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5 REASONS WHY YOUR SUPPLIER IS YOUR HIDDEN GROWTH ASSET…

As a worldwide supplier of womenswear clothing, we have grown to supply several customers over the years. We’re proud to say we have developed many relationships with small clothing boutique owners.

Whether you’re starting out your fashion brand and are looking for a supplier, an established retailer and looking for a new supplier, or simply looking to get some insight into the most important business relationship for your store, then this is what you need to know.

It’s simple – a balanced diet will keep you healthy, a balanced relationship with your supplier will keep your business healthy.

Almost every company whether product – or service based is dependant on their suppliers and therefore a strategy plan when approaching suppliers is vital. A lot of business owners seem to think this relationship is a one-way streak. Just because the business owner may write the order and sign the pay cheque, doesn’t mean they have the upper hand. Businesses need suppliers just as much as suppliers need businesses. And here’s why:

1. QUALITY

Supplier items can positively or negatively affect a business. The better quality clothing you’re providing your customer, the higher their satisfaction which ultimately means more cash at the bottom line.

2. TIME 

Timely turnovers gives businesses the ability to minimise your inventory and quick deliveries allow for stock to be in your business as soon as possible, meaning you don’t miss out on key trends. Most importantly speedy deliveries is a massive cash flow benefit.

3. COMPETIVENESS 

Suppliers can make you lead against your competitors with their pricing, quality, reliability, and knowledge of industry trends. As all of Fashion-Book’s clothes are made in-house, right from the design process, all our clothes are one-of-a-kind and can not be found anywhere else. With a strong relationship between supplier and business owner, the supplier may be willing to protect a business from competitors having the same stock.

4. INNOVATION

Supplier’s live for their product more than businesses do, meaning they are always looking for ways to improve and work to make cutting edge contributions to their products. Good suppliers will understand a company and it’s industry needs, which can in-turn help with ideas.

5. FINANCE

Proven loyal and considerate customers are given the chance to be able to negotiate financial strategies once the business is on the growth ladder – or if a business runs into a cash crunch. Also, when placing orders, if you are reliable customer, placing consistent orders and paying on time, a supplier will work to find savings / deals. All these aspects will improve a businesses cash position.

 

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THE RISE IN PLUS SIZE FASHION

The days of representing beauty in the form of women who are above 5”8, size-zero and blond are behind us. From Winnie Harlow, size 14 Ashley Graham, hijab wearing Halima Aden, to 73-year old Benedetta Barzini, now more fashion industry. And, about time than ever are we seeing a diversetoo.

With an influx in plus size influencers, celebrities and bloggers, such as Gemma Collins, Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday, many plus-size issues have been brought to light in the mainstream media, giving the industry a positive vocal voice. We now see women embracing their bodies and demanding plus-size clothing that is fashionable, on-trend and comfortable. This has led to the plus size retail market to increasingly grow over the years.

Research conducted by plus size market review showed how the plus size market has been “outperforming the overall womenswear and menswear market in the UK” and has “forecasted growth in the plus size market at 5-6% p.a. 2017 and 2022.”

 

At Fashion-book we specialise in the design and manufacturing of plus-size clothing which we began in 2015.

Since then we’ve grown our customer base to supply over 200 customers all over the globe, seeing an increase in more and more independent plus-size women opening up their own shops, brand and boutiques to supply plus-size women all over the globe with deserving, gorgeous clothes.

Manufacturing plus-size clothing which start from UK size 16 to 26, from the design room to the fitting, we believe in ensuring our plus-size clothing are on-trend, quality and comfortable.

We also look forward to our customer’s success and love seeing our 100% made in UK clothes on beautiful women all over the world.

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MADE IN UK: THE BEAUTY OF BRITISH MANUFACTURING.

As a British manufacturer of womenswear clothing for the last 10 years, Fashion-Book are committed and proud to be producing all our products here in the UK, in our factory, based in Leicester. We believe that Made In UK is an extremely important tag, which has huge benefits for retailers, suppliers and our nation’s economy.

We’ve gathered 6 reasons on why we believe British manufacturing is so vital.

1. British Design 
There is nothing more premium for your brand than to have the “Made in UK” label attached to it.  Over the years, manufacturing in Britain has built a reputation of producing stylish, high quality, well-made garments which is evident in the products themselves.

2. Quality 
From sourcing and selecting materials, to grading, pattern cutting  through to quality control and packing, every single stage is done in-house in our 12,500 square factory. This gives us the ability to review the quality of our structures and make any amendments necessary to ensure the highest quality.

3. Ethics 
The historical poor factory safety regulations, child labour and the unethical working conditions, apparent in countries in Asia has meant that when purchasing “Made In UK” products, you are guaranteed that it has been produced in fair working conditions and without the mistreatment of workers.

Also, as there is rising pressure for retailers to be in transparent in where their products are made and sourced, this can easily be done when the supplier is based in the UK, as appose to abroad.

4. Skilled Labour
Fashion-Book is proud to be home to 15 employees. Our staff are extremely skilled within their field, for example, our pattern cutter and grading has been in the industry for 30 plus years. This aids the guarantee of the highest quality product.

By manufacturing in the UK, we can allow UK residents to produce a wide range of skills and abilities, allowing them to expand their knowledge and develop their skill. When retailers choose to import goods from abroad, this increases the chance of these people become jobless which has a negative impact on our society and economy.

5. Reduced Delivery Times
Fast fashion is leading the way for the retail industry. With the consumer trend; reactive retailing, becoming more prominent than ever, customers want to get what they want, when they want it. This means retailers need to feed their customers desires and react to fashion quicker than ever.

Easiest way to do this? Source things from the UK. Why wait for 2-3 months when ordering abroad, when you can wait as little as the next working day to have product in your store.

Fashion-Book are equipped with everything you need in-house and ready at hand. Therefore, if your order is placed before 2PM and you are based in the UK, then we can deliver the items to you the following working day. If you’re outside the UK, you can receive your items as soon as 3-5 working days for Europe and 8-10 days for the rest of the world.

6. Quick Repeats 
Something sold out? Have a long list of customers wanting to purchase the garment? If the clothing comes from abroad, waiting 1-2 months will mean your customers would have lost interest by then and you would have potentially lost sales. As a Made In UK manufacturer, the entire process is created in-house, meaning we can create repeats of clothing within just 14 days.

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6 TIPS FOR MERCHANDISING YOUR STORE

First impressions are vital. You could have bought the most beautiful stock from your supplier, but it’s up to you to ensure your merchandise is displayed in an engaging, attractive way. When the visual merchandising is done correctly it’ll create a buzz and motivate your customers to make a purchase.

As well as driving commercial performance, quality displays will also improve your in-store customer experience and strengthen your company brand.

Here are 6 quick merchandising tips you can utilise when it comes to creating an inspirational store layout, to help turn covert shoppers into customers.

1. Group by style or type
A practical way to get customers to interact with a group of your products is for them to be well balanced. Group products by brand, type, colour or by price.

2. Storytelling
This is the perfect way to incite imagination. Conveying a theme or concept through the way your products are laid out. It can give a potential customer inspiration for a certain style, and can trigger an aspirational feeling.

3. Colour balance
Utilising colour in the correct way is one of the most important aspects of the job. Creating your collections based on colour will heighten cohesiveness and visual styling.
An example of this can be found in our image above.
Ensuring you balance the colours well, along with utilising a range of placement and spacing variations will achieve the right feeling for your customer.

4. Symmetry
A symmetrical layout will ensure your store will look neat, concise and will make navigating around your store pleasant. Ensure all products are folded, stacked, hung, symmetrically and in the same way.

5. Focal points
Having a focal points acts as a magnet to compel a shopper to enter the store or a specific area. This will entice them in so they can come and look at more/specific products.
The focal point should act as a centrepiece and be displayed with mannequins or props. They should also be placed with in key sight lines, endcaps and entrance tables if you have one.

6. Lighting
Lighting can have a massive impact on the message you’re trying to send to your customers. The right lighting can make products stand out and bring colours to life. Are you trying to promote a new product? Or something unique? Accent lighting or spotlights will highlight a product and draw a customers attention to exactly where you want it to go.

7. Trend and change.
The fashion retail industry is highly competitive, so stay ahead of the game by researching and portraying the latest trends and what your customers are looking for. Most importantly, change up your displays to keep them fresh. This’ll create excitement to give your customers a reason to come back to your store more often. Even if you don’t have new product, a change of display can bring newness to your store and your customers have like something now they have seen it in a different way.

Written by Freya Shah

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WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

Whether you’re a small boutique, an international store, a simple website you run from home or selling online globally, having a social media presence is a must for any successful fashion business. From Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat to Pinterest there is an overwhelming number of channels, so, how do you choose the right one for you?

We’ve broken down exactly what you need to know for each platform, so you can make an informed decision that’ll maximise your business.

Before deciding, there are 2 things to consider…

1. YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE:
This is essential to social media as different platforms have different audiences, who in turn behave differently. You may create a beautiful content and have a gorgeous Instagram feed, but if your audience are all on Facebook, it will be a waste. Figure out who your audience are; what age they are? What are their hobbies? Which are their favourite social media platforms? Create a detailed customer profile. This research may be time-consuming and gruelling, but it is the pillar when it comes to choosing and building the right social media channel.

2. WRITE YOUR OBJECTIVES DOWN:
Of course, sales are the main objective of the business, but when it comes to social media you need to set smaller goals and objectives to aid the overall goal. So, do you want to increase brand awareness? Drive traffic to your website? Build customer relationships? Increase engagement? This will give you clear direction when it comes to content creation and measuring the success rate of your social media strategy.

Now it’s time to think about which social media platform is best for your business. In this article we’ll focus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, as they have the largest reach for fashion e-commerce businesses.

FACEBOOK

  • Just over 2 million active users daily.
  • Age range from 18 – 60.

If you have a business having a Facebook page is a MUST, as it has the largest potential reach. Also, with a broad age range there is an extremely high chance your target audience are on Facebook.  This is where knowing your target audience will be beneficial. If your demographic is younger than 18 it might be worth pursuing a different social media channel. However, maintaining a Facebook presence will still be worthwhile as this is where people tend to go to find out about a company. By not being on Facebook you are minimising your chances of being found.

A huge part of Facebook’s traffic success is their paid ads. While gaining an organic reach is achievable, it can be quite difficult without paid advertisements to help push your page out there. If you can allocate budget to Facebook ads then your return will be worth the investment.

INSTAGRAM:

  • Over 800 million active users monthly.
  • Age range from 18-24.

Following Facebook, Instagram is the second largest social media platform. In comparison to Facebook, Instagram has a much younger audience, however, there is growing rise in the number of young teens also heavily invested into Instagram. With 38% female and 26% male, if your target audience are young females then Instagram is perfect for you. As this platform is all about being visually appealing, creating both eye-catching images and videos and presenting them on your account in the form of a visual grid.

The two main things your audience will want to see on Instagram is beautiful pictures of visual storytelling that ties into your brand. This is where setting out your objectives will be of a lot of help. Sell your brand by selling lifestyles and experiences associated as well as images of models wearing your gorgeous clothes.

TWITTER:

  • 330 million active users monthly.
  • Age range from 1829.

Differentiating itself from other platforms, Twitter is the place to engage and conversate with your audience on a personal level. Leave the professional tone to Facebook, and instead tweet questions, send replies in real time, give your own insights and create discussions.

You can join conversations through twitter hashtags, so see what is trending at that particular time, or, you can start you own hashtag to get your content to people who don’t necessarily follow you. This is a great way to get exposure.

Twitter is the perfect opportunity to show your brands personality, offer the best customer service skills and get to know your audience. Quick and caring response rates to your customers will have a positive look on your brands. Also, through research is has been found that brands that initiate conversations receive far more engagement than those who just attempt to sell their product.

PINTEREST:

  • Age range is 18-49
  • Mainly female users.

Like Instagram, Pinterest is highly visual. It is essentially a massive virtual pinboard where users ‘pin’ or bookmark images to curate inspiration and ideas in a creative way. Due to the platform being entirely visual, 70% of the users are women. For fashion brands selling womenswear clothing, this is where your customers are.

When a user clicks on a ‘pin’, they are then taken to an external source. So, if you upload a pin you can target people directly to your e-commerce website, or, to your company blog. For example, if you do a post about party season, you can either link the post to your party season dresses, or a blog post about e.g. ‘7 styling tips for party season’. This can convert a user to a customer and in turn create a sale for your business.

Unlike the other social media channels, users on Pinterest can save your pin to their boards, meaning they have a longer-life span than content on Instagram and Facebook. People can then come back to the pin later if they wish.

So, which one should you choose?

There is no set rule for which channels work for which business. We hope this breakdown has given you a better insight into which channels would work best for your business. Rather than attempting to post on as many social media channels as possible, it is better going with 1 or 2 and post quality content.

Whether it’s an hour a day or a couple times a week, it is definitely worth investing time into social media marketing. You’re not going to gain social media success overnight, it takes time, work and consistency, but with right content on the right platform you will gradually build an audience of engaged followers who in turn will hopefully turn into loyal customers.