Friday, January 29, 2010

My Top Business Tips. How to sell more!

Hi all,
I just hit 200 sales for clothing in a year on check my store out at I have had a etsy store since 2007 but just started using it in December last year. Boy do I regret not using it sooner! I am averaging about 15 sales a month, not thrilling but for me its been a huge bonus that allows me to spend more time at home with my baby and away from my brick and mortar store. It basically helps pay for the staff on hand at my brick store which is freeing me up to be creative! Yeah!

So I have had a clothing design biz for 5 years now and "actively" selling on etsy for 1 year. I want to pass on some of my top business tips for getting your biz started, selling online and selling in general. Please let me know any tips you have as well and we can all make our businesses more successful together!

1. Make Connections. You have all heard it. Its not what you know but who you know. That is the truest words ever spoken. I have gotten some of my greatest supply leads for chatting with other designers at markets who then became friends and eventually we shared our sources. You never know who someone knows or how someone can help you so always be open to a fun conversation and a new friend.

2. Be Seasonal. Plan your production in advance of the seasons and pre-sell your product wholesale as much as you can. This will lower your cost substantially and increase your profits. You will buy more fabric at once (lower prices), sell more at once (more people will see your stuff) and spend less time packing/shipping/selling because you will be shipping all your wholesale at the same seasonal time. Right now I am putting together my Fall 2010 catalog, my dream is to be almost a full year ahead by Spring 2011. That mean I am putting together the catalog in the spring of this year!

Worried about trends? You can get a good feel for whats going to be trendy by checking out trend forecasting magazines or checking out street styles online (try googling Japan or Europe street styles if your in North America). Or be a true artist and make your own trends!

3. Start your Day with Sales! Do your sales calls first thing in the morning. By sales calls I mean the things that will make you the sales (could be email, message return or sending your catalog requests out). Make a goal. My goal right now is to contact 3 people via phone or email every morning and try to sell them some clothing (in a discreet respectful way of course). Its could be a new store that you want to sell to or checking in on a store you already have. Go through your old sales and check in with old customers to see how they are liking what they bought and if they need anything right now. Make this your priority. The only thing that makes you money in Business is sales!

4. Talk your self up! I am just getting the knack of this. People want to be associated with positive, amazing people living their dream. People also largely believe what you tell them (insert tongue in cheek here). Tell them your are awesome, tell them your stuff is awesome (its true isn't it), tell them your life and friends are awesome. Tell them that you work really hard and love what you do. When your having a bad day stay home and be creative and don't talk to anyone (other than your good friends) about it. You customers need to be your fans don't taint that with negativity. Talk your self up (with out being obnoxious of course) and your customers will want to be a part of what your doing and support you. Its like magic!

5. OUTSOURCE! Once people start to hear about you and you have a bit of flow, you can start hiring folks to do all the "non-creative" things that suck away your time. Bookkeeping, shipping, cleaning...etc. Anything you can delegate. This is important to free your self up to look at the bigger picture and plan your next "awesome" attack. Why sit around doing books when you could be selling more? Why clean when you can hire a neighborhood kid to do and then you go out and sell more!? WARNING: this tip only works if you free up your time to sell more. It does not work if you free up your time to pick your nose and watch Oprah.

6. Little details are what make people come back. Add cute coupons to your orders for your customer to give to their friends. That way when your customer is asked, "Hey, I love that Be Cozy Wrap hoodie where did you get it?", instead of saying "oh it was a online shop, uh, S-something, maybe it was Smarts? Yeah Smarts Clothing thats it. I think." they will say, "ohhh its Salts Clothing, here's a discount card dear friend, now you can go get your own for a great price. They gave me these cute cards so I could remember their name when you asked because their stuff is so awesome."! Beauty. Now you just made another sale with very little effort.

7. Give cards to your friends in other industries so that when they talk about you and someone is interested, they can say, oh yeah, I have her card in my wallet, let me get it for you. My best friend works on movie sets in Vancouver. Even though shes been doing it for awhile now it just dawned on us last night that I should give her some cards to have on hand. Duh?! Sometimes you just overlook these things. In the meantime shes worked with Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Eddie Vedder and countless others....she could have passed my card over every time if we had thought of it....she talks about my clothing, but that's not enough. No one is going to remember a company when they hear about it the first time. It takes 3-5 times hearing about something until it occurs to them to check it out (if its something that they are into). So give your lawyer, doctor, esthetician, hair dresser, babysitter...etc some of your cards so that if you ever come up in conversation they can pass your card on.

Hope you have enjoyed my tips! Please let me know yours!

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libu said...

love your upbeat advise..!!

The Art of Zen.......Crochet said...

I think you are on the ball. I am doing things and making items I thought I was above doing before. Above all, its hard work. But the satisfaction is amazing. :)

mickstonedesigns said...

Congratulations. You are obviously doing something right. Thank you for the tips.