Category: Sales

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

5 Ways to Make Your Fashion Business Profitable in Year One

This post was originally written for Create & Cultivate by me (Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail).  Create & Cultivate Is an Online Platform & Conference Series for Female Entrepreneurs in the Digital Space. Its such a useful post, I wanted to make sure my readers saw it.

Year one for every business can look very differently. This guide is for brands that already have a strong foundation (year 0) under their belt. Year zero is your startup phase and those startup costs should be considered separately. Some of those costs may include: Branding, Pricing, Website, Samples, Manufacturing, Marketing Plan, Sales Plan, Assortment Plan, and a Cash Flow Plan. While in year zero you are also determining if you will be a collection based brand (a brand that sells tops, bottom, dresses – a whole collection) or if you will be an item driven brand (a brand that focuses on making one particular kind of product – think Bonobos when they first launched). If you want to create a brand with a budget in mind, start with item driven products then expand later.

 

To make a business profitable your revenue needs to surpass your expenses.

 

  1. Know what you will spend money on this year, and cut accordingly. Make a list of all the activities for the year you think you will spend money on (marketing, photoshoots etc.) then start to rank them in order of costs and potential revenue (its tough to know exactly in year one what will make you money). Focus on only the top 3-5 opportunities. Brands waste a lot of money doing a lot of marketing activities poorly.
  2. Leverage networks to get things done and give yourself enough time to do it. When minimizing cost you need to trade off with time. Example: The less money you want to spend on hiring a graphic designer, the longer it will take to find a good one that is in your budget. This is especially the case when looking to leverage your current networks to execute on something. Your friend who is really good at X may not have the bandwidth to do you a favor for 3 months. So, plan accordingly. Star by making a list of everything you need to get done for your business, for this example we will use a selling campaign. You will need to hire Photography, Hair, Makeup, and Graphic Designers etc. Your next list should be everyone you know in your network, including Facebook Groups and other groups you are a part of. Finally have a list of things you can do for others. When writing the post message include your offer and see who is open to trades. The low end of a photoshoot done professionally can run you $5,000, so if you have the time to pull this off working within your networks, you might save a chunk of change.
  3. Don’t produce excess inventory unless there is demand. I’d rather you create demand through having a strong social media profile and 2-3 units on hand per item to sell online then to produce to your manufacturers minimum at a lower price and get stuck with aging goods. These days’ brands are launching with strong social media 6 months to a year out before the product launched. Why? To create demand, so when the products are available for sale, there is an audience. You do need some product to fulfill demand when your site launches, but wouldn’t you rather sell out and start to build demand, then have a lot on hand?
  4. Focus on Selling IRL. It takes time to build your ecommerce following, and to get picked up by wholesale retail accounts. I have noticed that my clients who focus on selling in real life at markets, friends and family events, trunk shows and through co-branded popup events see a far higher increase in sales right away. This is because people can touch and feel your collection and you can sell to them with your charm and passion for your product. Build each event with a 360* marketing strategy to take advantage of every dollar spent. Example: Have a friend at the event taking pics for social media, give shoppers 10% off if they follow you on IG, and sell samples/damages at a big discount to get rid of inventory you cant normally sell.
  5. Stop Treating Your Business Like a Hobby. Hopefully, since you are reading this, you actually want to make money in this business. This means you cannot have a 4-hour workweek or magically have a business you love. It’s just not possible. You should be clocking in 60 + hour workweeks if you are really hustling. If you have a day job, that means you are working on this nights and weekends and lunches. You need a plan of action. For every dollar that you spend and every hour that you spend on your business you need to outline the 3 ROI’s you are getting. Those ROI’s (return on investment) won’t always have financial implications, but they might have brand awareness implications and that absolutely will help you in getting sales. It takes the average brand 18 months of selling to really see a pick up in sales and to understand their customer. 18 months means 3 seasons of pitching, product development, sample making etc.

 

 

There is no magic wand to make your business profitable in year one, but there is smart planning and smart execution that can get you there. How you set up and manage your business goals and brand vision can bring you closer to profitability. But keep in mind, the industry is not set up so that the brands with the most exposure, press and sales make the most profit. In fact, many highly visible brands are in debt. But, by following the tips above you will keep yourself on the safer side of cash flow management and be a stronger, wiser CEO for it.

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 Get Sales Online

Congratulations! You have started your website, uploaded your kickass products and now you need some tips on How to get your product out there.

1. Get To Know Your Backend
2. Pitch Your Site
3. Start Your Digital Marketing Strategy
4. Don’t Forget About Direct Marketing Campaigns
5. Make Sure You Have Engaging Captivating Content

Did you find this video helpful? Need more tips? Leave a comment below, so we can chat!

Thank you for watching.

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/

Contact Syama for any questions: Syama@scalingretail.com

Follow us for here
Instagram: https://instagram.com/scalingretail/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scalingretail
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scalingretail
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nyc-retail-consultant

How to Write a Buyer Pitch Email

How to sell to Barneys NY, Saks and Neimans? Write a killer pitch email to get buyers talking about your brand! Simple easy template to get you talking to the write buyers.

Did you find this video helpful? Need more tips? Leave a comment below, so we can chat!

Thank you for watching.

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/

Contact Syama for any questions: Syama@scalingretail.com

Follow us for here
Instagram: https://instagram.com/scalingretail/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/scalingretail
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scalingretail
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/nyc-retail-consultant