its a great way for brands to get the cash flow injection to start producing and for retailers to build in good will. A lot of successful brands have been able to launch sustainably because of doing smart payment structures like this.

Cons: You will need to articulate clearly when the second 50% is due. This could be NET 30 or COD. Don’t let there be any confusion.

Tip: I would suggest 50/50 first when negotiating, its the best compromise of all the payment terms.


 

Credit Card Down or Full Payment Upfront

Putting a credit card down is a great way for a retailer to secure the order, and payment upfront is a rare but great when it happens. When retailers buy oversees its common to have a full payment upfront, but its rare for domestic orders. Credit card down is very common, though its important to make sure that the card is valid.

Pro: Either cash in hand, or a credit card that you can charge once delivery is complete. Both are great options for you.

Cons: Ensure the credit card is valid, and that if you get paid upfront it goes through.

Tip: Boutiques will be happy to put down a credit card, so make sure you agree on when the card will be charged. Don’t get too excited about the full payment upfront options, while you can ask, its rare!


 

Consignment

This is a dangerous word to many brands. Though consignment can be a useful tool to help your brand gain distribution channels. There are a number of ways to structure consignment deals. You can do: 50/50 split or 60/40 in favor of you (the brand). The split is done on the retail price.

Pro: Consignment allows you to get into more stores and with the split on sales, you can end up getting paid more than with traditional wholesale prices.

Cons: You never know when you are going to get paid and keeping up with stores on what they sold can be difficult. You should be prepared to have a list of stores and reminders to follow up with them on your calendar. Don’t expect for the retailers to get in touch with you.

Tip: Don’t give consignment a bad name by letting it ruin your business. You should use it intelligently to help your brand increase distribution.

 

With so many payment terms its important to pick the ones best for you. Make sure that you know your cash flow model and can plan accordingly. Getting paid is the lifeline of your business and how you get paid and when are equally important. For help with your business model, sales strategy and creating a sustainable business model send me an email: syama@scalingretail.com.

The Truth About Fashion Business Cards

The Truth about Fashion Business Cards

Who doesn’t love getting fresh business cards? There are so many options these days: embossing, extra smooth, textured. You might even have a slight obsession a la Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) “Look at that subtle off-white coloring; the tasteful thickness of it… Oh my God, it even has a watermark.”

These days business cards come in packs of 25 and 50 making it super easy to buy. But, did you know these little costs can add up? For every $50 you spend on business cards you might be able to add that to your digital marketing budget. Before you place your next business card order ask yourself:

1. Do I have an event or upcoming opportunity to hand these out?
2. Will these cards be used to go out with sales kits or customer orders?
3. Have I finalized my branding and company identity? Am I proud of what my branding says about my business?

If you answered YES to any of these then you are ready to create fashion business cards for your brand. Here are some innovative ways to do smart business cards.

1. Use your business cards as a smart marketing tool by adding a special code on it. Maybe it gets someone a free gift or discount when they enter it on your site.
2. Show a lifestyle image from your lookbook on the front of the business cards for the particular season you are selling. Buy in small quantities so you can re-up next season.
3. Illustrate one of your brand values on the front. This could be a picture of your team, your factory, a word or tagline that has high impact. Until your brand name is well known, you want people to associate your brand with something that resonates.

There are lots of other ways to get creative with fashion business cards, but please never spend a dollar on them unless you have a plan to get rid of them! If you need to revisit your cash flow, marketing and sales strategies give me a ring and lets get to work (syama@scalingretail.com). No more spending money on things that don’t work for you.

Dreaming of Owning a Boutique? Dreams do Come True.

Starting a boutique with all your favorite brands can seem like a dream to some, but a reality to others. How to get the right vendors? Choose a location? Hire the contractors, pick the interior designer, do the marketing…the list can seem daunting and confusing. Where to start? Two of my clients the owners of The Vale and Flat 128 were in those shoes and went from an idea to reality in a short 12 months. It wasn’t magic. It takes a great deal of determination, vision, and stamina to open a store.

Here were the steps we took.

  • Hone in on vision, What do you want out of this?
  • Competitive research. Who is doing what you want to be doing? Price point, demographics, get specific.
  • Build your vendor matrix
  • Assess Financials, How much capital do you need to raise?
  • Assortment Plan & Pricing Analysis
  • Branding, build the logo, the vision, the aesthetics
  • Draft the copywriting, brand about statement, and get clear on demographics
  • Look at locations. Do a feasibility study. Inspect foot traffic, talk to local shop owners, and get clear on your square footage needed.
  • Hire a general contractor and interior designer.
  • Pitch to vendors, place orders.
  • Planogram, and visual layout.
  • Marketing strategy
  • Financial plan
  • Sales strategy
  • Develop markdown and merchandising calendar
  • Social media strategy and marketing
  • Hire staff
  • Launch plan (events, marketing etc.)
  • Line up vendors for trunk shows during launch
  • Develop Ecommerce launch plan.

Whew, that seems like a huge laundry list of tasks to check off a list, but they are doable. If your dream is to open a shop, don’t get deterred by ecommerce only naysayers who are afraid of a brick & mortar commitments. Opening a boutique can be extremely rewarding. You can bring the community together. Be a hub for art gallery showings, and have trunk shows and events.

Concerned by your lack of negotiating, financial planning or marketing skills? Don’t worry, I am here to help. To set up a one:one consultation email: hello@scalingretail.com

Foundation: Selling Tips + Videos!

Sales are the lifeline of your business. No sales, no business. So its very important to develop your sales strategy. Your strategy might include ecommerce, wholesale, popup shops, consignment, and drop-shipment amongst others. This blog post we will discuss the 1st step to selling ecommerce and the 1st step to launching wholesale. For more advice on increasing sales, and growing your business check out Scaling Retail TV or schedule a consultation.

1st Step to Selling Ecommerce

Make sure you have a presentable site that is optimized for sales. Your website is your first impression- so do it right the first time!

Backend: SEO optimize each page, SEO optimize each image, make sure your social media links actually go to the right pages and click out of your site. Review your shipping and return policies, and your FAQ’s. Make sure you integrate your email popup with your email provider.

Front End: Do you have your Instagram images integrated to your site? Do you have enough photographs to change your homepage each month? Are your product pages easy to read? Are your pictures high resolution and zoomable? Do you have an editorial merchandising strategy for each month? Get all the juicy details of your products and your “about” statements out in a clear and concise way.

Videos >>>>>>

Ecommerce 

If you need a step by step guide to building your site pick up a copy of Creating Fashion Websites that Sell. 

1st Step to Selling Wholesale

Wholesale is scary and hard work. You are constantly pitching and retailers are comparing your brand to others. Your brand that you have spent a lot of time and energy building! 

My #1 to getting started selling to buyers is to master this formula: Product + Pricing + Persistency + Proof.

Product: Get your product down perfectly, know that they have an audience and you should have some selling history in small selling arenas.

Price: Make sure you are competitively priced. Look at your competitive matrix.

Persistency: Develop a thick skin. Not getting a response doesn’t mean no, just not right now. Keep emailing, mailing out postcards and calling.

Proof: Build your social proof. Instagram should be your #1 Channel to develop right now. Post 3x a day and make sure its a combo of lifestyle, brand and product. Don’t forget how importance of engagement! Buyers want to see that you have a market.

Videos >>>>>>

Wholesale

If you need a more indepth overview on how to start wholesale, sign up for the How To Sell to Barneys & Boutiques Webinar.

 

Good Luck with getting your sales strategy off the ground, and let me know how it works for you!

 

How to Create your Line List for Wholesale Buyers

 

Stuck on how to create your line list? Watch this. I’ll walk you through each column and tell you exactly how to build it. What you will need:

1. MS Excel
2. Photographs of your product
3. Pricing
4. Materials Content

…and a couple other things that I will share.

If you are ready to launch your brand then set up a consultation. Email: hello@scalingretail.com. Scaling Retail is the consulting firm for retail globally. Specializing in startup and growth stage ecommerce, brick & mortar, and wholesale.

For more tips and exercises for building a fashion website check out
Creating Fashion Websites That Sell by Syama Meagher and Nicole Giordano: http://www.scalingretail.com/product/creating-fashion-website-that-sell/
Check out Scaling Retail website for more business ecommerce and retail tips, reviews and more: http://www.scalingretail.com/

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Syama’s Favorite Apps for iPhone + More!

Here are a few that I use on a regular basis:

Boomerang:

Great for scheduling emails- stay on top of multiple time zones.

Boomerang adds scheduled sending and the easiest, most integrated email reminders to Gmail, helping you reach Inbox Zero.

Streak:

A simple CRM platform and way to automate emails!

Manage customers directly inside gmail No more back and forth between your inbox and other tools

Mailchimp:

Great for iPhone! Allows me to check on emails away from my computer.

iDashboard Analytics:

iPhone App, Great for keeping eye on Google Analytics

CamScanner:

So I can send my signature digitally from my phone!

Turn your phone and tablet into scanner for intelligent document management. CamScanner is an intelligent document management solution.

Switch:

iPhone App: To manage our corporate phone anywhere – on my laptop or on my phone

Hootsuite:

iPhone App: To stay on top of social analytics

I hope these work for you!

Best, Syama

What is the difference between Drop Shipping & Cross Shipping?

New business models are the wave of the future and understanding how to work with these new types of retailers will help you maximize those relationships and, of course, make more money!

Here is what you need to know.

 Drop-Shipping

 What it is: The online retailers sells your product on their platform. Once the customer places the order with the retailer, they contact you and you ship it to the customer. The retailer pays you the cost price plus shipping.

Pro’s:

1. If you are just starting out and you don’t have a lot of distribution working with drop-shipping companies will allow you to add stockists to your list.

2. Drop-shipping sites are usually early stage businesses, this gives you the advantage to ask for more. Things you can ask for: social media blasts, newsletter features, homepage features.

3. Testing out products and price points. If you aren’t ready to launch your own ecommerce and want to test market your products, this is a great way to do so.

4. Better payment terms & margins. You have the upper hand in negotiations on wholesale price. I suggest a 60/40 split in your favor and 14 day or 30 day payment terms.

5. Packaging is a great way to take that customer all for yourself. Make sure you add postcards or special content that will drive that customer back to your site. Though you may need to use the retailers packaging, definitely double-check.

Con’s:

1. You have to hold the inventory. If you don’t have products already in stock you will need to get the inventory.

2. You have to do the shipping. If you don’t have a local USPS, or aren’t  set up with UPS or FEDEX, whichever is preferred by the retailer, you will need to do so.

3. Sales will be tough to get. Especially on newer ecommerce sites that use drop shipping. They are spending their time marketing and getting traffic to the site, but its tough to say what will be the best sellers and if your products will work. Don’t go into drop-shipping thinking you will get business right away. It will take time.

Cross-Shipping 

What it is: Similar to drop-shipping, the online retailer sells your product on their site. Once the order gets processed the retailer contacts you and you ship to the retailer. Then the retailer re-packages the product and sends to the customer.

Now why would the retailer want to do this? Branding. Its better for the retailer to have the outgoing packages be branded from them even if they are not holding the inventory. This also costs more for them. They pay for shipping to them and shipping from them to the customer.

Pro’s and Con’s are similar to that of drop-shipping. Though under this scenario you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of adding in your branded assets to the package that gets sent to the customer.

These two forms of online business models are more common than you think. New startups will often implement them to test market their brand before moving into a wholesale model. These models aren’t good or bad but need to be factored into a global sales strategy for your band. If you are interested in learning more about new business models sign up for our Selling Webinar: How to Sell to Barneys & Boutiques. If you want more in-depth strategy and guidance contact us at hello@scalingretail.com

Here is to your success!