The curtain has fallen on Paris Fashion Week, the culmination of the New York-London-Milan-Paris Big Four run. Before the glitz and glamour have been metaphorically swept up, however, begins the next phase: the buying and selling.
Alex Bennett, Fashion Business Specialist at international payment specialist Smart Currency Business, works with a busy network of growing fashion businesses. He shares the following tips for fashion businesses looking to engage with buyers in the industry:
Get in front of the right buyers
Whether you’re meeting in a dedicated buyers’ lounge or have arranged for a private audience, make sure that you establish your presence. Buyers have a lot of collections to analyse during and after a Fashion Week, so make sure that your brand is relevant to a buyer’s target market before approaching them.
Focus on fit
It helps for a buyer to know how a design looks when worn. Hiring one or more models means incurring extra costs, but it can help to show off your garments to their best advantage. Some buyers may want to try on the items themselves.
Be ready to alter garments
Buyers may be interested in a garment, but prefer a different kind of sleeve, length or other feature than the one viewed. You may have to agree to alterations in order to make a sale.
An overseas market may differ greatly from that of the country you’re based in. Fashion Weeks go beyond the Big Four and extend across the world, so make sure that you’ve researched local fashion trends and business issues.
Remember your prices
As buyers tend to purchase ahead of seasons, they will need to forecast the prices that the garments will be retailing at. You will need to take this into consideration when pricing your products. If your sale includes a currency exchange element, you will need to take future currency costs into account, and have to right strategies in place to minimise any losses on unfavourable exchange rates.
Network, network, network
Networking is paramount in any business, and it is certainly crucial within the fashion industry. Choose events that will get you in front of the right people. Even if you don’t cross paths with a buyer that you’d like to work with, you may discover alternative avenues for getting your garments in front of potential customers.
Make Your British Brand Work Both Abroad and At Home
Paul Alger, Director of International Business Development at the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) offers a final tip: “The UK is internationally recognised as a hotbed of designer talent and quality niche manufacturing. This may not be what UK buyers are looking at but in the key export markets of Japan and the US, this is where we show our point of difference. Exports are an essential part of most UK companies’ sales especially as the UK often picks up home grown talent after it is successful overseas.”