Industry Meetup: This Little Brand Went To Market

Industry Mondays

This Little Brand Went To Market

|| Hosted by Dana Schoonover of Never a Wallflower and Stephanie McTigue of CoFi Leathers ||


In case you were unable to attend our Industry Meetup last week, here is a brief recap of Taking Your Brand To Market.

Markets are large showrooms where brands can set up booths to sell to retailers and other businesses. Be prepared for to sell wholesale before considering attending a market. You want to be sure your production can handle the amount of orders you may be receiving. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Markets To Look Into:

  • FIG (Fashion Industry Gallery)- Dallas
  • ATS (Accessories the Show) - Las Vegas
  • ATS (Accessories the Show) - New York
  • Atlanta Apparel Show
  • Dallas Apparel Show
  • FMNC (Fashion Market of Northern California)
  • CALA Denver

What You Can Do To Prepare for Taking Your Brand To Market:

  • Post-Cards- introduce your brand to sellers you know will be there or you can keep these on your table. These can offer discounts to people who visit your booth.
  • Emails (send to existing customers and new boutiques to let them know which show you will be at)
  • Plan booth set up- every show provides different projects and you should know ahead of time what you need to bring with you
  • Plan hotel and travel- maybe find another vendor to share a room with to cut down on costs
  • Plan your display- what is the look and feel of your booth? Hang pictures of product to have in booth (you can get these printed at COSTCO)
  • Social Media Marketing- Let your audience know you are going to market on IG, FB, Twitter, etc
  • Finalize your line with new products- if you are going to market make sure you have new and fresh inventory that people have not seen before so you can attract new customers and get older customers to return.

What To Do At Market

  • Show Preparation/ Set Up - figure out how much of your set up you can take on the plane or in your car and what you will need to ship
  • Be sure to set out business cards at your booth and have somewhere for people to leave theirs. If you can capture emails from people passing by (consider doing a giveaway) then you have new people to send emails to and reach out to for new business
  • Show Specials- offer if they order today they get half off shipping cost for their first order or something along those lines.
  • Immediate Delivery vs. Deliver at a later date (determine your timeline)- do they want to order their products now or later in the year- this will effect production timeline.
  • Payment- half up front and half on delivery for new orders/customers. You can determine terms for existing customers. Payment on delivery? Payment on Production? Do you collect credit card information? Think about these terms and have them laid out before you get there.
  • Have a plan for international shipping and if you offer it
  • Have a policy page available to give out, provide line sheets/look books for interested buyers
  • Each evening follow up with people via social media (follow ppl who stop by) and/or an email
  • Continue posting on social media channels throughout the week (hashtag and tag the market you are at)
  • Potentially look for showrooms and reps that would be interested in representing your product line. brand (Percentage vs showroom fees)- sometimes a showroom fee or a commission from others selling your items can be less cost effective than having your own booth, but it is less work for you.
  • Break down on last day- know where to send place items you have to ship back, what needs to be done before you leave

What To Do After Market

  • Follow up on orders with a formal invoice
  • Follow up with leads by sending out emails
  • Add emails to a mailing list for future shows
  • Put product into production
  • Send out your giveaway, but include all new leads and buyers on the giveaway email to create interest in your product
  • Send out Immediate Orders- these are the orders that needed product right away
  • Often times you need to secure your spot by signing up for the next market on the last day of the show so be prepared for doing this

Markets can be a great place to sell your brand and get your product out there. When determining if you want to take your brand to market, take a look at some different ones and what their requirements and fees are. Be sure to budget in enough money to cover your costs for these markets in case you don't sell any product there. It can still be great exposure even if you don't make any sales there. The more you put your brand out there, the more people will notice it and think about it. Also look for other brands similar to your own who might be interested in splitting a space with you. Cut costs wherever you can. Good luck!

Our next Industry Meetup is December 12th! We will be have an Industry Retreat to help all of you busy entrepreneurs and small business owners relax a little during the holiday rush! Can't wait to meet you there!

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