When the big players on the fashion scene are fighting for attention, it can be daunting even thinking about throwing your hat in the ring. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t take a million dollar marketing budget to be successful, but determination, creative thinking, and innovative ideas are essential.
 
Lately, customers want more (and more and more) from their fashion and the brands they interact with. They want to feel good about what they’re buying (is it sustainable..? Aligned with a charity or cause..?), they want up-to-the-minute pieces that fit their needs, (and even who they’re socialising with for or where they’re got to eat at…) – so consider incorporating those when you’re next designing. If you’re running a small fashion business, you may be wearing several hats. You’re the creative director, head designer, tea and coffee maker, chief bottle washer AND the fashion marketer. While traditionally, marketing programs educate students in topics such as consumer behavior, branding foundations and along the way learn the latest programs that support digital marketing. Every 3 months the online and in-store retail market changes – particularly for labels who want to launch and grow.
 
Here are 5 marketing ideas with hacks that don’t require a huge budget to get you started…
 
1 – Think outside the box
 
You don’t need millions of marketing dollars to make a splash – all you need is one great idea.
 
One of our favorite stories is that of Jo Malone when she first arrived in New York. No one had heard of her brand or product – she didn’t even have a physical store there, but was scheduled for a pop-up at Bergdorf Goodman. She recalls despairing in her hotel room, where all she had was a few hundred branded paper bags. Then came the light bulb moment. She enlisted a group of friends (and friends of friends), to carry empty Jo Malone bags around the most fashionable streets of New York. The logo started gaining recognition among the fashion-savvy in Manhattan’s most exclusive shopping addresses. By the time her physical store opened, there was already buzz around the brand that hadn’t cost a cent.
 
One simple idea changed the course of her success. Brainstorm with your friends and peers, take stock of your resources or who you’ve aligned with and come up with a creative idea that doesn’t cost the earth but will create an almighty splash.
 
TIP: if you’re looking for a squad theright.fit is all about matching the right talent with the right job, helping brands, producers, and agencies create killer content. – Search talent and post a job for free, without the need for a talent agency.
  
2 – Collaborations are key
There are no limits to collaborations – the more inventive, the better! All sorts of unlikely combinations have happened in the fashion world. H&M partnered with Margiela. Target joined forces with Stella McCartney. Adidas linked up with Parley for the Oceans and made a shoe from recycled ocean waste and illegal fishing nets. The Macgraw sisters have become one of the most prominent designers in the Australian landscape. Since the launch of the Vittoria Fashion Series in 2013, they have had a year-on-year partnership with Vittoria incorporating their beautiful feminine and youthful designers onto the takeaway coffee cups.
 
While you might not have that kind of sway just yet, it’s all about making a real connection that makes sense for your brand. Teaming up with a local conservation society, animal shelter, a rock band that’s starting to make waves or another fashion label on your level will create opportunities for exposure. You’re going to be inspired to creatively to develop a product that expresses the aesthetic, values and beliefs of each party, and the result of the collaboration gives you a new angle to market.
 

TIP: Find your tribe: Maison Garde was started in The New Garde as a passion project to find a way for designers to collaborate and cater to a customer that loves eccentric fashion. Each season Maison Garde showcase collaborative collections from Australia’s best unknown tastemakers under the creative direction of Jodie Hilton – This is a win-win for designers and customers.

 

3 – Celebrity endorsements
If you’re just starting out in the fashion game, a celebrity endorsement might seem light years away, but don’t be disheartened. You have to be in it to win it, and if your designs are on point, and your messaging aligns with a certain famous face or influencer, don’t be afraid to approach them.
 
Do your research: is there something about your brand (materials used, sustainable manufacturing process, causes you’ve aligned with, messaging you’re presenting…) that will strike a chord with a certain celebrity? Do they wear vegan fashion? Do they support locally made clothing?

Contact their agent, or if it’s an influencer, you can often get in touch directly via Instagram. Be bold like Alexandre Daillance, the teenager behind the NasaSeasons hats. He originally designed slogan hats for him and his friends but started sending DMs to huge celebrity names via Instagram. It worked. Within weeks, Rihanna was photographed wearing one of his hats, and the rest is history. (A fun fact: the slogan on the hat she chose to wear was ‘I came to break hearts’ which was on a hat he originally made to wear to his Prom.)

Inhouse we reached out to musicians performing at Bigsound in 2019. It was a great way to introduce brands to the entertainment industry and gain exposure while elevating the perfomers – LÂLKA is the Brisbane-based producer/vocalist/musician creating gritty yet opulent electro pop. LÂLKA’s music and live performance reflect her personality: plenty of confidence and tongue-in-cheek energy so when we paired Stanger For Skuel Work Apparel knowing that they appeal to uni students and milleniels in their 20’s we deemed The Lazy Eyes to be a great fit in consideration to thier aligning audiences. Becki Whitton from Aphir is the perfect muse for Fred Archer – Influenced by 17th century vocal music, dreamscapes, and the catharsis brought about by screaming words of devotion into a wall of noise, Aphir’s songs are set in a world apart from the one we wake up to. For Astille We teamed up with 1 woman powerehouse Milan Ring A singer, rapper, guitarist, producer, mix and mastering engineer, Milan directs every aspect of her output, from the first guitar chord to the final master.

TIP: There is no hack with this – It’s all about building relationships and getting out of the studio. Get social, build a rapport and evolve your connection with fashion and celebrity stylists and they will start to come to you to select items. Make notes of what works for each stylist. Do they work better with images?  Is it easier to courier styles over or invite them into your studio to collect?? Always be polite and understand you are not the only designer trying to get their attention.  You want to be persistent, but not annoying.  The easier and more pleasant you make things for stylists, the more likely they are to accept your items and place it in front of their celebrity clientele.
 
PR is a business built on relationships and you can’t expect to just jump in and get an A-list celebrity to wear your client’s stuff.  The top tier stylists already have their go-to’s and they don’t know (much less trust) you. This is where you will work for that exposure and need to present collections that will not only make the stylist look good but more than anything suit their client.

4 – Get topical

Those in the know call it newsjacking, i.e. hijacking topical themes by incorporating them into your designs to make a statement. Whether political, newsworthy or just tongue-in-cheek, this is a technique that works for both design titans (think Balenciaga recycling Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign logo for its Fall 2017 collection) or a fashion label that’s being run out of someone’s bedroom (think smashed avo themed T-shirts making the rounds in Australia at the moment).
 
Keep an eye on the news and what’s trending. The trick with newsjacking is you need to work fast. Once you’ve picked an idea that’s going to create a great marketing angle for you and your brand, you need to get onto it almost overnight and capitalise on the attention while you have the spotlight. We all know that today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers, so get onto it while it’s hot.
 

TIP: To get the message out quickly check out Story Chief -it helps you publish your content multichannel and gather leads in your favorite CRM. Instantly cutting your content process in half and has a built-in SEO assistant.

 
5 – User-friendly referral system

Don’t underestimate the value of your loyal customers and their networks. These are people who click with your brand and its ethos. They’re delighted they were the first of their friends to discover your label, love wearing your designs and are proud to be aligned with what your brand stands for. Help them to shout it from the rooftops!

 

Setting up a user-friendly referral system is a fantastic way of rewarding fans of your brand. It gives them a sense of ownership of the brand they love so much AND you’re securing new customers in a truly genuine way. It’s the online version of word-of-mouth marketing. Your loyal customer makes a purchase and obtains a unique link or similar to recommend your brand to their friends. Successfully signing up friends earns them points or discounts (the rewards are up to you), an incentive for them to keep coming back and to continue singing your praises.

 

TIP: The other avenue you could try is Flaunter – it’s like having a digital PR push out your content to key media and influencers where it can be picked up and placed into digital and traditional advertising. Bloggers style files etc. Complement this with user-generated imagery.

 
FOCUS ON SUCCESS, not $$$

When it comes to resources is it really about the money? Your relationship to money will have a huge impact on the effort or create self-imposed limitations that you could unknowingly place on yourself.

Money is a nice thing to have but shouldn’t be seen as an enabling factor. Most people who operate to a budget ask themselves what can we buy with this and then sell? What kind of marketing could we buy or ads with that money? These questions limit the ability to use creatively think and plan, versus seeing an opportunity that can bring your brand the most amount of money.

When it comes to your marketing budget; Investing $50 in Facebook ads or even a budget of 5K can, in the long term and grand scheme will be a drop in the ocean if you place value on cost. If you can focus on success instead of bank account benchmarks then you’ll force yourself to be creative.
 
Hungry for more? come to our 1 day Masterclass, where you’ll set your marketing goals in place and plan out the next 12 months.
 

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