Did you get the lowdown on WWDMAGIC Las Vegas?
Whew! I’ve been traveling like crazy. I’m comfortably back in LA, after my latest journey – WWDMAGIC Las Vegas.
I was there for agency business and gave three talks. The first was “Making It. Defining Success as a Startup.” and the other was “The Age of Influence” (presented on two different days, in two different locations). I hope you caught at least one of them if you were in Vegas! They were filled with information and a lot of fun.
“Making It. Defining Success as a Startup.”
The first was about making it and defining success as a fashion startup. I advised brand owners to limit their activities to only those they can actually do amazingly well. Stop trying to do so many things. And if you’re not seeing traction 3-5 years after you’ve launched, it’s time to cut and run. You have to know when to step away. I also discussed the need for traction in brand awareness and sales. If you have great brand awareness and do well on social but you aren’t making any sales, something is wrong. The reverse is also true. If you have sales but no brand awareness, it won’t be long before sales start to dry up.
I spoke with someone who had a big business on Amazon and they had no brand awareness. None. When Amazon changed, they had to change their whole business. So, fashion startup owners, remember that you also can’t rely on just a single business model.
“The Age of Influence”
A lot of big retailers were in the audience for these presentations. They were super excited! The big message was that influencer marketing isn’t just working with social media influencers. It’s comprised of 5 elements: CEO leadership, employees, consumers, celebrities (as per their latest definition) and niche key opinion leaders (KOLs).
It was amazing how many people came up to me to say they watch all of our videos and read all of our content. We really appreciate the support!
We also conducted some really insightful brand interviews with Bella Dahl, JaxKelly, Plum Pretty Sugar and more. We got lucky to meet a 23 year old brand founder between interviews. While there is room for improvement, she’s certainly primed for success! It’s her first time showing at MAGIC, and her brand was founded in 2018. Rather than focus on bringing in profits, she leveraged the show for feedback. She and her team quizzed booth visitors to learn what’s working and what’s not. What an excellent strategy. So smart.
Alibaba U.S. at WWDMAGIC
Alibaba U.S. had a huge presence at SOURCING at MAGIC. It reminded me of what our tech/marketing consultant, Mandeep, experienced at IRCE. But this time it wasn’t Amazon taking over the stage, but Alibaba. It’s fascinating because Alibaba is really innovating in the Chinese market and it’s interesting to see how they’ll innovate stateside.
I met several people from the company since they hosted a talk right before one of mine. The talk was about how to work with Alibaba. They had a cool experiential setup so I tried their virtual mirror platform. It takes a picture of you, uploads the image in the system and allows you to try on clothes in a digital interface and mirror. I also caught a great Alibaba talk on U.S. market entry strategy and how to secure American retail partnerships.
It’s funny how retailers are so afraid of Amazon but they don’t know how to react to Alibaba. Even though both companies are pushing ahead with similar aims, I observed retailers being warmer to Alibaba simply by virtue of branding. Let’s say it was due to branding and a lack of familiarity. Generally speaking, retailers don’t think of Alibaba as a threat but they see Amazon as public enemy number one! So it really comes down to how others’ perceive your brand.
Amazon was nowhere in sight. I can’t help but think they missed a big opportunity to talk new projects and retail tech.
Preparing to launch your fashion startup? We can assist you with everything from CEO coaching and pricing strategy to developing your brand DNA. And if you’ve already launched, we do re-brands and repositioning too. Strong and healthy business awaits! Contact us at 310.957.5264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.